Kenneth is a rural citizen of Hamilton, Ala., and has begun to observe life and certain things and people helping him to write about them.
Hubcaps Are a Strong National Industry
that I have arrived at this juncture: writing about a hub about hubcaps. Not that I am trying to be cute or causing you to chuckle, but it had to be this way. I have, in the past, written about Mother Nature, insects, reptiles, and frogs, and not that I have anything against this genre of life, I cannot be a “Friend of Nature,” and live like a southern-bred male (that’s m-a-l-e, son) at the same time. Males, as everyone knows, are tough when it comes to change—stubborn is more like it. The fact remains that males, like females, have certain likes, dislikes, and that is pure nature at work. And my “like,” evolved from my teen years and stayed with me in my adult years. My love for hubcaps. You heard right! Hubcaps.
Before the automobile became a rolling computer, doctor's office and conference room, our cars were cars. No bones about it. From the years of 1967 through 1972, these were my car years that I dearly-loved, but only if they had hubcaps that were fancy to the straight Chrome Reverse (see photo) which are not hubcaps, but plain rims that are either made from expensive chrome or some joker has spent four-bucks at his local auto parts store and bought himself a big can of spray paint, the aluminum color. It worked. Besides there were not many guys who would stop in front of their auto parts store, take out their pencils and paper and do some arithmetic on how much or less they could spend on deceiving other guys into believing that their car rims were aluminum. All for four-bucks.
Our lives were cut-throat, back-stabbing, and down right deceitful as it pertained to our cars. It was a daily battle to see whose car looked and sounded the baddest automobile in our small, Mayberry-type town of Hamilton, Ala. Speaking of Mayberry, Andy and Barney, did you ever realize that there were NO fast cars, hot rods seen in Mayberry?
Now Back in 1971
we guys had long since ceased the parking of our cars to purposely place them where it was near-impossible for other guys to park near our car because of how shiny it was. And our hubcaps, those had, to be top-notch, blue ribbon winning, shiny as a new nickel in the well bucket hubcaps who longed for some jealous guy (whose job wouldn’t afford him some new hubcaps) to slump down and gaze at how shiny that we had made our hubcaps by shining them over and over with the type of wax that you could only buy at a respectable auto parts store.
Shoot! We, the cool guys, would not sit in our cars when there were pretty girls afoot and in need of male attention, so all that we had to do to get female companionship was to make our cars more beautiful than the rest of our friends’ cars and I do mean cleaner inside and out of our cars. If you “only” washed your car without throwing it a nice wax job as well as a good vacuuming, you were a loser before you shot out of the gate. Laziness in making a car gorgeous is not tolerated.
But we all had that unspoken rule of striving to own the town’s most-gorgeous hubcaps. Those that would help us to win any automobile competition hands down. Yeah, those hubcaps that would easily run us from $350.00 to as much as $500.00 depending on whether or not you were friends with the automotive shop. Sure, there were a few of us who bent the rules of the road. These guys would slip the automotive shop owner a few more bucks (more than the suggested retail price) so he, the car owner, could look maybe a notch or two higher than my friends and me.
Sometimes it worked. Sometimes the automotive shop owner “pulled the rug out from under” the would-be Best Looking ‘55 Chevy, two-door with a 283 under the hood to be parked where there would always be car and truckloads of hot girls who loved to yell to us about giving them a ride—and we did willingly. All because our hubcaps always shined brighter than those low-life car owners who cut corners in order to look better than we did. We the car owners labored to have the best-looking hubcaps and the best thin about nice hubcaps was always having female companionship.
But There Was
no such thing as a guy who rode his car with hubcaps that had been dinged-up from being hit with loose gravel or gray slag that is seen on the newly-built highways. You see, some guys just do not care about the beauty of their hubcaps because they have been deceived by their fathers who were deceived themselves by preaching to them that a hard-working, honest SELF image was all that was needed to be popular, and to have female companionship.
What a lie! May I say that once again? What a lie! And would you even think that in 2019, these same fathers are piling-up the very same manure and causing their deceived sons who believed everything an authority figure could say, are still around and still do not care to tell their sons (and a few daughters) that the mark of a real man is pretty hubcaps. Make no mistake. Not just any hubcaps, but gorgeous, without a blemish or dings where gravel and slag have dented them, hubcaps who are envied by every guy around.
