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Introducing new drivers to Old Cars

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by hvywrench, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. hvywrench
    Joined: Sep 29, 2011
    Posts: 158

    from N.W. Conn.

    Did a search and didn't find a thread about trying to keep the old car interest alive in new drivers and young folks.
    My girlfriend has twin boys that recently got their learner's permits.
    I've been teaching them to drive, using a variety of OT cars & SUVs.
    Since I put the truck engine in my Galaxie and have a sacrificial clutch in it now, I offered to teach them how to drive like it 'used to be', before auto-everything and power-everything.
    They had heard me talk about the car, and had 'sort of' watched the video, but had never actually seen it.
    I brought it to the house on it's maiden voyage and their interest perked up and they both asked to learn to drive a stick.
    We all agreed on the conditions for me teaching them on my old car and the lessons began.
    The first 20-25 minute lesson was in the high school parking lot to learn starting and stopping, to get them used to muscling the wheel to get that big barge to turn, and to start the braking process early because of the drum brakes.
    There was some sort of football team fundraiser going on so we got some pretty interesting looks when we rumbled in to do some practice and there were some pretty positive reactions to the old beast.

    The second lesson was on a longer straight road so they could actually go through the gears, up and down and get a feel for the process of timing all the foot and hand movements that make up smooth shifting.
    One of the guys had an iPhone so I made a short video of them.

    The video is really crappy because I wasn't steady at all and there is a lot of wind noise (I should have rolled up the window). But they now have proof that they can drive a stick.
    They both did really well for having only about 40 minutes of total practice with a Hurst 4 speed in a '64 car.
    Now they would rather drive that one than drive the 'easy' cars.
  2. 56FRLN
    Joined: Feb 7, 2012
    Posts: 221


    Good for you. I taught both of my older girls to drive OT sticks before letting them touch an automatic. Wonderful skills to have these days. My 19 yr old daughter has driven my non-power '56 several times and even drove it to her high school one day shortly before she graduated. Great to see that you've got them interested - time to shop for a "project" you can all work on together.
  3. monkeyspunk79
    Joined: Jan 2, 2011
    Posts: 553


    That's what its all about, keeping the hobby going and exposing the next generation to things. That's how most of us got 'bit' by the bug, we had a family member or friend that was into cars and they let us get a taste of it. Good luck to you and your mentoring. I'll bet the sounds, smells, and sensation of your Galaxie is 500% cooler than anything else their friends will be driving at age 16.
  4. propwash
    Joined: Jul 25, 2005
    Posts: 3,858

    from Las Vegas

    My boys still joke about this. Started with my sister, back in high school. Dad told ME to teach her how to drive, I didn't want to use his Nash (my pride, dontcha know) so it was my '56 Belair with 3spd on the floor. I won't bore you with her trials and tribulations, but the end result was that I sat down and drew several pictures of exactly what goes on when the driver depresses and releases the clutch, now the foot pressure on the accelerator comes into play....blah blah blah. It helped her marginally, but that's the method I used years later as each of my three sons came of size/age. I would not let them escape the matter what sort of car they lusted after initially, they needed to learn clutch operation and shift patterns.

    By the way - my sister later (trying to drive my '55 2dr sedan/389 Poncho/T-10), let her foot slip off of the clutch (in reverse), reactively stomped on the gas, and laid rubber out of the driveway, across the street and into the neighbor's yard. Aside from my father (RIP) she is - hands down - the worst driver in the world. Totally unconscious behind the wheel. Drives past her turn, forgets where she's going, has totalled at least one car I know of - likely others.


  5. hvywrench
    Joined: Sep 29, 2011
    Posts: 158

    from N.W. Conn.

    At first I tried explaining why the clutch needs to be depressed all the way, what it actually does, and the relationship between engine speed, road speed, and different gears......too much information right now.
    For now I'll be happy to get some muscle memory on where the lever is and how the feet coordinate with the hands.
    They are doing very well with only two lessons, one already stated that he 'needs' to drive this thing to school.
    Yeeeeaaaahhhhhhh.....not happenin' anytime soon...
  6. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,309

