Ridgefield City Councilor Rob Aichele and his truck, “Old Yeller,” have already been spotted running errands around Ridgefield. From a trip to Rosauers to meet up with friends to making a Costco run, Aichele said he plans to use the truck for “truck purposes” as well as riding in style. “When I was leaving the Sportsman and at the intersection outside the hardware store (Pioneer and Main), a 12-year-old noticed the air horn and gave me the ‘pump’ to blow the horn,” Aichele said. “And I gave it a toot.”
The air horn on “Old Yeller” is connected to an air compressor and louder and separate from the truck's standard horn. Aichele added the horn during his recent restoration of the 1970 Ford F-100 pickup truck, which he started in November 2020. Along with adding the horn, Aichele repainted the truck, fixed electrical wiring, replaced many engine parts and decaled the rear of the truck bed. Aichele said the hardest part about restoring the truck was the electrical portions as it was “not something he has done before or had any experience in” and he had to read a lot of material. On the easier side, Aichele said fixing a few of the truck's leaks went smoother than he had expected. Because the truck was built in 1970, the original build doesn’t follow current emissions standards and Aichele said the Ford F-100 was “really easy to work on,” because it was such a basic construction.
“There is a lot of room (in the engine) so that made it easy to work on,” he said. “Just having the room to get your hands in there and take stuff apart was great.”
“Old Yeller” is the third F-Series Ford Aichele has restored in his lifetime and the first “bumpside,” a truck with a bump around the trim as opposed to a “dentside” with a dent around the rim.
“I’ve restored two dentsides but not to this level of restoration,” Aichele said. “I took this truck to a level that I hadn’t before.”
Aichele said he felt the truck turned out “really nice” and by the time he was putting the finishing touches on the vehicle he was “totally satisfied.”
“Sometimes when you restore something or are working on something when you get it done, you try to sell it because you know it could be a can or worms,” he said. “I’m not having that feeling with this truck and I plan on keeping it. I wouldn’t name it if I wanted to sell it.”
Aichele plans to get the truck involved in the Ridgefield community and use it for events such as Lions Club get-togethers, meeting up with his friends and maybe even the parade. He said the name “Old Yeller” just fit for the bright yellow F-100 and that the truck itself fits into “Ridgefield” just right.
“I think the truck fits Ridgefield because it’s an old farm truck and we’re an old farming community,” he said. “It just looks very Ridgefield to me.”