Journal: How Has Your Dad Affected Your Love of Cars?

How Has Your Dad Affected Your Love of Cars?

By Yoav Gilad
June 11, 2014
36 comments

Photography by David Marvier for Petrolicious

Petrolicious would like to extend a Happy Father’s Day on Sunday to all the dads out there.

My father doesn’t really care about cars. He sees them as appliances. In fact, I can only remember him mentioning the design of any car we ever owned twice. First, sometime in the 1990s, he stated that he rather liked our family car’s styling. It was a 1990 Buick Regal Gran Sport two-door (with front-wheel drive, thank you very much).

More recently, he criticized my Dodge Viper’s clamshell hood because it makes servicing the engine more difficult. When I explained that it was hinged in the front to make it safer at top speed he asked me, with a knowing stare, how often I drove the car at top speed. Clearly, he is no Petrolista.

Thus, you may remember that I credit my mom for nurturing my automotive passion. However, to his credit, my father can fix anything. I’m not bragging because this is a fact. In many ways, he’s like MacGuyver (the character from the television show of the same name), the exceptions being that he doesn’t play ice hockey or sport a mullet. And like MacGuyver, not only can he fix anything, he can probably do it with objects close at hand.

For example, when I had my 1964 Pontiac and needed to replace the reverse-light gaskets, he went to the refrigerator and pulled out the eggs. He placed the backup-light lens on top of the carton, drew a circle then cut it out and repeated the process. Boom, reverse-light gaskets made out of Styrofoam from the top of an egg carton. And better still, I didn’t have to wait two weeks and pay fifteen dollars for NOS gaskets from somewhere in the Midwest. It wasn’t going to win a concours, but it worked. Then when I passed a parked FedEx truck a bit too closely, he taught me how to fiberglass my Mustang’s mirror back on, with no evidence of damage.

So while my passion for all things automotive may stem from my mom, the little bit of technical know-how that I possess I owe to my father. I haven’t blown up an engine yet but when I do, you can be certain I’ll have the car trailered to his house. Hopefully, he’ll be willing to move his Toyota Corolla.

How has your dad influenced your love of cars?

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Antoine NAULOT
Antoine NAULOT
5 years ago

Hello everyone,
From my side of french owner my father’s taking a big place in my cars love.
My grand-father has his own garage and my father too.
When I was child he was a rally driver and I’m really afraid about.
I was not really interesting in car because i’m living in.
We renew together some old bike (from 1924 to 1952) and he is transmit me his love of mecanics.
Some years after I had some money into the bank, and my father has into his garage a Fiat 500 from 1967.
every day I went to his garage I was going into this car because Iit looks great and funny.
My father is looking to me everyday in the car and propose me a deal.
“Buy it and try to renew it by yourself, if you don’t wan to keep it aftertime, you could sold it and you will not loose money”
After discussing with the ex owner I buy it 300€!!! close to 400$…
I take some time to renew it but time after time i’m falling in love with.
I have it 15 years ago and I don’t want to sell it.
I’m falling in love with the old car and now I’m working on an Alfa-Romeo GTV 2000 Bertone from 1971 and I expect it was not the last one.
I think my father is proud to my passion and he try to help me as it could.
conclusion, my father gives me his passion.
Antoine

Logan Tanner
Logan Tanner
6 years ago

Two ways.

First, he drove an E30 BMW for as long as I can remember. It started with a white ’87 325es, a trim level I’ve had an incredibly difficult time finding in the classifies since “is” is far more common. I remember him having to maneuver all weird and slow to get up the driveway without destroying his huge air dam. After that, he moved to white 325ix E30. No more gorgeous BWM revs roaring up our steep driveway in the winter as he tried to get home in the RWD es.

The second way he influenced me, is by telling me my car craziness would subside with age. I couldn’t imagine an infection so intense just going away. Plus, because he said it would happen, I was determined not to let it. It wasn’t meant as reverse psychology, but I’m still grateful for it. After family and my children, there is nothing in this world that brings me so much, joy, sadness and inspiration, than cars.

Love you dad.

Giacomo Chizzola
Giacomo Chizzola
6 years ago

My dad is THE reason I’m into cars.. He has grown up with great cars of his time, since his father was an Alfa Romeo dealer and ex-Alfa Romeo engineer. It didn’t stick to him back then (they were daily drivers!) but it did once he started salvaging the last vehicles of the long-time closed family dealership. And he has passed it on to me, beginning the age of 3 when he would sit me on his lap and let me steer the 1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 M “Matta” Ar51, then taking me out in the sidecar of the Zuendapp KS601, teaching me how to drive on the aforementioned Matta at age 7 and later rather reluctantly letting me have a motorcycle at 16 which caused a spark and re-ignited HIS love for bikes, and now we have some “recent two wheel oldtimers” around too..
Don’t have older photos around right now, but this is me and Dad a few years ago at an Alfa Romeo Matta meet&ride with the very car I learned to drive on… Glorious!!

