When did you realize you were a car lover?

It’s funny how you remember defining moments in your life. My Dad was/still is a Master Toyota tech, and typical dealership fashion he would have to work Saturdays. We lived in a very rural part of Vermont, and his average commute to work was about 60 miles, so him working on Saturday’s completely ruined our availability to spend time together.

Sometimes I would get lucky and he would wake me up at 5:00 a.m. and bring me into the dealership with him. As a young man, nothing could be more interesting and boring at the same time. I vividly recall the waiting room, the chairs had a blue confetti cloth, and the typical cheap hard plastic bottoms. The carpet was stained with grease from the techs walking through, and the place had an odd aroma of grease and stale coffee. The TV was quite possibly the funniest thing, it had to be a 1990 version Zenith 20 inch that had more channels than I had ever seen (our cable only had 13 channels growing up).

The most amazing part is that the waiting area was just a stone’s throw away from the Showroom. I would usually go in and sit in the new cars and see new and emerging technological features as they were rolled into the show room. I would and still do consider myself a pretty simple person. When I was growing up it was never Ferrari and Lamborghini posters hanging on my wall, it was always a MR2, RX7, or Supras.

I distinctly recall one morning being awoken by my dad’s truck starting up. If anybody has heard a Toyota truck start it’s a very distinctive sound only to Toyota. It was very early, 5:00 a.m. again, and typically he would start the truck, get everything together, then leave 10 minutes later. He came into my room shortly after I had fallen back to sleep and woke me up. Me being the typical 11 year old, I hated getting up early and told him no I was sleeping in. Typically he would leave me alone but today it was different. He wouldn’t let me go back to sleep!

He said that I had to get up, of course I threw a hissy fit because I didn’t want to. Begrudgingly I got out of my nice warm bed and put on what felt like 16 layers of cloths. Even though it was April, April in Vermont is like winter to most anywhere else, as I walked outside I could see the steam from the heat of my breath. The bitter cold frosted touched against my skin as I opened the door. The truck seats were cold and stiff, and what seemed like only a moment later, my father let the clutch out and away we went. It couldn’t have taken more than 5 minutes before I had dozed off into a slumber.

I was awaken by the sound and stutter of the engine shutting down. A 70 minute drive felt like only 5 minutes. My dad had an excitement about him this morning and I wasn’t quite sure why. As we walked towards the store everything seemed normal, we walked through the dimly lit shop and into the waiting room area. But instead of walking into the waiting room he walked me into the showroom and there was his surprise. I had never seen one! My favorite car for the time!

It was a brand new, 1994 Toyota MR2 Turbo in Super red. The contrast of the Super red off the pearl white floor just made it look so much better. But as I moved closer to the car and pulled the door handle, the doors were locked. :-( I asked to sit in it but my dad informed me that they keep the doors locked until someone is interested in it. Sadly I retired to the waiting room for my dad to get done work.

Not long after he went back to the shop I couldn’t resist the beautiful red temptress in the other room. I walked back in and took the brochure, and kept staring at the car. As anybody could have noticed I was obsessed! One of the salesman grabbed the keys without my acknowledgment and quickly opened the car. He opened the door in front of me, I caught a waft of new leather as I saw just a short flash of the creamy black leather. He turned around, looked at me, and asked me if I wanted to sit in it?

After jumping in excitedly, I played with every button, he also switched it to accessory to show me the flip up headlights. He showed me how the top comes off and Toyota’s ingenuity by having a case built into the engine bay that fits the top. I was amazed! It was at this point that I realized that it’s no doubt I was going to grow up to be a car guy, I didn’t know at that defining moment, how influential it would be, and how it would drive every decision I have made since.

What is your guys/gals first moment you knew you were hooked?

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