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Was your dad a gear head or no?

Dear ol' dad....
I don't ever remember him
even doing things as simple
as an oil change. He did love
a fast good looking car.
His passion was
Oldsmobile, as I remember
him owning many different
models and years of the
He drove them hard.
Most of my gearheadedness
stems from my career as
a mechanical engineer.
I incurred physical
disabilities at an early age
that more or less steered
my choice of vocation. I've
had a hand in designing just
about everything from
transit busses, military
vehicles, and modified
vehicles for diplomatic
transport (black Suburbans,
and the presidential "Beast").
Though never privy to the
type of armaments used in
any case.
"Was your dad a gear head or no?"
Pop was by necessity an old school shade tree, given his having to go to work for the family
at the age of 14 as his own dad lay dying.
Being dirt poor, he drove any shitbox $25 car he could find, which meant he had no choice but
to become proficient at patching and bailing-wiring whatever POS he had at the time - and running
the famous "Maypop" tires we've all joked about.

He didn't so much enjoy cars in his formative years as a result - but he got a diploma from the
school of hard knocks on them nonetheless....

By the time I got old enough to be the dumb end of the flashlight, he'd go about working on whatever
family car (and constantly reprimanding me to "pay attention and shine it where I'm working!") -
even after the times he'd had some career success and could afford a decent car (and mechanics to
repair them).
I gleaned a young basic understanding of working on the stuff too, because of the four kids, I showed
the most interest - but it dawned on me as I grew into my teens that he was actually a bit proud of
the fact he could take care of his own stuff, too.

In later years, as we kids all grew up and left the nest and he started having some expendible income
as a result, he'd begin to dig up an old ride here or there just because he wanted to - and something
as basic as transportation finally, after decades of them being a mere necessity....became something
he could actually enjoy for a change.
As he aged and eventually retired, he'd actually seek out a couple of them in specific even - a '51 Ford
F1 pickup here, a '38 Buick there - but he eventually lost any interest in doing the work on them, too.
After all, he had his personally trained grease monkey of a son to do that sort of thing, right? :)

Thing is, he was as frugal with money as he'd ever been - a lesson obviously learned the hard way,
too young in a life forced upon him - and although he liked having the old rides, he didn't like it when
I'd tell him what each one needed...
Eventually, he decided to simply opt out of the ownership of the old cars, sadly.

It's one of those "regret" things I have about him in these years since he passed, honestly.
I'd about kill to be under the hood of one of his old rides now, with him gently badgering me from
the side about what he wanted done or how I wasn't doing it to his liking.
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I come by my mechanical skills and interests naturally. Dad was a car guy even though our family vehicles were mostly pedestrian models - I remember a long line of Ford station wagons. He would talk about his high school car (late 50's) from time to time which was a '55 Crown Vic. He had customized it a Mercury grille and frenched tail lights, etc., but that was long gone by the time I came around in '64. I don't recall him expressing much interest in muscle cars, but that was probably because they weren't practical for a family of 5 on a tight budget. He picked up a ~'66 VW bug in the early 70's when we needed a 2nd car. He cleaned it up, did some body work on it and got it painted bright yellow because that was mom's favorite color. He then added pin striping and carved some nice walnut knobs for the dash among other modifications/improvements. That was his fun car/daily driver for about 5-6 years. I remember a steady flow of JC Whitney catalogs coming in the mail lol.

Dad was a versatile handy man. He learned woodworking and auto mechanics in shop class and electronics in the Air Force. He could build or repair just about anything. Consulting with the "experts" at work (IAM union at McDonnell Douglas) when embarking on something new. Unfortunately for me, I don't recall spending a lot of time with him helping/learning - he worked 2nd shift for the bonus and I was too rambunctious to be helpful in his limited time. We did do some work on cars together, his and mine, once I started driving, but I have had learn on my own for the most part through trial and lots of error. The knack is definitely there. Inbred I'm sure. He's been gone 33 years and I sure do miss him.
Nope not at all
To my dad cars were simply transportation
He was close friends with a guy that owned a chrysler dealership in Grafton WV so he always bought mopar.
But his passion was trains and he worked for the B&O then Chessie System until retirement
Nope not at all

Same here. My dad’s car of choice was a Ford country squire station wagon, although he did buy a new 66 Thunderbird convertible. He quickly gave that to my mother and got himself another Country Squire wagon.

When I was rebuilding my first engine, my dad tried to discourage me.
Same as many of you guys - my dad wasn't handy.

