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

How Has Your Dad Affected Your Love of Cars?

Avatar 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

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… Read more »

Logan Tanner
Logan Tanner

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… Read more »

Giacomo Chizzola
Giacomo Chizzola

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… Read more »

Nikos Galousis
Nikos Galousis

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… Read more »

Chris Dyer
Chris Dyer

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… Read more »

Matt Duquette
Matt Duquette

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… Read more »

Nick
Nick

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

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… Read more »

Nikola Velkovski
Nikola Velkovski

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,… Read more »

Taylor Nelson
Taylor Nelson

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

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…… Read more »

Clay Czar
Clay Czar

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… Read more »

Gary Rogers
Gary Rogers

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… Read more »

Aaron Venable
Aaron Venable

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

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

[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… Read more »

Todd Cox
Todd Cox

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… Read more »

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

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… Read more »

Redvers Arnold
Redvers Arnold

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… Read more »

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay

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… Read more »

Bryan Cohn
Bryan Cohn

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… Read more »

Mike
Mike

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

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… Read more »

Chris
Chris

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… Read more »

Jonathan Russell
Jonathan Russell

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

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… Read more »

Samir Shirazi
Samir Shirazi

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… Read more »

Ron Carter

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… Read more »

Edward Zabinski
Edward Zabinski

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… Read more »

Ben DeGroot
Ben DeGroot

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… Read more »

Pieter van der Veer
Pieter van der Veer

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… Read more »

Arvel Perry
Arvel Perry

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… Read more »

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani

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

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… Read more »

Doug Churchill
Doug Churchill

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

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… Read more »