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At What Moment In Your Life Did You Realize You're A Car Guy / Gal?


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Every single one of my toys was packed away for the 'big move'.  Moving from Delft Holland to Dearborn Michigan was definitely a 'big move'.  I had no toys at all, and there were still several days to go before the airplane ride!

 

It was 1965, and I was just short of six years old.  I wasn't very self-aware at the age of six, but people tell me I was having some kind of a 'car-less' melt down.  My parents felt compelled to take me to a toy store at the earliest opportunity.  

 

I found a toy car alright, a little Corgi fire chief car :).  It was a 1959 Chevy 4-door in red, white, and chrome.  It had a blue bubble gum machine on top, and fire chief decals on the doors.  I clung to it throughout the 'big move'.  That little car saved me, and my parents too I think.  I still have it today (somewhere).  Below is a photo of one just like it.

 

A car guy, yeah that's me, since my melt down in 1965.

 

 

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Edited by Real Steel (see edit history)
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This is easy for me.  I was in 7th grade standing between desk talking to a friend when the light bulb went off that this is what I wanted to do for a living.  Within weeks I started investigating career opportunities in the industry and wrote to Auto Body News.

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I was confined to a hospital bed at home for 3 months due to a serious hit and run car crash. I was always a reader. After I read everything in the house a neighbor loaned me several copies of Antique Automobile. On the cover of one was a Packard 740 Roadster. I had some of the same feelings I had looking thru Playboy. I was hooked. The clincher was when I returned to college and stumbled across a copy of Bob Turnquist's Packard book in the library. I finished my undergrad degree and spent 5 years in Grad School but the pull of that car was always in my mind and eventually I realized that what I really wanted to do was work on old cars and so far it's all been fun. In my college Alumni News I call myself an Industrial Archaeologist so everyone doesn't think I wasted my degrees in Archaeology.

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When the 32 Ford was 32 years old I was putting together Model cars, the metal die-cast were the best.

My fate was sealed when my father and I put together a go cart made from old bed rails and a 5hp B.S. engine.

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I think it all really started for me when my Dad brought home a 1931 Dodge Brothers coupe in the summer of 1959. I was 6 years old. He took some of it apart in order to restore it. I decided that it was the BEST place to hide during the "kick the can" and "hide and seek" games. The other kids NEVER found me there. Then I realized it was one of those cars similar to what our Dad took us to the Henry Ford Museum to see. All of a sudden I wanted it for myself and to restore it. I didn't get the chance until I was 13. 

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As a pre-teen and young teen there was no greater thrill than a visit  to my great uncles farm. Southern Manitoba wheat country, a stones throw from North Dakota.  Most of the extended  family's old car's and trucks  back to a couple of brass T's sitting in a pasture. And farm machinery back to the turn of the century.  Typical farm at the time, nothing mechanical ever thrown away just in case it could be useful for something.. The best playground ever! 

 

 Greg in Canada

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I won't forget the time I stood up in front of the 6th grade class and said I would like to run a junkyard when I grew up. The teacher was shocked and horrified.

 

My Father was left handed. The junkyard comment came shortly after the authorities gave a sign of relief and thought I would always use my right hand because of their training. Maybe that was the first time the school recognized they had 99 problems.

 

Things make lasting impressions on kids.

Bernie

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For me it was genetic. It’s in my DNA. My first two  car memory’s  that are clear, 1970 HCCA steam tour on Cape Cod, fetching water with a leather bucket as a five year old was a lasting memory. The other was in September of 1971 when at th dinner table my father announced he bought us an “old car”. It was down in the driveway, and we went out back to look at it, a 1931 Cadillac Fleetwood  cabriolet. I remember running down the stairs and out to the back driveway, not understanding that the half missing lump of rust on the trailer was a car..........so I started walking down the street and he called me back and explained the pile of trash on the trailer was a car. I would have never guessed it. It was beyond terrible. Most importantly it brought father and son together thirty years later helping mend a strained relationship up to that time. That car made father and son best friends............a very special automobile. Enclosed is it as it is today. I didn’t pick the colors!

