November 15, 2002 - June 1, 2003
Maych was now ready to leave Dave's place and take up his permanent residence at his new home in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Grand Island was also going to be a new home for my wife and I.  We decided it was time for us to retire and we were going to move from Lincoln to Grand Island.  Grand Island is where my daughter and grandson live and I figured it would be cheaper to move there rather than constantly run back and forth for visits.  Besides, we didn't have any real attachments to Lincoln.  It just happened to be the town we ended up in when we decided to retire.  And, when all's said and done, all you really have is family, so why not live close by.  

A couple of months after I purchased Maych I noticed that it was time to renew his license plates.  I had noticed a couple of old cars around town that had "Historic" license plates and I decided to check and see if Maych was eligible for that type of plate.  I did a search on Google and found Nebraska's Department of Motor Vehicles web site.  On the web site they listed all the requirements that had to be met in order to qualify for "Historic" license plates:

  1. The vehicle must be thirty years old or older.

  2. The vehicle may only be used for test drives, parades and hobby-related activities and may not be used for hire.

  3. Trucks may not be used in a commercial business or transport a load in excess of 1,000 pounds.

  4. Applicant must own one or more additional vehicles which are currently register in the State of Nebraska.

Well, Maych just turned 30 this past year so he was eligible for "Historic" plates.  I also didn't plan on using him as a daily driver so conditions 2 and 3 wouldn't bother me.  And lastly, I owned two other vehicles that my wife and I used for daily chores so number 4 wasn't a problem either.

I also learned on their web site that you could use "Vintage" plates in lieu of "Historic" plates.  "Historic" plates are rather ugly-looking with black numbers on a white background and the word "Historic" embossed at the bottom.  "Vintage" plates are license plates issued by Nebraska in the year corresponding to the model year of the vehicle.  I didn't know what the plates made in 1972 looked like, but I was sure they had to be better looking than the generic "Historic" plates.  However,  if I wanted to use "Vintage" plates I had to obtain them before registering the vehicle and submit them for inspection.  This meant I had a short time in which to find a set of 1972 plates before my current plates expired.

Thank God for the Internet (or the Devil, depending upon your point of view).  I knew if I was ever going to find a set of 1972 Nebraska plates, my best bet would be on the Internet.  And the best place to start looking would be on E-bay.  I couldn't believe my good luck.  The first time I checked on E-bay I found a person in Scottsbluff, Nebraska that had a 1972 Nebraska plate for sale.  The plate appeared to be in excellent condition, judging from the photograph that was supplied.  Also, the plate had red lettering on a white background which matched well with Maych's paint scheme. The only problem was that the seller only had one plate to sell.  I went back to the Department of Motor Vehicles web site and discovered that only one plate (in the back) was required on vintage vehicles.  I immediately went back to E-bay and submitted a bid for the plate.  A couple of days later I got an email from E-bay stating that my bid of $10.00 was the winning bid and the plate was mine.

A few days after getting the plate in the mail I took it and the other necessary paper work down the local Department of Motor Vehicles.  Everything was in order and after writing them a check for $88.00, they issued me the new registra- tion.  The best part of registering as a vintage vehicle is that the registration never expires.  I will never have to re-register Maych and never again pay any annual fees .  The $88.00 fee is good for life.  Now that's a pretty good bargain and it looks pretty good too.

Although Maych is not a daily driver, we do drive him regularly around town and on short trips to nearby cities and towns.  We also plan to take him on the annual "Tour Nebraska" outing sponsored by the Nebraska Rod & Custom Association (NRCA).  To make these trips a little more enjoyable (and to keep the wife happy) I purchased a few other items to enhance our motoring pleasure.

The first thing I wanted to get was a nice set of floor mats to protect the new carpet and add a little spice to an otherwise rather plain interior.  Again I turned to the internet because I wasn't thrilled with any of the offering at Wally Mart or the local auto parts store.  I wanted something a little more classy.  After a lot of "Googling" on the Internet I came across a site named 1A Auto that had just what I was looking for.  The floor mats are custom made to fit 67-72 Chevy and GMC trucks and are made of the same 80-20 loop-pile as the carpet.  In addition, for an extra fee, they will embroidery a "GMC" logo into the mats.  The total cost for the mats and the logo was a little steep.  But, I figured they would last a long time since I won't be crawling in the truck with muddy or snow-packed shoes (and neither will anyone else!) and I think they really dress up the interior.

Although I think that some of the new cars (especially vans and SUVs) have gone a little overboard with cup holders, I have to admit that I've gotten rather attached to the ones we have in our other vehicles.  When we go on extended trips we would just "have to have" somewhere to sit our drinks and store all the other paraphernalia associated with traveling (cell phones, maps, sunglasses, tissues, pens and paper, etc.).  So, back to the internet.

I found a web site that carried just what I (and the wife) needed.  Automotive Enhancement carries a nifty little storage console unit that has a couple of cup holders, a storage area for assorted para-  phernalia , and serves as an arm rest for both passen- gers.  The arm rest feature is especially nice on long trips.  Our other vehicles have arm rests and I didn't know how much I missed having this feature until I took my first long trip in Maych

Ok, we now had a place to put our feet, rest our arms, and sit our drinks.  The other thing we need is was a place to store all the other stuff you need on overnight trips.  Things like suitcases, folding chairs, ice chests, etc.  Lets face it, trucks of this vintage are not exactly blessed with interior storage room.  The only real storage area that would have been available in the cab is the space behind the seat and some genius decided to use that space for the gas tank.   

