One of the longstanding delusions of my adult life is that when I buy a book I am also buying the time to read it. It's a fairly harmless delusion as these things go, and at least I never lack for new reading material on my shelves at home.
Lately, however, I seem to be susceptible to a more dangerous delusion, that if I buy a project car I will have time, money, space, and skill to do the project. The delusion entered an acute phase recently -- perhaps assisted by my brother Mike's purchase of an old Jeep CJ-5 that he has somehow already managed to get running again:
Was it wrong of me to suggest he nickname it "Rusty"?
The fever peaked when Monique and I saw several beautifully patina-ed trucks while we were visiting Lebanon, Missouri. Suddenly, I could envision the lovely rat-rods that would emerge at the end of what I optimistically described as "a fun little project" to Monique.
This was a dangerous, deluded moment for a man with an unfinished rowboat project in his yard, much less for a man who still hasn't finished off three old "Fantastic Four" comic books he bought at his local comic-book shop back in July.
Some of you may recall that the ol' Patio Boat blog visited the topics of rat rods a few years back: Detroit AutoRama: Rat Rods. Most of those were, of course, extreme rats -- Rodents of Unusual Style, if you will -- suitable for a high-end hot-rod show like AutoRama. But the ones that particularly appeal to me are the ones that combine a worn patina on the outside with fresh mechanical and interior parts.
Here are a few photos of a lovely Chevy station wagon rat-rod that I spotted at the weekly Baker's Sunday Night Cruise in Milford, Michigan. Look past the big pile of patina to check out the beautiful engine and interior work. This is the style that I'm talking about:
Score a victory for the "Don't judge a book by its cover" crowd. This thing could swap leather-care tips with my Jaguar.
So what brought on this sudden desire to haul a beat-up old truck back from Lebanon, Missouri, to Michigan? It turns out that Lebanon was once a hot-bed of used-car dealers, thanks to its location on historic Route 66. And some of those dealers know just the right cheese to use in a rat-rod trap, rusty old trucks that look like they need to be rescued.
The first that tugged at my heartstrings was an old International Scout. It reminded me of my own rusty old International Scout II that I managed to keep running for a year or so when I was in college. It was my last running wreck before I graduated and moved on to the style and elegance of the Mighty Plymouth Acclaim. All the rust you see here really is surface rust. The inside was a wreck, but it looked basically solid underneath, unlike my own rusted-out Scout:
Next came a GMC pickup from the late 40s or the early 50s with its windows broken out. We drove by this magnificent wreckage several times that weekend:
When you make a Corvair look new and cutting edge, you've really accomplished something.
Look, my future old pickup with my shiny new pickup behind it! Don't they belong together?!
Fortunately, sanity and a lack of a trailer prevailed. Monique and I drove our shiny, fresh, decidedly un-ratty pickup truck back to Michigan without dragging any rusty hulks behind us. The future rat-rod trucks of Lebanon, Missouri, are still there to make "a fun little project" for somebody with a wee bit more time, money, and space, not to mention infinitely more mechanical skill.
But, oh, that old International pickup would've looked sweet in our driveway.
(This post is part of a metadata tagging experiment on the ol' Patio Boat blog.)