Fans, friends shine around antique trucks

October 12, 2011  | by: Shirley Sponholtz, Editor Old Time Trucks

[OverdriveRetro has begun a new collaboration with Old Time Trucks magazine to showcase more stories about trucking history and old trucks. Shirley Sponholtz, Old Time Trucks editor, explains why antiques are special.]

After more than 20 years in the old truck hobby, I’ve seen that antique trucks bring out the best in people as everyone shares their love for the tired iron. At Old Time Trucks we think aging trucks are fun, and we appreciate all old trucks, rusty or restored, running or not. Old rusty relics sitting in a field always make me think of Cinderella. They’ve worked hard and haven’t been shown any care or appreciation – they’ve been left to fend for themselves. They deserve a Prince Charming who will love them and make them beautiful.

But no matter how painstaking a restoration might be, we sometimes hear from people who think that it wasn’t done the way they thought it should have been done. They don’t like the fact that a powerful engine was installed in a truck that had never had an engine like that in its day. Or they might object to modifications like air conditioning, comfortable seats, or plush interiors that were not available when a particular truck was built.

Many times those folks are correct, and there might have been a more historically accurate way to have done a restoration. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that trucks have always been very individualistic. Many of them were modified the moment they left the factory. In the early days that was true for almost all trucks. It’s the reason why judging a truck show is such a tricky business – old trucks were not built with the kind of uniformity that you find in cars.

Shirley Sponholtz, Old Times Trucks editor

Restoring an old truck, or just taking good care of a rusty, original truck, is a better thing to do than allowing it to rot away, neglected and forgotten. If adding some of today’s comforts to an old truck means that family members can – and will – ride along to shows, that’s a good thing in my book. Is it historically accurate? Nope. But does it encourage and spread a love for the old truck hobby? I’d have to say it does.

There’s room enough for everyone in this hobby. The spirit of caring friendship is the hobby’s most valuable asset, and I hope that never changes.

Shirley Sponholtz is editor and publisher of Old Time Trucks, a magazine about antique trucks and the history of trucking that she founded in 2004. For 12 years prior to that she was editor of Wheels of Time, a magazine published by the American Truck Historical Society. When ATHS relocated its offices, Shirley couldn’t move with them. She missed the old trucks and old truck nuts, so she started her own magazine. She entered the old truck hobby in 1990 while she was working on her master’s degree in English and answered an ad for a part-time assistant editor for Wheels of Time. She continues to be intrigued by old trucks, which for her, have a powerful draw.

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