Nikos Galousis
Nikos Galousis
6 years ago

My father’s illness and passing away triggered my love of cars. By that time I have forgotten my childhood’s obsession with scale models and didn’t care about cars at all. Then I realized I had to have something to remember my dad and the happy days of my childhood. My mind was fixed on the 1973 Audi 100 LS he had kept for eighteen years. This car was part of numerous family memories. First I bought an 1/43 scale model of the same colour (emerald Green), then another and another and another. And then I wanted the car itself. I found an identical car of the same model year, the same colour, the same upholstery and restored it. Then I wanted my father’s first car, an 1967 Ford Taunus 12M. I found that too. Then I met other petrolisti. There was no way back. Now I own six classic cars and over 600 scale models……

Chris Dyer
Chris Dyer
6 years ago

Sadly, I no such stories. My Dad never really cared about cars, in fact, my parents always bought the cheapest car they could find. It was only about 10 years ago they bought a car that had such luxuries as power windows and door locks—because every car comes with that now. I grew up with cars like a Chevrolet Chevette, Ford Fairmont, , Chevrolet Vega Wagon, Buick Station Wagon, Nissan Sentra, and all sorts of other mundane vehicles. No one ever repaired cars in the family, we always took them in for any kind of service or repair. Cars were appliances to my parents, nothing more. I don’t know where I got my love of cars because no one in my family is an automobile enthusiast. I’m the only one.

Matt Duquette
Matt Duquette
7 years ago

My father is the complete reason I love cars. From when I was little he would tell stories of his Teal 57 Chevy convertible that he drove to and from high school, or the black Impala SS that he rolled over into a field while doing some street racing on the main drag in town. the list goes on an on, 64 GTO convertibles,olds 442’s I heard all about them and when I was 9 we bought a 1972 Dodge charger and together restored that but it eventually went when he wanted to by a new Harley. I took his love of american muscle cars and elaborated on it. I developed my own special interests. Vintage Ferraris and Maseratis taking center stage in my heart. While I will never have the millions upon millions it takes to own one of these beautiful works of Italian art, I try and appreciate and respect the beauty from afar. Me and my father still get together to watch the auction shows on T.V or any number of other automotive programming, hell sometimes if I see a split window coupe go by Ill just call him to say “hey dad you missed it.” my love of cars is a love my father instilled in me its the most special bond we have. Now that I at 23 have taken on a 71 TR-6 its my father that calls me with the age old question of “Hey Matthew can I borrow the car.”

Nick
Nick
8 years ago

My love of Italian cars came from My dad used to work on Fiat’s and Alfa’s. My first car was a Fiat 850 Coupe – and the love affair went on from there. Since then, Fiat’s, Lancia’s and Alfa’s have been a permanent part of my motoring journey. Always owned at least one or two.

Giuseppe Filippone
8 years ago

My father is a bit of a character. He has issues showing his true emotions about just about anything. Among the things he shows least is joy. From the time I was a kid, living with my family in a two room apartment in Brooklyn, however, I would hear stories about the many cars he owned before getting married (the Lancia, the Alfa Romeo, the 59 Cadillac, the 65 GTO, etcetera, etcetera) and invariably, a smile would crack over his face. He would talk about what is was like to use the shifter on the Duetto, how fast he could tackle the curves on throttle with the car, how tranquil the Lancia was when driven above 80mph and the smell of the Leather interior in that car, and how the failure of the brakes on his 59 Caddy almost got him killed on the Southern State Parkway but how the only real victim at the end of that ordeal, was a poor old oak tree that stood in the Cadillac’s way as it was gliding along the wooded median on the highway, gradually coming to a stop.
Supposedly, my father was trained as a barber, and every couple of weeks he would cut my hair and do a fantastic job of it, but he always refused to do it for a living. Instead, all I remember him doing when I was growing up, was driving cars for a living, either as a car service driver or as a cab driver in New York City. I remember once in a while he would take me with him on his night shifts, driving all over Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. He drove a 1988 Chevy Caprice with a 302 V8 at the time. He drove that car with such nonchalant skill, confidence, and dexterity, that it never ceased to amaze me. What also amazed me was how well he seemed to know all the nooks and crannies of the city. I used to love to watch all the cabs go by next to his, with all their different battle scars and medallion numbers, and I used to wonder what each of those cars had been though, how many bumps or accidents they had been through. For something so seemingly silly or boring to obsess over, it never failed to captivate my attention.
My mother still has pretty much all of her family in Italy. Supposedly, my she noticed my tendency towards automotive obsession when we were waiting for a ferry for Sicily in Italy in 1985. My cousin was killing time and trying to placate me by pointing to all the cars in the parking lot and naming them by brand, model, and year. By the time the ferry trip was over, I was doing the same thing for all the cars that were passing us by on the streets and I would not stop doing just that for the whole rest of our Italian Vacation.
I could go on and on, but I guess you get the point…
Thanks for the opportunity to write about my passion and obsession.