1D501BFA-DC79-4A68-974D-6521E481D332.jpeg

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Ed what a great story!  How I envy you.  My own dad did not have any love for cars in any way and never quite understood my craziness for them.  Eventually I think he accepted it but probably always wondered where he went wrong!!  Many thanks to your dad for helping you to become the man you are today.  You are doing amazing things with the collection and helping people on this forum all the time.  Kudos!  (whatever a kudo means!)

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No car history in my immediate upbringing.

In the fifties I could tell you every make and year. My mom always thought I was making that stuff up.

My dad always drove Lincolns, the only time he let me drive one without him in the car was when I took my license test.

I was pulling an engine out in the garage once and needed a hand and asked dad to hold something, he looked around the shop and came up with my ski gloves. I don't think he ever got his hands dirty.

I don't remember much about the sixties, but I know I flipped a lot of cars. And I was the go to guy in high school when something wouldn't start. (still am on the old stuff)

These days late model cars  all look the same to me and I have no idea about how they run.

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My parents knew it before did.

Picture 1   Had 81 cars with my older brother by age 3.

Picture 2   Back seat driver by age 8 (1954 at Horne's Cars of Yesterday, Sarasota FL)

Picture 3    Had a 1950 Ford Steering wheel on my bicycle by at 10

Picture 4    Learned to drive on my 12th birthday (1950 Austin Saloon)

81Cars.thumb.jpg.6b7f3b8f11c14b5e154795da82e8d040.jpg

Autocar1906.jpg

Bike.jpg

50AustinSalloon.jpg

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I think my Mom knew before I did, too. She tells me that we would walk uptown to shop and I would point to a car and say, "That's a Chevy....that's a Ford....that's a Cadillac...." at 4 years old.

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Earliest car memory is leaving the Buick dealership in a brand new 1953 two door hardtop V8. I'll check the invoice for the exact date but I was around 2 1/2 years old. I clearly remember Dad building Highway pioneer models at the dining room table. Back then you heated the blade on a pocket knife and mushroomed the axle to keep the wheels on. The finished models sat on the picture window sill in the living room, still have them all today. 1961 was the official year I discovered the hobby when mom dropped me off for the day at the HCCA Fall Meet here in town, I was 10 years old. I saw some of the finest Pre 1942 cars in the world and their owners. That day changed my life forever, makes me wonder were 57 years went. Bob 

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3 hours ago, JACK M said:

No car history in my immediate upbringing.

In the fifties I could tell you every make and year. My mom always thought I was making that stuff up.

My dad always drove Lincolns, the only time he let me drive one without him in the car was when I took my license test.

I was pulling an engine out in the garage once and needed a hand and asked dad to hold something, he looked around the shop and came up with my ski gloves. I don't think he ever got his hands dirty.

I don't remember much about the sixties, but I know I flipped a lot of cars. And I was the go to guy in high school when something wouldn't start. (still am on the old stuff)

These days late model cars  all look the same to me and I have no idea about how they run.

 

 

Reminds me of the joke...if you remember the sixties, you weren't really there! ?

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Can't remember exactly when or where - traveling with parents somewhere in the southern US and I probably was about 8.  The town where we stopped for the day happened to be having a car show.  I fell in love with a gorgeous dove-gray Marmon Sixteen coupe - to this day, I still have a soft spot for coupes and big ol' 30s classics.  I had toy cars and trucks like most boys but I think that Marmon was really the bug that bit me - I eventually infected my Dad too.

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Probably around 1952 or so at 4 years old. I can remember sitting on the front fender of my Mom's 1930 Model A watching my Dad change the spark plugs and enjoying it immensely. Then a couple of years later my last "surprise" Christmas present was an old greasy Briggs & Stratton one lunger in a box for me to experiment on, best present ever. No pictures of these occasions but this is close to the same time.

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I think it was one of the many  visits to Henry Ford/Greenfield Village when we watched the old car races. My dad bought me the Clymer Model T book from the museum store and that was it.

 

Dave

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Probably about 7 when I took wheels off a wagon, and attached to wood with rope and feet for steering.  Ever since if it didn't have two or four wheels I wasn't interested. Drove my first car at nine and promptly hit a tree putting my brother's head into the windshield.

