It's 1961 and I'm cruising down Baseline st. in San Bernardino CA. I was passing a car lot named Dales Custom Cars and I had to put on my brakes hard, it was like seeing a dream for a 18 year old kid. Every car on the lot was beautiful they all had brite shinny paint jobs nice hub caps and great looking interior. Most were two doors and it was like going to a car show, which they didn't have many of in those days.
Anyway every Sunday afternoon would not be complete without driving by and looking at the cars at Dales Custom Cars. I never had enough money to buy a car there but I had a lot of dreams about it.
A place that my parents would drive by every day while taking me to school was Stage Four Performance in Danville, IL. It was a very small shop, but in the window was a, it's been awhile, but it was a mid 60s stingray prostock car. Varying shades of candy from front to back, with an clear tunnel ram. When I was in my early teens, I rode my bike up there just so I could FINALLY see that Vette up close and personal. It was beautiful on the outside, but all business as far as equipment. Full cage, typical prostock interior with. The engine was a 427. I just drooled for about 15 minutes. It's where I got my first set of mags.
But honestly, what got me into classic cars was my Dad. He had a '57 Belair when I was 4 yrs. old, along with a '68 Cougar, and a '69 Superbee. Mom had a '71 Comet GT and a '71 Cyclone GT. It was inevitable that I would end up being a muscle/pony car guy.
Some may question this but I was born a car fanatic. My life from the earliest days revolved around cars.
When I was young if a hood was opened I was there.
I wish I had the photos of the race cars I sat in as a kid. I was in the drivers seat of cars that today are legends. I recall a local Marathon dealer has a Red White and Blue L88 Corvette. It was the actual car John Greenwood drove at Lemans. Teams had no show cars in this era. One trip to a Goodyear store netted me a seat in the Swap Rat 15 of Garlits and a Gurney race car. The best was when one of the workers told me I needed a better view of the Spirit Of America Sonic 1. He picked me up and sat me in the drivers seat.
Now don’t think I am over this getting in cars. At the same Goodyear store I climbed in Richard Pettys Superbird.
My father could not change oil but I lived in a neighborhood where we had racers. I started to work on a stock car at an early age and it ended up leading me to make my living in the racing industry.
I still have my first Matchbox my father bought me at 2 years old. I wish I had not broken the windshield off my 60 Bonneville now.
You never would know the hours of figure skating I had to watch in the 60’s just to see 15 min of racing every half hour. I was young but saw Petty hit the wall at Darlington. I still recall it clearly.
My father though not into cars did work at Goodyear. It got me into Gasoline alley and other racing events and a couple blimp rides. My neighbors father worked at Firestone. We fought the tire wars in the neighborhood. Our bike were from the respective tire stores and we would sneak decals on each other’s fathers car.
I was Gurney and Donahue while my neighbor was Mario and Al Sr.
I shared that with Dan Gurney a few years ago. He sent me a book and signed it to me and thanked me about the stories of our local tire war.
There was much more but I feel some folks are born car crazy.
Great post Larry3. I can't remember that far back but I think I've always been hooked. In 61 I was 7. All the cars I'd ever been close enough to touch were classics. The only customs I remember back then were in magazines. I think that was when I got bit. Grandpaw always upgraded every other year with a new Falcon. Momma and Daddy got his left overs. latter on I got one of em and attempted to customize it. Nothing fancy. Couldn't afford much from pumping gas at the local AAA station. Rims, and fuzzy dice is as far as I could get. I still have Falcons to this day. Oh how I wish we had kept them all!