Nikola
Nikola
8 years ago

First car i rode in was my dad’s Wartburg ( east german car) He is into cars, and is a keen driver, driving every day and has always since highschool wanted a sports car of some sort but haven’t materialised that dream yet. He’s driven lots of company cars, even drove a taxi for a while. For him it’s not the car, the power or its looks, but driving a lot, covering a lot of miles, going a lot of places, making lots of memories… He’s got me into cars, and I can say now I’m bigger petrolhead than him, and also he taught me how to drive… Now I drive an old 1990’s Alfa as a daily driver that I can barely afford to keep on the road, but it is still a dream come true for me… I hope one day I can help him get his dream on wheels come true too

Taylor Nelson
Taylor Nelson
8 years ago

My dad is totally the reason I’m into cars and consider myself a gearhead. Growing up around him working on our old VWs or his ’69 Lotus Europa, it just seemed natural to me. Clearly my dad thinks this stuff is cool. It must be cool. It is cool! And I’m totally trying to be that way with my son.

The picture I’m including is from early ’79 and I was then about the age my son is now. Been meaning to get myself, him, and my VW bus over to my parents house to recreate this shot.

Patrick Wheeler
Patrick Wheeler
8 years ago

Are you kidding… my last name is Wheeler, for Pete’s sake, just as a starting point. My Dad was a designer and model maker for GM. While we still lived in Michigan, we had a huge large-scale slot car track in the basement. After we moved away, we still had a car of his own design in our garage, and he was also a Ferrari owner, so I’m a tifosi for sure. Growing up, he was always involved in teaching my siblings and I how to work on our cars, and now that he’s retired, he’s a fine art sculptor… doing classic cars. Yeah… love of cars runs deep in my family.

Clay Czar
Clay Czar
8 years ago

Dad spoke fondly of the hot rodded ’53 Ford that he used to pile up speeding tickets while in the Air Force; he took me to watch modified races at Flemington and antique truck shows in Macungie. He took me to little league practice on the back of a ’75 Honda CB500T, and I stood around handing him tools while he resurrected the rusty ’66 Mustang that I chose for my first car, learning a little but mostly just being awed by the fact that he always seemed to know exactly what to do in any situation, and always had the right tool for the job. I didn’t inherit the mechanic (or carpenter) gene, but I did inherit his love of vehicles in all their many forms. He passed away in December, but I feel his presence when riding his Harley or running errands in his ’93 F250. It’s therapy … A kind of communion.

Gary Rogers
Gary Rogers
8 years ago

My Father taught mechanics at an Orphanage in Xenia, Ohio in the 1920’s,but in 1929 he decided to go into business, against the advice of many, and opened an independent garage. He retired,due to age and health, 40 years later when he sold the business. Our home was next door to his business so I grew up in the garage. Dad taught my two brothers and me basic mechanics and a love for cars but for some reason never wanted us to take up the trade. When he retired nearly every mechanic within a 25 mile radius had tutored under dad. My brothers and I received cars at 16. Not just any car, but special cars. My older brother, a 30 model A coupe, me a 49 Chevy convert, which would outrun any flathead Ford around including the Ohio State patrol (but that’s another story) and my younger bother a 53 MG TD. Upon purchase of the car dad would go thru the engine and as he put it would warm them up a bit. He instilled a love of cars in me that I still have today which is why I have owned over 30 so far. Everything from an Austin Healey 100S to Studebaker Hawks. My Dad could diagnose and repair anything that had an engine, from farm tractors to airplane engines. During WW2 he only ran the garage part time (evenings and weekends) due to non availability of parts but he worked full time at WPAFB, Fairborn, OH rebuilding aircraft engines. because of his ability and talent he was deferred from being drafted by officials at WPAFB. He keep many peoples cars running during this period by salvaging parts from junk yards. He passed away in 1987 and I miss him to this day.

Aaron Venable
Aaron Venable
8 years ago

I vividly remember my father referring to racing as “expensive” and frowning upon my car builds. A 16 year old’s translation: “you’ll never be able to succeed building and racing cars.” Fifteen years later and I pay my mortgage and feed my family with an income from motorsports.

Lucklily, I had amazing Grandfathers who taught me mechanics and passed their stubbornness and tenacity on to me.

Jake Williams
Jake Williams
8 years ago

My dad tells me all these stories of him, his crazy friends, and his cars. He hasn’t owned the coolest cars in the past, but he’s always given them a great history. To a kid, hearing about how his dad and friends flipped an old Toyota Pickup into a ditch or drove a Jeep and Harley into a lake is always great. My dad and a few movies are the sole reasons I got into cars.

Mark Hancheroff
Mark Hancheroff
8 years ago

[i]I wrote this for my blog some time ago:[/i]

I’m almost certain it started with a spaghetti shooting tank.

I was around 3 or 4 when I remember my dad making reel-to-reel tapes of his voice. He was sending messages to his brother, who was living in England. I, of course, had no idea what that meant. But from this start I had a life long exposure to English culture, and specifically, mechanics.

