QotW: What’s your best car story with dad?

Bunta Fujiwara AE86

Dads. They teach us how to drive, wrench, and curse when either of the first two goes wrong. Many of us got our passion for cars from our dads (or moms too, but it’s Father’s Day that’s coming up), and then when we become dads we desperately try to pass it on to our kids by buying them Hot Wheels that we end up playing with.

What’s your best car story with dad?

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to fetch a car?” 

After reading the comments from last week, all we can say is that y’all are a bunch of crazy mofos. There was Jeremy Collins‘ amusing tale of an Ohio-Montana-Ohio run for a Fairlady Z, mason‘s sad story about an R30 deal thwarted by his own parents, Metatron‘s yarn about leaving a trail of transmission fluid across the western half of the United States, and Dutch 1960‘s epic battle of wits with a stubborn landlord. In the end, however, Mazdax605 journey from Ontario to Boston won the day for its punchline.

I’ve had some crazy stories that include ferries, and such to get cars, but my latest is probably the most extreme. A few years ago I decided that once the Mitsubishi Delica Starwagon was 25 years old I would get one. Well, in the winter of 2013/14 I decided to check out the dealers in British Columbia, Canada to try to get my hands on one. My trying turned up a couple, but the logistics of the one I wanted being on the west coast of Canada, and me being very deep on the east coast wasn’t making things easy. On top of that the van was on an island on the west coast of Canada. I decided there had to be another way.

I contacted an importer in Ontario Canada(still far away from me, but closer), and the search was on to find the newest 25 year old Delica. Long story short, he found a nice Deli at auction in Japan, which shortly there after made its way to Yokohama, and into a shipping container. From there it crossed the Pacific to make land fall in Vancouver. Across North America via rail to Toronto, and then London, Ontario where I picked it up a few months later. It took another fellow JNC member, and myself a few days to fly to Toronto, get paperwork squared away, and then drive back across a lot of Ontario, basically all of NY state, and all of Massachusetts.

Was it all worth it? Heck yeah it was! Would I do it again? Heck yeah I would! Was it a long drive home? Heck yeah it was, we were in a Delica. These things are slugs!

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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25 Responses to QotW: What’s your best car story with dad?

  1. Banpei says:

    In contrary of me my dad isn’t a petrol head at all. He simply is not interested in them at all and as long as it has four wheels and it moves when he presses the gas-pedal it is fine with him. I guess him being a contractor as profession he also treats his cars like a tool: it only needs an oil change when the warning light starts to blink and you may have a flat tire when you have a continuous rumbling noise on the highway for three kilometers. Naturally most of his cars were very short lived and most of them only survived three or maybe four years before they started to fall apart or have engine seizures.

    A short summary of what he owned between 1980 and 2000 in chronological order:
    The Peugeot 304 wagon? Died after four years ownership out of misery with a broken speedo and patched up to be used as a trade in for a Toyota Carina TA60.
    The Toyota Carina TA60? Traded in for a Peugeot 505 break (wagon) which was his dream car.
    The Peugeot 505 wagon? Went up in flames after only 6 months ownership.
    The Aro 10 4×4? Had an engine swap after one year and half a year later was parked on his drive till some collector bought it of his hands two years later.
    The Ford Sierra wagon? Died after three years when spewing the engine fluids all over the highway and due to oil starvation welding the pistons to its bores.
    The Opel Kadett wagon? After two years the engine died due to overheating while towing over 2 tonnes of weight in a trailer.
    The Opel Combi? (Kadett based van) Died after one year and failing MOT with an integral structure failure.
    The Volvo 740 wagon? Managed to survive two years abuse before failing MOT on the LPG safety.
    The bizarre thing is he abused all these cars within two decades.

    For some reason his 1982 Toyota Carina TA60 wagon was a different story. The Carina wagon was built by Toyota to last a long life of abuse and it managed to survive in his ownership from 1984 till 1990. Six years! While most other cars survived less than three years the Carina soldiered on and doubled that figure.

    A nice story about the car is when we were enroute to visit family on the other side of the country and the Carina’s LPG tank was empty after only 10 kilometers. This was odd as my father tought he filled it the day before. Most LPG cars can switch between the LPG and petrol so my father switched back to petrol but five kilometers later he also ran out of that.

