why we love cars

I couldn't refuse posting this up...the cutest nephews ever - at Viva last April

Speaking of car shows, I couldn’t resist posting this up. The cutest nephews ever – at Viva last April.

I confess. Before attending the 2009 National Roadster Show I didn’t quite ‘get’ car shows. But wait…don’t throw Pabst cans my way yet. As much as I’ve always liked cars and enjoy looking at them, shows seemed like a bunch of people just hanging out and drooling.

Well…the hubcaps have now fallen off my eyes. For the first time ever I actually talked to people *gasp*! It was so fun meeting others with some of the same interests as me. Chatting about our favorite subject and hearing their perspective on the hobby that we both love. I think I’m beginning to understand the lure of car shows. It’s not just an abundance of amazing cars to look at. It’s mostly the community of people that gather and become your friends. People aren’t just sitting around drinking beer (okay, so that happens too). They’re connecting, appreciating one another’s work, and seeing the unique innovations used.

As I talked with people – from casual observers to guys who’d been doing this professionally for decades – I decided it would be interesting to find out what drew them to cars and who they’d learned from. Here’s what I found…

The biggest slice in the cakey goodness of loving cars has to go to the work going into a classic car. This could be time worked personally on your own car, perceiving how much time was spent on another’s, or enjoying a car’s workmanship in general. If I can feel proud of simple things like changing my own oil – I can only imagine how someone feels when they’ve rebuilt a project from the frame up. The greater amount of actual work someone’s done the greater they’ll be able to appreciate workmanship.

For those who’ve never put grease to a gasket – maybe you’re able to realize the craftsmanship of a skilled body shaper or appreciate the many hours & money put into a show car – but you probably aren’t aware of the inevitable problems arising during any given project. My own wake-up call was attempting to put back together the original carburetor that had already been taken apart when I bought the Stude. There’s a bucket full of pieces and all I had to do was get them back together –detailed instructions come with this right? Wrong. After searching the internet and finding a rough diagram, I went to work. I’d gotten the thing back together generally, but I still had a whole bunch of bits with no resting place. This sort of headache and a zillion others are what car people deal with. Workmanship shows not only skilled craft but also the time, ingenuity, patience, and persistence needed to complete any car project.

While on the topic of work…in my conversations I also asked folks who first taught them about cars. Overwhelmingly the answer was “Dad”. And if not Dad then some other older guy who took them under wing. This passing on of wisdom is something that we’ve largely lost in our too-busy society. I’m thankful that the car crowd is full of generous people who love sharing what they’ve learned. On my end, I’m thankful for my guys down at Studebaker Parts and Service, who took me in and from the beginning were always willing to let me hang around and work.

It’s no surprise that one of the things drawing people to classic cars is the looks. Everybody has their own preference. You know what they say – “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. And one thing I’m finding out…there is so much more then just the general look of a car. Maybe the car looks hideous but a knowledgeable person will see the beauty of how the car was put together and will appreciate that. Or perhaps another fella has a fetish for whitewalls. Nearly a zillion different things can draw someone to the look of a car, and the National Roadster show had a little bit of everything. From restoration to customs to low-riders and beyond. As far as style goes, people I talked with voiced their favorite as traditionals and hot rods…one guy even had the boldness to say Japanese imports (whatever floats your boat – there’s certainly enough love to go around!)

There are plenty of car lovers out there that haven’t yet committed to having a classic of their own. For example my friend Emil who’s trying to be “responsible”. (I know one day you’ll no longer be able to resist Emil!) Unfortunately, those cats can’t enjoy so much the next category: what cars do. Car enthusiasts love cars because of what they do. The way cars feel when you drive them, the sounds and beautiful smell of gasoline they emit, and also the ability (or reason) to get out and drive and taste the sweetness of freedom on the open road.

There’s a lot to love about my Stude – one of them is what she does to me when I sit down on her comfy bench seat. Perhaps this isn’t quite as typical of a response as to what cars “do” for us. But Stude does provide my own little bit of earth, my own little world. Earlier this year, stuck in bed with flu for days and stir-crazy, I finally went out to my driveway and just sat in Stude for a few minutes…she’s my own little happy place.

Last, but certainly not least – in fact one could argue it permeates all other categories – is history. Classic cars have a history. Whether it’s an individual history or a cultural one. A past mechanic of mine had a 50s Buick sitting neglected in his lot. When I asked him about it he told me that he could never get rid of the car – his son was born in it on the way to the hospital nearly 50 years ago. Classic cars usher us back to different eras as well. A builder from nor-Cal talked about how Traditional rods, bring back the ingenuity, rawness, and personal pride of a different era. And of course Classics connect us with pieces of history – both through the metal of an actual car but even more importantly through relationships. Hearing history through stories of the old-timers is invaluable and highly treasured by younger car enthusiasts.

I’d like to give huge thanks to all the folks who took the time and chatted with me…thanks for carrying on the tradition! Stude and I will be at Viva’s car show in April…I hope to meet even more of you then – Happy Trails!

P.S. If ya can’t get enough of Grease Girl, you’ll be glad to know you can now subscribe! Check the sidebar for either an RSS or email option. -kristin

6 Responses

  1. Reno

    Okay, Kristin… I’m retarded. How do I subscribe to this? I can’t figure it out. -R

  2. ant pam

    …find out tomorrow!! Come back for a full article —————-ok, I’m back and it’s after tomorrow. Also, I have the same question about subscribing??
    Love you Miss — ant pam

    • greasegirl

      Did I say that?! The weekend was too much fun 🙂

      SUBSCRIPTIONS…you have 3 options now.
      By going up to the right hand corner of you screen under “Blog Info” you can choose “Subscribe to Blog”. Which means when you log into WordPress, you’ll have automatic updates in the Bog Surfer when I do a new post (at least I think that’s how it works).
      OR I have now added subscriptions through Feedburner. So if you use any RSS readers, my content will show up there. And a new to me, Feedburner offers an email option…so my updates will arrive in your friendly email inbox!

      I promise…the article will be up ASAP…until then…


  3. Kimberly

    Good work Grease Girl. You’re looking at the world through car eyes, and I’m seeing it through DJ eyes 🙂 Thanks for sharing a slice of what you see.


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