“Many things catch your eye, pursue only those that catch your heart.” These words come back to me as I listened to the purr of an engine.The type of deep rumbling that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand straight up. The sound of a beautiful, well oiled, shiny machine. When I turned around I saw her sitting there gleaming in the sun.Sleek and shining, she looked like she came off the assembly line just yesterday. A 1964 Chevrolet Impala. I could see my twelve year old self, and my look of total awe, reflecting back at me off of her gleaming chrome. Reflecting off her freshly polished light blue surface, the sun seemed to make the magnificent machine glow. The hood was up exposing the chrome plated double header engine. The driver applied pressure to the gas pedal, bringing another deep purr from the motor and I watched in amazement as the engine jumped.
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The sound it made was one of 500 horsepower, of freedom, of raw untamed power. It gave me chills. Blowing around us, the air carried the scent of hot rubber and fresh upholstery to my nostrils, as the driver opened the door and stepped out. The hot summer sun heated everything around us, and the air carried the sounds of the car show around us, but my eyes were glued to this car in front of me. The owner, an older gentleman with white hair, blue eyes and a smile that stretched from ear to ear, walked over to me and my dad. He a head and a half taller than I but he looked me directly in the eyes while, introducing himself. “Names Jeff,” he said with a voice almost as deep as the rumble of the car he owned, “pleasure to meet cha’” he held out his hand and I took it introducing myself. His hand was rough and calloused with a firm grip, but not so hard as to hurt. All the while that smile of his never left his face.
After introductions had been made, Jeff and my dad began talking about the car and other things. While they spoke I circled the car, admiring every glint and glimmer the sun made on her shining surface.After circling two or three times, I stopped next to the open driver’s side door and looked in at the tan leather seats.Jeff saw me looking in and stepped over. “Well, I’ll let you sit in the driver’s seat if you promise not to take off with ‘er.” He said laughing a deep booming laugh. I laughed as well, promising not too, and slid in behind the wheel. The steering wheel and eight ball shifter were warm under my hands. The scent of fresh leather filled my nostrils. After a while of sitting there enjoying the sensations I got out and walked around to the hood. Jeff followed, pointing out the different parts, and explained to me what each one did. I listened intently the whole time.Eventually he covered everything and we stepped back. With a sigh Jeff said “I’ve owned this here car since I was sixteen. It took me three years to fix ‘er up and another two to fully restore ‘er. She was jus’ a frame rotting in someone’s yard when I found ‘er.”I looked from him to the car and back in disbelief. Jeff only smiled and nodded.
It was at that moment staring at that beautiful machine that I realized that is what I wanted to do. I want to fix, rebuild, restore, and work on cars. For the rest of my life. My passion is working on these beautiful machines.