It was sometime during the fourth millennium BC that the first wheeled vehicle made its appearance. From that day forward, people have been taking pride in their rides.
For Webster City truck owners, whether it’s new, custom-ordered, a family restoration project or something reminiscent of earlier times, it’s still all about the ride.
“I’ve driven a Ford pickup my entire life. My father had a Ford,” says Webster City resident Tony Nessa, who owns a 2007 Ford F650 4×4.
“From the factory, it’s just a standard, two-wheel-drive pickup,” he says. But this head-turning truck is anything but standard. Customizing this truck had to be done in Augusta, Georgia, according to Nessa, and only about 40 are built each year.
“They send it to a fab shop where they convert it to a four-wheel-drive, put a different air ride suspension underneath, different shocks, different exhaust. They raise the box, the cab, everything.
“It has a C-7 Caterpillar motor with an automatic transmission. There’s a chip in the engine for more horsepower. Air ride bucket seats and air brakes make it a better ride than factory suspension.”
Nessa uses the truck to pull other vehicles to shows, and the truck gets a lot of attention.
“You’d be surprised how many people want to look and take pictures. People point, and little kids like to sit in it,” he says.
Nessa drives a tow truck every day, so he likes the big truck, the black color and the high ride. The view from sitting up high is something he’s accustomed to and enjoys.
“It took a long time to be able to get something like this,” says Nessa, adding it came only after years of hard work to build his business.
He has had inquiries about selling the truck, but he’s only had it about two years and is not yet ready to part with it. Nessa says he stores it in the winter, and with only about 15,000 miles, the “new” hasn’t quite worn off.
Dale Ingerham of Webster City, along with his two sons, Brett and Trevor, have been working on a 1980 Chevy shortbox pickup for about five years. It was just a regular truck in poor condition when Ingerham bought it for a family project. But things kind of “got out of hand” according to Ingerham, and it has turned into a show truck.
“The first thing we wanted to do was lift it up and put big tires on it. And that’s what we did. The tires are about as big as you can get,” Ingerham says.
The Ingerhams completely stripped the interior, rewired and re-piped everything. They laced walnut into the floor of the bed and added special seats. The truck has a removable convertible top, aluminum heads, long duration cams so it breathes with the blower, three-inch “baloney” pipes for exhaust and its own vacuum pump so the brakes will work, according to Ingerham.
With a 383 block and 671 blower with seven pounds of boost, it produces a minimum 550 horsepower.
There are motorized drop-down steps, and no door handles so “it’s smooth,” according to Ingerham. He didn’t want to see anything sticking out from the vehicle. A flame and teardrop paint job, clear coated to a mirror finish, made it come to life, Ingerham says.
The truck has had a variety of cooling problems. Three radiators and three fan systems later, they finally got the problems solved.
Most of the skill needed for the project came from Ingerham, having 15 years experience as a mechanic working with heavy machinery.
“We’ve had our share of problems trying to get it to run,” Ingerham says.
But sharing challenges and tackling problems were all part of the experience of getting it on the street. Now, the entire family enjoys the ride and attending shows.
For anyone who is unaccustomed to truck terms, or unmoved by the technical details of its restoration, the sheer size and beauty of it is sure to solicit a “wow” response.
“One of the main reasons we did it was because no one else had anything quite like it. We wanted something different and we got that,” Ingerham says. “It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s fun.”
1955 Second Series Chevy
Lanny Bauer of Webster City has owned a 1955 Second Series Chevy pickup for almost seven years. When he got the itch to own some sort of hot rod, his wife Carol said “car,” but he said “truck,” thinking back to an old ’55 pickup he and his dad had once worked on together. After years of effort to restore it, he eventually ended up driving it back and forth to college.
“I just loved that old truck,” he says.
Deciding they would get whatever came along first and fit their budget, they found the Chevy on eBay. A winning bid led to a trip to a huge Omaha pawn shop. Once they got the vehicle home, it sat in storage until spring. But Bauer, eager to begin, started the work when it was still cold.
While the exterior looked much as it does now, the truck was not in the best shape. It had a huge hole in the dash where a larger-than-original radio had been installed. It had “air conditioning” all year round, from the holes in the cab floor. New sections had to be welded in.
“A lot of the stuff we did is under the hood and the framing. We wanted to make sure it went faster and stopped better,” Bauer says. “We put a new interior in it, painting, fabric and gauges. We put in air conditioning.”
And when he says “we,” he means himself and Carol.
“He did 95 percent of the work,” says Carol. But he insists he could not have done it without her help and support.
“It has a 350 engine with 350 turbo transmission and is considered part of the 3100 series. Originally it came with a six cylinder — you couldn’t get an eight,” he says. “And you couldn’t get an automatic, only a stick shift.”
He installed a tune port fuel injection system from a 1986 Camaro and rewired the entire truck so it has rack and pinion power steering.
The suspension is still stock, so the ride is a little rough.
“We are riding on shocks that are from 1955. The trucks were made for work, to haul pigs, or sheep or whatever, not for luxury,” Bauer says.
The truck originally had taller, thin tires, but they are now wider and shorter so the vehicle sits lower to the ground.
While he has a mechanical background, most of the skill to do the work came from endless hours spent on the Internet, reading and trying to figure things out.
“The Internet was my friend,” says Bauer.
His truck is considered an older restoration with a “daily driver” paint job. The body has some chips and dents, but he likes that his grandchildren can climb all over it and have a good time.
“If it were a $55,000 vehicle — and some guys have a lot more in their rides — I’d get freaked out if something happened to it,” Bauer says. “I’d probably never take it out of the garage. It’s used. I can take it anywhere I want. I can enjoy it, so I am doing what works best for me.
“But I couldn’t have done it without her,” he adds, once again giving Carol credit for her part in the restoration.
“She’s a keeper,” Bauer says, probably still talking about Carol.
Or possibly the truck.