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Who influenced you into modifying cars?

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  • Who influenced you into modifying cars?

    While hanging with Randal, The Silver Buick, at Famoso on Saturday. He introduced to a nice couple who were long time friends of his. They were the ones who talked him into modifying his Skylark. At that point, Randal had only been interesting in keeping stock and running.

    I was taken a back by how he could point to one person and one conversation that was his influence into the world of modifying cars. I can't do that. I can't point to anyone or any one thing that was my influence. I have been thinking about it ever since trying to come up with that one thing that got me into tearing apart my car. It seems I always wanted to do it. I learned from a lot of people here and there, but it was usually just me alone in the driveway with my wrenches.

    I suspect a few will answer your dad, brother, grandfather or some other family member. My dad was like Randal's, trying to keep me from messing with what the manufacturer's worked so hard to engineer.

    So, who was your influence into the world of modifying cars?
    BS'er formally known as Rebeldryver

    Resident Instigator


  • #2
    if one went about it themself, I am pretty close to that.

    I had this thing about balance..since very small. plastic wheels and white letters on the tonka the letters stop at the bottom.

    I liked dads beetle and mack dump truck a v8 mack..and nothing else with his rigs growing up.

    At ten I built a little car out of an electric motor and popsicle sticks..

    I realized on my own, engines suck...all while we worship them.

    that little electric motor did not have to shake the elmers glue away from the sticks.

    I buried all that getting into the old planes, tf33 mild bypass jet engines...and working at a quick lube in the early 90s. I put a basic 350 into a 74 chevelle, decided v8s at 90 degree is about the best option we got.(still true today)

    It came back to me after a lengthy sickness (machines related). Decided it is a mission to find what I love...that was only ten years ago.

    it is a sense of future..even if it is a low dollar homemade something.

    Welding was of necessity, and fulfilled my thoughts and learned steel in a northern climate.

    so much stuff is young in auto engineering..I don't call anything the best. Too young to be bragged about.
    Last edited by Barry Donovan; March 12, 2013, 11:14 PM.
    Previously boxer3main
    the death rate and fairy tales cannot kill the nature left behind.


    • #3
      Wayne, a guy mom babysat when she was growing up.. His mom and m grandma were best friends, his uncle and my dad were buds.. Wayne ran the only filling station in town.. Raced converted stocks.. Told me if I could hot wire his jeep, I could drive it!
      He taught me how to figure things out and could listen, tell me what was wrong and was right.. He always had the fastest, baddest car/rig around!


      • #4
        Not Who, but What.

        In the beginning, I found it cheaper/easier to modify and improve an item on my car to get it running again then to buy stock parts.
        I still do, but these days I'm spending more money on modifications than it would cost to build up a car with boring stock parts.


        • #5
          Around of guys......everyone called 'em 'greasers'.......hung
          around dad's store.
          One guy had a coup with a flat head V8......I thought that thing was the shits.
          He shows up one day with 3 deuces.......I was hooked.

          Of course.......mags like Hot Rod fueled the enthusiasm.

          "The object is to keep your balls on the table and knock everybody else's off..."


          • #6
            Like you Scott, I can't come up with anyone specific. My Dad and G-pa were into big Buick and Oldsmobiles, but more from a "look at my new luxobarge", but never did any mods. If it needed work done, there was a garage here in town that did it all.

            Thinking back to about 1977 when my Grandma was in the hospital, I picked up a few car mags in the gift shop to pass time while visiting her. The following year I subscribed to PHR, HR, and CC .... still get them till this day. Once in highschool, all of us gearheads just sorta gravitated to each other.

            Now I can point to a specific person (Gary Gokey) that got me into drag racing. He was the manager at a shop where I got my first job pumping gas, doing oil changes and tire repairs. He ran an A100 in Div5 supergas back then .... now days he plays around in stock elim, and hold a few records.

            I have stayed friends with him, and we still hang out at the track on occasion. As Gary has aged, he has come to look like Santa Claus when he grows his beard out. When my daughter was 9 or 10, she went to a Christmas party at a friend's mom's work to see Santa. She came home with a picture of herself sitting on Santa's lap .... lo and behold, it was Gary! We spilled the beans to her last Christmas when we broke out all the Christmas Deco's ..... she said that she had always thought she recognized "Santa" from the race track!
            Whiskey for my men ... and beer for their horses!


            • #7
              My dad was into cars a little, but mainly keeping them clean and running. My uncle had a garage that I helped out in when I got older, but that was mainly general maintance. Had a neighbor that was in to Street Rods, I would help him, but he moved when I still in Elementry school. So I had many influences when I was younger.

