Rural Missouri - April 2018 - 22
1st: Mark Sundell, Waynesville
1st: Paul and Lola Smeltzer, Bucyrus
Mark Sundell was after a truck that would be a good driver. He got that in
the form of a 1937 Chevy pickup, but it evolved into something much more
than a good driving truck.
Mark bought the car in the early 2000s from someone he met at a car
show. "My original plan was to make it drive a little better with better
suspension, steering, brakes and the modern goodies," he says. "It kind of
took on a life of its own and seven years later I ended up with this."
Most of the restoration work was done by Mark at his auto shop in nearby
St. Robert. When his shop doors would close at 5 p.m., he would stop
working on his customers' cars and turn his attention to the truck.
"It was tough to stay motivated working on it night after night," he says.
"A few times I was ready to just walk away. It just took so long."
While the truck ended up being more than the Laclede Electric Cooperative
member expected, he says the work was well worth it. It was ﬁnished in
2009 and Mark's "good driver" has only had approximately 7,000 miles put
on it since.
The Chevy does do some hauling work around central Missouri, but that
is limited to gifts during parades or a lawn chair and cooler on the way to a
"It's fun to see other people see it and the reactions they have," he says.
"The best part is knowing that I did it myself."
Smoke was billowing out of the truck, the mufﬂer was loud and it had
mechanical problems. And that was 25 years ago when Paul and Lola
Smeltzer ﬁrst picked up "Old Scrappy" from a dealer in Houston.
The Intercounty Electric Cooperative members were going to build a log
cabin, but after seeing all the stones on their rural Bucyrus property, they
decided to build with native stone. "We had a half decent truck but we
thought we'd ruin it if we loaded it up and drove up and down all these hills
and hollers and going through creek beds," Paul says.
The plan was to rid themselves of the truck once it had ﬁnished its task
of hauling rocks. That didn't happen. The truck proved to be a trusted friend
traversing the Texas County terrain, helping out with whatever odd jobs
needed to be completed. After rocks it hauled ﬁrewood, sand, hay and much
Lola says the condition of the truck added to what could be done.
"Whether you're going up or down a hill or clearing a trail, you feel like you
can go anywhere with it and not worry if it gets messed up," she says.
Today, Scrappy doesn't run every time key meets ignition. At best, the
brakes are deﬁcient, it doesn't leave the property and its main use is to
travel down the 1-mile driveway to get the mail. Adds Paul: "Similar to many
senior citizens, it smokes, leaks ﬂuid, slips, brakes don't hold, joints squeak
and has a hard time moving."
Finalist Ken Nichols, Boonville
Finalist Albert Matney, Mansﬁeld
Finalist Christopher Treece, Sedalia
Finalist Steven Fisher, Rosebud