Thursday, February 2, 2012

Excuse Me, but is Your Alligator Wearing a Wristwatch?

One of my most favorite things in the world is unplanned and unexpected wacky tacky.  As I drive, I try to maintain a vigilant lookout, but every once in a while, I am singing along with the radio so loudly, that any thoughts of spotting wacky tacky are completely drowned out.  Then, like a desert spring, I see an oasis of wacky tacky and I just have to have to stop and drink it in.

Unusual cars are not an unusual sight in Southern California.  On any any given day, one might pass a low rider, a car completely covered in political bumper stickers, a vintage fire engine, a custom hot rod, a hand-painted VW, a pinstriped Chevy, AND a '31 Franklin.  Personalized gardening trucks are a category unto themselves.  Some will have stickers of cowboy hat and lots of chrome trim.  Some will have a fringe border on the windshield and dashboard.  Some will have silhouettes of brahma bulls in every window.  And some will have each and every one of those things.

On a recent Sunday morning, I saw a gardening truck that put all other gardening trucks to shame.  Almost every inch of this little Toyota was customized while still allowing its owner to maintain the function and purpose of the vehicle.  I knew it was Sunday because as I saw the clouds part and bathe this truck in the radiant gleam of the glorious morning sunshine, I was definitely having a religious experience.

The hood and front end of the truck will most certainly have
inspired Toyota to develop a line of similar after-market
accessories.  The truck was a pretty pastiche that included a sheet metal
eagle and matching marlins, a horse hood ornament, a trio
of less-than-modest mudflap silhouettes, and a ringing
endorsement for the city of Norco, CA.

Oh, how I wish I was better at capturing photos. 
The interior of the cab was festooned with swallows, a bedazzled
crucifix, bells, butterflies, cobra heads, alligators, and more.

Excuse me, but is your alligator is wearing a wristwatch?
(Again, sorry for the terrible photo quality...)

You can just barely make out the grenade knob and the tiny chihuahua -
inside the mouth of the little alligator, inside the mouth of the bigger
 alligator, who is wearing a wristwatch and a chain leash!
 This was my favorite part.

A detail of the roof with it's sweeping chrome ornamentation,
lights, and oversized horns.

Is that a rusty, spade/bayonette strapped to your plastic rifle or are you just happy to see me?

Oh, uh...sorry Rooster.
Did I not mention that this truck was infested with poisonous, rubber snakes?

Such is life...lovebirds cooing under a palm tree on Lovers' Lane
while their angry bird neighbors quarrel on Cockfight Court.

The rear bumper was not immune to decoration.
Horses gallop around a miniature palm tree.
Or maybe they're giant horses frolicking around a regular-sized palm tree! 

I don't know what this guy was doing to
the burro, but I don't think he liked it.

Nothing says "Americana" quite like an assemblage of
bald eagles, American flags, and a mounted long horn steer!

As I was excitedly snapping away, the owner of the truck came up behind me and almost scared me to death.  I explained how cool I thought his truck was and that seemed to make him happy.  How could one not be happy behind the wheel of this sweet - and wacky tacky - ride?

"Don's Fountain of Youth" (1953)


Mr. Tiny


  1. Hahaha! Great find! Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is amazing. I love that you met the owner, I wish you were able to gathet a picture with him in his sweet ride! You need to start a seriese of wacky tacky rides that you see around town!