When Bob Sportel was in his early 20s, he needed a vehicle to help him get to work. He found a farmer who was selling a rusty Chevrolet pickup truck and purchased it for a mere $75. The odometer was broken when he bought the truck, so Sportel had no idea of knowing how many miles it had on it.
“If I could get four years out of it, I thought I’d be really happy,” said Sportel during an interview with KARE 11.
He attempted to negotiate with the seller when he purchased the 1957 Chevy truck, offering $50, but the farmer remained firm about the price. Sportel decided that he would spend the $75 and hope he would get his money’s worth.
Ultimately, the truck exceeded expectations. Sportel drove it practically every day for over 38 years, mainly from his home in Prinsburg, Minnesota, to his work across town.
He did have to make a variety of makeshift repairs as time passed. Now, several layers of duct tape serve as the truck’s upholstery, and Bondo keeps the front lights in place. Rust holes also riddle the underside of the Chevy.
When it comes to the cost of repairs, Sportel estimates he’s spent no more than a mere $1,000. When the muffler rusted out, he decided that getting a new one was unnecessary.
“Everybody knows Bob’s around,” said Phil Breems, a co-worker at the Farmer’s Co-op. “We all get out of the way.”
In 2015, Sportel retired, though he continued to drive the same truck that, at the time, had been on the farm or road for 58 years. With the broken odometer, he can’t be sure how far the truck has traveled over the years, though estimated it had 300,000 miles on it.
“It just becomes a part of you,” he said. “I don’t know how to explain it.”