My First Ford Truck

A breakdown in Brooklyn tested Michael's mechanics skill

[My boss] agreed to sell me his old truck for just $200 and I even convinced him to let me pay for it over time. That prewar Ford had a lot of mileage on it, but I knew from having driven it on the job that it was still in decent shape. I figured I could use my mechanical skills, acquired in Germany in ORT vocational training, to keep it in running condition.

But I didn’t know how soon I would need to call on those skills. I took possession of the truck on one of my last days on the job and drove it home to Brooklyn after work. Everything was fine at first but I felt the engine misfire after I had turned south onto Coney Island Avenue. A few blocks later it sputtered again and lost power. I rolled it over to the curb right past the intersection at Avenue K. 

I had an idea that one or more of the spark plugs was misfiring. I opened the hood, twisted off a plug and headed on foot to a nearby service station. I was able to get a new set of plugs and an installer tool for about $15, and managed in fairly short order to get the truck running again.

It wasn’t the most promising beginning for our new business startup, but we did not let it lessen our determination to go ahead with the plan. Fortunately, as things turned out, that truck ran fine for the next couple of years, and proved to be a workhorse for carrying tools and materials to my roofing jobs.