Today is the day we officially celebrate dads.
But if you’re fortunate enough to have had a gearhead dad, you likely celebrate your father every day by sharing his passion for cars, trucks, and all things automotive. Your dad likely had some influence in getting you interested in cars. He may have affected your buying habits or sparked your interest in racing. And along the way, he probably taught you some valuable skills and life lessons in the garage or on the road.
Recently, we asked hot rod-minded people on Summit Racing’s Facebook and Twitter pages about their best car/truck memory with dad. In addition to some great stories, we came away with 10 common things we learn from growing up around a gearhead dad (in your own words).
#1. How to Drive Stick
“Learning how to drive stick shift in my dad’s old ’54 ford farm truck. Wish I had that truck now!” –Bruce M.
“Mine had his own used car dealership when I was in grade school. Took me for a ride in a 1967 Chevelle SS, 4-speed car. He seemed to know how to handle that manual transmission very well as I recall.” –Jim F.
“My dad taught my mom to drive a manual transmission in his ’69 RoadRunner on a steep hill near our house. It hopped, skipped, bounced & smoked, but she figured it out. Lol. Great memories!!” –Galen James
#2. Car Biases
“My dad raising me right from the start—nothing but a Chevy! Handing him tools in the garage, letting me drive when I was little on back roads, buying me my first Chevy, letting me drive his ’80 Malibu the last day of senior year in 2007” –Jess M.
#3. How to Do Good Burnouts
“In 2005, I was 15. We got a brand new retro silver Mustang GT. Brand spanking new. My dad came and picked me up and he did one of the biggest burnouts. I still have not came close to seeing something comparable. He looked at me and said “this thing shifts with authority” as his mullet was whipping around in the wind. LOL. I now own a silver 2005 GT.” –Rob H.
“One of my favorite memories with my dad was right after we swapped a V8 into my Maverick. He did a burnout all way across the parking lot at his work. The mark was there for years until they resealed the lot.” –Danny A.
“My dad lighting them up in my mom’s ’64 SS Chevelle convertible with some friends of mine in the back seat. I think I was 10 at the time. Great memory.” –Kenny A.
#4. Good Wrenching Skills
“Learning how to fix a car from watching and helping my dad.” –Nick B.
“When he took me to Dick Landy’s clinic at the Dodge dealership he worked at in 1969.” –Howard R.
“The motor of my first car was on the floor in pieces and he looked at me and said, you’re going to build it. It was a 350 Chevy motor swap. He taught me everything I know.” –Edward W.
“So many great memories since he drag raced and worked for NHRA. But having him help me build my first engine when I was 15 for my ’57 Belair and then firing it up with open headers and breaking in the cam is one of the best.” –Marc S.
“Him showing me how to change a transmission.” –Mike G.
#5. Passion for Racing
“Taking my dad to the drags one last time before he died. He had a great day.” –Ben W.
“Winning my first drag race and having to race him in the semi finals to get there. Being a car guy is the best thing he is passing to me.” –Jacob R.
“My pops taking his time to take me to Budds Creek Dragway in Maryland back in ’72 for my 1st time!!!! Miss you pops!!!” –Rusty B.
“Fighting to throw a motor in an old ’85 Chevy truck at midnight on Saturday so we could go to the track on Sunday.” –Cody D.
“Winning a $3500 bracket race in his ’67 Camaro, then having an ice cold Budweiser with him. Miss him dearly.” –Rod J.
#6. Basic Driving Skills
“Sitting on his lap, mom and lil’ sis in back, learning to drive on the way home from church every Sunday, right past the local police station! Once I could reach the pedals and see over the dash, I was driving on country roads when we went hunting or fishing. He was not pleased to learn I had learned to power slide though!” –Greg R.
“Riding in his Mach 1 when I was a child . I would sit on his lap and drive.” –John B.
“Dad teaching me where my tires were by having me run over the crab apples he had placed in the driveway!” –Judy M.
“Road trip to NY in a ’69 Monaco…he set me on top of the 8 track cassettes case and set the car in cruise control and told me to keep it straight in between the lines and wake him up when I get to NY toll booth.” –Jennifer P.
“Learning to drive the 1956 ton and half Chevy stock truck at 8 or 9 years old. ‘When you see me waving, push in on this pedal and the one in the middle, turn the key on, then let the one in the middle out, and slowly let the one on the left out. Honk the horn if you need help.” –Cody M.
#7. The Importance of Teamwork
“Doing a big burnout in the Corvette 350 6-71 supercharger… I was on cop watch and through the smoke I saw a white car with red and blue on top… We shut ‘er down and pulled over just to watch a crown Vic with a red and blue kayak strapped to the top. LOL… RIP dad.” –Jeremy K.
“All of them…me and my dad were always together…we built my first and second square body GMC Truck. He talked me into buying my ’68 GTO…If it weren’t for him I wouldn’t be here and have bought and owned over 142 vehicles since I was 15. Yes, I made a list of them all and adding to it daily…” –Daniel V.
“Working on my 1974 Dodge Dart and then 1979 Monte Carlo. We cursed those cars together.” –Charles R.
“My dad is my pit crew and teammate.” –Kenny H.
#8. Tough Life Lessons
“My brother and I arguing over who gets the window. I lost but sweet revenge…dad spit out one window and landed on the side of his face in the other window.” –Bob D.
“My dad and I were working on his Jeep and he had the battery unhooked. I hit the horn button not knowing it stuck and dad went to test the headlights. When he touched the cable to the terminal, the horn went off and we both jumped about ten feet. We couldn’t stop laughing at ourselves for jumping like we did.” –Robert B.
“Having my fingers slammed in the hood of his ’70-something Lebaron. (he told me to watch my fingers).” –James R.
“When I was warming my hands on the exhaust and he yelled at me to don’t ever do that… hahahahaha.” –Mark C.
“Sitting in the center of the front bench seat next to him in his ’67 Mercury watching the speedometer and counting out together ’til it reached 100. Then my least favorite memory is running in the house when we got home saying “mama mama, daddy went 100!!” Nothing like showing your pops that you don’t know when to zip your lips and be cool.” –John M.
“Learning at a young age of 3 or 4 how to use and respect your tools. We tinkered on everything from bicycles to hot rods and even made an electromagnetic flying saucer. Favorite times were working on Camaros and El Caminos with him. Miss him dearly.” –Terry W.
“My favorite memory is all of them when we worked on the cars. He taught me from a young age to take care of the cars so when you worked on them it was because you wanted to, not because you had to.” –Richard B.
#10. Enjoying The Journey
“Family camping trips in my pop’s ’70 Ford F-250 camper special. Had it since 1972. Sold it in 1993 for a ’82 Toyota sr5 4×4. Wish I had it back? No. My dad later told me that it got 9mpg loaded or empty.” –Mathew D.
“Driving to the beach in a big a– 1972 Impala coupe. Just me and pops.” –David S.
“Took a UHaul to Michigan by Canada to pick up artifacts for a college. Some of the best father-son road trip memories that will last a lifetime.” –David F.
“Road trips through the western U.S. in an ’89 Toyota with a slide in camper. Still have that truck.” –-Mike M.