My earliest memories of liking cars was when I was age 5 or so. On Sundays I couldn’t wait for the newspaper that had the new car brochures as inserts; I liked the cars, the colors, the options, the photos. Then once a year it was off to the car show in San Francisco, usually with my dad and sometime my grandfather, both guys who loved their automobiles. However their tastes and budgets were very different. I always remember getting the big bag from one of the car manufacturer booths and then running around to get as many brochures as I could carry. Cars I remember from the car shows then were the introduction of the 1970s Datsun (yes, Datsun) Z and the debut of the Saab Turbo. These shows were prior to the Moscone Center and were held at Brooks Hall in the Civic Auditorium. I think we went on Thanksgiving day so that my mom could have some peace and quiet.
My dad, born in ’42 as I recall had a VW Bug and around when I was born a white Toyota Corolla and then later a 1970’s Volvo Sedan in dark blue. My mom had a dark red metallic/rust 1966ish Ford Mustang Coupe and by the time we moved to Piedmont, a matching light blue Volvo Wagon to go with dad’s sedan.
My grandfather had a late 1960s Mercedes SL in white, a silver Rolls Royce Silver Shadow and a ruby red Jensen Interceptor Coupe. I was always excited to go for a ride with him. Each one of these cars was great in its own right. The Jensen had this great leather smell and loud motor. The Rolls had this complicated procedure for starting and a weird key position and these huge to me then seats that were better than any sofa. The SL never had a soft top, just a hard top or open air.
I was hooked, no doubt about it.