Automotive Centerpiece….#169 (80’s)

69 Chevy with a tractor Ansel cab window.

.  The acquisition of the 1979 Chrysler New Yorker for Jan wasn’t without adversity,  its disposition wasn’t always amiable for transporting the many boxes containing her ceramic endeavors to the sales events. The 1951 Dodge Pickup having been christened to assist as a means of transportation which was satisfactory until the weather turned detrimental with a forecast of rain.  Gary coming to the conclusion that a search for a more applicable transportation was in order, the beckoning being answered by his friend,  Ron Zahner who just happened to acquire a 1969 Chevy Cargo Van from his younger brother Chad in lieu of payment for a financial allowance.  Ron having no need for the Van was more than willing to part with it.

.  The two coming to a conditional agreement, Gary offering Ron $250 for the van but the transaction would have to wait until he could sell the Dodge.   Gary’s  trust in Ron was absolute,  having no reason to doubt his pronouncement of the van’s soundness.   The Chevy was  powered by a 327 cubic inch large-bore, shorter stroke V8,  a mainstay for the Corvette in years past,  the endowed engine occupying a cab placement between two bucket front seats,  no other seating prevailing in the van’s shell encasement.

.  With the agreement to buy the van concluded, Gary placing a for sale notice in the rear window of the Dodge stationed curbside at the Service Company and within an hour Dan Luthi approached Gary inquiring about the sale of the van. Dan in the wheat and cattle business, his farm on the old Gerlane Rd north and west of Hazelton making a declaration, the old Dodge pickup was just what he needed for running fences.  Gary having given little thought to a price for the Dodge, keeping in mind Ron’s asking $250 for the van, a wild supplication came to mind,  how about $500  and to his amazement Dan reached for his checkbook addressing a check for the $500.  A testament of value to the 50 Dodge,  still having a life finding a secure home with a new owner.   Gary somewhat sadden to see the dodge go, he would miss it’s reliability.

.  Gary was impressed with the 69 Chevy van, the 3 27 engine was everything Ron said it was, but the new owner realized he had his work cut out for him,  having already pictured what was planned.  His first order of business was a journey to Alva Oklahoma auto salvage,  finding two thee passenger front seats from two old cars.  With the seats fastened to the floor in the rear of the van, the two person vehicle,  was  now an eight passenger convenience, and still having an ample rear storage area. The enclosed Chevy with its windowless double side doors,  was not very desirable from the two rear seated passengers point of view.  Gary evaluating a windows application for the van,  applying an innovative idea for providing a window for those seated in the rear two seats.   On the west side of the Jack’s Ford building was an area over grown with weeds  dissuaded with old tractor remnants,  amongst the rusted remains was the relics of tractor Ansel cabs.  Ansel a well known add on windowed cab manufacturer for older open air tractors, including the John Deere 10 and 20 series tractors

.  The inward opening Ansel cab windows and frames bolted to the cab, Gary finding the frame and window easily removed.   A metal cutting bladed  saber saw finding use on  the driver side panel of the van, rendering an opening for the Ansel produced window.  Bolting and sealing the frame,  with its safety glass window in place, the provisional application ready to provide a panoramic view for those seated.    A further enhancement to the van also decided upon,  a visit to Hood Lumber Company,  the acquisition of wood paneling to address the interior walls,  metal screws adhering the panels to the inside structuring metal joist.  Gary questioning Dale Hood about buying an old carpet remnant that he could use for the Chevy’s floor,  Dale once discovering the purpose of the paneling and the carpet,  relinquished a blue remnant at no cost. The weeks of resounding labor fruitful, the once quotient van now a formidable centerpiece of accomplishment, a final added crowning achievement,  Gary installing a used A M Cassette radio, mounting a six speaker sound system.

.  Unbeknownst to many in the community,  Gary had come to recognize that Steve Miller in many respects was accommodating and generous to his employees,  one being,  allowing them to purchase the company merchandise at cost and with a retail mark-up of 40%,  it was a benefit.   The Christmas season having arrived,  Steve funding a holiday company party for the employee’s and their family and besides a token Christmas bonus check each was provided both a turkey and a ham.   Gary never giving much thought to how the seasonal bonus check amounts were determined, assuming that the sales and service departments were the real income generating source and were rewarded as such. This was Gary’s first Christmas in a managerial position,  the acknowledgement of a Merry Christmas being accorded by Steve distributing  Christmas cards containing a bonus check.   Opening the envelope expecting a token $35 check as in the past, Gary was thunderstruck not expecting what he found, a $500 Christmas check,  realizing it would be a Merry Christmas.

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