I lowered the windows on the Suburban this afternoon as I tooled down Martha Truman Road. Something about the slap of the tires over the tar strips, the buffeting of the wind around the mirrors and the glorious sound of a V8 engine loafing at 1500 rpm made me think back to growing up...driving a grain truck back and forth from my family's wheat fields to the grain elevator, where I'd dump 400 bushels of hard red spring wheat, turn around and head back out.
We hauled grain with single axle trucks, each with a big grain box and a hydraulic hoist to tilt the box up so the wheat would pour out the back like water. I remember a Ford cab-over model that we bought. It had no box, so we kept the box from our old truck. The only problem was it was 10 inches too short for the truck, so we cut the frame in half and shortened the entire vehicle by 10 inches. Try that with a Kia. It would fold in half.
Another quirk of this truck was that it had a 330 cubic inch marine engine. No one seemed to know why. Whenever we'd get it worked on, the mechanic would scratch his head and ask us "Do you know that thing's got a boat motor?" I expect there was some screw up in the factory and liked to imagine that somewhere in the Florida Keys there was a retiree who would brag about his 35 foot jet boat...."Did you know she's got a TRUCK motor?"
Shortly after buying the truck, cutting it in half and performing the framectomy, we also decided it didn't make the right sound. We cut the existing exhaust system off at the headers and installed two glasspack mufflers. Under normal use, the truck was fairly loud. Blip the throttle while downshifting and when you let the clutch out, the roar was absolutely deafening. I learned to do this trick while going through the concrete underpass that ducked below the railroad track on the edge of town. I once did it precisely as I met the local police officer. I think his ears are probably still ringing.