With the next mail, I got a present. It was a small, metal tank. unlike a lot of american toys, this was heavy, with working treads, and a spring loaded barrel. it was probably supposed to come with some small plastic bullets or something, but those were missing, so we broke bits of spaghetti into short bits, and they shot out of the barrel quite nicely when we flipped the little lever.

This was my first Corgi toy. Corgi made amazing toys, most famously the James Bond cars, with shooting rockets and ejector seats and such, and my uncle sent them along with his tapes. Not too much later, something much larger arrived.

A flatbed truck with two very, very small cars arrived. Bigger than my tank, but smaller than any American car that I had seen.

These were Minis.

Between the two, I found out that one had a good body, and the other had a great engine. Both were rolled into our garage, and I watched as they were torn into bits. These bits were then reassembled into one working car. Ten the thing of the working car began. I watched as this little blue car, smaller than the hood of my grandfather’s Oldsmoblie, was upgraded and tuned, in our own garage.

Racing seats and five-point seat belts were added. Front rally lights were bolted on, and the whole car got “works” tuned. This was during the 70′s gas crisis, and this tuned sports car got over 30 MPG, and was our daily driver.

Then the Lotus arrived.

The Lotus Super Seven was a british kit car, not in the American sense that you would take a cheap car, like a VW Bug, and slap a body onto it to make a kit, but in the sense that you would get an open wheel race car in several boxes, and assemble it in your garage. This one was driven by my uncle in London, and now we had it. it had frozen badly in shipment, and was torn down to the frame by my father for rebuild.

We had a tubular frame in our garage for quite a while, I remember being able to pick it up and carry it around before getting yelled at for running off with the car. Bits would get riveted and bolted on each week, and it became more and more of a car. It was mostly back together when the Aston Martin arrived.

I knew the Aston right away, as I had the Corgi James Bond toy on my shelf. This was a DB6, not a DB5 as in the movies, and was in surprisingly good shape.

This was just my start with British cars.

My entire childhood was spent around little bins of parts saved for reassembly, marked and kept, as replacements were hard to find. We watched Monty Python and The Prisoner on channel 9 at night. I recognized the Lotus 7 in the credits, naturally. I also wondered why the other kids did not. and wondered why they looked at me funny when I mentioned watching The Prisoner.

Much of this explains why, earlier this year, I had no choice but to buy a Triumph Spitfire from my friend Henry. He made me an offer that I couldn’t refuse.

When he dropped it off, I could see that he was nervous. He was afraid that I might be upset by the condition of the car. The body was dented, the passenger floor had major holes from rust, as did the battery case. No lights worked. The brakes were built from hopes and wishes.

But I knew, that for a British car, this ranked as “average”. Henry had already dropped in a new engine and rebuilt the front suspension. These were the money jobs. The rest I could do.

And so far I have. Older cars are very easy to work on compared to modern cars. The systems are simple, parts are pretty cheap, so long as it isn’t a true classic. Tearing into this car and rebuilding some worn out system doesn’t feel like work.

It feels like home.

Todd Cox
Todd Cox
8 years ago

Perhaps this broadens the question, but here’s my dissertation and how my father has affected two generations of gear-heads.

My father and I did not have a good relationship with eachother. Despite that, much of our relationship was spent cobbling the family cars together. Very much like Yoav, my father tended to view the cars he owned as a means to get to and from work, yet he also had a deep appreciation for old Brit roadsters (they seemed to be a nearly infinite source of complaints; something my father never grew tired of). He’d show me the marvels of engineering work-arounds of the older cars and share his love of their design.

He taught me secret words, like ‘knockoffs’ and ‘syncromesh’ and with those words amongst a host of others in my new glossary, I was indoctrinated into the folds of the Order of the Greasy Handed Brethren. He explained the differences between tonneau and boot covers. I remember him marveling at Allison electronic points and how he installed a very early cruise control system in his Mazda GLC wagon that was set by punching numbers into a little computer mounted to the dash. He taught me how to keep an air-cooled VW running; and consequently how to pull the engine in under 20 minutes (repeatedly).

My father also taught me that he could become irrationally angry when problems and failures occurred and that he’d take his frustrations out on me; it hurt me as a young man and taught me the world was unfair, but more importantly, it also taught me something far more valuable: It taught me that swapping greasy tools under the car with my sons was an opportunity to bond, and we have. My sons and I speak about our lives and joke when things aren’t going well. I’ve taught them to stop when they are frustrated and let their minds clear; the solution almost always presents itself away from the issue at hand. Because of my father, I’ve taught my sons to think through a problem and remain calm when things seem to be stacking up against you; that you solve one problem at a time and eventually you’ll resolve the situation.

He always tried to buy cheap cars which demanded much attention. The bodies of his cars were almost always in poor condition, and while he’d do bodywork he seldom painted his cars beyond splotches of primer laid over bondo which was usually completely unmatched to the original color of the car. A Datsun 510 sedan remained a tri-color car throughout the span of our ownership. In this way, he taught me the value of completing a job and having pride in my work.

