Lots of people collect things. Stamps, coins, mugs with football team logos on them. Even wives, if the collector can afford that.
Most collections are modest in size. The public could drive past the collectors house and never know that it housed a collection, tucked away in a drawer or modestly displayed on some shelves.
Ocean view has some collectors who want nothing to do with modesty. Their collections are there for all to see. Not that they care about public opinion. I’m talking about those who collect derelict automobiles.
The collection often starts innocently enough. The collector–who knows nothing of his destiny at that point–buys a car with the intention of driving it. And he does, until one day it won’t start. Nothing he does seems to help, so he buys another car, leaving the first one parked. Now, we aren’t talking real money here, so the chances of getting reliable transportation are slim. Soon there are two going-nowhere vehicles parked next to the house.
At this point, things might conspire against the would-be collector of vehicular junk. When he bought his land, he may have assumed that all he needed was room for an unpermitted house (shack), a swimming pool catchment tank, two parking spots, and a modest garden. The rest of the lot could be (and often is) reminiscent of the surface of the moon, but with dead Ohia trees. It would work for derelict bicycles, but not for numbers of cars.
So, with the help of a friend, he removes the license plates on one of the cars, grinds the ID numbers off and then, under the cover of darkness, tows it to a wide spot in the road. It becomes part of Hawaii’s abandoned vehicle inventory. The transition from collector to scofflaw was easy.
At this point, our guy is unlikely to further pursue collecting, but others aren’t quitters, even when the going gets tough. Wives and girlfriends are likely to complain when the number of vehicles reaches six or so. The complaints don’t fall on deaf ears, but the first time the collector looks out his window and sees moonlight gleaming on the roofs of his dead cars, he knows there’s no turning back.
It’s not hard to find a collector of say, eight to twelve junk cars. That’s still bush league, so if you’re looking for world class collections you can do no better than to head up Luau Drive. As you pass Orchid Parkway, keep looking to the right. Soon you’ll see general junk, ramshackle buildings, vehicles, construction equipment (even an airplane), but may not sense the true scope of the collection project, for most of the cars are at the rear of the property–a couple hundred at the least.
Rumor has it that a scoundrel (but one with vision) learned that the owner of the property had died. The scoundrel wasted no time in populating the lot with junk and junk cars. Soon the cost of removing the cars would greatly exceed the value of the lot, leaving the true owner’s heirs with little choice but to write it off. All the scoundrel had to do was to pay property taxes for twenty years and the property would be his. Of course, that’s according to rumor.
Before leaving this location, look across the road. Another vehicle collection, stretching as far as the eye can see. More of the scoundrel’s work? Maybe not. The style is quite different. The vehicles are parked in rows, demonstrating a sense of order absent in the first case.
Could this be a competition? Mighty titans of derelict vehicles, battling it out for the winner’s crown? That certainly quickens the pulse, doesn’t it?.
The final question to be posed is this: are junk vehicle collections good or bad for Hawaii? Probably good, for if the junk vehicles weren’t parked on private land, they would be parked on the streets and highways, offending the eyes of tourists. So the next time you encounter a lot with several cars up on blocks, their wheels removed, stop and deliver a crisp salute.
Author: James Thomas.