One of the common questions I get asked is how I got into this crazy hobby…..after all, you just don’t wake up one day & go “I want to dive head-first into biodiesel!” (well, ok, maybe some of you do, but that’s not how it happened for me).
When I was a kid I grew up around diesels most of my life.
My father worked for Amtrak (the US Passenger Rail Service) most of my life and still does.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time down at the station “ooing” & “aahhhing” at these massive diesel locamotives that could pull these massively heavy trains. I thought they were INCREDIBLE and was completely fascinated by them.
Well, one day my dad came home & announced he was going to get a truck. I was pretty excited because we’d never had one. We’d always had to borrow the neighbors, uncles, or someone elses, and trucks are just cool, so I was pretty excited about it. And then he kicked it up a notch. He announced that he wasn’t going to get just ANY truck, but was going to get a DIESEL truck!
He began shopping and one day brought home a shiny looking Isuzu Diesel Pickup. It was small, looked cool, and had that ever so cool diesel engine. That was in about 1988 and the truck was a 1983.
Well, I gotta tell ya, that truck was an amazing peice of machinery! Over the years, we had cars come & go at the Blair household, but that crazy little diesel pickup outlasted all of them. In fact, 10 years later it was STILL going strong. I’m the oldest of 6 kids and all of us learned to drive in the thing at one point or another so it’s amazing it even lasted through the teenage years.
It lasted through wrecks, spin outs, and everything else we could throw at it. It was just amazing! The most incredible part was that it never broke down! I mean NEVER!!!
About the only work that was ever done on it was once the alternator wore out and the clutch finally gave way after a ton of miles.
Well, at around 350,000 miles, we finally decided the thing needed a new home (yes, three-hundred-fifty THOUSAND plus miles). It was still running strong, but mother nature had dealt it a pretty nasty blow in the rust department. In fact, after we sold it, the guy then promptly drove it from Utah to California and back….without any problems!!! He still drives the thing to this very day! (How’s THAT for longevity!)
For all of $300 + our rusty old pickup, I picked up another Isuzu that I treasure and love. I now own & drive a 1984 Isuzu Diesel Pickup. This one has a long bed and a 5 speed tranny in it, which means I can haul more stuff and I can actually do 80 MPH on the freeway without the thing sounding like it’s going to come flying apart.
Now you may think the thing looks pretty hideous, but that’s one reliable hideous beast and it’s all mine!
Well, owning a diesel I think is kind of like eating Lay’s Potato Chips, “Betchya Can’t Have Just One!”….You see, after having that ole reliable little diesel pickup around, I started to gain an incredible fascination for diesel engines….not only did they last forever, but they were just so cool! I mean, think about it, there’s no spark plugs, no carburators, no coil, no throttle body, none of that! That means all the less stuff to go wrong on them.
So, between owning the earlier Isuzu and the later Isuzu my dad & I have owned somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20 different diesel engine based vehicles. But, I gotta tell ya, the Isuzu’s are still my favorite. They just seem to be rock solid little engines.
And so I guess that’s how it all started….just me and a diesel pickup truck.
And then came biodiesel…but that’s another story for another day….