Hooniverse Asks- How'd You Become a Car Nut?

You all visit this site for a reason, and it’s not for the chance of catching a glimpse of Dearthair naked, not that I’m saying that won’t happen. No, you come he because of a shared love of all things automotive and greasy. Whether you like to poke around under the hood and get grease under your nails, love the power and beauty of a well-designed machine, or just like driving fast- you’re all car nuts. But how’d that happen?
In my case, I always liked to take things apart- it fascinated me to learn how things worked. I graduated to putting things together and built a fair share of Revell and Monogram models in my day- Planes and ships, but mostly cars. By the time I turned ten, it was a forgone conclusion what my passion would be, and for my eleventh birthday I received a subscription to Competition Press, which may have made me the youngest person receiving that publication at home.
So what about you- did you see a neighbor’s Cobra secreted away in a dark garage and it touched you in a way you never thought possible? Was it your first ride in a Corvette? Maybe 10W-40 runs deep in your veins and you’re simply following in the footsteps of your mom or dad or other relative with the car nut bug?
So, how did it happen?  What made you so passionate about what has four wheels and flies that you come to places like Hooniverse, Jalopnik and Clunkbucket nearly every day?
Image sources:[ annebarron.myadventures.com, daddytypes.com]

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  1. LTDScott Avatar

    I'm not quite sure. My dad wasn't a car guy, nor did he have any really cool cars, but my uncles on both my mom and dad's sides were, so it might be in my genes.
    My parents tell me that when I was a baby, I would turn my stroller upside down and spin the wheels. My dad was very concerned that I was autistic, and even had tests done on me. But it turns out I'm just a petrolhead.

  2. Maymar Avatar

    I think I was more or less born a car nut. My parents had an apartment overlooking the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto, at one of its busiest points. My crib was at the window, and I would spend hours looking out at all the cars not really moving (eventually I'd start doing "traffic reports," naming all the cars I thought I saw).

  3. muthalovin Avatar

    Genetics. When I was born, my dad had been into cars and motorcycles since he was 14. My mom's dad was a Ford mechanic. My uncle on my dad's side was a mechanic that drag raced professionally (in the New Mexico area). My parents would take me to see my uncle race his Chevelle (Grabber Orange), and if he won his bracket, we would go out and eat pizza. Oh man, those were awesome times. Since then I have always been enthusiastic about all things automotive. Cars, Trucks and Bikes make Muthalovin happyface.

  4. Alff Avatar

    You may as well ask why a appreciate beautiful women, fine wine, fresh mountain air or a tender, blood-rare steak. As my parents will attest, there was no formative event, I was just born this way.

  5. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    My dad may think I blame him for many things, but in truth he is responsible for my love of mechanical things.
    I almost made it into this world in the front seat of a Corvette, and I came home it it. I helped dad rebuild motorcycles, tractors, the occasional car, and when most things broke, I often got the call to put it back together. He gave me 20 pounds of Legos, he gave me great bicycles when I was young. He gave me the first car, a beat POS of a Mazda pickup.
    I thank him for making me the gearhead I am.

  6. discontinuuity Avatar

    I've always been interested in mechanical things, playing with Lego and Erector sets since I was a kid. My dad, although he typically bought fairly ordinary cars, would always get a manual transmission and sometimes let me shift from the passenger seat. Until my teenage years I was mostly interested in airplanes. But when I started to learn to drive, and when I got Gran Turismo (and several other inferior racing games) as a gift, I began to show more interest in cars, eventually choosing mechanical engineering as my college major. Soon I was reading Car & Driver and Hot Rod magazines, then Jalopnik, eventually graduating on to Hooniverse.

  7. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    (I've told this story of few times, so pardon me if you've heard it before)
    When I was 4 or 5, the local Ford dealer had a thing going where Bigfoot was going to show up and crush a few cars. It was a different time, liability-wise, and the crowd was basically just gathered around the cars in a big circle.
    When Bigfoot fired up and drove over, the circle parted and I was right on the edge of the opening.
    I remember looking up at the tires and the chassis as it went by. I remember feeling the thump-thump-thump of the big-block blowing through straight pipes as it idled by. I remember the total sensory overload that came when that beast roared to life to drive over some cars.
    I appreciate a lot of cars for a lot of different reasons: interesting design, beautiful lines, unique history. But the only thing that'll get an emotional response out of me is the sound.

