About 30 yards off of Royalston Road outside of tiny Fitzwilliam in rural New Hampshire sits this pickup truck.


From the looks of it, it’s been there a while.  It has snow chains on, all ready for winter.IMG_5268c

The word ‘rustbucket’ sprang to mind when I saw it.  This is a fitting example of the word.  A few more decades of oxidation and it’ll be a pile of rust that you can carry around in a bucket.

Rustbucket is a word I haven’t used or heard for a long time.  Coined in the 40s, it is usually applied to a car, ship, or other vehicle that is old and badly rusted.

But modern vehicles don’t seem to rust out with the vigor of the ones from my youth.  The rustbucket experience is pretty much a thing of the past.

I remember owning a 1969 Ford van that I ran for a hundred thousand miles on the salted winter roads of the Midwest before I moved to Florida with it.

After a short time in rainy, humid Florida, there was a rectangular, vehicle-sized pattern of rust staining the white concrete driveway where I parked that truck. In 1980, the steering gear box rusted off the frame and had to be welded back on.  That was a serious rustbucket.

In my musings about the word “rustbucket,” I googled it to see if it was even used much anymore.

Wow!  It’s alive and well, just not so much in the old-fashioned sense.

In the computer gaming world of Adventure Quest Worlds, for example, there is an armorrustbucket armor copy called Rustbucket.  Here’s the description:  “Don’t let the nickname fool you. The Rustbucket is not the prettiest armor, but it’ll help you in battle. This Class can be obtained by completing the “ProtoSartorium Parts” quest in the Crash Site. Rustbuckets are a hybrid Class, relying on their Strength, Intellect, Endurance, and Dexterity stats. Hybrid, Fighter, Wizard, and Lucky Enhancements work well with this bucket of rust.”

Also in the gaming context, Rustbucket seems to be a popular screen name for folks who play the many World of Warcraft titles.  Either that or it’s the name of one or more of the actual characters in the games.  I know so little about that stuff that I could not figure it out!

Rust_Bucket_005 copyAnother modern day rustbucket is a little truer to the origins of the word.  Rust Bucket is the name given to the rusted-out, 70s-era motor home that appears in the Ben 10 series of cartoons, animated films and merchandise, including Legos. The franchise has been around for a decade, has won critical acclaim and three Emmys, and has grossed billions of dollars worldwide.


And finally, there is Rust Bucket the video game, made by Nitrome especially for mobile devices.


Here’s the description: “Rust Bucket is a turn based dungeon crawler that is built with mobile in mind. Game play is fast and death is never far away so it’s perfect for your daily commute.”

Particularly when you play while driving I suppose.


About Ron Haines

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One Response to Rustbucket

  1. Roger says:

    Yes, modern materials (non-metals) and modern coatings for ferrous metals have put a serious dent in the population of rusting-out side panels and undercarriages of cars in the regions where salt is routinely spread to de-ice/ de-snow roadways.
    But you can still spot a used car that “lived” in those regions, if you look closely at fasteners for door frames and the like. You can see serious rust, a tell-tale sign that there could be more, in places/parts you cannot easily see.


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