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"Playing with Cars: How Kids Become Adults Obsessed with Machines"

Have you read this yet? Never understood why your love for tinkering with machines rolled over from your childhood? According to Brett Berk,"It starts with Hot Wheels and garbage trucks and blossoms into something more." Read how he takes a dive into the psychology of why you all never stopped loving automobiles!

[READ HERE] Playing with Cars: How Kids Become Adults Obsessed with Machines

What was that key moment you can remember that sparked your love that rolled into your adulthood? Many kids have dreams and aspirations. I wanted to be a singer, but my father being in the dealership life, since before I was born, rooted a much greater passion for cars in my adulthood. Share your thoughts with us!


Old 08-11-2020, 03:29 PM
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My father was in the dealership business since before I was born, too. VWs and Porsches, since 1955.
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:26 PM
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I was just fascinated that they could be driven. I had Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs as a kid, but my favorite toys were some copper pipe fittings that were left in a room in our chicken house that I put together shapes from. From there I cobbled together a wooden coaster that would run down the only 10' hill on our property. A lot of work for not much excitement, but I did build it myself.
When I was 8 I was old enough to drive the tractors on our farm. It took a LOT of hours, but I learned to get a feel for machinery. Some of it seemed to be instinct and some I learned. When my dad and I were both plowing in the field - him on a John Deere 520 and me on a model 50 the noise was awful. Dad did nothing about it. It was up to me, at the age of 9, to figure out that if I moved the throttle just a bit the engine's sounds would be in synch and the two of us working together would sound like a smooth running machine. I have no idea how I learned the concept of a smooth running machine. I think that part was instinct.
It wasn't such a big leap from tractors to cars and trucks once I was in high school.
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Old 08-11-2020, 05:51 PM
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I grew up without a dad, and after listening to the other kids BS'ing about "Dad's building me a go-cart." etc, I built my own. So a childhood of doing it myself made me into a natural engineer/designer/builder. Sure I'd have rather sat back and had someone else do it for me but I wasn't that lucky.
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:05 PM
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I took everything apart as a kid. Starting with the family TV @5.

Used to put the battery charger on old oil cans. i liked the popping noise from protection.

My grandpa was the same way, dad not so much.

rjp
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:09 PM
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I didn't have any family memories to cars in my youth as they were just appliances to get somewhere.

I did have an inherent curiosity from age 6-7 and recognized the bicycle shop welded the frame lopsided/short after the trailing frame legs of the beautiful Schwinn broke and needed to be fixed but the rim rubbed as a result. That was not a positive encounter as I recall. Dad was not mechanically inclined, unlike his father. A gift of a Sears bike at the age of 7-9 in a box had to go to the same shop to get assembled, as neither one of us was able to finish it quickly enough. There wasn't much time spent together on that project. He has since passed years ago but I am glad we shared other good times together.
With his passing, the term "Life is short." should never be underestimated..
Mom on the other hand had a curious habit and tended to outlaw or sabotage anything us kids seriously got into regardless if it was a positive thing. She was exceptional at other things however. Life is a trade off. In retrospect, we should always consider the memories of our youth can be corrupted in many different ways and accept our own mistakes and flaws but that tomorrow is always a brand new day. Some experiences may be hard coded as negatives,but in the long run they can also be positives.

Overall, that idea of self-sufficiency and connection to understanding mechanical ways was not a natural hallmark in my own youth, but that should never be a deterrent to anyone with perhaps the same type of middle class upbringing. Or any class for that matter.

I started to get the generalized mechanical bug again in late high school after building so many misc bicycles from the dumpsters and taking my motorcycle and cars to shops at great expense (for the hard working young myself) but then not having them fixed correctly as a result. There was some outright fraud a few times. That occurred enough times to question if I couldn't even fix it as a result. It shouldn't be that difficult, should it?

My own Porsche bug happened at about about 17 when a friend's father somehow let me drive his early car on a smooth dirt road. He told me to slow down. I was cruising light in third gear but instead of 35mph it was 65. That was some car and I still owe him a gift of gratitude if that is still possible. I've never forgotten that experience of bliss.

The epiphany of realizing that all mechanical things are just objects formed and created and then attached together for a specific purpose gradually occurred and is still occurring to this day. Big parts are the same as small parts. In mid-life I try to remain a student of what I still do not know which is vast. But all these objects can be handled by the normal person when they understand how to with the available objectives and resources. The complexity and interaction of different systems changes over time, and the end result is to accomplish the same goal given different circumstances. There is always a solution to be accomplished however the difficulty. It doesn't always happen the first attept but perseverance usually wins out at the end. Learning from
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Old 08-11-2020, 06:38 PM
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My Dad was always tinkering with something in the garage, mostly garden tractors, (we still get together at 79, and 55 to attend garden tractor plow days). I had my own set of tools. I subscribed to some of the original car mags like "Super Chevy", and "Car Craft", but always liked the looks, and sounds of a sports, or muscle car.

As soon as I have grand children, I am poised to instill the love of cars (and motorized things) into them as well.

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Old 08-12-2020, 02:58 AM
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My dad died when I was 4 but my mom was good at encouraging my mechanical skills. She bought me a old vacuum cleaner when I about 3 because I kept taking the hose and pipes apart on ours. Then through childhood most of my toys were something that could be taken apart. Legos played a big roll in my childhood. Lots of models were built and painted.

Motorcycles and cars were an early fascination too. At about 5, my mom took to me to a motorcycle shop and asked if they could give me a ride on a motorcycle. One of guys put on the tank of a motorcycle and gave me a ride around the parking lot.