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      Indeed. I've always said that if I were to go deaf I'd give up on cars altogether.

      1. skitter Avatar

        Only death or blindness will keep me from behind the wheel.

    2. DerangedStoat Avatar

      Hear hear!
      Whether it's the ground-shaking rumble of a big V8, the unearthly howl of a strung-out Murcielago, the "hey mate, your bike sounds broken!" rattle of a Ducatti's open clutch, or the glorious symphony of a Spitfire on a low pass, it's the sound of these things that elicits that involuntary gasp, and makes you go a bit weak in the knees.

  8. engineerd Avatar

    I don't like cars. I'm only here for the donuts.
    I'm not real certain where my hoon gene came from. My dad is mildly into cars, but ever since I was little I have loved anything and everything that moves under mechanical power. Here's little engineerd sitting in a Formula V racer at a UCR open house.
    <img width=500 src="http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2168/221/111/769662172/n769662172_1272753_9955.jpg"&gt;
    Cars, planes, ships, rockets. You name it, I dig it. I've always been drawn to the weird and obscure, as well. Particularly when it comes to planes. Ekranoplans. X-Planes. I love 'em.
    My love for cars and planes was encouraged by my dad and grandpas. They would buy me models and Matchbox cars. I could count on something auto/aeromotive for every birthday and Christmas. And Legos. God did I love Legos. I would spend hours building multi-wheeled vehicles or airplanes out of the little blocks. That's pretty much when I decided to be an engineer. I loved building things and figuring out how to make them work. If those things have engines, rockets, or motors then I love them even more.

    1. CptSevere Avatar

      Did you get into jazz at the same time, or didn't that stick?

      1. engineerd Avatar

        I did play trumpet in the jazz band when I was in high school…

  9. Peter_Dushenski Avatar

    I didn’t even have my full drivers license until 2nd year University. Before that, I couldn’t have cared less about four-wheeled modes of transport. My parents couldn’t have cared less about what they drove either – my dad drove a yellow 1998 VW Beetle around that time and my mom drove a yellow 2000 Audi A4. Clearly, they were more interested in the colour of their car than what lay beneath the paint’s surface. But once I had my drivers and I got the hand-me-down 1988 Mazda MX-6, I found freedom. I could pick up girls, I could go to the casino, the world was my oyster. Then, my dad, in an effort to boost my University grades, offered to buy me a new car if I achieved a certain grade point average. I was so enthralled with the idea that I began to research new cars with a tenacity that beggared belief, a tenacity that my studies never received. Needless to say, this was the point at which I became enthralled with the aesthetic rapture of automobiles. At first, I would look up cars a few times a week, but it wasn’t long before it was a few times per day and my thirst for automotive knowledge became insatiable. Needless to say, I had found something more interesting than my studies. My father’s generous offer had backfired.

  10. Uncle Trash Avatar
    Uncle Trash

    I’ve been told that I had the ability at age 3 to name the make of any car I saw.
    I guess the reason I’m into cars is that my extended family always owned cool cars. One grandfather had a Porsche 356c and my grandmother had an ’80 BMW 528i. On the other side, my grandparents had an ’86 318i and an ’87 528e. My uncle had an ’80 Volvo 244DL. I think that is one of the first cars I truly fell in love with (I rode in it for the first time in probably ’92).
    I remember once my dad’s friend showed up to our house in a (then new) ’89 Saab 900 sedan. I have vivid memories of her accidentally letting of the clutch while it was still idling and stalling it out. For some reason, watching it leap really left a mark on me. I have loved Saab 900’s ever since.
    Tellingly, I’ve driven 900s and now 240s since ’01. Not sure why I never got a BMW jones.

