Finding my ’48

It happened by accident, really.

I’d always been passionate about cars. In fact, my first job was for Auto Trader Magazine doing paste up on the weekends and after school–a great source for finding treasures, like my first car, an Opel GT and the super cool Triumph GT6 I drove senior year. I fell in love with more cars than boys during that time, but what I really wanted was a Thunderbird, either a ’58-’60 Squarebird or a ’61-’63 Rocketbird. Over the years, I never found the “right” car. I wanted a nice survivor, one that hadn’t been tampered with too much, one that “spoke” to me, but most needed more work than I could handle.

HA! If only I knew what lay ahead. Father’s Day 2006, my guy and I went to the Pomona Roadster Show and Swap Meet. Trucks had been on my mind again, specifically ’48 Fords because a character in my novel MOTOR DOLLS drove one. I’d always loved trucks, maybe because I’m half hillbilly, but after a tough experience during college driving my dad’s ’69 Ford Stepside (hard to clutch, hard to steer), I figured I didn’t have the muscles to drive one.

Then I saw Mae, sitting in the parts section at the Roadster Show.


She wasn’t pretty. She wasn’t complete. She was filthy. I didn’t feel the tingle. But even so… there was something about her that lingered. I walked away without buying her. She was too much of a project. Even so, the rest of day, thoughts of her rolled around my mind, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why.

Fast forward a month, and she was still on my mind.

My guy said, “I think you should buy the truck.” What? Was he crazy? I couldn’t handle a project that huge! But I knew he was right. I needed to buy that truck. So I made the call, and the next day, she was delivered on a flatbed.


She needed tons of work, and I was a bit overwhelmed, but I felt an instant bond with her. I wanted to make her whole again. Even in her worn out condition I tried to drive her, but ended up on the side of the road every couple of miles to pull the fouled plugs and clean them with a brush. Not exactly fun. Mostly she stayed in our shop, and I sat inside writing my novels and dreaming of driving  her.

A couple months later, for Christmas, my guy surprised me with a

newly rebuilt flathead by Charles Franklin of Vintage V8.


And the project continued from there. Charles got her going mechanically, putting in the engine and transmission. Suspension. Steering box. And SOOOO much more.

I had a vision for my truck. A bare-metal beauty, like many of my favorite motorcycles. Plus, the truck needed to be freed of the bad paint and bondo. With the help of some girl friends, we set off grinding the bad bondo off and doing the initial Scotch Brite before passing it along to a pro to do tons of metal work, final texturize, and clear. Four years after arriving on a flatbed, Mae transformed into Bondorella, and now astounds people wherever she goes. Before I’m even parked, people gather around. She is finally the princess she deserves to be.


So was taking on such a huge project worth it? BEYOND worth it. Not that I did the serious work. I watched and learned, and tried to take on as much as I could, like, as I said, grinding the nasty bondo off, and rebuilding my drum brakes, and creating a headliner, and redoing the wood bed.  Now it’s up to me to keep up on her maintenance and continue to learn. AND… have fun, which is the easy part. When I drive the beautiful beast, I’m smilin’ the whole time. Grinnin’ like a fool. Even giggling at times. I adore this truck and every bit of blood, sweat, and tears I have in her. I love this truck so much, I even made her a character in my novel, MOTOR DOLLS.


4 Responses to “Finding my ’48

  • My 15 year old daughter just bought a 1951 GMC 150, in rough shape but she already has an idea of what she wants to do!

    • Fantastic!! We’d love to see pictures and perhaps post them on our Gasoline Girls website. We love to see young girls finding passion in classics!

  • Beautiful truck, I’d like to find something like that one day..

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