By on February 14, 2011

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57 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: How/When Did You Fall In Love With Cars?...”


  • avatar
    findude

    I was skateboarding down a hill (back in the days when kids bought a set of clay wheels and “trucks” then cut a board from scrap wood in the lumber pile) and a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe came up the hill. It was a silver car with red leather interior. Back at the top of the hill later in the day I saw the gullwing in a parking lot and chatted with the owner.  A few days later he gave me and my skateboard a ride up the hill and I was hooked.  I’d see him around every once in a while for the next couple of years and he’d always take a few minutes to BS about cars with me.
     
    So, I guess it was a combination of a cool car and a cool owner.

  • avatar
    210delray

    For me, it was back in the fall of 1956 when the ’57 Chevy came out.  I was only 4 1/2 years old, but I was fascinated with its styling and multitude of available colors.  Who knew then that the car would become one of America’s all-time favorite classics?

  • avatar
    Zombo

    Probably at about 4 years old with the second car in the family , a late 40s Chevy like the one in the  late humorist Jean Sheperd (A Christmas Story) narrated  movie Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss . We all called it the old Chevy – much better than the  new Chevy (60 Biscayne) .

     
     

  • avatar
    WRohrl

    According to my mother, one of my first words was “Mini” and I used to walk up to parked cars a a 1-2yr old and hug the wheel/tire….This would have been 1970-71 in Germany…My earliest actual motoring memories include late night autobahn runs across the continent to visit my mom’s relatives in Britain in my family’s Audi Super 90 with massive, approximately 12″ diameter Hella Halogen Driving lights mounted on the bumper, always done in the wee hours of the morning to minimize traffic and maximize progress.  I vividly recall the road lights and other car’s headlights changing to yellow upon entering France.  I also vividly (and not so fondly) recall my bouts with carsickness, thankfully something I overcame…

    • 0 avatar
      fauxhemian

      Hah, that’s remarkably similar to my experience. However, being raised in late 80’s – 90’s United States, I was unable to hug the wheels of parked cars. Thanks to being strapped into a baby carriage, I could only reach longingly. Of course, my geo-temporal situation also precluded me from experiencing late-night autobahn runs…
      My seemingly inborn passion for cars would also manifest itself in 1989, when I was three years old. Although I don’t remember it, my aunt loves to talk about the time in that year when, in traffic with me, she spotted a little sports car she had never seen before. Wondering aloud what it was, she was surprised to hear my tiny three-year-old voice matter-of-factly inform her, “Miata.”

  • avatar

    My first job I had a paper route.

    The Audi and Mercury logos took me the longest.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    First memory (and I don’t mean first car memory, I mean first memory) is of my father’s 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme coupe, it was 1979 I was about 2 years old. My father had just finished washing and polishing it in our two car garage. Someone had carelessly failed to fasten the screen door between the house and the attached garage and I pushed my way through, clad only in a diaper. The summer sun was strong, the floor was wet, the sun hit the puddles on the concrete and lit up that silver metalic paint until the car (litterally to my young eyes) “glowed.” From that day forward I was sold on the version of the “American Dream” that Detroit was selling. I would fondly think of that day when 16 years later toiling in that same garage washing, waxing, chrome polishing the 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham sedan that my father had passed down to me. Some of my classmates didn’t understand why I put a chrome tip on the exhaust pipe, why I would sit and listen to the 307V8 idle, blip the throtle to hear the Quadrajet almost “giggle” or why I cared that it had a posi-trac, but I knew and that was all that mattered. I’m still trying to get back to that place.

    I grew up surounded by “car culture” too.  My dad has been a “Hot Rod Magazine” subscriber since he was 15 years old, he owns a 1967 Mustang convertible, purchase from his mother-in-law in 1978 when his father-in-law passed away.  He loves to talk about his vehicles and can remember everyone in great detail.  (A 1963 Impala convertible was his first.)  My mother drove around (while pregnant with me!) in a Chevelle 396 SS with a manual trans for crying outloud!  No wonder I’m a car nut! 