  11. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    For me, it was Night Driver on the ol' Atari 2600.
    I keed, I keed. But seriously, by all accounts I was born a car nut. Part of the nightly routine for the family of newborn Smells Homeless was a ride around the block in Pop's 67 Bonneville. I wouldn't sleep otherwise. My dad isn't particularly interested in cars, though he did and still does have a 30 Model A 5-window that we used as a parade car. I loved throwing candy out the window in those parades.

  12. P161911 Avatar

    I guess I was born into it. One grandfather was pretty much a jack-of-all-trades. He was in the SeaBees in WWII, got out and was a GM mechanic (My mom had his GM Certified Mechanic certificate from 1943). He work in appliance repair and went to night school to be an attorney. When I knew him he was working on restoring a couple of tractors and a Chevy C-60 dump truck. As a 4 or 5 year old boy I got to crawl all around the tractor and dump truck. Mind you, this wasn't on a farm or out in the country even, but in a subdivision in suburban Atlanta. He had a lake place and some land where he used the tractor and dump truck. This was the same one that always had interesting cars when he was younger: 1940 Ford (had to get rid of it, too many cops following him suspecting him of running shine, he wasn't), 1957 Chevy, 1959 Pontiac, etc. My other grandfather did have a farm, but also happened to work as a mechanic for Lockheed. My father had several really cool cars before I came along: Fiat 1600 Spider (before most folks had eve heard of Fiat in the US), Ford Fairlane GTA 390, Triumph Spitfire, and almost bought a Daimler SP250. Lego and HotWheels were the favorite toys, followed by Tyco slot cars, then R/C cars and model trains, then I finally got my driver's license. Of course there had been a smattering of motorsports in there too: Monster Truck/Tractor Pull, Nascar, and maybe one or two others. I didn't really become a "Car Nut" until about 17 or so. that was when I realized I might be able to afford a 12-15 year old Corvette. In 1990 I got my 1977 Corvette,junior year of high school. It has been full speed ahead since then. I did Formula SAE in college along with some SCCA Solo II and became a road racing/open wheel junkie. For a while I went to every road race within 200 miles of where ever I happened to be.

  13. skaycøg Avatar

    Good question, and I'm not really sure. I guess being somewhat of a tomboy when I was very young, I liked to play with my brother's toy cars and trucks, especially building roads in the dirt. The guys I dated as a teenager always had pretty 'cool' cars. Everything in my previous life was automotive, and it still is. That's the best I can do.

    1. pj134 Avatar

      fancy seeing you outside the storm.

      1. skaycøg Avatar

        Hey, there! Sometimes chasing storms can take you to faraway places.

  14. rennsport964 Avatar

    I owe my car nuttiness to my Grandfather. You see, back in the day, my immediate family lived in Minnesota. My Dad wasn't into cars (or so I thought – more on that later), but one time in 1976, my grandfather drove from Seattle to Cottage Grove in his yellow 1974 911. I had never seen such awesomeness before, but I knew I wanted more. Turns out he was coming over not only to visit the family but also to attend the Porsche Parade in Brainerd. I came along. I was hooked. The rest is history.
    Turns out later that my Dad *was* a car nut, but couldn't "invest" in it. He used to own a Ford Cortina(!) but sold it in Minnesota because: (a) I was born and (b) Ford orphaned the car the instant it was imported to the US, making parts both expensive and hard to find. Now that he's older (and the children are long gone), he can afford better things. He owns a MINI Cooper S.

  15. franchitti27 Avatar

    There are stories of me, as a baby, refusing to sit still when it was time for a fresh diaper, until I was given my book about the Mille Miglia. The book was at least 40 years old then and in black and white, so it was obviously the cars I wanted, not the pretty colours. After that, my earliest memory is when I was three and my father brought home a 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider for a weekend (he worked in Chrysler marketing at the time, in the days when Alfa and Chrysler were in bed together.) I've been hooked ever since, and still have trouble using the bathroom without some sort of automotive related reading (I doubt I'm not the only one).

