When I was 8 or 9, my friend Chris and I hauled a battery from his place to our barn, where my family’s first car ever, a 1948 Chev Fleetmaster in its original battleship grey, was moldering away in the stall where a tractor had once lived, and draught horses before that. The engine was all clapped out and the car had been retired. My father imagined that someone in our subterranean-conflict-ridden little Scotch-Irish/French Catholic village in the Ottawa Valley had put sugar in the gas tank (as OHCOddball points out below, that would not have harmed it — it was probably just worn out). My mother was both British and Jewish, and Chris’ mother was a French Catholic; we were more or less the only obvious choice of friends for each other. We installed the battery, a nearly dead one from a skidoo, and got the lights to turn on, but the car would not crank (fortunately!). I later dreamed and sketched fantasies of replacing that non-functioning engine with something mechanical that I could (sort of) understand, a steam engine. My parents’ marriage crumbled in 1972 under the mock-sophisticated, selfish and ultimately naïve constellation that was supposed to be the Age of Aquarius, and our childhood idyll vanished, along with that Chev. I wanted a 1948 Chev very badly for a long time but like the author’s nephew could never find one I could afford to buy or to fix. Mainly I wanted that earlier, easier time back. Here’s hoping your nephew either finds or figures out what it is he really wants, and gets it if it is worth having!
McPherson College. When I was in high school, I thought fixing up old cars was just something guys did on the weekend for a hobby. I had no idea there was any real money in it. I too was brainwashed into believing that the only way to get ahead was to get advanced degree and work in an office. I've made a little money and have bought and restored a few cars, but otherwise have been miserable five days a week for 30+ years. You get so far in and its hard to go back and start all over again, especially if it means sweeping the shop floors. I wish I had known when I was young. Lucas is lucky that today there's an internet and professional video programs of Pebble Beach on satellite tv. We had magazines back then but as I recall the articles were about the cars and not about the careers and businesses built to take advantage of a rich man's hobby.