"He does not possess wealth, it possesses him."
—-Benjamin Franklin from Poor Richard's Almanac
They say money is the root of all evil. Hundos, C-notes, Bills, Benjamins—all nicknames for the hundred dollar bill, which our boy Ben Franklin here has been printed on since 1928. Everybody wants him, and no one can get enough of him. Franklin's quote ties right on in with the Dodge Dakota on our cover this month, and if you've had any personal involvement with it, you would know that it seems to have a mind of its own.
The truck doesn't drive and toot its own horn on its own like that silly ass Herbie the Love Bug. It has taken on a personality a little closer to the Plymouth Fury in the movie Christine. It hasn't murdered anyone … yet, but it's made life tougher for its "owner" Roger Lomas and builder Dusty Briley. I've been following the build for 4 years now and the guys have had some serious setbacks, problems, and strained friendships postpone its completion, and on a personal level, I've had to shoot it a total of three times to finally get the shots needed for its feature spread. The first set of photos were lost in a hard drive crash, the truck wouldn't start the day of the second shoot, but we finally got it to submit the third time around—barely. This truck shows very little loyalty or compassion to those who give the most to it, and it seems to give hell to everyone it comes close to. But it's 1,500 miles away from me now. I'm good.
The Dakota was partially built in Dusty's body shop, but the majority of the work was done in his home garage seen here. It's nothing fancy, it's the perfect size to house a blown apart truck, it's equipped with plenty of tools and equipment, and it's just steps away from his front door. The 30x40 work space not only stored the Dakota and the machinery that helped create it, but the hopes and dreams of everyone who wanted to see it finished live there as well. The modest structure is a monument to determination—plain and simple.
And at the end of this long, agonizing road to the top, is relief. I hear it in Dusty and Roger's voice every time I talk to them now. Roger finally has the truck he's waited years for, and Dusty, well; he says this is just the beginning for him. He plans to make a return trip back to the MT cover with another truck, but after he catches his breath first, that is. You haven't seen the last of him yet.