“All in I’d say the project probably took me over a thousand hours,” says Tom Snyder, running a hand along a gleaming chrome grab rail on the roof of his ’57 Values System, a vehicle rarely seen on today’s roads, and one that is now technically illegal -powered as it is by the last auto-discriminating engine General Values made before retiring the heavy polluters in 1958.
“And it cost me, let me tell you,” Tom adds, with a mixture of bashfulness and something approaching whimsy as he lists the many women who left him, saying it was them or the “rusty bucket of anachronistic thinking out there in that goddamn garage.”
“But I was always just like ‘let me call you a taxi.’ Me and that old VS go way too far back for me to give up on it now. She was my first car,” Snyder says, opening the driver’s-side door, and settling into the old leather seat with a comfortable creak.
“Pops gave this Values System to me when I was just four years-old. Still remember it like it was yesterday. Told me that white folks have to look out for each other, cause sure as shit no one else is gonna do it. That women belong in the kitchen except on Sundays when they take the kids to church and we stay home and buff the Values System. That we vote for people who don’t take kindly to foreigners, and that in everything in life there are winners and losers, that we ain’t no losers. And that bitches get stitches.”
Looking as wistful as a man who keeps his emotions in a safety deposit box two provinces away can, Tom talks then about losing track of the old VS.
“After dad died of a massive coronary at 57 – steady diet of sausages and whole-fat-hatred will do that to you – I had to get rid of the old place. Walking out to the back acreage one last time before telling the realtor to sell it to a nice white family, I spotted a blue tarp in the corner of the field. I didn’t even dare to hope as I walked up to it. But sure enough, all those years later, there it was. No mistaking the lines of that old Values System. She was rusted to hell, no air in the cracked old tires, squirrels living in the glove box, but still intact. And I knew right then that I had to restore her to her former, airbag-less, crude-oil-burning, obnoxious-as-all-hell glory.”
With that Tom turns over the motor. It roars to life, filling the shadowy garage with a steady cadence of deeply disgruntled mutterings: “Libtard-snowflake-Trudope. Libtard-snowflake-Trudope. Libtard-snowflake-Trudope.” The noise is deafening, and noxious black smoke begins to fill the workspace. Tom coughes and tries to turn off the ignition but the key is stuck.
“Still working on that,” he shouts over the angry motor. “Pop never showed me how to make it stop! Not sure he knew! Gotta just let it go till it runs out of gas! Boy those were the days! Global warming my ass! Ain’t she a beaut?! Just a shame you don’t see more of ’em still driving around!”