  16. joshuman Avatar

    My childhood home was under construction for most of my early life and I always have liked playing with Lego or modifying toys. The father of a preschool friend of mine had a detached garage at home. In this garage sat a Porsche body shell and a few shelves full of parts for the Porsche. It was dark, smelled of oil, and it was dusty and old. I never did see that car put back together but the very fact that it all came apart was very interesting to my young mind. I did see the friend's father working on and restoring several other cars over the years but he never did get around to that Porsche (or the Alfa Romeo). I remember standing there and just staring at the parts or the curves of the body (this is before I discovered girls).

  17. Paul Y. Avatar
    Paul Y.

    I didn't "become" one. I have always been.

  18. Armand4 Avatar

    I come from a long line of hoons, but I don't think anyone actively encouraged me to be a car nut. It just sort of happened. My views on cars are a lot like my Golden Retriever's views on tennis balls: It's never occurred to either one of us NOT to be interested. But although my father didn't try to push me towards being a car nut, he was happy to help when he noticed I was being pulled towards cars– even before I could read, he was supplying me with car books and magazines.
    My big break as a car guy came when I was two years old, and we moved from San Francisco to the suburbs. Suddenly, we had a yard, and I could stand in it and watch the cars go by. By the time I was three years old, I could amuse my neighbors by standing in the driveway and rattling off the make and model of every car that went by.

  19. skitter Avatar

    I was born with wide eyes for cars, trucks, buses, and airliners. But the point where things left the spec sheet was in the glory days of Speedvision: an in-car camera showed a Peugeot prototype rocketing down Mulsanne, the trees a blur to either side, the lines on the road flickering at an incredible rate. Then an Audi shot past with an easy 30mph advantage, brushed the brakes far ahead, and disappeared around the next corner. I remain in awe of that event, and dream of the day when history can repeat itself with me in an active role.

  20. Sparky_Pete Avatar

    My family has been asking how and why my entire life. I was supposed to be an architect in my mother’s visions of my future, but that would have been a crime against my nature. To wit…
    -I was hot-wiring cars by the age of 11.
    -got in trouble for taking apart the lawn mower, and shocked my parents by mowing the lawn with it later that day around the age of 10.
    -could recall the make, model and year of nearly every vehicle every person in my extended family has ever owned back to 1970 at the age of 9.
    -was stealing keys and starting visitor’s cars at the age of 8 just to hear the motors.
    -first drove one uncle’s Datsun RL411 and another’s Sunbeam Alpine at the age of 7.
    -lifted up the family Rambler wagon with a bumper jack and got caught trying to remove the rear wheels at the age of 6. (They did not believe I did it by myself and blamed one of my confused uncles)
    -was dragged around zombie-like and in a trance at Laguna Seca Races, unable to eat, drink or focus on anything but the racecars and motorcycles at the age of 5.
    -became obsessed with our 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Convertible at the age of 4 (and still search CL/Evilbay every day for our old car)
    -In 1970 I would listen to the "Sounds of Sebring" records wearing headphones over and over Holding a Richard Petty toy car until I fell asleep on the floor.
    -I vividly remember my first Hot Wheel (Blue Camaro) at the ripe old age of 2 in 1969. I was as much interested in the "Wheel" shirt-button as I was the toy car and never went anywhere without both.
    -As a small child I used to get in trouble for sneaking into the living room and turning the TV on to watch Speed Racer (mom thought it was too violent). I learned the theme song in Japanese and still remember some of it.
    -And I came home from the overseas Hospital in Japan riding in a Baby-Blue Datsun 411 Bluebird.
    Today my daily driver happens to be a Blue Datsun 411, which I found out was not only built within a few months and a few miles of my birth, but had also been repainted Petty Blue. I sit in the left front seat, just like I did for my very first car ride ever. I have models of 57 Fords and a collection of racing sound records, which includes "Sounds of Sebring."'
    The Killer Bee sports a custom made bumper sticker on the back that shows an opening title screenshot of the Japanese cartoon Maha Go-Go-Go…
    …which you may know as “Speed Racer.”
    How did I become a car nut? I don’t know. But looking back on life, how could I have not? Synchronicity my friends, Synchronicity.