But for all that, he did inspire my love of cars. He managed to somehow meet a fellow in Sundance who had a Mercedes Gullwing, and I got to go for a ride in it. As a 7 year old, I didn’t fully comprehend what a rare opportunity this was, but I could tell from my father’s expressions that this was something to take note of. He later bought a 1964 Sunbeam Alpine, which I’ve recently inherited, but unfortunately wears the marks of my father’s maintenance theories; there is much work to be done with it.
It is quite fair to say that a love of cars was the singular common ground we shared, and while even that was shaky ground, we took what we could get. That love of cars, and even the faintest spark of mutual interest has been reintroduced to my sons, through me, and has been our common ground as well. I brought a Miata home and have customized it to pay homage to its Italian roadster philosophy as is possible, and as a result, my sons now own Miatas; a trifecta of cars that bonds us together, as car men. We don’t have favorite football teams, and we don’t really care about bowling or baseball. We’re gearheads with an appreciation for well handling cars, grease under our fingernails, and a throaty exhaust note. That’s what I learned from my father; and this is how he’s inspired two generations of automotive enthusiasts.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange
8 years ago

Below is an extract of a piece I wrote back in 2010 on the very same subject. Other than my writing has hopefully got better since then very little has changed other than my Dad’s health has unfortunately deteriorated since then 🙁

My fascination with cars and the Ferrari Daytona in particular absolutely comes from my Dad. Like me, he is a massive petrolhead and I’ve actually lost count of the cars that he has owned in my lifetime (it’s somewhere over 70 cars).
I’m told that the first car he ever owned was a very ratty Renault Dauphine, which eventually rusted to to the point the floor fell out of it driving over Hammersmith bridge. After the Renault Dad progressed through a series of Triumphs, starting with a Herald convertible which Dad spent much of his spare time working on, to the occasional annoyance of my mother when the evenings out had to be cancelled because the car wasn’t ready!
As time wore on Dad was becoming increasingly successful in business and at the point when I entered the world in 1973 he drove me back from the hospital in his Aston Martin DBS Vantage (his second DBS). However, the car he really wanted was a Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona, even though he had been offered an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato for less money that the Daytona was selling for. How times change! It was 1974 and the world was gripped by the first oil crisis. Demand for high-powered Italian GT cars, whose fuel economy could sometimes be measured in single-digit miles per gallon, was on the floor. This was the perfect opportunity for Dad to acquire a year-old Daytona with next to no miles on the clock for only slightly more than half the new price of the car. Apparently he looked at around 20 Daytonas before settling on the one you see in this blog today, and his reason for choosing this one was it was the least rusty!

Certainly not a garage queen, the Daytona was pressed into service as his sole daily transport (although I think he occasionally pinched Mum’s MGB GT if it was really snowy) and over the next few years the car racked up some 42,000 miles. In the more inncoent era before health and safety, I would often ride on the parcel shelf in the back with a pillow as a cushion. I won’t be repeating that with my kids! I do recall riding in the Daytona up to the Ferrari concours (I can’t remember the year) and driving back in convoy with six or seven other Ferraris of all eras, which was massively exciting for a five year-old.
The mileage took its toll on the Russian steel the Daytona (and all the other Italian cars of the period for that matter) was built from, and in around 1977 the Daytona relinquished it’s duties as Dad’s daily driver to another Ferrari, this time a 365GT4 2+2. The first of several restorations was then undertaken at this point and it was also changed from Dino Blue Metallic to Rosso Chiaro, something that both Dad and I now regret. Also during this period the steering wheel managed to get swapped with the one on Mick Jagger’s Daytona, although that is a story for another blog! Dad also had Borrani wheels fitted (the car is now back on the original Cromadoras). The first restoration was never satisfactory and the car was given a full bare metal respray in 1985 by Moto Technique. It remains with that paintwork to this day. In the meantime Dad had started running a revolving-door collection of cars which ranged from an old MG TF (described as my Dad as a Noddy car), through to the stunning a 275GTB/4 which is one of the 25+ Ferraris Dad has owned. Often Dad would come home (or when I would go round to see him after my parents split up) and say do you want to come and see the new car? While many of my friends would be talking about football, I would be talking about cars and instead of comics I would read my Dad’s copies of Motorsport magazine. All this time the Daytona remained in the increasingly large garage, not always the most used but always my favourite.
Dad’s ultimate favourite car and his dream machine when he was in his late teens arrived in the mid-nineties: a Ferrari 250SWB (see Memories of a 250SWB) but despite this my affinity for the Daytona remained, partly for sentimental reasons since it had been in the family since I was one, and also because the Daytona is much more of a dream car for my generation.

On my 30th birthday Dad passed ownership of the Daytona over to me where it will remain until such time that I pass ownership onto my own (future) children.

