Journal: At What Age Did You Realize You Loved Cars?

At What Age Did You Realize You Loved Cars?

By Andrew Schneider
September 2, 2013

My first word, as captured on videotape, was “car”. When I was four, I remember sitting on the floor for hours cleaning hundreds of Matchbox cars with Q-Tips. I was set on the idea that if my friends came over and wanted to play with my Matchbox cars, they would surely be the cleanest. When I got be ten years old, I realized that what I had might be classified as an obsession. For years, I couldn’t stop running around school making engine noises with my mouth. Let me tell you, an open exhaust makes quite the ruckus in the confines of a middle school hallway. Now, at age 21, I’m just as in love with cars as ever, although these days I only make engine sounds upon request.

At what age did you realize you loved cars?

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Udo Hannebohm
Udo Hannebohm(@fb_1482440555)
8 years ago

My son aged 5 made car noises when playing with his matchbox cars. My wife then accused me of passing on my genes. What can I say?! It is in me! And I passed it on! 😀

John Hanson
John Hanson(@fangio99)
8 years ago

Well, the first time i realized i truly loved cars was when i was about 7 and my dad had decided to participate in an add that he saw in a magazine in which he would drive a 1968 Mercury Colony Park wagon to Minneapolis, so my dad drove the wagon with my mom behind us in our dodge mini van all the way to Minneapolis, the minute my dad brought the car to our house, I called the back seats that were facing each other. That for me e=was the single best road trip of my life.

Boris Segalis
Boris Segalis(@fb_1587312631)
8 years ago

I was 3, living in the USSR. That’s when I started collecting scale models of soviet cars. By the time I was 16, the collection reached over 70 pieces. It survived a trip across the Atlantic, and I have it to this day, now living in the U.S. I don’t remember the first time I steered a car — one of our Ladas — but at 6 my dad taught me to drive stick. In the Summer, he’d have me on half seat. I would work the steering wheel, gas and break pedals, and the shifter, while he handled the clutch. One day in February of 1985, he took me to a closed driving school. I was 9, and my dad taught me how to drive on my own. From then on, every Summer I drove the car in the country, with my dad sitting in the front passenger seat. He always kept me to 60 km/hr. Today, I own a 1985 BMW 535i, that has been converted to slim European bumpers and had some performance modifications. Living in New York City, I don’t have much time to drive the car, but when I do, it takes me to a happy place.

David Moore
David Moore(@fb_501667109)
8 years ago

I know this is afrom a month ago, but my first word was also “car”. My parents got a subscription to Road & Track in my name when I was 3. One of my most vivid memories as a very small child was being at the San Diego International Car show, I believe it was held at the Sports Arena that year, and sitting in AWE of the Vector display. The Vector W2. Must have been ’80 or ’81. I remember the video playing, the Vector racing a fighter jet (probably an F-20). A few years later there was one at the hydroplane races and I got to sit in it!

Hudson Valley Chronic
Hudson Valley Chronic(@fb_1362807678)
8 years ago

Man, I don’t think I was even born yet. I’m pretty sure I was conceived in a car, probably the back seat of a 1949 Hudson. I had hundreds of Matchbox cars, too — I’d sleep with them. I’d look out the window and do comparative counts of the different brands I saw going by, keeping the tallies in my head. Chevrolet usually won. Even at age 5, I could tell the year and model of just about any vehicle. I even had vivid, realistic dreams that involved building my own car and driving it around the neighborhood. I couldn’t wait to drive, and began spiriting my old man’s car out at night at the age of 15, pushing it out into Old Niskayuna Road and starting it up, driving it all night at breakneck speed. I’ve mellowed somewhat, although I still love to drive. While I’m an “environmentalist” who publicly professes that I won’t bemoan the end of the internal combustion era, I maintain a guilty weak spot for ancient Detroit iron. While guest-driving a Viper at 170 at Lime Rock in Connecticut and outrunning the cops on I87 in a Shelby Cobra GT were my personal “Peak Car” moments, most of my driving through the years entailed beating the shit out of a series of approximately 30 rustbuckets that cost an average of $250 each and died memorable deaths that will be compiled in an autobiographical novel some day. Meanwhile, here’s a song about living with an automotive death wish:

Witawas Srisaan
Witawas Srisaan(@sriswit)
8 years ago

I knew when I was 5 when my dad brought home a white Alfa Romeo Giulia Super. Seventeen Alfas later and I’m still in love.

