The first car that I remember was my father’s dark blue Oldsmobile. My Zayde, my maternal grandfather, raised five daughters dealing in scrap paper and rags. My Bubbie, my grandmother, and her entire extended family all immigrated to Detroit. With five daughters and lots of in-laws to drive around, I guess that explains why he liked big cars. My mother, who is 87 now, says that he had a large Studebaker when she was a girl, I’m guessing a President or Dictator. By the 1950s, he had switched to Oldsmobiles and my dad bought what I’m thinking was about a 1956 or ’57 Olds 88 when his father in law traded up to a 98 around 1960. I remember my dad’s Olds as big and bulbous and that the dark blue paint was chalking.
Sons, fathers, and cars is a topic that resonates. Sometimes a son and a father share an interest in the same makes or models. Other times they might actually share (or more likely pass down and inherit) the exact same car. Last year for its centennial, Chevrolet solicited people to submit stories about what Chevys have meant to their families. When Herb Younger’s two sons told Chevy about their ultimately successful search to find the 1965 Impala SS that their dad had once owned and sold to support his family, Chevy’s ad agency, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, produced very touching long and short form videos titled My Dad’s Car on Herb being reunited with his beloved ’65 SS by his even more beloved sons. It’s such an emotionally tugging video that some have suggested that Chevy will air the short form version during tomorrow’s NFL Super Bowl.
A different quest involving a car, a father and his son, is portrayed in the documentary titled, aptly, The Quest.
Filmmaker Michael Brown is also a Corvette enthusiast. When he found out about Lance Miller attempting to complete his late father Chip’s dream of restoring John Fitch’s LeMans winning 1960 Corvette and reuniting it with Fitch at LeMans on the 50th anniversary of the victory, Brown got involved to chronicle the story. The Quest premiered last year at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, home of the big Corvettes At Carlisle meet that Chip Miller co-founded. The film has been having showings at similar car events since then like the recent Arizona auction week. A trailer for the film is below. You can order the DVD from the documentary’s site. Recently, Brown entered a competition from Chevy for independent filmmakers to submit their own Chevy Super Bowl ads. Brown submitted two ads that he said were made with “tongue firmly planted in cheek”. Neither one won, though they did make the first cut and they are mildly entertaining. You can see them here.
I suppose that when you’re talking about large corporations like GM and mega events like the Super Bowl, it’s easy to get cynical, but mercenary commerce notwithstanding, the stories are still touching because at their hearts, they’re about fathers and sons. So what kinds of stories do you have about you, a parent and cars or you and your child and cars?