    As the car coasted on the emergency lane we spotted an off ramp towards a small town with a petrol station. We has to push the car the final two kilometers and my father filled up both petrol and LPG. Funny enough the Carina refused to start so he phoned the ANWB (Dutch AA / AAA) from the petrol station to help him out. While hanging up the phone and handing it back to the owner he dropped the phone by accident and broke it.

    After half an hour waiting parked next to the petrol station the hairy and bearded mechanic (yes this is mid-80s) from the ANWB showed up and started to troubleshoot the Carina. It all did not make sense to him, so he started to verify whether the spark plugs were actually working. He removed one of the plugs and shouted to my dad he had to crank the engine. As my father cranked the engine the Carina transformed itself into a flame spewing Godzilla.

    These are the occasions when everything starts to become like the bullet-time in the Matrix. I can still remember the owner of the petrol station looking outside his window with wide open panic eyes. The mechanic removing his head from Godzilla’s flame spewing mouth and running to his Renault 4 for the fire extinguisher. My father still cranking the engine like nothing happened. My two year older brother grabbing me by the neck and pulling me away from this inferno and shouting we should run.

    Everything started to become normal-time again when me and my brother were lying in a ditch and waited for the explosions to happen. Well, they didn’t… The mechanic was able to extinguish the fire in time and the owner of the petrol station pushed the kill switch. The mechanic had lost most of his beard, eyebrows and had a haircut that got a good 10 centimeter shorter. The Carina was perfectly fine as only the gas had ignited and nothing in the enginebay had any scorch marks.

    What happened is that the vaporiser of the LPG had sprung a leak, probably due to lack of servicing. This means that regardless whether the engine was on or off the gas was spreading through the enginebay. It was a miracle it did not ignite while we drove of when my dad started the car in the first place. The mechanic checked if the shut-off valve still operated (electrical operated) and we were good to go to resume our journey on petrol. My father thanked the man and even tried to compensate for the damage on his facial hair but the man did not want to receive anything from him as he saw getting burns and scars as part of the job.

    This is only one of the many incidents where the Toyota Carina managed to survive my dads lack of servicing. This really made me decide to buy Toyota whenever I could as their (older) cars are made to last. Also the third car I bought is a Toyota Carina TA60 sedan because I was looking for a cheap 25 year old youngtimer with four doors. I still own and cherish it and keep it parked all the time in my garage.

  2. Kuroneko says:

    My only dad and car stories revolve around he and my mother yelling at each other as we drove around looking for the Great Serpent Mound, the Lake District, the coast road to Rimini, or maybe down the Mornington Peninsula. Though, there was this one time in Baja where we were rear-ended by a drunk local and we spent most of the night in a Mexican jail. An interesting experience for a nine year old. I’ve still got a photograph of me standing next to the smashed trunk of the Impala SS.

    Instead however, as a dad myself I can relate the story of apologizing to my daughter I could not drive her and a friend shopping, as I had to replace my clutch cable. ‘No problems dad!’, she declared as she dragged the tool kit out. ‘Where do we start?’

    For Monday’s What Did You Do on the Weekend? essay at school, she wrote, ‘How to replace a clutch cable on a 911. First you jack up the rear of the car, making sure you have a 9mm and a 11mm spanner..’ It still brings tears to my eyes.

    Better her nine year old and dad and car story than mine…

  3. Rayson says:

    I have some of the weirdest car story with my old man. Me and my mom are pretrolheads but my dad weren’t even close to a petrolhead at all. My old man do have a valid driver license but he never really drive in his life (Mainly due to him growing up in Hong Kong and was never really interested in car or driving at all, while my mom grew up in a petrolhead family, and she drove me to school back in the days in Hong Kong on a daily basis, that is how I got attached to cars and drivings). Can you imagine a family where mom and son is a petrolhead, while the old man is not? Imagine mom is always the driver during the weekend family outing instead of the old man?

    Occasionally I would have petrolhead talks with my mom, and then my old man would either went into mute mode or get irritated because he has no idea what we are talking about or get pissed because we spent too much time surrounding car topics. Me and my mom would often tried to education him on car topics, and CLEARLY FAILED (But we never give up!).

