In light of all the negative “stuff” affecting our hobby that’s been going on in recent times—legislation, titling, tree huggers—it’s nice to see we’re getting some positive televised media support. But with all the damage that a certain few cable series programs inflicted over the past decade, will this new enlightened viewpoint on hot rodding have much effect?
With the exception of that Orkin commercial we’ve all seen or heard about (it’s been construed with opposing opinions), companies like Jack Daniels and Valvoline have spun a new light on things, the main point of which I’ve interpreted as preserving Americana. If you haven’t seen the commercials, the one from Jack Daniels backs their message proclaiming the importance of our country’s heritage by depicting, among all things American, a ’27 T roadster pickup and an early Indian Scout. Valvoline (and Castrol before them), on the other hand, has not only been promoting its semi-recycled oil, but supports consumers keeping their cars on the road well past the 100,000-mile marker. Quaker State has a similar promotion, but on top of their product guarantee, they’ve got a program that puts money in consumers’ pockets after they’ve reached 300K.
There are actually a few cable network shows airing lately that, for the most part, illustrate how important the automobile is to our country’s legacy. "
Regarding that particular Orkin ad—two rats in a rod—I don’t know what effect it’ll have on hot rodding, positive, negative, or anything at all. For the most part, the general public probably has no clue what rodents driving that kind of car even suggests. And as for the oil company campaigns, while they aren’t directly aimed at hot rodders, per se, they are standing behind Americans keeping their cars on the road—not just their new cars. It’s sort of nice having that kind of support, especially when some of our local and state governments want the exact opposite.
Furthermore, there are actually a few cable network shows airing lately that, for the most part, illustrate how important the automobile is to our country’s legacy. Whether it’s coverage of the various collector car auctions (Mecum, Barrett-Jackson, etc.), historical features, like the Icon series that aired on the HD Theater, or series like Rides and Chasing Classic Cars, it’s all positive press our hobby desperately needs. (There have been some shows that I think did more harm than good by depicting hot rods being built that don’t quite jive with certain laws and regulations—but overall, the good outweighs the bad.) But is any of this reaching the people who really need to see it? And if so, does it even make the right impression? I wish I knew the answer to that. But if it’s not, what is it going to take in order to make people in higher places not only understand, but respect and honor America’s automotive heritage?