I’m not sure when my addiction to cars started. Rumor has it that my first word was “car”. I could also apparently name most cars from the back seat of my parents 1984 Audi 5000 before I was potty trained. By age 5 I had planned out my life, in cars. I was going to have a Lamborghini Countach before I graduated university…. Life is so sweet as a 5 year old. I was driving a 1986 Chevy pickup when I graduated college. I’m pretty sure I thought of it as a Lamborghini though, it was as much maintenance as one.
Thats my truck, I chose to paint it that colour in high school. Deal with it!
As I said I do not know where my addiction started but I clearly remember who my dealer was. My Father; Growing up I always liked it when dad would tuck me into bed as opposed to mom. This is because dad would not read me bedtime stories with colourful drawings of rabbits or bears. He would not read me rhyming books or even tell me fairy tales. I was put to bed on a strict bedtime story diet of Road & Track, Car and Driver, Hot Rod and even the occasional boutique European car magazine. Once we had gone through all those magazines, discussed the merits of double overhead cam motors verses the traditional push rod V8 and looked at the pictures a million times we would look at cars for sale in the Classic Car Trader- I think this sheds light on my love for classic cars.
Sometimes when we had gone through all those publications and read any car brochures lying around dad would actually tell stories. Dad would tell me stories about him growing up in a small prairie town and the cars they used to own. Apparently my dad’s first car was $50. When you tell an 8 year old you can buy a car that runs and drives for $50 I think you build a false sense of reality….. What he bought for $50 didn’t even have doors, a roof or body panels for that matter. He told entertaining stories none the less.
This is what happens when you leave me alone to read. The carpet confirms 1980’s
Unfortunately this did not stop with just bedtime stories about cars. The most exciting time of my life growing up was Valentine’s Day. Not because I got chocolate covered hearts but because it signified that the Canadian International Auto Show was about to begin. Dad would take my brother and I to the show where we would drool over all the new cars. Words cannot accurately describe how important the car show was and still is to me. That scene from the opening of little house on the prairie where the girl is running through the field all excited and care free? That is me times 50 and hopped up on pixie sticks and full sugar caffeine drinks. That is still not an accurate comparison but I liked the theme song to that show so it will work for this analogy…. It’s like getting to meet your favorite athlete or actor and getting to interview them. The first time I saw a Subaru WRX STI in person at the car show I think I cried.
We would get lots of our reading material from these car shows. I would arrive with an empty backpack at every show and by the time we were ready to leave it would be so jam-packed with brochures that it could barely be closed. Dad had a tactic he used at these shows to gain what he called insider information. He would tell a sales rep that he is a doctor (this is true) and that he is looking for a new car (not true) and does not know anything about them (also not true). This essentially made us into VIP’s at every car show-all the expensive cars on pedestals or behind velvet ropes? We sat in them. I remember one year when they actually started an Aston Martin up so we could hear the engine.
Our curriculum knew no bounds. We would visit the fire station and a train yard whenever possible. Dad would tell whoever was in charge that his kid really liked whatever transportation device was featured. We would get tours, get to sit in the vehicles and sometimes get models. After age 10 I knew that this was more for dad than me but I happily played along. For a kid who grew up in mid-town Toronto I know a lot about GM diesel locomotives, superior fire trucks and American-Lafrance pumper trucks. My brother even has memories of going to see 18-wheelers drag race. No joke highway tractors lining up and racing each other. I have also been to every new car dealer within a 75 km radius of Toronto, all before I could legally drive.
Everything I did with my dad had automotive undertones to it. Skiing? Let’s discuss all the different cars we see on the way up, and let the kid shift gears! Going to hockey? Let’s check out all the other cars in the parking lot and see who has a manual transmission. It’s amazing how a parking lot can become a car show with the right level of enthusiasm and a lack of tinted windows.
When I was 12 years old I rode my bike into a brick wall. Don’t worry, my face broke the fall. There was some thought that my jaw was broken and I was definitely going to need stitches. My dad took me to North York General Hospital to get x-rayed and stitched up. We parked on the other side of the emergency room because dad had to see something… we diverted from the hospital emergency room and instead went to the doctors parking lot. Dad had spotted a 1995 Toyota Supra and we had to see it on the way in.. I don’t know what was more disturbing, that dad chose cars over his son’s health or the fact that the Toyota Supra was an automatic transmission. Probably the latter upset me more. 3 stitches later and some ice cream to celebrate me not having my jaw wired shut and we were debating what was better, the Toyota Supra, Mazda Rx7 or Nissan 300ZX.
According to the government and several other reputable sources I am a fully functioning adult now. My father’s influence is far reaching in my day to day life. I wake up in the morning and read all the current car news that transpired while I was sleeping. Then I go to work and deal with cars all day. I sell them, source them, advice regarding them, judge them, drive them and fantasize about owning them. I get home from work and my fiancée graciously tolerate my “what-if’s “scenarios. What if I brought this car home? Would you drive it? ect… before bed I read car magazines, blogs, look at photos and read comparisons. I then dream about cars or have nightmares about clowns until I wake up the next morning.
The beach is cool, but my dump truck needs my immediate attention.
I’d like to thank my dad for introducing me the best career path for a person of my “substance”. At Auto|One Group we are all car people. This is merely an account of how it starts.