Rural Missouri - June 2018 - 45
photos on this page courtesy Mongo's Garage
Left: Steve "Mongo" Mosley left a job in IT to work fulltime as a supplier of vintage GM truck
parts and art made from parts too far gone to salvage. Above: This unique bar was made from
the remains of a Chevy truck. Right: Steve's son relaxes on a bench his dad made. Bottom:
Steve works with sign painters to customize his art.The headlights on this truck front clip work.
We've been trying to ﬁnd you.' It kind of became a mythical garage."
The interaction with old truck owners led Steve to abandon the computer
work and move into supplying parts full time. His inventory increased exponentially when he bought the contents of the truck yard. With the help of a friend,
Steve did a quick inventory of the yard before making an offer.
He stopped counting truck doors when he reached 400. Fenders were so
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numerous he had a helper build a "Great Wall of Fenders" that reached Biblical
teve "Mongo" Mosley remembers when his old truck hobby turned into proportions. Bumpers, wheels, beds, hoods, seat springs - just about anything
an obsession. "I was getting into old trucks and I had two or three of that might be needed could be found here in quantity, including 78 more or less
them sitting in the driveway at the house," he recalls. "We had our family complete vintage trucks, dating from the 1930s to the 1970s.
"I ship parts all over the world," Steve says. "I shipped to Italy last week.
farm up north and I had a bunch of trucks up there. I told Lisa (his wife)
I was going to an auction and I was going to buy some trucks. She was annoyed Australia, all over the UK. Denmark two weeks ago. I have a truck that's going
and she said, 'You can buy anything you want as long as I don't have to look at to Germany."
He says his primary goal is to help vintage truck enthusiasts put their
it in the driveway.'
trucks back on the road. But sometimes the parts are too far gone for
"And I was like, 'Really?' "
reuse. Hating to see them turned into scrap, Steve came up with a unique
Steve bought some property and started buying more trucks.
way to recycle rusted and mangled parts by turning them into art.
Lots and lots of trucks. "Old grain trucks, whatever," he recalls.
He makes lights from valve covers. Doors become signs. A dam"They were plentiful back home and if there was an auction close
aged wheel, ﬁtted with a cool Firestone tire, might be turned into
enough, I would drive the tractor over and pick them up and drive
a mirror. Steering wheels ﬁnd new life as tables. One of his most
them home on the gravel roads."
unique designs is a bed made for a 5-year-old boy from a truck
Over the years, he has become one of the premier suppliers of
bed and a portion of the cab. The tailgate folds down to form a
hard-to-ﬁnd parts for vintage General Motors trucks.
As fate would have it, Steve, better known as Mongo, discovered
You can ﬁnd Steve's automotive art at Retro on the Rails, a
an old truck graveyard near his home in Independence. The restretro shop housed in the 1903 depot in Pleasant Hill. The shop
ing place for old trucks started in 1946 and had been mostly unused
since the 1980s. Steve convinced the current owner to sell him the contents of features not only Steve's work but also vintage and repurposed items from four
"I always stress that if the parts are good enough to use as parts, I'm going
Now Steve is working on moving Mongo's Garage - a far-ﬂung operation
that includes trucks on the family farm in Brookﬁeld, a shop in the Kansas City to sell them as parts," Steve says. "That's my primary business. They are worth
caves, an ofﬁce in his home and a store called Retro on the Rails in the Pleasant more that way. I would never cut up good parts to make art. But there is no
shortage of stuff that most guys would scrap."
Hill depot - more or less into one location.
Whether you are looking for a new home for an old Chevy truck, need a set
"It's like playing rust Jenga," Steve says of his attempts to organize the yard
while also clearing the brush and unwanted items like tires from the landscape. of Nu-Vue corner windows for a 1950s-era GMC or want to buy an entire truck,
"It's a big job but it's a labor of love. I talk to a lot of car guys who say you are Steve is your source, provided you are into General Motors products. Or if you
living the dream. Sometimes it is a nightmare. But so far every day in the yard aren't currently restoring a vintage machine and just want some nostalgia to
hang on the walls, Steve can help you there too.
has been better than every day sitting behind a desk."
"Everyone has an old truck story," Steve says. "Whether it is Grandpa's truck
For much of his adult life Steve worked in IT, ﬁrst for Hallmark in Kansas
City and later for banks. Then one day he realized he was going to die in a base- or Dad's truck, they have a memory. That's why trucks are so hot. A lot of people
are restoring them now because there are so many stories."
ment bank ofﬁce if he didn't somehow escape to what he really loved: trucks.
His love affair with trucks, speciﬁcally those made by General Motors, began
You can reach Mongo's Garage at 816about the same time he met his future wife. "I pretty much instantly fell
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in love with her," he says. "Then her dad came to pick her up and he
www.mongosgarage.com. The Retro on
was driving a '54 Chevy pickup. I was like, 'Bonus!' "
the Rails store is located at 100 Wyoming
When he asked Lisa's dad if he could marry his daughter, he
St. in Pleasant Hill. Both businesses
offered to take both daughter and another yellow '52 Chevy
also can be found on Facebook.
truck off his hands. The daughter part worked out, but
the truck got away.
Later Steve bought a 1953
Chevy truck for his daily
driver, afﬁxing a magnetic
sign that read "Mongo's
Garage, Brookﬁeld, MO"
to the door. Intended as a
joke, the sign caused vintage truck enthusiasts to
stalk Steve outside restaurants since the phone number
on the sign - CL8-750 - was
many years out of service. "It
never failed, there'd be a couple of guys standing around my
truck saying, 'Where are you at?