              Drag Week 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013


              • #8
                Speed Racer.
                Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.


                • #9
                  my dad and my grade school friend Roger
                  Doing it all wrong since 1966


                  • #10
                    Great question.
                    For me it was an internal thing. My Parents weren't in to cars at all. But I grew up in a town that had a healthy car culture and I just always liked them. When I was in Jr. High I would ride my bike to Main Street and the local park hangout on Saturday afternoon and check out the cars. Lots of cool hardware at that time!
                    In High school I had the opportunity to help my dad’s co-worker out in his part-time body shop on evenings and weekends. He was a Hot Rod guy so I worked on everything from econo-boxes to his '39 Ford. Learned a TON from him and other "old guys" that would hang out there on occasion. What’s cool is one of the cars I helped paint is STILL around!
                    Last edited by mike343sharpstick; March 13, 2013, 06:40 AM.


                    • #11
                      I also had an autoshop teacher .... Mr Kasper .... he was a WWII Veteran and worked on B24's in the Phillipines. A funny connection ... my dad was a belly gunner on the 24's and flew out of the Phillipines ....

                      Mr Kasper was also positive influence with this car junkie thing.
                      Whiskey for my men ... and beer for their horses!


                      • #12
                        I ALWAYS was goofy for cars. My oldest Bro, Dave (I'm the youngest of 3) said that the first time I was given crayons and paper I tried to draw a car - a line with circles at the corners sort of deal he says (I don't remember). When I was 5 or so we had a neighbor called "Cope" (I don't know if that was his first or last name or just a nickname) and he was doing a brake job on an early 50's Chevy. He let me "help". Haven't been the same since.

                        As far as modifying cars - it never occurred to me that I WOULDN'T do that. Like the posted speed limit is the "recommended minimum", cars as produced are a starting point. That said, I've had many mentors and role models over the years. It took me years to learn to leave the wife's DD alone.



                        • #13
                          That's a hard one. I remember getting car magazines very early on. Used to get Autoweek when it was still basically a newspaper. Mom and Dad drag raced back in the late 50's early 60's and tell stories, today, about when they used to take my sister and I to the strip. I, frankly, don't remember that but it would probably have whetted my interest.

                          Most of my work I did, and do, on my own. Mom and Dad were too busy making a living to spend much time on vehicles. Although, our main transportation for a number of years was a psychedelically painted '57 Caddy Coupe de Ville, and then there was the '56 Dodge pickup with a 392 Hemi.

                          Dad and Mom were really into the drag racing scene in high school. Dad even had to visit the Judge, with his father in tow, to explain his behavior. He did a number of engine swaps, 283 into a Jag, Hemi into a '29 coupe, Olds into a Ford pickup. So he had the chops back in the day.

                          Unfortunately, he was way too busy getting food to the table to actively support my growing interest in vehicles. That's not to say that there wasn't lots of encouragement, some sage advice, and acceptance when I drug home some projects, made a mess of the garage and did the usual Stroker McGurk mistakes.

                          To this day, Mom and Dad are very supportive. The hang on the PHR EMC coverage every year, Mom says that Dad is always after her to find out what's going on with the live feeds. They have been fantastic.
                          I'm still learning


                          • #14
                            Considering my first car was an 89 Firebird, it was probably inevitable that I would learn to wrench on cars, and get away from all stock quickly. That said, my friend Jody probably was my earliest influence. He had a 1969 (or maybe 1970) Dodge D100 with a Mopar stroker 383 complete with two four barrels atop a tunnel ram. While that truck was never done, rarely driven, and sold right about the time it was FINALLY ready for the street, it was responsible for many late nights in his garage, and among my first attempts at turning a wrench.

                            All it really takes, in my opinion, to want to modify ones car is a ride in somebody's car that is faster than yours.
                            Motor City Muscle


                            • #15
                              I'll be boring here and say my dad. The first car I remember is a 32 ford project in a 2 car garage.
                              He has been doing restorations and building hot rods "professionally" for almost 40 years.
                              I worked for him as a kid, but joined the Army at 18 for a more laid back/nurturing lifestyle with the drill sergeants.
                              At 65 he is still at it and has 40-50 cars "stuck back" as personal projects.
                              Some are almost gone from sitting outside, some are nice prospects sitting inside waiting. None of them for sale....I've tried
                              A.K.A. Brian
                              Jack of many trades-master of none