Truck owners seem to have a lot of pride in their rides — it only takes a short listen of a country music station to know that’s the case. As Joe Diffie sings, “There’s just somethin’ women like about a pickup man.” These Waukee truck owners agree that it’s true. Trucks are just plain fun. They might run the gamut from beautifully restored to a little beat up, but they all have their own unique personalities and qualities. Read on as their owners share about these rigs.
Rick Huscher has always had an International Harvester pickup truck in his garage for the last 30 years. He likes the looks of the trucks made between 1950 and 1956, and he got his first one in college.
“I bought one in college, and I fixed it up,” he says. “It got wrecked, and I kept getting another one so I’d have parts to keep working on the next one. I’ve really enjoyed doing it. I don’t have expertise, but it’s fun working on them.”
Huscher’s current truck is a 1955 model, and it’s been painstakingly restored. The original owner drove it until about 1967, and then it sat for a number of years. When he died, another gentleman purchased it from the estate but didn’t do much with it. Huscher purchased it from that seller in Oklahoma eight years ago, and he’s spent the time since fixing it up.
Each year, for about two weeks in the summer, Huscher plans out a trip and drives the pickup across country. He started in 2002, and he’s driven Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, Canada to Mexico, and along the East Coast. Last year he trekked from Des Moines down to the Mississippi Gulf Coast on the old Jefferson Highway. The year before, he went up to Canada and across from Winnipeg to Des Moines, all without power steering or air conditioning.
“He then sends emails daily telling about the day,” says friend Terry Snyder. “It is a total U.S. history lesson. I save all his emails from every trip, and I’ve told him that he needs to make a book.”
For Huscher, the trips are just fun. He does them with friends, and it’s a way to make his truck a part of his travel memories.
When asked if he’d consider getting another truck, Huscher says he isn’t sure quite yet.
“They’re getting more rare,” he says. “They’re not hard to find, but the rust is a problem, and finding one in decent shape is getting tough. At this point, I’m happy driving this one. So I don’t really have a plan, but at some point in the future I’ll find another one and start working on it. But for now, this one is fun.”
Super sport roadster
Frank Scaglione’s grandfather, Frank Sr., is a car enthusiast. As the former owner of West Central Auto Auction, he has always been around cars. He currently has amassed quite a collection, but one of the truly unique pieces is a Chevrolet SSR hard top convertible pickup truck.
“We went out to Salt Lake City back in 2002 for a convention, and General Motors was one of the sponsors,” Scaglione says. “They had one of these as a concept car, and my grandpa was like, ‘Oh, I gotta have one of those.’ We were like, ‘Yeah, right.’ We didn’t even know if they’d be produced.”
But one day Frank Sr. came to pick his grandson up from school at Waukee High, driving a brand-new bright yellow 2003 SSR. As soon as Frank Sr. saw it, he decided it would be his.
Scaglione says the truck wasn’t cheap at $65,000. They took it down to Florida where Frank Sr. had a winter home, and it was driven very infrequently down there. It only has about 5,000 miles on it.
“They weren’t a major production car,” Scaglione says. “They built them by hand at a special factory that GM had in Kentucky, and over the years they’ve made several hand-made cars there like the Buick Reatta. It’s a really low-volume facility, so they might only make a couple hundred of these special ones each year. It was all hand assembled.”
The SSR was first produced in 2003, and only were made 100 that year. The truck remains rare, since it was only made between 2003 and 2006. The front was modeled after the 1953 Chevy pickup, as it was the 50th anniversary of the truck when the SSR was first produced.
Scaglione says the most unique thing about the truck is the hard top. You don’t realize that it’s a convertible until you push a button and the top slips behind the cab. Most people who see it do a double take, since there isn’t anything out there quite like it.
“It’s fast, and it sounds really cool when you rev it up,” he says. “It’s one of those cars where if it’s 75 degrees and sunny, this is the car you want to be in. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to drive it a few times, and it’s so much fun. People see it and they’re like, ‘What?’ It’s just a fun, fast, high-performance little pickup.”
The big deal
As owners of Lund Motors in Waukee, Robert Lund and his son, Chris Lund, know a thing or two about cars. They quickly decided they wanted to get a cool little shop truck to use for hauling parts and things in the summer months, and they set out to find one.
“We had a ‘69 Ford Econoline truck first,” Chris says. “We bought that thing because it’s unique, and my dad thought it would be a great little shop truck, but Jay (Oxenford), who used to live in Waukee, was banging on our door from the minute we got it because he wanted it. Finally my dad’s like, ‘Fine, you can have it.’ Then we needed another truck.”
They ended up finding a 1932 International Harvester pickup on ebay. Robert bought it and drug it home. Chris is quick to point out that it’s anything but a show piece.
“It’s what you’d call a rat rod,” he says. “It’s rusty and flat black and loud and not comfortable. But in the summer, we drive it every day. It’s just our cool little pickup. It’s so unique that you’ll never see another one just like it.”
Lund says it’s just really different looking, especially since it’s made out of a hodge podge of parts. It has an old Buick drive train, like from a Buick station wagon. The transmission is what’s called a dynaflow, which he says is “just strange.” It has Corvette seats, and the front wheels are off a motorcycle because they needed ones small enough to fit the body.
“It’s like the red-headed stepchild of trucks,” Chris laughs. “It’s really built out of leftover parts. It leaked oil and didn’t run, so we spent hours and hours — at least a few weeks — fixing everything. We rebuilt the transmission and carburetor and lights. We spent too much money on it, and now we just drive it and take it to car shows.”
Because it’s so funny looking, Chris says it gets a lot of attention. They drive it to parades and have even had T-shirts made with the truck’s likeness on them — including the paint job on the truck of a hand of cards, hence its name — “The Big Deal.”
“Everything about it is just strange, and it gets a lot of attention,” he says. “It’s kind of a big deal around here, pun intended. It’s so ugly, it’s cute.”