Once I started riding a bicycle, I started working on bicycles. My first bike shop job was at 13 working at a Schwinn shop. Then on to motorcycles in college and eventually Porsches
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:05 AM
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My parents saw cars as big expensive appliances that get parked outside.

I wanted to drive as soon as possible, and got my permit at 15 1/2 and license on the day I turned 16. Dad gave me an interest free loan to by a $600 1960 VW bug. ($4,000 today adjusted for inflation) and he made it clear, I was responsible for 100% of all costs for the car. He did pay for my insurance for two years
which was a nice help, and he provided a place to live, and "room and board" of course.

If I wanted to adjust the valves or change the oil, I had to do it, and he was not going to help, as he was working 50 and 60 hours weeks and an Air Force officer.

The Air Force Base had a Auto Hobby shop, so I could go there, and use their tools, and that helped a lot. One of my high school buddies had a dad that was a auto mechanic and he showed me how to change the oil and we replaced the badly leaking push rod seals.

My brother was a mechanic, but he was not at all interested in helping me after a day of working on customer cars. I would have had to pay my brother shop rates to work on my car, and I was too broke.

Growing up we played with small slot cars but never played with Hot Wheels, and never understood them.

I really don't know where my love of cars came from. I can remember the first time I saw a 911, likely about 1967 I fell in love. It was what I listed after. When dad was looking for a new appliance to park outside I begged him to go test drive a 911. He did and I was in heaven to sit inside one, in the back seat and and the salesman explained the car to dad. Dad bought a Oldsmobile Delta 88 instead of the 911. I do have to admit the Olds is a better family car with two boys.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:30 AM
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My Dad always had a sports car, usually British, so I learned to work on cars with him and enjoyed it immensely.

I can tell you the exact moment I caught the Porsche bug.

We lived near Mulholland Drive growing up - in the 60's before California got crowded. He had a Lotus 7 in 1967 and would go for Saturday morning drives all through the coastal mountains around Mulholland.

We lived on a small ranch and I was playing basketball at the top of our driveway when I heard him coming home. He was followed by a 356 (not 914), another 7 and a 911, the first one I had really seen up close.

They independently met driving and latched up. My Dad invited them back for a beer.

The 911 owner was a great guy and offered my a ride. I was eleven. I was also hooked.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:33 AM
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Paul, we likely both fell in love with a 1967 911 about the same time. Weird.

I used to ride my bike over to the BOQ (Base Officers Quarters) where the single officers with no family were housed. Mostly pilots, they always had cool cars in the parking lot. I knew to park my bike and walk around the cars with my hands behind my back. I did slobber a lot on the cars. Sunbeam Tigers, MGB-GT Austin-Healey Mk 3000s, Bug Eyed Sprites, 356C and 911s and a few Jags. They saw me as a kid but were happy to talk to me once they heard my dad was a pilot.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:44 AM
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I was obsessed with cars by the time I was 2 or 3 and it never went away. Announced on my fourth birthday I was going to "save my pennies and buy a Porsche" and five years ago I finally did. Grew up drawing cars, building model cars, going to car races, reading about cars, cars, went to engineering school and worked on race cars, went to art school to study car design, burned out from too much school, worked in the car industry as an engineer, do you see a trend? I have no idea where it came from because it didn't run in my family and I didn't grow up in a car-culture environment. But if I had to pick one thing from my early childhood that might have been critical, it might have been watching "Susie the Little Blue Coupe." I'm only guessing but when I saw it again for the first time in decades as an adult my reaction was so intense I cried, so there must be something there.
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:04 AM
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Dad was a mechanical engineer working in aerospace. He always took care of his own cars figuring he could do it better than any shop. My brother and I were enlisted in these endeavors at an early age.
We were always building models and were probably the first glue sniffers without knowing it. Mom always made sure we had the bedroom window open whenever we were model building.

When we were big enough, Dad got us a go kart. We hot rodded that thing to the best of our ability, and then it tossed the rod out the side of the block. Dad took us down to one of the only welding shops in LA that could weld aluminum, LeBow's welding down in Venice. We knew it was $$$ to have it fixed. But, when all was said and done he patched it for free. He and his son's were hot rodders too, so I think he took pity on us. Anyways, we got our engine going again. We finally moved up to a live axle kart.
By this time we were old enough to drive. Had been rebuilding the family car engines out in the garage, on the floor. We raced our karts up at Oxnard and even drove them at the old Ontario Motor Speedway before it was torn down. When my brother flipped his kart up at Oxnard he had to drop out of school for a semester. He learned all about Vette fuel injection systems and rebuilt one while recovering. Learned how to tune them too. Our neighbor asked him to fix his after he had taken it down to Bill Thomas in LA to have him tune it. My brother got it running right.

So, my love of cars has been with me for a long time. When we moved to Santa Monica, Otto Zipper's Ferrari dealership was a block down the street from us. Phil Hill lived in SM too, up on Georgina St. How could we not be car lovers?
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Old 08-12-2020, 10:39 AM
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Some really cool stories, it's a joy to read them

Started playing with a Fischer Price garage, then creating my first Lego cars and ever since I've got my self deeper and deeper into trouble

Since my very first day of work I've never stopped my car playing, its even more fun when you spend other peoples money trying to make their car go faster

My all time record for one race season was around $25 million

After nearly 30 yrs of work people still invite me to play with their cars, one day I'll work out what I want to do when I grow up
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Old 08-12-2020, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckissick View Post
My father was in the dealership business since before I was born, too. VWs and Porsches, since 1955.
That's awesome. My great grandfather owned an Indian Motorcycle dealership in Chicago when he settled here from Italy. My grandpa always said that he was never mechanically inclined, that's why he played football, but I assume I get that part from that side of my family as well.

Old 08-19-2020, 08:27 AM
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