Dartmouth man still drives his 42-year-old Ford pickup truck

When Rick Gautreau was 22 years old in 1974, he bought a Ford F-100 Supercab Ranger for $6,500. Today, he's racked up over 643,000 kilometres and the truck is still on the road.

Rick Gautreau bought an F-100 SuperCab Ranger in 1974 to tour around with his band; he named it Duncan

When Rick Gautreau was 22 years old in 1974, he bought a Ford F-100 Supercab Ranger for $6,500. Today, he's racked up over 643,000 kilometres and that truck is one of his oldest friends. (Rick Gautreau)

Nov. 6, 1974: the date one Dartmouth man rhymes off without hesitation. It's the day he met his oldest friend, Duncan — a Ford pickup truck he still drives today.

Rick Gautreau, then a 22-year-old musician, needed a way to get more gigs.

"I really wanted to get a taste of the rock 'n roll life and have a band that could travel. The main thing you need to travel is a reliable vehicle," he said.

Reliable, indeed. On that day 42 years ago, he walked into his local Ford dealership and bought an F-100 SuperCab Ranger for a whopping $6,500 — "in 1974 dollars."

A $10 fillup

"It had this peculiar feature that I often thought would be great for a pickup truck. It had a back seat," Gautreau told CBC's Maritime Noon. 

It meant four guys, luggage and instruments could "be warm" in a truck that size. Though his rock 'n roll days are over, he still drives Duncan today, and has racked up over 643,000 kilometres. 

"Most of the mileage was piled up in the first, say, 20 years of the truck's life. And the last 20 have been a lot less because, you know, as I got older, I gave up travelling." 

The days of being able to fill up from empty for $10 may be gone, Gautreau says, but Duncan still has purpose. 

The truck "was never babied." To this day, Duncan still moves plywood and cinder blocks at the two antique homes Gautreau and his wife own and maintain. 

Efforts 'to make him last'

Duncan wasn't his first. His dad gave him a 1966 short Ford pickup truck when he turned 21, but it rusted out badly. The solution, he says, was to buy a brand new truck and take care of it. 

He thought 10 years would make that endeavour a success. 

"I thought that was a noble thing to try to do," he said. "So, when I bought Duncan that was the plan — to make him last." 

Gautreau says the secret to Duncan's longevity is regular maintenance — changing the oil every 5,000 kilometres and keeping it undercoated. 

A song for Duncan Ford

Gautreau pulled into a Midas Muffler shop in the spring of 1978. He wanted to know more about a muffler warranty they were offering. As long as he owned the vehicle, he could keep getting free replacements.

Gautreau says he lost count after 26.

When Duncan turned 20, he decided to contact Ford to let them know how great the truck had been. 

"They gave me a $500 gift certificate, called a loyalty certificate, and it was for $500 off the purchase of my next, new Ford vehicle," he said with a laugh. "I've never used it." 

Locals know him and his best truck friend so well that occasionally he'll get a note on his windshield that say, "Hey Rick, we were here. We saw Duncan!"

With files from Maritime Noon


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