I saw the white whale the other day.  A ’55 Cadillac and robin egg blue.  It roared by me at an intersection.  There wasn’t any opportunity to photograph the rare creature.

A few years ago an aunt of mine was asking why there are so many well preserved classic and antique cars in Idaho.  Car culture isn’t endemic to only our state.  It’s across America.  There is a massive car museum at the site of the old prison in Montana.

There are clearly people who love old cars across the country but in some places, you can only take them out for a few brief weeks in summer.  Even here, most people aren’t driving these heirlooms in February.  But we also have a great many cars still roadworthy and in daily use for 30 to 40 years.  Where my aunt lives, there’s more salt on winter roads than in the Atlantic Ocean! 

And in Idaho you find plenty of those virtues.

My mom bought a brand new Toyota in 2001.  When she died four years later, the remnants of her low-mileage car was eaten away.  It was a terribly scarred vehicle.  Inside, still clean and pristine.  Outside, it barely passed inspection.

Eventually, some cars get labeled classic.  If they make it that far.  One summer, 35 years ago, I painted a house, boathouse and garage for a car dealer.  He sold cars in the Florida Keys and then summered in the north.  Even in Florida there were challenges.  He explained salt-air pitted a great many autos.  He made his money by selling used cars to sailors, then buying them back when the guys shipped out.  Then he would sell the car to the next sailor in need of wheels.  None of these cars had a long shelf life.

Also, I want to acknowledge the upkeep some owners put into their prize possessions.  It shows patience and skill.  And in Idaho you find plenty of those virtues.