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History Passing on the Sickness

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Dan Hay, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. Chill, this isn't a COVID post.

    I've been thinking that in my observation (which is limited) the "Hot Rod Gene", or the "Car Bug", or the "Automotive Sickness", whatever you call it, is not being passed on as much anymore.

    For example: My hot roddin' Grandfather had 3 sons, all 3 were/are into cars. Of those three sons, there are 6 grandchildren, and only 1 (me) has continued on with the hobby.

    I have 4 kids, the oldest is 9, so it may be too early to tell, but I wouldn't be surprised if none of them want to mess with cars when they are older. I'm trying to expose it to them, but sometimes kids are interested in other things, and that's OK, I'm not going to force it on them.

    Maybe it's the instant gratification? This hobby requires a lot of patience and perseverance. That's difficult with the younger ones today. (For reference I'm 43)

    I don't know... just some musings on a Saturday morning.

    How has the "bug" carried on in your family, or is it almost extinct?
    arkiehotrods and chryslerfan55 like this.
  2. arkiehotrods
    Joined: Mar 9, 2006
    Posts: 5,843


    Dan, my father (b1920), grandfather (b1894) were into horses. Passionate about them. Vehicles were just a way to get from point A to point B.
    My parents always told me I was crazy about cars from the beginning. Pictures of me when I was small in the 50s show me with several "structo" diecast cars in my hands. Not one or two, but a handful.
    I have three children and six grandchildren. None of my children are into cars. One grandson, who is 3, is attracted to anything and everything with an engine. He calls them "louds." When we went to the St Louis Zoo last summer, Jude pretty much ignored the animals and ran toward any machinery, such as the little trucks they use to haul stuff around the zoo. He may or may not stay that way; it is hard to be much influence on him because they live over 500 miles away. I have two grandchildren who live minutes away, and I have two old pedal cars they like to pedal on the driveway but whether or not that translates later into a gearhead mindset is yet to be seen.
    My son has told me he wants to inherit the Nomad. He was 3 yrs old and with me when I bought it (as I test drove it, he chimed up from the back seat, "I like this minivan, daddy"). I took him to car shows in it as he was growing up, so there's a history there but he is more into hiking, camping, canoing, and fishing, which is great, just not car-related.
    Edit: found this photo today, taken about '58 or '59
    Duncan Cox hoarding cars from brother David (2).jpg
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
    Tim, echo ed, Cooon and 5 others like this.
  3. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,932


    Younger ones, sons & daughters, see the light in dad's eyes. If it intrigues, so much the better. ;)
    Tim, chryslerfan55 and Dan Hay like this.
  4. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,524

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    Its crazy how it translates. I grew up doing cars, and clearly love them still. Most of my friends grew up doing cars, but no have a daily driver and thats it. Every one of their dads bought them projects (some bitchin ones!) and they worked some, but never finished any. Myself, I get one almost done and am looking for another, and where to store it.
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  5. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 2,836

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    "the oldest is 9, so it may be too early to tell"
    At age 9, I was heavy into model cars, and could identify every car on the I'm thinking he's just not into it.
    It's totally understandable into todays world..most all new cars look very similar, with some obvious exceptions. Our escape was turning 16 and getting a drivers license, having a new found sense of freedom..todays youth only has to escape to their bedroom and explore their world with whatever internet device they have at their finger tips.
    I hate to admit this, but if I was a 9 year old in todays world, I'd probably be ooing and awing over the latest and greatest electronic device, over what new model of car is rolling off the assembly line.
    I feel very fortunate in having lived in the sixties (yeah, I even remember parts of it).
  6. I was born a gearhead, even though my dad wasn't. He was a great welder, could build anything out of steel or wood and did mechanic work to keep stuff running. But he wasn't really a "car guy".
    So I'm not sure where I got it from......
    My own son went with me to every car show, rod run, swap meet and even Bonneville when he was young(that's him in my avatar). Plus helped me work on hot rods. Now grown and married, he likes cars but life has taken him in different directions. Maybe he'll come back to it someday...
    chryslerfan55, pitman and Dan Hay like this.
  7. hemihotrod66
    Joined: May 5, 2019
    Posts: 192


