QotW: What’s JNC life like with a baby?

The JNC family is expanding, with a couple of us on the team expecting babies soon. In the next few months, both Brandon Kelley and I will soon each have little future car fans to take care of. To be honest, we’re kind of anxious. What words of wisdom can ya’ll give us? How do you balance both a classic car and a baby — two things that need a ton of attention and money? What are some must-have products, possibly for baby car trips, that we haven’t even begun to imagine yet? In short:

What’s JNC life like with a baby?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Daily, Garage, or Sell? Iconic Nameplate Edition.”

We loved reading the choices you ya’ll made for this round of Daily, Garage, Sell. Speedie‘s allocations, for example, were eminently sensible. Mike P, on the other hand, relied on fond memories to make his choices. Censport had some amusing anecdotes to share, and エーイダン cleverly subverted the rules to make the pain of selling one less gut-wrenching. Ultimately, however, it was Kiran who won the week with his young man’s logic.

This has got to be the easiest one for me thus far. Daily a 240ZG(how could you not being such a beautiful and reliable beast) and garage an RX-7 I M P A C T turbo, although I’d like it to be interchangeable, a turbo rotary isn’t very wallet friendly for a daily being a bit of a gas hog and maintenance is a little more often in comparison, so 240ZG it is with its drop dead gorgeous looks and bulletproof 6 with lots of aftermarket support(preferably in the iconic maroon please).
Although the A40 Celica XX/Supra is neato, it’s a pretty bland car to drive in comparison to the others and… well… its a bit of a hodgepodge in design being mostly just a bigger and comfier 2nd gen celica hatch although in 2000GT,2800GT or turbo form they’re pretty fun for a daily but as I’m still a young lad and doesnt care too much about comfort I’ll stick with the Z and RX-7.

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15 Responses to QotW: What’s JNC life like with a baby?

  1. Chase says:

    Words of wisdom? Hope you have some STA-BIL and a battery tender! Those will be the next two upgrades to your JNC (if not already).

    In all seriousness there’s nothing to be anxious about when bringing a kid into the world as a car guy with an already needy baby on four wheels. First few weeks car will probably sit untouched as you re-calibrate your new daily routine. Get a schedule locked down and find time to slip away into the garage for wrenching, cleaning, or maybe a quick cruise around. It’s good to get away sometimes as you yourself are trying to acclimate to this life change too.

    The life balance between the two is different for everyone. Just remember babies don’t stay little forever, and your JNC will be there when you’re ready for it.

    • Ben Hsu says:

      This is the thing that I fear the most. Not having enough time to work on my cars. It’s kind of like therapy for me… very calming (except when you encounter a rusty bolt or something…) but you get the idea. I put on the radio in the garage, break out the tools, and get into my zen state. Even organizing the garage and tools helps me out. How old does a child need to be before they can start handing you tools, I wonder…

      • Yuri says:

        Older than they need to be to use your FD as a canvas for their sharpie art. (This happened to a friend of mine.)

        I totally understand the therapeutic benefits of working on cars. I’ve moved to an apartment with no garage as my wife and I save for a house, and haven’t been able to work on my JNC’s for five years. Yesterday I actually went to a junkyard just to wrench on some random cars for fun, and I didn’t know how much fun it would be or how much I needed it.
        I think if you can work out a time with your SO each week where you each have a few hours to yourself while the other watches the kid and vice versa, and understand that you both aren’t interrupted during that time, it’s a good stress reliever for all parties involved.

  2. Banpei says:

    First of all: congrats to all upcoming parents here!

    When we were expecting our first born we tried to see if the AE86 would baby, so I fitted three point seatbelts in the rear from a German AE86. While trial fitting the childseat and buggy, we found the childseat would only fit the on the rearseat if the front passenger seat would be in the front most position. But then it would still be a very tight fit and a big effort to lug the childseat into the back. As the buggy also didn’t fit the limited trunk space and my wife had more and more difficulty entering and exiting a lowered AE86, she asked me to start looking for something different.

    So I started hunting for a four door Toyota Corolla KE70, but ended up buying a mint 25 years old four door Toyota Carina TA60 instead. The Carina had more than enough space, three point seat belts in the rear and a large enough trunk to fit both a buggy and groceries. Unfortunately I had to sell the (rusty) AE86 as the running costs were relatively high and I also needed some funds to purchase the new family hauler. We used the Carina for six years as our main use of transportation, before upgrading to something modern and keeping the garaged Carina as our classic. I did have plenty of fun in the Carina and I still have fond memories of those early years, but I always regretted selling the AE86.

    Nine years after my son was born, our daughter was born. So what did I do six months after she was born? I got myself an AE86 (imported from Japan) to make up for the loss of my previous one. Modern childseats don’t even fit in the back anymore (they got bulkier) and I only drove the AE86 once with our daughter. I guess the comfort of having the modern daily parked in front of our house means I only drive the AE86 occasionally for my own pleasure.

    I think my message to the (future) parents here would be that you shouldn’t do something you will regret later. Don’t give up on your (dream) classic because some stupid bulky childseat or buggy won’t fit, but just put somewhere in storage. Probably you won’t get it out of storage for some years, but you will definitely enjoy it after a few years when the kids have grown up or you can afford to keep a daily and a classic car.

