QOTD: Who's to Blame?
No, we’re not talking about your divorce. Keep that baggage to yourself! Rather, we’re talking about the person in your life who kindled that spark — that interest, and yes, perhaps even that love of cars.
As the TTAC crew says goodbye to a very good guy who just happened to hold passionate opinions about the auto industry (and can’t be blamed for cursing several American vehicles of the 1980s and ’90s), let’s get personal.
First off, rest in peace, Mike.
In your author’s case, the person responsible for a lifelong interest in most things automotive isn’t surprising. My father, may he also rest in peace, loved cars. Never had much money to spend on them, but loved them just the same. When he wasn’t spouting the foulest language at his daily driver while the mercury threatened to break through the bottom of the thermometer, that is.
I still remember the moment our family made the switch to fuel injection. After a stroke back in the late ’90s, leaving him temporarily with the use of one arm and one leg, dad was out in the garage adjusting the carburetor setting on his ’79 Pontiac Sunbird to prepare for the coming season. It didn’t go well. Not long after that, never wanting to tinker under the hood of another car in the freezing cold ever again, he visited a government auction and returned home with a brace of identical Chevy Corsicas once owned by the Department of Defence. The switch was made.
From childhood onward, the coffee table in our house, without fail, contained a stack of Collectible Automobile magazines. I got him one on our last Christmas together. Way back when, I knew more about DeSoto than an 8-year-old should, and the early focus on classics eventually turned me into a lifelong land yacht fetishist. Love the boats. I’ll never forget the car show we went to where adolescent Steph was exposed to the new 1995 Buick Riviera. Truth be told, the topic of autonomous driving and discussion of things like LIDAR turns my brain to mush and spawns fantasies of returning to an earlier, less sterile time.
On our last visit together, dad told me about his most memorable road trip. I could only make out every third or fourth word, but the trip in question was through Montana, via Calgary. He spoke of the great, wide-open spaces that make one feel like the small human they are. One day I hope to make that same trip. I used to take epic road trips through vast, unknown wilderness, and I feel it’s something I need in my life again.
It’s true that the prevailing topic between me and me dad, throughout my adulthood, was cars. It was almost always the first thing to come up in conversation. From his hospital bed, he told me how GM’s four-cylinder Silverado was a dumb idea and not worth the trouble.
Without cars, it’s possible we wouldn’t have had such long and engaging conversations. It’s possible we wouldn’t have been as close.
Who do you credit for infecting you with the car bug?
[Images: Murilee Martin/TTAC, Steph Willems]
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