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My first toy car was presented to me at age six.It was a Japanese tin toy that scooted across the floor when you pulled back on the lever on the side.That led to building model car kits,then a home made "antique car" you pushed with a broom handle.At 14,dad finally relented and let me buy a 1939 LaSalle sedan for $75 (in 1961).He figured after smashing my knuckles and unsuccessfully trying to get it to go,I would move on to something else (like farming).That isn't how it worked out !

The attached photo shows that tin toy,which still works,on the left.It originally looked like the one on the right , before I "restored" it.

Jim

First toy car 002.JPG

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When I had my Matchbox cars organized by how straight they went down the driveway.  We had a decent grade and would let them roll to see which one would win.  It was so long that only the cars that went straight would have a chance.  There were no Hot Wheels cars in that box.  They didn’t roll worth a darn.

 

This one was hard to beat.  Probably because of the big rear wheels.

 

 

 

E9B2479A-8B38-4382-8632-4F9551C93F41.jpeg

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In 1950, my parents bought a 1935 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sport Sedan. Possibly the most worn out car on the planet. I can remember walking around it and thinking how nice it was to have a car (our first). Wasn’t overly impressed until I opened a door,sat inside, and got a smell of the interior. What a smell! AMBROSIA!! That did it for me!! Completely hooked. I have had umpteen pre-war cars over the years since. And…I can still smell that 1935 Chevy interior.    

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I went to live with my father full time the summer after first grade. He had been “gone” for about a year. I have seen pics of his cars even before I was born, including when he was a teen, so he always had them.

 

I guess when I went back to live with him and spent my summers helping detail his Corvette collection, would be when I realized I was a car “gal”. Summers were also spent at car shows and riding along in parades, and later driving his cars in them. I have fond memories of those times. 

 

It feels like they have just always been a part of my life. There was a long absence of involvement with them in adulthood while dad was living across the country, but the interest was still there. About four years ago when I stayed in Texas to help him out and became involved in selling his collection, I realized I was still pretty attached to old cars. 

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I was a little guy-don't remember how old--laid out flames on my Buick pedal car--wasn't versed in the paint area, so went to good old mom for help--so she listened, as she always did--lo & behold she cane back with all her old red fingernail polish--I was in heaven, but finished the Buick--grey car with red brushed on red flames--Tom

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When I was 10 years old my grandparents pulled up to our house in a car that they had just purchased a few minutes earlier - a yellow '62 Impala SS with yellow bucket seats. I thought it was the coolest car that I had ever seen. I remember my grandmother asking us if we thought it was too sporty for them and of course I said no. I credit that as being the first time that somebody I knew had a really cool car that I could go for rides in. I still have the owner's manual from it with a lot of notes and oil change info in it.... 

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When I was about 11 or 12, I was fascinated with the old cars and buggies stored at an elderly neighbors house. He would chase us kids out of his yard, but as I got older I got bolder and somehow formed a friendship with this 60's year old recluse. That was all it took, I was infected with the old car bug. He owned roughly 7 or 8 vintage cars and vowed never to sell one. 10 years later, after sharing many stories about the early auto industry and his many patents from his coach-building and cosmetics businesses, he sold me a car that was truly unique and needed lots of research (1904 Cadillac). Sadly he passed away six years later. The family wanted me to have one of the remaining autos and I was fortunate to buy a Brush auto. Alonson Brush was the design engineer of the early Cadillac autos. Still own the autos 40 some years later and still enjoy the research and hobby.

Cars can be seen on you tube "early 70's interview with Fred Bergholt". I never knew the interview existed until 2006, what a treat. 

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At 13 years old, my neighbor (across the street) gave me a 1961 Chrysler Windsor. It was in his barn/garage and we rolled it across the street and down the driveway into my backyard. 

I don't know whether to curse or thank him.

That started it all and I haven't looked back since.

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I was helping my granddad at his paint and body shop sand down cars and I sanded racing stripes in a 69 Camaro and grandpa  laughed and laughed  but my uncle Don got mad I don't remember how old I was but I remember getting a quarter a day for sanding down parts at the pant shop . 