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      Too cool!!!
      One part that hit home with what you said is the ability to tell you every car that everyone ever drove, for as far back as anyone ELSE can remember.
      I surprised my mom by telling her what car my pediatrician drove, back when i was 3 or 4 years old. Of course, at the time I didn't know the name of it, but it's appearance stuck in my head and when I eventually learned the name, I put 2 and 2 together.

  21. joshuman Avatar

    <img src="http://labmassiv.com/file/pic/gallery/3616_view.jpg&quot; style="height: 400px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      Where were you with that on the tattoos thread from yesterday?

      1. joshuman Avatar

        The Internet is not always timely. Or maybe it is. You could print this out for Mrs_Mad_Science's Valentine's Day card.

  22. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

    I grew up in a Ford family, but Dad worked in the financial department, and wasn't himself into cars. We did get a new family car every year from Ford, and at the time they were: Club Wagon, Club Wagon, Club Wagon, Club Wagon, Club Wagon….. LTD wagon, LTD Crown Victoria Wagon (x2) Taurus Wagon, Aerostar (yeah!), and finally Merkur Scoripio, at which point the family situation changed.
    Not by any stretch exciting cars, but I did with em what I could. I would go out late at night, or early the next morning to see the new car. In the case of the Club Wagons, I would scrutinize them to find every detail that changed. I remember thinking it was cool that one year the temperature slide instead of saying "cold" and "warm" now had blue and red markings to go along with it! NEAT-O!
    I loved car advertisements in magazines. I especially loved the interior shots of the dashboard, and I would sit there, with my hands on the wheel, imagining what it would be like to drive that particular car. (I think I was about 4yo then)
    When I would walk, I pictured it was like vehicular traffic, and as a little tyke, I would even use "blinkers" with my hand flashing behind me to indicate my intended direction. (minus the blinkers, I still kinda do this as I walk through the office, the mall, etc.)
    Riding bikes was also a "car" experience.
    My first "working on a car" experience was with my neighbor, who had a 72 VW camper bus. I helped him with it… I was amazed the things he could do, and he was a great instructor and let me help as well. I was amazed at the things I could do, and how I learned how stuff worked. I bought a 1973 VW Super Beetle at 14, and was never able to drive it off the circle where I lived (no license), but spent many an hour fixing stuff on it.
    Perhaps it's because of the mundane cars that we had growing up, but my car-nut-ness has always focused on the mundane. I don't care about the next Ferrari or Lamborghini, I want to know the changes between the 85 and 85 1/2 Escort. For me, most of the cars that I care about are from 1975 – 1990, smack in the malaise era. (pitiful, right?) I marvel of things that were of importance then, compared to now.
    It was obviously better to have a spring loaded medallion covering that ugly key hole on the trunk then it was to have an engine that could start in the rain.
    Oh, and for the record, I got to pick out the family vehicle in 1988… when I still couldn't drive. Wanna guess? Ford Aerostar, XLT, dark gray over gray. I guess that's where that fascination comes from, and I choose not to blame, but rather to uphold much reverence for my parents for allowing a 13yo to pick out the whole thing, from what vehicle to color to options, etc.
    Skip forward to today, where I have an engineering job for an automotive supplier. My job is 99.9% politics, and 0.1% engineering. (not counting time for Hooniverse, etc.) I think I'm still doing it because from time to time I get to go to auto plants and watch cars being built.
    Thanks for listening.

  23. YEAH_THAT_POLAR Avatar

    Most people usually start with asking how I became just a plain nut, but I guess the car thing saves me from having to bring up any of the other stuff. I discovered the wheel at a very young age, and was fascinated by how if you got on or in something with wheels it made you go faster. Skateboards, roller skates, Big Wheels, tricycles, bicycles, it didn't matter, I wanted them all to go as fast as possible. I could never really get them to go as fast as these car things all the big people had – even though it was the malaise, but oh how I tried. Having failed that, I decided I must have one of these motorized monstrosities… I haven't changed since.

  24. littleYodaPickup Avatar

    Darn it. Nibbles won't let me post!

