Thanks Dad

For the love of cars

By Larry Jewett - June 20, 2011 05:05 PM


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For most of us, this love of cars is something that was hereditary. We grew up in an environment that put cars in a prominent place and not necessarily as an appliance to get from point A to point B.

My dad was involved in a car club in high school, well before my time. It was called the Motor Menders and the only way I knew anything about it was by looking at old black and white pictures. As a responsible adult with a wife and two kids, he still had an interest in cars and how they worked. I can recall handing him tools while he was under one car or another, though I regret it wasn’t as often as it could have been because I ended up going out to play ball lot of times. I remember the ’57 Pontiac and the ’40 Ford and various other cars that were more than just cars. These cars were cool.

We seemingly traded off the family sedan every two years, giving me additional memories of going to the dealership, nothing as elaborate as it is today. If it was a good day, we drove home in something newer than what we brought to the scene. I was too young to really grasp what was happening. We didn’t buy new cars and that would often lead to eventually replacing something on the car. Sooner or later, the car ended up in the garage, tools scattered about. Dad would be down on the floor, replacing a starter or something that just ran out of life.

It was the days before the auto parts superstore, one where a neighborhood business served to get you what you needed. My dad’s family lived just a few doors down from one of those parts stores, a place where the counter guys knew who you were. It was a place where the conversations centered around the cars and their developments, a place where one language was spoken – the language of cars.

They weren’t “automobiles” – they were cars. Semantics to some, but there was something too fancy about the longer word. “Auto” became the middle ground.

With the Father’s Day slipping by, it made me think of the bond between a child and father.  I think about how the car (automobile if you wish) has played some a pivotal role in strengthening that relationship. I am thankful for the role it had in mine. I know it isn’t unique (There will be a story in an upcoming issue of Auto Enthusiast about a father, son and a 1971 Torino GT that tells the story well) and that’s what makes it even more special.

It doesn’t require only a day in mid-June to honor the relationship between a father, his children and their cars. If you have a story about your father, if you’re a father who can relate how cars brought you closer to your child, share it with us. Drop us a line at