    Model T1

    Good going guys. Since I am older, our kids are older. All three learned to drive 3 and 4 speed cars with manuel everything. Oldest son even got to drive my Model T. This was a challenge even for me. No one to teach me. Just read the old books and practiced like they did in the olden days.
    We adopted our first grand son then moved to Florida. Right off he was in and around my old cars. He was working on the 55 Chevy wagon at 1 1/2 years old. A goffer and nut/bolt holder. He recently turned 23 !
    I taught him to drive the wagon while it had the Borg Warner 4- on the floor.
    Sadly I don't have any stick shift cars anymore to play with.
    Standard transmissions and manuel brakes and steering are a dieing art. Someone has to train the younger generation to handle them. Maybe if kids had to use hand signals they'd stop texting or talking on the cell phone!
  7. GassersGarage
    Joined: Jul 1, 2007
    Posts: 4,728


    This day and age, everyone tailgates. Besides teaching them to shift, I would teach the proper following distance and 1 to 10 braking regarding drum brakes and bias ply tires. My wife follows too close and brakes too late. If she had been driving one of my cars, she would have crashed a long time ago.
  8. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,750


    way to go!

    I failed, I only taught one of my 3 sons to drive a standard. He has to, since he has an old truck that's mostly stock.

    Although I did get one of the others to drive around the yard a bit in the same old Volvo I learned on in 1975
  9. I taught the grandkids to drive in a modern car, but now they want to learn how to drive my 4 speed El Camino. I'll teach 'em, but I'll be nervous...
  10. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,309

    Model T1

    Like a fool I traded our 55 Chevy wagon with 4-speed. Next guy put in a powerglide for his kid???????:eek: Took me three years to get him to sell it back. I put in a 200R4. I can't teach anyone to drive a stick. Don't have any now! I'm even getting the urge to put power steering in the wagon. I'm a pussy in my old age!
  11. hvywrench
    Joined: Sep 29, 2011
    Posts: 158

    from N.W. Conn.

    (OK, don't tell anyone, but, their Mom is one who comes honking up on a Stop sign or red light and then hauls it down just before the white line)
    New cars that never fail has spoiled most everyone, just like never watching gauges or checking oil.....
    The point about the cheesy brakes has been made and reinforced every time. Always check way out to make sure the pedal works and then start slowing down before you need to. Good point, thanks.
  12. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,794


    When my oldest daughter was 6 years old she was sitting in my 1912 Model T and said she could touch the pedals. That was all I needed to let her drive up the road to visit Grandma. a planetary transnission is easy to drive, you shift with your foot. Sadly she could never get the nack of driving a stick shift. Bob
  13. Torchie
    Joined: Apr 17, 2011
    Posts: 1,053


    Both of my Daughters first cars were sticks. Now that's all they want to drive.
    They were also 2 seaters. Never had to worry about them being out driving with a car full of kids. Plus it's harder to talk on a cell phone while you drive when you have to shift.
  14. Sphynx
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 1,142

    from Central Fl

    Way to go man. They will always be greatful to.
  15. I do that EVERYDAY with my son. He is 15. We drive all our old junk around. He knows EXACTLY what a pitted window crank feels like. He knows EACTLY what vent windows are and their purpose. He knows how it feels to push a vintage car when it breaks down and how to fix it with only shit you can find in the tool box in the trunk and in the glovebox. This is stuff he will use later in know...when the zombies take out all the cell towers and we all turn on each other. Eat the rich!

    Maybe I went a bit far.......
  16. tfeverfred
    Joined: Nov 11, 2006
    Posts: 15,793


    In this age of cars that will parallel park themselves, let you know when somethings behind you, so you don't have to look, 8 cup holders, internet access, 6 airbags (but a glass roof:confused:) and alarms to alert you to low air pressure in your tires (don't know how to use a tire guage:confused:).... it's good to know there's folks teaching youngsters how to DRIVE a car instead of just AIMING it.

    Keep fighting the good fight!:)
  17. 4 pedals
    Joined: Oct 8, 2009
    Posts: 750

    4 pedals
    from Nor Cal

    My 13 year old son is all about driving the 1970 1/2 ton ford pickup we have any time we're off public road. He's learning granny 4 speed style, manual everything. Gets a little frustrated at times, but if I ask if he wants to move the truck, boy he is right there in a hurry. Out of 6 vehicles I own, only 2 are o/t, and only 1 has an auto. Wife and I both hate them.

