It’s Chicago Auto Show week around these parts.
You might not remember this, but there actually was a 2020 Chicago Auto Show — it took place before COVID shut the world down. This means that the Chicago Auto Show was the last one before the world fell apart, and will be the first one as we tentatively reopen and march towards some sort of normalcy.
It also means that enthusiasts and car shoppers get to gather in person to check out sheetmetal once again.
Growing up, I loved the auto show. Went at least once every year with either my dad or both parents. But it’s not the show that got me into cars — I was already a car person due to other factors. Still, the show, plus a tweet I saw over the weekend asking car people for their stories of how they became car people, got me wondering about how all of us became car lovers.
For me, mostly it was because my parents ran an auto-parts store from the time I was about 1 till I was 12 or 13. That’s what did it for me. It also helped that both parents were car people, as were some friends and family.
I also blame toys like Hot Wheels, Matchbox, RC cars, and the Transformers for my addiction to the automobile.
I did go through a phase of indifference towards cars for a few years as a child — like a lot of suburban kids, I became obsessed with sports. I still love sports. But at around age 12, I started caring about cars again, because I realized I’d be driving soon enough, and I also started reading the buff books.
Eventually, I worked in a dealership as a porter, then a service greeter, then a service advisor, before stumbling back-asswards into automotive journalism. Now I’m here, typing these words for TTAC.
That’s my story of how I came to love these two-ton pieces of metal. What’s yours?