Never Stop Driving #89: Obsession

Hagerty/Deremer Studios

Car people are strange, I was reminded at last weekend’s Amelia Island gatherings. I mean that in the best possible way and count myself among the weirdos. Consider: A stranger watches me and another middle-aged man giggle like children as we delight in the curvature of a Ford GT40’s exhaust pipes. The onlooker might admire our shared passion or, just as easily, think it’s time for us to grow up.

Why would anyone want to grow up?

Our car passion lets us suspend life’s realities and follow our instinctual interests. The fun of car shows is that most of the folks there have the same gift—or affliction—and are there to let their freak flags fly. After a lifetime of obsessing over cars, there’s still so much I don’t know, so I’m all ears and eyes at shows, particularly those that feature cars outside my usual areas of interest. I do my best to smile even though simple questions often invite long lectures from owners on the minutiae of a particular model’s powertrain, styling, or features. It’s all good! Car shows are a place where we can share our passions with someone other than our beleaguered significant others (or kids, LOL). Play your part and chat up the generous souls who have gone to the trouble and expense to display their cars for everyone’s enjoyment.

Deremer Studios Amelia Concours Automotve Photography
Hagerty/Deremer Studios
  • Among the interesting things I learned at Amelia: Even after polishing, the metal cooling fan on a Porsche 911 will soon return to grunge.
  • In 1957, Ford offered an optional supercharged engine for the Thunderbird but fewer than 200 were made. One of them sold at the Broad Arrow auctions for nearly $300,000.
  • My colleague Brandan Gillogly’s guiding principle in life is that every car is improved by the addition of a GM LS V-8. Brandang, as we call him, is onto something—this Land Rover with just such a modification sold for some $200,000.

In summary, what a weekend. You can read all of our Amelia coverage here and also on our social media accounts.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, the Kryta brothers, John and James, unveiled a very special Oldsmobile at Autorama (check out these wild customs from the show). The longtime Oldsmobile fans discovered portions of a prototype Olds V-8 that GM engineers developed 50 years ago to take on Chrysler’s Hemi. This innovative engine featured twice the usual number of valves per cylinder, four versus two, but never saw production. Using the old parts and several newly built ones, the Kryta twins, who co-founded the brake-line company Inline Tube, amazingly got the motor running and installed in an Olds 4-4-2. Talk about passion. Read all the details here.

This week’s topic, automotive obsession, was inspired by a conversation last weekend with Jason Cammisa, whose latest video features a car he’s long been obsessed with, the 1980 Rover 3500. Never heard of it? Neither had I, and it sounded like the pet project of a car nut who’s seen it all and is looking for something new. Once again, however, Cammisa schooled me: the video he and the crew just published is fun and insightful—so good. If you watch one video this weekend, make it the Rover.

Here are some other highlights from Hagerty Media and the car world.

  • This week’s Never Stop Driving podcast is with automotive wild man Bill Caswell. There’s no quick way to describe Bill, who famously had what many call the greatest automotive adventure when raced a homebuilt BMW in the World Rally Championship. He is the man who didn’t just dream, he did. Listen on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube.

Thanks for reading! If you’d like to support us, please share our material and join the Hagerty Drivers Club.

Have a great weekend!


P.S.: Your feedback is very welcome. Comment below!

Please share this newsletter with your car-obsessed friends and encourage them to sign up for the free weekly email. The easy-to-complete form is here. And if you’d like to support the efforts of Hagerty Media, please consider joining the Hagerty Drivers Club.

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: The Shop That Built This One-Off T-Bird Saved It from Certain Death


    Good Morning Larry. Today’s newsletter hit home for me. My passion for classic cars started when I was a little girl. I have my dad to thank for it. The 2 of us would go to car races and car shows just to see the classics and different types of cars and trucks. That passion for me has never gone away. My husband and I have 2 1955 Chevys that we drive a lot during late spring and summer. I spend so much time at car shows just looking at cars and trucks and talking with the people that have spent hours and dollars on their vehicles. We are all the same. I am very proud to say that I am daddy’s girl, and my passion for the classics will never die.

    Yeah, I gotta be more than a little obsessed…you’ll know it when you look in my garage and see two Fiat Topolinos and three Renault 4CVs. The most “normal” thing I own is a BMW 2002. And a Bugeye Sprite.

    “Ah, but it’s a fine madness don’t you know!” I don’t know who said it, but it certainly pertains to car people.

    Your latest newsletter really hit home. I’ve been a car and motorcycle guy from my first bike (Honda CT70) and car (1968 Ford Cortina GT). However, I am totally clueless on much of our hobby! At The Amelia, my very understanding wife and I were touring the show and stopped by the Motorcycles Class – Italian. We were looking at the 1974 Laverda. My wife asked me about it (she often does this at shows) and often I’m stumped, as in this case. My early bike knowledge was primarily dirt bikes, so Bultaco, Ossa, Maico, Montessa, and others I knew). But I had NEVER heard of Laverda! The owner was very friendly and understanding and provided a VERY detailed description of the make and his history with the make and this particular bike. We had a similar experience when we asked about a car I had never heard of, the 1962 Kellison! Car shows are so educational!!!!!!!

    I met a kid this summer who brought his 1970 455 Grand Prix to a car show. He couldn’t have been more than 21. I commented how much I liked it, and he told me every gory detail there was to know about the Grand Prix, include how and why they were developed. He was a Grand Prix Encyclopedia Britannica. I had no idea there were any of those left, let alone someone below 40 years old.

    There are plenty. Go check out the Facebook Miata groups. They’re all kids because that’s the car they can afford.

    The Boise Roadster Show is this weekend (although the word “Roadster” is way outta line – it’s just a big ol’ car show). In fact, I just returned home from Day 1. I’m working in a booth for a few hours each day, so I’ve got a “legit” excuse to spend three days at a car show, but that also affords me the opportunity to really take a lot of time looking and talking to people. The show it spread into three buildings, so I can spend most of a whole day in each building. I try to find the owner and/or builder of each car, but honestly, I often just discuss what I’m stopped at with almost anyone else within earshot. It’s amazing how much conversation one can drum up with car people by just asking a few questions or making a few comments. I don’t know if anyone considers me a weirdo, but I truly don’t look at any of them as being strange. Are we all “obsessed”?
    Yeah, probably – but I don’t see that as a bad thing in any way, shape or form. And I’m encouraged by how many young folks I’m seeing there this year (I might even be selling one of my projects to a young man I met today whose dad is looking for something for them both to work on together).

    As to what interesting thing I learned today: Chip Foose likes tacos (I know, ’cause I saw him devouring one!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *