Typically, the answer was simple: Dad. But whether it was a bootlegging grandpa or convertible-driving grandma, our families had a tremendous influence on why we’re car folks. Toys, specifically those that cost 97 cents, also played an important role. And like me, some of you just can’t explain it – cars are an inborn passion.
Earlier this week, we asked our Facebook community “How did you get hooked on cars?” and more than a third of your answers mentioned fathers. Of course, responses varied, and we’ll get into those, but it seems almost unanimous that the hobby grabbed us by the time we were teens.
Reggie Horning, who happens to be a Hagerty Licensed Sales Agent, replied, “My Dad worked for Pontiac Motor Division... Of course all my other male role models were into cars as well, so it was pretty hard to not be into cars, especially growing up outside of Flint (Mich.).”
As Horning points out, it wasn’t only fathers who shared their interests: For Tony Piscitelli, it was his granddad – the moonshiner mentioned above. “He used to modify the cars used in bootleg runs during Prohibition. But he never drove the cars because it was illegal ;).” Sure, Tony, sure.
Sometimes dad and grandpa’s combined influence led us here. Todd Kraemer, also a Hagerty employee (Hagerty Media Art Director), chimed in “Dad was an AMC mechanic and dealer-sponsored drag racer... Grandpa worked at the GM Tech Center... Another family member was a GM test engineer out at Milford (Corvette) [Proving Grounds]. Once I saw a Corvette, I was hooked forever!”
It sounds like cars, along with being the Kraemer family business, are in his lineage. Which is exactly the reason that Terence Bower cited, “Serviced them, restored them, built them and raced them. It’s in the blood.” Accordingly, Joseph Linsalata simply replied “Genetics!”
Steve Pietrangelo also had a family connection: “My grandmother. She loved cars–especially convertibles. She would drive me around in her ’64 Chevy Corvair convertible and always brought [me] a new Matchbox car when visiting.”
Indeed, car toys were probably the second most common theme. And illustrating the point clearly, David Dziurzynski posted an image, of a boy reaching for a Hot Wheels rack, captioned “A man’s most expensive hobby starts with 97 cents.” Pedal cars were also mentioned a couple of times.
Summarizing all the themes, Dave Joseph replied, “My Dad, Matchbox, Hot Wheels, AMT, Ertl, Monogram, Aurora... in the late ‘60s my friend and I, riding our bikes to the local Dodge/Plymouth dealer in Allentown, Penn., to see the new muscle cars... good times!” Yeah, neighborhood sights and activities played a role too. But maybe Joseph did forget one reason for being a car guy – necessity: “My cooking is crap, LOL” Tony Wellard admitted.