Wanting to buy a new vehicle was a pretty big deal for me at the age of 24. I had just returned home to Vermont from a four year tour from Army active duty and I wrecked my first used car in the middle of a VT winter- it was devastating.
In the Spring of 2001 I started a new job working as a parts clerk for a truck garage 25 miles from my house and I joined the Army National Guard. I needed to find something quickly, but it had to be reliable and something I would be comfortable in. One of my coworkers connected me with the finance manager at a local Ford dealership that used to work for the truck garage. I met up with him and he asked me what I was looking for. “Something nice, but I have no money to put down cause I just started working,” I said. I remember his facial smirk and he took me to the back lot and pointed to a pick-up truck hiding in the corner. The sun was reflecting off the paint and I really couldn’t see it until I walked closer. It was then I found my new-to-me truck. It was a 1997 Ford F-150 with 18,000 on it, just brought in the day before from an older couple who only used it to tow their camper.
In late 2005 I deployed to Iraq with my Army National Guard unit for 18 months. During that time I started thinking about what to spend some of my deployment money on. I wanted to do something special for myself so started planning to transform the truck into something unique. During my down time I was able to get online and research and I started ordering items like a body kit, lowering kit, and headlights/tail lights to prepare for my return. I shipped everything to my girlfriend, now my wife, and she kept it for me until I got home.
In the summer of 2007 I handed the keys to my girlfriend’s uncle who had a body shop and gave him my plans, every detail from paint to parts. Three months later the truck body and frame had been fully restored from VT’s harsh snow/salt winters, it was painted to my wishes, modded parts installed and named with full badges all around, Big D Edition.
Now 21 years old, the truck has 189,000 original miles on the solid 5.4L. The old truck attends car club meets/shows, gets groceries and sometimes takes me to work, weather permitting.