  • avatar
    majo8

    As long as I can remember.  My parents have a picture of me at three years old playing with a 1/16 scale model of a light blue 67 Mustang.  I had a huge grin on my face.  As the years progressed, I remember spending hours sitting behind the wheel in the driveway pretending I was driving even though I couldn’t see over the hood of dad’s 66 Galaxie 500.
     
    It’s never ended…….

  • avatar
    ajla

    The Batmobile, baby! As a young child, I loved watching the Adam West series while it was in syndication during the 1980s.
     
    Come to think of it, this probably explains a lot about my present automotive tastes.

  • avatar
    IGB

    There was no first time, it has just always been.
     
    I see the same thing with my own children. My daughters and older son are completely ignorant of cars. They discern cars by color and not much else. My 1 year old on the other hand is much like I was. One of his first words was “car”. He picks up model cars and “vrooms” them everywhere. He points and ah’s at every “coo cah” that passes our house.
     
    I think you’re either wired from birth or your not.

  • avatar
    Terry

    I was 5 years old (1957), sitting on my dad’s lap, ME steering his ’55 Buick Special around a turn and into our driveway. Fast-forward 11 years through a ’60 Impala 348, and he gives me the keys to his new 1967 GTO.He tells me..”Have a good time!”
     

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I always had Porsche GT1 matchbox cars as a kid.  I had a Countach on my wall and scale models displayed in my room.  It wasn’t until I was about 14 or 15 when I really started getting into cars, though.  I clearly remember an Army recruiter showing up to my school in a red e30 M3 (this was about 1994).  My love for BMW was cemented right there.  When it was time to get a car, my parents bought a 1993 Impreza L for me.  I found out that they had scoop’d, turbocharged versions in the rest of the world and I was bonkers about Subarus.

  • avatar
    akitadog

    Well, when I became a car nut was when I was 22. That might be late, but you have to understand, I grew up in DC, where the bus and subway gets you virtually anywhere. Yeah, my parents bought a 92 Accord for my brother and I to share when I was in college, and I was giddy to drive it whenever I could, but I chalk that up to the excitement of exercising my license privileges as a young driver rather than car obsession.
     
    At 22, I was in the workforce and making decent money (in the midst of the dot-com bubble), and 2 co-workers were discussing what cars they were going to buy. I got in on the action, as I realized that, hey, I can afford one for myself now! It was the heavy internet-based research that got me into sites like Edmunds, Autoweek, etc, as well as the car forums. I was specifically looking for a powerful sedan that was also unique. I ended up with an Olds Intrigue, with the 3.5 V6. And I loved that car. However, I continued to look up and chat about cars on line quite a bit, and got a better feel for how cars work, differences b/w FWD and RWD, how engines work, gas v diesel, designing cars, car materials, etc, etc. Been reading up, test-driving, carshow attending, autoxing and race car watching ever since.
     
    FYI, I’ve been reading TTAC since GM Deathwatch 23.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    As a 9-year-old I helped wash our two 1965 Bonnevilles, a white air-conditioned wagon with blue Morrokide interior and a blue-grey convertible – a friend of my parents’ was a dealer.

    Within a year I was wowed by the origami front end of the full-size 1967s, and soon we had one: an Executive 9-passenger dealer demonstrator, turquoise with black interior. THAT was a wagon. I can recall most of the optional equipment even now: black vinyl roof (on a car that already had fake wood!), FM stereo with 8-track tape player (first year available on a Pontiac), roof rack w/rear deflector, cornering lights, automatic temperature control, cruise control, and power seats, windows, and locks. Our other car at the time was a ’67 GTO hardtop, green with black vinyl roof, which (because it was my mom’s car) was an automatic on the column, but nonetheless was a blast to drive when I finally could.
     
    A few years later in junior high, there was a boys’ assembly wherein we were given a presentation about the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild and its “design and build a model car” contest – I’ve been drawing (well, doodling) ever since. Always nonexistent cars, but not always futuristic ones – a 1958 Camaro, for instance.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I got hooked by reading two highly improbable fictional books. One was about three amateurs who take a pre-war supercharged Bentley to Le Mans after the war and win outright. The other was about an American teenager who gets help rebuilding a wrecked MG from a French immigrant mechanic. It turns out that the mechanic was a top semi-pro driver in Europe who quit after a fatal racing accident.