Vintage Son
Vintage Son(@vintagesun)
8 years ago

My dad always had older Mopars growing up, and when I was really little I could name (reportedly) everything in the engine bay, including what was in the motor. As I grew older though, I got into model motorcycles for a little while, but then Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightnings and even Match Box. Even later once I had outgrown my toys, I got into airplanes (mainly because my grandfather was in the air force and I had always had some interest in mechanical things) and my interest in cars really couldn’t have been lower.

But when i was about 15, my dad had bought a Tor Red AAR off of his friend and it needed finished (it was just a rolling car really) and I wanted to help finish it. Eventually, my dad said it was mine…but at the time, I wasn’t interested because it had a manual. I should have kept that car, but I told my dad to sell it to his friend (who still is putting together and hasn’t done much since he bought it) and maybe I’ll try and buy it back from him. But since then, I’ve been sucked into cars and I’ll never come back.

Another reason I love cars is the car my dad had when I was little, a custom painted 71 GTX. Sadly, it’s not in too great of shape right now…but we’ll be submitting it here if we can find someone to get the paint matched on the damaged quarter and trunk lid.

Vintage Son
Vintage Son(@vintagesun)
8 years ago
Reply to  Vintage Son

Retrying the picture.

Yao Lee
Yao Lee(@yao)
8 years ago

Can’t tell when… but I’m sure car was the first thing made me realize that I have a hobby or love. My love for car was mostly developed by matchbox and car magazines. Thank to my mum who always buy me matchbox and my old neighbor who works in magazine print workshop.

CJ David
CJ David(@theseeker411)
8 years ago

I was about 4 years old I think. My parents are not car people, but my dad has always been a Mercedes fan. The first one we owned was his ’76 W114 280C coupe. It was a temperamental thing, and I remember my dad getting sent through the ringer by various cut rate shops because of that car (my dad is probably the cheapest Benz driving MD, ever), but when it did work, I remember it being an awesome ride. He still has it, stored away in a pull barn. Hasn’t moved under it’s own power in nearly 2 decades. That car cemented my love affair with automobiles, especially German ones.

Keith Baldwin
Keith Baldwin(@netspeed)
8 years ago

1971 when I was 7 years old. I watched the Porsche 917’s battle the Ferrari 512’s during the Daytona 24 Hours on TV. I’ve been hooked ever since!

Mark Walsh
Mark Walsh(@arkleo)
8 years ago

When I was small, my father had a beautiful dark green 1965 Mercedes Benz 230SL. I was six when he sold it, and I remember crying as it drove away.

8 years ago

In my case others realized for me. Ever since I was a little kid I barely able to speak I would walk the street with my mum recognizing every make and model of car I could see. My parents always remember how everybody would notice that “early knwoledge” and get surprised. I could recognize the car just for a door handle, a sneak peek of a headlight or whatever. Then, as many of you, I started collecting toy cars and miniatures driving them trough imaginary roads following the carpets designs (I remember specially a red Cx citroen that came with a trailer and a hook for it and in the trailer there was a montesa motorbike and the car had yelow montesa decals on both sides, this model was a little bigger than the average miniatures I had and I remember it really well (I´m talking about 1978 or so here, when I was 2 years old). Then I had the hot wheels garage and other multifloor garages that I would pack with cars and protect from my little brother destruction games (I was extremely carefull with my toys and I still am) and finally I inherited an scalextric from my father and remember getting extra tracks for it as a gift on special ocassions. I remember vividly a birthday when I was taken to the shop and got a red 288 ferrari GTO for the scalextric that all my friends would covet.

As for the real life I didn´t have the best of the scenaries. I grew up in Spain and my father was not a car guy (he´s owned only four different cars in his life and always for transportation purposes) and I didn´t have uncles or grandparents around with cars, so I had to stick to what I saw in the street but trough my childhood there were normally common cars almost all made in Spain in that period (seat, fiat, renault, Citroen, etc). Beeing able to see a 70s mercedes or BMW was exceptional but in the mid 80s everything started to change quickly and an Alfa Romeo dealer opened doors by my house. Everytime I walked out for school I could delight my eyes with period Alfas, from the cheapest ones to Alfa Spiders, GTV6, etc.

Then I used a lot of public transportation through my University years and the highlight came when in 1997 my then girlfriend, was bought a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee (quite a nice and uncommon car around here) that she would let me drive.

Although the bug was there from the beginning I had to wait to buy my first “properly mine” car at 29 and then came a couple classics that I also keep, so I guess in the end patience pays off.

The funny thing is that now for my daily life I don´t really need a car. 😉

Ariel Gallo
Ariel Gallo(@arielgallo)
8 years ago

When i was 3 or 4 years old i think, my father is a mechanic, and back then was in a racing team so my visits to the local race track were about that age. Also the first words i wrote were car brands 🙂

This passion is very deep in the heart.

