Young Truckers

6/28/2024
Bob “Video Bob” and Jeannine Huff
We've all read stories about people finding a "barn find" out in the middle of nowhere USA. When Jason Jarvis drove into in a rural farmstead in Mendota, VA to do some work for the owner, he noticed an old truck cab sticking up out of the weeds behind the farmer’s barn.
 
 
After introducing himself and listening to what work the farmer needed done, he asked him about the truck and was told that it was a 1969 Ford F-100 that the farmer had bought from a neighbor lady about twenty-five years ago. He went on to say that he bought it to use on the farm, but over time other priorities took over. So, he never got around to doing anything with it other than pulling the engine and transmission to give to his son after he blew the engine in his truck. The farmer also said he hung the seats in the hay loft to keep the mice from getting inside and destroying them, and they are still hanging there today.
 
Before leaving the job site that night Jason walked down to the barn to check the truck out and saw that it was a Ford F-100 long bed. The bed had accumulated about six inches of pine needles in it during the twenty-five years the truck sat. Further inspection showed all the glass to be good and the body was pretty much dent-free.
 
The following day after finishing up the job Jason asked the farmer if he would consider selling the old truck. The farmer said that somebody had stopped by several years back and offered him $300.00 for it but never came back. As Jason was compiling the figures for the work he'd done the farmer said, “if you knock $100.00 off of what I owe you, you can take that truck home with you.” Jason thought for a minute (a short minute) and said, “let me go out to my truck and call my son first because he's going to be the one working on it.”
 
When he told his son Noah what he had found and what it could be bought for, his son said BUY IT. If it's junk we can part it out and get our money back.
 
The following weekend Jason and Noah drove from Church Hill, TN to Virginia to retrieve the truck. The truck was unloaded and pushed into their pole barn when they arrived back home Saturday evening where it would await dismantling the next morning.
 
Other than some minor rust on the floor pans due to the windows being down for twenty-five years the truck proved to be pretty solid throughout. While dismantling the truck Jason's son jokingly said, “Dad, we ought to try to get this thing ready so we can drive it to Pigeon Forge in May.” The date was December 19, 2018.
 
Over the next several weeks, Jason and Noah spent many long nights and weekends working on the truck. By mid-February they had updated the front suspension and steering, installed four new wheels and tires along with disc brakes on all four corners. The old fuel tank was also removed and swapped for a newer larger unit.
 
While working another job in March of 2019 Jason noticed an engine and transmission sitting in the corner partially covered up with a tarp. Several times while working he asked the owner about the engine and was told that it was a junker and not for sale. When the owner stepped out Jason lifted the tarp to take look at the engine and found that it showed signs of being worked on at one time. After finishing up the job Jason inquired about the engine again and was told that the owner’s son had tried to rebuild it in his high school mechanics class, but he never could get it running. Jason said, “I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll knock a $100.00 off of what you owe me with the understanding that the engine I'm buying from you is junk.” The owner said, “if you’re fool enough to throw your money away like that, I'll be fool enough to take it.”
 
Once back home Jason and his son put the engine on an engine stand and started disassembling it. What they found was what looked like all new "innards" (pistons, rods, bearings, etc.). Further inspection revealed that the engine wouldn't start because the timing gear was installed improperly. After putting the engine back together and installing a temporary fuel supply they put some "fire in the wire," and it only took a few tries before the engine roared to life for the first time since who knows when.
 
With the Ford Family Reunion approximately two weeks away, the 302 was dropped between the frame rails and readied for the trip to Pigeon Forge. On May 15th (two days before the event was to take place) the truck was driven around Church Hill to “work the bugs out.” On the morning of May 16th, Jason and his son pulled out of their driveway and headed north up Route 486 toward Pigeon Forge for Joe Carpenter’s Third Annual Ford Family Reunion.
 
From the time Jason and his son picked up the truck in Mendoth, VA to the day they hit the road north for Pigeon Forge, it was six months to the day.
 
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