  • avatar
    Travis

    You guys are making me feel like a youngin here. Gran Turismo 2. There were soooo many cars in that game and a little autobiography on each one. I read them all. That game opened up a new world to me. (It actually started with GT3, but when I saw how many cars 2 had I spent more time playing that.)

  • avatar
    obbop

    Surely merely semantics erupting within my thought process impeding my reply but there was never an actual period or even moment when I “fell in love” with conveyances.
    I did enjoy and appreciate the Hot Wheels cars and their track when those hit the marketplace!!!!!
    The best this Old Coot can offer was when the FULL realization of the many types of freedom a vehicle offers fully impacted my thoughts and the ramifications of this realization led to deeper related thoughts.
    Have I ever mentioned how much I hunger for a scaloni meal?
    Freedom. More to me than Janis’ view; merely a name for nuthin’ left to be lost.
    Nope.
    Freedom is wonderful and I live my life so the jack-booted thugs or others can not take my freedom away to quell my regularly dispersed opinions regarding what I believed to be the continuous and greater number of freedoms wrenched away for us common folk.
    A vehicle assists in obtaining maximum physical movement freedom but does not affect all that can be labeled “freedom.’
    What year did I truly realize vehicles and certain freedom-types were correlated?
    Golly, hard to even guess at!!!!
    Perhaps when I commenced driving and especially so when I commenced movement and the time was such I was not required to return to my starting point, could travel as far as funds and geographical limitations did not force me to stop and nothing else forced a stop other than common sense and logical barriers that would be stupid to attempt to overcome.
    Must have been after military service where logical limitations eventually came into play (can’t fight city hall).
    That was in my later 19 year old period.
    Driving a Lil Hustler at the time, a 1972-1/2 Datsun pick-up with a Rangler camper-shell atop the bed.
    Set up for sleeping and could be lived within but would have been rather cramped for full-time dwelling.
    Young and stupid, of course but I was a cute young and stupid.

  • avatar
    Terry

    @gottacook: ” Our other car at the time was a ’67 GTO hardtop, green with black vinyl roof, which (because it was my mom’s car) was an automatic on the column, but nonetheless was a blast to drive when I finally could.”
    Cook, my dad’s ’67 GTO was Linden Green with the black vinyl roof. His had the Hurst Dual-Gate floor shift. That 400 could FRY those Goodyear Redline tires at will.
     

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    It was, of all cars, a 1968 Jeep Wagoneer.  Traveling in that thing was about as far removed from a trip in the average family-can as can be imagined.
     
    It was tall.  It was purposeful.  It rumbled with the POWER of it’s Buick 350…especially since it had the bad habit of throwing a muffler about once a year.  In those days, the Wagoneer was a purpose-built utility vehicle – a truck.
     
    Frankly, it dripped of masculinity and virility.  It was even fast – not as fast as the Firebirds and Camaros of that day, but it would stand up and dance when you mashed the pedal.
     
    I learned how to drive on that thing.  I got my start in shade-tree mechanics watching my old man and my older brother try and keep it together – it was a lemon; Kaiser at that time was in limbo, and it was assembled by a workforce that suffered don’[email protected]
     
    I have loved Jeeps, and primitive cars, ever since.  It was a sad day, IMO, when Jeep took the last true descendant of the CJ series, the YJ, out of production.

  • avatar
    twotone

    For me, it was their second album “Candi-O”

  • avatar
    John R

    Wow.
     
    Well, one day my dad’s friend picked me up from kindergarten. My dad gave me a heads up so I wasn’t surprised. What he didn’t tell me was that his friend drove a blue t-top Z31 300ZX. Dude rolled up with the t-tops removed rocking out to some calypso music I can’t remember (maybe Byron Lee) – I was born in Panama, BTW. I guess he was halfway hunting for TILFs.
     
    Anyway, that Z had some great lines and to a 5 yr old it looked like something out of Star Wars or The Last Starfighter. It was awesome and I asked my dad to have his friend picked me up from school from then on (didn’t happen). He laughed and then showed me a picture of his yellow 280Z. He then said in the most affectionate way a father could talk to a son, “…had to get rid of it ’cause you were born.” My jaw fell open, “I’m sorry, Dad!”
     
