Bad Influence - good parts.
I got a phone call from my dad one Sunday morning. "Hey did you see that there is a Land Cruiser in an auction next weekend?" I hadn't seen it, but thought to myself.."I suppose it wouldn't hurt just to go and look at it" And so it began. Yes, my father is a bad influence on me.
We met up at the auction the next weekend, my father with the car trailer in tow. Immediately I set out to find the Cruiser. I had brought my friend Shawn with me to the auction. He asked me what I was there to look at. I looked around and found the now familiar white roof top sticking out among a line of trucks for sale. "That is what we are here for." I said pointing at the Cruiser. We walked over to it and he took a look at it and turned to me and said "You want that?"
There were a number of people milling around the truck, lifting the hood and listening to it run. It was a red 1979 with surprisingly low miles. I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 59,000. But, that was all it had going for it. I pulled out my pad of paper and started taking notes. "Good jump seats, good roll bar, good engine..." and then there were the bad parts. There was almost as much air in the body as there was steel. This old boy had definitely lived in Wisconsin all of its life. There were steel plates screwed to the body to attempt to hold it together. the rear doors had disappeared and there was a wood tailgate in their place. It could move under it's own power, but I would never be able to drive this thing on the road in this condition.
I totaled up the pluses and minuses and came to a figure that I thought would be fair for the truck. "Hell the parts alone are worth at least a grand." I thought. Eventually the bidding started on the truck. I saw all of the faces of the people who were inspecting it gathered around the auctioneer. I glared at them, they glared at me.
The auctioneer asked for a starting bid of a thousand dollars. I held my ground, and so did everyone else. "OK, how about $500?" the auctioneer barked. I stood firm. "A hundred then?" I stood. As my anticipation welled up inside of me, someone in the back of the crowd shouted "Fifty Dollars!" I waited a bit and then said, "Sixty". The guy came back and said "Seventy five". I grunted "A hundred". The man responded immediately with "One twenty". I slid my sunglasses down my nose and stared at the man for a few seconds and then said, "ONE FORTY!" Maybe it was my intimidating tone or my auction elegance, but the other guy stood silent. Going once ...Going Twice...SOLD!
Awesome. I just bought my second Land Cruiser! As the crowd wandered off I went over and prepared the Cruiser for it's trip home. Another guy walked over to me and said, good job! Thanks I responded. He then asked if I knew what I had just gotten. I said "Yup, Luckily no one else here wanted a rusty old Postal Jeep." I smirked. He smiled and I loaded it up.
After I had taken some time trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the 79, the reality of the situation started to creep in. The body was in bad enough shape that I would have to replace nearly every exterior piece of sheet metal. The only thing that didn't have rust through was the front bezel. I was still considering the possibility of a rebuild though. It wasn't until I took a closer look at the frame that I realized the futility of the project. It had started to delaminate and was shedding weight. There weren't holes through it yet, but it wouldn't be long. I took this as a sign that this would be a parts rig for me.
I pulled the rear jump seats and roll bar and put them in my 69. I did a compression test on the engine and found that the thing had an amazing 150 psi across the board. I decided I'd keep the engine as a backup. I pulled the top, doors and seats out along with the rest of the interior. I used some of the parts and left the rest on the remains of the truck under a tarp at my folks house. (Thanks Mom & Dad)
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