Redvers Arnold
Redvers Arnold
8 years ago

The first car I ever travelled in was as a baby in a carrycot perched in the rear of a Ford side valve powered 3 wheeler Morgan. Both my father and grandfather ran these cars and were very much hands on in keeping them on the road so there was no way I couldn’t be infected by this interest in cars and working on them as I grew up. My father always owned run of the mill vehicles (Fords, Vauxhalls etc) but always the GT or uprated versions and was a keen motorsport follower and we went to many 2 and 4 wheeled sporting events together.
When I started competing in Sprints and Hill climbs we used to build the engines and gearboxes together on the floor of our kitchen using the fridge and oven as required for cooling and heating components where interference fits were required. Fortunately my mother was used to this as her father was the one with the Morgan and her family were very keen Motor bike fans both riding and competing.
I don’t compete anymore and moved into owning classics and still nothing is better than after a hard day, going into the garage for a bit of escape and relaxation working on the cars. My mother and father passed away some years ago but the hip flask always comes out at events (Le Mans classic next) for a quick toast to them in giving me this life long passion.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
8 years ago

My father is, without a doubt, the main reason I love cars and motorsport. He has owned so many cool vehicles over the years that I can’t even begin the list.
He was a racer, mechanic, designer, and crew chief and I count my lucky stars that I have been able to glean so much knowledge from him over the years. He was always way ahead of his time, and was constantly designing and making new tools and parts. In my opinion, he is one the few remaining of a dwindling breed that has a complete understanding of a vehicle and systems and dynamics. He has always had an intuitive mechanical ability that somehow transcends even his lifelong accumulation of experience. Over the years, I have witnessed him mentor many racing mechanics, show tricks to F1 transmission designers (although this was not his specialty). I will never forget once at Daytona, when a factory Porsche team could not get a GTR1 to hook up after days of practice, one of the drivers (a friend), now very frustrated, finally convinced my father to take a look (much to the chagrin of his own team). He walked up to the car when they had the gearbox removed, assessed it, and within minutes they were up and running. I like this story because he was not a gearbox specialist, nor had he ever seen this car before. He just had a way of seeing things and was always up for helping people out, whether it be friends or, by chance, the Works Porsche team, usually anonymously.

Together we have worked on everything from 100 year old cast iron fabrication machinery to state-of-the-art carbon fibre aerodynamic development.

As a father, I hope that I can pass on a large portion of this knowledge and methodology to my children, who are already infected with the racing virus.

Happy Father’s Day!

Bryan Cohn
Bryan Cohn
8 years ago

My connection goes back to 1954 when my grandfather bought a new Jaguar XK120. Grandma hated the thing so my mom went on rallies with my grandfather after he joined SCCA. My parents met through their involvement in SCCA so I didn’t really have a chance. I attended my first race at age 5 in Olathe, KS, saw Group 44 at Lake Afton KS in 1972 at age 7, the memory as vivid today as it was 41 years ago. I’ve been racing since I was 20 in 1986 with no plans to stop anytime soon. Plus, I’ve made my living in the racing industry since 1990, having done everything from mechanic to shop owner, worked for sanctioning bodies and racing teams. I’ve been a lucky man. PS: None of it compares to being a dad. My 8 yr old daughter loves the track, the cars, the whole thing. She’s a mini me in a girl suit.

Mike
Mike
8 years ago

My father really got my into cars at a very young age. His father was a Zone Rep. for Chrysler and he got into Mopar as a kid. As I got older my dad introduced me to F1 and foreign cars which was great fun for both of us since he really didn’t know much about them. Now, when we are together, we work on old cars and hang out in the garage. He helped me restore my 1973 Monte Carlo and I could’t be happier with our relationship.

Adi Rapp
Adi Rapp
8 years ago

I vividly remember sitting next to my father as a young boy and being in awe of how he made his car do what was asked of it. Heel and toe shifts, double clutching… it was as though he was playing the violin. I remember him doing e-brake slides with a rental VW bug in Mexico somewhere while we were on vacation and I was 9 years old. Yank the wheel, handbrake, downshift, and he was in the throttle and pulling out of a 360 in the little dirt parking lot in front of our hotel. I was giggling the whole time. Needless to say, he made a big impression on me and my love of cars. I’m forever grateful.

The pic is of him driving gymkhana’s back in Germany in the late 60s in an old 911S

Chris
Chris
8 years ago

My parents met cruising Van Nuys blvd in the early 70’s.. apparently my mom was drawn to the blonde guy with the red 356 Super 90. Go figure.

Growing up, he kept a ’66 912 under wraps in the garage (arguably the first car I ever “drove”) but gravitated towards boats and ex-Bondurant Broncos as they provided a bit more room for the family. You really haven’t lived until you’re desperately trying to keep your 12 year-old arm off the Olds 455 header blaring away next to you (in some very choppy water).

In short, I was screwed from the beginning. My only goal is to get him into a 911 soon.

Jonathan Russell
Jonathan Russell
8 years ago

Definitely! I remember crawling around his 1934 Plymouth PE Businessmen’s Coupé that he’d bought in high school and riding in his 1972 Corvette Stingray. He took me to many a hot rod show and car museum and I would read his copies of Road & Track and Street Rodder from cover to cover. Now I’m looking to buy my first fun car and introducing my son to the wonderful world of automobilia.