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Most likely from the age of two or three.  I remember ALL the cars my mom and dad owned (or got to use as company cars) since his Viking Blue 1962 Ford Falcon station wagon.  My first brochures were Austin Mini (2-different ones; one included the Countryman wagon, the other did not.), Austin 1100, and Land Rover, all from around 1964.  I loved the Land Rover one which folded out to a huge poster.  My first scale model cars were Corgi, one a Ford Consul 315 sedan, and a green Triumph 2000 sedan.  An interesting model which I wish I still had was a 1953 or 4 French Ford Vedette sedan.  Remember when 'new car intro' was always on a Friday evening in September, and the Thursday evening's paper had all the new cars ads?  In FIRST GRADE, I clipped them out, and took them to school for "show & tell" that Friday morning.  Even Miss Roach, my teacher was intrigued I knew all the cars at that age.  My love for cars never left me, and it was in the Malaise era my appreciation for vintage cars grew immensely.   My first vintage car magazine I ever bought was Car Classics in 1973, and bought every issues from then on, until it ceased publication in 2009 as Car Collector.  Of course, I have bought several different vintage car magazines over the years, including ones from England, etc.

 

Craig 

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For me, there is no going back to when I was a kid or a special connection to my dad or grandpa.  Growing up, cars were for transportation and that is all.  I realized I was a car guy about 18 months ago.  My 20 year old daughter wanted a 70's Volkswagen camper bus so she could drive it and go camping.  Ill be honest, I thought she was a little crazy because I thought of the maintenance and how unreliable it would probably be.  Being supportive, my wife and I took her to a place that sold classic cars and had a 1978 there.  Well, as we were walking to the place where they had the VW, I saw a car up on a lift that they had just received and they were taking pictures of it to list for sale.  I didn't even know what kind of car it was but I knew I loved it.  My wife thought it looked really cool as well.  After we looked at the VW Bus, we went and looked at the car we saw and found out it was a 1931 Ford Model A.  After we left the place all night long all I could think about was that beautiful Model A and how enjoyable it would be to drive around.  My wife and I talked about it and then the next day we went back and bought it.  Since then my 17 year old son has been doing a lot with me and the cars and him and I have purchased other cars.  Also, my daughter got her VW bus and my wife even got her own classic car.  Who knew that that trip to look at the VW bus would change our family for ever and throw us in deep to being car people!

 

Here is the picture I took that day of the Model A up on the lift.  337923_b226edfa83c9_low_res.jpg.600baf4b9628a87523cdfbe05983c274.jpg

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As I recall it was shortly before this moment; after cleaning my hands on a spare bib.  Here I am at the exhaust verifying the idle mixture wasn't too rich.  I had just replaced the timing chain on this baby and rebuilt the carb.  It was a good first car but those foreign jobs were tough.  I have since traded all my metric for SAE toolsimage064.thumb.jpg.d452876cec2101c8b593b80309fe82bb.jpg

 

for the record Dad was impressed but won't verify the event.

Edited by kgreen (see edit history)
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No idea when it began, probably with Lionel 027s but have always been fascinated by things that moved under power. Learned at an early age how to fall off a 16 or 17 hand horse & was a great help with motorcycles. Remember getting great pleasure walking in parking lots. Could tell every car by the taillights (not hard then).

 

Still enjoying interesting cars (last car I remember being boring was a '60 Ford with dog dish hubcaps) but have a special place for roadsters.

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i grew up in the car scene with my dad who when I was born was 18, he built custom impala's with hydraulics and pro hopper parts. we would drive down the road hopping the front of the car off the ground. from then to now, we have built so many cars/trucks/porsche's, and much more. 

 

I am a life long car building fabricator. 

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Got my first car in 1956, when I was three. Drove it in an antique car parade in Middletown, Ohio in March of 1957, and ended up being featured in a couple different newspapers. Adults were making such a fuss over a little kid who could change a spark plug, and drive his own little car. I loved the attention, and never looked back. Grew up riding around in rumble seats and the back of touring cars. Later became a notorious street racer in my area (I know, shame on me! ?), and later a street rodder, and then a collector/restorer and automotive editor. It's been my whole life, really. 

B & W pic w rocket trailer Trenton 1958 Lo Rez.jpg

jimmys little car color 800 pixels.jpg

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On 6/25/2018 at 4:29 PM, keiser31 said:

I was always enthralled with anything that rolled....I am the one on the right with the fat head and the tanker truck.

Picture 1197.jpg

 

 

That looks like a Smith-Miller COE.  I still have mine with open bed trailer.

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