The Tin Lizzie. The Flivver. The Model T. America’s first mass-produced automobile heralded the beginning of affordable transportation. As well as the beginning of racklessness.
As four wheels gradually replaced four hooves, drivers found creative ways to transport their horses to the glue fa… the farm. Creative ways to transport their horses to the farm.
It was an age of prosperity and new beginnings. Of bucking tradition and embracing revolution. The Roaring 20’s inspired many Americans to do anything and go anywhere… as long as they weren’t bringing very many friends or taking very much stuff.
During prohibition, families banded together - some would even say ‘organized’ - to distribute juice across America. What didn’t roll off their cars helped many people rest, and speak, easy.
By now America had fully embraced the automobile. Teenagers took the wheel and discovered a whole new world of independence, punctuated by the first drive-in theaters. And we all know what two teenagers, finally free of their parents, like to do at drive-in theaters: complain about the lack of roof racks.
While moving his projector, the inventor of the drive-in theater inadvertently created the first driving theater. Which almost became the first crashing theater.
Some call it our Greatest Generation. It’s when scientists invented many technologies which forever shaped the way we live. Yet in the fervor of Penicillin, microwaves and computers, we neglected the one thing America - nay, the world - really needed.
It’s estimated that more piano keys fell onto highways in 1947 than paint splatters on a Jackson Pollock canvas.
Roswell, New Mexico, 1941. Nothin’ to see here.
After the war, growing families started moving to the developing suburbs. But without roof racks, it was impossible to pack everything and still fit mom, dad and all three kids in a single trip. So that’s how the American Dream became mom, dad, and 2.5 kids.
1953 welcomed four million American babies into the world. Assembly lines, still unmanned by robots, were unable to keep up with the demand for car seats.
May 8th, 1956. Sadly this jukebox did not survive its trip to the sock hop.
The British Invasion showed everyone the true power of music, how it can transcend borders and even stop wars. Still, many Americans found out the hard way that peace, love and great music can’t replace peace, love and great roof racks.
Without roof racks, road trips to Woodstock were quite perilous. But as a wise man in need of a haircut once said, “ If you don’t take good friends, you pack bad vibes, man.”
By 1967 many black and white TVs were on their way to the cable station in the sky. Or, without roof racks, to the side of the road.
While the moon landing renewed America’s pioneer spirit, the Energy Crisis limited how far we could actually go. Without roof racks and enough gas to explore our country’s natural scenery, many went instead to landmarks like Studio 54, where they could explore the next best thing: each other.
Mustaches became so big by 1977 that men had to strap them to their car.
The 1970’s took yacht rock to new heights. In this case, about twelve and a half feet.
This photo shows the fine line between determination and desperation. Two trunks, four seats. Who needs a roof rack?
Our salvation began right where you'd expect: with ladders and pruning equipment.
When Steve Cole and Don Banducci purchased Yakima Industries, it was a small machine shop in Yakima, Washington. But as avid kayakers and cyclists, these pioneers saw a better future. They moved Yakima Industries to the wilderness of Arcata, California and undertook a mission to get gear on cars and friends in seats.
Soon after Interstate 5 connected Canada, America, and Mexico for the first time, Yakima unveiled their own firsts: a bike mount, a kayak stacker, and a canoe bracket. All used signature round crossbars, so they could fit any roof.
It was a good time for international diplomacy, and an even better time for international road trips.
"Any load. Any road." Yakima's brand promise held true when they built aerodynamic fairings for all race vehicles at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Only five years old, Yakima was also the official rack supplier for the 7-Eleven Cycling team, freeing up space for nine gold medals.
By now many sports were surging in popularity, like wind sailing, snowboarding, and - of course - professional wrestling. Yakima's Spacecase (weighing in at 75 pounds) helped friends bring all their gear along, from boards to title belts.
The introduction of the 1B Aircraft Tower, the predecessor of today's Q Towers, further cemented Yakima engineers as heavyweights of innovation.
Unlike many 80's trends, Yakima's innovations are still popular today. The Fastback, introduced in 89, was the first rear-of-car bike rack. You might say bike racks took a giant - and welcome - step backwards.
As grunge swept across America, cars were filled with one of two things: friends or angst. Yakima's first snowboard rack, the RadReady, helped decrease social alienation on the mountain.
With the growing popularity of the world wide web, acronyms like LOL and OMG began their journey into the American lexicon. Yakima's addition was QTR, now known as the Q Towers. They were engineered so well they're still produced today, BTW.
When society collapsed after Y2K, absolutely nothing happened. Yakima celebrated a new century of roof racks with the massive Loadwarrior, big enough to carry everything from bikes to boats to - just in case - six month's worth of canned goods.
As bike frames evolved, so did Yakima rack styles. The King Cobra and Viper showed an insider understanding of what outdoor enthusiasts need, and they remain best sellers today.
Yakima moves its headquarters from California to Oregon. With the transition comes two vows: keep friends in cars and keep Portland weird.
While millions joined "social networks," Yakima and Subaru teamed up to show what fully-loaded cars and a few real friends can do. Armed with swag and tons of rackspertise, the Yakima Road Warriors continue touring even now, ensuring drivers across the nation are getting gear out of cars and butts into seats.
As Yakamoids expanded globally, reaching thirty countries in only five years, they also expanded their accolades with the SkyBox and award-winning FatCat.
This is the year of the HoldUp and SwingDaddy, two acclaimed hitch mounts. It's also the year Yakima engineers soared 62 feet to win Red Bull Flugtag in Portland, going down in history, as well as the Willamette River.
Team Yakima. They work hard, they play hard, they fly hard.
The Yakima family welcomed two new members in 2010: the RACKandROLL trailer and the sleek Whispbar. Both received rave reviews.
Yakima's event mojo was on full display at Cross Vegas 2011, when their giant praying mantis arrived straight from Burning Man.
With truck drivers full of rack envy, it was time for Yakima to welcome them into the family. This is the year of the Crashpad, the Biker Bar, and the Bedrock.
It's been almost four decades since Don Banducci and Steve Cole saved the world from racklessness. Cars have changed, gear has changed, and Yakima racks have changed along with them. Never again will we fall into such a dark age. Never again will roadtrippers have to choose between taking their friends or taking their stuff.
Cheers to 35 years on the road.