Restoring the 1956 Ford F-600 truck was Mike Peeters way of honoring his grandpa.
Peeters, originally from Bear Creek, who now resides in Manitowoc, said owning and restoring the truck his grandpa owned for about 30 years mean a lot to him.
“We’re a close family. I lost my grandpa, he died at 56 and I was young at the time, so it’s nice to have something that reminds me of him,” Peeters said.
Peeters said has grandpa Ray Peeters, originally bought the truck from the Bear Creek Phillips 66 gas station.
“He got it for his own shop,” Peeters said. “He shortened six feet out of the frame, so that’s why it’s a shorter truck now. He put the boom on so he could drag vehicles into the shop and work on them. That’s the main reason the boom is back on it, for that sentimental value. It makes it my grandpa’s truck yet.”
The truck still has the remnants of the Phillips 66 logo on both doors, as well as the words “Bear Creek” and “Clintonville.”
Peeters bought the truck three years ago from his uncle. During those three years, he said he probably has a year and half of nonstop work put into it.
“I wanted to build a project truck, a rat rod project truck, something different,” he said.
The first thing he did after he bought the truck was clean it up, as there were goats living around it. He then found a motor at Zeb’s Salvage. The motor is an International 437 and came out of an early 1990s school bus.
Then the modifications started.
“I ended up moving the cab back 15 inches and dropped it 10 inches to get the motor to fit in the truck,” Peeters said. “I narrowed the front clip up eight inches, four on each side. I lowered the front four and a half inches. Then my dad found me the truck box for it at an auction. He bought if off a scrapper for $50. I modified the box and lowered the suspension on it. I added all new wires and brake lines.”
The interior is mostly stock.
There is still some finishing up required on the truck, Peeters said, but nothing too drastic.
“From the front bumper to the tailgate it’s got a modification somewhere on it,” Peeters said.
Peeters had the truck on display at the Spring Cruise Car Show in Clintonville, Friday, May 16. He said the truck was drawing a lot of attention, partly due to the fact it resembles the Mater character from the movie “Cars.”
“It’s doing exactly what I wanted it to do,” said Peeters at the car show. “All the kids come up and call it Mater and that’ what my oldest named it right off the bat when she saw it, so the name has stuck.”
The attention the truck was gathering is what Peeters was hoping for.
“I’m loving it. I love talking about it. I love old vehicles,” Peeters said. “All the hard work is paying off.”