November 15, 2002 - June 1,
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
The vehicle must be thirty years old or older.
The vehicle may only be used for test drives, parades
and hobby-related activities and may not be used for hire.
Trucks may not be used in a commercial business or
transport a load in excess of 1,000 pounds.
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
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
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
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.