Hi, my name is Jim Hinckley and I am addicted to rust. Most kids drag home stray puppies, I used to drag home rusty things. It started with discarded bicycles and wagons but soon I was bringing home abandoned vehicles and assorted parts.
I can’t really blame my parents even though it was they who first exposed me to rust. My first memories are of a rusty Chevy convertible that had been submerged after a hurricane. This was followed with a ’57 Chevy sedan on the fast track toward becoming metallic Swiss cheese as a result of Michigan road salt.
My first hands on experience with these old derelicts came with a massive World War II era deuce and a half we used as a water truck, a ’49 Studebaker that could haul what seemed to be massive amounts of hay, a ’49 Mercury dad transformed into a truck, and a ’53 Chevy truck with an advanced case of desert sunburn.
Then, after we moved back to Michigan, there was a 1953 International boom truck used in dad’s scrap business, and one of my first cars, a 1938 Chrysler. The Chrysler was so ravaged by the tin worm that the front fender fell off one night as I drove across the railroad tracks near Page Avenue.
Next came a tattered 1964 Rambler American station wagon followed by my first truck, a 1942 Chevy half ton. The Chevy had so many dents they overlapped, it was almost as though it had been used as a drum by demons armed with ball pin hammers pounding out an unholy symphony. The various coats of paint had worn away leaving only a patina of desert sunburn induced rust. 
On the occasions when I did purchase a vehicle with paint, such as the beautiful robins egg blue ’64 Cadillac, or my almost new bronze and white ’78 Chevy truck, it seemed to freak friends out. I suppose it would be akin to having a life long friend who had studied for the priesthood suddenly announcing he was becoming a gay, nudist Druid monk.
For the first few years of adult hood it was battered and rusty representatives of GM from the pre 1950 period that provided my transportation. There was a dependable 1946 GMC that proved to be the best desert wagon ever owned until we acquired the Jeep, a 1942 Chevy stake bed, a 1949 GMC stake bed, a 1949 Chevy panel truck, and a couple of 1949 and 1950 Chevy pick up trucks.
They all shared similar traits. They were well used before I got them and all of them were deeply dusted with rust after being baked in the desert sun for decades.
With the passing of the years, with a few exceptions, my rusty steeds became a bit more modern. One of the big exceptions was a truly well worn 1926 Ford my dearest friend and I double dated in.
From about 1979 to to 1990, the vehicles that graced our driveway, hauled groceries, transported my son and wife home from the hospital, and that carried us on vacations to the mountains of Colorado, the coast of California and Oregon, and through the vast landscapes of New Mexico represented the American auto industry between 1950 and the early 1970s.
There was a ’56 Ford Fairlane and a ’54 Dodge pick up, a 1969 Galaxie and ’70 Chevy pick up, a ’73 Impala and ’74 Ford F100, a ’64 Pontiac and ’69 Cadillac convertible, and a handful of Advance design series Chevy trucks built between 1947 and 1953.
My dearest friend accepted my affliction and even became used to the looks of pity given when she loaded the son and groceries into a faded and tattered 1973 Olds. But she could do this with a smile knowing that the Olds, a $350.00 purchase, had ice cold ac, was dependable, cost little to maintain, and was comfortable on long trips. And as we had no car payments, there were funds for grand adventures.
As it turned out the rusty, trusty Olds stands out as one of my better purchases. It served us faithfully for 16 years and through its windshield we saw Big Sur, Monterrey, lots of Arizona, and most of southern California. With the purchase of the Jeep, we gave it away and to this day we see its faded blue hulk cruising the streets of Kingman.
By the year 2000, we had moved forward and our primary road trip transport was a faded 1988 Ford Crown Victoria Country Squire. The old wagon served us faithfully for years even though it wasn’t much of a looker.
My son learned to drive and took his driving test behind the wheel of this land yacht. There were camping trips and family trips to Colorado, New Mexico, and California. As with the Olds, when we purchased the Jeep it to was given a new home and serves its new family just as faithfully.
In my old age the addiction has not waned but now lies just under the surface awaiting an opportunity to resurface with the acquisition of a long awaited Model A truck or pre 1920 Hudson. In the mean time we drive our shiny black Jeep and when I need a quick fix, there is always Barney our fast fading 1968 Dodge Adventurer.

If you enjoy Jim Hinckley\'s America, take a second to support jimhinckleysamerica on Patreon!