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Straight trucks are the cheapest grain transport around
I was covering a Steffes auction in late December for our television show (see my “Steel Deals” television reports on YouTube by searching for Successful Farming) and was biding my time waiting for two Case IH 8230 combines to sell when the sale of a Chevy C-65 straight truck (like the one pictured) caught my eye.
Here was a 1977 truck in pristine shape showing just 30,718 miles. Its 500-bushel box (steel sides, wood floor) was like new, its engine ran like a top, and the hoist operated without a hitch. True, it was a single-axle truck, but it did come with a front tag axle.
I guessed (I can’t remember the last time I covered the sale of a straight truck) it would go for at least $6,000 considering its condition and lack of miles.
Was I wrong!
The final bid was just $1,750.
I later tweeted (in jest) that at that price, I should have bought the truck for my son to drive to school. (He was helping shoot video of the sale at the time and was NOT amused by my suggestion.)
Fascinated by the sale of this truck, I later searched for recent sales of 1973 to 1978 Chevrolet C-65 grain trucks (366- or 427-cubic-inch gas engines, twin and single axles, 450- to 500-bushel boxes, all with hoists). I’ve seen grain trailers sell for more money than these trucks!
After crunching all the numbers on the auction sales of 48 similar trucks (model year had little if any impact on truck value), I found the following averages:
• Average price: $3,373
• Price range: $800 to $9,700
• Average mileage: 48,856
• Mileage range: 7,932 to 101,059
For comparison, I found seven trucks with comparable miles to the truck shown below (25,486 to 36,339 miles). They all sold for between $1,300 and $4,100.
I am not so naive to think that you won’t be plagued by potential repairs buying 42- to 47-year-old trucks even if they are showing low mileage. I am also well aware that a semitruck, with its potential to tote 1,000-plus bushels down the road has become the dominant transport vehicle in farming. But considering the value, I’ve come to the conclusion that the cheapest grain transport in agriculture has got to be straight trucks. •