What makes someone love cars? There are those that say it’s just something you are born with. Personally, I think we all needed someone in our life that we saw passion for cars in first. For me, it was when I was 8 years old that we moved to Ohio and my dad began working for Honda of America that I was exposed to this world … and I’ve never looked back.
On this Father’s Day, I’m thankful my dad instilled in me his love of cars.
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My dad was the quintessential car guy. As a kid, he would work on my grandfathers Model T, one of the first to arrive in Cuba. Dad owned a succession of very cool cars including a Fiat Toppolino, a Cadillac Coupe de Ville, a Fiat Spyder, an MGA and the coolest of them all, a glorious Jaguar MK VII with twin gas tanks, a walnut dashboard and polished aluminum valve covers. He took me and my two older brothers to the Cuban Grand Prix in 1957, 1958 and 1960. At those events I got to see Fangio, De Portago, Carroll Shelby and Sterling Moss up close and I fell in love with glorious Ferrari’s and Maseratis. The car virus took hold; I have owned Ferrari’s, Alfa’s, Jaguars, Camaros and Mustangs. My current ride is a midnight blue 991 Carrera equipped with PDK and twin exhausts. Thanks Dad
My dad worked in a production office at Chrysler's Mound Road engine plant .. we always were able to buy lightly used cars at Chrysler's Executive lot on Lynch Road, Detroit ... I saved and saved until I had enough to buy one .. my dad got our pass to get into the lot .. the day finally came and my dad and I took off ... I was super excited ! ... but, I made a big mistake ... ALL the way to the lot, I talked about getting any car available that had the HEMI engine in it .. over and over, I told him how fast they were in NASCAR and on drag strips, 425 HP, how big the heads were, etc .. my dad just listened .. we finally got to the lot ... my dad turned off our car, looked straight in my eyes and simply said, "you can get any car you want, AS LONG AS IT DOESN'T HAVE A HEMI" ... thank goodness I never talked about a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T with it's 440 .. that's what I bought !!!!
My father bought a Ford/Mercury dealership in 1963 and I had a front row seat to the Mustang intro and some glorious years for Ford products. I spent many an hour gazing at pamphlets full of Mach 1 and Boss 302 pics dreaming of the day I would be able to enjoy the raw power of Detroit muscle. My dad would often bring cool Ford offerings home. I remember him bring a "Cale Yarborough Special" home as well as a Cougar Eliminator. A seed was definitely planted and I have continued to water it with a plethora of performance cars. Thanks Dad!
My dad was a Ford/Mercury dealer also. His dealership was in a small town in central Iowa so his primary market were farmers buying Ford F250 pickups. He would occasionally sell a muscle car. He didn't stock muscle cars because of the low market demand in rural Iowa. If he had a customer that wanted a muscle car he would trade another Ford dealer for the car. Most of the time these cars would come from the large dealers in the Des Moines area. When I was old enough to drive (16) and working summers for him in his dealership he would take me with him to the dealer in Des Moines that had his customers car to pick up the car. I remember two in particular that he sold, one was an Acapulco Blue 1968 Mustang GT fastback with a 390 and a 4 speed and the other was a yellow 1970 Mustang Boss 302. I will never forget driving those two cars back home (100 mile trip). He was sitting in the passengers seat while I was driving the car, running it through the gears and experiencing the engine performance. My Dad passed away 3 years ago at the age of 99. Thanks Dad for being my Dad and all the great times we had.
My Dad was a car lover, and was keen to share with me and did his best with no budget to buy 'nice' cars. Mom likely had something to do his budget... But, I dream that the 1965 Parisienne we had was equipped with a 421 Tri-Power, and our 1969 Country Sedan had the 4V 390; I know our 1972 Country Squire had a 400, but I am not sure it had a 4 barrel. Unfortunately I did know his 76 Cutlass (company car) had the 260 V-8, along with the 79 Malibu; one bright spot was the 79 Parisienne, but it had the 2 barrel 305. Once I was 17 however, I learned Dad had a '56 Olds Super 88 Holiday 2-door hardtop in '58 when he and Mom got married - I immediately started to look for one in the Auto Trader and, success! I found a '56 Super 88 Holiday 4 door and, after a bit of arm twisting and negotiation with Mom, we went to the Original Owner's house and there in the basement garage was the car - not exactly like Dad's but close enough, with only 36,000 miles (this was 1982) and we made a deal and drove it home. Wow. My Dad's dream car, that he used to beat '55 Chevy's in casual street races with, Rocket V-8, 4 barrel, oil-bath air cleaner - immaculately kept by the original owner and subsequently his son. Our connection was solidified and every time Dad drove the car he smiled - and when Mom wasn't expecting it, he'd open up all four barrels and the Rocket would take off - pure joy. Sadly, three years later, we carried Dad's ashes in the car, surrounded by family and he took his last ride in the '56, far too young to pass, at 56 - interesting, right? Miss you Dad; missed you for the last 34 years. Happy Father's Day, love you tonnes (metric tonnes - they're larger) and thank you for giving me the passion for cars that you had, but which was kept on a simmer until we found the '56. 🙂
Nice story and relationship, Matt. I saw the Lambo in NYC at a motorcycle show at he Intrepid aircraft carrier in 2001. The Italian police captain that was driving was accompanied by two of the most buxom policewomen that ever stretched a uniform. So spectacular were their epaulets that we barely noticed the car, and (thanks to a friendly cop) I got inside the barricade and had my hand on the car.....
