Boy do we love our cars, trucks, and motorcycles!
A recent study indicates there are over 250 million passenger vehicles in the United States which is amazing given that the population of the country is estimated to be just over 300 million people! That means there are more vehicles than drivers!
That should say something about our love for vehicles, why have just one car or truck when you can have two? And if you’re really into it you can get a vehicle and customize or restore it and just take it to auto shows and car club cruises. This month there is a huge auto show in Detroit, one in Portland and in February a hot rod show in Portland as well. The Internet is full of information about auto shows, autoramas, and other vehicle events nation wide. You could probably hit a show a week if you crisscrossed the country checking them all out!
Now in recent years I’ve been to car shows, watched car parades, enjoyed walking through shopping mall parking lots looking at the customized cars and trucks and even rode in a hot rod in a parade once but it all started for me when I was a young kid growing up in Portland.
My family and my Mothers sisters’ family lived in Northeast Portland and one of my older cousins was kind of my guardian. He went to Benson High School and I went to Irvington grade school. Before he’d gotten his drivers license and first car he and I had spent many hours traversing Portland by bus and going out to Jantzen Beach, Portland’s popular amusement park. He’d put up with my childish ways with the disdain of an older brother or cousin dispatched to baby-sit some kid. But we had a lot of fun and I learned a lot about life from him. Two things stand out, the first was when he took me for the first time on the super roller coaster at Jantzen Beach and the second was after he’d gotten his drivers license and he took me to my first car show or Autorama as they called it then. That was the beginning of my love affair with cars.
He’d come over to my house one Saturday morning driving the first of the many hot rods he had over the years and off we went. The parking lot of the exhibit hall was packed with cars and as we walked into the hall my world suddenly looked different. Before me were rows of gleaming, colorful and beautiful cars! I was speechless and I know my cousin was laughing at me as he watched my eyes open wide in amazement. I had never seen such an array of spectacular machines, I was almost afraid to start walking by them for fear of touching or scratching one. Gradually I relaxed and began looking closely at the cars and by the end of the day I felt I had grown up; now full of experience and knowledge about the cars thanks to my cousin who spent time pointing out various highlights of each car. I couldn’t wait to get home and impress my bother and Dad with my descriptions of it all. It was an eye opening, mind expanding day.
The next summer my family moved to California and when we first arrived we stayed at a motel not too far from a fenced in auto wrecking yard. I missed all my friends in Portland and my cousins so I would walk down to the wrecking yard and the owner would let me wander around amongst the rusting wrecks. I would find one that wasn’t in real bad decay and ease myself into the drivers’ seat and imagine myself as the owner and driver of my own custom car. It may have been a dilapidated Ford of Chevy but to me it was a sparkling piece of machinery than my cousin would have been proud to see me in! In time we moved away from the wrecking yard and I adjusted to a new life in a new place with new friends, but each time I see an add for a auto show or see a string of custom cars gliding down the road I think of the first time a kid really saw a hot rod and how that memory has served me well!!
And oh yes, today my cousin has a hot rod safely tucked away in his garage; a 5 window, 1929 Ford Roadster coupe!
To reach Rick Schultze email: firstname.lastname@example.org