Recently I started a personal passion project on Instagram. It can be found at @luxurycarpassion and it’s about time I did it. It’s a space created with the intention of sharing my passion for european automobiles, DIY mechanic life, luxury car culture, automotive engines and car detailing. You might see some automotive advice here and there, fresh european cars and my personal journey as to why I love cars so much. But here’s the back story as to why I created it…
When I was growing up my Dad and I didn’t have the best relationship. Often times I struggled to know how to communicate with a man who was often stern and focused his attention on being either the best automotive engineer or the best provider for our household. When he was physically present he was emotionally detached and then when he was emotionally there I was filled with anger from all the moments he wasn’t.
The joy of working on a customer’s car fueled my Dad and gave him a sense of purpose in this world. But in March of 2003 he was involved in a head injury at work that changed his life. His injury to his head affected his neck muscles, back and upper torso — he also sustained major nerve damage in his neck area. That injury shifted things in a major way for my dad. Surgery and therapy helped to correct some of the damage, but he still struggles with permanent pain and discomfort from time to time. With therapy and time physical wounds heal but his emotional wounds of knowing that he no longer works on cars has been the hardest reality for him to accept.
The injury changed him — in some ways for the best and in some ways for the worst. It changed our finances back in 2003 and it changed how our household functioned. It was because of his injury I was able to realize just how important having a father figure in a home was. I became detached from friends, co-workers and went into deep depression back then — often times seeking out unhealthy means to cope. We had no choice. Our family had to bind together in order to shoulder the weight of reduction in finances and preserving our sanity, as we felt the security of life shift beneath us. My Dad was constantly going to doctor visits, therapy sessions, filling out paper work and I watched all of this take a toll on my mother, grandmother and myself. I was 20 and at a place in my life where I was in the process of building my own future, but instead I chose to sacrifice my personal ambitions and educational goals to be there for my family. Our family structure of the past was no more and it changed me in so many ways to be appreciative for having a father.
The shitty part about the timing of my Dad’s injury was prior to it, he began to really take a sincere interest in my growth as a young man. I had just graduated from high-school in 2002 and he was super proud. My parents surprised me with my first car that summer after high school graduation. It was a 1987 420 SEL Classic Mercedes in mint condition. My parents paid $4,000 for it, but it had it’s fair share of engine bugs and kinks that my Dad aimed to fix, but he wanted to seize this opportunity to work on the car together with me. I worked to buy the parts and he worked on the car with me to teach me the responsibility of car ownership. That time we spent working on that car became a catalyst to change the relationship between a father and son. It gave me an understanding and appreciation of his years of education and experience in the automotive field. Working on every part of that car provided a teaching opportunity for me to learn about the technical aspects of cars and how every internal system is interconnected. It wasn’t about fixing stuff though – it’s weird because for the first time in my life I began to really develop a sincere love and appreciation for my father.
My Dad and I worked on that car for a span of 5 months; learning so much about each other on an emotional and an intellectual level. We fixed fuel management issues and quieted the old rickety noises coming from the upper and lower suspension. The winter season came and we stopped because of the arrival of colder temperatures and then…
BANG…March of 2003 came and he got injured.
Describing the details of his injury and his recovery process is not something my family would want to discuss publicly. My father is a private man with his emotions, but in all his privacy the one thing he would want me to share was the pride he carried in his work. He would want others to know how much he loves cars and how fixing automotive problems gave him a sense of purpose and direction.
Watching him struggle to accept the reality that his life would never be the same has inspired me to find a way to keep both is talent and his knowledge alive. I’ve become wiser with age; once experiencing life through the eyes of an angry young man bitter towards a man who woke up everyday to serve his family. Throughout his recovery process I made a decision to forgive my father and to begin to learn about a man who I never knew.
So over the years I’ve turned into this super car fanatic that…
POINTS at cars while driving like a little kid
Can HEAR an Italian, German or Japanese car coming from a distance, just by hearing the sound of the transmissions down shifting gears
Collects die cast model cars…and the collection keeps growing
Washes and details my car every week!
And the love and passion for cars keeps growing…
Since 2003 my Dad poured every piece of mechanical knowledge into me and he continues to teach, guide and steer me in the direction of becoming an educated car owner, prepared to handle DIY car repairs if the situation should arise. We have debates about cars, debates about top manufacturers and drive throughout the streets pointing at cars and nitpicking their design. But with all the knowledge I’ve gained about cars and the passion we’ve both exchanged, I think ultimately I’ve developed into a young man who really loves cars because of the love for his father.