My Favorite Ride: Not the same Ford 3100 and some truths about catalytic converter thefts

This 1949 Chevy 3100 has been restored and is on the road.
This 1949 Chevy 3100 has been restored and is on the road.

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," she said in an email. "I might know that truck!"

In the late 1970s, her now ex-husband bought a similar pickup. She thought it was a 1948, "but that may be because that was the year I was born," she said.

They called the truck "Stanley" in honor of her Polish grandfather. "It just seemed like a Stanley," she said.

The faded green truck was more of an attention grabber than a practical mode of transportation, Durkel said, especially since she never drove it.

"I didn't drive a stick at the time and I was pregnant," she explained.

ICYMI:My Favorite Ride: Distracted by the rich patina of an old Chevy pickup

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

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

"I wanted a home birth so I was using a doctor in Nashville," she said. "Stanley's passenger window stopped rolling up, which made for some chilly prenatal visits to Nashville in December."

They sold Stanley around 1978, the same year the man from the previous column bought his truck. "If you are in touch with your story source, could you see if he bought it from someone named Phil on West Sixth? Or we may have been on 18th Street by that time."

She said their next vehicle was a more-practical Volkswagen square back, a small station wagon of sorts manufactured from 1961 through 1973 better suited to hauling a family around.

The 1948 truck I wrote about before was purchased from a mechanic at Curry Buick, not a man named Phil.

Is Stanley still out there?

Seeking a Ford and a Plymouth

On Oct. 4, I followed a slate-back Ford Ranchero a long distance down Walnut Street before the driver pulled into the McDonald's drive-thru across the street from the newspaper office where I work.

I jumped out of my car and dashed over to where she was stopped in the line to order. I told her who I was, that I write a newspaper column about people and cars, and could I call her to find out more about her Ranchero?

Sure, she said and I wrote down her name and phone number. "And my boyfriend's daily driver is a 1963 Plymouth," she called out as I walked away.

Score! But there's a problem. I cannot locate the reporter's notebook I wrote her number in. So Riley, call me: 812-318-5967.

Catalytic converter thefts soar

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

A muffler, on the left, and a catalytic converter, on the right, are seen on a newly repaired Jeep at Tom Cherry Muffler.
A muffler, on the left, and a catalytic converter, on the right, are seen on a newly repaired Jeep at Tom Cherry Muffler.

Catalytic converters get stolen a lot. I've had two cut off two different Honda Pilots. One was parked in a well-lit lot in downtown Indianapolis, the other on a corner in Chicago beneath a street light.

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

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

Statistics from State Farm insurance claims for stolen catalytic converters show the crime is escalating.

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

From January through August of this year, $770,470 was paid out for 461 catalytic converter theft claims.

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

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

To reduce risk, State Farm advises parking in a garage or 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 thwarts thieves. Replacing it will cost a whole lot more.

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

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Catalytic converter thefts continue and a story about an old Ford