    My mom would often tried to force my dad to drive during the weekend, and then eventually gave up as she get frustrated because my dad drove like a grandma all the time haha. After I got my driving license mom decided to pass the ball to me on teaching my old man to drive. Oh how excited i was, TEACHING MY OLD MAN TO DRIVE! (How ironic…….). AND GOD MY MOM WAS RIGHT, MY OLD MAN DOES DRIVE LIKE AN OLD WOMAN, LITERALLY. Mom, I feel your pain.

    Now days everytime when I told my parent I am going to the track. Mom goes “alright be safe”, while my old man would freak out like I was going to some stunt event.

    My old man always convince me to sell my Civic for a BMW or Lexus simply because “Why won’t want something nicer?”

    I still love you dad though. Happy early father day dad!

  4. vic says:

    A couple Dad stories to share . . .

    When I was a little kid, every Sunday afternoon we would drive to all the local car dealers to see what was there, see new colors, and compare models and their details. Back in the day when new model year cars would all filter in around the end of August and early September. Most dealerships would place craft paper on the showroom windows – allowing for mystery before an unveiling. Dad and I would desperately try to peek in to see the new cars. Would wander around the back of the buildings sometimes spotting a new model just unloaded from the car transporters. Was so cool! Felt like some kind of secret agent!

    I was a crazy Aurora HO car enthusiast. The original “pit kit” would only hold 8 cars. Most Saturdays, I would go to the neighborhood hobby store to race them on their pretty elaborate track set-up. Dad asked me how many HO cars I had. I said maybe 24? What do you do if your kit only holds 8? Swap them in and out. Over the next few weeks, he was busy downstairs in his “shop”. As things progressed, I knew it wasn’t a house project. I stood in his shadows watching intensely as he built from scratch a hinged wooden “pit kit” complete with copper corners, a lower drawer that housed all the needed racing goodies and space for 24 HO cars in the top. Yes, still have it and all the Aurora cars!

    Now, closing in to the time I was soon to start driving. Had taken my driver’s test in my Dad’s 1966 Rambler American – no, not the Rambler Scrambler with the 390 cubic inch V8. Was working part time at McDonald’s making weekly whopping cash. About $38.00. Once again, combed the car lots with Dad. Saw something I was interested in buying since I didn’t want to inconvenience Mom and Dad by borrowing their vehicles.
    What I saw, I fell in love with immediately. Wore out the pages of the brochure studying the design, options and statistics. My high school dream car! A 1972 Toyota Celica RA21. Saved and saved and finally went with Mom and Dad on a Saturday to get a little more serious. They co-signed. The Celica was $2847.00 without taxes. With my down payment (in hand), we place an order. Quietly, the salesman told me that there was an early 1973 Celica parked out back. An example if I wanted to wait for the new model year. Nope, there was no Altair Green metallic with black interior, liked the ‘72 tail lights (flats) and the bumpers without the silly rubber guards. The salesman said there was a late year green one coming in a few weeks. Producton date of July 1972. I waited. Finally, took delivery on December 4, 1972. Was 17 at the time, so the car had to be put in Dad’s name. Transferred later at 18. Amazingly, it’s now 2015, I’m 60 years old, and still have my “first car”. The RA21. Dad has since passed, but the memories will live on . . .

    Thanks for the opportunity to share my stories!

  5. OliOy says:

    My dad and I are the best of friends and are gearheads to the bone.

    There was one time when we were going to look at this Porsche 924 around 70kms from where we live. And it wasn’t accessible by expressways so we had to pass by the old two lane highway, meaning the trip took a while, around 3 hours. Prolly 10kms from the 924, we spot this 2-door 1976 Lancer by the highway with a hand written “For Sale” sign on it. We stare at it but didn’t stop to check it out. We get to the 924 and it was a total piece of sh!t. It wasn’t running, badly rusted, and had missing documents. We head home disappointed but we remember the Lancer we passed and agreed to check it out if it was still there. And, of course, it was. The car was used badly, though still running, it was blowing blue smoke and the clutch was slipping, yet we enjoyed the 2 minute test drive we got. In the end, we bought the Lancer for 10% of the price of the 924!

    The drive home was stressful and scary. Going up and down mountain roads occasionally losing power or the clutch.

