Adel Karame spent two years and nearly 900 hours restoring a classic 1948 truck, but he’s now selling it well below its value to pay for a long-awaited trip to his home country.
The Vernon resident purchased the six-cylinder Chevrolet flat-rack three years ago from the son of a Vernon fruit farmer named Jujiro Ohashi. According to the truck’s original insurance papers – which Karame keeps safely tucked away in a binder full of photographs – Ohashi bought the truck from a dealer in 1950 for $1,700 and used it to carry fruit around his farm. The truck currently has just 55,000 kilometres.
But after investing thousands of dollars and years of his time turning the rusted-out vehicle into a shiny red masterpiece, he’s listed it on Kijiji for $35,000 despite an appraisal valuing it at $115,000.
Karame says he needs to sell the truck quickly so he can afford to move back to Lebanon, where he was born, and where his mother and father recently passed away in a short span.
“A couple years ago, I didn’t have money to go home when my dad died,” Karame said. “That hurt me a lot.”
Karame did all he could to return to see his mother after his father’s death, but the cost of moving back with his two sons was too much for him.
“For 45 years I didn’t go there. She called me all the time to ask when I’m coming, and I’d say I don’t have the money, I’m not ready, I don’t have a passport.”
Returning home has been a long time coming, and Karame is determined not to let extenuating circumstances keep him from going back any longer.
Karame hired a list of of professionals to help with the complete overhaul of the truck, and put his 40 years of experience painting classic cars to work.
To describe just how much work went into restoring the truck, Karame offers an illustrative analogy.
“Imagine you take a guy from a grave. He’s all bone, and you take two years to put the flesh on him and he comes alive.”
Karame says at times the magnitude of the project was, in a word, a “nightmare,” but the finished result was a reward like no other.
“When it’s gone, it will feel like a part of me is gone.”
While Karame is heartbroken to have to leave behind the truck he brought back from the grave, all he hopes is that the new owner will enjoy and care for it as much as he has.
“If the person loves the truck they can have it for that much money. I have to go and I can’t leave it behind.”
Karame hopes the truck’s next owner will be the kind of enthusiast you’d see at a classic car showcase. Karame himself has taken the truck to the last three annual Vernon Cruise-In Car Shows, where he delighted in letting kids sit behind the wheel for a photo.
“I did that for maybe 100 children,” Karame said.
Karame invites anyone who may be interested in buying the truck to call him at 250-309-1920.