Story and Photos by: Shannon Hammett
Ringgold resident Anthony Garner is the proud owner of a '55 Chevrolet pickup truck. In January of 2005, Mr. Garner bought the truck from Ronnie Black, owner of Dixie Dream Rods. Anthony had never restored a vehicle before; so he knew he would have to have some help. Lucky for him, his brothers Will and Randy were ready and willing to lend a helping hand to the project.
"I've never restored any other vehicles before," said Mr. Garner, "But fortunately, my brothers have. It took three days to tear it apart. I bought it on a Wednesday, and we had it torn apart by the weekend and then took it to be sandblasted on Monday."
Mr. Garner and his brother Will were in the garage on a daily basis working on the truck. "For a while we worked on it everyday," said Will. "Then my stepson moved here from Atlanta and decided to build a house. So, we took six months off to help build the house."
Tina, Mr. Garner's wife, said that although building the house may have slowed the truck project down, it didn't keep them out of the garage. "On the days that it rained, they would work on the truck," said Mrs. Garner. "If they weren't working on the house, then they were working on that truck."
The guys weren't the only ones who put time and effort into this truck. While they were in the garage, Mrs. Garner was hard at work surfing the net for the much needed and hard to find parts. Once the guys finished their work in the garage, Mrs. Garner would begin hers. "They made the messes in the garage, and I came in and cleaned them up," said Mrs. Garner. "I cleaned up during the day while he was at work." Mr. Garner jokingly refers to her as his "cleanup crew."
The truck was in pretty rough shape and would need a lot of work, time and money. "Tina's dad was a carpenter," said Will. "He would give us side jobs on the weekend, and that's what funded the truck.
"I'm in the process of building a '32 Ford, which I would work on during the day. Anthony and I live within walking distance of one another, so when he would get home in the evenings I would walk down to his place and we would work on his truck 'til about 10:30 pm.
"The engine that we put in it was one that I had built back in the '80s. I had another truck that I had sold but kept the engine. Anthony was looking for an engine, and that one was just sitting in my shop; so I gave it to him. It needed to be overhauled because it had been sitting for so long. So we tore it down. We had to put gaskets and seals in it and have the heads reworked. Afterwards, it was just like it was when I built it."
The truck body would also require a lot of work. "The truck had a lot of rust," said Will, "But just about anything that old is bound to have rust. Just look at Anthony. He was born the same year as the truck and he's got a lot of rust in him too. There's no overhauling or rebuilding him though."