The Shop Truck

1973withNewRims (800x450)This blog post is dedicated to my 1973 sign shop truck that I bought when I started painting signs shortly after finishing my sign painting course from International Correspondence Schools. In 1970 I decided to leave my job as a draftsman and work at sign painting full time. My wife and I agreed to the move as long as I could make money at it.

I eventually went to Nair’s Sign Co. in Whittier, Calif. and started working for Kenny Nair as an apprentice. In 1972 he decided to leave the trade and sold the sign business to me. The company sign vehicle was a Vauxahl. At the time I was driving a 1950 2 door Chevy Business Coup. Of course neither of these vehicles were suited to a trade that included wall signs and installations and carrying around paint.

So I took my saving of $500.00 and went down to Don Steve’s Chevrolet in Whittier and ordered a new short bed sign shop truck with no chrome. I knew I would be hand lettering it and didn’t want anything to interfere. It was a big leap for me at the time. My son was two and my daughter was just born, but I knew I needed a dependable sign shop truck and I’d make enough money to pay the monthly debt. Four doors down from my shop on Whittier Blvd. was a muffler shop. The man who owned it built me a custom ladder rack that I used for many years. I invested in a truck box after that.


Over the years I changed the sign shop truck lettering as I moved to new locations and eventually put a camper shell on the bed. I had a custom ladder rack made for the shell. Later on I bought a nice fiberglass shell and had another custom rack put on. I sold the camper shell last year when I decided to restore my truck.


I tried to get rid of my sign shop truck several years ago but things didn’t work out, so I thought I’d use it for home improvement supplies and maybe some sign painting work. I haven’t hand lettered it yet but I have the artwork already finished and may use some vinyl along with the hand lettering. The kicker is, I originally planned on trading it in every five years. In 1990 when the new styles came out I wanted a new sign shop truck but the kids and Annie locked arms and said ‘don’t get rid of the truck, we have too many wonderful memories’. There you go, so I made the decision to keep it and I’m glad I did.