I decided to try something different this year at the Fall Redneck Rumble in Lebanon, Tenn. Instead of just parking my truck out there, I loaded it up with junk to sell at the swap meet. It was fun … for a while. I moved a little stuff. I talked to all kinds of people about the truck, my merchandise, and anything else that came to mind. I really did enjoy it. But then, around lunchtime, the rain started pouring down in buckets, just as the weatherman had predicted. I closed up shop and set out to take pictures. Unfortunately, many of the show cars I saw when I came in had already left because of the weather. There were still enough out there to make a good story, though. Some of those rat rod guys aren’t going to let a little water bother them!
Here’s the 12,000-lb gorilla at this weekend’s show. It’s basically an old Deuce-and-a-Half M35 Army cargo truck on which someone installed a ’64 Sedan DeVille body. There is no question that this monster drew lots of attention. As the owner fought and wrestled it through the crowd to find a parking space, every phone camera in the place was pointed right at him. Then there was a crowd around it all day. A ten-wheeled Cadillac with diesel belching through a smokestack cut through the hood tends to get that sort of reaction. Expect to see pictures of this beast all over Facebook and Instagram for years to come.
In contrast, this little rig is about as docile as they come. I believe it’s a ’63 Corvair 95 ramp-side truck. It’s finished in the very inoffensive combination of Adobe Beige with a Cordovan Brown roof. The full wheel covers even seem to add to the overall dowdy appearance. But you can’t not like it. It seems to be in mostly original condition. The humongous bed is not even beat up. And the real story is the interior. I haven’t seen a Custom Cab seat that nice in forever. No, this little truck didn’t turn a lot of heads. It didn’t have a crowd of people around it. But I don’t think they know what they’re missing. Nice, original old vehicles are getting harder and harder to find. They don’t all need to be radical to be special.
If you were looking for an interesting project at the swap meet, you could have done worse than this ’39 Cadillac coupe. That’s pretty stylish, don’t you think? These had a 346-c.i. flathead V8, good for a smooth 135-hp. This car has probably been painted and refreshed throughout time. I don’t think it was restored. More like cosmetic maintenance over the course of 78 years. I know it runs and drives, because I saw it cruise by. The black wheels and spider caps may push you in the direction of making this a custom, and it would make a neat one. But it would also be pretty cool put back just the way it came. Or, have the most unique car on your block and just drive it as is.
Another pretty Cadillac was this ’55 Coupe DeVille. Most of what I know about this one is just what you can see in the picture. It’s lowered a little bit. The wheel covers are off a ’57 Cadillac and have been fitted with custom bullet centers. It has been nosed and decked, and the whole car was covered in a striking shade of red. Dummy spotlights and the machine gun exhaust tips are sort of love-it-or-hate-it modifications. I’ll tell you one thing—in a lot full of rust and “patina,” a shiny, bright red Cadillac stands out for all the right reasons.
I like ’57 Plymouths. They are probably not as good as a ’57 Chevy or Ford, but they are arguably more attractive. Many of them just rusted away. Putting this particular example back together would be a major project, but it has some serious potential. Because even though the soft bits of the interior have disintegrated, the body and floors, surprisingly, have not. I also saw it drive through the lot, so it also has that going for it. Imagine how beautiful this Belvedere could be if it was completely restored with a perfect coat of Meadow Green paint. In the right hands, this could be quite a car.