My First Car
A big part of my life was spent waiting for that fateful day when I’d legally be allowed to drive a car on our highways. I was obsessed. I studied for that test and there was nothing that was going to get in my way. A car meant freedom. A car meant no limits. Not really, but that’s what I thought.
I had enough money together and through a series of fortunate events (my dad owned a body shop), I got myself into a 1981 VW Jetta that was pretty custom. It doesn’t look like much in the grainy old picture, but it was clean, it was quick, and with a set of low profile tires it handled. Should I mention that the first time I drove it, I got a bad tank of gas and it left me stranded?
It was off the road for two weeks and cost me $500 to get it fixed, but after that we had a lot of fun together.
My 1st Car, 81′ VW Jetta
My pop raced cars in the Sports Car Club of America, the SCCA.
The little blonde kid below, that’s me.
69′ Camaro Z-28
And he owned an auto body shop, so he understood safety. Something my dad taught me was to understand your limits and to know your equipment. Those two go hand in hand. Having been around racing and working in a body shop in the Summer, seeing cars get dragged in looking less than fresh, I learned to pay attention. I’ve seen my share of accidents and wreckage.
I’m still into cars. I go to the occasional car show, I pay attention to what’s going on in the car world, and have amassed a few cars of my own. Below you’ll see some shots of my cars and some from the Beverly Hills Concours D’Elegance on Father’s Day.
Michelin wants to talk about first cars and since I got a gold medal on my driver’s test (no I really didn’t, that doesn’t exist), I felt like I would be a natural to work with them.
1952 Allard J2X
Maybe because I was obsessed myself, but I have thought of a certain… eventuality. The one wheremy kids are old enough to take that step toward independence. Safety starts where the rubber meets the road. Your contact patch is about the width of a finger, everything else hinges on that. Airbags are important, safety glass is important, anti-lock brakes are important, but it all starts with that finger width of rubber and where it connects you and your loved ones to this big spinny ball we’re on. What kind of car will they drive, will they lock their phones in the glovebox so they won’t be tempted to use them while driving even if it’s me calling…
I’ll tell you one thing, I’d feel good knowing Michelin tires are their cars.
Michelin has been around for 125 years and one of the things that makes me back them, is their race history. They’ve spent much of that time involved in motorsports. Track time is hard on tires and that experience and technology gets trickled down to you and me.
This is my Renault R8. It was built to resemble an R8 Gordini, the race version of this same car. Both cars came standard with Michelins.
There’s something so visceral about driving a car. Many of my most vivid memories of my childhood are of cars. I grew up free-range in the 70’s at racetracks across the North East. The smell of gas. Of exhaust (remember when car exhaust smelled?) The sounds. That new tire smell. So when Michelin wanted to get the word out about tire safety and approached some bloggers to help out, I jumped at the chance.
Getting a first car is an unforgettable milestone in any person’s life. It bestows freedom and independence, but with that comes a responsibility to stay safe on the road. My dad and history at his body-shop taught me that. It’s so important with new drivers to ingrain safety and safe tires on that first car—or any car.
My 1962 Renault R8
Whether or not your first (or current!) car is in the best condition, your tires should be. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mini-van or a Grandma’s hand-me-down sedan from the 80’s, what matters is that your tires are safe. They are your first line of communication with the road and if someone slams their brakes on in front of you or in bad weather, it can make all the difference.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers, based on accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council. Accidents are the number one killer of teens in America. They account for a shocking five thousand deaths annually. Of the 2.2 million accidents that occur each year with inexperienced drivers are due to tire-related issues (26% are attributed to low tread depth; 32% are attributed to improper tire pressure). These things are preventable.
Checking tire pressure regularly and learning the proper way to check tread depth are two easy ways that can help you correctly maintain your tires and contribute to vehicle safety.
Michelin feels an obligation to raise awareness about this issue, and that they can play a role in reducing the roughly 264,000 crashes with inexperienced drivers that occur annually due to tire-related issues. They want us to keep safety in mind and they’re working with dads like me to get this going on a grassroots level. So tell them you care and share their video.
I absolutely trust Michelin tires which was why I leaped at the chance to help.
Lamborghini Muira 1973
427 Shelby Cobra
Lancia Flavia 1973
Custom (was a firetruck from the 30s)
Take a look at this thing, the details are amazing.
Click on the pics for bigger images.
Sexy Alfa Romeo
Historic Talbot Running Michelin Tires
My 1989 Jeep Wrangler
And come on! This guy’s awesome!
It’s happening at 8pm Eastern, 5pm Pacific. Get on there and tweet about your first car, safety, @lifeofdadshow, @MichelinUSA. Prizes include 5 $50 gift cards and a set of Michelin tires.
Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Michelin for this promotion. I have received compensation for my participation, but my first car memories are my own.