My Clunker Pickup Is Too Old To Junk

From Gene Logsdon

Of all my old,  junk machinery, I like my pickup truck the best.  I could not function without it. I use it to haul hay, straw, manure, mulch, lambs, rams, calves, pigs, chickens, corn, wheat, grandkids, apples, firewood, logs, cans of gas, rototillers, dirt, lawnmowers, water tanks, fencing, gates, posts,  lumber, chainsaws, shovels, forks, concrete  blocks, trash for the recycler, gravel, rocks, railroad ties. To name a few. In the process, I also use it to back into trees, sideswipe gate posts, run into stumps, drop a front end loader on (insurance paid for one new side of the truck bed), and take incoming stones on the windshield (only one chip out of the glass so far).

I thought I was the wise guy, see. I should have traded the poor old thing in long ago, but I was sure a financial collapse was coming. No society could live as crazily as ours and not suffer retribution. So I decided I would wait until the second Great Depression hit and then I would drive a real hard bargain on a trade-in and get a new truck at a five or even ten thousand dollar savings.

So the collapse finally came. I waited patiently for the car companies  to cut prices drastically. Nothing much happened except they moaned and groaned until the government gave them billions of dollars. The price of the pickup that I wanted did not go down one farthing.  Oh yeah, a rebate here and there. The old maneuver. Jack up the price several thousand dollars and then give the poor dumb buyer a fifteen hundred dollar rebate and he’s supposed to dance around the showroom in utter bliss.

Then, it happened.  The car companies didn’t do it, but good old Uncle came up with the Cash For Clunkers deal and I could get $4500 for a truck that did not have a hundred dollars of trade-in value left in her dear old cylinders. I sped into town and presented myself proudly to Bill, my favorite car dealer. I would not only get my $4500, but because of the hard times, I’d be able to dicker four or five thousand bucks off the sticker price.

“What year is your truck?” Bill asked.

“A 1981,” I said proudly.

Bill got the strangest look on his face, as if he didn’t quite believe what he had just heard.

“Yes, and she’s only got 40,000 miles on her,” I added, to show what a good green American I was, willing to have my beloved old gas-guzzling clunker executed for the good of the environment even though she had plenty of life in her yet.

“I’m sorry, Gene,”  Bill said, and I could see he was having a hard time suppressing a smile.  “You’re clunker doesn’t qualify. It’s too old.”

I’m sure people could hear my teeth grinding half a block away. My clunker was too old.  I muttered that sentence over several times trying to come to terms with such strange logic. It only had 40,000 miles on it but MY CLUNKER WAS TOO OLD.

Well, since I was where I was,  I thought I might as well see what kind of hard bargain I could drive in these, ho ho ho, hard times. The truck I wanted cost about $30,000 less a rebate or two. I offered Bill $20,000 cash and my dear old truck with only 40,000 miles on her, take it or leave it. He chortled. I think that sound is what you call a chortle anyway. Number one: they were selling cars like crazy because of the cash for clunkers scam, so they didn’t have to dicker. Number two: the days of dickering were over anyway. The company set the price, not the dealer. If I wanted to haggle, I would have to go to Detroit and talk to Henry Ford’s latest successor.

But all was not lost. In fact quite a bit was gained. In the five seconds it took me to absorb the reality about my clunker, I made about $25,000, which I bet is  better than even Bill Gates has ever done.  I decided that I would never trade in my beloved old pickup. I know a mechanic or two who can keep it running as long as my doctor can keep me running.


Thank God you didn’t get snookered into taking on more debt. Cash for clunkers was really a scam like the sub prime mortgage scam. In a few years most of those who took it may not have the jobs/income to keep up the payments and the new car will be repossessed. Meanwhile they could have kept their already paid off vehicles.

are you kidding me….what did I do???? I was talking about my mazda!


That means a lot coming from you. Thanks!

Susan, you say on your tin foil blog that you are not a writer. But you may be a genius. Your piece on health care is brilliant.

Yep. Tells you right there what the real purpose is…and it’s not to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions for vehicles on the road, or your truck would have been eligible for a trade in.

Teresa Sue Hoke-House August 14, 2009 at 8:32 am

Boy Gene, you sure nailed that one on the head….Cash for Clunkers SCAM. Where are the boys of 1776 when ya need them?

Ha, that was great. My truck is paid for, if only I could trade it in for a farm. But then I’d need a truck.

Gene, I have told multiple people about your “Pancake patch” story, and they see the sense in small scale grain farming, even though we are blessed with Bob’s Red Mill here in Portland.

I thought about taking my old 1976 Chevy truck, only ~60,000 miles. Original clutch & manual 4×4, keeping it in the garage all these years helps a lot. But then I read that 25 years was the cut off. I’m also waiting until the prices come down…some say the 2nd depression is yet to come, things are still not that good with the economy and could take a turn for the worse.

My sister-in-law traded in a SUV for a used Prius. The SUV was on its last legs and guzzled gas like crazy.

ROFL…we went down with our 1972 Chevy pickup truck to do the same thing, just like you they said no way no how…oh well I love that pickup and probably would have cried right there on the lot if we had traded it for one of those new shiny ones…besides hubby probably wouldn’t have been nearly as understanding of my hauling manure in the new one! Kim

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