Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Retro Bug-Out Vehicle #6: Dodge Adventurer

I was raised by my grandparents.

I remember vividly the spring of 1970—when I was nine years old—my grandfather bought a red Dodge D-100, long bed, Adventurer pickup.

His had a white top instead of the black top in the picture above, but it was red like the one in the picture.

The Adventurer package had fancy wheel covers, a cloth interior, chrome bumper up front, and air conditioning. 

The Barden bumper out back was a $100 extravagance. Pickups did not have rear bumpers.

I remember coming home from school and immediately going for a ride in it. My grandfather and I got stopped on Poso Drive for a vehicle safety inspection that the police used to do. 

We got photographed and made it into the Wasco News the next week. Thank God a brand-new vehicle passed inspection.

The best word to describe that old pickup would be “agricultural” because it was utterly unsophisticated in every way.

Its components were proven, but outdated.

It had a 318 cubic inch V8 and a three-speed, TorqueFlite automatic transmission. 

The front suspension was a beam axle, which was rugged and strong, even if the ride was a bit bumpy.

Everything about it was made out of metal. It was damn-good quality.

Before school was out for the year, a Blue Bird Camper got bolted to the bed for our summer excursion eastward across the USA. 

The camper would sleep three. We literally slept in it once camping and then a few times at my mother's house in Palmdale, California. 

The camper had an icebox. You had to buy blocks of ice to make it work.

In the early to mid seventies, I saw more than half of the United States in that vehicle. Never will I trade those memories.

My grandfather decided he needed a 1978 Chevy C-10 Silverado diesel—an abysmal piece of garbage due to the engine—and the Dodge went bye bye. 

For years I saw the old Dodge continue on well past the 100,000 miles or so we put on it. We shoulda kept it.

Do I want a pre-1972 Dodge D-100? Not really, but kinda sorta.

I would want a "truth" ethic about the vehicle.

If I were to get a pickup, it would be a used veteran rather than a shiny new Ram because (1) I am not a pickup person and (2) when I was in the market recently I was stunned that to get a VERY basic, full-sized pickup I would have to spend about $35K for a Sierra, Silverado, Ram, or F150.

Nicely appointed, full-sized pickups easily hit the low $40K mark and I simply cannot justify such a foolish outlay of cash.

I may need to sell my 1963 Thunderbird and get a pickup.

I think that will be wise.

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