How Kids Become Adults Obsessed with Machines

From the August 2020 issue of Car and Driver.

My first love was Duesenbergs. I liked my Tonka trucks and Hot Wheels well enough, but those blue-chip 1930s Duesys had an alchemical combination that spoke to me: a mixture of engineering excellence, outrageous performance, understated elegance, American immigrant ingenuity, Midwestern pluck, and, especially, underground exclusivity. Not that a seven-year-old boy in Detroit in the 1970s had those words, but loving Duesenbergs felt like knowing the password into a secret society. I once did an extra-credit report on Fred and Augie Duesenberg. I visited the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum (ACD) in Indiana. When I had my bar mitzvah, my cake was shaped like an SJ Rollston coupe.

Though we come from wildly diverse backgrounds, those of us who love cars often share similar origin stories of hoarding toy cars or of obsessively naming the make and model of every … Read More