Vintage ‘Ruby’ truck a Pease Bay gem

Gary Phillips’s friend Billy Dawson inspects the Ford V8 with potential buyer William Prendergast. – Photos: Jewel Levy

An original Ford V-8 flatbed truck, fully restored to its former hot electric-blue glory, is turning heads in Bodden Town.

Parked in a yard under the cover of some mahogany trees in Pease Bay, “Ruby” waits patiently for its next owner. The car’s current owner has her up for sale.

Sitting on his back porch watching customers inspect Ruby, with its big red-and-white “for sale” sign propped on the windscreen, owner Gary Phillips speaks lovingly of his first encounter with the truck with his friend Billy Dawson, who assisted in the restoration.

“Ruby was a total rust bucket and covered with bush when I found her. I had to rebuild everything,” Mr. Phillips said.

She may have been an old rust bucket covered in dust and more than 50 years old, but it was love at first sight for Mr. Phillips, seeing the 1941 Ford flatbed V-8 parked in George Town’s Swamp neighborhood.

Six years later, the two men had restored her to former glory. “Ruby,” not red despite her name, was ready to hit the road again.

Mr. Phillips knew he had hit the jackpot when he first spotted her, and never stopped visiting the garage until he made contact with the truck’s owner, the late James McDonald, who lived in Palm Dale in George Town. Mr. McDonald had brought the truck to Fabian’s Garage to have it restored, but he later changed his mind.

Young Tyrece Whittaker feels what its like being behind the wheel.
Young Tyrece Whittaker feels what its like being behind the wheel.

“When I first saw the truck at Fabian’s Garage in Swamp, I couldn’t get near her because she was so closely guarded by her canine friend Brandy. Brandy was tied to her front bumper,” said Mr. Phillips.

Brandy died last year, but protected Ruby to the end.

“Brandy was a great guard dog. A Filipino gentleman gave him to me about 12 years ago when he was leaving the island,” said Fabian Reece, owner of Fabian’s Garage.

“When people came to look at the truck, they once would remove things from it, but Brandy would let no one get near that truck or me,” Mr. Reece said.

Ruby still has its original Ford flathead V-8 engine. The wooden back, which rotted a few years ago, has been replaced. The truck has no power steering.

Special showpiece for a car buff

“She’s hot,” said Mr. Phillips, proud of the truck’s appearance.

“She towed the first float loaded with girls in the Pirates Week Parade two years in a row. On weekends, we would drive up and down just to show her off, but I have not been able to do that anymore because I am not well,” said Mr. Phillips, adding that is the reason he is selling the truck.

“I painted her blue because I don’t like red,” he said. “She was blue, but not that pretty blue when I first bought her, so I changed it.”

Mr. Dawson seems sad to see Ruby go.

“Ruby didn’t go to town very often just like the song ‘Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,’” said Mr. Dawson.

Ruby is not the only vintage vehicle that was been in Mr. Phillips’s collection. He said he also had a 1950 Studebaker that someone bought from him to take back to the States.

“I bought that car in Miami and brought it to Cayman,” he said.

Until the day Ruby finds another owner, the vehicle will continue to be an item of much interest to people living in and passing through the district of Bodden Town.

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