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        I am restoring my son’s 58 Chevy Panel truck in his honor and to honor all others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

The name of this project is “Bens 58” named after my son,

 PFC Benjamin Gandalf Young, 30 March 1988- 27 May 2007


        During the winter of 2004-2005, I saw a 58 panel truck on the side of the road in Denver. that was for sale. Ben was very involved with Nascar and during the previous summer had worked for DC Racing Engines in Denver. Ben didn’t have his driver’s license and because he was determined to work in anything related to racing, he took the bus across Denver, two hours each way, to get to work. I thought the 58 would be a good project for him. We looked at the truck together and discussed the possibilities that it had. We made a deal, I would supply the parts, Ben would supply the labor, and we bought the truck.

        Ben liked to play playstation and any other video game he could get his hands on. We brought the truck home on a Saturday afternoon. Sunday morning about 7am I heard someone in the garage. Ben already had the truck up on four jackstands and had the brakes torn down. The video games were now priority number two. It was one of those life changing moments for both of us.

        During that winter, we got the truck running and to the point it would stop. We were more concerned about the mechanical than we were about the cosmetics. DC became the head engine builder for Furniture Row Racing, the Nascar team based in Denver, and Ben was invited to work in the engine shop during the summer of ’05. Ben got his license restored and the 58 was his daily driver to work.

        During the winter of ’05-’06, we put the 58 in the garage for the winter and started working on the cosmetics. We cut the cab off behind the seats and through the windshield posts. We found a cab from a 58 pickup and cut it apart in the same places. We then married the new firewall and floor sections to the rest of the Panel truck. While we were doing that, we also mounted the battery on the frame rails and flattened to firewall.

 

        For Christmas in ’05, I gave Ben an Edelbrock 650 CFM carburetor along with an Air Gap intake manifold. I also gave him a better distributor and Edelbrock valve covers. All this to get a little more out of the ’67 Camero 327 that was in the truck when we bought it and to make it look better.

 

        When Ben graduated from High School in ’06, I gave him the title to the 58. Before he graduated, he had discussed going into the military.  His first choice was the Marines, but, he could never get hold of the recruiter. So he settled on the Army instead. Either way he was going to go in to be a truck driver. When he got out of the military, he was going to drive transporters for a Nascar team.

        In August of ’06, my son stood proud and tall and took the oath to protect and defend the United States. He knew there were risks. He knew that there was a commitment for four years of his life.

                                                                                                                               

                    He took on the role of a soldier.    

 

                           

        Ben’s best friend, Nick a Lance Corporal in the Marines was killed by a sniper in Iraq in December of 2006. Throughout the ordeal of attending his life long friend’s funeral, Ben’s determination to complete the mission was still there. Ben continued to achieve his goals in the Army at Fort Leonard Wood and at Fort Campbell.

 

        On 27 May 2007, while Ben was home on leave before his first deployment, he was involved in a roll-over accident that took his life as well as the life of a young woman who had just enlisted in the Army. While some may argue that he didn’t take a bullet for his country and therefore is not a hero, they won’t win that argument with me. He was a hero, he was my hero. He raised his hand in a time of war and he raised it voluntarily.

 

        After dealing with watching my son being lowered in the ground with full military honors, I had to deal with my ex-wife, his mother, over what little he had for an estate for the next year. I ended up with little more than the 58 and for me, it was enough.

 

        The 58 is being restored in Ben’s honor and all others who have lost their lives in the military. In keeping with the ideas that Ben and I had for the truck, I am adding turbos to the truck for more horsepower along with a few other goodies. Further, the truck is being wrapped with a vinyl wrap with pictures of Ben and a tribute to the other fallen heroes who gave their lives in the service to this country.

 

        Please check out the other pages of this website for more information.