This past Christmas many family members on base were blessed through the generosity of a local car club. Out of the goodness of their hearts, members of this club donated hundreds of presents to children of deployed parents. It was a fantastic event. They even had a Santa, Mrs. Claus and helper elves!
For me, however, one the best moments that day was when club members drove up in a dozen beautifully restored classic cars.
Like many other red-blooded American males out there, I had my fantasy cars I wanted to drive or own someday when I was growing up. While talking to the classic car owners I discovered an interesting myth as well as a little-known truth about their unique world.
The biggest myth about owing a classic car: Only rich people indulge in such hobbies. I was surprised that many of the club members there bought their car project at what any normal used car would cost. The key difference is they spent months or years fixing it up so it looked like a brand-new show-condition car.
My favorite car that day was an early 1970s pickup. This beautiful vehicle was restored to mint condition, including a brand-new restored engine under the hood.
If you had the time and the patience, you could restore literally any car to current showroom condition, assuming parts were still available.
When I pointed out my car — a 14-year-old Jeep — to this owner, he told me that if I continued to take care of it, someday in the near future someone may look at my car and say, “What a nice classic car you have!”
That got me thinking. When that mint condition 1970s truck was being driven around nearly 40 years ago, no one would look twice because it was just another car on the road.
One of the things I admired about these car owners is their tenacity. They never give up their lifelong dream of restoring their automobiles to their original beauty.
It does not matter if you own an antique Rolls Royce or a restored pickup, you are part of a unique fraternity of car aficionados. Meeting them has inspired me to take care of what I already own.
If you take care of what you already have in life, it could become your personal classic someday.