Rust: The Unlikely Savior of Car Culture
In a world where rust is synonymous with decay and destruction, one man has come forward with a radical proposition: rust can actually be good for car culture. Yes, you read that right! This seemingly absurd idea challenges our preconceived notions and delves into the deeper implications of inclusivity and accessibility in the world of automobiles.
Having experienced both the bustling streets of Detroit and the glamorous car culture of Los Angeles, I can confidently say that there is a unique charm to rust that adds depth and character to the automotive landscape. Let’s dive into this unconventional perspective and explore the reasons why rust may just be the unexpected hero of car culture.
First and foremost, it is impossible to deny the strength and vibrancy of car culture in Los Angeles. The sheer variety of vehicles gracing the streets and car shows is unparalleled, even when compared to the automotive mecca of Detroit. Whether you have a penchant for French cars or Italian masterpieces, LA has it all. Citroen DSes, Lancias, Fiats, Alfa Romeos, JDM wonders, American muscle — the list is endless. The diversity is simply mind-boggling.
Furthermore, LA is not solely confined to rare and exotic automobiles. Amongst the sea of extraordinary vehicles, there exists a plethora of normal, non-exotic cars that have stood the test of time. It is not uncommon to spot a clean 1998 Chevy Astro van or a trusty Toyota Previa hauling goods for local businesses. Even the iconic Jeep Cherokee XJ, known for its ruggedness, is utilized as a daily commuter or a reliable shop vehicle. The ever-present Ford Pinto, a symbol of a bygone era, still graces the streets, proving that even unremarkable cars hold a place in the heart of car enthusiasts.
However, there is one glaring observation that cannot be ignored — wealth often takes center stage at car shows in LA. While there are inclusive events that welcome all cars, the vehicles that truly capture attention are often the rare and expensive ones. For aspiring car hobbyists who wish to showcase their own vehicles at car shows, finding something unique becomes a necessity. The car must possess a rare quality without necessarily carrying a hefty price tag. It is here that the allure of rust enters the picture.
Take, for instance, a Dodge Dakota convertible that I encountered in LA. Its owner, filled with delight, proudly showcased his budget-friendly gem, complete with a burgundy interior and a five-speed transmission. This is a prime example of an affordable yet special car that manages to capture attention and appreciation within the car show circuit.
However, it is important to address an editorial note that argues against the notion of an undertone of wealth within car shows. The editor believes that interesting cars, not expensive ones, are rewarded in LA. While this may hold true to an extent, the scarcity of certain vehicles does tend to correlate with their perceived value. Thus, finding an inexpensive car that qualifies as unique and captivating can be quite the endeavor.
Now, let’s shift our focus to Detroit, where attaining a car worthy of a car show is seemingly effortless. In this rust belt city, displaying a “normal” older vehicle like a Chevy Astro, Toyota Previa, Jeep XJ, or even a Ford Pinto guarantees attention and appreciation. The key factor here is the absence of rust. While it may seem trivial, the absence of this dreaded phenomenon signifies that a vehicle has been well-maintained or has spent most of its life in rust-free regions. In Detroit, showcasing such a vehicle automatically grants you membership into the exclusive car show club.
One of the greatest joys in Detroit was marveling at the sight of rust-free 1990s cars. Crown Vics and Jeep Gladiators that appeared mint condition despite their age elicited awe and admiration. The owners, proud of their finds, would regale listeners with tales of uncovering these vehicles in far-off states or tucked away in local garages. These cars, often costing a mere few thousand dollars, became the stars of local car shows, forging connections and a sense of belonging among car enthusiasts.
Additionally, rust has provided me with the opportunity to own cars that would have otherwise been unaffordable. Owning an FC-170 without the corrosive effects of rust would simply be a dream, resulting in exorbitant prices. However, thanks to rust, I have been able to embrace the charm and allure of these unique vehicles that would have otherwise remained out of reach.
Now, I must emphasize that rust remains fundamentally detrimental to the longevity and overall condition of a vehicle. It is essential to acknowledge that rust is not inherently good. However, in the context of car culture, rust presents a peculiar advantage that allows for increased inclusivity and affordability. It lowers the barrier to entry, especially in regions where rust is prevalent, and allows individuals to partake in the car hobby without breaking the bank.
In conclusion, the notion that rust can be beneficial to car culture may initially seem absurd. Yet, when examined closely, it becomes clear that rust adds a layer of inclusivity and accessibility to the world of automobiles. It provides room for ordinary vehicles to shine and be celebrated, while also making it possible for aspiring car enthusiasts to enter the scene with unique, budget-friendly finds. Rust, though inherently detrimental, has inadvertently become a savior of the car culture, leaving enthusiasts with a newfound appreciation for the beauty within imperfection.