My dad was a "bottom feeder" from a car perspective. He believed in buying old cars, driving them for a few years, and then selling them off when they became too unreliable. He did this to save money, and cars were just basic transportation to him.

You'd think that with having old cars he would have learned to work on them, but he actually wasn't very handy.

My love of cars and hot rodding came from my sister's boyfriend when I was 15. He took me out in his souped up Ford Torino and blasted it around the neighborhood streets. I thought that was so cool that I wanted a cool car as well. My car "disease" has only grown over the years!
My father was a great man, capable of fixing anything. He was in Korea/Navy and was a diesel mechanic. He returned home to work in tool and die, He ended up at Chrysler and became a skilled-trades machine-repairman. He was a hot-rodder in his youth [old Fords], but didn't race cars. He became loyal to Chrysler, once he hired-in, there. He taught me hundreds of invaluable skills and lessons.
He didn't however, agree with my addiction to this hobby... and my destroying parts on cars. He valued money, more than the experiences it provided in life. We're all wired differently.
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No, my father was a master carpenter and didn't know anything about a car, except if it was dirty or clean and it was always clean. He did buy a 1967 Dodge Dart GT new and man, was he proud. I got it from my brother and he got it from other people, from the best time in our history as far as cars go. When people had to talk to you or show you, when people stood in their yards and talked and shared things. The school of hard knocks and really, good times. Things have changed and not always for the better, in my opinion..... Ulli.
I will forever miss my my best friend, mentor, and Dad. He taught me how to wrench on cars and and scared me a little when he showed me how to pull a 4 cylinder from a 1971 Vega GT, and put in a 327 Chevy when I was 15.
My hero Dad served in WW2 on the USS Phelps in the Pacific theater, during the battle of the Coral Sea he said the hardest thing he participated in was when orders came across to put down the USS Lexington after the Japanese disabled it.
He recalled it brought tears to his and his shipmates having to sink her.
Miss you Dad.

My dad was a mechanic all his life eventually owning a service station, doing repairs, and towing. I followed in his footsteps going to tech school, working as a tech for a few years, managing a part store, and shop foreman at a GM dealer before getting into MAC tools for 28 years. Dad was a Mac Dealer in the early 60's.

For an artistic type, my dad was amazingly handy. He built my childhood home from the foundation up, working alongside my maternal grandfather, who owned a successful construction company. Once the house was finished, dad performed electrical, plumbing, carpentry, painting, and masonry work, all done to a high standard. After all that, he had no motivation to work on cars, and because both sides of the family were first generation Americans growing up in New York City, they had only recently become car owners.

My dad bought his first Mopar, shortly after I arrived. When Clark Motor Company, which started out as a Packard dealership, and later sold European exotics, acquired the Chrysler Plymouth dealership, dad found a home. He and owner Bill Clark were both WWII veterans, serving in the Army Air Corps, in the Pacific theater. Just as their roles in the service had differed, (my dad was a photographer, working to set up landing strips, Bill was a highly decorated pilot, who flew B25's, and later a P51 Mustang) their attitude towards cars followed different paths.

Bill Clark drove, in succession, a '67, '69, and a '70 GTX. During the same era, my dad drove a '60, '67, and '70 Valiant; to him, a car was an appliance, and he was happy to pay for good maintenance. I was determined to own that '69 GTX in the future. I started working on dad's cars for two reasons. First, I saw that it could contribute as much to the family finances as the work dad did around the house. But looking ahead, I viewed it as way of learning what it wold take to keep that GTX going, when the day came that I finally became the caretaker.
My Dad actually owned a Sunoco station when I was growing up. I worked there once I was old enough, around 12 I think. That said, he was not really a car guy. He made sure I didn't pursue mechanics as a career. More than a few times he called me a damned fool for my drag racing hobby.
My Dad always loved cars and mechanical things. When he was a young teen he bought a 33 chevy master drove it home and took it apart. (Its still apart). He had a 39 ford pickup w a 348 tripower for a bit and I remember him saying he had the 70 toronado speedo buried trying to burn the carbon out of the 455. He was a Navy Seabee and served in Vietnam. He went to mechanics trade school first and enlisted as a officer in the Navy. He worked on generator sets mostly that were being operated in some scary situations. He often got dropped off in the field while hanging out the door of a helicopter. He came back as a mechanic for International harvester and then started farming with my grandpa. Grandpa was pretty mechanical minded, he built several of his own corn sheller trucks and was for hire. I believe my Dad's older brother who was a Korea vet was a large influence as well in mechanics. He had a garage and tractor dealership and then went on to teach diesel mechanics at 2 colleges. Dad taught me much when I was young and I became a self learner. Overhauled engines and transmissions as a teen.

