Perhaps it’s in the DNA – my grandson Aiden loves cars. I suppose I shouldn’t be really surprised. Cars or trucks of any description
have filled family interests around here for as long as I can remember.
My son Robby is in the business learning all he can from the inside out. Even back in post-war England my dad was fascinated by cars and could tell you the make of any approach- ing vehicle (there weren’t many around back then) just by the sound it made. A combination of the chorus of noises from the engine, exhaust and transmission was as identifiable as a fingerprint. A Rover 75 Sa- loon from the ‘50s emitted an urgent whine from the gearbox that sounded like
an asthmatic trying to gasp for breath. The starter mo- tor on a 1965 Triumph Her- ald had a zinging clang that would never be connected to another car.
The sounds were all as much a part of the character of a car as the styling. I had a 1974 MGB GT whose deep- throated exhaust resonator box announced my depar- ture for work to my neighbors as clearly as setting a clock.
Aiden’s fascination started early. At age two, he would line his toy cars – he has hundreds of them – in rows as straight as soldiers along the edge of the carpet and would spend hours arranging and rearranging them till the layout met his plea- sure.
He’s always had an eye for style and color, appreciating the lines and swoops of design elements that differentiate one from another. Now aged nine, he possess- es what’s as close to a photographic memory as you can get. He loves facts and research and so can regurgitate any information, once filed away, upon demand.
Ask him nicely and he’ll probably come up with the engine size and horsepower of a 1960 Ferrari GT California or the difference be- tween the engines of a 1963 E-type Jaguar Series 1 and its later twin, the Series 2.
We recently visited The Lane Motor Museum here in Nashville that boasts a great collection of early European cars, especially small and micro cars. He knew more about them than I did!
A lifelong affection for Lego sets now extends to (expensively) collecting their car kits, which adorn various rooms in his and our houses. He recently com- missioned me to paint a Bugatti Veyron for his bed- room.
His dexterity with any form of electronic device allows indulgences in data gathering to car racing. He can now build a virtual car from scratch using parts that he matches together for peak performance. And then he races them – on the internet, of course.
After the race, he’ll tweak this or that to see if he can improve things further and off he goes again. He’s as likely to have some (often classical) music blaring away to accompany his efforts.
He’s already good at math and has a vocabulary to meet or beat most adults. He’ll make a great engineer one day – that is if he’s not a brain surgeon!
The school run is now a car-spotting opportunity twice a day, with a running commentary packed with his abundant observations and knowledge. And questions galore – he’s like a my- nah bird jabbering away in the back seat asking for the car to be put in ‘sport mode’ so he can feel the accelera- tion and hear the exhaust note.
I know kids have passing fancies, but if he’s like the rest of us he’ll enjoy a lifelong passion. Even if he doesn’t end up in the business he’ll almost certainly own an exotic car or five.