The Future of the Hobby - Military Trader/Vehicles

The Future of the Hobby

Author:
Publish date:

We all know...It depends on the young!

by Mark Sigrist

 Mark and a young Gunnar Sigrist greet the “new” WC-1 truck upon arrival back in 1998. Gunnar already had the interest in historic military vehicles. This interest has led to a lifetime passion.

Mark and a young Gunnar Sigrist greet the “new” WC-1 truck upon arrival back in 1998. Gunnar already had the interest in historic military vehicles. This interest has led to a lifetime passion.

Every weekend, it’s not hard to find a car show or cruise-in to attend somewhere within driving distance — even for a 70-year-old historic military vehicle (HMV). Recently, several fellow vehicle owners were lamenting the apparent “aging” of the collector participants; however, the enthusiastic show visitors seem to be the same general slice of the population as ever. Subsequent comments were related to how lucky I was to have a son who was a willing participant in my military vehicle adventures: Restoration, shows, events, and even convoys.

My son, Gunnar, was still tiny when, into the backpack he went, and off we would go for daily hikes that would keep me in physical condition for my job as wildland firefighter. I would name the various interesting vehicles we would see on our hike. When he began to talk, he would name them to me.

 MVPA Convoys always follow historical routes that are living history lessons for all of us, but especially the younger folks. Gunnar is seen here in Washington, DC, for the kickoff of the 90th Anniversary of the First Transcontinental Motorized Convoy of 1919 that occurred in 2009.

MVPA Convoys always follow historical routes that are living history lessons for all of us, but especially the younger folks. Gunnar is seen here in Washington, DC, for the kickoff of the 90th Anniversary of the First Transcontinental Motorized Convoy of 1919 that occurred in 2009.

Later, Gunnar played in the shop and listened as I described in a running commentary, what I was doing; Changing oil, adjusting brakes, stripping paint, or banging metal. Soon, he was handing down wrenches and looking forward to the numerous “test drives” and show events. He would almost always go — even when he was still in diapers (forgive me for letting out that “secret” Gunnar!)

A SUCCESS STORY:

GUNNAR GETS INVOLVED

Gunnar and I did our first MVPA Transcontinental Convoyin 2009 when he was 13. We had no clue what to expect from the “Lincoln Highway Convoy” (even though I had driven a few M35’s in the Army). By the time we arrived in San Franciscoafter 30 days on the road, he was sad for it to be over.

 Convoys are an ideal event to generate interest in HMVs. People and kids love a parade, veterans always show up, and the media is drawn to “showy” activities. Taken during the 2009 Lincoln Highway Convoy, pictured are (foreground): Unidentified; Don Tegtmeier; and young convoyers, Gunnar Sigrist and Julia Lawrence.

Convoys are an ideal event to generate interest in HMVs. People and kids love a parade, veterans always show up, and the media is drawn to “showy” activities. Taken during the 2009 Lincoln Highway Convoy, pictured are (foreground): Unidentified; Don Tegtmeier; and young convoyers, Gunnar Sigrist and Julia Lawrence.

He had itched to drive our Dodge WC-56 Command Car, but that was not going to happen out on the highway! Today, he remembers one of his highlights of that trip. Every night in the tent before falling asleep, I would tell him a story of my remembrances: Growing up on a dairy farm, my Army service and Vietnam tour, or a wildfire story.

Impatiently, Gunnar looked forward to 2012, when he would be 16. That year, we did the Alaska Highway Convoy. He was the envy of his entire high school as he drove our M35A3 nearly 3,000 miles of our 7,200 mile trip on his “learners permit.” And of course, he drove it to school several times.

 Beautiful scenery and new and good friends are what you find on convoys. We met USAF veteran Pat Underwood and USMC vet Steve ‘Rooster’ Stephenson on the Lincoln Highway convoy.

Beautiful scenery and new and good friends are what you find on convoys. We met USAF veteran Pat Underwood and USMC vet Steve ‘Rooster’ Stephenson on the Lincoln Highway convoy.

By the time of the 2015 Bankhead Convoy, Gunnar was a “Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic” on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. He was able to obtain liberty for the last weekend of that convoy to join up and see old friends — both people and vehicles!

Gunnar fully expects to take over our small vehicle collection when the time comes. He plans to continue what we had started before the time when he could walk.

ADJUST THE WAY WE THINK?

Perhaps a personal introspective evaluation will provide each of us with an opportunity to adjust the perceived trend of “the aging of the collectors.”Each of us can do a small part: Start at home.

 Local car shows/cruise-ins are great places to showcase our historic military vehicles...and to take our young vehicle enthusiasts. A display plaque will celebrate family veterans. This photo shows son-and-father team, Gunnar and Mark Sigrist.

Local car shows/cruise-ins are great places to showcase our historic military vehicles...and to take our young vehicle enthusiasts. A display plaque will celebrate family veterans. This photo shows son-and-father team, Gunnar and Mark Sigrist.

