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Hooniverse Asks: What Was the First Car That Made You Fall in Love With Cars?

Robert Emslie October 18, 2016 Hooniverse Asks 44 Comments


All you need is love, or at least that’s what the Beatles once musically averred. If you’re reading this site, right here, right now, then it’s most likely that one of the things you love is cars, and that had to start somewhere. So, you hopeless romantics, what was the car or truck that started your love affair with the automobile?

Image: MotorTorque.org

  • GTXcellent

    There isn’t one specific car or truck or boat or tractor or steam locomotive or radial powered bi-plane or anything else I can point to.

    This isn’t a lifestyle or a choice, I was simply born this way.

    • kogashiwa

      I was trying to think of what it could be as well and couldn’t.

      One of the first things I drew when I was two or three years old was a car. It looked vaguely like a Beetle so maybe I’ll go with that?

      • Sjalabais

        My first word, before mom or dad: “Auto”.

        • GTXcellent

          apparently my first word was “cra” – baby short-hand for tractor

    • Rover 1

      Does it have to be a real car?

      • dead_elvis, inc.

        Shamefully, many of mine died in a fiery pit during my junior pyromaniac phase. The remaining few dozen are stashed in the back of a storage unit since the last time I moved. I should dig ’em out for my nephew. He’s 6, and too closely watched at all times to explore the wonders of combustion independently. They should last him indefinitely.

  • Maymar


    It wasn’t one specific car – that was basically the view from my crib, and I watched it for hours.

    Although, one of the earliest specific cars I remember being fascinated by was my grandparents’ ’86 Crown Victoria (I wanted to go stay with them just to ride in it), and I was really disappointed when my parents failed to buy a Ford Aerostar or Eagle Colt Vista when I was 4.

    • The Real Number_Six

      “There were a hundred and sixty of us living in a small shoebox in the middle of the road…”

      • Lokki

        Ahem, private, well upholstered and comfortable air-conditioned shoeboxes with stereophonic music, tons of horsepower, and room in the trunk for ….well, anything. Little living rooms with big sofas in the back for me and my gal….

        America was a different world then, and anyone driving a small, noisy uncomfortable car did so because of some hair-shirt quasi-religious reason rather than need. No one had to choose a penalty box in those days with gas at 26 cents a gallon.

      • Maymar

        Well, shoeboxes stacked on top of each other beside the road. Not poor though, just frugal. Ditched that for the suburbs within a couple years.

      • Alff

        You were lucky to have cardboard. We lived in a paper bag in a septic tank.

      • Rover 1
  • JayP

    The SuperBeetle when I started driving. Until then I’d just played with HotWheels as cars go. That led me to follow motorsport as much as I could pre-internets. Working on the ‘B for autox started me down that path of learning to wrench on cars… for better or worse is still in my blood.

  • Lokki

    Hmmm. I was always kind of a car kid in the early 60’s. Like GTXcellent points out, it was just in the air somehow. You had the Cobras wowing the Ferraris, the Chapperals with their wings, the STP Turbine car at Indy (and Indy was a BIG deal with even moms watching it), the beautiful Mitchell Corvettes and Riveras, the Mustang, the Toronado, the Citroen DS Goddess…. it was just something new, amazing, and exciting all the time.

    The car that “changed my life” though would have to be the Austin Healy 3000. My sister’s boyfriend came over in his dad’s 3000 on beautiful afternoon, and since she was out (with some other boy, shhh!) he took me for a ride. We encountered a friend of his who owned a 273 Barracuda S and we somehow ended up on the not-quite-open stretch of new interstate highway, racing the cars. The Barracuda ran off for the first half mile or so, but the big Healy ran it down because: overdrive. It was my first experience of life at (indicated) 120 miles an hour.

    The experience left me stunned. I turned my car-gaze to Europe for the first time. Here was a small and sexy car with a six-cylinder engine that was able to outrun a pretty damn fast car…..

    This later led me to become a serial Alfa owner; cars my heart still races for, even if my wife and bank balance are less enthusiastic.

  • The Real Number_Six

    These two cars and both parents driving them like Paddy Hopkirk on tiny Irish roads: http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/uploads/cars/austin/5445281.jpg https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2157/3539071939_30a09f7301.jpg

  • Alff

    I was no more than 2. Dad managed a Chevy dealership. Mom got a 1968 Camaro RS/SS. Dad favored whatever cool he’d taken in trade. In particular there was a mid-year ‘vette. Grandma bought a new Malibu SS convertible from Dad’s dealership. All three cars were (Nassau?) blue and parked in a row on our driveway. I was hooked.

    • Batshitbox

      My mom rocked a 1968 Camaro convertible (red, 327) with an unexplained RS stripe for most of my infant-through-college years.

      • Alff

        I hope it’s still around.

        • Batshitbox

          She got rid of it when it became too valuable to daily drive. She wanted it to run free, and sold it to a trucker from New Jersey. I hear their highways are jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive, and that’s where I like to think the ol’ Chev is to this day.

