By Jeremy Jones
I grew up in a garage. Okay, well I didn’t actually grow up IN the garage, but I sure did spend a lot of time there in my youth. My father was a career truck driver. His younger brother, my uncle, was a master mechanic who ran his own shop just a quarter mile up the road from our home. For many of my formative years, that was the place to be.
For my father, a car was, in his words, a tool to get you from point “A” to point “B”. It’s one of the few ways that I have ever disagreed with my dad. To me, an automobile can be a tool, yes. But it can also be an extension of who you are. Not just a status symbol, mind you, but an actual expression of your own personal take on life. My uncle was a Subaru, Audi and Mercedes nut. Status? Nope. He admired the safety levels that those manufacturers built into their cars in the ’70s and ’80s. That was his own expression of what he valued in an automobile.
Now, if I had MY druthers, I’d be tooling around in a 2006 Aston Martin DBS. Now THAT would be an expression of my true self. Move over, 007 – the nerd from New Hampshire is moving in.
As much as I love automobiles that run, however, my true love is in junk cars and trucks. I find such amazing stories lying in the rusted and twisted metal, the shattered glass, the shredded seat cushions and broken glove boxes where scavengers have hunted for hidden trinkets. I imagine the stories these cars could tell if only they had the means to convey the things they have seen. A military transport vehicle that might have known some WWII action before being returned stateside for retirement. A 1951 Packard that might once have driven a New York socialite to the hottest nightclubs in Manhattan. A ’38 Dodge that probably carried a farmer’s wife to the hospital as she was in labor with their fourth child. The stories are mine to imagine and mine to believe!
Often, though, I just sit and stare at an old heap and wonder about the speed of progress in our society and the ease with which we cast off once-treasured possessions in favor of the latest and greatest thing. Maybe, just maybe, my dad was more right than I like to admit. Perhaps the automobile, ultimately, really IS just a tool. And, when that tool is done serving its purpose, it loses its allure. It loses its status. Dealership to boneyard. Point “A”…meet Point “B”.