These are the Cars That Hooked You

Posted February 25, 2019

Photo: Charles01 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/...


Last week I prompted readers to tell me about the cars that hooked them and got them into cars. I started with my story of a 1968 Dodge Charger R/T that I discovered as a kid, but never owned. It’s sort of a depressing story, but a true one, and you can read all about it here in last week’s post.

I was relieved, however, to hear your stories, as they’re truly feel-good stories that gave me a first-person look at pivotal moments in your lives. The cars are all fantastic in their own regard, and your descriptions brought me right into that moment from years ago. So without further delay, here are the cars that hooked our readers.

It was the summer of 1966. My folks had gotten me into a private school for grades 9-12, but I had to take math in their summer school to be ready for the fall. There were about a dozen of us taking summer math, which was basically all day (8:00-2:30) for six weeks. One of the other students was a junior getting ready for his senior year. Since we were there all day, we had to come up with our own plan for lunch. One day Wayne, a senior said "Whatcha doin' for lunch Cliff?" I had no plan, so he suggested we drive to Manners for a Big Boy (basically a pre-McDonalds Big Mac).

We walked out to the parking circle and he motioned to a silver MGA with a red leather interior. He started her up and went whipping around the circle at a speed that I found unsettling, even though I was having the time of my life!

I don't remember a single thing about that summer except Wayne's kindness to a 9th grader and that ride in the MGA. I was already into sports cars, but only via magazines, so this was the real beginning of a life long love affair — and I never forgot.

I have had a number of great sports cars over the years, currently a ’74 Jaguar XK V12 convertible, but that MGA hooked me! I have never owned one, still on my bucket list, but it will have to be silver and red.

— C. Simms

I learned to drive in a ’64.5 Mustang. Fun to drive, nice size, and enough power to get me in trouble with a 289 four bbl. I remember the mustang had just come out and my dad was comparing it to a Corvair. I was only eight at the time, but I really liked that little car.

Mustangs, Corvettes, AMXs, GTOs, 442s and an occasional Charger or Challenger were everyday sightings. But when you saw an E-Type, DeTomaso or Porsche that was special.

The car that made me a collector was a Morgan +4 — first collector I bought and I still have it today. Makes me smile just thinking about it. Cars have been so much of my life, so many great memories, so many I have lusted after. Makes you wonder how electric cars will ever possibly replace the throaty sound of a V8, the high revs of an NSX or the rush of a turbo kicking in, all of which, make me who I am.

— RJK

Mine was probably an early Countach, and I was probably in 8th grade. I saw it in a Road & Track magazine and it captured my imagination. Many years later, in college, Baby, a Fireglow 1975 Opel Manta, continued my love for cars. Although she was my daily driver, I slalomed her for several years with a bit of success. We learned a lot about working on cars together, and by the end there wasn't much I couldn't do on her. I still miss her on occasion, but I do remember her fondly. It hurt when I had to sell her before moving cross-country.

I currently have a new-ish crossover and a great little subcompact that is...well, geriatric.

— D. Hernandez

There were lots of cars that helped shape me into the car guy I am today. One of the most meaningful is the Jaguar D-Type. I remember as a kid it was all I thought about. The pictures, old race stories, Hot Wheels and even a hand carved model my dad made me that I still have to this day, all added to my obsession. The elegant lines and screaming sound of the 3.4-litre straight-six just made it that much better.

Seeing one in person on the other hand, was not something that happened often in Northern Wisconsin in the early 2000s. One of the first times my dad took me to Road America, I told him I wanted to see a D-Type. He said with pretty good confidence, "Well I hope we do, but those cars are awfully rare. I'd be surprised if we did." As soon as he finished that sentence, a D-Type came out of turn 14 and flying up Horsepower Hill! We were both speechless and star struck — there was my car!

For me, car obsessions come and go, but some have stuck around and changed my outlook on cars. The Jaguar D-Type is one car that I can say, without a doubt, has been on that list since day one and will be there forever.

— JuanchoS4

At 14, I came back from summer vacation and my 18-year-old brother came driving up in Fairlane GT 500 with a 390, air shocks and L60s in the back. I was sold on hotrods.

— M. Clark

The humble Austin Mini. My mother's first and second cars were both Mini's. My own first and second cars were too. I miss having one around.

— M. Turner

The Bandit. I was a kid when the movie came out, and from that point on I wanted to be a trucker and I wanted a Trans Am. Been a trucker for 28 years now and I've owned several 2nd-gen Trans Ams in addition to a couple Mustangs.

— M. DeLoach

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