Catalytic converter thefts continue and the story of the old Ford | Rare Techy


At first glance, Kathie Durkel thought she might be familiar with the late 1940s Ford 3100 pickup featured in this column a few weeks ago.

“Your column caught my eye today,” he said in an email. “I can feel that truck!”

In the late 1970s, her now ex-husband bought a similar pickup truck. He thought it was 1948, “but that might be because I was born that year,” he said.

They named the truck Stanley after his Polish grandfather. “It just felt like Stanley,” he said.

Durkel said the faded green truck attracted more attention than practical transportation, especially since he never drove it.

“I wasn’t driving at the time and I was pregnant,” she explained.

ICYMI:My favorite ride: Distracted by the rich patina of an old Chevy pickup truck

They lived on the west side near Bloomington, so she and her young daughter could walk wherever they needed to go, to Fairview Elementary School or the now long-closed Ralph’s T-Mart grocery store.

But she recalled some adventurous and downright cold drives to and from Nashville for meetings when she was pregnant.

“I wanted a home birth, so I used a doctor in Nashville,” she said. “Stanley’s passenger window didn’t go up, so some cool prenatal visits came to Nashville in December.”

They sold Stanley around 1978, the same year the guy in the previous column bought his truck. “If you’re in touch with the source of your story, do you see if he bought it from someone from Phil on West Sixth? Or we were on 18th Street by then.”

He said their next vehicle was a more practical Volkswagen Square back, a small station wagon produced between 1961 and 1973, better suited to hauling a family.

The 1948 truck I wrote about earlier was purchased from a Curry Buick mechanic, not a guy named Phil.

Is Stanley still out?

Looking for Ford and Plymouth

On October 4th, I followed a Ford Ranchero for a long distance down Walnut Street before the driver pulled into a McDonald’s drive-thru across the street from the newspaper office where I work.

I jumped out of the car and ran to where he was stopped in the order line. I told him who I was, that I write a newspaper column about people and cars, and could I call him to find out more about his Ranchero?

Sure, he said, and I wrote down his name and phone number. “And my boyfriend’s daily driver is a 1963 Plymouth,” she exclaimed as I walked away.

Score! But there is a problem. I can’t find the reporter’s notebook where I wrote his number. So Riley, give me a call: 812-318-5967.

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise

Thieves get hundreds of dollars for the platinum, rhodium and palladium in catalytic converters attached to vehicle exhaust systems.

Catalytic converters are stolen a lot. I have cut off two different Honda Pilots. One was parked in a well-lit lot in downtown Indianapolis and the other on a corner in Chicago under a streetlight.

Last week, I received a call from fellow journalist Jeremy Hogan, whose home security camera captured two men quickly stealing the catalytic converter from a 2004 Toyota Prius parked in front of his house.

In just a few seconds, they jacked up the car, cut off its precious catalytic converter and fled into the night.

Stats on State Farm insurance claims for stolen catalytic converters show that crime is on the rise.

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In 2019, State Farm paid $77,870 for 58 catalytic converter theft claims in Indiana. In 2021, the amount increased to more than $973,800 for the theft of 648 catalytic converters.

Between January and August of this year, 461 catalytic converter thefts paid out $770,470.

Nationwide, State Farm paid $4.6 million for 2,535 catalytic converter thefts in 2019, then $62.6 million in 2021 for 32,265 incidents.

In the first eight months of this year, the company has paid $70.6 million for 31,835 stolen catalytic converters.

To reduce the risk, the state farm recommends parking in a garage or a well-lit area and having motion detector security lights and cameras. Right.

A better solution? Pay a mechanic a few hundred dollars to install a device that protects your catalytic converter and deters thieves. It will cost much more to replace.

Got a car or truck story to tell? Contact My Favorite Ride reporter Laura Lane at or 812-318-5967.


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