For many of us, it was our dads that got us into cars, trucks, or maybe just anything with wheels and an engine. Father’s Day is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the men who got us into the things we love, and to think about how we might be able to get the next generation into those things too. But, let’s not limit our celebration to just our biological fathers, since there are often a huge number of influential people who’ve encouraged us, or lent a wrench, along the way.
How can you tell who these guys are? Here’s a couple things a great father does:
- Teaches you what the engine “turning over” really means
- Lends you tools
- Busts knuckles with you
- Listens as you explain the latest ride you need to get
- Talks cars with you
- Helps you push the car to bump start it, even when it takes 4 tries
- Reminds you when to step back and take a breather
- Drives 3 hours to check out that barn find with you
Do you know a guy like that? Maybe it was your own dad. Maybe it was an uncle. Maybe it was the Ford guy down the street who talks to you even though you’re into Mopars. You know, the guy you call when your project backfires, shoots a fireball out the intake, and then won’t start. Take a look at what out sister magazine, Lowrider, is doing with their Roll Models campaign. For them, it’s about family, and they’re trying to show the next generations of enthusiasts what the scene is about, and what it’s not about. The only way they’re going to get there, and get a new generation into a much healthier lifestyle, is for the older role models to step up and make a difference in the lives of the younger people around them.
Whether or not you had a great dad growing up, the commission to make a difference is one we can all take on. If you have children of your own, like I do, start there. My almost-two-year-old daughter LOVES riding in my 1975 Chevrolet Nova. No children? If you’re part of a car club, take a few of the younger fans under your wing. Not only does passing on the enthusiasm to a new generation reward those passing it on, it ensures we’ll keep getting enthusiast models of our favorite cars, even if an autonomous future is inevitable.
A favorite memory with my dad was when I was 16 years old and just learning to drive. My dad was letting me drive his 1950 Chevrolet 3/4 ton pickup (looked like the one pictured, except white, and not as nice) to and from school. Now, it had a three-on-the-tree manual transmission that not only lacked a shift pattern reminder (Towards me and up, reverse. Towards me and down, first. Away from me and up, second. Away and down, third) it only had synchros on second and third gear. You had to completely stop to get it into first gear without a whole bunch of grinding. One day, I found out why my dad always told me to take my time when shifting: after trying to rush the Old Truck into second gear I was shocked to find out that, for some reason, it wouldn’t come out of first gear! I had cars behind me, almost no shoulder to stop on, and I couldn’t figure out what to do. I started to panic as I pulled to the side of the road. I noticed that someone had pulled over with me, and to my surprise it was my dad! He walked up, popped the hood, worked some magic (aka, realigned the shift linkage, which tended to bind up when shifted too quickly), and had me back on the road in all of 30 seconds.
In the comments below, share a favorite car memory with your dad.
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Happy Father’s Day 2016