  18. garcoal
    Joined: Nov 15, 2006
    Posts: 277


    my 16year old sonjust got his license, and he drives his grandmothers 79 nova 4 door. to him and his friends this is a waaaay old car. they love the old car. a friend of mine with a 57 chevy gassr pulled up next to him in traffic, and gave him the thumbs up and such. to say the least his friends were impressed with that. i put an old set of rallys on it. and a speed tuned rust hole in the muffler it really does sound good. im fairly sure we hooked another one. i hope he doesnt new driver wreck the old girl. when he is in his 30s it will be a way cool old car by then, with family history. but for now he is a way happy camper with his old car
  19. outlaw256
    Joined: Jun 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,023


    well ive never really thought about it. until my 5 yr old grandbaby didnt know how to roll down the window.and she had never sat on a bench seat. and she loved the wing windows.she was lookin for the button to roll down rthe window!!when i showed her how she was like WOW.shes 8 now and she always want to go in HER 62 galaxie.even when its HOT outside.we dont have air but she dont care she likes to sit next to papaw and feel the wind.but when it comes to teaching the grandkids how to shift well thats not for me. im to damn irratabile or as my wife says MEAN lol
  20. Skoty
    Joined: Aug 2, 2012
    Posts: 54


    iv drove classics since i got my licence, i feel its made me a better and a more alert driver. i mean i still thrash the hell outta them dont get me wrong, but im the only one'a my mates who hasnt hit anything (they all drive modern motors) iv never even hit the curb once haha. i think you put more respect into driving a classic car and its far easier to learn better car control in my opinion as they are much more unpredictable. some of my mates have no car control what so ever and i really dont feel safe being in a car with some of them, its a worry how they got there licences in the first place.
  21. 30 years ago I taught all four of my kids(3 girls, 1boy) to drive with a standard shift and all of 'em still can.
  22. Big_John
    Joined: Mar 28, 2006
    Posts: 333

    from Upstate NY

    My two boys are in their late twenties and they can drive just about anything.

    I did regret one thing... I taught my oldest to shift without the clutch. It was supposed to be more of an exercise of how everything works and matching rpm to speed. Problem was he liked doing it.... That kid never used the clutch after that.
  23. hvywrench
    Joined: Sep 29, 2011
    Posts: 158

    from N.W. Conn.

    I'm loving the wing windows and the fresh air vents that actually route FRESH air into the car, instead of passing through all the hot ductwork behind the dash first.
    I learned to drive sitting on my Dad's lap in a A-50 Mack dumptruck. I couldn't reach the pedals, but I learned to steer and shift when he told me to.
    All 4 of us kids learned on a 3 on the tree.

    One of the football players told Will "that's the coolest car I've ever seen" and that was the crowning touch, the guys want to learn how to drive it well with the hopes that 'someday' they can drive it somewhere.
    OK for now, but once the R engine gets back in there.....uuuummmmm, I dunno....
  24. damagedduck
    Joined: Jun 16, 2011
    Posts: 2,342

    from Greeley Co

    WOW,is this timing or what? friday I spent 2 1/2 hours helping 2 of my kids get their driving permits,i drove with my 16yr old daughter on the way to their youth group, holy shit she is very heavy on the brakes (2 footed driving):eek:
    we're using a O/Topic jeep W/auto,just to get em use to the road then on to my son's wayyy O/T vehicle but it's a 4sp with manual brakes/manual steering,
    I suspect my daughter will wanna drive to the Colorado H.A.M.B get together to day,:eek::eek::eek::eek: 55miles of pure terror...................
  25. fenian65
    Joined: Feb 5, 2009
    Posts: 136


    I have 3 kids all of age now the youngest being 18 and taught them all how to drive a stick first so they would always have the option of buying what was for sale not what they could drive the 18 year old is my garage buddy he has been working with me since he was 5 and is a hell of a bodyman and a good mechanic if he wasnt with me in the garage he wouldve ended up like so many these days.texting and playing video games instead of learning the fine
  26. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,309

    Model T1

    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  27. Model T1
    Joined: May 11, 2012
    Posts: 3,309

    Model T1

    Our grandson just got his Illinois license in July while we were there, at sixteen. Told him I was proud but glad we were going back to Florida !:D
    The other one just learned to walk at one and a half. I can still stay out of his way!;)
  28. hvywrench
    Joined: Sep 29, 2011
    Posts: 158

    from N.W. Conn.

    I spent a great Sunday afternoon letting some very cool young folks drive my Galaxie again, one of them for the first time! This thread started a couple years ago when I let the guys drive the car and I only had a crappy phone camera.
    Nina hadn't even seen the car until Sunday, and what you see is her actual very first time rowing the Hurst/toploader.
    They all did really, really well and it was a great day.

    They all head off to college this coming week and will have a pretty unique memory to take with them, as well as some basic 4-speed skills!


  29. weps
    Joined: Aug 1, 2008
    Posts: 534

    from auburn,IN

    Awesome! they will always remember that.

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