By Randy Cavin
Anybody who knows Frank Vincent of Martin is well aware that he used to love to hunt quail.
The vehicle Vincent used to get to his favorite hunting spots was a Jeep J10 pickup truck, which he purchased brand new in 1979.
Vincent’s trusty pickup truck had seen its share of bumps and bruises over the years until it could go no more. Vincent’s son, Chris Vincent, finally put the Jeep J10 in a storage shed, where it stayed for 10 years.
Hunter Vincent, the grandson of Frank, got the truck out of storage and began restoring it last November. He did all of the work himself at his home in Nashville. The grandson finally unveiled the truck June 7. He shared the big moment from his home on YouTube when he got his grandparents to visit him.
It was indeed a big surprise for Frank as he walked out of Hunter’s home and saw the truck that he had bought brand new 41 years ago.
Frank Vincent paused for a few seconds on the front porch when he walked out of the home and saw the truck. “Oh, my goodness,” Vincent said. “Is that my old Jeep?”
“That is your old Jeep,” Hunter Vincent said in the video.
Frank’s response was “Holy cow!”
“I had no idea Hunter was doing that,” Vincent said. “The truck was falling down to nothing and I told Chris I would give it to him. I told him to put it in his storage building. I did not know Hunter got involved.”
Vincent purchased the truck because it was a four-wheel drive. It was something he could use to haul stuff in and take to the fields to hunt for quail with his friend Henry Rooks.
“That Jeep would take us anywhere we wanted to go in the fields,” Vincent said. “It could pull its weight really easy. We would not get stuck in that Jeep.”
Vincent used the truck on a daily basis until he bought a new truck in the early 1990s. He kept the Jeep, even though he had purchased a new truck. Circumstances caused Vincent to decide to park the Jeep.
“It got to where we could not find any birds,” Vincent said. “Then I lost my best bird dog I ever had, and I could not find one to suit me. I ended up quitting bird hunting and that is when I set the Jeep down.”
Those Jeep pickup trucks were pretty rugged back then. However, Vincent’s Jeep took some licks as it got involved in a couple of accidents. He never wrecked the truck, but it got banged up by other family members.
“Chris went mudding one Friday night,” Vincent said. “When he was coming back that Saturday morning from camping out, he was crossing the four-lane where Central Baptist Church is now, and he pulled out in front of a wide truck. It knocked the whole front end off it. I finally got it fixed. And my dad, he went to Colorado to elk hunt every year. He took it to Colorado and he hit a Winnebago-type vehicle, and he tore the front end off it. He did not tell me until he got back, and he brought it in on a trailer. So, here I am, starting all over again trying the get the front end put back on it. The truck was only six or seven years old and already in two accidents.”
That Jeep J10 had been in two accidents, both damaging the front of it, and it was not even 10 years old. But the truck survived until it was eventually put in storage. Now, it looks as if it had just left the showroom floor after Hunter Vincent spent seven months restoring it.
“I did not even know Hunter had that ability to put something like that together,” Vincent said. “He worked on that night and day for several months. It really surprised me, and he let me drive it. I was remembering bird hunting, wishing I was out in the back fields in West Tennessee hunting quail again.”
The grandson attempted to get his grandparents to visit him in Nashville a few weeks ago. However, they did not want to make the drive due to the coronavirus and Vincent’s wife, Sandra, experiencing some back issues.
They eventually made the trip and he is glad they did.
“The coronavirus loosened up some, so we could go,” he said. “But then, my wife started having trouble with her back. Hunter asked us to come up some Sunday afternoon and we made it up there. She was glad we went because she did not know anything about it either. We were in the dark about it. Everybody in the family knew except us. He was scared the secret was going to get out.”
The only difference from when Vincent used to own the Jeep until he drove it after the restoration is the truck sits up a little higher and the steering felt a little loose. Other than that, the truck drove, sounded, and felt like it did when Vincent bought it in 1979.
Hunter Vincent had the truck painted its original color and it did not take long for the offers to buy it started coming in.
“The truck is licensed as an antique,” Vincent said. “He mentioned that some people had seen it. The guy who painted it asked if the truck was for sale. Hunter told him no amount of money can buy that truck.”
Hunter Vincent always wanted to restore a vehicle, but he had a particular taste in trucks. He loves the old Ford Broncos. Vincent’s father used to own a Bronco and Hunter always wanted it. However, Vincent’s sister now owns it and she did not want to part with it.
Hunter’s cousin had one, but he did not think he would sell it to him. Finally, Chris Vincent suggested restoring the Jeep. Hunter agreed to take on the project. Surprisingly, finding replacement parts was not difficult at all.
“He told me the front end was just like the Wagoneer,” Vincent said. “They were identical parts. He was able to get online and buy the parts he needed.”
The floor pan had to be replaced; the bumpers were completely restored; and a new gas tank was installed, along with other components in the truck. The upholstery and carpet were replaced with the original color.
Vincent would love to see his old truck in the Soybean Festival car and truck show next year.
“That would be something Hunter could do,” Vincent said. “He could drive it or haul it here next year for the car show.”
A video of the restoration process is on YouTube. The link to the video is https://youtu.be/iG1FXNu6bhM