    We spent the next couple of years restoring the car. We rebuilt the engine and took care of all the bits and pieces that needed attention. In the process, we found out that the car used to compete in local rallies back in the 80s, with mods done to the engine revealing themselves when it was torn apart.

    Sadly, the car succumbed to rust (regardless of repairs) and we ditched the project before being a huge money pit for us.

    Wonderful experience, though. Something I wouldn’t mind happening again.

  6. Dylan says:

    My most memorable car story with my dad happened last July. I’d been searching for a mid ’80s C10 (Sorry, it’s not Japanese!) and finally found one that didn’t appear to be in bad shape, and was nearing the end of it’s auction time with only a few bids. It was either the C10 or a 300k mile ’87 ‘Yota pickup; the bids ended within an hour of each other. We ended up bidding up $500 until we hit the reserve; and won the auction with no competitors (keep in my we bought this thing almost blind; all we knew about it was it had an LT1, and the body and interior appeared to be in driver condition. We immediately contacted the seller and guess what? They didn’t have the title. After plenty of threats we finally got them to get the title (a three week process). By now we were starting to be worried about what else might be wrong with it. It was an 8 hour drive there, so we left before sunrise. My dad would drive his truck, and I’d drive the C10 once we got it. Fast forward to the drive home, the problems started arising. First off, the owner had stated that there were no mech./electrical problems. Well he was half right; it drove better than factory. First problem was the lack of an ac compressor, the windows wouldn’t roll down, the wipers didn’t work, and the lights worked when they wanted to. Oh, did I mention that it was pouring down rain at 95 degrees F? Yeah, that was one of the worst experiences of my life. Still my most memorable, and I love that truck to death. I’d gladly do it again once I find the 510 I want; I’m just hoping my dad will be as excited to drive almost 700 miles in a day again!

  7. Seiko The Neko says:

    Since I’m probably one of the younger readers on this site I don’t have many. But I’ve got a few that I’ll always remember.

    1998…My dad makes the decision to buy a new Milano Red Acura Integra GS-R. I distinctly remember the music of that B18 VTec engine coming out of the aftermarket exhaust system my dad installed. The memories that I had sitting in the back seat are some that I won’t forget.

    2002…As I begin to grow the backseat of the Integra begins to shrink. Dad hears about the Lexus IS300, basically a four door N/A MKIV Supra packed with 217 HP. This is when I had to say goodbye to the Integra. Now in the driveway was a Millenium Silver Metallic Lexus IS300. It was the automatic transmission but my dad often used the e-shift system. The car’s sound has really been implemented in my mind after riding in it for so long. The car is still in our driveway to this day and when I get my license it’ll be handed down to me.

    2005…My dad visits the local Mitsubishi dealer to look at the new Lancer Evolution IX. He talks to my mom about trading in both the IS300 and my mom’s Sequoia. My mom disagrees and the Evo luckily isn’t purchased. Both cars are still in the driveway.

    2007…My dad hasn’t owned a standard transmission car since the Integra. One day a man walks into my dad’s job at a Toyota dealership and trades a 2004 BMW 330Ci in for another car. My dad sees the Bimmer and purchases it immediately. I remember how different the BMW was. It was roomy, luxurious, and most of all really modern looking. The car also came slightly modified. It had a couple bolt-ons and was quicker than the average 330Ci. After about two years of owning the car my family ran into financial problems and the BMW was sold to my dad’s friend who abused it. About 3 months later my dad wanted the car back and so one night we went and picked it up. There were missing caps, scuffs on the seats, etc. It was a mess.

    2013…This is the most recent event. My dad gets tired of the BMW and its damages and wants a new car. One day I’m browsing the web and stumble upon a news announcement talking about the Scion FR-S hitting the dealerships. I tell my dad about the new model and he’s intrigued. Again, my dad discusses the purchase with my mother and she says yes. And so one night after work my dad decides to head over to the Toyota dealer where he would trade the BMW in for an Asphalt Black FR-S. The sound of the Boxer engine rolling into the garage got me really excited. I ran downstairs, walked into the garage, and there it was. I explored the car for about a half hour, awe struck the whole time. One day my dad calls me down so we could go and pick up lunch. We head onto the highway and a 350Z speeds by us. In an effort to catch up my dad punches the throttle in a couple minutes we catch up and the Z driver gives us a smile and a thumbs up. Most exciting moment in the car by far. Other little things I’ve done to the car with dad include installing a shark fin antennae and a TRD exhaust system. But the most memorable experience I’ve had in this car is when my dad taught me how to drive stick shift. I stalled so many times but when I finally got it I was so happy. I actually haven’t stalled since then. But anyway, that’s just a few of the best car stories I’ve had with my father and I loved every single moment of them.

