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Chuck Most

1953 Ford F100 Esso Station Truck

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Posted (edited)

For many years, the three Sullivan brothers owned a quartet of service stations across Pennsylvania. Their flagship Harrisburg location's claim to fame was it's 24 hour service bays- overnight mechanics were on duty seven days a week and some holidays to help get motorists stranded during the night back on the road, or to accommodate people who were stuck at work during normal shop hours. The other three locations weren't quite as epic, but still got the job done. The vehicles used by those facilities could be described the same way. 

This '53 F100 was used by the Kecksburg Esso station. It had been purchased new, but by the mid '60's it had developed a character all it's own. The engine had been hopped up with Offy heads and a dual carb intake, for extra power to deal with those Pennsylvania hills. Towing mirrors, spot lights, cab lights, and a shop fabricated snow plow and headache rack had been added, along with a fabricated rear bumper and hitch. One by one the original hubcaps had fallen off, and had been replaced by '62 Mercury and Lincoln full wheel covers on the front and rear, respectively. Though tattered and road weary, the old Ford always got the job done, whether it was running parts for a customer vehicle or going out to help a motorist stranded with a flat or an empty tank. On the evening of December 9, 1965, Larry Sullivan had responded to an old lady who had a flat tire and en route to where the woman's Buick sat alongside the road, he became one of several eyewitnesses to a glowing, bell-shaped object crashing into a wooded area. Later that evening, Larry had taken the F100 back out to get a better look at the crash site, but was politely (but firmly) told to leave by two young men in military uniforms. 

The Sullivan Kecksburg Esso closed in 1971, and the '53 ended up parked behind the Harrisburg location for a fairly long period of time. At some point the snow plow disappeared, and the tool boxes and tools were dispersed into the service department. It was then towed to the Sullivan's station in Exeter, where the mechanics had planned to restore it during slow time at work. But there never seemed to be enough time at the busy Exeter location, and the truck sat some more, until the Exeter location closed in 1979. It languished at a Sullivan family member's farm for several more years, until another relative in Michigan picked it up as a project. It's still a project, even though for the first time in ages, the old Ford is running and road worthy once more. 

Now.... the model itself. It was an incomplete mid '90's issue of the AMT F100. I had the Esso graphics laying around forever. Same goes for the Mercury and Lincoln wheel covers, the '49 Merc Offy heads, and the Replicas and Miniatures two-carb intake. There were no Esso stations in Michigan, but there were (still might be?) several in Pennsylvania, and the 1994 version of this kit included Pennsylvania plates, so I went that route. This truck was based out of Kecksburg, just so I could incorporate the UFO story into it's history. :) This was mostly just a fun "throw it together" kind of project. 

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Edited by Chuck Most

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Great build and story. Hope the relative gets it restored.

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Man what an interesting story Chuck! It gives a proper introduction and brings character to your replication here. Very nice work buddy.

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That is very cool.  Well done.

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Nicely done and cool story. Your builds are always a treat to look at. 

Jacob

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18 hours ago, Rusty92 said:

Nicely done and cool story. Your builds are always a treat to look at. 

Jacob

What he said ^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Very nice! Lots of character!

Sam

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Great build Chuck, love the subject abs detail!

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Interesting story and a very nice build, well done !

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A nice ode to the infamous "Kecksburg Incident", Chuck. For those that don't know, the incident is also referred to as "Pennsylvania's Roswell" due to the alleged coverup of the whole thing. This sleepy little hamlet is about 30 minutes from me, and the prop used to reenact the incident for an episode of Unsolved Mysteries is mounted on a pole behind the Kecksburg VFD. Also, I had to Google the address, just to see where it was. Weather it was intentional or not, you picked the location of Norvelt Beverage, a beer distributor. For those uninitiated, PA only recently adopted the practice of being able to buy your beer in gas stations and grocery stores. Local beer distributors are still very commonplace, often mom and pop type businesses, and usually are more competitively priced than the supermarkets. My only gripe is the geographic locations of your Esso stations. Harrisburg, Kecksburg, and Exeter aren't exactly in each other's backyards. That's one heck of a service area for a family chain of gas stations.

Now I'm going to go back and read up on Kecksburg again...

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Very , very cool build and accompanying story ! I've had a life-long fascination with old , beat-up pickups ; the first one that I recall seeing was owned by a Japanese gardener and landscaper ; it was an early 60's GMC . I'll never forget those cool looking "V6" emblems on the hood !

Interesting note about Esso fuel stations : many of them handed-out the Green Book during a time in the U.S.' history when travelling safely was a task for some people .

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On 1/12/2019 at 11:33 AM, Casey429 said:

My only gripe is the geographic locations of your Esso stations. Harrisburg, Kecksburg, and Exeter aren't exactly in each other's backyards. That's one heck of a service area for a family chain of gas stations.

 

They're in more or less a straight line across the state. I loosely based the story on a couple of brothers who owned car dealerships across the state of MI- they had one as far west as Muskegon and one all the way out in Bay City. It was a good three hour trip between the two widest spread locations, which was why the further-flung dealers were sold off over the years. :)

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