    I think the car hobby like cars in general have became to expensive for the younger set...The days of buying a 100$ beater and turning it into your ride has gone away...Then the cost of insurance and registration has mushroomed too....Just my take....
    Desoto291Hemi and Dan Hay like this.
  8. pitman
    Joined: May 14, 2006
    Posts: 4,932


    Can't fathom it, but around six years old, knew I wanted to 'make' a car.
    RMR&C and Dan Hay like this.
  9. True that. I really couldn't do anything until I got a better paying job, and even now I have a budget.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  10. Elcohaulic
    Joined: Dec 27, 2017
    Posts: 1,029


    I liked cars as far back as I can remember. I opened the glove box on my dads 54 Bel air one day on my way to school and there it was, a AMT Craftsman Series 57 T-Bird...

    1957-amt-ford-thunderbird-bird 2.jpg 1957-amt-ford-thunderbird-bird 3.jpg 1957-amt-ford-thunderbird-bird.jpg
  11. @Elcohaulic I got hooked on model cars at an early age as well, I still build them.
    arkiehotrods, 41 coupe and Elcohaulic like this.
  12. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,677

    jimmy six

    My dad was a “car guy” out of necessity when he was young because he was very mechanically minded. I caught the “gene” but my older brother did not and none of his children. My son caught from me I think. After all the years of him helping me run at El Mirage and Bonneville now I help him at Perris Auto Speedway with his dirt Super Stock. One of his sons has about 1/4 of the gene and it might continue. At 22 and starting a lineman apprenticeship we will see. All of us were lineman/electricians so at least that has been passed on.
  13. vinfab
    Joined: Apr 18, 2006
    Posts: 186


    I am very fortunate that I have a wonderful son who's interests parallel my own. A typical kid who played with Legos and toy cars, but by the time he was about 5 years old, his favorite activity was swap meets. It was the early 90's and it seemed that every other vendor at swap meets had diecast or Hot Wheels cars, and he thought he was in Heaven. It didn't help that I have never owned a car newer than 1972 , so our transportation to the swap meet was the same as the Hot Wheels he would purchase.
    Any time I was in the garage he was out there with me. If I went to a cruise night or a car show or Rod Run, he came along. In High School, when the weather was good he drove my cars to school or if it was bad he drove a 72 K10. His first car was a 51 Styleline De Luxe that I gave him, that I swapped labor for. His first automotive purchase was a 55 Bel Air that he bought out of a cattle yard. As I write this, it seems like he didn't have a chance at being normal or maybe it's a genetic defect. A couple of pictures, they have been posted before. 62john (2).jpg 2019-12-14_215622 (3).jpg 55012.jpg
  14. 34Larry
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 1,259


    Born in April of 1939, and those years say from oh ...……….1945 to 1957 were the impressionable years. (I was drafted in '57 but enlisted in the AF, and everything there after for four years turned to shit). Living in the country south of the city the only thing there was to do was school, ride our bikes, play on/in the river or ponds, play "work up" soft ball, do your paper route, or buck hay, mow lawns for money to buy more model airplanes and cars, various boy stuff. Cars became more important as every year passed, oh yeah almost forgot about the girls also.
    Looking back now there wasn't really that much to do for me, some guys got into sports I didn't.
    My point is that cars became a focal point for me and other guys because they were "neat", gave a since of learning something other that 2+2 = 4 when away from school, and with the hormones running wild inside my loins I KNEW I had to get a car for what you all know are obvious reasons.

