Monday, April 30, 2012

Keeping it in the family

Over the last few years my life has changed considerably. If you asked my friends and family the one thing about me that has changed the most, I'm quite positive that they would all come back to you with the same answer. As one friend says, 'you've turned into a crazy car girl!' However, during these exciting new times as I've immersed myself in my new hobby, I’ve started to think that something about this is just not quite right. I started to ask questions such as ‘where do I get this passion from?’ and ‘why am I the only one like this in my family?’

At times I started to feet a bit isolated, like a bit of a loner even. So many of my friends come from such influencial automotive backgrounds; their first memory sitting in the back of Dad’s Holden or helping their Uncle fix up his old pick-up. But me? I just don’t have any of that, and it started to make me feel a little bit left out. Being an automotive enthusiast just seems to be something that is generally ‘passed down’ through generations, so maybe I was just the odd one out?

But here is where things all change. I was recently told a very interesting story, a story that until now I had never heard before. Let’s take it back a few decades to the late 70’s, a time of innapropriately short shorts, sweatbands and crazy facial hair (shudder)...

A young girl with golden blonde hair twidled her thumbs while she stood at the end of the drag strip handing out time slips. She tried to look interested as she gazed over the hot haze of heat rising from the tarmac, but really there was a particular young man that had caught her eye and this was what brought her to Fram Autolite Dragway (back then called 'Pukekohe Hot Rod club') every weekend. She watched as he and his friends tested out their crazy new inventions; whether it was a big block Chevy, a drag-spec motorbike or even a custom built rail...

This young man was your typical troublemaking teen, and when he wasn't at the dragstrip, he and his friends would spend every free moment of their time in a small basement workshop somewhere in South Auckland, building and taking apart engines. Part of the fun was experimenting with methanol fuel, with the boys often returning home with only half a moustache or hair on only one of their arms. Needless to say, this was what they did for fun, and it was a huge part of their lives. Fuel ran through their blood!

Long story short, the girl got the guy in the end. Despite the fond memories they both had of chasing eachother at the dragstrip, neither one of them ever returned there.

What has this got to do with me you might ask? I sat there smiling as I had a wine with my dad as he told me the story of how he met my mother. Yes, that troublemaking young man (with the sweet hair-style and brown-tinted aviators) was none other than my own father.

Dad's first generation Ford Transit panel van
Complete with velvet interior

Finally, things made sense! I wasn’t weird (or adopted) – I was a Croucher. With my new found sense of belonging comes a new meaning to my passion, fresh motivation and most important of all; drive. So after all that, it turns out I’m not an odd-ball.

Fuel just runs though my blood too.


  1. THE BEST!!!!!!!!!

  2. Thanks for that. I have similar stories about my family, and they have been passed on to me in the same way. I'm 'the lucky one'; ie: I get away with things that no one else should (like driving to the shops sideways). Apparently there's always one in my fathers family, and the rest pale in comparison to the lawlessness that I endeavour to charm my way through. The positive angle to this, my brothers will never ever get a speeding ticket, because they're not as bad as me and I've still got my licence (thank God for courtrooms). Wooller's always get away with comparative ethics in the courtrooms. I get the brunt of it and I still manage to charm my way out of it. I think they made 'crimes of passion' an illegitimate legal response thanks too me: 'honest officer, I was just having some fun. It was harmless...'. Man, they have to change the rulebook for me sometimes. I've gone and bought a French car now, just like my father, they seem to work wonders for your licence and social decorum; it's those Japanese rocket-ships that got me up to no good. Kids, don't do drugs, buy a European car.

    1. Not sure where you got the idea from, but I definitely don't promote anything 'boyracer' related on here. I'm very much against anything illegal/dangerous happening out on our roads so it does disappoint me to hear your story.

  3. Now *I* have pretty much zero car heritage. My Dad had a long list of great classic muscle cars, but way before I was ever a thought. The most I remember was his old "junker" Ford Escort hatchback, and I thought it was the greatest thing ever with its five speed and beat up status. (Later, I would find the Escort Cosworth and fall in love all over again. I really want one...)

    I did watch some stock car racing and demolition derbies as a kid, but it wasn't until I got my first car I was interested in modifying them, and then my first time going to an SCCA event that I wanted a Miata and I wanted to race. So I'm pretty far behind, I think, haha. And definitely a weird one, I hardly fit in with my own family.

    Then again, that's why I have my adopted and extended car family. :)

  4. What a trip down memory lane with my great friends of then and now! Love your Mum and Dad! (And you too!!!) Sheryl

  5. Interesting post and blog overall, keep up the good work :) Our cars show what type of person we are, there a way of life no just an object, not everyone gets that.

  6. Your blog is so nice. automotive backplates images of landscapes suitable for any kind of advertising.

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  7. Unrulyfuture - cool story bro

  8. Very cool blog Taryn! Funny how it runs in your blood! Marcus and I always wonder if our kids will be into it like us - our 2 year old can recognise different car makes and models already and notices a 'brap brap' or loud exhaust noise a mile away where as her friends wouldnt even batter an eyelid! So maybe they will... :)

  9. Did you ask him why he have it up?


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