Hey! Who here likes Homeowner’s Associations? Ah, gotcha, trick question, absolutely nobody likes HOAs because they’re consistently miserable and disheartening examples of how tiny amounts of power can transform human beings into talking, blistered dicks. In case you don’t quite believe me, please consider the case of Andy Lipka and his charmingly patina’d 1965 Ford F-250.
Andy lives in a Chesterfield, Missouri community called Woodfield Homes, and that community is overseen by the Woodfield Homes Association, the HOA. That HOA is currently in the process of suing Andy because of his truck, and, as Andy explained to KMOV4 News, the lawsuit:
“Also implicates my house. They want to foreclose on my house.”
Okay, so let’s back up a second here; why does the HOA have it in for Andy’s truck?
The reason seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about the condition of Andy’s truck on the part of the HOA. Most of the regular readers of this site or pretty much anyone who’s even been paying a tiny bit of attention to recent automotive trends can easily look at the truck and identify the type of look it has: a desirable state of age and wear and careful maintenance that’s known as “patina.”
That F-250 is actually in wonderful shape: the body is straight and solid, it’s mechanically sound, it runs and drives well—what it isn’t is repainted to look like a brand-new truck, because, well, it isn’t.
The finish of the truck bears the marks of decades of normal wear, with paint rubbed off the most-handled surfaces and areas of primer and light surface rust.
It’s weathered and worn, and that’s a large part of what gives the truck its character. It’s by no means neglected or damaged. In fact, such patina’d looks are very prized and sought after; cars like Icon’s Derelict series of restomods take great pains to preserve the worn exterior looks while updating the interior and mechanicals, and these cars sell for insane amounts of money.
See above. People even attempt to replicate patina on cars, much in the same way people will antique furniture, but, even then, an original, honestly-derived patina will always be more desirable, like the one Andy’s truck sports.
The HOA doesn’t seem to understand the very concept of patina, which is why they’ve been fining Lipka for violating HOA bylaws that prohibit “vehicles with moderately severe body damage” from being parked in driveways, where Andy routinely parks his truck.
So far, he’s amassed almost $3,000 worth of fines. If those fines aren’t paid, the HOA will seek foreclosure on Lipka’s house, and Lipka has countersued in return.
I’ve reached out to both Lipka and the HOA, and have yet to get a response from either, but if I do I’ll be sure to update the story.
An attorney for the HOA did tell KMOV4 that
“The association is asking the court to enforce its covenants, which Lipka agreed to follow and was aware of prior to purchasing his home... Mr. Lipka is not being singled-out, and the association and neighbors made numerous attempts to reach a resolution.”
I think the fundamental issue here revolves around the concept of patina. As gearheads, I think most of us understand this sort of wear isn’t considered damage, and is in fact often a highly desirable trait.
For the HOA to insist it qualifies as “moderately severe body damage” is being willfully ignorant, and relying on subjective aesthetic taste instead of actual facts. The HOA does not have to actually like a patina’d look on a car, but that does not mean it can just be classified as damage, any more than deciding that a Rolls-Royce Cullinan done up in purple with a silver hood and a gold Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament—an impressively ugly vehicle by many people’s standards—can be considered to have “moderately severe body damage.”
The point here is that Andy Lipka has a lovely, well-maintained old truck with a worn but cared-for look that’s not just appropriate, but is an example of a desirable automotive trend. The idea that somehow he should be punished for parking it in his driveway, to the point of threatening to take his house, is absurd.
He’s not violating any bylaws, and I think an argument can be made that the aggressively boring and mundane other cars in the neighborhood are doing far more to decrease the quality of life than Andy’s charming old truck.
Who looks at a truck like that and seethes in rage? What’s the matter with these people? What kind of glum, miserable, sanitized half-lives do they want to lead?
Screw you, Woodfield Homes Association. Nobody likes you. Let the man park his truck in his driveway.