    After that episode I made it a point to commit to memory the automobile forms of the Gen 1 Transformers and what kind of car KITT was.

  • avatar
    turtletop

    Like a few others here, I just can’t remember when… it’s always been that way. I could tell you the make, model and year of anything on the road by the time I could talk.
     
    Some random memories, from before I was seven:
     
    My parents had bought a year-old ’66 Impala, blue metallic with black interior. I remember going to pick it up from my uncle’s gas station & garage, they’d bought it for my folks at auction.  We all drove down in the previous family car to get it, a 1963 Impala, black with tomato red interior. I always loved to go to the garage when we’d go to visit. An endless parade of cars that were all being taken apart and put back together… fascinating stuff for a budding gearhead. I can still recall the smell of oil, chewing tobacco and the burnt coffee odor of the perpetually-running Bunn-o-Matic. There was a Model A in the basement, and a ’57 Chevy in the back lot. I’d spend each and every minute I could there to take it all in. We eventually headed back home, but I had to ride with Mom in the old ’63, while my older brother and Dad got to cruise home in the new ride, all slick and hip in their Ray Bans… I felt nothing but pure, green envy!
     
    Back home, we lived a few houses down from a family with a very, very cute college-age daughter. She came home one day in a dark green ’67 Camaro with a black vinyl top, black interior. I sat and told her more than she ever wanted to know about that car. To this day, I still like ’67 Camaros and slender, long-haired brunettes in skirts.
     
    Not long after that, I was so enamored with the folks new ’66 that I’d sit in the driver’s seat and pretend I was driving. One day while my Mom was getting her hair done, I had the car to myself. Too, too cool. Vrrroom!  To further enhance the simulation, I pulled the gearshift down out of park and the car rolled backward out into the middle of the street! Scared spitless, I put it back in park and nonchalantly closed the door, hoping that my Mom wouldn’t notice the difference. I still hear about that one to this day, some 40-odd years later.
     

  • avatar
    Flipper

    When I was finially allowed to stay up late enough, to watch Get Smart. The sight of that Tiger pulling up in front of “Control” in the  credits was enough for me to always fall for a red sports car. Later Speed Racer’s Mach Five & Hot Wheels Locked it in

  • avatar
    Marko

    It goes back to a VERY young age for me. I can’t really remember exactly when it started, but my first real automotive-related memory was my uncle showing me all the cars in the ’94 Volkswagen brochure. (I especially remember the Corrado SLC.) Wow, I must have been only three years old then…
     
    I had more Matchbox / Hot Wheels cars than I can remember, and people always got me those as birthday presents. I also had a few die-cast models – my favorite was a blue-and-white Dodge Viper.
     
    The first car-related video game I really remember was GT2 – I got it for my ninth birthday (though I had a few other cheesy car racing games before that). I always wondered why there were no Porsches in that game, only RUFs.
     
    And I also remember a lot of car commercials from my childhood. The cool VW commercials from the late 90s / early 00s made quite an impression on me. I also remember that Lexus “goose that laid the golden egg commercial”, but I can’t seem to find it on YouTube.

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Car and Driver was well written and scathing back in the early/middle 1990s. Sort of a print version of TTAC. That was a major path to my addiction.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I can’t say specifically what started it, but I had always liked our 1964 Dodge 330 station wagon with the venerable 225 slant 6 that my parents bought new in the summer of ’64, shortly before driving it from Jacksonville Fl out here to Washington State and I would be brought home from the hospital in it in ’65 and as a kid loving that car and imagined it had a little person living behind the grill as if the car had a personality and it was named Bessy. :-)
     
    Then as I got older, I learned how to wash the cars and later how to change the oil, plugs etc in my Dad’s cars, which were mostly all sensible full sized Plymouths 4 door sedans and one 71 Ford Custom before downsizing to cars like the Ford Fairmont and the Chevy X bodies (Skylark and Citation, although Mom had the 83 Skylark from new) and he had a blue on blue ’76 Honda Accord and I fell in love with that car, I was in Jr high when he had it for a brief time.
     
