My 50 Year-Old Truck

by Glen Wunderlich

1966 International C1300 One Ton, All-Wheel Drive
1966 International C1300 One Ton, All-Wheel Drive
Glen Wunderlich
Glen Wunderlich

United States -( Looking back to the ‘60s, I recall how my friends and I always yearned for a vehicle that would simply start and drive, because we always seemed to be working on whatever we had.

Woodward Avenue north of Detroit was where we’d spend our time and gas money – that is, whenever we weren’t wrenching on something. We lived today’s Dream Cruise from the Totem Pole to Ted’s Drive-In up and down the boulevard.

Fast forward 50 years to today’s marvels of engineering sans carburetors, leaded gasoline, and distributor points – heck, distributors themselves.

Where once a 100,000 odometer reading was as rare as cruise control, today it means a low-mileage creampuff. (Are there even creampuffs anymore?)

However, simply starting and driving isn’t quite so simple; technology is in control.

It’s not that I have anything against technology other than all the buzzers, flashing lights and computers making decisions they have no business making. One example from my now-departed 1999 Chevy pickup, thank you, was the fact that I could not shut off my headlights, even if I tried. And, try I did. There was no magic trick like applying the parking brake; banging my head on the dashboard didn’t work either. I couldn’t take it anymore and all I can say is good riddance!

A new truck and accompanying “mortgage” made no sense, either. I wasn’t going to be tortured by technology and a paint job that belongs in Autorama. I had to have a truck and I wanted to be in charge of the lights. If I wanted to get a load of firewood, a few pinstripes from the trails weren’t going to prevent me from working. Some deer hair and blood would just add character.

1966 International C1300 One Ton, All-Wheel Drive
1966 International C1300 One Ton, All-Wheel Drive

Time had come to resurrect a beast that would satisfy my desire to be free from GPS, Bluetooth, plastic and computers. The 1966 International C 1300, 1 ton, all-wheel drive, that I had purchased in southern Ohio many years ago, was calling my name from the pines, where it lay dormant for over a decade. (Yes, shame on me!)

My mechanically inclined friend, Mike, and I pulled it out of the trenches that had formed under its wheels with a tractor older than the truck itself. We drained and replaced all fluids, cleaned the carburetor and spark plugs and fired it up with a new battery. We soon learned the brakes were gone and the tires were no longer safe. Oh, sure there were other gremlins that surfaced, but these old trucks were meant to be worked – and, worked on.

There is nothing in the owner’s manual that says take it to the dealer; rather, it’s more of a how-to guide to self-help.

It doesn’t have power windows, power mirrors or power anything. To steer, two arms must supply the power – and, plenty of it. The dimmer switch is on the floor, where it belongs and the lights go on and off whenever I choose to operate the push/pull knob on the dash. Back to the future.


About Glen Wunderlich:

Charter Member Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA). Outdoor writer and columnist for The Argus-Press ( and blog site at  Member National Rifle Association (NRA), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), member U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), Quality Deer Management Association (QDMA), Commemorative Bucks of Michigan (CBM).

  • 6 thoughts on “My 50 Year-Old Truck

    1. Had a 53 GMC for many years. Was a 3/4 ton with massive springs in the back. 15 leaf spring packs in the rear. She was an old, ugly work horse. Traded her in for a newer truck. A 55 one ton dually. Ex- dump truck.

    2. I can attest that this old beast is truly a workhorse. We’ve hauled everything from wood to deer and it goes down the road pretty good too. It sound like a school bus going thru the gears, and, in low creep you can really walk faster. As others has said, ” they don’t make um like they used to”… this old truck and Glen are kinda alike. I’ve known Glen for over 35 years, he one of the most giving people I’ve ever met, always putting others needs and desires before his. Men like Glen are a rare breed in todays mixed up world.

    3. Amen! Love the older, reliable, simple ones. Didn’t have to pay for all the electronic wizardry which is forced upon us now. It would be nice, however, if the big manufacturers stood behind their products. Case in point…it’s outrageous that an engine nowadays can blow spark plugs clean out of the heads and it’s not the company’s problem!?! Oh well, fix it or sell it yourself and move on! AND, another thing… guess which vehicles will become totally useless after an EMP strike (if EMP’s do exist?).

    4. I am a big fan of old iron, I use a 60 year old tractor and a small cart to gather wood on my farm. Works as good today as it did in 1954! I have a ’67 F100 that I plan to fix up again to use in the woods too. Keep up the good work.

    5. Nice truck Glen, she’s beautiful and raw at the same time. Too bad manufacturers do not build basic, no frills workhorses that the common blue collar man/woman can afford. Like you mentioned in your article, give me a simple no power anything, windows, steering, etc and a manual 5 speed with granny gear and I’m a happy camper when I go out for supplies!

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