Agrarian Edition No. 7: Rusted, Busted, a Machine Once Trusted

No. 100: GM’s Finest at Rest

No. 99: Heavy Hauler

No. 95: Big 6

One of the delights of driving country roads is rounding a curve and discovering something like this. Sylvia saw it first. “Look!” she said. I didn’t hesitate. The Toyota rolled to a quick stop. “Dodge,” I said. Boy, was I wrong.

This is a Federal, one of a line of medium- and heavy-weight haulers that debuted in 1910 in Detroit. For 49 years, Federals were commonplace on highways, at warehouses and on battlefields across the world. They were known as the “Big 6” trucks, with 6-cylinder powerplants that exceeded 500 cubic inches. If anything defined the industrial might of a nation, it was a machine like this.

Someone has done weird stuff to this truck. It has an odd addition on the back. The seat is a severely modified church pew. The after-market wheels barely fit in the wide fender wells. Whoever had a vision for this machine must have run out of money, energy, or both.

This appears to be a 1945, but that is a SWAG* It forces motorists to take a second look from its spot on a rural highway in Hammondville, Ala., 110 miles northwest of Atlanta.

*PM me if you do not know this acronym.

No. 96: ’50 Ford

On any Sunday, it sat outside a clapboard church, its engine clicking as it cooled while the preacher warmed to his message. It took newlyweds to Panama City. It ran off roads, rear-ended other cars and took grandma to the S&H Green Stamps store.

Granddaddy used it for fishing. Daddy used it to get his license. Big brother used it for dates that led to dead-end dirt roads.

Highway troopers pulled it over and let the driver go with a warning to drive straight home, son, and I damn-sure better not see you doing this again. It ran, stopped, ran again, stopped again. It was praised, cussed, discarded.

It is a 1950 Ford. Felton, Ga., 64 miles west of Atlanta.