Edward Prescott Jr.’s lifelong dream of restoring his 1948 Ford F-1 pickup had become a distant memory for the retired train conductor.
The red truck, initially purchased new by Prescott’s grandfather in 1948, was passed down to the Grovetown resident by his father more than 30 years later.
After taking the truck in for minor repairs and a fresh paint job shortly thereafter, Prescott decided to put his aspirations on hold and put aside money for his family.
“He would spend it on us before he would spend it on himself,” said son Ken Prescott. “It was going to take somebody else to do it.”
And that’s what happened.
Initially planned as a present for Prescott’s 64th birthday in June, wife Carole and son Ken soon realized they would need more time to pull off the surprise.
By early November, the restoration was complete and the truck was ready for its big reveal.
After going out to breakfast for his granddaugther’s birthday, Edward Prescott was coaxed by his family into attending a car show at C&C Automotive, put on by the GaSCar Club, which also was in on the surprise.
Edward Prescott said he was reluctant to walk over to the only truck in the show because he was reminded of his own antique.
“I didn’t even want to see it,” he recalled. “I said, ‘It ought to be mine.’”
As he got closer to the truck though, he saw a tag underneath the windshield wiper with his name on it.
“Once he saw it, he didn’t leave its side after that,” his son said. “We had to pull him away to eat and for Dad, that’s a big deal.”
The idea to restore the old truck was first set into motion last February, when Carole and Ken Prescott began researching the project.
By that point, the truck was in bad shape, so Ken Prescott hauled it off from his uncle’s farm in Keysville, Ga., and hid it in his backyard off Blanchard Road in Evans.
From there, the truck was hauled to several local shops, where it was dismantled, restored and each piece painted vermillion red before being put back together.
“Everything was taken apart,” said Ken Prescott, who will inherit the truck from his father. “There was nothing but a frame and four tires.”
For Ken, making sure the truck was kept as original as possible and in working condition for his father were at the top of his priority list.
Any modern updates, such as adding turn signals and an extra side mirror, were made for safety purposes, Ken Prescott said.
Inside the truck, a radio and car charger are hidden within the glove box to keep the interior authentic.
The Prescotts decided to keep for its sentimental value a dent on the rear bumper that Edward Prescott made as a boy when driving on the farm.
Keeping the project a secret from her husband, however, proved to be difficult for Carole Prescott.
As the months passed by and Edward Prescott’s truck remained missing from his brother’s property, he began asking more questions.
“We had to come up with some quick stories,” Carole Prescott said. “It was stressful while we were doing it, but very much worth it.”
Ken Prescott said without the help of those in the local car community, friends and his neighbor, John Bodie, the restoration project wouldn’t have been possible.
Of those who helped the family keep the restoration a secret was Cindy Kane, a motor vehicle registrar in the Columbia County Tax Commissioner’s Office.
Carole Prescott said she made several trips to see Kane, securing a personalized tag with the name “Rube,” in honor of her husband’s father. She also had to make sure no bills for the tag renewal were sent to their home that might reveal the surprise.
“It was just a lot of fun,” Kane said. “They’re super nice people and it’s just an awesome little truck. It’s amazing, because not too many families keep something like that in their families since it was bought brand new.”