          • Alff

            If it is, it will be visible. There’s no place left to hide.

    • Sjalabais

      That sounds pretty fantastic. I can’t imagine what could have gone wrong in order for you to not become a car guy.

  • tonyola

    The first time I saw a 1966 Toronado of these when I was 11 in the fall of 1965…

  • Wayne Moyer

    When my mother got her 1990 Grand Prix with the manual that was really the first time I really cared about a car. I was 18 and it was a really nice coupe. Red with the grey interior. It was quick and just looked nice. Then she followed it up less then a year later with the ’72 Spitfire and all of a sudden our garage was something special. Before this we had an ’86 Sentra so think about how much of a move up this was. It was a shame when the Grand Prix got totaled a couple years later in a rain storm. That Spitfire though became an obsession of mine. To the point that i have a very similar ’74 in my garage right now.


  • My neighbor’s ’67 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III. It was like having a supermodel move in down the street.

  • 0A5599

    Something more or less like this.

    At a more cognizant age, when I was about 7, my dad was restoring a Packard someplace where you rented a marked off space in a warehouse and brought your own basic tools, but had access to more specialized tools. Someone else in the facility was working on an E type.


  • Probably my dad’s Jeep CJ-7. Loved riding in it as a kid. Top down, no doors, barefoot gas pedal, and cool gauges that reminded me of an airplane. It was an experience unlike anything else on the road. It makes me sad that some people grow up now only knowing the inside of a quiet, boring family sedan.

    • Ross Ballot

      A Jeep is the reason behind my love for cars/trucks as well. My dad had a lifted 1989 YJ that we off-roaded pretty regularly. Many of my childhood memories involve or are directly related to that Wrangler. It’s undoubtedly the reason I’m so into the automotive world. He sold it back in 2003 but I still think about it occasionally. It fell apart more than it ran, but what it did for my life was irreplaceable.


      • I was gutted when my dad sold his for a minivan back in the ’80s. I’m happy to say that about a year ago, he got back into a Jeep. Bought himself an Unlimited. I think I actually teared up a little when he told me.

        • Ross Ballot

          I know the feeling. My dad got rid of his and it was one of the saddest days of my childhood. Lucky though, considering that thing was a major POS and time bomb.

          My pops also got into another Jeep…2014 Grand Cherokee. Nice rig, but not the off-roader that his used to be. Full-blown luxury machine, this one. 4WD works great, but we leave the actual wheeling for the quads…

  • Zentropy

    My dad kept his first new car (a ’66 Mercury Comet Caliente) under a cover in the garage, but never drove it. I remember it sat there like an ancient monument, and I liked to pull up the cover, hop in, and admire the gauges behind the wheel. He pulled it out one weekend when I was 10 or so, tuned it up, and took me for a spin. The 390 manual pushed me back in the seat in a way my mom’s station wagon never could. The mean green machine eventually became mine with 50k miles on it when I turned 16, and to my friends, that exhaust note became synonymous with my arrival. Love that car still.

  • ptschett

    I don’t remember ever not liking cars. I’m told I liked the noise of my dad’s ’74 SD-455 Trans-Am when I was a baby, so if I must be specific I’ll have to go with that.

  • mfbseth

    When I was little I saw three movies that sparked my interest in cars: Nothing But Trouble (e23 BMW 7-Series), Back to the Future (DeLorean and the Toyota pick-up), and Blues Brothers (’74? Dodge Monaco). My first car was a ’73 Plymouth Satellite Custom so I guess the Bluesmobile had the greatest impact on me.

  • Jofes2


    Despite neither one of them being car geeks to any greater extent, my parents had a 1960 Volvo PV until I was about five. Since it didn’t have any seat belts in the back, I had to sit in that child seat until I was four and my knees were pushed up behind my ears. When that didn’t work anymore, I got to sit in the back as long as i held on to the headrest in front of me. At last, they sold it to a friend of my dad who is more of an enthusiast. I think it is in good hands. He has got a small painting company with Duetts as company cars.

  • ramLlama

    I’ve been into cars for as long as I can remember. I was even into my dad’s black Plymouth Reliant back when I was a toddler.

    It seated 6. My mind was blown.

  • Rudy™

    We bought a ’65 Buick Wildcat Sedan (white) in probably 1967 or 1968. Dad always bought cars two years old. I don’t know why, but that one particular car interested me more than the others. My mother liked how much power it had. There was just something about the styling of it, also. Especially the interior. We sold it to the junkyard in 1975, the body quite rusted. A shame, really, since I would have liked that as a high school car–a buddy’s family owned a 2-door hardtop in green that I always admired. There were others in the family I also liked a lot (my uncle always had cool Oldsmobiles), but the Wildcat really was what sparked my interest in cars in general, and even at a young age, I could tell make, model and year of most cars on the road.

