Some Ramblings on My Beloved D100
If you look closely at photos from my childhood, you can often see a first generation Dodge Ram in the background. Some of these photos are from the now long abandoned family farm while others are at my Grandparent's place in a working class neighbourhood in Edmonton.
While many of my childhood memories feature fleeting images of sitting in the cab wedged between my grandma and grandpa on the bench seat, for most of my childhood, the truck sat in the back ally behind my Grandma's house. She had stopped driving it in the mid 1990's due to progressing health issues. Alone and unprotected from the elements, the truck sat for over a decade.
My grandma passed away just before Christmas in 2004. The truck had been sitting for over a decade at that point. The tires were rotted and flat, the paint worn and rough, every panel had dents and scratches. The grille had been kicked in and hood ornament stolen. The truck had funny "grandma" bumper stickers on the back window and a front plate that read "grumpy".
We drove to Edmonton from Vancouver in the summer of 2005 to help my extended family take care of things and facilitate moving my grandfather to a care home. It was decided that my inheritance would be the truck in the back alleyway and my dad took it to a local shop to make it safe to drive the 1000 kilometers back to Vancouver.
Once back to Vancouver, my dad wanted the truck to be a "father-son" bonding exercise. Months were spent together going to parts stores, wreckers yards and hunting "the perfect wheels" (off an early Dodge Dakota) on craigslist.
I still have all of the invoices for the parts and work that went into the truck throughout 2005 and 2006 and look at them from time to time. A reminder of all the places we went together to get the truck back into shape.
Scanned service records from the restoration
The truck was occasionally driven, but mostly sat on my parent's driveway. It would still be another 4 years until I got my drivers license
My First Car
In the Spring of 2017 at the age of 18, I finally got my driver's license. The same day, we put the truck in my name and put plates on it. I took my then girlfriend (now wife) out for a drive in the truck and from there life just picked up pace.
The truck remained our only car for five years and it was a central part of our lives. It took us everywhere we needed to go, on long road trips and it eventually carried home our Ikea furniture when we moved into our first place together.
On our wedding day, we made it a central part of our wedding photos.
On our wedding day, I was given a used 2006 Mazda6 GT with a 5 speed as a new daily driver. The truck got parked outside once more and, unfortunately, was left sitting for another 5 years. While I loved my truck, I didn't have the budget nor the space to drive it anymore. When I went to my parents, I would always see it, sitting under a tarp and I would always feel a pang of guilt for neglecting it.
Fortunately, as my wife and I's careers took off, we began to once again have a bit of a discretionary budget. After I became more involved with Oppositelock, I began to feel inspired to once again get the truck back on the road and driving.
In November 2017, a little over 5 years after it was parked, I once again insured the truck and we took it on a date. It started with a little protest, but otherwise drove 100%. Over the next few years, the truck would become a summertime only car, but still spent all its time parked outside. With the encouragement and assistance of my online friends at Oppo, I took fairly good care of it and drove it as much as I could afford to.
It wasn't until 2020 that I finally achieved my dream of buying a place with a garage. Finally the truck, after 34 years outside, would sleep in a warm, dry garage. Over the summer, with COVID-19 restrictions in full swing, started restoring it once more. Replacing wear items long overdue and painting/powder coating anything that I took off and put back on.
While there is a long way to go, I am happy that I the truck is finally safe from further deterioration and I have a place to work on it. It's my forever car.