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!
Exactly! I learned manual trans from watch and mimicking the actions of the school bus driver. Dad was shocked when I drove his 5-speed F-150 across the yard when I was 11 with no issues.
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.