  25. littleYodaPickup Avatar

    I blame my paternal genes. My grandfather was a grease monkey who tinkered with old Fords to run moonshine down from Canada. All his sons, including my dad were bitten by the car bug, either by helping him on his midnight treks, puttering about the garage, or admiring the new iron out of Detroit. My dad and one of his brothers eventually opened a dealership, and another of my uncles was a mechanic.
    By the time I came along, the malaise era was in full swing. My dad sold the dealership and started a garage that sold some used cars on the side. When I was two I was forever taking things apart, and one day in frustration my mom shooed me into the garage telling me to help my dad. I never looked back. I could get the right sized socket or wrench before I could tie my shoes or read. My dad took me out for my first drive when I was four, a big old boat of a '73 DeVille, me steering from his lap while he worked the pedals. I remember terrorizing supermarkets with him; me standing in the cart yelling "Faster!" as he ran up and down the aisles making vroooOOOOMMMM! noises. (Got him stranded at the market once when my mom blew her top and took the Cutlass off in a huff).

  26. littleYodaPickup Avatar

    The garage was always full of used beaters coming in and out, which gave me a deep appreciation for the workhorses of the automotive world, and eventually supplied my wheels when I was legally old enough to drive. I'll always remember the day someone stopped in with a Saab 95; where they got it, I have no idea. But dad specialized in GM, especially Corvettes and Caddies. I'll grant we never saw many in good condition, but they gave me the opportunity to imagine what the aged beauties were in bygone days. That and the '55 gave me a thirst for well styled cars, no matter how odd.
    I think what really won me over though, was the first time my dad and I went to a dragstrip with some of the guys from the garage. The noise, the smoke, the sheer adrenaline- I was hooked on the engine music. My first car was an '84 Fiero that lived a very short life, since we blew the engine soon after racing at the track. We were going to rebuild it, but sometimes life has other plans…
    I have my dad to thank for the 10W-30 in my veins, and while I'm nowhere near as knowledgeable as anyone else around here, the call of the automobile, in all its forms, always gets my attention.

  27. littleYodaPickup Avatar

    I'm too wordy for Nibbles it seems. Guess since I only post once in a blue moon I have to make up for it somehow…

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      There's a max character limit per post.
      As best we can tell, it's determined by a random number generator.

  28. ptschett Avatar

    Definitely genetics + an exposure to hooning at an early age. I'm told that when I was a baby I loved the '74 SD-455 Trans Am, though it died before I could remember riding in it; and that "tractor" and "Ford" were among my first words. I do remember several instances of the Mk II Sprite becoming a 4-passenger car when my sister and I were smaller, for trips to church or joyrides around the lake on summer evenings. Then we got the '70 GTO convertible which had quite an impact on the blank spaces of my school work early in the elementary grades, and also on one's back as Dad powershifted along.

  29. pj134 Avatar

    Well… My grandpa saved up all his cash when he was a youngster in an immigrant family to buy a model T in the early 1900's and did all the work on it himself… apparently parts only cost a nickel. He then became a doctor and after being a medic in the war only drove Mercedes. My mom had an MGB and a Skylark in her youth, my other grandfather had a constant fascination with caddy's, my dad had some great cars, started off with a beetle, got a 63 impala, 71 mustang mach 1 with cobrajet, olds 442 and so it went. I guess it's inherited.

  30. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    I came home from the hospital in a '57 Chevy wagon, so that was a good start. When I was 2 we moved to a new subdivision that at the time might as well have been on the edge of the earth. Our house was on the main road, and there being nothing else to do apparently, we sat on the front steps and watched the cars go by. In a year or so I could name all of them. (It sure helped this was a time when you could easily tell 'em apart). Aslo this was the golden age of the Japanese tin friction cars, of which I may have had one of every kind made. I know, if I had all of them today I could sell them on eBay and retire, but evidently at some point I started playing demo derby with them.

