One of the best parts of our contact with the collector vehicle hobby is its unpredictability because we never know what we might find at a car show.
A good example of the process was an interview with a car owner at a show that led directly to another great story with his daughter.
Don Dumkee steered us to his daughter Marilyn’s 1968 Chevy pickup truck because he was well aware of its history and could tell the story from the day he bought it brand new back in 1968.
This was a work truck for his job in the oil industry and it spent plenty of time on back roads on its way to the next oil rig.
Don told us he “went down some terrible roads” in the truck and relied upon its factory limited-slip differential to keep moving through the mud and snow.
The Chevy still has its original 250 six-cylinder engine and three-on-the-tree manual transmission with overdrive to power it down more civilized roads in 2014 with Marilyn behind the wheel.
The truck was a gas-guzzler at 70-75 mph (110-125 km/h) and only delivered 12 mpg at those speeds, so Don backed off the gas pedal and ran it at 55-60 mph (90-100 km//h) where it could get 20 mpg.
The choice to run the truck at easier speeds likely contributed to its longevity as a work truck.
Don also had a camper on back of the truck that he used for his home away from home when he used it for work on the rig site. The choice to ease off the throttle made even more sense, given the extra weight of the camper.
Don also beefed up the tranny so it could handle the load and stress of hard work. Don custom-built the heavy duty rear bumper he could use the truck to pull trailers and equipment when necessary on the job.
Eventually the truck hit 120,000 miles and Don retired it from active duty. In fact, the Chevy took a long rest and was parked for 20 years. Don admitted the truck was “never intended to be a long term thing”, but that was how things shook out for the two of them.
The truck had been a part of the family for a long time and Marilyn told her dad she wanted to put it back on the road. There is a photo of Marilyn, her brother, and the truck taken during a time when all three were pretty new to the world.
The truck required a new gas tank, radiator re-core, wheel seals, brakes and bearings to get it back on the road. Don was happy to jump into the game because he had done all of the work on the truck over the years since he is a heavy duty mechanic.
The Chevy pickup still has its original paint job; a remarkable feat when you consider the truck went down some pretty horrific oil lease roads during its early years.
We like really like Marilyn’s choice to bring this ’68 Chevy truck out of retirement and back on the road. It is a big part of her life and also a part of her family history.
Congratulations Marilyn, you are a car girl for the best possible reasons.
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