From 1975 to 1978 I was drooling at the cool looking trucks in Truckin' magazine like a lot of other truckers were doing back then. That was at a time when the magazines pages were filled with vans but they had started fading out and the F-100's were starting to fill the pages to make what I thought was a great magazine to spend time in. Don't get me wrong, I had a 1964 Econoline van that I had customized and was well pleased with it but it was the F-100's that were getting my attention at that time even more.
Christmas of 1978 my wife had surprised me with a 1956 small window F-100. This is a truck that she had purchased out of a salvage yard in Wake Forest, N.C. for a grand total of $50.00. This may somewhat let you know what I had. It was kind of rough but when you love your wife and don't want hurt feelings in the family you will learn to work with what you have and I did. I found 3 other trucks real quick for parts donors and was on my way to what I didn't know would be a long job.
With these trucks sitting in my yard and living on a main road that was filled with traffic day and night I started to have visitors. People would see the trucks in my back yard and stop wanting to buy a part off of them. As long as I had that part set aside for my truck I would sell them one off of the other trucks. This got to be a pretty regular thing until I started running out of parts. Then I turned to some of the suppliers in Truckin' magazine and inquired about a wholesale dealership.
After a couple of years of buying and selling parts as a side job from my full time job in the roofing profession I got laid off from my full time job. At that time the unemployment office was full of people. After standing in that line for one day, I knew there was more than that out there for me. That's when I went home and told my wife I was going into my own business (an F-100 parts business).
It started off so slow that many days after staring at the phone and waiting for it to ring (and it wouldn't) I would lock the door, hang a sign in the window saying that I would be back tomorrow. Then I would go across town to put on a roof, paint a fence, dig a ditch or whatever it took to pay the bills. I finally saved enough money to run my first ad in Truckin' in February 1982. I watched for the ad to come out and when it hit the news stand my phone rang 2 times the first day. Man was we rolling. My first order was shipped to Hawaii, (a pair of polished s/s vent window frames).
Business picked up gradually and was doing well a year later. In March 1983 I went to the Duke hospital to have a growth biopsied from the right side of my neck. A week later on April fools day I was loading my homemade trailer to go to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Spring Swapmeet when I had to stop working and go out to Duke for my results. The doctor said I had Hodgkin’s disease. I didn't know what that was, then he said it was cancer. He left my wife and me alone for a while to talk. She said with tear filled eyes, what are we going to do now. I answered, I don't know about you but I have to finish loading my trailer. I have a show to go to.
That was a hard row to hoe because before I got laid off from my other job we had just bought land, built a house, bought a car and now started this business. Everything I had was tied up in this business so it wasn't a question of if we could make it, but we had to make it. With strength that God gave me I worked everyday while fighting the cancer except when I was in the hospital having surgery. That year set us and the business back financially for about 3 years. After God presented me with a full recovery we tried it again. God blessed us in that too. We finally caught up financially and started making parts of our own like the 10 piece sets of aluminum body side molding for the popular 1965-66, die stamped floor pans for the 1961-64, front cab mounts for the 1961-64, 3 different styles of billet dash panels for the 1961-66, and 2 styles for the 1967-72, stepside rear fender patch panels for 1953-79, just to name a few. Now we supply many of the dealers that we had bought from over the years with products that we manufacture. Our goal to our customers has always been to get every order out the same day we receive it. This isn't something that can be done in all cases but the majority of them are.
Hey, remember my 1956 F-100? After all this I got back on it and finally finished it in 1990. I showed it in 26 shows and won 33 awards and had it in Truckin' magazine in April of 1993, and Sport Truck magazine in May of 1993. You may have seen it. It was called the Slimer and was a Lime Green color.
Anyway God has brought us this far and we still have Slimer. With God's blessings we hope to be around for many more years to serve the F-100 crowd. Many of whom have become dear friends over the past 22 years.
You never know what the world holds for you, but it doesn't matter as long as you know who holds the world.