ONE OF THE peculiar joys of this job is meeting the nutcases… err… dedicated owners who are kind enough to find time to lend us themselves and their toys for a story.
The metal we deal with is often the product of late nights in the shed, with the owner working a second job to pay the mounting build costs. Their personality and plain hard graft is invested in that car.
More often than not, the gear we feature is owned by people who have found the means – time, experience and finances – to get together their dream vehicle. So their 21st birthday is a long way back in the rearview mirror. Usually.
This issue’s cover shoot shook that up. First, Ray turns up in his Valiant Pacer and even he would admit he’s probably given up on his ambition to be lead singer for a popular rap act. He’s seen a few seasons. You always learn something by talking to men and women with his experience.
Then imagine our surprise when the GTR Torana rolls up, with an L-plate in the windscreen. I can’t ever remember seeing that on one of our shoots. Hmm, the owner must have decided to let number one son have a bit of a drive. A few minutes and some confused introductions later we realise, no, he is the owner – Jayce. And this is his first car.
I felt like going out and buying him a medal. He has great taste and will go far if he has the character to understand that having the latest and greatest is not necessarily a worthy end in itself. There are alternatives in life.
That little incident gave me cause to think about the people we’re meeting at car shows. I come from a generation who specialised in doing the exact opposite to whatever our parents did and, by the time we were 18, the idea of spending a weekend with the old fossils doing whatever gave them joy was simply ridiculous. Anything but that, please!
Not so much today. The young unmarrieds are often along for the ride at shows, helping with mum/dad’s classic, talking happily about inheriting it and what they’ll buy as their own project while they wait for the old soaks to croak.
What is this? The family that fettles together stays together?
It’s a phenomenon that’s infected our own tribe. One daughter has bought herself a sixties Mustang and the other has been muttering about a classic Benz two-seater (I blame Uncle Phil), while both talk seriously about how they’ll care-take the Mighty Kingswood when Ms M senior and I have shuffled off this mortal coil. (It’s not great dinner-time conversation when you realise they’re planning your exit.)
Classic and muscle car ownership has always transcended a lot of cultural divides, but to see it doing the same across the generations is something to celebrate. I love turning up at a car meet and being able to stand in a circle with the Rays and Jayces, chewing over the trials and tribulations of finding rust in your A-pillar. It might not change the world – then again it might, and for the better.
Meanwhile, you’ll see we’ve done a big resto job on the mag. Kudos goes to car nuts Angelo Loupetis (our full-time graphic ringmaster) and Glen Smith (hired gun) for their talent and hard work. We hope you like it.