The “tomato” is a 1941 Dodge, WC, ½ ton pickup truck. This
journey began in December, 2013. Actually, a couple of years before this,
if you want to get technical. I had been casually looking for a project
vehicle, without knowing what I really wanted. I started out with a muscle
car similar to any one of the ones I had years ago. But they’re all too
expensive now. So I would just casually look thru the Craigslist ads to see
what I could see. I’d look for two or three weeks and then stop for a
couple of months. While doing this (in December, 2013) I bumped into a
picture of a resto-mod 1941 Dodge ½ ton pickup. This truck really inspired
me, so I got right on Craigslist and there was one just like it (not
restored), right near me. This was a Thursday and I figured I’d call the guy
and go see it on the weekend, only to find the ad had expired and I was
left with no way to find that truck.
Weeks went by and the ad never reappeared. I finally came to
the conclusion that it sold. Back to searching again. I ended up buying
another project to work on, but it needed a lot of parts. As I was hunting
for parts, low and behold, I ran into this same truck again. I had warned
my wife that if it ever reappeared, I was going after it. And I did.
It was late winter in the great northwest, which meant it was
cold and rainy instead of just rainy. On the day I went to look at this
truck, it was both cold and rainy. The truck was parked outside and the
rain was coming in waves. It would let up to just a mist for a little bit and
then break into a downpour for a while. I crawled around in and under the
truck during the lighter rain and stood in their barn during the heavier
rains. Finally, we agreed on a price and loaded it onto the trailer and
We decided to stop and have a bite to eat on the way home, for
a late lunch/early dinner. We were getting hungry and after getting as
wet as we were, thought we deserved a little treat. Then we made the
final jaunt home, unhooked the trailer (with the truck still on it) and called
it a day.
Sunday. My son and I went out to unload the truck off the
trailer, and found it a bit more challenging than putting it on the trailer.
The people we got the truck from, had a portable 12 volt winch that we
used to load the truck onto the trailer. This made loading it a cinch. I have
some “tractor-trailer” sized wheel chocks and thought they would be
good for controlling the truck as it rolled off the trailer. The trailer has a
tilt deck and I should mention that the truck has no functioning brakes
and the inside of the cab was so smelly and gross that no one wanted to
sit in it and “feather the clutch” to serve as a braking method. So we put
a chock against one rear wheel and another a couple of feet behind the
other rear wheel. The thought was that we would pull the one chock and
let the truck roll up against the other chock. The problem was that it was
surprisingly difficult to pull the chock that was holding the truck. So after
about 20 minutes of moving the truck about 4 feet, we decided to change
the plan. I put a small mound of dirt, sort of a soft and mushy speed bump,
a few feet behind the truck. We pushed it away from the chock to get the
chock out from under it one last time, and then “let it roll”! I was
apprehensive about doing this, as the truck would have rolled a hundred
yards and then hit some trees if the plan failed. But it worked perfectly.
The tires hit that mound of soft dirt and it came right to a stop. Phew!
The truck got the name “Tomato” after my wife and I pulled into
our driveway and she looked up at the front end of the truck staring back
at us and said it looks like Towmater, from the Cars animated movie. I
tried to explain to her that they were completely different models, but it
was too late. The name had been given. I just gradually began referring to
it as “the tomato”. Thus the name.