Sign in to follow this  
MarrsCars

Regarding kids sitting in cars at shows...

Recommended Posts

I just saw this post over at Jalopnik that seems to have started a lively debate similar to what we have seen here a time or two discussing if should kids be allowed to sit in cars at shows, especially historic vehicles.

I made a comment that I will repeat here so you don't have to dig through that site to find it:

"I just witnessed something similar this weekend with a 1935 Alfa Romeo Tipo 8c35 that as far as I can find is valued at around $8.5-10 million. It was at the Portland Historic races and Peter Giddings, the owner, was present and encouraged his mechanic to let people sit in the car all day long. Check out the 3rd pic in this article.

I complimented him with, "I think you just created a life time car nut!" when that kid was seated. Everyone had a wonderful time and I can't help but feel that if somebody was there screaming about "preserve this car" it would have ruined the vibe we were all enjoying. Kids climbing over the leather with their dirty little shoes doesn't seem to have hurt the resell on this one at all, then again neither does the fact that this car is actively raced regularly.

Personally I have a 1962 W111 Coupe (the hardtop version of The Hangover car) and I don't give a **** who sits inside it, what they play with or what they get dirty. It's a work of art and my most treasured possession, but it's still just an object. Memories are even more valuable."

I also relayed a story, here I believe, in the past about being at the Classics for Charity event in Beverly Hills, CA and seeing another of my dream cars, an Iso Grifo in stunning red, and noticing a father place his kids inside so they could pretend to steer the car. As I observed I realized he was the owner of the car and was simply allowing his kids to enjoy it just like he surely does. Not to stir up an old debate but with some recent posts about younger folks not being or feeling appreciated or even welcome at shows, and with the show season in full swing, I just wanted to offer a little encouragement to try to be more available with your automobiles IF that's something YOU are comfortable with. It's ultimately a highly personal decision but I'd love to see more cars like these being used to build the next generation of enthusiasts.

post-83411-143141976348_thumb.jpg

Edited by MarrsCars
spelling error (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I encourage folks to sit in most of my cars -- especially kids -- the smiles are the best future support our hobby can acquire - good investment in our future!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

God bless you brother, cause there's no future in bein' a jerk!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind as long as they don't yank and twist the knobs and switches...that goes for any age!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Model A with a frame off restoration and last week I took 4 kids ages 7-12 for a ride in the rumble seat together around the neighborhood at 25 mph. They had a great time and the father of two of them rode in the front with me and kept an eye on them. They were respectful of the car and didn't damage anything and when we got back their parents and grandparents took at least a dozen photos with them in back and various adults sitting in the driver's seat. I enjoyed watching them enjoy the car and I would gladly do it again....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problem with children (or anyone else for that matter) but I do prefer that they ask. I've come back to my car to find a whole family jumping on the seats and the mother looking on complacently. When I politely suggested she should have asked first, I got a "what's your problem" sort of look. That car was a 1910 REO... One of my friends came back to his 26 Studebaker (all original with almost perfect original interior) to find a whole family eating Kentucky fried chicken in the back seat and wiping their hands on the upholstery. He wasn't all that polite.

So, its really a matter of manners on both sides. If asked politely, of course. If its expected so simply "done" I'm not enthusiastic.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree an invitation is required, and basic courtesy should be expected, but otherwise I am totally for it!! I let a lot of kids sit in the Packard when we had it, and had a couple in the MB recently - they love it.

I was at a large show once, and was letting a young man and his dad check out the '39 120, kid sat in the car and we went over a few things. While this was going on I noticed that we were being watched from a short distance by another gent. After they left he introduced himself as Automotive artist Joe Pepitone ("Joe Pep" - hope I got the name right!) who has done a few concours posters, etc. He thanked me for promoting the hobby and presented me with a signed print - what a nice gesture, it is now framed and hanging in the family room. You never know what small good deed will be rewarded! :)

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little variation on this topic. I have 3 Reattas and I have no problem with the neighborhood kids "checking" it out. They even have "helped" me wash the cars. I do draw the line when they are playing in my driveway with sticks, balls, scooters, bikes, etc. I then just close the garage door or tell them to stay away from the cars. So far a dented garage door, but no damage to the paint on the cars...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up with Dad owning a 1920 Willys Overland touring which he finally gave to me two years ago. Dad was always giving the neighbourhood kids (and adults) rides when ever he felt he had the time and while not a restored car he always asked them to be careful of the original well worn upholstery and answered all questions they asked.

