Happy Father’s Day to All You Dads Out There!
Hello Fashionista Friends,
For this Father’s Day, I decided to spend some quality time pouring through my archives of photos to create this story that celebrates my Dad’s passion for cars and how his hobby inadvertently came to mold me into the person I am today. As I started to search through all of these old photos, I particularly loved seeing the different eras of cars and fashion that came to symbolize what was in style at the time.
My dad always had a passion for cars since he was a boy (as most young boys do). So when there was a time in his life that he and my mom had a little extra money, they started to contemplate a fun way to spend it and maybe make a profit down the road—vintage cars!!!
In the early ‘80’s when I was in my early teens and my dad was in his early to mid 40’s (about the same age as I am now), he and my uncle Greg (who is what I like to refer to as an “authentic car dude”—he would race cars, fix cars, and have the most amazing stories about cars) started to really get interested in the idea of buying some of their favorite old cars.
We’d spend our weekends at car auctions in Toledo, Ohio checking out what kind of deals we could find. It was a family affair and my younger brother and I loved the idea of pushing my parents to buy a “new” old car. Granted, they were looking for the “deal”. It’s not like we had tons of extra money to spend so if we got a car for somewhere around a grand—it was pretty amazing!
Dad standing and his little brother Arnold looking “muy suave” in their teenage years
Dad circa 1968 once again looking tres cool by his car.
My dad and mom didn’t grow up rich or even what we today call middle income. They were both born in very small southern Texas towns where many families were poor, but very rich in their family and culture. They didn’t have excess money to burn. As young teenagers, they unselfishly made sure to help their parents and siblings.
In turn, once they met, married and raised my siblings and I in Northwest, Ohio, they gave us more “things” and more opportunities than they ever had growing up, but they ALSO made sure to raise us with a strong work ethic and teach us the concept of finding a bargain and fixing it up. We were never going to end up with the latest and greatest gadgets and clothes.
We would buy things from auctions, garage sales, flea markets, estate sales, discount/irregular sales racks, and with my parent’s ingenuity and skills we would turn these bargain purchases into the best things we could imagine and we didn’t think we were being denied anything that any other kids had.
We valued the things that we took an active part in fixing up and making our own. It taught us many important lessons as well as skills that people our age don’t even have today—how to fix things in your home, how to sew, how to paint, how to make quick car fixes.
When I finally got my driver’s license, I was thrilled that I would have a car to drive! I would have the very good fortune to be driving a used circa early ‘80’s Dodge charger that was a stick shift. If I wanted to cruise on the weekend and have some wheels to go to work, I needed to learn how to drive stick. What a torturous lesson that was with my very patient dad, but it was so worth it as it would give me the ability to drive my next cool car!
Now I’m going to take us through the succession of vintage car purchases that would soon be additions to our family……
My dad made his first vintage car purchase with a 1950 Ford for about $1700 in one of the most classic “mint” green car colors you can imagine. It was built like a battleship and we had to drive this beast home from the auction. Guess what—it broke down in transit….the problems we were about to discover with buying these vintage beauties.
Dad’s next purchase was a 1955 Chevy—once again in its most classic of colorations, turquoise with white fins and top. This baby was a deal at about $1500.
The next purchase would up the ante. It was the hottest thing we’d ever seen. It was a convertible hardtop Corvette in signature cherry red and white. This would be the most expensive purchase topping out the budget at a whopping $3500. This would become my dad and my brother’s favorite car of the bunch. The one my dad would store in our house garage so he could see it every day. The others had to be stored at outside garages at rental apartments because in those days of houses, no one had large garages the way we do today to store their multiple family cars.
Yes, this is the Corvette–my Senior photo in 1988 loving everything about this car!
Dad with my sister, Mindi and her Cabbage Patch kid and my brother, Alex
Getting the car parade ready for the “Club Cultural Hispano” entry.
My little sister, Mindi posing in her flower girl dress
The last vintage car purchase we would make, which would be MY favorite was a 1965 Mustang that we purchased in the worst of conditions at a rock bottom price of $750, but you can certainly see why it was a deal. I don’t think I had any faith in what this car would look like even though my Dad and Uncle Greg seemed to think it was a thing of beauty. I didn’t know anything about antique cars at this point in my life and had no idea what a ’65 Mustang was??
My parents saw a for sale sign of $750 on River Rd. in Defiance, Ohio for this diamond in the rough.
Still waiting for it’s full make-over
It had all of its original parts but was a disaster and would need a lot of love. That’s where my Uncle Greg would enter the picture. As a lover of cars himself and a “do it yourself-er”, he gave it an overhaul and a paint job.
At this stage, most of its mechanical workings are now fixed and it’s just had its primer coat of paint
And here’s the final piece of art—now can you see why it’s my favorite!
The Corvette and the Mustang are the cars that my siblings and I grew up with and rode around town in with my dad. We have so much history with these cars. I knew immediately once the Mustang got its overhaul that it was the car that was going to “be mine” and I was going to drive it all over town as soon as I had my license. And just like I mentioned before, that was a great reason to learn how to drive manual.
This car was still pretty bare bones inside and getting these gears to move smoothly was no easy task. I remember the transmission on this car backfiring on a regular basis. I would take this car back and forth to work in Napoleon, Ohio to work at Campbell’s which was a bit of a haul and one day on my way home from work, the car broke down on me.
This was way before cell phones existed and I waited for anyone to come by to help me. When someone finally slowed down to see what the problem was, they didn’t even come to my aid!
All they wanted to know was if I wanted to sell the car! I ended up having to walk to the nearest house to use their phone and call my dad to come tow me home. After an event like this, my dad wasn’t going to let his daughter get away with just driving this car and not knowing anything about taking care of the things you own. If the car needed some repair, I’d be out in the driveway with him learning how to change out the water pump or the spark plugs, or just regular maintenance. As many headaches as this car caused, I still love it and miss all of the fun times I had cruising around in it.
Still looking as great as ever in 2014 and looking like it wants to burn rubber!
What a beauty!
As time has gone by and my parents are looking to have less “stuff” in their lives to take care of, they sold the Ford and the Chevy. They’ve kept the Mustang and the Corvette because they are such pieces of our family heritage and I don’t think my Dad has the heart to let go of them yet. But there’s going to be a time when they have to decide what to do. My Dad still keeps the ‘vette in the garage and the Mustang in an off-site garage.
When I went back home last summer, I saw the Corvette in our garage and I asked my Dad to take me to see the Mustang because I wanted to see if I still felt as attached to it as I did all those years ago, and you know what—I still did! I really love that car and I’d love to keep it in the family instead of my Dad having to sell it off and I think my brother feels the same way about the Corvette. We love these cars. They’re part of our family!
What do you say Dad–let’s get ourselves on an episode of Overhauled and get these babies pimped out to cruise town!
Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads out there who have made just as big of an impression on their kids like my dad did on me and have created some of the most memorable stories that we cherish through the years.
Love you Dad!