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At this point, there was only one thing to do. Mr. Neel decided to muddle through and replace the cancerous metal with healthy steel. Of course such surgery ate into his budget so only the cab received new turquoise paint crowned by a Wimbledon white top. The paint shop saved the excess paint and 18 months later the bed received fresh paint.

The closest to disaster that Mr. Neel has come with his truck is when the cigarette lighter was inadvertently pushed in and failed to pop back out when heated. Some melting occurred but tragedy was avoided and a completely new lighter along with new wiring is now in place.

When Mr. Neel climbs into his Custom Cab with the Ranger package, he points out the three-spoke deep-dish steering wheel and the black padded dashboard and refers to such items as “1960s safety stuff.”

In a few years, when grandson Jonathan is old enough, Mr. Neel plans to take his grandson on a road trip to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., to a Ford pickup gathering. When that time comes, he is determined to complete the trip.