    Since then, I’ve had cars, beginning with a ’68 Chrysler Newport 4 door and worked hours on that thing fixing things like the aftermarket rear window defroster blower, adding an indash 8 track deck and later an under-dash cassette unit, stuff like that and I do most of my own oil changes and later owned 2 Hondas, an 83 Civic, and then the 88 Honda Accord, both used but I’ve drawn cars, read up on them etc and have come to appreciate cars to this day and while I may not be as steeped in the intimate knowledge of the Detroit Iron, I know my share of many models and just enjoy driving and tend to like small cars, hatchbacks in particular the best of any of them.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    I knew I liked cars from my pinewood derby days and the fun I had helping my father disassemble and reassemble the interiors of his automobiles (Mercury, Toyota, Mercedes, Volvo) in order to retrieve the occasional loose fastener or kid’s toy I managed to pop into the various gaps kids always seem to find.

    I knew I loved cars during my first major project: rewiring a ’72 Datsun 510 using the donor harness from another 510 being sold off for parts. From tracking down all the ground wires to integrating the automatic’s safeties into an antitheft system (“of course you can’t start it: you need just the right touch”), I realized I was developing a rapport with the mechanical and electronic world I had never suspected was in me.

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Wired from birth. I was saying “bruum-bruum” in my walker/trainer.

  • avatar
    AJ

    When I was a kid my dad would often let me sit on his lap and steer his truck on family trips, and later even push the gas. Then when I was 14 he taught me to drive an old pickup with a stiff clutch around my grandpa’s ranch, followed by taking the keys to grandpa’s Wagoneer. That Wagoneer was so much fun… getting it in the mud and snow and hitting the gas.

    Yeah! That was fun! And I still do that today with my own Jeep…

  • avatar
    Garak

    I loved cars as a little kid, but as years went by, I lost the spark. Getting a driver’s license restored it somewhat, and when I bought a Volvo 240, I became somewhat of an enthusiast.
     
    Gas prices and the declining availability of proper RWD barges turned me to motorcycles later on, and nowadays my cars are mostly cheap winter beaters. Sad.

  • avatar
    william442

    Around 1952 when my friend’s older brother came home from college with a 1948 MG TC.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    When I was in third grade, my parents decided it was time to buy a minivan to replace the sad-looking Dodge 12-passenger van they were schlepping us around in.  I wanted an Aerostar because I liked the name, and because they looked so much cooler, especially in the grey-and-silver two-tone.  My dad was sure they’d buy a K-van.
     
    The night they were ready to buy, they got a babysitter and headed out to the Dodge dealer.  This being 1987, Caravans were selling themselves and the dealer wouldn’t let them drive one until they committed to buy.  Disgusted, they strolled into the Ford dealer next door and learned that they could get an Aerostar with a V-6 and a stick (the Chrysler 5MT was 4-cyl only).  The next morning my dad told me they’d bought a grey-and-silver Aerostar and I was over the moon.
     
    I drove that car through high school and dubbed it “the Millenium Falcon”: she may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts.  I came to appreciate the fact that I could lay rubber in it, my friends didn’t know how to drive it, and it felt a little faster than it really was.  I took it to college and cried a little when it died with just under 200K on the ticker.  First car I ever loved.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike66Chryslers

      This is the first story I ever heard of someone that is an Aerostar enthusiast.  However, it reinforces my theory that there is a fanbase for every type of car ever made, even if most people think they were a POS.

  • avatar
    1996MEdition

    The moment I was conceived in the back seat of my soon-to-be parent’s 1962 Chevy II convertible.  Or maybe it was that fateful day during a January blizzard in 1965 when I nearly entered the world in the back seat of their 1964-1/2 Mustang convertible?  Popped out 5 minutes after arriving at the hospital under police escort.  My Dad would have killed me if I had ruined his white interior.

    Still love the ‘verts!

  • avatar
    M 1

    A GREAT question. The answers are almost always interesting. And TwoTone should win a prize for his.