I guess we could just throw our stuff in the truck bed.  After all it is a truck and there is lots of room in the truck bed.  But if you're going to keep the stuff (especially clothes) clean and dry then you have to put everything in big garbage bags.  Also, if you want your stuff to still be there when you get back from eating lunch at some roadside hash house you have to take it out of the bed and lock it in the cab.  Neither putting stuff in garbage bags nor shuffling the stuff between the bed and the cab every time we left the truck appealed to us very much.  

A couple of solutions came to mind.  One solution would be to buy a cover for the truck bed.  The canvas-type covers are fairly inexpensive and would provide some protection from the weather, but there don't deter thieves real well.  A hard cover does a good job of providing protection from the weather and are fairly secure, but they cost an arm and a leg.  I have a hard cover on my Ford Ranger and it set me back over $700.  

The other solution would be to buy a tool box for the bed.  They provide good protection from the weather and they can be made fairly secure.  We decided that a tool box would be our best choice.  The only problem was that the only kind of tool boxes I had seen on pickups were the kind that sit on top of the bed rails and are either made of painted sheet metal that tends to rust after a few seasons or they are made of shiny diamond plate that isn't exactly a compliment to a vintage truck's looks.

For several months I looked around at all the usually places that sell tool boxes and couldn't find anything I was willing to put on Maych.  Then one day I happened to be at our local Orscheln Farm and Home store to pick up some bird seed and I noticed they carried just the type of tool box I had in mind.  The tool boxes are made by Delta and they come in two models.  The Packer-75 is made to fit inside a compact pickup bed, like a Ford Ranger.  The Packer-90 is made to fit inside a regular sized pickup bed.  The tool boxes are made of very heavy plastic.  The are designed to sit on the bed floor between the bedrails, not ride on top of the bedrails like most tool boxes.  The are very well sealed against rain and the lid can be secured with an ordinary pad lock.  Sure, a thief could just steal the whole tool box, but they could also just steal the whole truck.  I just wanted some security against crimes of opportunity.  It has plenty of room to store carry-on sized luggage plus a small ice chest, folding chairs, and even the pickup cover I carry on overnight jaunts.  And it goes really well with the my black bed liner.

The only thing I really worry about when driving Maych on the highway is getting the front end dinged up.  The flat nose of the 1972-style hood is a perfect target for loose objects kicked up by other vehicles.  To make Maych truly "road ready" (and to ease my mind) I decided to check into getting a bra to cover the front end.  Back to the internet.  I found a site named Car Accessories that appeared to carry bras for vintage vehicles.  I was a little confused about their on-line explanation of the different kinds of bras so I decided to give them a telephone call to make sure I ordered the correct bra.  The lady I talked to was very nice and very helpful.  She sail it would be best if I could send them a photo of the front end of Maych. They would forward the photo to the manufacturer so they would make sure all the cut-outs were in the right places.  Unlike the 1972 Chevys', GMC's have the parking lenses beneath the headlights and not in the bumpers.  Also the GMCs' have dual headlights.  I sent them the photo (and a check) and in about 2 weeks I received the bra via UPS.  The quality of the bra is excellent and it fits like a glove.  

The only thing I was somewhat disappointed with was the use of velcro to secure the bra.  The velcro held fine around town but at highways speeds they just couldn't handle the buffeting of semis when they passed in the opposite lane.  I fixed that problem by simply attaching the hold-downs using one of the existing screws that secures the inner fender.  It's a little more trouble to take on and off than using velcro but I only plan on using the bra on long trips, so that isn't a big deal.  The bra protects the front of the hood with thick padding and a nylon mesh covers the entire grill and bumper, which practically eliminates bug splatter cleanup at the end of a trip.

Maych is now ready to begin earning his keep.  For the past couple of years he's been on the receiving end of the restoration process.  It's now time that he begin to show his gratitude for all the loving care bestowed on him.  It's now my turn to enjoy the fruits of my labor (and prove to my wife that all the work and expense was worth it).  And what better way to enjoy your vintage vehicle than driving around the state with 250 or so other of vintage vehicle owners ?  Dave, my friend and fellow truck nut, is a member of NRCA and he and his wife have driven their 1967 Chevy pickup on the NRCA "Tour Nebraska" outing for the past several years.  It sounded like a lot of fun, so my wife and I joined NRCA and signed up to go on the Tour at the end of May.  I will chronicle our tour adventures in a future section called "Tours".

I also plan on entering Maych in a few of the local car shows each year.  Not so much for the chance of wining anything, but just to hang out with other people of similar interests.  It also gives me a good opportunity to reward my Grandson.  He thinks Maych is as much his truck as it is mine and letting him "show it off" will be a real treat for him.  I plan on adding a future section called "Shows" as soon as we have something to write about.

Although this episode in the "Progress" section is called "Finishing Touches" I'm sure there will be other episodes I'll want to chronicle from time to time.  Old trucks are never fully completed,  there's always something to replace or repair.  But for now, I'm calling the restoration complete and I'm headed on the road.  Be sure to honk if you're ever in this part of the country and you happen to see Maych tearing done the road.

 

Copyright 2001-2006 by Johnny M. Patterson
You can email me at   webmaster@pattson.com
 
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