In the May issue of Custom Classic Trucks, the discussion of how the various states and cities are dealing with clunker laws and seizing private property in the May editorial "Goose-Steppers Go Home" really struck a chord with our readership. It was only a matter of hours after the May issue hit the newsstands before we received e-mails and phone calls from folks who had some major problems dealing with local authorities and the storage of their future restoration projects.
Without a doubt, one of the most popular departments in Custom Classic Trucks is the very last page in the magazine known as "The End?" It seems that there's not a soul amongst CCT's loyal readers who doesn't enjoy gazing at the image of a rusty old truck and then dreaming about one day bringing one just like it back to life. It's a story we have retold many times within the pages of CCT. A son or a grandson has the actual truck, or one just like the one his father, or grandfather once drove, and wanted to make it look like new again. One story that comes to mind involves Eddie Drayden of Lemoore, California, and his '55 Chevy pickup that was featured in the October 2006 issue. Eddie's grandfather bought the Chevy brand-new in Homer, Louisiana, and then utilized it to move his family to Los Angeles in the '60s. Eddie's grandfather used the '55 to make his living right up to his dying day in 1982. The trusty, old Chevrolet was parked in the yard and wasn't moved for almost 20 years.
Eddie Drayden's story is a good example of how it has been since the earliest days of the car/truck-collecting hobby. A person finds the remnants of a vehicle that has been ignored for many years, often decades, and then offers it new life. For example, the very first Ford Thunderbird ever produced by the Ford Motor Company was discovered years later as a derelict vehicle sitting in plain view in a gas station parking lot in Santa Ana, California. How the 'Bird went from such notoriety to ending up as just another old used car is hard to say. One thing is for sure: If things continue in the same vein as they are now, this rare car would have been lost to the ages. For folks who love the heritage of America's automobile industry and would like to see it preserved, there are developments that make the future of classic vehicles uncertain.
A movement that will affect Custom Classic Trucks' last page directly are clunker and inoperable vehicle laws. This is a trend occurring in almost every state, county, and city in the United States. It's hard to say why all of a sudden these unreasonable and un-American laws have moved to the top of the list to enact. But in the same manner as the people who move next door to an airport and then complain about the noise, we are hearing about some who've moved across the street from a junkyard and then complained about the view. Unfortunately, when these type of people complain loud enough and get the ear of their local politicians, the end results are often an unfair law. A good example of a worst-case scenario is the handiwork of Senator Frank Deem of West Virginia with S.B. 143. In short, this law would redefine "abandoned motor vehicles" to include inoperable vehicles on private property that are not in an enclosed building to be in violation, and would classify these "violations" as a misdemeanor offense punishable by substantial fines, community service, and jail. If this law goes through, there's no question the supply of "The End?" photos from West Virginia will dry up, and it's likely we'll be forwarding some folks' Custom Classic Trucks subscriptions to West Virginia jails.