Collecting and restoring big trucks is getting to be a very big hobby. Whether it’s a dump truck, an oil tanker, a wrecker or a snow plow, there is some one out there who appreciates it and wants to make it look new again. Big trucks remind us of our youth, when we played “sidewalk superintendent” at the nearest construction site.
Big trucks were colorful and exciting. They mixed cement, drilled holes for telephone poles and lifted steel I-beams. They carried logos and lettering on their doors advertising their owners’ businesses and phone numbers.
The American Truck Historical Society (www.aths.org) based in Kansas City, Mo,. is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to the collecting and preservation of the history of trucks. Many ATHS members favor big trucks over pickups and panels.
ATHS has over 20,000 members, a huge number that many car clubs would be very happy with. The ATHS membership statistics reflect the size and strength of the big truck restoration market. There is also the Antique Truck Club of America (www.antiquetruckclubofamerica.org) which has several thousand additional members.
If the ATHS and ATCA membership rolls tell a story, the statistics from the ATHS annual convention plays a supporting role. The 2014 meeting and truck show was held at the Ozarks Empire Fairgrounds in Springfield, Mo. It had 1,149 official registrations and 713 vintage trucks — most of which were restored — went on display. When you consider that many of the really big trucks required special permits to move, you can see that there is a great passion for big, older trucks.
Big trucks aren’t for everyone. They require lots of room for storage, lots of fuel, more of everything that restorers use and, often, special licenses to drive them. But despite such drawbacks, the big truck hobby is getting bigger every year.
Each of us seems to have a truck-loving kid inside and many of us are starting to let that kid out.