    That is not the case today. Kids today are into that little screen in their hand and social acceptance mostly. Not all kids of course but the greater majority of them anyway.
    Truly witnessing what is happening in the automotive world today leaves little doubt in my mind that our world will soon be a thing of the past, if it isn't already in many, many minds and the internal combustion engine will be a museum piece in less than 20 years. :(
  15. I'm post 70 and have been at the Car game since I could hand my Dad a wrench. I also take notice in the Change in the Automotive interest/involvement. I don't think it's Money at all. I also think it's alive and well, ya just have to look at the total picture.
    Yes, the Old Car thing is disappearing, I think that's just a result of all the Cream has dried up more or less. I can't believe how much of what I classify as Scrap Iron todays guys are trying to salvage. That has to be from a lack of supply. I don't blame the young guys from saying No Thanks.
    I bought my 50 Merc and drove it home in 1963 for $35.00, you read that right. Today that would be 20K for one in same stock condition. Now take in the fact I was making 75 cents an hour pumping gas and getting 25 cents for mowing lawns (with a push mower). That was good money for a Kid. Todays kids (most of them) won't work that hard. Todays minimum wage in Washington State is $13.50 now at that rate of pay I would pay $629.10 for that same 50 Merc. You aren't going to find any thing out there to drive home for that kind of money today. The supply is gone.
    Now look at the import car scene that's going Nutz. Horse power by changing a Chip. Bolt on Turbos are yesterdays Tri-power. I'm totally out of touch with that crowd but I get it. It's there thing. We are Old and outdated and we want way to much money for what's left over out in the Field. The last rolling body hulk project I bought was 10 years ago. It's a 57 Ford Ranch Wagon. Just a shell on wheels with a title. No glass, upholstery and most of all no Motor/trans, just a roller. I hauled an empty trailer to Az and paid $2500.oo for it. I must have been out of my mind.
    So what I'm pointing at is the Car Game is alive, what's changed is All the numbers. New project cars are newer that we like but still 10 year older to the Young Guns. No body works for 75 cents an hour. Your going to pay more number wise but still on the lower end of big money today. The ratio of income and cost isn't that much different.
    If you want to know how our Old Stuff got so much more expensive ask yourself if you've ever bought cars or parts because you knew you could haul them to a Swap Meet and make money raising the price above what you paid for them. There's the Root of our high prices today. It's our own fault!
  16. I am the only one in the family that is a car guy. I can remember being 6 years old and getting plastic car toys out of cereal boxes and I knew what it was...a 1954 Ford at the time. I have always loved cars.
    But I don't think its a gene or I would have inherited it or passed it down. I thought for a while my son and 2 daughters were going to be car people. We fixed up some cars together, but after they got in their 30s they have abandoned working on them.
    I think you are right about the younger generation. They have been spoiled with instant gratification.
    Even the poor kids today have it better than a middle class kid did back in the 40s when hot rodding was in vogue. A lot of them hot rodded old cheap worn out cars because that is all they could afford. Now days you can buy running transportation for a few hundred bucks. When it quits, get another, there are millions of cars out there now and they are all disposable.
    Sadly, I think "the times, they are a changing."
  17. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,889


    Like Jimmy six above we are all lineman as well (I'm retired 13 yrs). I have been playing with cars since my teens, My son has the car bug and does my son in law and my grandson who just made Journeyman lineman last month as well so there is at least some hope.
    My son has built a few cars and raced circle track, my son in law has built a few and is doing a 65 C10 and my grandson just finished up an OT 4x4 and is on the hunt for an early car as well.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2020
  18. bill gruendeman
    Joined: Jun 18, 2019
    Posts: 329

    bill gruendeman

    Dad was not a car guy, I am one. It’s all I think about since I was 5 or 6 year old. Starting with Tonka trucks then bikes and then on to model cars before real daughter and son in law aren’t in to cars but love back to the 50s. My son I have hope for now. He has been around cars, swap meets and junk yards his whole life, now at 27 years old he is working on late model cars and wants to learn more. Now he wants to get his first car
    (dodge Dayton c/s) out of storage to get it running again
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  19. Lloyd's paint & glass
    Joined: Nov 16, 2019
    Posts: 2,411

    Lloyd's paint & glass

    All i can say is thank God for Tonka trucks lol. I grew up without a dad, but my good friend Gerald had a 39 Chevy coupe sitting in the garage waiting for him when he grew up, his dad built the car but got killed in a wreck, leaving the car to Gerald. We played in that car almost everyday. And another friend had a 69 Camaro. I guess i can thank those guys for starting my sickness.
  20. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,567


