What do well-seasoned car guys see in the rear-view mirror of their lives?

The question is important because the answers are steeped in memories that may have influenced their interest in the hobby.

Therefore, we at MyStarCollector decided to compile a list that fits the metaphorical bill for a rear-view mirror look at the influential things in a car guy’s life.

Jim Sutherland

The first thing that comes to mind is a full-service gas station with a pump jockey who fills the car with gas, checks the oil, and cleans the windshield. The station also has a couple of service bays with a licensed mechanic to fix cars and dispense advice to the do-it-yourself car guys.


The customer area in the car guy rear-view mirror service station sells automotive-related products, including motor oil, brake fluid, filters–but no slurpees, nachos, or cappuccino drinks.  

The second item on the car guy rear-view mirror list relates directly to the first, namely a free air pump attached to the service station.

The air pump would have a manual gauge so users could dial in the tire pressure, along with a bell that rings rapidly until the user’s gauge number choice is reached on the pump. Throw in a bell that rings whenever a customer’s vehicle runs over its rubber encased contact line at the pumps and car guy memories are written in stone for future nostalgia use.  

The third addition to MyStarCollectorCar’s rear-view mirror list is the drive-in movie. Drive-ins have largely disappeared from the 21st century landscape, so they exist mostly in the memory banks for car guys in today’s world.

The memories include giant screens and an onsite concession stand that became a very popular place whenever dancing, cavorting and singing junk food appeared on the drive-in movie screen–or whenever intoxicants appeared in cars and were subsequently consumed by their passengers at the drive-in. The drive-in experience was a memorable blast from the past that often appears in the rear-view mirror for car guys.

The fourth esteemed member of MyStarCollectorCar’s rear-view mirror memories list is any cool automotive design trend from the past. The list (for example: fins) gets very long for older car guys because they witnessed these changing trends first-hand over many years.

The first time they saw the new style changes (for example: no fins) likely took place in a car magazine’s sneak preview edition that introduced the new model year during the preceding fall season.

It was an unforgettable moment for a young car guy to see the new vehicles before they even hit the local dealership because the magazines allowed car guys an opportunity to witness the rise of brand-new car designs in one short year. It may have been planned obsolescence on the Big Three’s part, but the ever-changing body designs on their vehicles were pure magic for impressionable young car guys from that bygone era.  

The fifth and final addition to MyStarCollectorCar’s figurative rear-view mirror list may also be literally in the rear-view mirror for car guys: smoke shows. The automotive past includes countless examples of vintage rides with fire-breathing monsters under their hoods that could reduce bias-ply rear tires to rubbery mounds of melted hot goo in no time.

The telltale sign was massive amounts of smoke in the retro ride’s rear-view mirror, a beautiful sight that embedded itself permanently into the memory banks of every red-blooded car guy on the planet.

To quote Dean Martin, “Memories are made of this” for car guys from days of yore.  

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.