Oh, if someone with moxie and sense had been around when I was running with my friends, what a nice town we would have enjoyed every weekend—going out to get a burger, a two-dollar movie at the local drive-in, and a girl on our side, all because we had fathers who cared, and cared a LOT, maybe a bit too much, about their sons having the best-looking hubcaps and even if their cars were not that nice just as long as their hubcaps looked beyond nice. No. they were alive, looking beyond nice.
any car (or truck) look great. Take my word for it. I have witnessed a few of my friends who for some reason, chose not to put those beautiful saucer-style of hubcaps, chrome of course, but these guys did not adorn their cars with hubcaps that the rest of us knew that this thinking would help the looks of their cars.
I guess even in the Teenage World in which we lived, there was a certain amount of mystery that somehow rooted its way into our somewhat peaceful lives.
Like I said. Hubcaps can make any car (even those in junkyards) look fantastic although they will never run on asphalt again. Still, there is a lot to be said about hubcaps.
My Friends and I Organized
a small group of guys who do more than appreciate the beautiful hubcaps on their cars. We took making our hubcaps the sole reason for keeping them clean as a pin and sparkle like the summer sun in order for us to stand-out in the weekend crowds. I can tell you with a straight face that this one task was well worth the labor and sweat of keeping our hubcaps in Grade A shape. Even what few females who owned their cars, started to take notice about us and THEY began keeping their hubcaps glow even during a heavy fog.
Nothing could ever match the overall-ecstasy of meeting one of these girls, talk about her hubcaps and see if she noticed mine and if she agreed . . .we were set for a dinner date or maybe a movie and a dinner. Sometimes during dinner (or the movie), we did chat about hubcaps, hers of course, and sometimes we didn’t talk at all. But in all sincerity, we did talk a bit about our future beyond H.H.S. (Hamilton High School, look it up) and see if college was waiting for us, or maybe we were going to hit the job market. I hit the latter and got a job, but I did not forsake my sparkly hubcaps—neither did my buddies or girlfriends who loved their hubcaps as well.
In a Conversation With
a few older guys who had already graduated and were split between work and college, lectured us on the Benefits of Owning Hubcaps and what these nice-looking automotive accessories really meant. Sounded much like a mystery, so we went after that news like a hungry big mouth bass.
The guy who was lecturing said that a car’s hubcaps was more like the car being a female and “her” hubcaps stood for her jewelry. We looked at each other with mouths agape. But kept listening. This guy talking was very intelligent. He went on to say that in the 50s, car manufacturers began building cars that came out with fender skirts . . .notice the feminine term: skirts? Put that with the pretty hubcaps, and you have one gorgeous girl. The paint on her body, errr, frame, stood for the fact if she was tanned or not. Yes, we loved the red ‘57 Chevy's, two-door, four in the floor and sporing Cherry Bomb glass-packs. What a wonderful girl to take out on the town.
And after a few more lectures, it all came together. Now we understood the benefits and reasons why guys loved hubcaps when we were in our teen’s, and we still do in our older years, but with one change: my wife’s car does NOT have hubcaps like the ones we had in 1971 and 1972, because they, (forgive me, Pam), look so much like cookie-cutter hubcaps that I almost vomit when I have to ride with her.
Maybe I should conspire for some good ol’ buddies of mine who are in decent health and pay them to install those Chrome Reverse rims (in photo above) on her car. Well, if I cannot have real hubcaps, I will settle for something near them.
July 18, 2019______________________________________________________
Vintage Car Hubcaps
as the old saying goes . . ."is only skin-deep,"and while this may be the truth, I can attest to the fact that our cars, which were old as we drove them, looked oh so beautiful as they sat parked for everyone to see--while we sat on the fender and winking at the pretty girls.
Or maybe the pretty girls were only gazing at our hubcaps. Maybe we will never know.
© 2019 Kenneth Avery
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on July 19, 2019:
I was going to ask you if you remembered the moon disks, but I was afraid they were before your time. They were the cat's meow of the late 50s. I never saw any baby moons like in your photo.
For years there was a store in Little Rock called "Hubcap Annie's" that had an interesting story behind why Annie started a hubcap business in the first place. Wish I could remember it.
What you say is true, every word of it. LOL
Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on July 18, 2019:
I know there are some very cool hubcaps out there. I've seen a few myself.