Hickey Enterprises Incorporated
The Rockford Files
1979 GMC K10
1977 Chevy K10
Hickey Enterprises Inc.
Original Screen Used Rockford File's Truck
Written by Jim Suva
On November 22, 2010, I had the pleasure to talk with Robert, who lives in Florida. Robert is my age and is another dedicated Rockford Files fan. Robert is the proud owner of an original screen-used Rockford Files pickup truck.
During the last season of The Rockford Files, James Garner appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Jim told Johnny that this was going to be the last season for the TV series. Upon hearing that, Robert asked his wife to write a letter to NBC telling them that he wanted to buy Rocky’s pickup truck. Some time passed and Robert asked his wife if she ever received an answer. She hadn’t. So he asked her write another letter.
This time, Mary Ann Rhea, Jim’s personal assistant called Robert. She said they lost the original letter while moving their office, but they had Rocky’s truck if he was still interested in purchasing it.
Needless to say Robert and his wife flew to Los Angeles in May 1980. They were picked up at the airport by a man named Chuck … in Rocky’s pickup truck! Chuck worked for the Vista Group, the organization that helped supply the vehicles to the TV series. They were driven to the body shop where the truck was originally painted, and had a scratch touched up as they waited. Robert heard that the owner of the body shop wanted to buy all the Firebirds and trucks from The Rockford Files, but could not afford to buy them all. That is why Robert could buy this truck. After the scratch was repaired, they were driven to a nearby community called Toluca Lake, where James Garner’s new office was located. The office was right across the street from Bob Hope’s home.
Once at Mr. Garner’s office they saw that he had a 1980 Trans Am and one of the Rockford Firebirds there. Robert and his wife met and talked with Mr. Garner for over two hours. He told them all about the pickup and how everything worked. He even autographed two posters for them, which featured the vehicles from The Rockford Files. Robert said Mr. Garner was just like a regular guy. Below is a picture of one of the posters.
Robert and his wife stayed a few days in Los Angeles. Mr. Garner got Lakers tickets for them, and they also drove out to Paradise Cove to check out the Sandcastle Restaurant. Robert then drove his prize pickup back home to Florida.
This particular pickup truck is a 1979 GMC 4X4 Sierra ½ ton. It has a 400 cubic inch engine with a four-barrel carburetor. It also boasts full-time four-wheel drive with a turbo 400 transmission. Each wheel has two shock absorbers. It still has all the Vic Hickey Enterprise equipment, such as two additional gas tanks, winch, steering wheel, roll bar and fog lights. The pickup also has two original GM gas tanks that came with the truck from the factory.
Robert remembers that the GMC trucks originally came only in silver, and with basic equipment. The Vic Hickey equipment and the maroon paint were added at a local body shop. The maroon color is actually a 1976 GM color called Rosedale Red with orange pinstripes. The pinstripes are about 1/8 inch in width. The rear of truck has the names Jim & Jerry written on it in pin striping.
According to Robert, his truck can be seen in two episodes, “The Big Cheese” and “Paradise Cove.” Robert’s truck has Vic Hickey center hubs on the front wheels and the standard GM center hubs on the rear wheels.
Robert has not driven his truck much over the years. It only has 11,910 miles on it. He currently has the truck in his garage under a tarp. It is in need of restoration. His dream is to restore Rocky’s pickup truck and show it to James Garner in person!
If anyone has any information on any other Rockford File Firebirds or Rocky’s GMC pick up truck, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My goal is to own an original Rockford File Firebird someday!
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Story of Eagle Ventures "NOT HICKEY" Hood
Written by Bill D. Owner Eagle Ventures
Source www.67-72chevytrucks.com forum
In the late sixties, the four-wheel drive craze was in full bloom, fueled in part by the introduction of the Chevy Blazer in 1968. The concept of modifying a pick-up by replacing the cab with a removable station wagon style top was the idea of Vic Hickey, who worked for GM at the time. The idea of a convertible pick-up truck was radical, if not revolutionary!
In 1970, I purchased a used, but unmodified ’69 Blazer and soon began customizing it with items available from a number of aftermarket sources. By this time Hickey had left GM and had started his own off-road business in Ventura, CA. I lived in the San Fernando Valley, less than an hour’s drive from Hickey’s shop, and became such a regular we eventually became friends. I have a background in technical publications and helped write some of the product literature to earn a discount for my purchases.
When Vic added a “low-profile” fiberglass hood for the ’73 and later Blazer, I couldn’t talk him into offering one for the ’69-‘72 trucks. These earlier hoods had a much higher frontage and would benefit even more from a lower profile. But Vic didn’t think there would be enough of a market to offset the cost of development, and as things turned out, he was right!
I had earlier taken a sabbatical from a major aerospace company and was looking for something to satisfy my creative instincts. The off-road aftermarket was so hot at the time, it seemed all one had to do was develop a proprietary product or two and have a catalog of the usual products and you would be in business. Visiting Pete Brown and watching his booming success building KC HiLites out of his garage was a great motivator. The hood would be my first step and then one thing would lead to another.
I borrowed the hood from a friend’s GMC pickup to ensure it was the same as mine. Everything checked out, and I was off. Analyzing the design of the factory hood, I developed a profile that would clear the radiator cap and air cleaner, but leave the sides intact for strength. A similar style was in use by Land Rover. The two “horns’ thus created would also provide the driver with a pointing reference, sometimes helpful in the outback.
Having no experience in molding or in fiberglass, I spent a few months working with pros to develop first the plug, then the mold. With the first skin pulled, I went to work designing the understructure and then going through the same process to get a part to marry with the skin. Weight was never an issue, strength and durability was the goal. With the understructure perfected, I built an assembly jig for marrying the two parts. My son and I did the final assembly in my garage.
I won’t bore you with the details and many pitfalls experienced, but just let me say it took several attempts at each stage (one wound up in court) to find the right source to get the job done properly. I learned there was an old saying “lose your ass in fiberglass…”
With the prototype finished, I anxiously mounted it on my Blazer and was somewhat amazed at how well it fit! Then began real world tests of added visibility and other parameters. It not only provided a significant improvement in near-truck visibility off-road, but also an unintentional consequence of improved gas mileage on the freeway! Feeling confident, I went to the expense of patenting the design.
Reaction from local dealers was promising; and anxious to get public reaction, I entered the Blazer in an off-road show. It drew large crowds and won first place in the four-wheel drive class, and a pickup truck with an EV hood took another two trophies. The pick-up was owned by the service manager of the local Chevy dealer!
My broker was poised to raise a significant infusion of capital and I placed my first ad in Four Wheeler magazine. Things were going well when a month later the Arab oil embargo hit! Soon long lines at the gas pump forced the government to introduce gas rationing and then a nationwide speed limit of 55 mph.
Needless to say, the impact on the off-road aftermarket was devastating and it rapidly began drying up. Not only were sales depressed, but materials became more and more expensive. I lasted for a couple of years before the shoestring was broken and I had to stop.
Vic made me an offer, which included being his rep in the southeastern US, but I opted instead to return to my old job at the aerospace company; and destroyed the remaining stock, jigs and molds.
Only a couple hundred hoods were made.
Seeing Hickey get credit for the EV hood, is sort of like how Michelangelo must've felt when Leonardo was getting credit for the Pieta…
Eagle Ventures Hoods
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