I think Dad lived a bit vicariously through me and my 2 brothers. Lol. He bought a 440 out of a burnt rv and helped us install it in place of the knocking 383 in our charger. When 15 we helped him rebuild the 727 in it as well.

Dad broke his hip last week trying to tackle a project by himself. Hopefully he can bounce back because he has hundreds of projects yet he wants to tackle!
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My dad was a mason contractor and could build anything with stone but nothing automotive. He left that to my uncle who owed a service station and that’s who I got the mechanical bug from. Some of my fondest memories was going to my uncle’s service station and hanging out. I can remember when I was about 14 my father asked my uncle if he could replace the clutch in his truck. My uncle’s reply to my dad was that I was perfectly capable of doing it myself even though I never had done anything like that before. When I turned 16 my uncle took me to a State auction and helped me buy my first car. My dad taught me a lot but being mechanically inclined was not one of them.
My grandpa was a Kendall Oil rep, and many trips to the drag strip, tractor pulls, round track races and anything Kendall related cemented our love for all things car related. Ironically, Grandpa never so much as turned a wrench on anything, he was a businessman with a company car. My Dad was a computer engineer, but he did like cool cars. When he met my Mom, he was driving a Olds Vista Cruiser, which he traded in to help find the purchase of his dream car, pictured here. After a summer of racing and daily driving, he was forced to trade it in on a 6 cyl 3 speed Duster, when both he and my Mom got laid off from their jobs. They both worked for Burroughs. But that car is what started a love affair with all things Mopar for my brother and I, a love that continues to this day. Something about a convertible 6bbl 4 speed Roadrunner will do that to you, and this car was the most beautiful car I’ve ever seen. Like to have it back, but I fear it’s long gone. Last seen in old town Plymouth Mi, behind Shelley’s Chicken, up on blocks with the engine pulled. Wonder why?






my old man had 8 kids :rolleyes: ....... no time for hot rodding

but he worked on and could fix anything......... WW2 Navy vet, was a machinist on a destroyer in the south Pacific, and later a career union iron worker..... I remember he made me pay attention when packing wheel bearings, I may have been 10, 11 years old
My dad was an electrician by trade but really liked cars. He helped me put clutches in my Challenger when I ruined them. We had our disagreements at times but we both really liked cars. I drove my 2015 Challenger Shaker to Iowa from Washington state to show him. Even though he wasn't able to get in a car anymore, he sure admired it. We would go through the parking lot where he was staying, me walking and him in his wheelchair and admire the different cars. When I was working on the restoration of my 74 Charger Rallye, he'd ask me how it was coming along and I'd send him pictures of the progress. Unfortunately, he passed away in Dec 2019. I painted the car in Aug 2020. It was completed in Aug 2021 so he never got to see the final product. I sure miss talking cars with him. My son and I, and my grandson and I talk cars now.
Terry W.
My dad was #3 of 9 kids. His dad died when he was just starting high school so he quit school and joined the 3 Cs to help grandma with money for the rest of the kids. He went to WWII and Korea. Came back from Korea and got a job at the local Chrysler Plymouth/ International/ International Harvester dealer working on the farm equipment. He would sometimes come home for supper and then go back to work to get some farmers tractor going during harvest and I would go with him. He was always trading for an old car that had something wrong with it and would fix it up and sell it for extra money. I remember going with him to the junkyard to get a trany or engine for something. The dealer closed and he got hired by the JD dealer when I was 14. After a year of college I started at the JD dealer working right next to him. Pretty cool. I always remember the farmers coming to the shop and going right to him for help bypassing the shop foreman (he was a dick). He's been gone for 23 yrs now and I miss him every day.
Wow great stories guys. Really am enjoying reading about our dads! Even or especially the simple ones!
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Wow great stories guys. Really am enjoying reading about our dads! Even or especially the simple ones!
I also really enjoy reading here about everyone’s Dads and the experience(s) they gave us.
Since I can safely assume most of us were raised by the “Greatest Generation”, maybe instead of us being known as Baby Boomer's, they should consider us the Fortunate Generation, not for what we have, but what we got by being raised by these wonderful people.
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