    I inherited the car "Gene" from my mom's side, who had several brothers racing roadsters and stock cars in the 1940's and 50's, and I watched Jalopy races on TV.
    My brother got the aircraft "Gene" from our dad, who was a pilot for Western Airlines. Brother was always buying airplane stuff and I always got car stuff.
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  21. Sky Six
    Joined: Mar 15, 2018
    Posts: 1,527

    Sky Six
    from Arizona

    It appears that I was secretly adopted. The most my dad did was to change his own oil. No gene pool there. I helped him by holding the roll of toilet paper that was used as a filter. I had a neighbor with a hot rod and a Triumph motorcycle and he became my best friend. For some reason I loved the sound of an engine. I loved the smell of the gasoline, I built AMT and Monogram models. I used to take the Rod and Custom magazines and put them in English and history books in school to look like I was studying intently.
    My first car was a six cylinder, three on the tree post Chevy ll. I went to Johnnie's Speed and Chrome and bought Cragar wheels for the front. it went nuts from there. put some money in with three other guys to buy a funny cay, crew member on a couple fuel of cars, had some show cars, and lots of bikes. The wife likes cars though.
  22. BrerHair
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 4,444


    That is some crazy fucking shit. Maybe there’s a real gene after all.
    Dan Hay likes this.
  23. Had to pick my jaw up off the floor on that one! Maybe it is hereditary! I hope you all can connect one day.
    alanp561 and olscrounger like this.
  24. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,567


    The smells of my youth: Unfiltered Ethyl gasoline aroma at the filling station, freshly cut lawn grass, the smell of Summer. Life is good.
  25. Cool.
  26. That is strange.
  27. You somewhat know my situation Dan. My dad was a car guy although not to the extent I caught the sickness. My younger brother is a car guy too, and is even in this traditional hot rod and custom world. Of my two boys, one is ate up with this deal while the other is somewhat interested, but not like my older son. My girls could care less so far, but who knows what the future holds. I have tried to make this hobby fun for the whole family but have likely not done it all right either. As much as I would love to pass on some knowledge about this old junk and am trying, it also won’t hurt my feelings if none of them carry on with it. But...right now my oldest boy thinks he wants to build hot rods for a living...we will see.
    alanp561, Dan Hay and arkiehotrods like this.
  28. Nicholas Coe
    Joined: Jul 5, 2017
    Posts: 1,570

    Nicholas Coe
    from Tontitown

    I never knew the great times spoken about here. I was born in 1979. My father was always a car guy.
    My earliest memory of a car was riding in my Dad's 1937 Chevy truck. Those memories always make me smile. I remember endless car shows and trophies. I always hated to sit around in the sun and wait for someone to see your car. I'm definitely not a car show guy.

    I do love the knowledge and difficulty in the Hotrod experience. It really is a "drama of wrenches". Up and down. I never knew that so much pride is gained in working on something yourself. I'm still learning. Hopefully my son who's 6 will grow up to love cars. I really appreciated the bonding experience I had with my Dad. I want the same thing for me and him.

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  29. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 4,648



    As you are rather young, it is your generation that we older folks had tried to get involved with hot rods and cars in general. We did start young when we were kids, but besides sports, there was neighborhood explorations and bicycle riding. There were very few cars, other than my dad’s 41 Buick Fastback and then in 1948, a new black 4 door Buick Roadmaster.

