“Let’s Take a Drive”: Happy Father’s Day from Harbin Auto!

Father’s Day Scottsboro AL

Chevy Scottsboro AL

Dad and me, with one of the many El Caminos that came and went.

If we’re being honest, most holidays only have the most tangential relationship to an auto dealership. “Happy Derby Day! Test drive the new Mustang to celebrate!” Or, “Celebrate National Coconut Cream Pie Day in a new Chevy Malibu!” It rings a little hollow.

However, Father’s Day is a little different. If there’s any holiday that shares a natural affiliation with cars, it’s Father’s Day, for reasons that are patently obvious. And, at Harbin Auto in Scottsboro, AL, we aren’t immune to a little nostalgia for Dear Ol’ Dad.

When I was growing up, my own father had what in hindsight can only be described as an unnatural obsession with Chevy El Caminos. For the duration of my childhood, there was never a time when my dad was not in the process of restoring an El Camino, enjoying his newly restored El Camino, or searching wrecking yards and auctions for a new candidate to occupy our spare garage stall. To my elementary-school friends, this was the cause for no small amount of ridicule; the half-car/half-truck nature of the Elky, as they always came to be called, didn’t stoke the embers of white-knuckled curiosity in ten year-old brats quite like it did in my old man, and explaining the finer points of a three-on-the-tree to my friends only cut into valuable booger-eating and wedgie-giving time.

All told, Dad went through five El Caminos while I lived at home, to say nothing of the many shells and parts that never made it off the farmyard where they were purchased. He collected El Caminos like a lesser gearhead might have collected watches. Even now, driving down Highway 281 south of Jamestown, ND, you can find several examples of Dad’s infatuation dotting the prairie: a 1969 SS model that, to hear him gush about it now, you might mistakenly assume is actually his first crush, or the pock-marked 1977, formerly baby-blue in color, that now has taken on the rust-and-green of the advancing shelterbelt that became its final resting place.

What was once a source of endless ribbing in my younger years now represents something very different: me, sitting on the bench seat with my dad, listening to the Beach Boys, plowing through snowdrifts and occasional wild game on the way to school, where I would ask to be dropped off a block away, lest a group of know-nothings who I wouldn’t recognize today decide to tease me about my dad’s unlikely obsession. Now, twenty years removed from those daily trips, I want to grab ten-year-old me by the collar and say, You know, you’re gonna miss these times some day.

So from Harbin Auto, that’s our advice for Father’s Day. If you’re a father, take your kid for a drive. Don’t let them say no. And if you’ve got a Dad, take him for a drive, if only for old time’s sake.

You know, you’re gonna miss these times some day.