Kids are sponges who soak up information and experiences at dizzying rates when they are very young.
I was a kiddy when I first noticed-and sometimes had some very visceral reactions to- certain cars from that era of my life.
The emotions ranged from “yucky” (kid-speak for “that sucks”) to “wow” (kid for “that doesn’t suck”) towards cars when I was caught in that age between post-diaper and pre-Grade One confinement.
My pre-school learning curve was based upon the reality that I had zero life experience and everything was brand-new-out-of-the-box for me.
Some of my initial gut reactions toward certain cars as a kid actually changed radically over the years.
Chronologically, a good example was the bullet-nosed Studebaker produced in 1950 and ’51. These particular cars were ugly enough to be rejected by their mothers if they were actual living creatures and I noticed that huge lack of beauty big time as a pre-schooler in the late 50s.
I love the look in 2013, but the sight of a bullet-nosed Studey on the road was enough to make me car sick and I did not need much help in this department as a kid. I called them the “backwards cars” because they were ugly enough to look the same front and back.
It was not Studebakers‘ intention to make a kid call their vehicles “backwards cars“; in fact they designed the iconic cars to be a futuristic and forward-thinking automobile. I completely understand where the little manufacturer from South Bend Indiana was headed in the early 50s now that I am a semi-rational middle-aged car guy in 2013.
These cars still have a “love ’em or hate ’em” vibe, but I am now completely onside with the style of the bullet nose Studebaker and I would have been glad to buy one right out of the showroom if I was an adult-or had even existed- when they were brand new.
I was a big fan of the 1959 Plymouth for one simple reason: my Dad had one and I loved every car he ever owned when I was a kid. The front end of a 1959 Plymouth was also a part of the charm because the cars looked happy and friendly to me when I was a kid. I also liked the rear fins on the car because the 50s was all about tail fins.
However I was not a fan of the 1959 Dodge when I was a kid because I really did not like the headlights on the car. To me the headlights looked angry when I was a youngster and made the 1959 Dodge seem intimidating to me when I was sorting out my very early years as a car guy. You could accurately call me a kiddy wimp, but that was how I felt when I first laid eyes on these cars.
The same kiddy logic applied to the 1959 Buick because they had a unique front headlight configuration that also looked mad to me when I was very young and very impressionable.
Both the Buick and the Dodge would look really good to me if I was behind the wheel of either in 2013.
Most observers label the front of the ‘61 Plymouth as angry but by then my kiddie imagination wasn’t intimidated by anything Detroit made so they didn’t reach me the same way.
Nevertheless they are now cool cars with a cool look to me as an adult and I would be very happy to own either of them in 2013.
Along with a boatload of other cars I first encountered as a kid.