Back when I was a kid, my dad decided to buy a truck. He had been doing a bit of work on the house and he found it a pain to try and bring supplies to the house with the old car. Without a whole lot of money to spend, his choices were few, and upon returning home from the city, he and mom arrived in the driveway with a very beat up old Dodge pickup.
The truck was called a ‘Club Cab’, Dodge’s version of an extended cab pickup. Being a kid, I marveled at the cool back seat that folded out of sight when it wasn’t being used. I looked at the little storage compartments at either end of the cab as an excellent place to store things, such as cap guns and caps.
The truck was a light green color, highlighted by rust. The engine burned a little oil, but dad said that he knew where to get a new motor for a fair price. He ordered the motor from the Sears Catalog. When it arrived, he and my Uncle Albert put it together and into the old truck. My Uncle Albert was a whiz at cars, and although he never had any formal education, he could pick apart any engine and have it running by the end of the day. He was also great at painting cars.
Once they had the engine in the truck, my uncle made several runs up the old dirt road that ran through the community. With dust flicking everywhere, my dad grew excited that his truck now had the power to pull itself. The only thing left was that horrible faded pea green paint, but he couldn’t afford a paint job. No problem, my uncle offered to paint it for him, for a good price. He suggested that since the truck was so big, one paint color just wouldn’t do. He suggested a ‘two-tone’ paint job. Mom liked blue, and suggested a navy blue with sky blue trim. My dad agreed.
My uncle took the old truck into his garage and went to work. In an effort to save money, he omitted one important step. When painting a vehicle two colors, the process is to paint one color, wait for it to dry, mask the paint and then paint the other color. That way the colors don’t mix and it gives you a clean look. My uncle didn’t mask the truck. He simply painted the entire truck the sky blue my mom suggested, and before the paint was even dry, he sprayed the navy blue paint around the fenders and windows.
Excited to see his new paint job, my dad and mom, and me of course, headed for my uncle’s house bright and early Saturday morning. When dad opened the door, his smile turned to a frown. “What the hell?” he said. “What in the hell did you do to my truck?” he asked. Mom simply said “Horrible!”
My uncle rushed to the door to calm them down. He took one look at my dad’s face and knew that he was in for it. “All my money, wasted. You ruined the truck!” my dad said.
“What do you mean ruined? This is beautiful! This is what all the Hollywood Celebrities are doing these days.” he lied.
I will always remember what he said next.
“It’s Psychedelic ” This is a Psychedelic paint job. It’s custom. Nobody else has this paint job anywhere. You now have a hot rod pickup truck with a Psychedelic paint job!” said my uncle Albert.
“Psychedelic huh? Oh well, if the big Hollywood guys have this on their truck, maybe I should move with the times!” my dad said. He was smiling again.
Of course nobody knew what Psychedelic actually meant. My dad was far from a drug user or a hippy, he was a straight laced Catholic who hated the liberal hippies who protested everything and as he put it, complained a whole lot as well.
Although my dad got strange looks everywhere that he took his truck, eventually everyone wanted a psychedelic paint job as well. In no time, cars and trucks everywhere had this same paint job. My uncle made a fortune all because he was too lazy to apply masking tape to my dad’s truck.
When rust began to creep back onto the old truck, my dad did the body work himself and brought the truck to someone else to spray it. They painted it a single tone of blue. My dad’s psychedelic days were over. Thank heavens.