  8. CHM Patrick says:

    (The beginning of this story is boring and irrelevant, so I’ll proceed directly to the denouement.)

    …and when I awoke in the passenger seat somewhere north of Abilene, I fixed a solitary eye on the Diamante’s speedometer. Dad was holding the big wagon at a steady 115 as prairie scrub blurred past in the periphery. It was then that the lizard part of my brain whispered, “You should probably go back to sleep now, Pat.”

  9. Bobby says:

    My Dad passed away two years ago (last week was the second anniversary of his death). He was a car nut and passed that on to me. I learned to drive a manual transmission in his red Toyota Starlet. I got to drive my first sports car when I drove his 1985 Mazda RX-7 GSL-SE. I have many memories of both of those cars and I’ll share one for each here.

    In 1989 or so, Dad bought the RX-7 used. I remember one of the first times I got dropped off by my Mom at his work to be taken home by him (Mom had to go to night school, I think). I can still remember the cool red lights of the Mazda instrument cluster as the sun started to fade into nighttime. We were on the highway and Dad said “there’s something rattling in the back, can you look in the little cubby behind your seat?” I did and he downshifted and punched it! I was thrown backwards and he just laughed and laughed. I liked it, too.

    In the winter of 1993, it snowed 24 inches in about one day. That’s a lot for Kentucky. They shut down the global UPS hub, it had snowed so bad. We lost power at our house and had to drive out for supplies. I remember the little Starlet would just trundle along in the ruts left in the snow if you just kept the momentum up. Dad was an impatient, but talented, driver. We passed several large 4wd trucks that had slid off the road to and from the store.

    Dad was born in the 1940s, so although he loved the RX-7, he loved hot rods more and late in his life, he picked up a few classics from the 20s to the 40s. I now have an 89 Chrysler Conquest and an 03 Mazda Protege5. I will probably sell the Conquest soon, but I am a Mazda fan for life! I think the Protege5 will be a future classic.

    • Ben Hsu says:

      Touching story and great tribute to the li’l Starlet that could!

      • Bobby says:

        Yeah, another memorable thing about Dad and the Starlet was their size disparity. Dad was 6’2″ and about 250 pounds. He was broad-shouldered and generally a large man, particularly for his era. When he would get out of the Starlet, I’m sure people would wonder how he fit!

        Of the various cars he had, the Starlet is one I wish he had been able to keep. He drove it as his daily commuter to work and left the RX-7 in the garage for nice days. He had inherited the Toyota from his father-in-law and it was kept okay, but my in-laws were not as much sticklers for maintenance as my Dad was. Dad had planned to drive the Starlet “into the ground” as they say, but after 200,000 plus miles, it was still burbling along, albeit on three cylinders. Dad sold it to a local mechanic who is hopefully still taking it around my hometown.

        Dad picked up a second RX-7 GSL-SE in a similar color for me to take to college. Dad’s was gunmetal blue and mine was a metallic sky blue. Unbelievably, in the late 90s you could pick up a GSL-SE for about $2,000, maybe less.

        One of the more memorable stories about the second RX-7 that I got to drive occurred when my then-girlfriend (now wife) burned her hand working in the ceramics studio. I went to get her and put her in the RX-7 and raced to the hospital. She had what turned out to be a third degree burn around the base tissue of her thumb. We had her hold her hand out the car window on the whole ride there because that was the only thing that would numb the pain! Thankfully she recovered just fine.

  10. Pete240z says:

    In 1968 my dad needed a big car for the four kids and wife. Since the extended family all lived in Chicago and we had just moved to St. Louis I can recall a lot of trips up and down Interstate 55 doing 70mph. Both he and my mom hated sedans and station wagons so he bought a 1968 Oldsmobile 98 Holiday Coupe with a 455 cid, 4-barrel rocket powered engine. He babied this car for seventeen years.

