Everyone in our Western society has been touched, even by the least little bit, by some degree of enthusiasm about a car. What about you?
Perhaps there was a particular car or truck in your family that you were fond of as a child. It doesn’t have to be just about mirror-like chrome and miles deep paint layered on elegantly-crafted Italian sheet metal. It could be a trusty old pickup truck that never failed to perform its task regardless of the weather conditions or your parents old Vista Cruiser with the funky backwards-facing seats in the rear that took you to unimagined places at a time when you were free of adult responsibilities.
Maybe it was that first car you purchased, the one that allowed you true personal freedom for the first time in your life. You world became a much bigger place, didn’t it?
Or how about that minivan that you were so excited to finally acquire so that your children would finally have their own personal space. And you wouldn’t have to listen to “He’s touching me!” any more. Or that same minivan taking a bunch of players from your daughter’s high school volleyball team on a road trip to Kelowna. Now wasn’t that a lot of fun?
Most people probably don’t think of themselves as an auto enthusiast, car guy, gearhead or some other similar term. In fact many probably don’t understand why someone would be interested in cars at all. After all cars are essentially tools we use for purposes of personal transportation, right?
Let’s face it, cars are lifeless objects, inanimate constructions of metal, plastic, rubber and glass. Since Henry Ford, most are impersonally manufactured in high production plants, consuming energy in the process of creation and as they inevitably degrade over the course of their useful life, before finally being drained of fluids and being compressed into lumps of recycled metal.
So how could anyone be passionate about such a thing? Well, as with most human passions, our reality is that the objective is obliterated by the subjective.
Think of it this way though. Cars include a high degree of human content. They are created entirely out of human ingenuity, engineering innovation and shaped by artistic creativity. Automobiles of every era have definable character both in their aesthetics and driving dynamics. In this wealth of unique character, diversity, and depth many of us find some aspect worthy of interest.
Although I like to think I make decisions based on facts, I have been hooked ever since I was a little kid. I once tried to go carless in an attempt to clear my mind and rid my life of complicated, costly and messy car projects. I held out as long as I could and succeeded for a couple of years. Needless to say, I failed miserably.
Early in life, impressions were indelibly created that I cannot shake and no longer want to. As a little guy I loved playing with my Hot Wheels and road-race sets, and delighted in the sensations of speeding around corners with my Dad at the helm of an original Mini.
I recall being utterly blown away by the exquisite shape of a bright blue mid-year Vette, growling and hunkered down low like a predator, following close behind our family car as we drove along curvy Southwest Marine Drive on a brilliant summer’s day – my first memory of a real car that fuelled a passion that will remain with me until the end.
Countless others have followed leading to my current hopeless state of complete car craziness.
Likely you are nowhere near as hopeless as I when it comes to enthusiasm for the automobile, but just maybe there’s a tiny enthusiastic spark in you?
Be careful, we all know that it just takes a little spark to light a fire ….
Steve Connelly is a life-long car enthusiast. Restoration, driving, talking and dreaming about cars is what you will find him doing as often as he can.