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TRUCKS AND WOMEN
Story by Lois Grace


As Bob Dylan said, "The times, they are a'changing".  That's still true after all these years, even in the VW hobby.  While it used to be fairly rare to see a girl showing a car, it's getting so that there are more and more of us out there.  It's not equally split yet, but give us time.  Guys show cars, girls show cars, and everybody has fun.  Usually.  Unless you're trying to convince people that the car you're showing is really YOURS.  Ever had this problem?  Probably not, unless you happen to be female and your car is a 1959 Single Cab pickup.  I can relate to that one too.

Bugs and ladies get along very well. Buses and ladies are a little more rare.  But how many of you can think of TRUCKS that are owned and loved by those of us of the female persuasion?  I'll be not many.  I, myself, can think of only three right off the bat:  myself, a friend of mine and her bus, Wilbur, and a woman from Sacramento who dotes on a '63 Deluxe.  But for the most part, women and Type II's just aren't generally thought of as a common sight.

Being a sort of non-conformist, I get a certain weird kick out of having a restored single cab. We're such an odd sight at shows and parades that we're the topic of lots of discussion, Vernon and I.  "Oh, how CUTE!  Her husband let her drive his truck!"  or, "Hey, look, she's got his truck here!", and the ever-popular, "Tell your husband he's got one beautiful truck there."  hahahaha.  You can imagine how well that last one goes over with me, the one person brave enough to venture into the depths of Vernon's cargo hold, wire wheel and Rustoleum in hand, to scrape away the years of decay.  Me, myself!  HAH!  I'd like to see one guy brave enough to do THAT!  And this guy wanted to give my husband credit for this? Hmmm. I can understand where all this comes from, mind you, but I don't have to like it.  Do I?

Slowly, Vernon and I are educating our public.  Woman CAN have trucks and buses if they want!  They can help make them as beautiful as the guys do with theirs!  They too, can know the fun of restoring a car! My husband Rob goes with me to almost every show and event.  Once there, he makes himself scarce for one reason or another (I personally think it's because he doesn't really like VW's), and leave me to answer the questions that are surely to follow.  I don't mind, really.  If buses ladies are hard to understand, imagine how a single cab TRUCK and a woman get treated.  I know, most women wouldn't CHOOSE a single cab to restore, if they wanted a VW they'd probably pick something "cute" like a convertible Ghia or something.  Even a Model A.  Or a Thing.  Yes, even a Thing would be less an oddity in the hands of a woman.  Well, in all honesty if I were going to choose a VW to restore, I probably wouldn't choose a single cab either.  MEN might want one, but a woman?  But, it didn't work that way - I didn't choose Vernon, HE chose me.  The rest is history.

I think it was at one of Vernon's first appearances as a complete truck that I got a sample of this strange behavior that men exhibit sometimes.  A guy came up to me while I was cleaning and polishing, and wanted to know now long it had taken my husband to restore this truck and how much money did he invest??  HUH?  What the heck did he mean by THAT crack?  My husband?  Vernon and I had been friends for 6 years before I'd even met the man I married!  And, all told Rob had invested countless hours supporting me and this massive undertaking, but hadn't invested a single dime of HIS money in it - Vernon was all mine!  Didn't I look like a Truck Person?  It took me a minute to realize that after seeing me (being a woman-type person and all) and seeing Vernon (being a big blue truck-type vehicle and all) that NO, I did not look like a truck person and this guy just assumed that Vernon belonged to a MAN.  In all fairness to men, we can't blame them for this attitude.  Vernon and I do look odd together.  Part of this problem is my own appearance, I think.  I'm fairly tall, blue eyed and very blond.  In short, not the classic example of someone most folks would expect to see standing next to a restored Type II, unless she were wearing a neon bikini and was draping herself seductively over a fender.  Well, since Type II's don't have fenders, I suppose she'd have to find a Deluxe sunroof bus to lounge around or over.  You get the idea, right?  But to see a Blonde Person, on hands and knees with a dirty rag, cleaning the grass off her tire treads - well, it's just more than some can comprehend.  Too strange to contemplate.  I'm no radical feminist but neither am I one to sit back and let others bask in MY glory!  After all, hadn't I helped on a lot of  the work?  Hadn't I color-sanded Vernon's hide with my very own hands?  Hadn't I worried and cried and despaired over him?  Sure, yes, I had!  But that was no reason to rip the guy's lips off for asking a question!  People needed to be enlightened, not antagonized!

