A Modern Old School Truck

When you get into Jim’s truck, the first thing you’ll notice is the 16” long chainsaw occupying the passenger’s seat. Soon after you’ll notice the mess of papers and what appears to be the contents of a toolbox scattered around the cabin. Without further context, this could easily be mistaken for a contractor’s truck.

Jim’s mud strewn 2012 Dodge Ram was the product of high school desire for a truck coupled with a father who was strongly biased against used trucks. A few arguments, about $10,000 from both negotiating parties, and Jim found himself the happy owner of a brand new Dodge Ram.

Cut to four years later, and that once shiny Dodge Ram is lifted, geared down in both the differential and transfer case and rides on significantly offset wheels. I think this is one of the more admirable things about Jim. Many people buy trucks and lift them for their rugged looks, but Jim’s truck is actually worked hard.

And it shows – his truck is no asphalt queen. The bed’s mounting points ripped out when 1000 lbs of lumber decided to make like a bird and try to fly away, his passenger side fog light has been punched out for a nearly a year, and his tailgate is suspiciously missing.

 Yet despite this hard man style of living, Jim’s an art major in college. His work focuses on capitalism, and more specifically on “how one sells something, when the old thing has been perfected”. This topic largely originates from his discovery that parts from an air tools bought in the 80s fit perfectly into equivalent ones built in 20s. As a result, according to Jim, “Craigslist is sort of like a revolt against capitalism. When you buy something off of Craigslist, you’re directly not supporting big businesses” To underscore his rejection of all things capitalism, Jim regularly barters hours of labor for parts rather than relying on cash.

   And Jim is very aware of this rejection of the lifted pickup stereotypes. “It’s kind of funny with the crowd I tend to run with – they’re the kind of people who would have a small Subaru hatchback to carry their art and stuff, so to have something like this truck is funny.” That tongue in cheek take on truck culture is readily apparent with the incongruous stuffed rabbit on the dashboard, looking skyward at a mud streaked windshield.

What's really remarkable about all of this though was the truck's evolution. Back in 2012, Jim lifted the truck so he could go mudding, rip stumps out of the ground and other activities associated with modern truck culture. However, cut to the end of his Junior year and rather than being the typical brolic pickup truck, it's now turned into a tool that he uses to haul lumber, welders and artwork.

And here's where you're gonna have to bear with me. Modern trucks have become the pre-lifted, shot up with testosterone, hyper-masculine icon that they are today because they have to compensate for their normally cushy, near 100% road going lives. To be fair, there are many many truck owners out there who buy modern trucks and then proceed to bash the living daylights out of it by using it to carry stuff to locations that your average minivan people hauler can't even dream of. But (and citing Mr. Regular's article here), with the advent of crew cabs on everything, luxury interiors and advertising that actually has to dredge up images of their trucks doing tough stuff, there is a case for the idea that modern trucks have become what they are to overcompensate for their actual lack of use.

So essentially what Jim has done is go in reverse. He started out building the quintessential modern modified truck, but now actually beats on it. Taken in context with Jim's proclivity to barter manual labor for parts, his love of pneumatic analog tools, and the subject of his art, this truck is an old school truck in new school digs.