Every alumnus I’ve spoken with remembers the Camp truck. It was important to regain ownership and restore it to it's former glory for many of the campers.The journey began in 2008 to bring the truck home to Tosebo soil.
This view from about 1950 shows The General at the wheel with a full load of campers. This was an important picture in the restoration process as it provided the design for the graphics on the truck box.
It was September 2008 when I got the e-mail from Shari Wild saying I could have the truck. The next weekend we went out to the Wild farm to see the truck. Shari said we would be disappointed, but the truck was intact and there was enough of the box left that I could get measurements.
After thirty years the truck was back on Tosebo soil, looking better after it was freed from the mud. After many pictures and careful measurements, it was time to remove the box. The box nearly fell off it was so rotten, but I knew the body and the engine were going to be a much bigger challenge than rebuilding the box.
On a recommendation, the truck went to Kowalski’s Body Shop in Manistee. Dan’s shop is like a museum with all the antiques he has in process. The request was simple – I just need it running by May 1, 2009 so I can finish the box and have it for the Reunion!
Kowalski’s wasted no time and soon the frame was outside and the cab work was started. The engine was sent over to Brian’s Auto in Manistee and Brian used the engine to help teach his young son the basics of engine rebuilding. My job was to get replacement parts for the body and the Internet was a real timesaver.
The engine was also more of a struggle than anyone imagined, but it got back into place and the old Camp truck was back on the road and I got the box completed just three days before the 2009 Reunion – it was a very special homecoming indeed!
It was exciting to see some paint finally hit the cab and I don’t think anyone ever saw the truck look so shiny! Quite a few Manistee locals made a point to stop by Kowalski’s and follow the progress and it really began to look like something when the cab was back on the frame. Only problem was time and Dan was kind enough to let me start installing the rails and ribs at his shop.