JULY 18, 2014: JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE HEARD IT ALL…A SAD STORY OF LOST MANHOOD

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My nephew told me a story that seemed so implausible I thought he was just trying to get a rise out of his gullible uncle.

 

We were on a road trip and spent much of the time immersed in all automotive matters ranging from horrific highway traffic to what kind of horsepower was at his disposal with his wife’s minivan.

 

My nephew is a consummate car guy who has spent more time under the hood of old rides than any random combination of ten Generation X contemporaries.

 

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This nephew has worked on plenty of vehicles in his time and takes the car hobby very seriously in a hands-on kind of way.He has owned a variety of blasts from the past and has a special fondness for large 70s cars from Detroit.

 

For a while I just assumed my nephew had overdosed on Rockford files reruns because he even owned a giant Cadillac convertible well-suited for the kind of broken noses chasing Rockford’s Firebird every week.

 

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My nephew used a full-sized Ford wagon from the 70s as a daily driver in his younger years during the 90s and felt terrible pangs of seller’s remorse when he sold his project (early 70s) Satellite.

 

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Clearly, he comes by it honestly because his dad was also a fan of big iron from the 70s and owned several land barges, including a mid-70s Olds 98.

 

This preamble about my nephew as a hard core car guy leads me to a startling point in the conversation when he told me he had a buddy who had never driven a V-8 engine powered vehicle. The buddy was essentially a non-car guy who felt no shame with this confession and saw no need to ever own or even drive one of the mainstay components of the car guy culture.

 

How hard does one have to try in order to lurch into his 30s with no experience behind the wheel of a V-8 powered vehicle, particularly here in Alberta where many new trucks are still available with the V-8 engine in their gasoline models?

 

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The saddest part of this story is the notion my nephew’s buddy may be a part of a majority (non-car guy) and my nephew may be part of a minority (serious car guy) in Gens X and Y. A car may just be a simple convenience for them and they feel no joy of the open road or spirit of adventure when behind the wheel of a car.

 

An old car or truck has no appeal to them and any notion of owning or working on an old classic would just be the focal point of a full-on nightmare for them.

 

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My nephew’s buddy and others of his ilk have lost their connection with their inner car guys, if it was ever there in the first place.

 

They don’t care whether or not they have driven a V-8, know how to change a tire, or even how to add oil to a car. My only concern is what happens when they get out of cell phone range and have to fend for themselves on the road.

 

 

All I know is my V-8-driving nephew who loves old cars will be alright in these conditions because he has already been down this road.

 

Jim Sutherland

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