American Autocar pays homage to Vietnam veterans

November 9, 2011  | by: Christi Cowan

Bad Moon Rising, owned by Vietnam veteran Frank Mapstone, was a 1988 Autocar Model AT with a special paint job featured in Overdrive’s January 1998 Pride & Polish section. The back of the green truck was decorated with a mural of a man mourning over the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall in Washington, D.C., which showed a reflection of several soldiers dressed in uniform.

The truck also featured the phrases, “To forget is to repeat,” and “Neither is acceptable.” Below the mural was a tribute to prisoners of war, that read “POW,” “MIA,” and “You are not forgotten.” Mapstone, a Wrightsville, Pa., resident, was quoted as saying, “This picture speaks volumes.”

With a new engine, driveline overhaul, brakes, clutch, radiator, wheels and tires, Bad Moon Rising had been completely rebuilt when its photo was originally published. It also had a new paint job, new chrome and steel parts inside and new leather. It ran on a 425 horsepower Caterpillar and a 13-speead Eaton transmission. It was one of the last Autocars built with an American-style cab. Mapstone used the truck to haul antique vehicles and agricultural equipment.

On this Veterans Day, it’s worth noting that Overdrive has long supported U.S. war veterans and featured occasional stories about or letters from soldiers serving in Vietnam in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Tributes to soldiers and the American flag have graced Overdrive’s print issues and online sites.

OverdriveRetro, for example, included last year an essay by Overdrive’s Technical Editor John Baxter about his experiences as a refrigeration equipment repairman in Vietnam. Another article describes the combat duty Overdrive reader Doug Fetterly served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam. Trucks that pay homage to Americana images like Old Glory can be found at OverdriveRetro online in the Trucks photo gallery.

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