THE BOT­TOM LINE

Street Trucks - - CONTENTS - BY KEVIN AGUILAR

THERE’S BEEN A BIG SHIFT IN THE AU­TO­MO­TIVE COM­MU­NITY, AND FULLY PAINTED VE­HI­CLES AREN’T AL­WAYS AS POP­U­LAR AS THOSE THAT ARE LEFT UN­TOUCHED. Patina trucks, or un­re­stored clas­sics, have been steal­ing the show, and oddly, it has made them more pop­u­lar than their shiny painted brethren at times. This is a strik­ing devel­op­ment in car cul­ture be­cause the gen­er­ally ac­cepted wis­dom was to keep ve­hi­cles su­per clean to pro­long their lives or pre­serve their orig­i­nal glory.

“Preser­va­tion” is the key word here, but not in the way you might ex­pect. For in­stance, there’s a “preser­va­tion class” at most Con­cours events where low-mileage, un­re­stored ve­hi­cles are cel­e­brated for their un­be­liev­able good con­di­tion. Con­cours events are the top of the mark when it comes to cars shows; they’re tra­di­tion­ally where the best of the best strut their stuff. Usu­ally, au­to­mo­tive elit­ists bring the rarest and most el­e­gant cars to Con­cours events to com­pete. Spe­cially trained judges score a ve­hi­cle based on parts be­ing “like orig­i­nal” or even bet­ter. In the past, bring­ing a non-shiny or even rusted ve­hi­cle was un­heard of, but now it’s a ma­jor spec­ta­cle. The con­cept of preser­va­tion has been turned on its head.

The the­ory is that any­one can re­store a ve­hi­cle, but find­ing an un­touched gem is the real test. When it comes to shiny ve­hi­cles, there’s usu­ally no way to tell if the owner used orig­i­nal equip­ment or re­pro­duc­tion pieces, if they’ve been re­fin­ished. Ve­hi­cles that have most of their fac­tory pieces are more ex­cit­ing than those that don’t be­cause they are harder to come by. Of­ten, un­touched dis­cov­er­ies are made in old sheds and barns where the pre­vi­ous owner parked their ve­hi­cle to pro­tect it from dam­age and cor­ro­sion, which is where the term “barn find” comes from. Most clas­sic en­thu­si­asts dream about barn finds, and find­ing one is like dis­cov­er­ing hid­den trea­sure.

Ve­hi­cles that show their age have more char­ac­ter. All of the dings, dents and rust add to a truck’s mys­tique and pay homage to its age. Any­one can re­paint or chrome parts on an old truck, but once you do so, all of its his­tory is wiped out. Restora­tion isn’t bad, but it does cre­ate a to­tally dif­fer­ent truck. I’ve seen it many times at shows where peo­ple pass by restora­tions to check out a patina ride.

All of this re­minds me of the tragedy of the sink­hole that oc­curred at the Na­tional Corvette Mu­seum in 2014. Eight rare corvettes fell into the hole and were dam­aged. It was a heart­break­ing event be­cause so many his­toric cars were de­stroyed, al­though, GM helped out and re­stored three of the eight Corvettes. Some were com­pletely gone, while oth­ers fared bet­ter, but now they’re all back on dis­play to doc­u­ment what hap­pened on that sad day. Orig­i­nally, there was de­bate about whether any of the cars should be re­stored, and there were many ad­vo­cates mak­ing a case to sal­vage and then leave them alone since the dam­age was part of their con­tin­u­ing story.

A com­pro­mise that left sev­eral of the ve­hi­cles un­touched and a few re­stored caused the mu­seum’s at­ten­dance to sky­rocket. Peo­ple wanted to see the dam­aged cars as much as they wanted to see the re­stored ’Vettes. The sto­ries be­hind the cars are a huge part of their pop­u­lar­ity.

It’s al­ways a good idea to make sure all of the me­chan­i­cal parts in a truck are work­ing cor­rectly, and if you can make im­prove­ments in that area, even bet­ter. It’s im­por­tant to have a re­li­able and trou­ble-free driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Though some are happy with an all-orig­i­nal patina ve­hi­cle, we like to cus­tom­ize. Even though we don’t keep these gems com­pletely in­tact, we do hold their orig­i­nal parts in high re­gard. Some of us would rather see a patina truck lay­ing body or whip­ping around a track rather than just parked for dis­play. I think tak­ing a truck with bat­tle scars and giv­ing it a new life is a way of ap­pre­ci­at­ing and ac­cen­tu­at­ing its beauty.

To­day, we can express our fas­ci­na­tion for patina ve­hi­cles and their rich char­ac­ter with the same level of en­thu­si­asm that we used to lav­ish on fully re­stored ver­sions. Al­though you can try, there is no way to fake patina. Try­ing to do so cre­ates a look known as “faux­tina,” and a lot of en­thu­si­asts frown on it.

Hav­ing a sur­vivor truck with a body that’s in good con­di­tion is a foun­da­tion for a unique build. Peo­ple remember patina trucks be­cause of the way they have weath­ered. It makes a lasting im­pres­sion that’s un­like any other.

PHIL GER­BER’S ’77 C-10 GRACING OUR COVER IS A GOOD EX­AM­PLE OF A SUR­VIVOR TRUCK THAT EM­BRACES ITS AGE. OF COURSE, IT WAS DEF­I­NITELY MADE COOLER WITH THE AD­DI­TION OF A HOPPED-UP EN­GINE AND AN AIRBAGGED CHAS­SIS.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.