Kevin Wong
Kevin Wong(@frost)
8 years ago

I think I was 23 when I realized I LOVED driving and then accordingly fell in and out and back into love with cars again. No one in my family really loved driving. It was simply a means to an end, point A to point B, a chore that needed to be done. It wasn’t until we moved to Canada from the United Arab Emirates that my dad, after buying a Chrysler Plymouth minivan, in his infinite wisdom declared that he wanted to buy a manual transmission Corolla again simply because “it saves gas”. I think he meant it too. So whilst I learnt to drive in the minivan, there was always a lingering sense of lust for conquering the stick shift oddity in the stable. Little by little, I would egg my father into letting me drive it. Of course, he would throw me in the deep end of the pool and only let me learn 1st gear on our SLOPED driveway facing UP! It wasn’t the easiest thing but the setbacks only lit my fire and one day I woke up and figured out how to do it. Once I showed it to him, he let me go in a loop around the block and that was easy. The loop then enlarged to the city, then pretty much I drove that car day in and out for my first job (50km on way trip!) and all the way to my first car, a 1987 Toyota MR2.

This was when I fell deeply in and out of love for driving. I’m sure the MR2 in its heyday was a brilliant car but by the time I got to it in 2006, it was a rustbucket. I did a lot of work restoring the frame, suspension, wheels, tires and parts of the engine but in the end, I loved her more than she loved me. I wind up selling her for half of what I put into her… I still miss that bitch sometimes.

To be able to feel and caress the road, to hug a turn, to thrust out of an apex… it is bliss.

Lars Banka
Lars Banka(@lunte02)
8 years ago

My family never was in the petrolhead-business. My father owned cars that by that time were “modern ones” (two Renault R4 and one R6, an Audi 80 and later an VW Passat) but to him they all were daily-use things taking him from A to B. All the other members felt pretty the same. I’m the first of the bunch sharing a passion for vintage cars and spending time and money on old “bucks”. This started the easy way by buying a VW Beetle from a friend of mine as my first car twenty years ago. It was followed by an even older Beetle which I still drive today and so I was sucked into that “business”.

Marios Pappas
Marios Pappas(@destroy3r3)
8 years ago

Well, actually, I realised my passion with cars about 5 months ago. I am 21 right now and I still remember that in my childhood I never really cared about cars like my peers used to. I remember all my friends talking about sport cars, F1 races, comparing or even arguing about their fathers’ cars. All this didn’t actually mean anything to me.
When I went to college, I started hanging out with guys that really loved cars and they got me excited about the whiole thing. In Easter, I decided that it was about time I got my driving license and start looking for my own car. After succeeding to the exams, which actually cost me 2 out of the total 4 weeks of my holidays, I can now say that cars have become on of my greatest passions. I really love looking for cars, studying about car mechanics and engineering. Many times, me and my friends record with action cameras our trips and generally, cars is one of our favpurite topics of discussion. We like to talk about our dream cars, planning trips around the world, even if we know that it is hard to find the time and money for such an activity. I also love vintage cars, even of getting one will never be a possibility for me. Right now I am looking to by my first car, which hopefully will happen till summer of ’14.

Yes, right now, I can say that
[b] I LOVE CARS[/b]

Lon Thompson
Lon Thompson(@lgt)
8 years ago

I would have been about 12 years old. Roughly 1970, and a local hotel owner in Palm Beach had a fly yellow DeTomaso Mangusta that was parked near where I caught the school bus every day. At about the same time I have a very clear memory of walking out of a restaurant with my parents and seeing a red Ferrari Daytona coupe parked in valet. My Dad was a car guy, so of course we both stopped to look in awe. Between those two cars I was pretty much hooked for life. Began sketching cars as a kid and still regret that I didn’t make every possible effort to somehow get into the car design business. Probably would have never made it but at least I could have said I tried. Every time I see a truly ugly modern car I tell myself I could have done better.

Ricardo Rodriguez
Ricardo Rodriguez(@fb_1354929153)
8 years ago

I was 6. My brother had an early 1950’s Plymouth sedan. I would pretend like I was driving. My day of pretending to drive was cut short when I somehow moved the column gear shift into neutral and the car started rolling down the street. I was saved by a neighbor who happened to be shooting hoops in the park across from our house. He was cool about it because he didn’t tell my parents. That didn’t stop me from pretending to drive. Not too long after that, I was pretending to drive in my moms BMW, which I again shifted into neutral. This time I wasn’t so lucky because it rolled down the driveway, into the fender and drivers door of my dads nearly new Audi Quattro Coupe. I wasn’t quite so lucky this time. I was forbidden to “get near” any car unless I was with an adult. Good memories!

