Driv.r: The Father's Day edition

Learning about cars growing up was a challenge with a father who was an accountant. While I blamed him for it then, he won me over later, writes Gerry Amey.
Jody and Brandon Clarke are a father and son who are rebuilding a '72 Chevy Malibu 4:06

When it comes to cars and motorcycles and anything else mechanical, I have a basic understanding of how things work. But I have a hard time putting theory into practice and draw the line at any job that requires a torch, cold chisel or volt meter.

I blame it on my father. He was an accountant with no interest in cars, except maybe their depreciated value. On the other hand, it seemed, all my friends had sheds full of tools, and fathers who could do stuff. Time for a tune-up or new brakes? No problem. Blue smoke on start-up? They'd take the engine out and install new piston rings over the weekend.

So there I was with no natural talent and no role model. And it was all his fault.

The only reason I didn’t smother my father in his sleep when I became a teenager was — just before puberty set in — Dad won me over.  I was 11-years old when he came home with a stack of brochures from the Plymouth dealer, and asked which one he should buy. There was a Fury and a Valiant and Duster and a Cricket and Scamp and a hot-looking Road Runner. I knew a muscle car wouldn’t cut it (he had four kids, after all) so I picked something with a little more room.

To my astonishment, he followed my advice and came home with that exact car: a royal blue 1971 Satellite Custom station wagon. It had an eight-cylinder engine and big fat Dunlop tires.

I was ecstatic. And it didn’t stop there. He let me sit in the very back with the window down on long trips so I could hear the rumble of the exhaust and wave at cars as we passed them on the Trans-Canada Highway. And then the ultimate thrill: when it was just the two of us on country roads he’d let me take the wheel. All before my voice changed.

Fast-forward 40-plus years and here I am, father of a 12-year-old boy. His passion is soccer. I don’t know anything about soccer, other than it’s not hockey. While I strive for the perfect downshift, he dreams of going to Brazil to see a World Cup game. I’ve probably scarred him for life.

Luckily, Jody and Brandon Clarke don’t have to worry about any of that. This father and son team  from Conception Bay North share the right genes and a shed full of tools. Everything they need to build a ‘72 Chev Malibu from scratch. It’s a project they’ve been working on for years. The body’s all done, just waiting for some proper wheels. By the time you read this, they may have installed the engine and taken their first drive down the main road in Small Point.

It would be nice if Brandon and Jody got to take that first spin on Father’s Day. But then again these two don’t need to mark a day that rolls around just once a year. Take a look at our video to find out why.

About the Author

Gerry Amey


Gerry Amey works with the St. John's Morning Show.