HANAPEPE — A 1955 F-150 Ford pickup and classic gas pump sit along the side of the main road through Hanapepe. The pickup is painted a dark color with flames coming off of the front and galaxies spinning down the sides. Planets are painted on the gas pump.
Pink bougainvillea flowers spill over the edges of the pickup bed.
Together, they have been a landmark of Hanapepe for nearly a quarter century, and a popular photo opportunity for tourists.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mane-Pier Gignac and Guillaume Morissette, who are visiting for the week from Quebec, Canada, were taking a stroll through the town’s main street. The pickup caught their attention.
“I think the pickup is neat,” Gignac said. “The way it’s painted looks cool.”
But both pickup and gas pump are for sale because the owner and artist, Giorgio Naranjo, is moving his art gallery. That means they may be headed out of this Westside town known for its artsy style.
The Hanapepe Economic Alliance doesn’t want that to happen. It started a campaign, “Save our Truck,” to raise $3,500 to buy the pickup and keep it as the town’s landmark.
“What makes it so important is that it’s something that both visitors and residents recognize,” said Joanna Carolan, owner of Bananna Patch Studio and Aloha Spice Company.
Both of Carolan’s shops are a few doors down from the iconic pickup, and she said having it around has been good for business.
“A lot of people come through Hanapepe to get to Waimea Canyon, but a lot of times they don’t stop here,” Carolan said. “It’s one of those things that will get people to actually get out of their cars and walking around.”
Catching attention is exactly why Naranjo placed the truck in front of his business in 1991. He knew the pickup wasn’t drivable, but decided to use it as art.
“It’s a landmark now, but the idea was to just get more business into the gallery,” Naranjo said. “Now, it’s become the Hanapepe Truck and it helps bring in business.”
The truck has been featured in magazines, Naranjo said. It is also regularly photographed by visitors and is the centerpiece of many postcards, notecards, and original paintings of the island.
Naranjo has been creating space-related paintings for over 40 years and he carried that theme onto the pickup. He added the classic flames on the hood and sides, which is one of the reasons he bought the pickup in the first place, he said.
“If you want to do something attractive, it has to be classic,” Naranjo said. “If you want to use flames, it has to be from the 1950s.”
Judith Paige, president of the Hanapepe Economic Alliance, said people can donate money toward buying the truck at boxes that will be around town. The alliance has set a goal to have enough money raised by Christmas to buy the pickup.
“We’re hoping that people will donate in the boxes on Friday Art Nights,” Paige said. “We’ll also have a table to help raise money at our first-ever chocolate and coffee festival in October.”
Information: Judith Page at email@example.com.