    Back in the early 70s my dad would take me to the runway drag races at the Navy base. That probably did it. He wasn’t really heavily into cars himself, he was there to film them (Super 8!). But it clicked with me. And several of my uncles were into cars, and of course they were the coolest people I knew! By the time I was five, I’d spend hours in the driveway under his van “working” on the engine with rubber wrenches and screwdrivers. Fortunately for all of us, the real tools were inaccessible to me, although I did have a habit of tearing down bicycles by the time I was about seven.
     
    Can anyone imagine a modern-day military base shutting down a runway for an afternoon of fun heads-up drag racing these days? Remember when toting a keg of beer to the beach was fun, instead of a dramatic criminal act that would ruin your life for a year or two? When you could run a store without a $2 million liability policy, or fly a plane without $20,000 in training and $1 million in insurance. When an off-color office joke didn’t spawn a Federal inquiry. WTF were you Baby Boomers thinking when you went all rule-Nazi on this country?

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      There’s so much of that all wrapped up in it.  The cars I’ve loved…take me back.  Back to what I remember as a simpler time…when kids could throw a kegger, and drive home afterward…no harm, no foul.  If you were caught, you maybe got a lecture from the cop – or maybe a $100 ticket.
       
      Back when you could pull over on a road trip, get some sleep…and if the cops came, they’d peer in with a flashlight.  Unless you were caught en flagrant délit, he’d just go on about his way.
       
      It was a simpler time; a freer time.  And nothing captures it like the cars of that period…the cars we learned to love.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    It had nothing to do with cars, it had to do with freedom!

    In a car, you could be FREE!

    So I see cars are merely functional objects that can take me away from my daily grind and carry me away to places I have yet to experience. They are like magic carpets.

    So I have always loved cars. There is no car that sparked my love.

    I love trucks for an entirely different reason.
    Trucks give you muscle and strength.

  • avatar
    threeer

    The year was 1975, and my father was called to do an unaccompanied tour in Korea.  We had to move out of government housing in Karlsruhe and wound up renting an upstairs apartment of a family-owned three apartment home in Knielingen (just down the street from what used to be Gerzewski Barracks…now just a memory of upturned earth).  The owners took us in as if we were always part of their family, and made memories that will never be forgotten.  Herr Kuhn, the man of the household, was (and still is) a longtime loyal BMW owner.  The first car I remember riding in with utter fascination was his BMW 1600.  As were all of his BMWs, it was four door and white…always white.  Something about the size and shape of that little box on wheels just captured my imagination.  From then on, I really began to take notice of the cars around me, and growing up in the land of the Roundel, Three-Pointed Star and Prancing Horse didn’t hurt.  Much to my sibling’s annoyance, I could easily identify most vehicles simply by their headlights, a game I always won on our trips down the Autobahn on the way to Stuttgart to visit my grandparents.
    I credit (blame?  lol) Herr Kuhn for my morbid desire to own a BMW, which I fulfilled (a few times over) first by selling a then-two year old Nissan Sentra SE-R for a 1974 BMW 2002.  That car will always, always be my true love when it comes to cars (my first love was the 1978 Plymouth Arrow GT I learned to drive on).  That progressed to a 1985 euro-spec 318i, then a 1993 325is…along the way there was also a 1970 BMW 2800, just for giggles.  Of course, then I married and the prospect of maintaining two BMW coupes mit Kind didn’t add up.
    I guess my time in Germany (all 17 years) colored my slant on what kind of cars I prefer.  While I can appreciate the big muscle cars, my heart belongs to cars of a smaller stature…right now, I drive a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback Ralliart (maybe a nod to my first car, the Plymouth/Mitsubishi Arrow) and am seriously wanting a 2006-2007 Miata to replace the 2006 Fusion (the last family car for a while for me…son is 19 and at the Air Force Academy…so the parents can play a little now!). 
    The great thing about all of us carnuts is that there are so many choices and directions to take when it comes to quenching (if that is truly ever a possibility!) our automotive needs, whether you are a Mustang or Camaro fan…or prefer a Porsche there’s something for everybody!

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    The very first memory I can remember is playing with my John Player Special Lotus 72 Matchbox car on the windowsill. I would race it back and forth watching the paint chips crackle off like tasty Doritos….

