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Thanks, Dad…

It’s strange to me that when I was very young my father was more into cars, and as the years went by, my passion grew and his faded. Perhaps it was priorities and the pressures of raising a family. My father tells me that when he was young and growing up on a farm in the Panhandle of Texas he always loved cars.

Being on a farm meant he got to drive at a young age, bouncing down the dirt roads and across the pastures where his family raised wheat and cattle. When he was in high school he entered a car design contest put on GM. He won second place and a ribbon. The wooden model and ribbon adorn a special place in my home and are my prized possessions.

When he was about five years old his mother took this photograph of him with his older sister Betty and little brother Jimmy. The outfit looks like something from “Our Gang”. The big car behind him was the family car that probably doubled as a farm tool, hauling calves from the field and bringing supplies and lunch to the boys cutting wheat. He tells me he learned to drive in that car along with a farm truck and combine.

When I was just under two years old, my father borrowed a friend’s MGA and from there he got hooked on British sports cars. A few years later he bought himself a 1948 MGTC that he used as a daily driver for years. More about that in a minute.

The shot of me in my uncle’s Garton Kidillac was taken when I was three. My mom’s brother gave it to me and my mother tells me I would cry and scream when she took me out of that bright yellow pedal car. Years later we moved and she gave it to a neighbor. When I found out it was gone I almost cried. I had far outgrown it but the memories were still there and I had hoped to keep it for my children some day. I still send mom articles about how much they are worth. I probably shouldn’t do that.

When I was five Dad bought the MGTC. My younger sister and I would ride on the bench behind the driver and passenger. There was a bar that ran across the back of the seats and dad called it the “chicken bar”. He would say, “If you’re chicken you’ll hang on and if you’re brave you won’t.” My sister and I would ride back there with our arms in the air like when you’re on a roller coaster. No seat belts, flying from side to side, almost being tossed out from time to time. On one outing I hung my arm over the side and burned the heck out of my fingers when they rubbed across the tall tires that were wrapped around spoked wheels. I can’t imagine such things this day and age with my children.

By the time I was old enough to drive, the MG was gone and replaced by an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser. Not too long ago, Dad bought another MG. This time a TD. He enjoyed it from time to time but sold it last year. Seems the passion is gone. I do thank him, though, for getting me hooked on cars that became my passion so long ago and still bring a smile to my face every day.

One Comment

  1. Nice story!

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