So, Sergeant SeaMist, is this a ’51 or a ’52?
51 or 52? It's a Pilothouse, who can tell?
Compare the truck on the right with the one above; other than the paint jobs and side mirror, you can't really tell them apart. The Dodge B-Series Pilothouse was in production from 1948 until 1953. The '51 and '52 are almost identical, but definitely distinct from the earlier and later models. Heather can totally be forgiven for not knowing at a glance which year Brian's truck is.
Heck, Brian may not even know (that's not true; of course he knows!).
Restoring old trucks has gotten huge; even MBG and I wanted on that bandwagon. We worked on a 1965 Chevy for a while, and by 'we' I really mean he worked on it. Unfortunately, we lacked the shop space to do the full frame-off restoration, which is what the truck desperately needed. And we absolutely don't have Brian's amazing shop, complete with pro-grade paint booth. That shop was lovingly written to fulfill MBG's detailed wishlist.
Three-window or 5-window?
Dodge, Ford, and Chevrolet/GMC all produced truck cabs with 3-window or 5-window options. The three window was less expensive and more common. Today, 5-window models (almost any make or any year) are more collectible than 3-window due to their relative rarity. Brian loves a challenge and hunted until he found a 5-window. MBG has a secret soft spot for vintage Ford trucks, but I am definitely a fan of the Chevy 3100 Series (honestly, any year from '48-'55 would bring much joy). Brian and I agree that the 5-window is worth waiting for.
But why a Pilothouse?
Brian never talks about it in the story, but his father was a Mopar fan. Brian's daily driver is a RAM 1500, and his father always drove Dodge trucks. Brian's dad owned an auto repair shop and taught Brian from a young age to love classic cars and trucks. I imagine father and son going to the stock car races and classic car shows. One of Brian's best memories of his dad is when they went to the Detroit Auto Show in 1995 (Brian would have been 11).
Once I understood how much classic cars and trucks meant to Brian, it was easy to picture him developing his hobby. A college professor becomes his mentor and gives him an opportunity to earn some much-needed tuition money by restoring a classic Plymouth Fury. When he's finally able to acquire a classic for himself, he chooses a truck that his father would have liked. The real-life restoration of this 1955 Dodge truck stuck in my head. It's a great story; it's not Brian's story, but it gave me some ideas.
Interested in Brian's story? Curious to know who the heck Heather is? You can read an excerpt from Healing Heather by clicking here.