  • avatar
    Darkhorse

    I picked up my love of cars from my father.  He had a rather eccentric taste for automobiles.  My first memory was a 1951(?) Crosley wagon.  Next was a 1950ish Kaiser Henry J, followed by several Corvairs.  His “fun” ride was a BMW Isetta 300 (when he wasn’t on his Lambretta scooter).  Most of them barely ran.

    The clincher for my car love was the day an associate of dad’s dropped by driving a very early Jaguar XKE DHC.  He gave me a ride and that was it.  I can still remember the smell of countryside mixed with the leather aroma.  Nirvana for a 12 year old.

  • avatar
    obruni

    I was born into a car crazy family. My parents went through cars pretty quickly; over the course of a few years they had a ’56 Corvette, 240Z, Jaguar XKE Convertible, and a ’69 Corvette L-88 (my mom’s daily driver in Brooklyn)
    On Easter Sunday, when most families in the neighborhood went to church, my family went to the new york car show.
     

  • avatar
    Motorhead10

    was born with it – my father was a car guy but not adept with a wrench. He had me starting the car in the driveway at about 10. By 13, I was an accomplished driver. Got a perfect score on all written and driving tests to get my license. Won the “Driver Education” award at the Senior class awards in H.S. Everyone sort of made fun of me – I guess because it wasn’t the science or math or French award. But I know they all wanted it.

  • avatar
    R.Fortier1796

    When I was around 8 or 9 (right round 1994), my grandfather had me help (as much as a 9 year old could help) him restore three MGBs.  One for each of my cousins and one for me.  They were to be our first cars, and yes, I made sure that the BRG over Tan would be mine.  That, along with helping him work on his plane (a Mooney Bravo) really kindled my love for all things mechanical.  It somewhat died until I found myself sitting in a dark movie theatre durring what I remeber being a blazing hot Texas summer in 2001.  Say what you will about it, The Fast and the Furious really brought out the automotive passion in me, and ever since then, I have been into all things automotive.  The faster and louder, the better. Boring cars are a sign that you have given up on life.

    I’m sure it is also in the blood. Other than my grandfather, my parents claim they have no idea where my love of cars come from, though my father will reluctantly admit his own youthful adventures with a Chevelle SS, a second gen Camaro, a 240z, and a Celica Supra most recently. After that he started heading in the direction of Mercedes, but I very clearly remember going to a BMW dealership, and the dealer letting me sit in a Dakar Yellow E36 M3 while the talked about a 7er. In his current state of health, he is stuck in a Mazda CX9 (low enough for him to get into but not so much that he has to drop down and climb in), but he’s mentioned more than once his desire to pick up an R8. I’ve offered once or twice to take the money and get it, so that he can live vicariously through me…

    • 0 avatar
      R.Fortier1796

      Meant to add for a follow up: my two cousins got their MGBs just fine.  Onse sold her’s to help pay for a wedding to an abussive piece of trash, and the other sold her’s for a Mitsu Montero.  My parents, on teh other hand, found an MGB to be far to dangerous and unreliable for a first car, sold it, and used the money as a down payment for a Rav4.  I wanted the MG, but being 16, living at home, and having no job?  Not really much of a choice

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Born with it.  I can remember being small enough to sit with my butt in the steering wheel of my parents 61 Olds F-85 wagon and swing from side to side.  We kids would sit in the way-back and mom would warn us to keep away from the liftgate because the latch would sometimes pop open.  I also remember sitting by the side of the road with the hood up to let the aluminum 215 V8 cool down. 
    Dad had a company car – a white 63 Bel Air wagon with bright red interior.  I could open the hood and stand on the bumper and pretend to be a mechanic.  My grandma had a 55 DeSoto – a pink and white one.  I remember the big black and white steering wheel and the shift lever that stuck out of the dashboard (like a modern minivan, only a lot sharper).  The DeSoto had a trunk lid with a pushbutton lock that grandma left unlocked.  Like every other unlocked car, it was my favorite playground.