I have had occasion to see some of these kids (like they are now grandparents) and often they would comment to me how they remember Dad and the rides he gave them. These cars are history and often spark deeper conversations about how we used to live, the times and the things we sometimes now take for granted.....

Feeling, touching and experiencing (without destroying) are the best learned lessons!

post-36036-143141976775_thumb.jpg

My 2 cents, I intend to keep that tradition alive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was working on my '31 DB coupe last summer and the teenaged kids across the street were "hanging out" and watching. One kid asked what kind of motor it has and that started a conversation. Next thing I knew, I was taking some VERY excited kids for rides in my car around the countryside. The kids went from their usual casual waving at me to being really neighborly and talkative. They now keep an eye on my property when they are home and know that if my car is being "moved" by someone other than myself, to call the police. I always encourage kids to learn more about the old cars to gain respect, knowledge and maybe want to own/restore one some day. Nobody has ever asked to sit in my car at a show, but I would allow it whenever asked.

Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I allow kids to sit in my car. Specifically if a parent is lifting the child to see inside the car. I let the parents know I can do one better. Open the door and let the child in to sit behind the wheel. By and large the parent is respectful of no shoes on the seat. Picture is taken normally and off they go with a fond memory of the day. I purchased the car for enjoyment. Enjoyment is sharing with others. Sometimes sitting behind the wheel is part of that enjoyment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was at a very informal car show with my wife's 65 Mustang. After I got back from walking the show there was a young gal with her son sitting inside.

I started to talk with her about the car, she said this is the car she always wanted and was embarrassed for not getting permission to sit in it.

I told her the only thing she did wrong was not letting her son sit behind the wheel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I disagree completely. That was incredibly rude to sit in someone's car without permission. It's not a used car lot.:rolleyes:

I don't go by "It's better to ask for forgiveness than permission" philosophy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I let the kids, and even grown-ups who ask, to sit in my truck. It's no national winner, and it's a truck, so have fun. Enjoy, but don't go nuts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not at all surprised by the courtesy shown by those who replied, thanks for continuing to share your stories. I do absolutely agree that there should always be permission requested and granted before anyone sits in a car that is not their own, or for that matter even opens a door. At the same show I mentioned initially, I pointed out a Silver Dawn to a friend who is not car savvy and this event was only his second show ever as an attendee, he's 40, yet he still reached up to touch the grill face before another friend, his very first car show, advised that he should never touch the cars. Some people intuitively "get it" while others just don't. That fingerprint haunted me yet I was not about to try and remove it, again, not being my car. I had another friend who is fond of wearing elaborate jewelry and he wore a large pendant to an informal show and as he leaned forward to read the trunk badge on an Austin Healey, yup, "CLUNK" the pendant did what gravity demanded and fell to the trunk lid. Fortunately (?) it was a very rough, survivor car that had peeling paint, primer, and so on so I felt thankful he didn't ruin a costly paint job, but still I consider it a big mistake because surely the owner embraces his patina. My friend looked around to apologize but the owner was not present. He has never worn jewelry to a show since.

If I have anything in my hands at a show, even a water bottle, I make sure to put my hands behind my back when viewing an automobile simply to spare the owner the anxiety of wondering if I'm crushing against their car, they can clearly see it's not a threat. A simple courtesy I like to extend.

I should add that the Peter Giddings crew who brought out the Alfa gave simple and brief instructions to those interesting in climbing aboard about where to place their feet, what to use as grab handles when entering/exiting, etc. By no means do I intend to convey our cars should be a free-for-all and the story about the family sitting in the car eating chicken simply confounds me, I couldn't imagine that kind of rudeness or disregard for someone's property. I believe some people may confuse "Auto Shows" with "Car Shows", the former being where sitting in cars is encouraged by manufacturers who bring their cars specifically to get you to consider them as a potential purchase. I can however understand the confusion to the uninitiated.