    The big black Buick Roadmaster was an extension of our playground when my dad was at home. The Buick was so large that I could take a nap in the package tray in the back window area, while the palm tree was dropping little balls down on us. My brother liked the big front seat, because he could be the driver.

    upload_2020-6-28_3-53-40.png 1941 Buick Fastback

    Those were the informative years, but as we moved to our next house in 1953, then the hot rod stuff came pouring out. From our neighborhood hot rods we saw, the myriad of magazines our dad bought for us and to the nice mechanics we met at our favorite gas stations. It was starting then, without any influence or trying to influence the two brothers one way or the other. Our dad was not a mechanical hot rod or custom car guy. He like reliability and comfort overall, in his cars. Those big Buicks did it for him. For the 8 successive Buicks he bought every 4-5 years, that was the influence he gave us.

    upload_2020-6-28_3-54-58.png similar look of the 1949 Buick Roadmaster

    So, how did two brothers start liking all motorsports and especially hot rods and drag racing? Who knows, except it was the “boy” thing to do. We did not know of any girls that liked hot rods or that dreaded drag racing place, until high school. By that time, it was the two brothers that did everything possible that moved on wheels, from sidewalk scooters on skates to wooden frame go karts and even hopping up our mom’s lawnmower. (custom paint and internal machining, plus a straight exhaust pipe.) We had no other influence, except for those ever-present magazines.


    Our son was given all of the influences that a little boy could have in cars, building toys, giant sandbox, wheeled toys, home made skateboard scooters and such. A real, pair of Moon style, 3 and 4 prong small dish custom car steering wheels on a lower garage cabinet door, so he could be “working and driving” in the garage where dad was doing car work. If there was any influence, he had it from his parents.

    He had loads of Tonka Trucks, Fisher Price Garage/Cars, too. Hot Wheels/Matchbox/Corgi was a thing for both of us and he wanted to go shopping at antique stores in the city of orange for real finds. (Found an old VW Van with its own surfboard…)

    You both were in a generation that started the video game culture. For some, it did not matter that we lived by the beach, it was hard to get those kids interested in anything other than going to the beach with boogie boards, to just hanging out at friends’ houses playing hours of video games.

    Those games were just getting better images and the apparatus was way beyond the Magnavox Pong Game or stick figure Atari 2600 units. Maybe that is why their finger texting is so much faster than these old fingers for typing, these days. Heck, even our granddaughter’s fingers go flying across the phone keypad and laptops like instant lightning.

    It is commendable for you to try and get the kids interested. One thing we thought our son would like was a cool looking small, station wagon with a few upgrades for his first car. He learned to drive a 4 speed quite well, but was against our suggestion for this cool station wagon with a small V8 and 4 speed stick, it would even have A/C.
    upload_2020-6-28_3-57-45.png This is what we had proposed to our son as a final project, for his first car.

    It was his choice, but he did not want the Falcon Station Wagon, even with the nice add on accessories. He said he did not want to be the only kid with a station wagon, when all of his friends drove 2 door sedans or trucks. For us, trucks were not going to happen, so we relented and got him a fairly new, 2 door sporty sedan with a 4 speed, like his friends. He was a conscientious kid and kept that sporty sedan (not a Ford) for 100k miles and then sold it to his friend for $1, later on after his college years.

    My wife and I would have loved that little Falcon wagon with the V8 motor. It would have fit our beach/surf lifestyle quite well. But at the time, the wagon was sold when we were still deciding on getting it for ourselves. Perhaps, that wagon would have started him off on having a nice modified hot rod/cruiser. From that point on, he liked hot rods as they are cool, but he (and his generation of friends) never caught on with building hot rods or even modifying a car. It was just a means to get to high school, work, and college.

    Dan Hay and guthriesmith like this.
  30. Greg Rogers
    Joined: Oct 11, 2016
    Posts: 215

    Greg Rogers

    I think the "material" to work with is different than the cars we could afford as 20 yr olds. For example- I know this is off topic., but please bear with me. You could do a valve job on a 64 Chevy 283 easily and with basic hand tools , just take the heads to a local shop. I have a 2005 F150 with 5.4. Did you know you are supposed to discharge the A/C system and take some of it apart to get the right valve cover off?? WTF??? If a young guy decided to work on his 15 year old vehicle back in 1980 he could accomplish something quickly and easily and be happy with his accomplishments. Now a young guy goes to work on his 15 yr old vehicle and finds he is way over his head!! I feel really bad for a young buck who decides to be a mechanic today. Who puts a starter inside a engine?? Yep there are cars out there that do.
    arkiehotrods and Dan Hay like this.

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