    In 1973 we are living back in Chicago and his job changes and he decides to become self employed so he and I head to Volkswagen to buy a 1973 Beetle – no radio that he drives the wheels off until his business gets off the ground. He never had a radio.

    Talk about opposite ends – power and air cooled. Funny thing is liked both of them.

  11. ed7_owner says:

    hmm since i am pretty early in my 20s, I do not have many stories of me and my father, and the fact that we are not close, doesnt help, but I do have one.

    A buddy wanted his car (it was a 97 integra for refrence) fixed, to replace the brakes, I boldy told him that I will help, “you get the parts, Ill install them”. My father looked from beyond the screen door, he looked perplexed and unimpressed at the task I had chosen. He would occasionally come and look at the progress we would make and leave.

    We finished the left side, it was simple, the right side proved to be a bit more problematic. I placed the rotor and placed the pads, but the puck part itself would not fit, I pushed the brakes in, it should fit wtf?? I thought. It was getting dark and I had work the next day. My dad knew something was up, and I was frustrated. I held his beer as he fiddled through the right under side “ofcourse I messed up” I cursed myself, Nope the right wheel area was messed up “See this play?” he tussled at the rotor. “You have to remove the whole thing” “The car stays here, how you were driving it, with this, and you still alive is a miracle” (For more reference his CV joint got busted. From what I can tell is that the owner took a turn a little to hard and kissed a curb. plus the 32mm nut was missing so yeah) (He bought the car in Palmdale, and I drove it to West Covina). Leave it here and fix it the next time you have a day off ( it was a thursday and the next one was sunday)

    A little while after my buddy left, I got a lecture about getting into cars and all of the negatives with it. But we both knew he made the right decision. Saturday after my shift was over I headed home no I headed to the car. We had company over, ”Damn” I thought, no matter this must get done. Let me see, my father near by. Ok that part is damaged, he pointed at the bearing. he offered to help, so I let him. He took a hammer and pounded part of the bearing out, Little silver balls spilled, fuck it, “yep knew it” the part that was still inside proved more troublesome. no time for that I needed sleep, yes this will get done on Sunday.

    Sunday came with determination and optimism. (nope this must get done today) I got about 8 am and went straight to the car. I looked at the bearing ”hmm since I cant hammer it out, can I get a c clamp and push it out?” the answer was NOPE, I went to the local AutoZone (thanks for putting up with my crap, you guys rock) the guy said they dont carry a machine that pushes bearings out of the hub. He recommended a local mechanic. I pressed on, I found one he said the person I was looking for was across the street, I found the mechanic, I explained the situation. He blew smoke and agreed to help. DAMN he didnt have a machine. No matter, he found a rectangular metal slab, narrow enough to fit through the hub, but thick enough to hit the damned bearing. Success the bearing popped out. I offered a reward. 8 dollars was all I had. I raced home, Informed my dad on the status and he offered to help. I was cool with it, because in the past he would take over.

    My father placed the Cv joint back in its place, I placed the new bearing back in the hub. He offered to reattach the spindle, I helped. The brakes were placed back in it was finished.

    Luckally there were no complications, plus I had the whole car for a day, I handled better than ever.
    My dad said “Asshole, he should have paid you for this, this better be the last time you this shit again” meh, I took it as a learning experience.

  12. Tim says:

    I bought a 1971 Datsun 240Z while I lived in an apartment. My parent’s house was only a few hours away, so I stored it there under the second story deck in a kind of make-shift carport, and headed down to work on it during the weekends. It turns out that there was a lot of bondo on it, and after stripping it off, I discovered that some of the body needed to be replaced. I’d never done any welding before at this point, but my father had. He borrowed a welder from a friend, and I bought a mask and the parts.

    Fast forward to the next weekend. I brought down the mask and parts, and we spent the first day teaching me the basics. I cut apart and stitched back together an old chunk of metal a couple dozen times. We decided to start the real work the next day. Dad helped show me where to cut so that I’m not welding a compound curve upside down. We got the old piece out, and tacked the new one in place. I started filling in the gaps, and my father went inside to use the restroom.

