I've been waiting to write about this situation until it was over, but it keeps dragging out, so I'll start now. I apologize if it gets long.
My family has property in northern Michigan. It's in the middle of nowhere at the dead end of a road that's last on the list to get plowed. Because of that we've always had a plow truck up there. First it was a rusty Jeep Commando that we let go too long, then an 89 GMC that my dad left parked under the cedar trees in the summer, so it rotted from underneath. About 6 years ago, I sold the GMC and bought a 95 Chevy from my friend, who had owned it since 2000. He originally bought it as a daily driver. Shortly thereafter, he got sick of paying someone else to plow the lot at his shop, so he installed a plow. Over the years he upgraded it to make it work better. 3/4 ton front torsion bars, added a leaf and re-arched the rear springs, swapped in 4.10 gears, and a real posi in the rear. It worked really well until he sold his shop and didn't need it anymore, so I bought it and took it up north.
One Christmas I went up with the family, and plowed everything out. It worked great. I noticed that my brother had burned almost a full tank of gas, and he told me he'd take it to town the next day to fill it up. I let him know in no uncertain terms that there was currently no insurance on it, and to not take it to town. Long story short, he drove it to town the next morning in sub 0 degree weather with the truck in low range. You know how some people have mechanical sympathy and some people don't? My brother doesn't, and ended up spinning multiple bearings in the 120,000 mile 305.
Skipping many more steps, I bought a new 350 crate engine from Summit Racing, and swapped it in. All in all the truck was down for about a year while my friends and I got it dialed in mechanically. In that time the cab corners, lower doors, rockers, and lower fenders really started to disappear. So now I have a "plow" truck that is all new mechanically, and is starting to show it's age. I remember reading a post from @functionoverfashion (I think) on old Oppo about the joys of finding the balance of a good plow truck. I was faced with a choice. Let it go, or spend more money on it. This being Oppo, I think you know I did the dumb thing.
A friend of a friend runs a body shop. He does excellent work. He's done show cars, and restorations, but makes most of his money doing insurance work. April 3rd, 2021 I took the truck to him to see if he'd be interested in cleaning it up for me. I'd already bought, and had new front fenders painted. I'd also bought a set of clean doors, so what it needed was the doors painted, then the cab corners and rockers replaced. The two tone paint made it convenient because other than the doors, he only had to repaint the silver. He told me to get the new doors and fenders on, bring it to him in three weeks, he'd have it for five days, and it would be $850, which is a great deal, so I jumped at it. My priorities were and are 1) quality of the work, 2) price, 3) schedule.
Three weeks later I was ready for him, but he wasn't ready for me. Small shop, covid, wife got sick, etc, etc. The truck finally got there in early July. Talked to him in August, and it's going to be a few weeks. November, a few more weeks. A couple other times, a few more weeks. I started hearing stories that it was in the back of his lot with animals living in it, so I tried to find another place to work on it, fearing the worst.
Finally enough was enough, and I went to pull it, and just drive it ugly. He was with a customer when we got there, so we walked around back to see how bad it was. All the body work was done. The doors, rockers, and cab corners primed, sealed, and ready. Actually, the entire truck was sanded down. Go to talk to him, and he tells me he felt bad at how long it was taking, so he's painting the whole truck, including replacing the hood, which I was planning to do at some point. He tells me he's a couple weeks away from finishing. There goes my beater truck though. I went home and spent too much on new carpet, noise cancelling material (thanks @Tripper), and a headliner. I already had a new seat for it.
So I stopped by after a couple weeks. Not much had changed, he was waiting for his glass guy to cut out the windshield, so a couple more weeks. Stopped by last night, and the windshield has been pulled. Hi told me he'll have it to me by the end of next week. Do I believe him? Not really. Am I hopeful? Yes. It's been a long time coming. The problem with not having a truck is that truck things keep coming up. I can't wait to start scrapping again. I have stuff to move up north. I have yard work to do, book cases to buy, etc, etc. This post really has no point other than I wanted to get it out. This picture is how it looked a year ago. Hopefully I'll be able to post the finished product this summer.