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Jim Sutherland - Red Deer Advocate

Jim Sutherland is a freelance writer living in Red Deer. Jim and brother Jerry also run mystarcollectorcar.com, a website dedicate to telling personal stories behind classic cars.

Some not cut out to be car guys

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Red Deer Advocate

I had a conversation with a guy who was not a car guy. He was about 50 years old, so his non-interest in cars could not be explained away by his membership in a newer and younger generation who get more excited about mega-bytes instead of mega-horsepower.

This was a guy who had every advantage under the sun to grow up as a hardcore car guy: he was born in a generation where cars meant a lot to us. They gave us our first taste of freedom and limitless possibilities to hit the road to adventure.

We worshipped cars because cars gave back so much to us-most of us anyway.

This non-car guy was an exception to the rule because he didn't understand the magic of the car or the adventure behind them. He really did not understand the magic of cars from a bygone era that had the real potential to get halfway between Point A and Point B; then decided to bring everything to a halt on the side of the road.

I told him that there was a very real possibility that an old car would indeed have a mechanical failure during a road trip if it was equipped with the original equipment power-train, brakes and steering. Most of us have encountered problems in old cars because the decades may not have been kind to a vehicle from a bygone automotive era.

Most car guys understand that they will likely face breakdown time with their old cars and most have enough basic mechanical skills to fix most minor problems as they arise on the road.

Sure they cannot fix an exploded transmission but a plugged fuel filter or a vapor lock was no problem. It gives us enough confidence to hit the road.

But my non-car buddy was freely willing to admit that he knew nothing about cars. He never had enough real interest in cars to learn anything about them over the years and his car guy gene was permanently stuck in recessive mode.

His wife bought him a vintage Porsche for his 40th birthday, but he feared mechanical failure in the car more than he loved the idea of driving the car.

It was not a great gift choice for him because fear replaced exhilaration every time he drove the car.

He told me a story about his non-car guy friend who purchased a classic Corvette convertible in recent months and had it delivered by trailer to his home. The car sat for a few weeks until the guy decided to take it out for a run and it stopped running for him.

Apparently the experience cost him some sleepless nights so he quickly sold the car and the only happy part of the equation was that he made some money on a car that he purchased simply because of peer pressure from his car guy buddies.

You cannot transplant the soul of a car guy into the non-car guy, no matter what his age and the boundless opportunities to have embraced the car guy culture over the years.

But car guys do reserve the right not to understand these guys at all-not at all.

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