Matthew Haber
Matthew Haber(@mhaber9)
8 years ago

It was when I was like 3 or 4 years old I was on cape cod with my mother and we were in the car on the way to the beach and driving down this small,classic american highway. At this point I was looking for a cool car everywhere I went but this was literally life altering. Coming from behind I saw a, what I still think to be 1964 Lincoln Continental hardtop and it was painted a 1950’s pastel-y foam green color and it had white wall tires and steelie rims with the chrome cap but the visible part was the same foam green,also its rear end was raised a little bit so it had an aggressive stance. I dont remember what the exhaust looked like but I remember it was a really nice low burble from a cruising speed. After that I knew I was a car “guy” boy. I have also had the life dream of finding that car again.

8 years ago


Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson(@andreas)
8 years ago

I’m afraid my story is quite ordinary and along the lines of most guys. When I was a kid, I got toy cars and a car play mat. I especially remember a red, quite big scale, 63′ Chevrolet Corvette that I got from my grandfather. I absolutely loved it, even though it was nothing fancy. Then we got Ride-Ons, or whatever they are called. And later, my brother and I progressed to pedal cars. Not those branded tin-things, but more like Kettcars, just another manufacturer. We used to race the crap out of them and they even had handbrakes, so we also used to do burn outs, doughnuts and “drift” them.

Then there were slot cars (which I’m totally getting to my future children) and as far as “toys” go, I guess I ended at 12 or something with my co-owned (me and my father) R/C car. It’s a somewhat serious piece of kit, although a so-called “RedaySet”, so you didn’t have to do much with it before you could drive it. That being said, we’ve upgraded it quite extensively. Unfortunately though, it’s electric. A Kyosho Pure Ten EP Alpha 2 to be precise.

However, my father, uncle, father’s uncle and both my grandfathers are/were into cars, so I really didn’t stand much of a chance. My uncle owned a Model A Hot Rod and a BMW E21 323i. My father’s uncle owned two Jaguar E-types, my grandfather on my mother’s side owned a meticulously cared for VW Beetle and my other grandfather owned a Fiat 500 Abarth, BMW 1602, BMW E21 323i (all of them sadly before I was born), and a Peugeot 405 Mi16 4×4 to mention a few. My father later bought the 1602 and had an assortment of Volvo Amazons, however, it was sadly also before I was born. So we didn’t have any cool cars in my family, except maybe for the Honda Civic EG4 VEi, but people around us had or used to have when I grew up. I got my thirst clenched mostly by going to the local race track were we used to watch STCC, Top Fuel drag racing and some drag racing, track and drifting events with street legal cars. I’m absolutely obsessed with cars and it’s even gone so far that my father, uncle, and other relatives come to me for advice when they buy new cars.

Sid Widmer
Sid Widmer(@sid)
8 years ago

1977 I was 5 years old and I saw Smokey and the Bandit and I knew it was my destiny to have a cool, black car. My tastes have evolved since then and I gravitated to European sports cars but just last year I finally bought myself my childhood dream car a ’68 firebird 400. It’s currently in the shop being painted. Black of course.

Sanjit Deepalam
Sanjit Deepalam(@lordmonopoly)
8 years ago

I think I was around two years old, but I wasn’t aware of it of course. My parents say that I would be able to name every car on the road before I could read, and that I would only ever fall asleep if I was in a car, so they had to drive me around the neighborhood to make me sleep. I only became aware of it a couple years ago, when I was around 12, and ever since then, I just want to learn more and more and be like one of these guys in these videos when I’m an adult.

David Parker
David Parker(@roman1)
8 years ago

Being a New Zealander, as a child in the 60’s obtaining good quality model cars was difficult. Matchbox was about it. One of our neighbours however did own an Aston Martin DB2/4. I ended up helping him strip it when he restored it. I will never forget the hand built aspect of that car. Hand carved pieces of Ash formed to allow the trim to be tacked to it and glued to the body.That and the 20 odd layers of paint I had to strip off the hand beaten body. As a reward for my work not only did I get a ride in that car but he arranged for one of his friends to take me for a ride in a Ferrari 275 GTB. I will never forget the sound of that engine. Just magnificent. The next cars I got to go in were a Lancia Stratos, an E Type and Ferrari 246 GTS. I was pretty lucky to have an experience with such beautiful machines.
My first car at 17 years old was a 1970 Alfa 1750 GTV which sort of sums up how my obsession went. The first of six Alfas, but I have also owned five Porsches amongst other cars (Lotus, Mercedes, BMW, etc) over the years too.
Recently I managed to continue the tradition and I arranged for my seven year old to have a good blast in an F40. He is hooked now! A real gearhead as you guys would call it.
I am encouraging him to write a post and submit it to you with the photos and video. We love your blog. Keep up the good work.