Chris
Chris
8 years ago

Well, my dad is actually an aerial cropdusting pilot, but he taught me some mechanics and taught me how to service my own car, because he loves his own car. He took his part in lighting the fire in my heart. Mostly I learned “how to love cars” because of my brother’s friend, who owned Alfa Romeo 164 3.0 V6. Soon after that my dad bought Lancia Kappa (2.4 inline-5 petrol) and I fell in love with italian cars completely (along with my dad). When I recieved my driver’s license, my grandpa (he was 80 back then, now 83) gave me his 1993 Fiat Cinquecento (704cc, inline-twin 31 bhp), as he bought 1997 Fiat Punto 1.1 (my grandpa had only FIATs). Thanks to my dad’s mechanics lessons and my brother’s friend “love-for-cars” lessons, that Cinquecento is still with me by now, even though I mostly drive 1992 Opel Astra 1.6 right now (I bought it myself, because it’s quick, comortable and easy to maintain). However my next car will certainly be Alfa Romeo. Why? Because I love Italian cars as much as my dad (he still owns his Lancia Kappa, it has 400k km by now) and as brother’s friend does (that friend now owns 75, 90, 164 and 166, all with Busso’s V6 engines).

samir shirazi
samir shirazi
8 years ago

well I am from Iran (now I live in Italy) and my father is the man who made me a classic car lover. he had many different cars when he was in America in 70’s. he brought his 74 Camaro to Iran with him those days. but he was mostly into Mercedes classic cars. although he even had a 190SL for years in Tehran, i personally think his 300Se coupe 1965 was his real love. he had this car once and he sold it. years later he bought it again and finally sold it because we had no extra parking in our crowded city for his Merc. I can remember clearly he gave me the keys when i was at school and asked me to start the engine sometimes, and I started to drive it step by step. I still have my hand writing from the late 80’s when he sold the car for the first time! years later i was into classic cars like my father did and I still have my 69 Camaro garaged in Tehran now. I made a large group of classic car lovers in Iran and in 2012 I found his car finally. I am still trying to buy it back for him hence I know this is the greatest thing I can do for him, and I am still begging the owner to sell it back.

Ron Carter
8 years ago

My Dad turns 83 this year, and as I turn 47 I see some similarities and some differences. My dad was a petrolhead of sorts, but not your standard fair. With a love for foreign cars when they weren’t exactly in fashion, and a 1923 Stanley Steamer that he still has to this day.

My Dad was a maverick and loved funky cars. I have distant memories of the family’s gold Rambler, then going to trade that in at the local car dealership for a preowned Mercedes Benz 250SE, Blue with white leather interior. He drove that car from the late 60’s to the early 80’s. Column shift 4 spd with a clutch! He put 250k miles on that car, on the original clutch and he loved that car…I know that he liked to go fast as I can recall a few spirited spins up on-ramps to get on the freeway and always making sure his kids were wearing their seat belts.

In the late 70’s my parents acquired a 1971 BMW 1600, this was the car that I took my drivers test in and learned how to drive. A great car, under powered, chrome bumpers, lots of glass and fun to drive. This was “Mom’s” car but from time to time I got to drive it, and drive it I did.

Since I can remember we have had the Stanley, a 1923 behemoth, six passenger monster tall enough that it wont fit under most garage doors, long enough that you cant walk behind it if it is in the garage, and cool enough for a young petrolhead like me to play gangster in it as a kid. Yes, there are photos.

To date since I have been aware of this Stanley it has not driven under its own power, my dad has thought several times of selling it, but about 2 years ago something changed. I don’t know what exactly but he took interest in it again and now it is being finished at last. I hope to drive it with him, and enjoy a few short hours behind the wheel of this monster. We have talked about the California Mille and I hope that comes to fruition, it would be a fitting closing chapter to the guy who by hook and crook got me into cars…I think it was in my DNA.

At 47 I race vintage Datsuns, the cars that were out front in my childhood, driven and raced by my racing heroes. Morton, Brock, Parkinson, Tilton, Knepp, Devendorff, Sharp, PLN…and many more. I guess I have an eclectic taste for what I like too. Thanks Dad.

Ed Zabinski
Ed Zabinski
8 years ago

My Dad passed away when I was about 5 years old. But he was a car guy and made his mark on me before he passed. He took me to sports car races at Pacific Raceways in Kent, WA and to Corvette events with his new 1964 Corvette coupe. I remember riding around the track with him sitting in my Mom’s lap and being amazed at the feelings, sights and sounds of high speed driving.
Even today the sound of a C2 Corvette at idle will bring back all those memories. Today I have a modest and eclectic collection with a rotating family of sports cars, but the memories of my short time with my Dad in that 1964 Corvette will guarantee that if my collection ever drops to just one, the Corvette will be the last to go.