  31. CptSevere Avatar

    Simple. It's genetic. My Dad had an MGTD, and my Mom came from a family of ur-Hoons. My Grampa had a Jag and a Porsche 356, and raced go-karts with my uncles. Grammy had a 2 stroke Saab. Mom got a TR3, and terrorized West Point with it, and rallied on the weekends. She met Dad, and I was born in NYC and rode home to Hell's Kitchen in a Checker Cab (checked with Mom on this the other day). They split up, stepdad 1 was a contractor, had big trucks. I liked that. Had a junk '57 Ford truck in the backyard for me to fool around with. I remember a '69 F250 4WD with a PTO dump bed. I learned what that stood for, and was allowed to run it once or twice. Around this time I started on my collection of Corgi, Matchbox, and Hot Wheels cars. Mom had a '61 Lark, which almost spit me out when the passenger door opened on the way to school, then a '65 Catalina wagon. I remember riding in that from Connecticut to Florida, several times. The second stepdad had a Porsche 912 when he met Mom, and a '71 VW bug for when it was in the shop. I remember riding in that 912 while my mom drove it at nine-tenths, and she's still a hoot to ride with in her Suzuki 4X4. The 912 was traded in for a Datsun 510 wagon, and then a '71 Pontac Safari wagon which pulled a 24 foot travel trailer from Vermont to Utah, where I became a westerner, got into ghost towns and western history. Learned to drive there in a Pinto wagon. Got into horses, motorcycles, skiing, skateboarding, and learned to love the desert. First real car was a '56 Cadillac, first real bike was a '70 Yamaha 650, learned wrenching on both. That takes up to when I joined the Army, the rest of the story can wait.

  32. Tomsk Avatar

    I was genetically predisposed from both sides. My father's father built P38s at Lockheed's Burbank plant during the war, and drove a '41 Chevy coupe he bought new during that time. After the war, he started his own business and owned a succession of bitchin' cars, including a '63 Impala, a couple Corvairs, a '65 Impala, a '65 Impala SS which later became my dad's, a '68 Riviera and a '74 Jag XJ-6L with a Chevy 327 transplant (that last one is still in the family). Naturally my dad got the bug as well, and has owned an even more amazing variety, including a '58 Corvette, a '66 Corvette, a Pantera (all of which he got cheap due to damage and/or neglect), a '70 Chevelle LS6 (which he sold for only $3,000 or $4,000 in 1980 or so, though it didn't have its original engine). His daily driver these days is *gasp* an '07 Camry Hybrid, and he says he's at an age where he embraces the whole transportation appliance thing, but he still has fun looking around at car shows and is itching to get his '77 Jag XJ-6C/TPI Small Block Chevy project running and our freebie '57 Bel Air Sport Coupe restored (I stripped the last of the old paint off the roof today.).

    1. Tomsk Avatar

      One of my mom's uncles was an ace mechanic and had a garage with a bunch of old cars covering most of the property that the building didn't. His backyard (which is actually the only family-owned farm left in Orange County, I believe) has even more four wheeled treasures waiting for a second chance at life. The uncle passed away a few years ago, and my understanding is most of the cars at the shop have been sold off, as the land the garage is one is set to be redeveloped in concert with the construction of a new Metrolink train station. Not sure about the stuff at the house though…I really should get on emailing my mom's cousin, as the last time I was there there were quite a few things I wouldn't mind owning…
      Lastly, my mom's brother still has his first car, a '68 Camaro coupe, and has owned a first-gen Nova, a first-gen Accord hatchback and a Mk. 2 Golf five-door (those last two were both 5-speeds).
      So yeah, how could I not have been a petrolhead?

  33. Spud Avatar

    I was and impressionable 12 year old when my 16 year old greaser cousin came over to the house with his 1970 Duster 340 six pack (2 two barrels). All he talked about was limited slip differnetials & 4 bolt mains. I didn’t know what he was talking about but it was like he was ‘talkin dirty’ to me. We went out for a quick trip to the store. He laid rubber from the top of the freeway entry ramp all the way to the merge onto the highway. I remember him speed shifting all four gears. We were doing 110 when we hit the freeway. I’ve had a hard on for cars ever since.

  34. dmx Avatar

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