What are you getting Dad for Father’s Day? A tie with little prancing horses on it? Forget it, he hasn’t worn the one you got him last year. Maybe a subscription to Classics Car Magazine? Great, another pile of un-thumbed newsprint to keep that stack of National Geographic company. A die-cast model of the one that got away? You’re such a jackass, going on and mentioning “that car” again and breaking your dad’s heart. You know he doesn’t like to talk about it.
Well, what if you could get him the real thing: the car he’s been dreaming about since he was in diapers, the only car whose front seat was ever more interesting than the back seat, the car he lost tragically in that glue factory explosion before you were born?
This year, Dad, we here at Ridelust want to give you that car. But, en lieu of the actual car, we’re hoping you’ll settle for our sincerest wishes. (That is, unless those carnal bribes to the old farmer’s wife down the road are successful, in which case, for Godssake put the computer down and open the garage door, I’m bringing this baby home!)
From Adam: a 1976 Datsun 280z
“I like to blow the carbon out of her every now and then,” my dad said to my terrified mom as he pushed his Silver ’76 Datsun 280z up to 120mph on a public road. It was their very first date. It’s no wonder I turned out the way I did, completely irresponsible when it comes to cars.
For some reason my mother showed up for a second date, for a third and so on. And there were more shenanigans – apex hunting on the curvy forest roads of northern Wisconsin, street drags between the Z and my mother’s ’76 Firebird Formula (she’d get him off the line but he’d reel her in at the end) and, I’m sure, countless other stories of white-line fever that they vowed never to tell myself or my sister in hopes that we wouldn’t repeat these feats. Sort of like if your parents were big into dope when they were your age but now they’re pounding the D.A.R.E. program into your ears.
My dad had to sell the Z after a few years. The salt caked roads of a few Iowa winters ate that cheap Japanese steel like a hamster eats a cheeseball, starting at the outside and working to the center. He really misses that car. There’s a little silver glint in his eye and a bittersweet smile on his face when he talks about it.
If I had the means I would go right out and purchase my dad a clean, dry, silver 1976 Datsun 280z. Right after I pick up that E30 M3…
From Chris: a 1972 Stingray Corvette
I actually did buy my Dad a replica car one year. It was a ’69 model, but I didn’t know any different. It matched the description I had heard for years: fire ant red, black leather, t-tops, and an automatic tranny shooting that 350’s torque to the positraction rear end. I didn’t know what the hell positraction meant, except that it couldn’t keep him from spinning dough-nuts outside my mom’s apartment. It was a beauty, one of three he owned before 30 years old: a pristine ’67 convertible 427, a ’69 fix-her-up, and that beauty ’72. But all of them were lost. The first was drawn and quartered by an iron girder his roommate KO’d on prom night; from what I gather, the second was totaled by what seems to be “engine-detonation”; and the third, well, the third was the special victim of colon cancer, sold off to pay for Dad’s medical bills. A true martyr.
If I had it all (or at least $30K) I’d hunt down that VIN, or pick up one of hundreds of Stingrays matching that simple description from usedcorvettesforsale.com. Of all the classic cars out there, the Stingray is fortunately one of the cheapest and easiest to come across, and someday, when my stellar blogging skills are adequately compensated, some babied low-miles example will be his. Despite my most persuasive arguments, a C6 just won’t do it for him. It’s C3 or bust!
From Nathan: a Hummer H1
For some reason, my dad and I just don’t see eye to eye on cars. If money were no object I’d go with something that would completely own the Nordschleife, but Dad couldn’t care less about 0 to 60 times and lateral g’s. His current Ford Explorer Sport Trac perfectly defines his need for value and functionality. Since he grew up on a farm and currently resides on a “mere” 5 acres, I would want to get him something functional and yet flashy, a vehicle that he could lord over others of his country-ish ilk. For that, I’ve got to go with the HUMMER H1 Alpha SUT. GM’s Duramax 6600 diesel is held sacred by truckers, and the Allison 1000 transmission increases the gross combined weight rating (sum of vehicle, maximum cargo and towing capacities) to 17,300 pounds. And since we’re talking unlimited funds, I would of course throw in an unlimited gas card.
From Geoff: a 1967 Corvette Convertible
Somewhere in one of the family photo albums is a picture of my father sitting in a blue Corvette convertible as a teenager. The car wasn’t his, but you’d never know it by the smile on his face. Supposedly, the friend of his older brother who owned the car also offered to let him take it for a spin, but he was too shy to accept. Nevertheless, the experience solidified his love of the Corvette that has continued for over 30 years until he was finally able to justify buying one of his own (an ’88 convertible). New Corvettes may be more powerful and user-friendly than one of the mid-years, but in his and many people’s minds, nothing will ever be as sweet as a ’67 ‘Vette convertible. Despite the fact that my dream car is the 1967 Mustang fastback (which has to be more than a little heart-breaking to him), the first car I’d buy if I had the money would be a classic Corvette for my Dad.
From Alex: a Holden VE SS V coupe utility
It’s hard to think of what car to get my Dad. You see, he’s not a car guy per se. Sure, he likes cars, in a theoretical way. I love the man, but his idea of a weekend well spent is not laboriously shellacking his car with 4 coats of wax. He wants to use it – to do important manly things. No time for washing it! So it needs a bed to haul stuff. And he’d also like to take it into town when he’s done, so it can’t be too beat up. So it’s gotta haul ass, too. So Dad, here’s to you: the Holden VE SS V coupe utility that represents the best of who you are. You are a hard worker who appreciates utility and functionality, but every once in a while you’d like to burn a little rubber. I think the Holden Ute with its 362 HP L98 should provide plenty of get-up for those on-ramp excursions, and there’s plenty of room in the back for those Costco runs Mom sends you on. You can finally start racking up all those speeding tickets again that Mom used to yell at you about. Happy Father’s Day, Dad!
From Suzanne: a 1982 Jeep CJ5
The day I was born, there was a freak snowstorm that engulfed the usually temperate land of Norfolk, VA in a record 40 inches of snow. Luckily, at the time my father owned a Carolina blue 1982 Jeep CJ5, the most capable all-terrain SUV ever engineered, which he used to safely navigate my mother and my wrinkly, ugly self home from the hospital. Unfortunately, the CJ5 was as rugged as they come – we’re talking rag top, fold-down Army-spec windshield, no AC, metal dashboard, drainage holes in the floorboard, small afterthought rear bench seat – and wasn’t exactly the most family-friendly rig on the market. My father eventually sold it in favor of a Ford pickup less inclined to draw the ire of Social Services, and although he always maintained an avid enthusiasm for off-roading, he never managed to own another Jeep.
For this Father’s Day, if I wasn’t living off the meager salary of an auto blogger, I’d hunt down a Carolina Blue ’82 CJ5, polish it up with a little elbow grease, and park it in Dad’s driveway. Then, to further cement my legacy as the favorite child, I’d also spring for a set of 33 x 12.50 BFG MT tires and a Hella light bar bright enough to guide an aircraft into landing.
Happy trails, Dad!