Encourage your children and grandchildren to “help you fix,” do preventive maintenance, go to a show, or go for rides in your HMV. Involve them in discussions about the vehicles. Ask their opinions and show them that you value their input. Heck, maybe even a little bribery doesn’t hurt: “Ya know son, these trucks are gonna be yours someday…”

 Gunnar had just completed an interview with a TV reporter during the 2009 convoy. While loading camping gear in the WC-56 in Wooster, Ohio, Gunnar responded to the interviewer’s question “I just told them what you tell the people about the Command Car and the convoy.” Now that is good PR for the sport! Courtesy of Betty Babbs

Gunnar had just completed an interview with a TV reporter during the 2009 convoy. While loading camping gear in the WC-56 in Wooster, Ohio, Gunnar responded to the interviewer’s question “I just told them what you tell the people about the Command Car and the convoy.” Now that is good PR for the sport! Courtesy of Betty Babbs

 Toward the end of the 2009 convoy, Gunnar and Mark started having a noise in the clutch. When they got home, they replaced the clutch and bearing but also found a crack in the manifold in the Command Car. Gunnar joined in on all of the repairs on the Dodge.

Toward the end of the 2009 convoy, Gunnar and Mark started having a noise in the clutch. When they got home, they replaced the clutch and bearing but also found a crack in the manifold in the Command Car. Gunnar joined in on all of the repairs on the Dodge.

Subtle “recruitment” at events: Those visitors see more than your vehicle, they see you. If your attitude is brusque, off-putting, or cold, they will not spend time learning the merits and joys of owning HMVs. Be friendly and supportive, answer all the questions — even the many people who mistake a Dodge Command Car for a Jeep. Your attention has to be on the visitors. You can be pleasant when asking them not to climb all over your pretty restoration, if you choose not to allow that highly sought after activity!

 Gunnar and Mark Sigrist in San Francisco at the end of the 2009 convoy. By that time, Gunnar was already making plans for the next convoy — the Alaska Highway.

Gunnar and Mark Sigrist in San Francisco at the end of the 2009 convoy. By that time, Gunnar was already making plans for the next convoy — the Alaska Highway.

Invite folks to attend future events and your club meetings. Hand out your old subscription copies of MVM magazines if you don’t collect them. Many people are unaware that “those Army trucks” are all privately owned and “Yes, even you can buy and drive one.”

So, let’s get out there and promote our historic military vehicle addiction. We are responsible for the future of the hobby.

 Convoy Friends Jeff and Wendy Rowsam in Wisconsin helped us out by picking up our M35A3 from Government Liquidation out of Sparta. We picked up the truck at their house. Jeff led Gunnar through the TM for a complete PM before taking it to the Dayton Convention and then home to Oregon.

Convoy Friends Jeff and Wendy Rowsam in Wisconsin helped us out by picking up our M35A3 from Government Liquidation out of Sparta. We picked up the truck at their house. Jeff led Gunnar through the TM for a complete PM before taking it to the Dayton Convention and then home to Oregon.

 16-year-old Gunnar at the Canadian Border Crossing on the way to the Rally point for the 2012 Alaska Highway Convoy. He drove our M35A3 towing an M105 trailer that we converted to a camper by removing the bed and attaching a travel trailer.

16-year-old Gunnar at the Canadian Border Crossing on the way to the Rally point for the 2012 Alaska Highway Convoy. He drove our M35A3 towing an M105 trailer that we converted to a camper by removing the bed and attaching a travel trailer.

 The oldest and youngest participants on the 2012 Alaska Highway Convoy included (rear) WWII vet Bill Kreider, Korean vet Col Gaston Barmore, and Mac McCluskey. Front: Cameron “Radar” Twaddle, Gunnar Sigrist, Emily Toland, Mark Toland, and Greg Jones.

The oldest and youngest participants on the 2012 Alaska Highway Convoy included (rear) WWII vet Bill Kreider, Korean vet Col Gaston Barmore, and Mac McCluskey. Front: Cameron “Radar” Twaddle, Gunnar Sigrist, Emily Toland, Mark Toland, and Greg Jones.

 Participating in local events is important. Gunnar drove the M274A1 Mule loaded with his fellow high school wrestlers in the 2012 Sandy (OR) Mountain Festival Parade.

Participating in local events is important. Gunnar drove the M274A1 Mule loaded with his fellow high school wrestlers in the 2012 Sandy (OR) Mountain Festival Parade.

 The old and the new: Gunnar participated in a local parade with the Mule and Steve Greenburg’s M3A1 Stuart. Both vehicles were crowd-pleasers.

The old and the new: Gunnar participated in a local parade with the Mule and Steve Greenburg’s M3A1 Stuart. Both vehicles were crowd-pleasers.

Frontline Feature