My dad was always showing me how to fix things, whether around the house, or the boat, or the cars or the Cessna, so I was naturally tearing apart model airplane engines and later fixing bikes, motorcycles, friend's cars and all manner of things, and a lifetime later I still am. He was always helpful in assisting with my projects and, later, car acquisitions when I was old enough to drive. Thanks to his constant coaching, I passed my driver's test on my 16th birthday, in the snow, with a perfect score. He helped me install the chains the night before and when school got out I headed to DMV and then to that first solo cruise around town and past the school.
That summer, my chores and help at the family business were well-rewarded when we brought home my 6-year-old '60 Ford Sunliner convertible. A couple of years later, he returned from a business trip with brochures about the '67 Shelby Mustangs and told me how great the demo car drove at the dealership that he visited. I knew it would be a long shot, but I began a campaign for a GT-350 because I figured the big block car would be unlikely to gain support. But the car he tested was the GT-500 and he suggested that would be the better choice, so I "accepted" his better judgment. I still have that Shelby--and another new one, an '07 one purchased 40 years later (it's my plan to buy a new Shelby every 40 years from now on)--and all the memories that were built with it and in it. I was able to make the payments during my summertime job, but mom & dad took care of the rest of them when I went off to college.
My dad ALWAYS had interesting cars and he showed me their features and told stories about how fun and interesting or efficient or capable they were, so I've done the same for my entire life and regaled our kids with his stories and our own about how they worked, how to fix them and the design details that made them special.
Some of my dad's great cars included the '32 Plymouth roadster with its freewheeling transmission, the '49 Buick Roadmaster convertible, the '57 Ford Fairlane convertible, the '66 Toronado that he bought on a whim during a summer trip because it reminded him of his '36 Cord, the '76 Eldorado that I thought was too big but learned to love on long trips, the underpowered '80 Corvette that was fun to drive and be seen driving, the TRs & Jags that made me a lifelong fan and owner of Brit cars...and the list went on.
For driving & fixing cars and buildings to teaching me to fly, for all the stories and life lessons, and all the other things you did for me, thanks dad. I sure miss you.
I had a 1968 Camero that was NOT as rare as this but to MY son who I spent 12 plus years building It for it was very rare and to me who had been paying premiums on it and 6 other vehicles for 6 vehicles Many years to Hagerty was VERY VERY DISSAPOINTED COME CLAIM TIME TO FIND OUT THEY DON’T LIKE TO PAY THEIR CLAIMS TO A CLAIM FREE CUSTOMER MIND YOU , UES ITS A LARGE CLAIM BUT ITS STILL BEEN ONE OF THE WORST EXPERIENCES IN MY LIFE IVE CANCELED ALL MY INSURANCE WITH HAGERTY AND AFTER 70 PLUS DAYS STILL NO PAYMENT !! I HATE TO OWN THIS 1968 Dodge Charger R/T with the 440 , ( I MEAN TO ME MINE WAS A NICER BETTER MIRE SPECIAL CAR BUT YOU GET MY POINT TO THEM IT WAS THE CHARGER ) THE WAY THEY TALK ABOUT IT BEING “ SPECIAL FOR How special it kS ans it is NO DOUBT !! I can’t IMAGINE WITH THE SENTIMENTAL VALUE THEY HAD THEN TO LOSE IT OR HAVE A CLAIM “ THEN HAVE A CLAIM WITH IT AND TRY TO GET IT PAID AT “ TRUE REPLACEMENT VALUE BY HAGERTY !! Just BE careful fellow Hagerty customers ..
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My dad was paralyzed in an accident one month before I was born. In fact, my mother was visiting him in hospital when she decided to walk down one floor to the Maternity Ward and have me. Dad was finally able to drive with hand controls, but as he had a lot of pain and didn't always feel in control, as I grew big, I became his designated driver. I learned to drive the back roads of Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Nevada at 5, at the hand controls in a 1955 Chevy P/U. His home-made controls consisted of a sawed off broomstick, crutch tips, some baling wire, and a bit of Velcro. Dad was the "inventive" type!
Can't say that he instilled a love of cars in me, but he DID encourage me to delve into anything I enjoyed and learn as much as I could about those things. He gave me courage, confidence, and curiosity. I saw my dad put up with tons of difficulties in life, and I learned from him to not let setbacks get me down for long. He just kept on keeping on, and for setting that example for me, I will be forever grateful.