I suppose I was sixteen years old. My father was in the business of building spec (ulation) houses, that is building a house, and then selling it. One sucker bought early and specified in floor heating, that is concrete slab heating. He lived to regret it.
Father and Step Mother went to see Step Mother's mother near Griffith, New South Wales. Sixteen year old son was left at home to manage the business. Nothing to do really except transport some timber to a building site so that workers would have meaningful occupation. As it turned out, workers busily occupied themselves in the local pub while Father was away and got no work done.
But I did my bit. I guessed that there would be no police around at 5am to nab an underage unlicensed driver and the night before I had loaded the timber onto the truck.
Now the truck was old. Eventually it was left in a street, kind of dumped and the council towed it away and fined Father. Like any parking fine he received, he never paid it and got away with it.
To get the truck started required some some petrol being poured into the throat of the carburettor. I removed the air cleaner and used motor mower two stoke fuel. It chugged into life, and literally, it did chug. I did not look at neighbours windows to see if I had woken them from their slumbers.
I was slightly mechanically minded back then and I knew the truck would not look so bad on the road because I had made sure all the lights were working. Twisting a few wires together and wrapping them in insulation tape is not hard.
I can't recall why, but a chick of my age called Julie was in the truck one day and said, hey, the gear stick is like a mixmaster, as she rotated it in various directions. It was never the same since and just seemed to loose its connection with the gear box often, which required some skillful manipulation to get it back into place.
I was dreading a bit that the steering would lock up, as it was prone to do, usually when half way around a corner. My father normally did not swear, as I don't, but I recall an expletive coming from him once when the steering locked up while rounding a curved bridge.
I double de-clutched when I changed gears beautifully and not one gnashing of gear teeth was heard.
There is something about driving a truck that makes you feel quite invincible and you feel that your vehicle is very strong and reliable.
The steering did not lock and the gear stick did not come out. It must have been the gentle boy touch. Timber delivered and unloaded. Job done. Well done me.