There’s some good ol’ boys out there who love to tinker on their cars every chance they get. They're not necessarily Harvard scholars, nor are they from back in the hills or down some dusty dirt road. They’re from every neck of the woods, and from every city street. They will tackle any problem out there, and usually have some really interesting ways
of solving them. Give these guys, or gals a few tools, a cutting torch, and a welder, and you might find a redneck in the making. A little grinding with sparks a flying along with a few 2X4’s, and they'll soon have a new creation coming out of the garage.
When it comes to every day repairs, they have their own unique way of taking care of them, to say the least. I'm not talking about the duct taped window with the split open garbage bag over it, or a pair of lock grip pliers for the blower switch. .. no, no, no... those kind of quick fixes are too common and don't even rate to be called a true redneck repair. I'm talking about the ingenious methods of taking care of their car without the aid of a manual, common sense, or good judgment. These are the true rednecks that blanket the country with the most hilarious methods of keeping their cars on the road that anyone could even imagine. I’ve got a few examples… let’s see if you agree.
The other day I was making my way home when I spotted an old pickup a few cars ahead of me. It appeared to be hauling a load of scrap metal, but as I got closer it was clear this scrap metal was lashed onto the truck itself. This guy had an old aluminum screen door laid across the back of the cab horizontally, and had it silicone sealed in place as well as wire straps in several places. He was using it in place of the rear glass of the cab. Not only did he have the glass window pushed up, he was also using the screen window to allow the breeze to enter his cab. (It wasn’t hard to tell with the bits of paper getting blown up from the truck bed, and then sticking momentarily to the screen.) Yep, I’d say there's no doubt, this guy is officially ... a redneck.
A few years ago I had an old car come in for some front end work... boy, was it a pile of junk. There wasn't a straight piece of metal on the car anywhere. Talk about clearing the barn out of bailing wire, this guy had it everywhere. The oddest thing was this piece of rope tied to each of the wiper blades which he had running through the open front windows. I had to stop what I was doing, and ask him what the rope was for... he was eager to show me. While sitting in the driver's seat he would pull the rope back and forth and his wipers would move accordingly. Cleaver ain’t he? … I guess so, his reasoning behind it seemed pretty sound…… the wiper motor froze up some time ago, and to avoid repairing it he came up with this little rig. Can’t deny it… that's a redneck repair if I ever saw one.
Oh there's more...there’s always more redneck repairs out there. Just hard to keep from looking at some of them sometimes; just makes ya shake your head at what they have created. Of course, there are these guys that fall in the category of real redneck engineers out there. These suspender wearing-beer chuggin’ tool connoisseurs like to think of themselves as automotive structural re-engineers. I've seen everything from a Pinto four feet off the ground with a complete 4WD set up under the chassis, to SUV's with the tops cut off like a convertible. In fact one guy was using his revamped SUV as a way to haul his livestock around his farm. The only time he would get it out on the highway was to fill it up with gas at the local station. Once in a while he'd bring his pigs, goats, or whatever else he was hauling along for the ride. You guessed it, definitely... a redneck.
So what constitutes a redneck? I suppose the best answer to that would be someone who dares to be different. Someone who has enough “moxie” to attempt the impossible without any concern or care what anyone else thinks about their remake of their horseless carriage. They're out to take care of a problem, or a need they have, with the tools and scrap metal they have at hand, and by golly, they’ll get it done for sure. I know I've done my share of redneck repairs in the past, and there's no doubt I've got a bit of that redneck in me too. I'm sure most of us do, just some of these good ol' boys just take it to the extreme.
We've all probably seen the beer can strapped to the exhaust to keep it from leaking, the flashlights duct taped to the fenders, the chain and lock in place of the door locks, and of course the odd battery clamp. That’s just amateur stuff compared to some of the professional rednecks out there. These folks take care of business in their own special way. There's no end to their creativity, nor the ability to come up with something so weird or unique that you'll say, “Yep, that there is a redneck thru and thru.” (I would just stand clear if one of them says… “Hey now, watch this.”)
Now, on occasion you'll spot some of the creations from these backwoods garages that will totally surprise you. At a VW car show many years ago I saw an old type III Volkswagen where this creative genius took a V6 Pontiac Fiero motor, suspension and drive train, and somehow shoehorned it into place where the original motor and backseat were. You could practically change the plugs from the driver's seat…… it was that close to his head. Did it work? You darn tootin' it worked. Work so well he could stand the front end up as it shifted into second gear.
Ya gotta love these redneck creations. They make me smile; brings a chuckle out once in a while, too. As a mechanic I'm generally skeptical of these lofty ideas they have, but as a spectator at a mud bog...I just love this stuff. Give me some good old American ingenuity any day of the week.
The one thing you can say for all those good old boys out there... these guys sure know how to have fun. Just keep trickin' out them there vehicles and show em' off, ya hear.
I've heard of other countries claiming they have some good ol' boys of their own, but they can’t hold a socket wrench up against a couple of good old home grown U.S. of A. Rednecks, that's for sure. The heart and soul of us all... … … …Rednecks - a true American original, and dang proud to be one myself.