Akeley Police Chief Jimmy Hansen reunited with first ride
Everyone remembers their first car or truck. Akeley Police Chief Jimmy Hansen was recently reunited with the first truck he owned, a 1948 F-1 pickup.
Hansen was 15 years old and returning from a family trip to Nebraska when he saw an ad for the truck in a weekly shopper called “The Thrifty Nickel.”
“I had my farm permit and told my mom this was something I needed,” he said.
While the ad did not have a picture of the truck, he called the lady who was selling it and found out it was bright red.
“It was her father’s pickup and she said it drove well and there was no rust,” he said. “$1,200 was a lot back then, but I had been working at a grocery store and saving money so with borrowing a little bit of money from my family we went back within the week and I drove it home.”
The half-ton truck had 46,000 miles when he purchased it, having been used mostly for work on the Nebraska farm. The six-cylinder engine had a top speed of 55 to 60 miles per hour.
Happy memories of a simpler time
Hansen’s favorite memories were cruising with friends around Wadena and trips to area lakes in his red pickup.
“It’s a six-volt so I couldn’t put a stereo system in it,” he said. “I carried a boombox with me and listened to 50s and 60s music on cassettes, songs like Chuck Berry’s ‘Great Balls of Fire.’ You had to be careful the boombox didn’t go flying on the floor. We grew up in an era without cell phones. Life was simpler, and I think we had more fun than kids today because they’re caught up in their texting.”
Hansen said he also took his pick up on trips to Ottertail Lake and Buchanan Lake, meeting up with friends, swimming and just hanging out.
“One kid had a 1957 Olsmobile, another kid had an early 1960s Ford truck,” he said. “Nothing was fancy. Everyone had fixed up their own vehicles. Back in the day, before computers, you would ressurect a car out of the woods and get it going again.”
Hansen said his truck was different because it didn’t require any work. “I think all I did was put a spring in the starter during the year-and-a-half I had it,” he said.
The need for a vehicle that started better during the winter months led Hansen to sell his truck to a family from the Aitkin area and buy a 1983 Firebird to drive to school and work. “My truck didn’t have an engine block heater,” he said.
He sold his truck for $1,600, $400 more than he paid for it. “I would have loved to have kept my truck, but I couldn’t afford to have two vehicles.”
But he never forgot his first love.
Reunited at last
“I kept the cab card that came with my truck from Nebraska with the VIN number on it and the name of the lady I bought it from,” Hansen said. “I had some original insurance cards, too. I had stored them in my basement and a couple of years ago it was bugging me. I started digging and finally got ahold of someone who remembered the truck and made contact with the owner last fall.”
Hansen said it was good timing because the owner, a retired electrician, was in the process of downsizing his collection of classic vehicles.
“He sent me a photo and I knew immediately that was my truck,” Hansen said.
In return, Hansen sent the current owner pictures of himself with the pickup in 1986. Finally, the owner called him and said he was ready to sell.
“He cleaned the carburetor, put on new spark plugs and wires and it started right up,” Hansen said. “I think it is within a 1,000 miles of the mileage it had on it when I sold it. It even had the same license plate and Ford keyring as when I had it. The knobby Montgomery Ward tires made for snow and mud that I bought were still on the truck, too. Anything I had put on it was still with it.”
The seller even included an owner’s manual, something he didn’t have the first time around.
Jimmy and his truck were reunited this spring in Sandstone.
“The owner gave me a good deal,” he said. “The only work needed was a master cylinder for the brakes and a hubcap. It was a good running truck then, and it still is. I’ll probably do some work someday, overhaul the engine. But I can’t see any deterioration at all since I owned it. I think it just sat in storage.”
Hansen’s first trip was to the Ottertail Lakes area where he hung out as a teenager.
“And this summer, I took it on vacation so I could play around with it,” he said.
“It got a lot of looks,” he added. “Pickups are becoming more collectible and sought after. People are restoring them and having fun with them.”
He said he plans to keep the truck. “My kids love it,” he said.
Hansen also owns a 1959 Ford police car and says he would like to spend more time on his hobby, including attending shows and parades.
“I had a 1948 Plymouth car I restored and sold,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve owned Chevelle Super Sports, too. The 1940s and 1950s are my favorite years for cars.”