Edited by MarrsCars
added info (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know, to me it's like using someone's bathroom by letting themselves into a your house. No harm done, but intrusive, none the less.

I don't know if any of you have experienced the Hagerty Youth Judging program but these kids are instructed up front on how to act around people's cars. Maybe that should be part of Parenting 101.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe that should be part of Parenting 101.

Part of my parents parenting when I was growing up was, "Put your hands in our pocket while in this store." Usually it was a store with high dollar antiques. No matter. I learned that touching property of others is only done when approval is provided.

In a related story. Just after I purchased by Buick I asked my brother to come take a look. As he is looking in the window at the interior he has his hands in his pockets. I said to him he is allowed to get into to the car and touch it. Hell, drive it! He said he is so used to standing on this side of it(not his car) that touching it never came to mind. Hands in pockets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back in the mid-70s I had a "restoration" garage... (in quotation marks because we did not do the sort of over-the-top cosmetic restoration this term has come to imply. It was more a garage that did mechanical work on old cars, mostly pre-WWII RRs and brass cars). I was in an old textile mill complex surrounded by a blue-collar residential neighborhood and I had a near constant stream of boys and workers in the surrounding businesses coming by to look. We were always welcoming, though I would explain that I'd prefer they didn't touch anything without asking and if I was busy, they had to understand that I couldn't always take the time to explain things. This was well received and of all the the businesses around me I was the only one that never suffered a break-in. I've always attributed that, in part, to the fact that we were well known and liked in the neighborhood. This was over 30 years ago, but just in the last few weeks I met a gentleman with an antique fire engine and a few other cars who rents a garage around the corner from my current shop. After talking to him a few minutes, it became apparent to him that he'd visited my old shop 35 years ago...

jp

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes letting kids sit in your car has unexpected results. I was recently invited to show at the Concours portion of the Klingberg festival with my Crosleys. I was placed at the fartherest away portion of the sho field so most of the sponsor/judges never made it to my portion of the field. I was however consistant in my usual proceedure in getting kids (and sometimes pretty ladies) to sit in the cars while getting their pictures taken. As usual I was rewarded with the outstanding smiles of the people sitting in the cars. One little guy was just sparkling in the smile categeory and seemed outstandingly grateful. As he was leaving I turned around to find the sponsor/judge from Stanley/Black and Decker standing there. He asked me a few questions and then walked away. He returned a while lated but this time he was carrying a trophy in his hands and I was the recipient of the award. I am totally convinced that if not for the presence of that particular little guy, the cars would not have been noticed!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you want to see a happy face, let them sit in a Metropolitan!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Is that a Porsche in your back pocket or are you just happy to see me?"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Father's Day I drove my one-cylinder Cadillac to a show of mostly high-end, exotic modern cars. Several people, many of them with kids, came to look at my car and ask questions. From time to time I fired it up and let them listen to it chugging. One father asked if I minded if he took a picture of his little boy in front of the Cadillac. I said: "Yes, I do mind. But I'll let you take a picture of him behind the wheel." Then I showed the kid how to climb aboard, and what he could hang onto. Pretty soon I had a line of kids asking if they could get in, too, and of course I let them. Smiles and thank-yous all around. There was a matched pair of black turbo-Bentley convertibles, but I didn't see any kids behind the wheel!

Gil Fitzhugh, Morristown, NJ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Around here most guys have the don't even breathe on my car attitude. I was at a show with my family a few years back and there was a beautiful 1931 Cadillac V16 roadster. I saw a friend of mine and turned to say hi. Not but a minute later I turned around and my 3 year old daughter was inside the roadster (it was displayed roped off with the doors open). I ran over there and got her out, then the owner appeared. He told my daughter "it's ok honey you can sit in it". He then grabbed a vintage hat that was displayed with the car and let her try it on. Just the nicest guy you could ever meet. We had a long talk and I thanked him for making my daughters day. He said hey, it's just a car and when all of us old timers are gone who do you think will taking care of these old boats. I must say that was not the reaction I was expecting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this