It didn't take long before I grew to actually enjoy the extra attention Vernon and I got at shows.  Once I told them that Vernon was indeed MINE, most people were very friendly and interested in our story.  There seemed to be a few people who were too shy to ask the obvious.  I didn't bother them, I just left them alone and they figured it out for themselves.  There were also a few guys who didn't seem to believe me when I told them Vernon was mine.  Even they don't bother me much anymore - I just smile sweetly and wonder why these guys think I'd even be cleaning a truck that wasn't mine.  Some thought it was funny - HER, and this truck?  HAHAHA!  You've gotta be kidding!  Well, I think it's funny too - we really are an Odd Couple.

I've had guys want to argue with me about what is correct and what is not.  Women NEVER say a word about this, but for some reason, a few guys have a need to find SOMETHING on Vernon that isn't quite right, isn't STOCK.  I decided when I began this project that the point of it was going to be to make Vernon as nice as he could possibly be, and to make him the way I wanted him.  Not necessarily the way he was born, but BETTER.  He actually turned out pretty much bone stock as it is.  But, the interior is my version of what a Deluxe single cab would have looked like, if VW had built one.  Instead of the gray cardboard door panels, Vernon's are upholstered to match the seat, which is a tasteful gray tweed with gray vinyl trim.  He has a gray AutoTex headliner, which matches the panel around the rear window.  I did it this way because it made ME happy, not so that it would conform to what he was supposed to have.  Too, I wanted him reliable so I could drive him to shows and parades.  (He's been trailered exactly twice in his entire life, and not by choice)  His old vacuum advance distributor was giving up the ghost, so I replaced it with the more reliable centrifugal advance model, the .009.  Ditto for the coil, which was replaced with a Bosch blue coil.  Those two items are the only non-stock things on the engine, yet they still catch some eyes.  I had one guy who felt it necessary to point out to me that these did not occur naturally on a 36hp engine.  I had to then explain that yes, I knew this, and there was a reason I'd done this.

One young guy (is my age showing yet??) wanted to argue that my front bumper wasn't correct.  To tell you the truth, when I got a front bumper for him (Vernon had a set of weird aftermarket bumpers at the time) I only knew I wanted one of the "plumber's delight" type - blade, bow, and overriders.  I had no idea there were different kinds!  Luckily, I ended up with the right thing - one that slants down on the ends.  This guy insisted I had the wrong one; since Vernon was a '59, he should have had the bumper that ends in a point on both sides.  I make a point of not arguing with someone if I can help it, especially if I'm not sure I'm right.  But in this case, I'd just been told that what he was talking about was an earlier style - '58 and earlier.  I told him this, yet he persisted. I forget how this drama ended - it's been a couple years - but I remember something about ignoring him.  When I wouldn't argue about the bumper, he tried to pick apart Vernon's paint.  Dove Blue?  Nah, this can't be Dove Blue since it should be a bit more GRAY if it was Dove Blue.....................this looks more like Fjord Blue to me. Yeah, right, whatever.  The guy was clearly looking for ANY reason to find fault with Vern.  I doubt he would have gone to this extreme if Rob had owned the truck.  Or, maybe he would.

Most people are so nice, and interested, that the Fun People far outnumber the UnFun People.  In fact, the main reason I have such a good time showing Vernon is because I get to talk to them about my favorite subject!  Get me started and I'm hard to shut up.  Secretly, I get a big kick out of all the extra attention we attract.  I don't take him to shows to loudly proclaim for all to hear that Vernon is MINE, and a MAN didn't have a thing to do with it.  No, as a matter of fact, quite a few men had a LOT to do with it.  Without Rob's support, I probably would have given up long ago.  And, the ones directly responsible for returning Vernon to his former glory were ALL men.  But women seem to love Vern too.  They usually let the guys do all the talking, then upon finding out he's mine, they turn to the guy and say something like, "Well, SEE?  I told you."

I guess Vernon and I have quite a reputation now.  I didn't mean for this to happen, it just did, but now that it has I'm not sure it's a bad thing.  What the heck, it might open doors for Transporting ladies all over the U.S.  The most fun I have at shows is sitting there, with my back turned, listening to the comments.  Some will already know about him.  Some will have heard of him, but not of me!  A few will  have never seen him before.  But the comments!  "This is the truck a CHICK did."  "I wanna see THIS one. Her dad bought it when she was a kid."  "NO WAY,MAN!!"  And it goes on like that.  That's the fun part.  It's great being a novelty and I enjoy it.  I suppose Vern enjoys it too, but it's hard to tell.  He wears the same bland blue face to every show.  Unless you can see that tiny smile there, see? Right there, yep!
VolksWoman

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