Saturday was the big reveal for an extreme truck makeover.
Chanute resident Jared Treloggen first thought his beloved 1979 Dodge had been stolen. He filed a report with Chanute police in July.
He owned the truck for 31 years after he bought it with money he earned on a paper route. He drove it through high school and had his Chanute High School senior picture taken with it in 1994.
He planned to restore it, but waffled over where to start because of the amount of body rust.
But his wife, Crystal, did not leave him on the hook too long. She had, in fact, spirited the truck away to Nice Guys Restoration on Elk Road south of Chanute for a body and interior restoration. Saturday they finally got to see it.
“He is a little kid all over again,” Crystal said.
She had planned the scheme since February with a goal to have the truck restored by his 25th class reunion.
“He slept one hour the night that it was stolen,” Crystal said, adding that she contacted the police before the “theft” and was friends with the officers.
“They knew that it was not really stolen,” she said.
The ruse meant that their three children had to keep the secret as well. Their 5-year-old daughter told her dad how sorry she was that his truck was stolen.
“She was brutal,” Crystal said.
The two older boys are both close to driving age.
“They’re not allowed to touch it,” Crystal said.
Jared always has been a loyal Dodge driver so the older son, Dylan, 16, drives a Chevrolet.
“They like to bicker with their dad,” Crystal said.
Along with new paint and upholstery, the restoration included updating to LED headlights from the 1979 version, although new mirrors were hard to locate. They left the engine work to Jared, although they replaced the alternator along with a new CD player and speakers installed in the doors.
“We don’t have to listen to the portable Bose speaker anymore,” Crystal said.
Jared asked if there was still a bottle of Bud Light Ice that had been wedged behind the seat for years.
Not all of the ruse went to plan, thanks to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“It screwed up everything,” Crystal said. They were supposed to be on a cruise when the truck disappeared to the shop, and would get the truck back before the class reunion at Artist Alley. The cancellation of Artist Alley gave them more time to take care of details.
Aaron Long with Nice Guys is also Jared’s cousin.
“There’s nobody else I could imagine doing that,” Crystal said.