Growing up in the 80s, was a wonderful experience as far as culture is concerned. Arguably the best era for modern music combined with the pastel colors of Miami Vice, it was also the time when automobile themed TV shows started sprouting all over, thus feeding young minds with fascination for the hyper cool machineries – from Knight Rider’s Trans Am to A-Team’s disco van turned hot rod, from Fall Guy’s lifted 4×4 to Hardcastle and McCormick’s Lola themed kit car, many car guys today would blame their sickness from the shows of that era. It just does not run of 80’s coolness.
One of the TV shows of the 80s that got me so awestruck with machineries was about an 18-wheeler red Mack truck driven by a guy named Billie Joe McKae and co-piloted by his ever loyal buddy, a Chimpanzee named Bear. While I believe that drivers of these trailer trucks are among the best, specially when it comes to maneuvering around narrow streets of Manila, it was the TV series BJ and the Bear that got me so hooked up with rigs that I dreamt of becoming an 18-wheeler driver when I was a kid, a dream that obviously never materialized.
Big trucks are the backbone of the economy. Although that may sound hyperbolic, these vehicles have carried everything from point A to point B all over the world, thus mobilizing businesses. Think about it. Buildings would not have been constructed, and bridges may not have been built without these vehicles. From carrying produce and fuel, to arms during conflict, trucks truly are the “blood of a nation”.
While many of these work horses are still around doing what they are supposed to do, a lot of them just died natural deaths and were simply forgotten. Where car aficionados are busy restoring old cars, retired rigs are still out of radar in the classic car world thus many of them have been forgotten.
Occasionally, some specialty car shows for these classic vehicles would appear. And while classic trucks the size of Ford F100 pick-ups may still dominate in numbers, rigs when they show up become instant stars of the show.
Thanks to a car buddy who posted the event in Facebook, a rig show that happens once a year, however it was 75 miles away from where I live. But when I learned about it, the kid in me jumped out. It was the BJ and the Bear all over again. So, I drove down to Perris in California to witness these cool old rigs. From Peterbilt to Mack, from Kenworth to Model AA, the show did not disappoint and was worth the drive.
Whether you are in the brink of restoring a vehicle for the first time, or you already have a bunch of oldies in your stable, and don’t have any specific project in mind to work on, let me suggest considering an old work truck. A mixer, a dump truck, a semi or a tow rig. And can I make a bold prediction? Should I say vintage trucks are going to be the next BIG thing? – yup, literally and figuratively
Own an old rig? Share it to the Lumang Oto Community. We would love to know your story.