This notion was brought to the front of my mind by the recent SEMA 2007 show in Las Vegas. Looking at some of the pictures from the event, I began to wonder, what is happening to all the classic Van and Trucks out there? Is there anyone preserving the original look and feel of these vehicles in the age of "Pimp My Ride?"
I live in Southern California, the epicenter of personal customization, be it for your vehicle or even your body a la plastic surgery. The only odd thing about these forms of customization, at least to my eyes, is that it leads to a sea of "custom" sameness. For one, I know that my personal favorite classic truck, a mid 50's Ford F-100 truck, did not come with airbags, dub spinners, or purple suede upholstery on the seats. When I see a restored F-100 I want to see what that vehicle looked like on the showroom floor, gosh darn it! My grandfather, who passed away before I was born, owned a Ford dealership in the fifties. I am sure I could have asked him, but I am not sure how helpful he would be since he always said, "The only good Ford is a dead Ford!" Actually, he meant the family, not the vehicles. He didn't really take to the original Henry Ford being a Nazi sympathizer. But I digress.
So what is your take on customization? Do you think we will ever reach a day when we posess no notion of what these classic vehicles looked like in their heyday due to personal customization? I know there is still a booming classic original equipment car show scene that caters to this notion. Case in point is the incredible Concourse d' Elegance in Monterey. Anyone who loves classic, perfectly restored automobiles and trucks should check out that show. It is like going to an outdoor museum.
Well, this may make me sound like a boringly traditionalist pseudo-fascist who has trouble with allowing personal expression. That is not the case at all. I see a lot of customization as an art form in itself. I just hope there are some out there who still respect the original look of the classic works of art as a window into our shared past. And that, like a brilliant Picasso or Jackson Pollack painting, should be preserved for future generations to see.