Why Rust Appeals To Us

This past weekend, my brother Gordon drove down to Peoria so he could get 4 hours of sleep and then wake up and drive 3 more hours to a car show in the middle of Northeast Missouri called the Rust Revival. Oh, and we got to visit and eat some killer BBQ ribs as well. For anyone who likes antique cars, traditional hot rods and customs, and even a stray farm truck...the Rust Revival is one heck of a show. There's no BS, no trophies, no 'pissing contests'. Its just a bunch of people with old stuff that they like to wrench on and drive. We took Oscar there, too and the 300+ mile trek across Western Illinois and through Keokuk, Iowa went just fine. Truth be told, it was one of the best road trips I've taken in a while since the weather was cool and there was just enough sun. Once we arrived at the show, we were greeted with every TRUE gearhead's favorite thing to see on an old car or truck: Rust.

You see, growing up with a family that ran around to car shows of all sizes & types, I always enjoyed seeing "show cars". These nicely restored or customized cars and trucks were the pride of their owners and had mostly been taken down, restored completely, and thrown back together to either win awards at shows or serious recognition from restoration enthusiasts. Fine. Those are still great to look at. Ever try to buy a restored car? Forget it on a regular joe's salary. Ever restore a car and then drive it? Forget it, you start to freak out over every tiny thing that can harm it, like rock chips and drunk drivers. Where the rubber meets the road for me and a growing number of gearheads is in unrestored rides. Imperfect cars and trucks that have never been apart, never been sitting in pieces in someones basement or never had someone's Uncle Cletus "tinker with it". Thousands of old vehicles still wear paint with some battle scars, that show the true age of these machines. To younger hobbyists, that is what makes us respect these classics even more than a base coat / clear coat paintjob, fresh motor and transmission rebuild, or new set of seat covers.

Sure there's a lot of work that needs to be done on these machines if you want to win awards, truly preserve them as factory original, or drive across the country. But take the AD Chevy pickup Gordon & I ran into last weekend in the picture above. It had a battery, and an external fuel tank installed...and it drove to the show. This old farm girl had probably been "dug out of a swap" as Gordon said, and with enough cases of oil and a few stops along the way, would probably still carry you as far toward either coast as you wanted to go.

Rust also shows the potential to go either way with a car or truck. Let it return to nature, or let it come back to life. It shows that what was once perfect and treasured by some, can be forgotten and tarnished over time. Insert your poetic metaphors here.

Rust can also uncover the true history of a vehicle. In the case of this old Plymouth, it unveiled its life as a family farm truck in rural Southern Illinois. Thanks to a digital image of this emailed to my Dad, it was also uncovered that he knew the descendant of this farm, miles away from any of us. The acquaintance was likely happy to see a part of his family's legacy was still alive and running in Wayland, Missouri 76 years after it came home... A small detail that would have been missed if it was covered with shiny new paint.

 For a killer video featuring highlights from the Rust Revival show, CLICK HERE.

And some pics I snapped are HERE.


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