    Mom had the Wildcat. Dad drove a company car. He had an older Plymouth wagon at first, then had a ’69 (?) Suburban station wagon. Used to disconnect the speedometer and take it on vacation across the country. 😉 I remember him hiding two cases of Coors in the back, under the floor, when we returned from Colorado. It also hauled home 4×8 sheets of paneling and drywall, flat on the floor. My liking of SUVs has to do with this Suburban–the storage, the utility and load capacity, the ability to carry and tow larger “things.”

  • A 1987 Nissan Sentra. Hear me out…

    It was my second car, I got it when I was still in high school. My first car (A Dodge Shadow) unsurprisingly died on me, my dad found this Sentra in the paper and told me that was a good car, so I bought it. At some point I was doing maintenance on it it, and looked online for some information I needed to do the job, I came across an owners forum where I discovered people were actually modifying these things and making them faster. This was the late 90’s and I was in high school, so you can guess my “mods” were mostly ugly cosmetic things, I think my one change that might have increased performance at all was a K&N filter for the weak 1.5l carburetted motor. That poor, slow, riced out Sentra got me into cars all those years ago, much to the horror of my wallet.

    • Kind of a funny coincidence, my second car was also a Sentra, but I think it was an ’85, and was the first car which I owned and enjoyed. My first car was also a terribly running Chrysler, a 1985 5th Avenue. My Sentra left me broke in a different way though. I was taught by my mother and some of her friends, how to drive stick, but they never taught me about rev matching my downshifts. There was a fun corner that I used to enter in 3rd gear, and then slam into 2nd. And well… in one year I went through 2 clutches. It was fun while it lasted.

  • As a couple of others also shared, my first word was “car”. My second word was “Doug”, so I had my priorities set at an early age, I guess.

    My earliest memory of car desire was seeing the tail of an early second generation Camaro. That tapered tail with the concave rear panel and 4 circular taillights spoke to me.

    It helped that Dad and Grandpa were both car guys. One of Mom and Dad’s daily from before I was born until the early 80s was a 1965 Barracuda 4 speed with the Hurst shifter. Dad also had a ’37 Ford project in the garage that he eventually sold before really even starting it. Grandpa had my ’60 T’bird, a ’56 T’bird, a ’57 Eldorado (both now Dad’s) and a ’37 Cord 812 Supercharged Phaeton which was sold at auction in the 90s.

    I was doomed from the start.

  • bv911

    Since before I can remember. Story goes I was about two, we had just got back from the beach. Dad liked to go “check out the house” first (marauders?). There I was, in the middle of the front seat, and that gear lever and steering wheel looked just too inviting. I must have gotten it into neutral, and steered the car down the driveway and betweene The two crabapple trees in the front yard. Backwards, of course…!

  • longrooffan

    I came home from the hospital in a ’58 Chevy, rode around St. Louis in an early 60’s Microbus, crawled through the back seat to the trunk to retrieve the keys for a ’59 Ford in the early 60’s, rode in the back back of a ’65 Country Squire when the family moved to the Ozarks, sat behind the wheel of Bus_Plunge’s Spitfire that was up on blocks while he was in the Army in the late 60’s, rode in the back back of Mom’s ’67’s Country Squire to go to the lake in the late 60’s, learned to drive on an International Farmall Super C in the early ’70’s, hauled countless bales of hay in the back of a 3/4 ton Sweptline in the mid ’70’s, went on dates in a DS 21….I could go on and on. Been a car guy my whole life and I can’t pin it down to just one. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/cb3e19908cb1a27d3a198372b45f5f8d3ac0ac707f299ed932b1d7233166600c.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6f9b24ef5ab4f1c7b085355e5cb502199a79cac40d395912a264b032f3ab2ec5.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f52613e55354afd9440335052c19d571ac6af847a6aedebdc39e9b39d8613028.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f7d1ace60a75a3fda2ef83b3e10be2482dcea1152747d959f6466296d7ac9ff3.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/50012641cd74225469b05d492d3902c9476f6d37c46c342aa849f129c008cdce.jpg

  • Sean McMillan

    For me it was my dad’s sixty two Galaxie XL convertible. Pearl white, red buckets, three ninety’ four barrel motor. It was sweet. I smacked my face on the chrome radio bezel once and it implanted the hoon bug in my brain.
    my keyboard is going bad so most of my number keys don’t work, which is why i have to spell them out.

  • dead_elvis, inc.

    One of my dad’s younger sisters got a new ’72 Super Beetle when she graduated from college. It was bright yellow, and 2 year old me loved it – it was like a giant toy. I could even open the engine cover! Weird! It’s in the back, down low where I can see all that stuff, and smell the delicious smells…

  • I’m not in love with cars. I’ve just had a deep fascination with machinery, presumably since I’ve been able to open my eyes.

  • boxdin

    As a child I was enamored w cars & trucks. Karmann Ghias and then Datsun 510s were my steeds in those days. I drive them now and they seem so crude.