    • Ben Hsu says:

      Thanks for sharing your story! We have a modern car (Mazda CX-5) and a Land Cruiser for the baby, so I suspect those will be my primary modes of transport for the foreseeable future. But, I definitely won’t be getting rid of my AE86! If I did, with prices rising the way they are now, I don’t think I’d be as fortunate as you to find a better one in affordable condition later on.

  3. First thing, put seat belts in the back seat! Most early Japanese vehicles came with attach points for rear seat belts but no actual belts installed. Then work on installing actual baby seats that fit what space is available and meet safety standards.

  4. Mike P says:

    It wasn’t a JNC yet but I drove my firstborn son and his lovely mom home from the hospital in a 1980 Celica ST coupe. I figured it would be a more comfortable ride than in my wife’s car, the near-new 1985 Montero. I think that was the last time we put the car seat in the Celica– almost impossible to get the baby in and out of that back seat, and hardly easy for a new mom to get in and out of that ow-slung front seat! The Montero was so much easier being higher and with that tilt-forward seat (not just the seat back). I feel old– since these are JNC’s now!

    • Ben Hsu says:

      I’ve been pondering what car to take to the hospital. I definitely want it to be a keeper, not our daily driver. I’ve heard so many stories from JNC readers who now own or are restoring the car that they “came home from the hospital in.” The car I came home in is long gone, but I want to give my son the special experience so many readers have shared with me. Right now I’m leaning towards the Land Cruiser.

      • Gizmoduck III says:

        Meh, keep it simple and remain conscious of “water-breaking issues” in regards to the vehicle’s interior. Above all else, it should be comfortable and calming for the mother with good climate control and enough gas to get to the hospital.

        Logic trumps all, however. Considering traffic, the safest and most efficient method to get to the hospital may be an ambulance.

        To date, I’ve never heard of anyone restoring the same model ambulance they went to the hospital in. So, take solace in that.

        Just surround the growing scion in high-quality cars and high-quality music.

  5. Luke says:

    After my wife and I were married we only had my little red ’84 Mazda B2000. It was a great truck that wouldn’t quit regardless of what we put it through; a lot of fun memories made. When my wife was driving the truck someone hit her and caused front end damage. Thankfully she was okay and drove the truck home just fine.

    We stopped driving the truck for a while and eventually started looking for a vehicle that would carry more than two people. That way we would be ready when we started our family. I unfortunately made a quick, foolish decision (against my wife’s better judgement) and bought a ’81 Volvo 240DL that had engine/fuel injection problems. Cool car but we quickly sold it.

    I did want a Mazda and I found a low mileage ’84 Mazda GLC sedan in a parking lot. I left a note on the window asking if they would sell it and the lady who owned it eventually sold me the car. That was around ten plus years ago and the car has been a blessing. Easy to work on, low maintenance cost, reliable, fun to drive and it’s a classic. We brought our daughter (our first child) home from the hospital in the GLC. My wife drove the GLC while I started driving the B2000 again.

    Years later we were expecting a bouncing baby boy and my wife wanted a van. We eventually purchased a ’00 Mazda MPV. I unfortunately had to sell the truck because we couldn’t afford three cars on our insurance. The GLC has been my hobby and project since we’ve owned it but now it’s my daily driver. My daughter (eight years old now) enjoys the GLC and has named it Cheesy because of the color. I’m very blessed to have such a wonderful family and a neat little car.

  6. Dennis BD says:

    Congrats both of you! First and foremost, don’t do anything drastic by selling your classics. Most future-dads freak out and think it’s the end of the world and/or think the sale of their classic(s) would greatly help them financially. Now, if your classic is a 2000GT, then maybe yes; but if they are like my classics, it’s barely going to make a dent. You’re better off saving a little bit more to make that small amount of financial gain. Secondly, be there for your baby’s momma 100%, especially the first year. It’s like the cliche “Happy wife, happy life” but making a happy mother of your child has 10x the effect. Third, start integrating your family with cars early by taking your lady and baby to family-friendly car shows like Toyotafest and JCCS. Lay low on the Compton street races and Huntington Park take-overs for now; wait until your kids is at least 2 years old so he or she can run away from the cops on their own. Eventually, you will notice that you and your car buddies will have “play dates” but, in reality, they are an excuse for you guys to wrench in the garage while all the kids run around the front yard. Enjoy the ride, fellas. It’s going to tiring BUT fun.

  7. emuman says:

    For most couples it is time to change the car, when they expect their first child. I never understood, why parents select a car matching their stroller instead of bying a stroller that fits in the trunk.
    So my wife and me took our Mazda RX-8 to the stroller shop and found one fitting in the trunk when folded. The RX-8 is actual very comfortable to use with a baby because of the missing B-pillar. You can easily place your baby carrier in the back seats. One highlight was a weekend trip to the Nürburgring in the RX-8 with two little children, the stroller and baggage for three nights.
    Don’t use your family as an excuse for not driving a sports car!

  8. Angelo says:

    I don’t have a son, but I do have a young brother whose age gap is far apart. And trust me, as I daily the car with him on board, my car’s faring fine. Just make sure you keep it child-proofed, for safety reasons.

    Just keep it practical, and simple. And I’m pretty sure you and your JNCs will do fine haha.

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