    So, I’m unsupervised. We’ve been working on this for a couple hours by this point, and I’m confident… Okay, maybe even a little cocky. Things are going good until I reach the rear of the doorframe. It turns out, the previous owner filled in every nook and cranny with expanding foam. It also turns out that this stuff is highly flammable. Do you know what happens to flammable foam when a high amperage electrical current and tiny bits of very hot metal hit it? I’m sure you can guess.

    Whoosh. My car is on fire. My dad’s a firefighter. This is embarrassing. Well, the car’s sitting on a dirt floor, so I pick up as much as I can, and throw it at the small fire. Nope, that’s not going to do it. And I can’t find the hose. Crap. Okay, let’s get dad before I burn down my car AND his house. (It’s underneath a large wooden deck, remember?)

    So, I run upstairs, and bang on the bathroom door.

    “Dad, you there?”


    “The car’s on fire.”


    “The car. It’s on fire.”

    By the time he made it downstairs, the fire had put itself out, so there was no serious damage. But it’s still something I remember every time I see that little alcove. Even though I recall being fairly scared at the time, I look back on it and kinda chuckle inside. But to this day, I don’t do bodywork. Electrical, mechanical, heck, even upholstery – I’ll give it a shot. But anything that involves a welder gets handed over to a professional.

  13. motoliam says:

    I’ll never forget . . . My dad had been having issues with his jade green ’79 Cadillac Seville (raised in the rear and lowered in the front, for that muscle car stance back in the mid-80’s). We’d had repeated ecu computer failures, perhaps due to moisture in Hawaii, and he had finally gotten around to removing the EFI and installing an edelbrock carb that used to make the car jump and twist whenever it was started. One day, he was busy tinkering under the hood and he asked me to check the spark by sticking a screwdriver in one of the spark plug wires. I’ll never forget the tingling excitement I felt, and I’ll never forget the sounds of that engine turning over while I stood frozen in place. Not bad for a 8 year old’s memory.

  14. robin says:

    Hi All,

    I loved reading each and everyone’s post.


    Heres my memory or some memories of my Dad and his involvement in my love for cars.
    Let me set the background first and foremost… it’s 1970’s and my Dad being non-white in South Africa means life is pretty tough. Cars was a mere luxury and only the rich could afford them if you were non-white.

    My Dad grew up on a small little farm and his first car ride was at the age of 16 years old, what we take for granted and what is a major need in modern times but imagine life without a car now… I can’t even think how it would be like especially in a place where public transport is dangerous.

    Well my Dad was determined to get out of the small town and head to the city. At the age of 22 and after working for a few places in the small farm town my Dad said farewell to his job as being a quality controller at Datsun. Yes i too was amazed by this, and he remembers the 510’s (what we called triple s’s) and he loved the b210. unfortunately as much as he loved to have a Datsun he just could not afford one.

    Moving to the big city-

    There was literally no future in that little town and my Dad made a move that would change his life forever. A move that should have lasted 3 months for a music course ended up being a stay for good. So what or how did my Dad get to the big city which is 1700 km? A little volkswagen beetle which he bought for R200 ($16 approx) and he took the long drive without any hassles.

    After a few weeks in the big city finances quickly ran out, and with no income it was time to look for a job. Now finding a job for a non-white was really hard and if you a certain colour you were appointed to certain jobs. So my dad highest type of job would be a clerk or book keeper. My Dad met a white gentleman who gave apartheid the middle finger at every opportunity. My Dad was hired at a company that fixes automotive brakes. Now earning money my Dad bought an alfa guiletta (two litre with twin carbs). He always speaks about this car, this was direct competition for the Datsun 510 in South Africa back then and even though my Dad loved his alfa he said the Datsuns were just so special and he could not keep up with the Japanese little rocket.

    My Dad went back home when the course was done, but felt there was nothing left there for him. He said his goodbyes and now more that certain that he will make Cape Town his new home. He came back and met my Mom who loves fast cars ( i wonder what my dad did to win her heart haha). My Dad worked his way up and then took over the brake business. Had two kids (both boys) and another alfa a datsun 1200 (ute), five opel kadetts /vauxhall astras and something special which i will get to below.