    I the first of my parents’ new cars that I remember – a dark green 64 Olds Cutlass 2 door hardtop.  That was a really cool car with bucket seats.  I remember every single car in my kindergarden carpool in 1964-65.  Mrs. Colchin had the white 60 Studebaker Lark (her husband had a new red Avanti!), Mrs Mejer had a copper 60 Chevy wagon, Mrs Young had a metallic lavender 58 Ford sedan.

    For as long as I can remember, I will probably forget your name, I may forget your face, but I will NEVER forget your car.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike66Chryslers

      For as long as I can remember, I will probably forget your name, I may forget your face, but I will NEVER forget your car.
       
      Amen, brother.

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      Double Amen to that.

      I can’t remember any names of our neighbours from when I was a child, but I can still remember, 50 years later, what every single one of them had in their driveways or parked on the street.

      I don’t remember not noticing and loving cars, hockey and baseball games, or dogs and cats. I’m hard-wired for it, I believe.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Same here.  It amazes my fiance and colleagues that I can tell who’s at work by the vehicles in the parking lot.  It’s just the way my brain works, I might forget your name but I remember you drive a white current gen Impala with tinted windows and it’s an LT package model.

  • avatar

    Last year when I was burgled I had nothing to do at my house other than research about cars.
    I’m now officially an enthusiast/petrol-head.

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    I was born in 1975.  My dad bought my Grandad’s 1966 Chrysler in 1978, still in as-new condition because it had been the “good car” that rarely left the garage.  I grew up riding around in my that car, going to car shows, swap meets and drag races, and listening to him talk about how he used to drag his ’62 Chrysler in his younger days, and occasionally about how my grandfather had bought a tired 36 Dodge as a beater and overhauled the inline-6 flathead so he wouldn’t need to subject his then-new 50 Plymouth to the winter road salt.
     
    I graduated through Hot Wheels cars, building plastic models, and R/C cars.  I watched the Dukes of Hazzard religiously.  My favourite character was the General Lee.  Later came Knight Rider.  I drew cars all the time, and learned to identify almost any car from the 50s through the 80s at a glance.  I considered “car spotting” to be one of my hobbies.  (I still do.)  I can’t say exactly when it happened, but it just became a foregone conclusion in my mind that I would own an old car.
     
    Fast-forward to today.  My son is three.  He has been telling me for months that he wants to build a hot rod, purple with green flames.  He said I should sell one of my 66 Chryslers to make room in the garage for it.  The madness continues….

  • avatar
    Sinistermisterman

    I first heard a noise which made my hair stand up on the back of my neck and I turned to see tire smoke billowing through the service tents set up in the paddock. I cut between two of them and up to the tire wall and as the noise stopped, a slight wind parted the smoke, revealing a blue coloured, two seater car of unimaginable beauty. I could finally see the face of the guy sitting in the drivers seat and the grin on his face would have put the Cheshire cat to shame.
    I was 11 years old and I had fallen in love with the AC (Shelby) Cobra.

  • avatar
    rightlanecamper

    I was never interested in cars, drove a Civic for 8+ years, ignorance was a bliss you could say. I was always the quiet one during any auto-discussion, and to me, cars were nothing more than a device to get from point A to B.

    Then late last year(around oct ’10) started researching cars since the family needed a new car, found this site, have been lurking ever since, and now all I read about is cars cars cars. Got hooked on Gran Turismo 5, and started watching Top Gear and actually enjoying it. I’ve also probably watched every car review on youtube :)

  • avatar
    nutbags

    It was the spring of 1973 and I was 7 and at a friends house on the other side of town.  We were walking in the neighborhood to another friends house when I first laid eyes on it – a Lotus Europa Twin Cam.  I walked around that car numerous times, to the point that my friends thought something was wrong with me.
    A few months later, I came upon an even more obscure automaker – TVR.  With the same friends, we came across a 2500M in a store parking lot.  Again I just kept walking around the car; studying it intensely.
    The final so called straw was my return to elementary school that September.   My teacher shows up driving a Porsche 914, bright orange.  I walked right past my teacher to her car.  I studied it for what seemed like hours until class had to finally start.
    To this day, when I see one of those, it brings back great memories.

  • avatar
    Boff

    I’m pretty sure it was when daddy’s sperm met mommy’s egg.

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