QOTD: Returning to the Flock?
Have you ever strayed? Fallen off the well-trodden path that carried you into adulthood from your imaginative youth?
We’re not talking sin, vice or philandery here, no sir. We’re talking cars. Most adults who harbor a deep love for all things automotive grew up loving all things automotive — it’s one of those age-spanning infatuations, unlike a passing interest in grape popsicles or dance music or that girl who sat in front of you in Grade 9 English class. Once you’re hooked on broader subjects like autos, history, or whatever else, it seems a person never strays from the path.
But maybe your interests took a sharp detour at one point. What sparked the sudden lack of interest, and what brought you back to the flock?
Maybe the advent of ovoid styling in the ’90s and electronically governed powerplants sullied your childhood enthusiasm and pushed you off the boat. Maybe you’re an old-timer and the muscle drought of the late ’70s and early ’80s was just too much to take, what with the orgy of lead and compression that occurred just a decade prior. Woodstock for cars, essentially, followed up by the Mustang II.
Perhaps it was something completely removed from the industry that diverted your affections elsewhere. Everyone walks different steps in life.
However, this question aims to find out why your interest in vehicles waned, and what it was that brought you back. Maybe the return of rear-drive muscle cars from Chrysler reignited the torch you once carried. Ever-better Mustangs. Vehicle design that could once again be called “sexy.” Or was it the ability to actually purchase something fun that got the home fires burning?
Name your motivations.
I was always a slow car fast sort and valued handling. The fox body 5.0 was king of my youth, but I always wanted the SVO. When I started driving in the early 90s it was the Taurus SHO, B13 Sentra SE-R, the Civic SI and CRX, and the Miatas that had my attention. At that point my budget was more Saturn's and Escort GT though. I enjoyed flogging them though. Then I moved to Italy and had the money for some fun cars. GTI, an E30 BMW, a little Autobianchi A112 Abarth, and several others. Coming home I had a couple Miatas and then shifted to trucks and family haulers due to life. A friend of mine had a B14 200SX SE-R I got to drive on occasion and while not the B13, the 5 speed behind that SR20;made me realize how much I missed it. I looked for one of the cars I had coveted in the 90s but all of that metal was abused, modded, or in the case of that integra, Barret Jackson material. Enter the Fiesta ST
I'm finding my interest in new cars waning rapidly. The sorts of cars I like barely exist and the selection is getting thinner by the day. But I don't really have time for old cars. So I feel like my little collection of six cars (three newish, three oldish) may last me a REALLY long time. Especially as I barely drive 10-12K a year across six cars these days. When I retire, I certainly see my interest in old cars coming back, but travelling for a living 200 days a year leaves very little time for messing about with cars.
From almost day one, I was interested in cars. None of the cars my parents had did much for me, I complained all the time about them being, "Old man's cars". That complaining got louder when the neighbors down the street bought the '68 Charger R/T and then the guy across from him got his '68 Roadrunner. My dad bought his short lived '68 Imperial almost the same day the Roadrunner came home. Same engine and basic drivetrain(440 Autos), but in IMHO, a much uglier box. It had a dealer installed cam and had a great idle, but the Imp's stock exhaust kept it too quiet. The Imp was a 2 door, so it wasn't like it had any more room inside then the Charger or Roadrunner did. I tried and tried to get my dad to get a Chevelle, Regal, 442, or any Mopar B-Body without success. In later '69, the Imp was sold and he bought his last Ford product, a '69 Lincoln MKIII that he hated so much he traded it to his brother for the '69 Caddy Sedan De Ville, both of them being in Avacado green, AKA "Baby Shit Green". It would die violently when dad passed out and hit a telephone pole, knocking out power to about 1/4 of Toledo, and totally destroying the car. Unbelted, all he had in injuries was a broken nose and some loose teeth from hitting the steering wheel. That was the end of his driving, and I think that made him die sooner than he would have. He really loved driving, and at 63 dread the day, if it happens, when I will have to stop.
I started driving in '71 with Mom's 1962 Dynamic 88 and within a couple of years got way overboard building Corvairs. My first late model Monza cost all of 35 bucks for an engine and 30 for the body shell complete with a good interior. They were about 10 years old, plentiful, cheap and nearing the bottom of their depreciation curves. I joined the local (SFBA) chapter of CORSA and rapidly developed connections for parts. If anyone saw one running around San Jose and Saratoga with Camaro taillights and a Panther Pink paint job, that was me. It had Cadillac door pulls on the inside, white door panels and seats, Corsa dash with 1965 Bonneville gauges mounted in a modified floor console out of a 1966 GTO. All painted metal interior surfaces were covered in black vinyl. Ok it was the disco era, so who minded a little tackiness? But Under the hood was a 2 barrel IECO ram air system with Hooker headers and Turbo mufflers. By the time the Corvair thing was over and I needed to spend more time raising our son and less time under them, I had restored a late convertible, a late 4 door and a 1963 Rampside, which was my DD for about 3 years. We even took our newborn son home from the hospital in it. AND WE ALL SURVIVED! Reliable? Not the way I drove them, but I really enjoyed the driving dynamics and loved the styling of the late model ones. So I tried to be a responsible husband and father, and though we bought several Malaise Era GM offerings after I sold off the Corvairs, I never stopped liking them. Eventually I became a Toyota/Lexus guy and whaddya know I hardly had to do any serious wrenching on any of them. But I'm retired now and those old memories make me want to take the plunge again. But I'm under no illusions that Corvairs are all now at least 50 years old, and the tinworm has never taken a day off on those unibodies...so the chances of finding a bone stock and affordable rust free example are slim to none. But I can Dream, can't I? Maybe a Miata?