You know, it's always amazing to talk to other gearheads and car nuts and see what kind of automotive influences they have had. It's surprising how many of us have been influenced by the same things, no matter what our age or generation. However, the amazing thing is to watch people's reactions when they come face to face with one of those influential vehicles. They stare; they point; they laugh and giggle, and basically...right there in front of your eyes...turn into a little kid again. It’s fantastic!
To illustrate this point, a few weeks ago I had the chance to spend some time with the SPEED RACER guys, and drive the real Mach 5 around and basically be Speed Racer for a couple of days. However, even more amazing than that, was the reaction the car brought out of people! EVERYBODY recognized it, and literally swarmed it like ants when we took it somewhere. The Cops were drawn to it like a "Free donut" sign, and most wanted to get their picture taken with it, which we were glad to oblige. It was a lot of fun.
Now for those of you that haven't seen it, the Real Mach 5 is just that...A life sized version of the car that Speed drove in those classic cartoons. But until you see it live and in person, you may not understand how important cars like this really are. We tend to forget that most of us got our earliest influences and learned to use our imagination by watching cartoons, or tv shows that featured some cool car or truck. Without those influences, we would have had no catalyst to ignite our dreams about going fast or racing, ripping a jeep thru the mud, or just enjoying cars and trucks in some way.
The proof of what I am saying is evident when you see the reaction of the people as they come face to face with that influential car or truck, and they start to tell you about their own unique life experiences that grew out of that influence. It's like peeking into their automotive DNA and seeing how it is put together!
The cool thing is, these kind of influences don't just happen when we are little kids...they can continue to happen throughout our lives... if we don't stifle them!! Way to many times we get so busy being all grown up, that we forget to let our inner kid out to play. Sometimes it takes seeing a car like the Mach 5 (or the Batmobile, or General Lee) at a show to knock us on the head and remind us that we are all still kids at heart, and it is OK to be that way.
So I encourage you to get out to a car show and check out the Real Mach 5 or the Batmobile, or maybe that SS Chevelle, or Hemi Roadrunner you've always wanted...and better yet...take some kid with you. It doesn't matter how old they are! Just drag 'em to the car and thrown 'em in! You have no idea what kind of influence it may have on them, and what kind of dreams you might stir up. Who knows... they might end up being the next Speed Racer!