Colby Malone: Car Guy to Dad Mode

photos by: the author 

Do We Really Have to Put the Cars Away After the Stork Arrives? GMEFI Magazine Contributor, Colby Malone, Thinks Not… 

We’ve all heard the lament from an old codger about the classic car they sold when their kids came. With a misty eye, they’ll describe every detail of that car with astonishing recollection. My dad and his ’66 GTO, my father-in-law and his Tri-Five Chevy, and a family friend and his ’67 SS396 Chevelle are a few sad examples that come to mind.

In hindsight it’s easy for us to question their decision to get rid of a car; but the dreams of our youth change to the responsibilities of adulting and hard decisions must be made. Not only is our time limited, but also we feel guilty spending time on our car instead of with our kids. So that car you once enjoyed daily just sets or the project you onced worked late nights on just collects dust in a pile of parts. The next thing you know, it’s slowly pulling out of the driveway or being loaded onto a trailer headed for its new home.

So what is to be done? I’m not proposing that the answer is simply “don’t sell any cars or projects you have” when the kids come along. Financial responsibilities, storage, moving, and a myriad of issues may completely justify selling a car. The problem is that for many people it signals the end-of-the-road for them as an automotive enthusiast. That youthful exuberance of Saturday night cruising and pride from wrenching on a project is lost. So the real point is preserving your enthusiasm for the hobby itself and passing it on to the next generation. There’s a lot of ways to do that beyond owning a concourse quality classic car, or 1,000hp track terror.

If you do still have a hot rod or project car, involve the kids. Let them play in the front seat while you polish the wheels or hold the flashlight while you pull the plugs (and hold your tongue). Use that G-body frame as a jungle-gym while you mock-up that big block (cue eye-roll from your wife). Take them on rides when they are old enough. With or without a car, you can let other car enthusiasts bear-the-torch for you. Push that stroller through a cruise-in or car show. Put some hearing protection on those little ears and go to any local race track available: drag, circle, dirt, whatever. Smile as they put fingerprints on those shiny new cars at your local dealership showroom.

 

Keep your passion for the hobby and industry going as well. Subscribe to a few digital magazines in the car niche you like. Also follow some more general industry-wide publications to understand new or changing trends. Argue something pointless on social media. Visit a speed shop and custom body shop to talk to whoever will. Break away for night with your old car buddies to watch a race or sit around in a garage scattered with car parts. Do anything to keep you in-touch with other car enthusiasts and to keep gaining knowledge.

As specs of gray invade our hair or it abandons us completely, patience and wisdom can lead us back to the hobby we love. Then one day soon, we can wear our jean shorts and white New Balances in a second-hand C8, fully restored highschool dream car, or whatever fuels our passion. Who knows, we might even have a new buddy to talk cars with. Until then, keep the faith, keep the car, and keep learning and growing in the hobby.

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