The stories below were submitted as part of the Collecting Cars, Collecting Memories contest
Editor’s note: As a way to celebrate Father’s Day, we will be posting every story we receive as part of our Collecting Cars, Collecting Memories contest. The winner will be announced in June. To learn more and submit your story before the deadline — June 1 at midnight — about your dad and a classic car, click here.
For as long as I can remember, my father loved cars.
I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s when my dad had numerous cars. They were nothing fancy, initially: A VW bug until our family grew to six and then mostly family utility cars like Buick or Oldsmobile station wagons or big gas-guzzler sedans.
There were always car magazine subscriptions, Road and Track, Car and Driver, etc., that we would wait anxiously for the mailman to deliver every month and read cover to cover.
Some of my best memories I have of my childhood are simple car rides to school, games, errands or Sunday cruises with my dad. He would always try to name every car on the road in our travels.
For his 40th birthday, my dad treated himself to his first brand new luxury car — a 1983 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz with all the extras, including the Rolls-Royce grill!
It was dark blue with maroon pinstripes to match the dark red leather interior and was a beautiful car that oozed coolness in my mind. I’d help him wash the car and clean the white wall tires and wire wheels on the weekends.
A few years later, he bought my mom (at least he told her it was for her) a Jaguar XJ Vanden Plas for their 20th anniversary, which may have topped the Caddy as far as classic, cool elegance and luxury go.
I learned to drive in both of those cars and in the family war wagon.
My parents loved that Caddy and Jag and basically kept them until long-term use and mechanical problems made them impractical to keep. Although nice cars followed, nothing quite topped the character of those ’80s cars and, to this day, they still talk about how they loved those cars.
Now, 30-plus years later, I myself am infected with the car bug. I have six but one stand out.
I had the opportunity to find and purchase a beautiful one-owner, low mileage, garage-kept and babied 1993 Jaguar XJS very similar to my parents’ old car. Showing and driving in the Jaguar with my parents and letting them use it (or keep it, if they want) has brought back the great memories of those cars they loved; cars I grew up with and the times we had together in them.
I also coincidentally discovered a 1984 Cadillac Biarritz convertible for sale that had been owned by an acquaintance of my dad’s. He loved to see that car in our town, as it reminded him of his old one. It’s not a done deal yet, but my pursuit of that Caddy — and putting my parents back in the cars they loved — reminds me of how my dad’s love of cars was passed on to me.
I now try to pass that same love on to my children, thanks to my dad. I realize my appreciation of all cars has mainly to do with the connection to the past and my family growing up, which probably explains my love for untraditional ’80s classic cars, like simulated wood grain paneled station wagons or Chrysler Lebanon convertibles.
Whatever the case, it is because of my dad that I have a love, appreciation and reverence for cars which I truly thank him for along with those wonderful memories of my childhood involving cars.
-C.M. Murphy from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
We bought Ruby, our 1950 Ford woodie, after spotting it in a Hemmings ad and brought her home, tired and worn on a flatbed from a Colorado resort.
We loved her and coddled her and brought our babies home in her from the same local hospital.
Eventually when money was available, and the motor was to be replaced, we chose to rebuild that flatty out of respect to her history as a “station” wagon bringing guests from the train station to the lake resort in Colorado, where she had served for 50 years.
Ruby has been our vacation car — albeit exploring the west coast of California, where the weather stays cool. Now the kids are grown, Ruby misses them, and she yearns for the dogs and the drink spills and the cool drives though Big Sur, but she knows that they love her.
When they visit, everyone wants to take Ruby to dinner or to get ice cream. Not their Tesla, not their Mini S, but in our old station wagon where Buddy‘s ears hung out the window, the only A/C was a rolled down window and the only music was the sound of the flatty that lulled them to sleep after a long day at the beach.
-Richard White from Ventura, California