Beaters with Heaters

Text and photos by Paul Copeland

Is buying a beat-up old truck worth it? I bought my 1979 Ford F-150 on the eighth of August two years ago. I’ve been working on it ever since, and, although there have been lots of ups and downs, I’ve found buying an old truck is worth it.

I saw my truck for the first time parked in a old, overgrown lot next to a construction supply warehouse. The paint was faded and tires were flat, but I saw potential in that dilapidated truck. I scrounged up a few bucks and met Mr. Brown, the owner of the warehouse and the truck sitting outside next to it. After haggling for a few minutes, we finally decided on the price of $3,650. I towed it back home, and the realization finally hit me that this was my truck.


I can remember spending hours working on it, scraping the rust off with a wire brush, dust and dirt falling in my eyes. Some days I would just go out and sit in the cab, running it through the gears, even though the truck didn’t have a gas tank and the frame was resting on jack stands. My garage looked like a tornado had swept through it, tools and rusty parts lay around everywhere. After a year and half of working on it, I finally got it all in one piece, and it runs like a champ!

Now that I look back, I realize how much time I actually spent working on that truck. I lost a lot of sleep and spent more money than most people would even think of spending, but the first day I drove it to school, it made all the time, money and pain worth it. I was able to go out fishing with my buddy, Matthew, and we became best friends riding in my truck. We loved riding around old, dusty dirt roads surrounded by tall, green corn stalks.

I took my truck to go deer hunting for the first time with my grandfather, and we both killed a deer that day. I remember loading both does up in the bed of the truck and just laughing, giddy at the luck we had. My dad and I spent hours out sweating in the garage, busting our knuckles, and that’s a memory I never would’ve had if it weren’t for my old truck.

It’s an emotional roller coaster owning and working on an old truck. It finally starts running, and then something breaks and it’s all the way back to square one, but the memories I’ve made can never be replaced. Even though not everyone has worked on an old truck, the time spent with friends and family makes all the time, money and pain worth it.

Paul Copeland (right) and his father Dave Copeland, with their Boykin spaniel Georgia, and the 1979 Ford F150 that they restored together.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed on South Carolina Wild are solely those of the authors, and do not reflect official policies, positions, or endorsements of activity or products by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.