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Simple is Better

Nov 23rd, 2012 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

I notice that automakers are adding a lot of high-tech gadgets to run up the cost and profits of smaller cars that dominate the market today. I have an old 1956 F-100 Ford pickup that has only three controls on the dashboard; a choke, click wiper control and headlight switch. And all three are low-tech push-pull or twist-type devices. The engine is a small, pharmacy six-cylinder model you can work on with basic tools. The good news is that my truck is very reliable. The bad news is that it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter because there is no heater or air conditioner; there is no music because the radio is missing, and the electric seat has only a manual control. Worse yet, no power steering means I get a good workout whenever I’m maneuvering in tight places.

Cars, pickups and towing equipment are intended to do a particular job and some gadgets do make those jobs somewhat easier or at least more enjoyable. But what do you do when the electric window doesn’t work, or the power steering goes out? You get it fixed, that’s what you do, and I know firsthand that an electric window repair costs about $400 at your local dealer and the power steering more than that, depending on the reason it failed.

I always liked the original Holmes 440 wrecker because it was simple, straightforward and rugged. It only had three controls: PTO engage, throttle and winch. You probably can’t buy a stripped down car today, but you can buy a basic wrecker and that can be a good thing. Buy what you need and nothing more, because you can always add gadgets later if you get bored.