Automobiles are a lot like love; it’s not always possible to buy either, but both can be rented for a while. From the trusty moving truck to a limo designed to house a rolling party, the transportation of our lives will inevitably need to be borrowed at some point, regardless of the reason. The following is an examination of the vehicles that fulfill this universal need and the diverse roles they play in our society.
Are as eclectic a bunch as the reasons for which they’re rented. Whether it’s a Cadillac picked up by a traveling businessman to impress his colleagues or an economy car destroyed by the cast members of “Jackass” to celebrate a loophole in the insurance policy, cars that are rented are notoriously abused, contributing to the happy phrase, “Drive it like it’s not yours.”
Perhaps the most cult-famous representation of this call for automotive debauchery came in 1966 when Shelby convinced Hertz rental cars to produce a special line of G.T. 350s for rent:
“Early Hertz (G.T. 350) cars were available with four-speed manual transmissions until so many cars were returned from rental with burned and broken clutch assemblies that all of the later cars shipped to Hertz were equipped with an automatic transmission. Many were rented to use as production class cars at SCCA events, returned with different engines, holes where roll bars had been welded in, etc. This earned them famous nickname "Rent-A-Racer".” (1)
Despite the spirited abuse, the rentable G.T. 350s were sold to the public after their rental car lives expired - some for more than $200,000. (1)
Having someone else drive you about either implies you’re too drunk to do so yourself or have the disposable income to afford a chauffeured ride in a vehicle more luxurious than a taxi. Either way, limos are symbols of elegant excess, chariots of the privileged, even if the privilege is only rented for a night.
The world’s heaviest limo as championed by The Guinness Book of World Records is “The Midnight Rider”, a massive tractor-trailer combination that might also deserves rights to the title of largest limousine in the world.
Inspired by “The luxury days of railroad travel”, The Midnight Rider dandifies its guests with over 460 square feet of luxury, including:
-Crew of five, with driver, co-driver, hostess and two bartenders
- Full commercial sized bar with air ride seating
- 3 separate lounges (forward, rear & observation), each with an 1800 watt Sony surround sound system
-Onboard restroom with hammered brass sink and brass fixtures
-40 passenger capacity
Do you know the difference between Kleenex and facial tissues?
The same can be said of U-HAUL and moving trucks. No brand name is more ubiquitous with the genre than U-HAUL - THE name in the moving biz.
U-HAUL’s history is one of rich mundanity. In 1945, Twenty-nine year old Leonard Shoen founded the company with his wife, Anna Mary Carty in the town of Ridgefield, Washington. Nearly seventy years later, U-HAUL holds a secure place in American history as a dutiful staple of rental culture.
Wholesome and family-oriented as they may be, U-HAUL harbors a little-known secret within the walls of their noble steeds’ low-rise beds. Perhaps begrudgingly, the company refuses to rent trailers to be towed behind any Ford Explorer:
“U-Haul has chosen not to rent behind this tow vehicle based on our history of excessive costs in defending lawsuits involving Ford Explorer towing combinations. This policy is not related to safety issues. This is an unusual circumstance for U-Haul."(2)
Curiously enough, the ban extends to all production years and variations of the Explorer, including the pickup-based Ford Explorer Sport Trac, regardless of the tire brand attached to the vehicle.
Are usually applauded when they rollover, whether the wreck is caused by a horrific tire blowout or not. If watching them roar around daytime television on Monster Jam doesn’t get you your jollies, it's possible to rent one for personal and group entertainment.
A simple Google search produces a number of monster trucks ready and willing to make appearances and give rides at parties, shows, fundraisers, bar mitzvahs and pretty much any other event that could only be improved by the presence of a monster truck. Examples include:
“Mean Streak” – 12ft tall 1988 Chevrolet Silverado with 6ft tall tires and seating for passengers in the bed. Mean Streak’s website declares they’re pretty much down for anything:
“GET MARRIED IN THE BACK OF THIS MONSTER TRUCK then after the ceremony give the kids something to do or even grown-ups that need a sitter!!! THE MEAN STREAK never gets tired of giving rides” (3)
White Lightening – 2003 Ford F-350, about the same size as Mean Streak, yet conveniently located in Bellingham, Washington. The newer body style makes this monster a good choice for events in less rural areas.
La Supertrux - For the serious monster enthusiast in the United Kingdom, La Supertrux will rent out Big Foot #17 and its pink counterpart, “Monstrous”.
The dazzling duo represent the most professional and technically advanced Monster Trucks the industry has to offer, but Big Foot does concede to the more grassroots operations mentioned above in certain ways. From the Supertux website:
“*Please note that Bigfoot is a single seat racing monster truck and as such is not suitable for prom hire*” (4)
You won’t be able to be wed in the back of it either. For that, Mean Streak is the most practical choice.
And there you have it, a brief glimpse into the ever evolving world of rentable vehicles. Unlike many other rentable things, such as a rototiller or Kardashian, renting an automobile comes with the liberation of experiencing the freedoms of personalized transportation.
Until next time, opt for the insurance and drive it like it’s not yours.