QOTD: What Got You Into Cars?

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
qotd what got you into cars

It’s Chicago Auto Show week around these parts.

You might not remember this, but there actually was a 2020 Chicago Auto Show — it took place before COVID shut the world down. This means that the Chicago Auto Show was the last one before the world fell apart, and will be the first one as we tentatively reopen and march towards some sort of normalcy.

It also means that enthusiasts and car shoppers get to gather in person to check out sheetmetal once again.

Growing up, I loved the auto show. Went at least once every year with either my dad or both parents. But it’s not the show that got me into cars — I was already a car person due to other factors. Still, the show, plus a tweet I saw over the weekend asking car people for their stories of how they became car people, got me wondering about how all of us became car lovers.

For me, mostly it was because my parents ran an auto-parts store from the time I was about 1 till I was 12 or 13. That’s what did it for me. It also helped that both parents were car people, as were some friends and family.

I also blame toys like Hot Wheels, Matchbox, RC cars, and the Transformers for my addiction to the automobile.

I did go through a phase of indifference towards cars for a few years as a child — like a lot of suburban kids, I became obsessed with sports. I still love sports. But at around age 12, I started caring about cars again, because I realized I’d be driving soon enough, and I also started reading the buff books.

Eventually, I worked in a dealership as a porter, then a service greeter, then a service advisor, before stumbling back-asswards into automotive journalism. Now I’m here, typing these words for TTAC.

That’s my story of how I came to love these two-ton pieces of metal. What’s yours?

[Image: oneinchpunch/Shutterstock.com]

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2 of 39 comments
  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jul 14, 2021

    I owned a parade of $#!+boxes that I had to work on regularly. I determined that it was actually sort of fun. As $#!+boxes gave way to better rides, it was more fun.

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Jul 15, 2021

    I was always into cars, and there's a pic of me in pajamas at about age 8 or so holding a 1964 "Hot Rod" magazine with some article about Don Garlits "Telling all his speed secrets". It for sure wasn't my dad, who was the most incompetent mechanic I've ever seen, and I've seen some real clowns working on cars over the years. My dad couldn't even help me tighten my bike chain when I was about six. I had to ask the neighbor to help me. He thought my dad's cluelessness was hilarious. What did my father do in WWII? He was a B29 mechanic. My condolences to the airmen he probably killed. He always wondered how many crashes he caused.

  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.
  • Denis Jeep have other cars?!?
  • Darren Mertz In 2000, after reading the glowing reviews from c/d in 1998, I decided that was the car for me (yep, it took me 2 years to make up my mind). I found a 1999 with 24k on the clock at a local Volvo dealership. I think the salesman was more impressed with it than I was. It was everything I had hoped for. Comfortable, stylish, roomy, refined, efficient, flexible, ... I can't think of more superlatives right now but there are likely more. I had that car until just last year at this time. A red light runner t-boned me and my partner who was in the passenger seat. The cops estimate the other driver hit us at about 50 mph - on a city street. My partner wasn't visibly injured (when the seat air bag went off it shoved him out of the way of the intruding car) but his hip was rather tweaked. My car, though, was gone. I cried like a baby when they towed it away. I ruminated for months trying to decide how to replace it. Luckily, we had my 1998 SAAB 9000 as a spare car to use. I decided early on that there would be no new car considered. I loathe touch screens. I'm also not a fan of climate control. Months went by. I decided to keep looking for another B5 Passat. As the author wrote, the B5.5 just looked 'over done'. October this past year I found my Cinderella slipper - an early 2001. Same silver color. Same black leather interior. Same 1.8T engine. Same 5 speed manual transmission. I was happier than a pig in sh!t. But a little sad also. I had replaced my baby. But life goes on. I drive it every day to work which takes me over some rather twisty freeway ramps. I love the light snarel as I charge up some steep hills on my way home. So, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Passat guy.
  • Paul Mezhir As awful as the styling was on these cars, they were beautifully assembled and extremely well finished for the day. The doors closed solidly, the ride was extremely quiet and the absence of squeaks and rattles was commendable. As for styling? Everything's beautiful in it's own way.....except for the VI coupe....it's proportions were just odd: the passenger compartment and wheelbase seemed to be way too short, especially compared to the VI sedan. Even the short-lived Town Coupe had much better proportions. None of the fox-body Lincolns could compare to the beautiful proportions of the Mark V.....it was the epitome of long, low, sleek and elegant. The proportions were just about perfect from every angle.
  • ToolGuy Silhouetting yourself on a ridge like that is an excellent way to get yourself shot ( Skylining)."Don't you know there's a special military operation on?"