Long before REO Speedwagon was a 1980s rock band telling people to roll with the changes, there were work trucks called the REO Speedwagon.
An iconic V-shaped grill adorned the front of these workhorses, and on the Dulin Farm outside Clover nestled snug up against the North Carolina border at the tiny hamlet of Bowling Green, a 1946 REO Speedwagon carried more tons of grain, gravel, crops and hog feed than anybody could ever hope to count.
The truck hauled some of the material that built the old Buster Boyd Bridge at Lake Wylie.
“Turned her over one time hauling for that bridge,” said Blair Dulin, the family patriarch. “We worked that truck, we did.”
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The truck, like the Dulins themselves, was legendary around Bowling Green and Clover. This family had peaches and cotton, a cotton gin and a peach packing shed. The Dulins had soybeans, beef cattle, hogs and corn.
The old packing shed still sits at the intersection of U.S. 321 and Ridge Road – a reminder of an era long gone.
Except the Dulins themselves are still there. Farming and working, because that is what Dulins do. And over decades, that REO Speedwagon truck pulled combines and even hauled materials and Dulins as far away as Rock Hill.
“Everybody around here knew that truck,” said Mike Dulin, one of Blair’s sons. “That truck has been around the block a time a two. A thousand times or two thousand times around the block.”
But by the early 1970s, the truck got old and ended up as a heap. The last time it had a license tag on it was 1974 – 40 years ago. But the truck mattered.
“My grandson here, Mac, his momma, Myra, was right fond of that truck,” Blair Dulin said.
Myra died in 2011. Mac Spurrier Jr., the grandson, got an idea.
In honor of his mother, Mac Spurrier Jr. decided that the truck was worth fixing to give to his grandfather as a present.
Spurrier, 48, a diesel mechanic by trade, was a boy when that truck ended its work life. The truck seemed huge and great and powerful to his little eyes back then in the early 1970s, just like his grandfather Blair Dulin was a giant man at least 10 feet tall. A work truck and a working grandfather seen through the eyes of a boy.
Spurrier scoured the Internet and found an old jalopy REO Speedwagon truck that he could use for parts.
“It was in Missouri – I went all the way out there and brought it back,” Spurrier said. “Turned two old trucks into one truck.”
He spent three years welding and cutting, machining and grinding. He painted the truck cab its original yellow and shined all the old chrome pieces that proclaim “REO Speedwagon” on them. He had the “Dulin Farms” logo painted on the doors where the Dulin Farms name has been forever in this far northwestern part of York County.
“I never thought of it as a job I was doing, but a labor of love you might say,” Spurrier said.
Spurrier washed the truck one last time Friday, and his wife baked two apple pies from scratch. There was ham and butter beans and cake and more because Friday was a special day. Friday was Blair Dulin’s 92nd birthday.
“My mother, she loved that truck,” Mac Spurrier Jr. said Friday on his grandfather’s birthday. A tear squeezed out of his eye – for his departed mother who loved that truck, and the grandfather who loved the truck and did so much work on that truck.
The tough farmer grandfather Blair Dulin on his birthday, well, he had a tear or two in his eyes, too.
He said of the birthday gift: “What a great present.”