Ben DeGroot
Ben DeGroot
8 years ago

Sometimes I like to think this addiction of mine would have grown without influence, but the fact of the matter is my Dad is wholly responsible. Our family car for the first 11 years of my life was my father’s first car, or truck I should say. A beautifully restored 1960 Chevy Apache with a C-10 hood and a host of other very tasteful modifications. My Dad chronicled the restoration with a whole album of photos, which I drooled over repeatedly throughout my childhood and high school years. I was under the truck holding a flashlight and learning everything I could as far back as I can recall. As I grew so did my interest, so Pop excitedly fueled it with car shows, races, cruise nights at the local burger joint, and endless conversation about all the cars we liked and didn’t like. Despite my father’s intensely busy work schedule, my first car was a classic we spent countless hours fiddling with; a 66 Volkswagen Type III Fastback. Though it was a far cry from my Dad’s love of American muscle, his enthusiasm was just as genuine as it would’ve been had I chose a Chevelle. Without his time, influence, teaching, and giant toolbox in the garage, I wouldn’t know the joy I get from this hobby today. Thanks Pop!!

Pieter van der Veer
Pieter van der Veer
8 years ago

I was raised in a car nut family. Once a month, we went to the MG Car Club, so apart from the cars, I was also raised in the international MG community and as much as I am a gearhead, I always found that the people behind and around the cars are at least half of the fun. Apart from the MGs, my dad also had a thing for Lancias and Jaguars, so by the time I was 18, I had a few choices for great transport! Until I crashed one of the MGs, that is. My dad thought it was time for me to buy my own cars. To this day, we still go to Lancia club events together.

Arvel Perry
Arvel Perry
8 years ago

My Dad has so many different cars in his life, where do I start? At one time had a Lotus 7, and when my Mom was about to have me, he got a family car: a brand new 1965 Mustang GT. My childhood is filled with a rotating door of mostly smaller, British sporty cars that handled. He would find a worn out one, bring it home, and over time rebuild it in to a respectable runner. Until another one would catch his eye, then he’d sell one he had fixed and repeat the cycle. My first car? A 1972 Honda 600 Sedan hand me down, that became my Mini Cooper while in high school. When I wrecked it (I miscounted the whoopedy do’s on a dirt road through the orange groves near our home) Dad made me rebuild it using the best parts from it and the two spare parts cars we had. Then he sold it! Tough lesson, but I learned much about working on cars. I wish I had spent more time with my Dad in the garage. His little pinky knows more about cars than I ever will. But he did give me a deep appreciation for fuel burning speed machines. Thanks, Dad.

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani
8 years ago

Some of my earliest and vivid memories are of me and my dad visiting car dealerships. He would let me advise him on some of the options he should get…which has carried on as a tradition for 30+ years. I think he would probably take a more basic car on his own, but with me by his side he gets them a bit more enthusiast oriented or as I would order it for myself!:) He’s a good sport! Happy father’s day, Dad!

Jason Davis
Jason Davis
8 years ago

My old man’s worked for American Honda since 1986. For as long as I can remember, he’d been bringing home the newest Honda’s and Acura’s. Yeah, that includes early Civic’s and Vigor’s, but so too CRX’s, first-gen Integra’s, and then those badged VTEC. At night or on early morning weekends, he’d drive me all over the deserted backcountry roads near where we lived, just tossing whichever GS-R or VTEC Prelude or CL-S he brought home into the corners. When I was a little shit, I’d ask him, “Dad, does this one do 100?” And he’d show me, and I’d grin and squeal as if riding a roller coaster. Later, it was Legend’s on family road trips, NSX’ to Little League games and S2000’s over the Ortega Highway. Naturally, when I was young and dumb enough to join the Army, I sought out my first (attainable) love on a Private’s salary–a 4th-generation Prelude Si. And when I was seemingly younger and dumber enough to blow its engine, I swapped in the better VTEC plant and its JDM transmission with LSD. Though I’ve since moved on to more family-friendly, turbocharged wagon(s) in another corner of the country, that Prelude sits beneath a cover back home, in homage of the times I spent with my old man, just waiting for me to let loose its VTEC snarl. Hard to believe that my own kid’ll be ready for her in just 7 years.

Doug Churchill
Doug Churchill
8 years ago

I was the third son, the one that was under the car handing wrenches, holding brackets and pumping the brake pedal while my DIY out of necessity father fixed/modified/altered whatever vehicle we owned. Attached is a Mini Shooting Brake that he keep up using hockey stick handles (back when hockey sticks were solid hardwoods). My engineer brother says I inherited my inclination and abilities with cars to “the Dad gene” which he was not blessed with.

Thanks Dad.

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle
8 years ago

I hope my comments will be good enough for a Mr Phil Smiedt but honestly could care less what he thinks anyways my dad is the single biggest reason I love cars in the first place. Any time we are in the car and we pass a classic car we start to instantly talk about it. We talk about the style of the car and the way it sounds and all the things we may or may not like about it. I found my dad and I have a lot in common but I learned over the years there is some cars he likes that I just cant stand and vice versa. Back in my younger days dad and I would go to car dealerships and just roam for what seem liked hours just looking at the selection of new and used and sometimes classics that might be there. I didn’t think about that time I spend with him back then but now when I look back I realized what a blast we had just being with each other. Happy father’s day to all the dads of this world.