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Modern Dad

Modern Dad: Kids make a car show fascinating, a cold brew helps too

Jon Show

I don’t know anything about cars. My favorite kind of car is one that’s been paid off. I care so little about cars that I owned the same Honda Accord for four presidential terms.

I haven’t always been this way. When I was a nine-year-old in Minnesota during the ‘80s I loved cars, specifically Pontiac Fieros. Loved them. Had a preference for the GT over the SE but I can’t remember why. I think it was the nose design. Do cars have noses?

The Fiero was glorious but Pontiac stopped making them after a few years. The parking brake didn’t work and a problem with the fuel filter caused engines to catch on fire and melt the exterior plastic body.

True fact: Fiero translates to “runaway car fire.”

My nine-year-old son knows and loves cars. He has a preference for certain model years of Lambos. He can spot a Ferrari in an instant. He once asked me if we could sell our house, use all the money to buy a Maserati and just live in the car.

I told him it was the dumbest question I’d ever been asked.

Last week, after tucking him into bed, he asked for the hundredth time the make of my favorite car. I answered as I always do, “My Jeep.”

I bought it two years ago. I sold the Accord on Craiglist on a Sunday evening while my wife was on a roadtrip. We stood in the driveway as the new owner drove it away and my son asked when I was getting the Jeep. I told him it was arriving the next afternoon, and then he asked how I was going to drive him to camp in the morning without a car.

I told him it was the smartest question I’d ever been asked.

He has a new favorite car every month, and lately it’s been a Mazda Miata. A tiny, plastic, cheesy-looking sportster that was broadly ridiculed by society when it was introduced in the ’90s. It’s like smaller version of Lightning McQueen without the decals.

True fact: Miata translates to “mom’s red go-cart.”

One night after soccer practice this fall I took him to the Hot Rods and Hops event held at Eleven Lakes Brewery on Bailey Road. Turns out the storage units behind the new brewery are filled with all kinds of fancy cars like one of the original AC Cobras, which I’m told are very expensive.

The monthly event attracts huge crowds and was pretty eye-opening even for this non-car-enthusiast. Proud car owners arrive by the dozens to stage their Ferraris and Chevys and Fords and Aston Martins and Jaguars in a loop behind the brewery.

Hundreds of people stroll with beer in hand to check out the cars, grab dinner from food trucks, play tailgate games and listen to live music.

My son ran into his best friend and ditched me. I grabbed an IPA and checked out row after row of cars that looked really cool, which is the extent of my analysis. They returned every so often to excitedly point out what they had seen. I didn’t understand half of what they were saying but the beer was great.

I found the AC Cobra – of which only 998 were made – and texted a picture to my dad, who has loved the iconic ‘60s English sports car since he was a kid. The Cobra had such poor handling and so many financial problems that Shelby stopped importing them in 1967.

True fact: Cobra is Queen’s English and translates to “costs $1.2 million so don’t touch.”

At the end of the loop I found my son’s friend’s dad, who has a tinted black truck that was parked in the lineup with the other show cars. It’s been modified to look much cooler than a regular truck. Again, that’s as advanced as my analysis gets.

My son and his friend appeared again and I suggested that we maybe should put my wife’s car in the lineup next time. They ignored me but I persisted.

Who wouldn’t want to check out a 2009 Honda CRV? In Urban Titanium Grey? Leather seats? Seventy cubic feet of cargo capacity? It’s paid off!

They rolled their eyes and ran off to check out the Mustangs.

Jon Show lives in Robbins Park with two potty-trained children and a wife who travels frequently. The next Hot Rods & Hops is Nov. 17​.

Modern Dad will appears monthly in Cornelius Today.