    Sold the aflas due to frequent speeding fines…

    My Dad’s involvement in my love for cars-

    Since i was a kid i never got guns as toys, just cars (matchbox) I would go to the wrokshop after school and basically everything in my life revolved around cars. My brother and I are car crazy and we both love Japanese cars and own a few amongst us. So how did this love of japanese cars come about?

    My Dad always loved the crx when it came out , he would always speak about it and said one day he will own one. The only thing that stopped him from getting one was his two kids (my brother and myself ). Well this got us interested in Honda’s and all things japanese. fast foward a few years and a few car magazines it was the time when Gran Turismo came out… my Dad loved gadgets (meccano; lego; atari etc etc) and he comes home with a playstation one with a game that would change how we would see cars. A game that would make my Dad realise that he opened up a huge can of worms and just how much we would be involved with cars together.

    My Dad would sit up late watching us play. He was and still is with us working on cars through hot and freezing weather in the garage. He would support our track racing and would help us modify our cars. Never did he spoon feed us and only when we showed interest would he help. The best thing he could have done for my brother and i…

    But something was missing. and thats when my brother and i found a mint 1991 Honda CRX in his favourite colour… a shining white one.

    When he got it, my brother and i knew where our love for cars came from.. the same way my Dad smiles when he drives his CRX is how we smile when driving or working on cars.

    I guess it’s in our blood… there would have been no other way for the two of us, we were going to love cars regardless if we were to be female or male.

    While typing this my Dad just got home and said ” Robin please remind me to check out the suspension on the CRX!” He religiously goes over this little joy of his weekly and if he sees something perished or looking tired it gets changed.

    something that i remember forever is my Dad saying ” if you going to modify something, do research and make sure its not only safe but improves the ride, you not the only one on the road… and a car is a weapon, don’t forget that!”

    That’s my Dad, never ever did we say we love him (we were brought up hard) but each moment we spend working on cars, each test drive or ride we go for… is love.

    he is one effing cool Dad.

  15. Krzysiu says:

    My relationship with Dad had always been strained when I was growing up, kind of a “Cat’s in the Cradle” thing, and when I entered my preteen years the generational and cultural differences helped it all come to a head. He grew up in Soviet controlled Poland and was in his late 30’s when I was born here in Houston. My parents gave me my first job working for them when I was 13, so until I got my driver’s license they would drive me back and forth to the shop on the weekends. Up to that point in my life I had never been interested in cars but I had my sister’s first car, a base model 1992 240sx hatchback with a 5-speed, waiting in the driveway for me to catch up.
    One Friday after school Dad picked me up in the 240 to give me a ride to work and we got in a pretty heated argument along the way, at this point I don’t remember over what. We got to the shop and for the next six hours we hardly said a word to each other. We closed up a little after 10, got into the car and began the silent journey home.
    About a block away from our neighborhood we came to a red light. A moment later we were joined by two light trucks, a Ford Ranger and Chevy S-10 in the lanes on either side of us and they began the octane-fueled chest puffing initiation of a street race. Both trucks rocked as their drivers mashed the gas pedals in attempt to intimidate the other. The light turned green. I was thrown back in the passenger seat and scrambled to grab the oh-shit handle as we jumped out in front of the unsuspecting trucks and continued to put distance between them and the 240. When we were a good couple of car-lengths ahead Dad signaled a lane-change, moved to the left in front of the Chevy and again into the turning lane that entered our subdivision. A second later both trucks came up from behind us and continued on down the road and in to town. We turned on to our street and came to a smooth stop at the end of the driveway. Dad turned to me and with his thick Slavic accent said “I have been driving long time” and exited the car. I sat there for a few minutes to try to comprehend the series of events that had just transpired. What the f*** just happened? What kind of car was this? Was Dad some kind of badass?
    For the rest of the school year we spend the weekend mornings tinkering on the car and fixing all the little things that give out in time. By the end of the summer he taught me to drive stick and the 240 became my source of transportation and many more stories for the next 6 years after I got my permit, until I passed it on to my younger brother. I go visit my parents with my wife and daughter every Saturday and during the course of every conversation Dad and I tend to migrate outside to check in on the car and tinker a little more.

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