The weekend of Sept. 8-9 was busy for the southern Illinois town of Salem; there was the 23rd annual Southern Illinois Antique Power Club’s Antique Power Day, a bluegrass festival and a car show.
Richard Pollard’s presence was at both the car and the tractor shows, with unique vehicles on display. At the car show he had his beautiful “hot rod” Lincoln. “I’ve had this for 22 years. I used to race; my son also used to race, but has quit,” he said.
At the tractor show, Richard had a “hillbilly truck” he created from 1928, 1929 and 1930 Model As. “It runs real well. I take it to lots of parades. People’s old cars get overheated, but not mine,” he said, laughing.
Besides these, Richard also had his latest acquisition at the Antique Power Day: “I just bought a horse-drawn road grader that is hooked up to a Model A.” But what was really unusual was his yard art.
In the 2012 Salem Visitor’s Guide, Pollard’s yard art at 1870 N. Broadway was listed under “Unique Sites.” A walk through the cool artwork, and it is easy to see Richard’s art tends to run to autos, which makes sense because that has been his line of business for the past 40 years.
His dealership, Pollard’s Motor Sales, is right next to the house where he and his wife decorate their yard for their and the public’s enjoyment. “I’ve been doing this for probably 20-25 years,” he said. “I wanted to be different, I guess.”
The yard art has a variety of weird mechanical items. Visitors can’t miss, for example, the airplane that appears to have crashed in the backyard. “I bought it,” Richard said, quipping that the plane didn’t truly crash. “My wife, Betty, said ‘put it out front and light it up.’”
After a second thought, he thought the backyard would suffice.
In the backyard one also can’t miss the 1957 Chevy that has the names of many visitors who have stopped by and admired Richard’s efforts. He has a tray with markers for visitors to sign and acknowledge that they stopped at this one-of-a-kind destination.
Richard said his favorite yard art is his bumper yard. This yard is filled with … well, bumpers. There is also a knight in suit that serves as the “Armor Guard.” There the police car that appears to be run up a tree, and an elevated decorated Volkswagen bug.
Then there is the sign that says “Flood of 93” (be sure to look up though to view the jet ski in the branches above).
Richard’s creative bent is going strong. “I’m going to build a totem pole out of car parts. I want cruiser fender skirts to put on top to make wings out of,” he explained.
In front there is the shoe tree and credit card tree and lots to make it worth a walk-through. It would take a couple of treks to see it all, but that’s okay because Richard says, “Come anytime – just park and look!”
Readers with questions or comments for Cindy Ladage may write to her in care of this publication.