What’s it like to drive a 1947 FORD 1-TON?

If I haven’t said it before, my job is the coolest job on the planet. 

I spend my days with great people and talkin’ cars. I travel everywhere, shoot my silly show and see some of the most awesome cars this side of Andromeda. 

Today is no different, which is why Malibu’s Mike McKean and his 1947 Ford 1-Ton is this week’s Ride of the Week.

Mike’s been a resident of Malibu for about eight years and is a retired fire captain/paramedic from the Santa Monica Fire Department with a whopping 38-year active career under his belt. 

We all know that firemen are the nicest guys on the planet, right? So meeting up with Mike forced me to keep my grin goin’ for a permanent hour — now it’s stuck.

Mike’s pride and joy is his Fire Engine red 1947 Ford 1-Ton panel truck. 

“I bought it at a Concours Auto Show at Malibu Bluffs Park about 10 years ago,” Mike said. “Stopped at the show kind of by accident while on a Harley ride up the Coast Highway with an old fireman buddy. Saw the truck while in the hospitality tent having a beverage.” 

This would be the love-at-first-sight part, folks.

“I’ve always liked panel trucks since my high school surfing days in the south bay, but never had owned one,” he said. “So, I went outside to look at it and asked the guy who owned it if any trucks like these ever come up for sale? He said ‘Well, this one here is for sale.’ I asked if it ran, and he said ‘Sure, I just drove it down from Ojai this morning!’”  

So Mike had the guy start it up, and it sounded great. The truck has been re-powered with a 283 small block Chevy, automatic transmission, 12-volt electrical system, stereo, CD player and new brake system to boot.

The next thing Mike knew, he was outside giving the dude a cash deposit. 

“My dad had recently passed away,” he continued. “I had a few extra bucks and I knew my dad would have loved it.”

They completed the deal the following Saturday around midday at Neptune’s Net and Mike knew right away he had made an awesome choice. The truck was surrounded by several people taking photos and he felt great driving away with everyone honking and waving as he cruised away down Pacific Coast Highway.

The truck had been restored over the years by a famous motorcycle and auto shop owner named Rusty Kay from the old section of Santa Monica. Rusty had recently passed away and his widow was especially happy to see the truck pass on to someone with a long history of being connected to Santa Monica. 

And that brings up a good point, as in providing homes for stray cars. Maybe there should be a Car Shelter where they get taken care of and fed, in line for the right owner to come in, give them a pet, and drive them home?

“I’ve taken the truck on several surf trips as far as San Onofre and also driven to (and entered) many antique car shows from Camarillo, Pomona, Santa Paula and Westlake Village,” Mike said.

A fairly well-known car collector/restorer in the Torrance/Gardena area checked it out and confirmed that this 1947 1-ton model is probably the last of its kind.

Mike drives it occasionally from north Malibu on the nice days on PCH and he still get a lot of satisfaction from the waves and honks. See how easy it is to just feel good here in Malibu?

The bottom line, folks: If the goal of life really is to just feel good, then we’re 99 percent ahead of everyone else in this country. Choose something cool to fill your life with.

Be like Mike and turn that frown upside down, permanently.

Give goodness and goodness comes, sometimes a whopping 1-ton of it.