What’s Your Story of Buying Back the Car That Got Away?

It seems like every car person has a story about “the one that got away.” You don’t even have to be a car person, really; even my wife’s grandma talks about the Bronco II she never should’ve sold. Questionable taste aside, it’s a sad reality we’ve all got to live with. Only some folks are lucky enough to find that same car, or one a lot like it, and buy it back to relive their happiest times.

I had an experience sorta like that this week. See, in high school, I drove an absolutely cherry 1996 Ford F-250 with the 7.3-liter Power Stroke diesel. It was a single-cab in glossy red—perfect for a 16-year-old whose parents loved him maybe a little more than his older sisters. Anywho, I later sold it so I could buy a broken Volkswagen Corrado. I never forgave myself for that boneheaded move, but I recaptured the joy my first vehicle brought me by scooping up this ’95 F-350 a few days ago.

It’s got the same powertrain as my previous truck, though it’s had quite a bit more work done to it. Whereas my red three-quarter-ton had a TS Performance six-position tuner and nothing else, this one has a T4-mount Garrett GT4202 turbo, larger injectors, a new Bosch high-pressure oil pump, head studs, valve springs, and more. Oh! A “built” E4OD automatic transmission, too—I use air quotes because I’m not sure what all that entails in this case. I’m still going through the receipts in the glovebox.

While this one isn’t quite as pretty, there are a few things I like better about it. First, it’s an F-350 so it has a solid Dana 60 axle up front rather than the F-250’s infamous twin-traction beam; those wear through tires like no one’s business. Also, it’s a crew cab so my wife, two-year-old son, and Newfoundland puppy can all ride together in it.

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