I’ve been wanting to start a regular column for some time now, but between this show and rest of life time itself is often scarce. Yet here I am, with stories to tell. I will endeavor to make this a weekly event There will be times when I will fail. But there are always things to share about that subject that brings us all together: Cars.
Recently my son has given me a new perspective on this obsession we all share. We are at opposite ends of our car experience and he is showing me anew how cars stir emotion. I never set out to teach him about cars, but I’m happy to share my interests with him. With the amount of work I do for this show he knows it as a regular part of our lives. But in the last year he’s stepped beyond following my interests into a love affair of his own.
In his wall of toys there’s a plastic and rubberized child's camera given to him by my mother-in-law during a fit of spoiling. It has a terrible lens and takes low-res photos, but offers something no other camera in our collection can hope to achieve; this is my son’s camera. Any time we go to our local cars & coffee, my son insists on bringing his camera. He walks around with the lens half way to his eye and yells things like “look at this sweet baby!” as he passes a pristine Porsche 912.
I swear I have never said that sentence. I have no idea how this exclamation formed in him at the sight of a car he likes.
My son took all of those photos. The are exactly as he captured them. He ran over to me afterward with a pride I can’t muster for my best work. And the truth is I’m very proud of him. He’s a six year old taking car photos and making grand declarations of love over automobiles. People around me smile and shake their heads at us as if I set out for him to be like me. I marvel at the realization this has gone beyond my introduction to this world and become an obsession of his own.
In the last week alone he’s cried when I put my FR-S in for service, begged me to take him for a ride in the BMW M2, and called out “there’s a Porsche” when he saw a GT3 in the distance and followed with “that sounds amazing” as it passed.
“Thanks for that,” my wife said to me with a smile. The truth is she mostly loves it too.
All of this has me thinking about the car’s unique place in our psyche. What other common tool or necessity in our lives stirs so much genuine love? Total strangers will stop to look at someone else’s beautiful car. I can’t think of any other daily item which brings out the selfie cameras and stirs conversation like a sexy car in a parking lot. They are aspirational, nostalgic, and inspiring all while being a transportation appliance in our lives.
Of course, the role of the car is changing. Dense cities, depleted resources, and digital connectivity will eventually alter the car’s place in our world. But one look at my son convinces me that these things we drive continue to stir us in a way no other modern invention has ever achieved. In spite of all the reasons to “get over” cars, or move beyond fast and fun sheetmetal as a means of transport, my son can’t turn away. Neither can I.
That’s why I do this.