It sits on the agronomy farm, north of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, tucked away out of sight behind several old, rusty grain bins.
It has been a part of K-State for 20 years, but most people do not think there is anything special about it. It’s a 1967 Ford F700 pick-up truck, and it’s the oldest vehicle owned and operated by the university’s motor pool.
Once a military vehicle, the old five-speed has since been transformed into a reliable grain truck. The door of the faded midnight blue cab opens with a moan of protest to reveal a dark blue interior that smells of rust and old hay.
Fred Piper, plant science technician on the agronomy farm, said K-State bought the truck from military surplus in 1987.
“It was a tractor when we got it,” he said. “It used to pull a trailer, so we just lengthened the frame and put a bed on in it.”
The bed is composed of four pieces of metal bolted together to hold a load of grain or whatever else needs hauling. The front and sides are a rusty orange color, and the back piece is white and covered in deep red rust stains.
Piper said moving grain is the primary use for the old truck.
“We just use it for hauling grain,” he said. “That’s it. We don’t take it out on the road much anymore.”
The truck only has about 53,000 miles on it because the agronomy department tries to keep it on local roads, Piper said. The department has not had to do much maintenance work except for changing tires and giving it a paint job here and there.
“It was army green when we got it, so we took it out to Dick Edwards to have it painted. We’ve had to put tires on it, but we don’t usually put many miles on it.”
The floor is littered with bits of grain, mud and an old soda can. Foam padding spills out of a tear in the grimy tan seat. There is no paneling on the doors or on the steering column to conceal the wiring. Keys dangle from the ignition.
Two stickers urging passengers to wear seat belts sit on the dash, covered in a layer of dust a quarter of an inch thick. Registration, a metal Ford decal and scrap pieces of paper fill the glove compartment.
Mason Lee, plant science technician for the agronomy department, also said there was nothing special about the truck.
“It needs to be traded off for something newer,” he said. “You’d think a college like K-State would have something nicer. It’s 40 years old – it ought to be updated.”
Despite its age, however, Lee said the truck always has been as reliable as any of the other vehicles operated by the agronomy department.
“It’s just an old, antique truck,” he said. “It isn’t much worse than anything else we’ve got here.”