’41 Jimmy pickup

41 in LA 2

I’ve been asked about the ’41 Jimmy pickup that appears in the Home in October film. I drove it from Los Angeles to Long Island, in 1980. Its owner (Richie Gilks) was contemplating a return back East (after completing that musician’s ritual rite of passage – a period of living in LA for a few years). I was on the verge of leaving America for good and needed to transport 41 hood upmy three foot lockers of film (75 hours worth) to the East Coast, prior to finding a way to get them back to England. So the deal was that I would deliver the vehicle in return for using it as my carrier. The physical cargo was, quite clearly, a large slice of my life. Given that the truck hadn’t been out of California for most of its life and now was facing a load carrying trip over 3,000 miles, through deserts and over mountains, there were a few anxieties in the air. This set up had all the ingredients for the start of a Twilight Zone story.

Jimmy desert road

In the end, there were no big catastrophies – just the steady, ongoing anxiety of listening to the engine mile after mile for any new (and threatening) mechanical noises. Standard driving procedure of the time. It was quite a basic drive (as was to be expected – though not quite of the era as an Advance and Retard lever, which I had on my first car, along with a Town & Country horn), and there were nice touches like a windshield that was hinged at the top and which could be opened out to promote air flow through the cab – very handy in the desert.

41 main street

Not too surprisingly, driving into small towns in the midWest (I tended to take back roads and sleep alongside the truck at night) in a working ’41 truck with California plates, created small pockets of interest. It seems to be a human trait to enjoy seeing old things still useful and working, which is probably connected to our own desire to have a long and productive life.

41 in NYCIt got a bit tougher around Iowa as the brake hydraulics were quite perished and I had to start replenishing a leaking system. By the time I’d gotten to Philadelphia the brakes were totally shot and I then had to drive on to eastern Long Island on the handbrake. The least stressful section of this leg of the journey was driving through Manhattan – a perverse advantage to crowded, slow moving streets. But I made it to East Quogue – truck and film intact – and moved into a small trailer I’d bought earlier, which was parked in the yard of Richie’s brother Mike. And that was my last coast to coast.

41 picnic table

Leave a Reply