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Total Beaters

I'd like to relate a story on the most total
beater that I've ever encountered, luckily it
wasn't used on the street.

In the summer of 1975 I got a job working in a
summer camp, which is where I encountered the "Mud
Puppy". When I first saw it in the back of a barn
I didn't believe that it even ran. It was a 1965
Ford F-250 4x4. There was no sheet metal forward
of the cab except the hood. That's right, no
headlights, no bumper, no grill, no fenders, just
the hood. The box was mostly rust, the exhaust
system consisted of about a 2 foot length of pipe
after the exhaust manifold, no electrics worked
except for the ignition. The parking brake didn't
work, we threw a log in front of the front tires to
keep it from rolling, the starter didn't work, you
had to park it at the top of a hill, then get
rolling downhill to start it. And yes, more than
once it went down the hill sans driver. But this
vehicle was a favorite with the regular members of
the camp who painted it up every year by brush in a
different paint scheme. It actually ran pretty
good only having 30,000 miles showing on the clock.
It had a 300 cid inline six, 4 speed with granny
low and about 6 to 1 axle ratios. In top gear with
the transfer case in 2 HI it would max out at
about 45 mph. In 1st gear in 4 LO you just let
your foot off the clutch and she would do about 3
mph at redline. We used it to pull down a few
trees.
We mainly used it for hauling trash to the back
forty for burning. The exhaust was so loud that
you could hear it running anywhere where you were
in the 120 acre camp. We used to wash it in the
lake by driving it in until the water was just
about up to the floorboards. It had the original
7.50-16 split rim tires and good ground clearance
so we ran it pretty hard sometimes. Used to race
it against horses in the open fields. I heard that
it was sold for $100 to somebody who used it haul
firewood.
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Comments

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,638
    I have a visual!

    BTW, that 300 Ford six is one of the strongest, long lasting engines ever made. Maybe even better than a slant six in those years.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    for pure beaterdom, although my neighbors might say I'm too modest. My last beater was my brother-in-law's '54 Chevy pickup, painted Porta-Potty green, that was on display in the driveway while my Cougar was in the garage for a rebuild.

    Be advised that there is a sub-species of driver that lives to drive advanced beaters into the ground, then abandon them by the side of the road. I ran across one when I was selling a particularly rough '66 Chevy. The guy really thought he was beating the system. I wonder what it did to his social life.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,576
    Back East, they call these "salt cars", meaning that you put your nice car away and bought this sacrificial anode type of car that could be dissolved by the salt they put on the roads in wintertime. A variation on human sacrifice to appease the gods, I suspect.

    MODERATOR

  • Assuming, of course, that he had a "social life" at all .......... :>)
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    The guy looked so normal: young, clean-cut. He could have been the yuppie next door, except for his choice in transportation. Maybe he was into recycling.
  • I take offense to your comments. I like beaters and I am a young, clean-cut guy. I have owned everything from city surplus pickup trucks to $40 abandoned Honda Civics. I bought some nice cars at abandoned car auctions and nursed them back onto the road. A $60 Mercury Lynx needing brakes, a tire, and a muffler became a $350 cash pile for me to buy a computer. A $65 Datsun 210 wagon needing nothing (impounded for expired out-of-state tags) was sold for $600 a year later after I drove it back and forth from Indianapolis to Columbus, Ohio. I also enjoyed buying ugly cars to tick off neighbors. One neighbor wrote the city council to complain about possible drops in land value and there was nothing they could do about the Impala wagon, Diplomat ex-police car, rusty Tercel, or Aerostar cargo van. I eventually scrapped and sold them all, but it was fun to hear him complain every time I came home.
  • nrd525nrd525 Posts: 109
    My friend's (twin brothers) had a 62 or 63 Dodge with the bulletproof slant 6, they drove it all through high school and one of them took it to college. After he graduated, he got a new car and their little brother got the Dodge. By this time, there was major cancer everywhere on it, the tranny was slipping a little, and then finally, with over 250K on it, the mighty slant six spun a rod bearing, and siezed up, they decided to "retire" it.
    They borrowed their dad's new video camera and hooked it up to a VCR they took outside and all three got sledgehammers and beat the car till they couldn't lift the hammers up anymore! Other than lots of glass everywhere, it was a fairly clean kill. They called the junkyard, and they came out with a big flatbed that took it away. The last scene is the truck fading from view and the three brother's "crying". It's great!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,907
    I don't purposely do it to rile up the neighbors, but one of them complains about my '68 Dart 270 and my '89 Gran Fury police pursuit that sit out at the curb at my condo. We also have a problem with people parking tent trailers and boats along the curb and leaving them forever. There was one tent trailer that was parked under a maple tree for at least two years.

    This guy complained about everything, even to the police, and they said there was nothing they could do, as long as everything was legally tagged. However, there was another '68 Dart parked on the next street over, that had the dash pulled apart and the steering wheel resting on the seat. That guy got a warning sticker. There was also a mid-80's Grand Marquis and mid-80's Grand prix that also got warnings.

    Oh well, I used to have a '69 Bonneville and a '67 Newport parked out there, so at least my "spare" cars are taking up less space!!

    -Andre
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Back in the day I usually had four to six beaters/project cars parked in front of my house.

    Then I got into real estate and found out what I'd been doing to neighborhood property values.

    Andre, it sounds like you've got it under control. Your cars have tags, they're driveable and they don't just accumulate like dead leaves.

    But there are plenty of clueless gearheads out there taking money out of their neighbors' pockets. And yeah, driving a beater just to say "up yours" to your neighbor is just plain weird.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,907
    ...but I almost bought a 1974 Travco motorhome a couple months ago. I'm sure the neighbors would have really had a fit about that!! My grandmother said I could keep it at her house, but she's in an area where they're now building $300-400K houses up the street...I know somebody would complain about it being an eyesore. Thankfully, when I went to look at it, it didn't look nearly as good as it did in the pictures, so I realized what a money pit I'd be getting into!

    One good thing about having all those cars though...my Intrepid just went into the shop, and so did my roommate's Tracker. So we just broke out the Gran Fury and my grandmother's LeSabre. I don't drive the Dart much, because it needs new ball joints...just up and down the street and to the gas station every once in awhile. I may start it tonite...we finally had a break in our cold spell, and I didn't want to start it while it was bitter cold.

    -Andre
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,638
    We have a Homeowners Association in our neighboorhood with rules and regulations!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Our CC&Rs have kept me on the straight and narrow path.
  • when i purchased my '68 olds 4-4-2 it didn't run. i went to look at it and saw that quite a few vacuum lines were missing or missing half a section, so i plugged any vacuum holes with screws and whatnot and stuck a screw driver through the carb and drove it home at a whopping 20mph. it refused to go over 3000rpm and if you floored it it would bog past 3k-rpm and wanna die, what a pain!
  • Early last year my parents friend pulled into the driveway with a 81 plymouth 4 door horizan and said either I take it or she was going to call the junkyard to come get it. I gave it a carb rebuild, new front breaks, and a major tuneup and it actually ran and drove pretty well but damn it was ugly. It didn't have any headliner or front carpet, it was missing half the dash screws so it rattle like crazy, and had your average rust but it never gave me anyproblems other than the mastercylinder going out on me. I drove it for a little under a year just to keep wear and tear off my galaxie and then sold it for $300 back to the lady that gave it to me :).
This discussion has been closed.