Where'd it all begin—for you? That is, what got your inner automotive gears going in the first place? I often wonder, quite regularly, how others became involved in the hobby. Is it in your blood, literally—did it get passed down from your parents, grandparents? Or, like in my case, were you not born with an ooga horn for a pacifier, and hot rods just sort of came out of the blue at some point in your life?
For those who've inherited a hopped-up gene, as it were, it's a simple explanation: you've grown up immersed in hot rods/customs, and just like sports or politics, as I stated above … it's in your blood. I'm curious, though, how many people throughout the years have ended that particular bloodline by not carrying on the family tradition? Most of my friends and a good number of peers are "traditionalists", however, directly crediting their fathers for their hot rod heritage.
My curiosity lies more with the "first-gen" rodders, the intrigue being with the how, where, and when. While my father was never a hot rodder, per se, like a lot of dads, he's always been a car guy, but mainly from the spectator point of view. If I were to have inherited anything directly auto-related, it'd be my passion for motorsports, namely NASCAR and SCORE off-road racing. As for hot rods/customs, I can't really put my finger on anything specific—there's no particular event or occurrence that I can credit as being the reason I got the bug initially. My earliest recollection is drawing flamed '56 F-100 panel trucks in the second grade—first getting in trouble for doodling them instead of paying attention to the lesson at hand, then being commended for what was perceived as a budding artistic ability rather than the acknowledgement of a young hot rodder's seeds being sewn.
None of my neighbors growing up were hot rodders either. The closest thing to a relative that could possibly be considered one was an uncle who had a rodded Model A as a teen (he also took over Grandpa's service station, a place that I do credit as a viable source that "fueled" my passion-to-be). So, somehow, one day I just became a hot rodder. Maybe it came out of my obsession to collect, which started early on with, of all things, beer cans—a hobby the mother of this child was without a doubt not something to be proud of! That said, nobody in my family collects…anything. But ultimately, all that really matters is that whenever, wherever it was, I got the bug, it's staying with me.
Initially, my son took great interest with old cars and motorcycles—he'd gladly go with me to car shows and local cruises. Admittedly, it was likely more due to being able to ride along in one of my cars/trucks, but the fascination was there nonetheless. As he's gotten older, that desire has waned, something I've noticed in others' kids to some degree (but at the same time, I've also seen it greatly increase). I'll never force anything upon my son other than taking a shower or finishing his homework, but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't be disappointed to some degree if his interest faded altogether over time. Hopefully, the continued exposure through his father will prevent that from happening!
To further satisfy my curiosity, I'd love to hear some of your stories of how you got into the hobby, regardless of whether it's in the blood or not.
Initially, my son took great interest with old cars and motorcycles—he'd gladly go with me to car shows and local cruises.