Lamond Jack
Lamond Jack(@xclusivegarage)
8 years ago

When I turned two years old my parents bought me my first TYCO or AFX slot car racing track. I forget which one it was as I have had three or four of these racetracks between my diaper and potty training years. My parents would wait until I would say GO! before they would depress the controller buttons to race the cars. (Go! happened to be one of the only 4 or 5 words that I could say clearly in those days.) As the cars rounded the track I would laugh and giggle at the site of the little slot cars zipping around the track and sometimes flying off the curves. I liked the slot cars so much that I used to destroy them by playing with them in water and running them on the carpet. My dad got tired of having to constantly replace the slot cars so he started buying me matchbox cars to play with. By the time I was five he had to buy me 4 matchbox car holders for my matchbox, hot wheel and corgi collection of little die cast cars. When I hit 7 years of age my dad bought me my first model car. It was the Smokey and the Bandit Trans-Am and its been all uphill from there! So to answer the question ” At What Age Did You Realize You Loved Cars?” I would have to say at age 2!

RS Anthony
RS Anthony(@fb_638704283)
8 years ago

Early on. Like most little boys I guess. Cars were the first things I cared to draw well. Cars… and airliners. No wonder I fancy fast sedans and wagons nowadays! So I would draw any old Peugeot 504 or Boeing 737 I saw back in Madagascar.
But the passion, the need, really hatched out seven years ago when I bought my first car. A 1996 EK Civic. I began wondering what I could do to improve it. To make it more mine. Being the opposite of a quick decision maker, any idea had to be cross checked with extensive research on the internet. And the more I found new things, the stronger I wanted to know even more. And I’m still feeling this way now.
Just discussing this reminds me of flashes from the past. The W126 we had in Sierra Leone in the early nineties. My dad’s baby blue colored Renault 5. My Days of Thunder r/c car. And so much more.

Mark McGrail
Mark McGrail(@mmcg)
8 years ago

I think I was born with it. Growing up with weird French cars had me hooked. Especially as it presented plenty of opportunities for other cars to appear in our driveway as loaners when whatever bit of the CX had decided enough was enough. And then there was the R4, which saw off a Cortina, R16, R20, and then the CX, all the while rusting into the driveway. Sitting in the R4 shifting the gears in the driveway was so cool. Who else had a gear shift coming out of the firewall? Formative years under and various minis sealed my fate. To this day, my car is my third child.

Chris Woolman
Chris Woolman(@fb_1457822510)
8 years ago

Not sure when I first fell in love with cars, but my earliest car memory is helping my Dad work on my Mom’s ’71 Datsun 1200 and his ’72 Datsun 510, specifically touching up the paint on the grille emblems. I was probably about four years old.

Kelvin Hiraishi
Kelvin Hiraishi(@kazumi993)
8 years ago

Too young to remember my age but I was aware of design elements that contributed to my passion for automobiles. I was fascinated with Hot Wheels, Schwinn Stingray bicycle with the 5-speed shifter/slick tire/working suspension, Hot Rod 1955 Chevy Bel-Aire and of course Hot Rod Magazine. I’ve followed this passion as my career is in the automotive business.

Ferrari gto
Ferrari gto(@ferrarigto)
8 years ago

Had to be when i was 7 years old. Was in italy on a family trip. My father bought me a Ferrari 250 GTO model (which i still have to this day). I noticed the curves of the body, the wire wheels, and the beauty of the v12 with the velocity stacks. From then on i was hooked

Ryan Lopez
Ryan Lopez(@fb_100004968843639)
8 years ago

i may most likely am the youngest here, annoyingly , but some would say that gives me an advantage in this question but no. i couldn’t but i will say my earliest memory is walking into the garage and seeing an old benz sedan and into my dads old jeep.

James King
James King(@kingcarreviews)
8 years ago

I think the moments in which cars became an obsession for me were during long car journies visiting relatives in South Wales, where I started to be able to name any car that went by. This lead to setting myself fictional budgets whilst looking through Autotrader and picking my dream garage. Also at the age of 7 I went to Le Mans at Silverstone and fell in love with motor racing, especially the Harrod’s McClaren F1 which won the race… and the Morgan which came last.

Craig Zeni
Craig Zeni(@slave2anmg)
8 years ago

I didn’t realize it – too young for that kind of self-awareness…but I’ve been told that when I was 2 I’d scream blue murder to be taken to the bridge near the house to watch the cars, to be taken to the car repair shops to look at the cars, etc.