Leading up to this Father’s Day in our miniseries “Car memories with dad,” we share stories and interviews that explore how those who helped through our first repairs, gave advice while car buying, or just wanted an excuse to spend time with us in the garage have impacted our relationship with cars.
What is the first car memory that comes to mind when you think of your dad?
It’s a funny memory. It’s long—it’s way back. And it has to do with my dad, as well as my uncle. I was maybe 1-and-a-half or 2 years old. We were moving from California to Delaware.
And back in those days, there weren’t seatbelt laws or seats, so my father set up my crib in the back of our station wagon.
My first [car] memory is looking out the back of the station wagon and seeing my uncle driving our red ‘66 GTO convertible down the highway across the country.
It’s not a secret that Pontiac GTOs are a Green family favorite.
GTOs are a big deal to our family, as well as to this company. My father purchased a ‘66 GTO in 1967 that he still has today, and [that GTO is part of] some of my favorite auto repair memories with my father.
I can remember—I think he was restoring it around 1978. I was 4 or 5 years old. I’d just walk out into the garage, and he’d be underneath it.
He’d ask me for a half-inch wrench, and I’d fiddle through the drawers and hand him the wrong one, go back and give him the right one, and then I’d start crawling under there with him. Eventually, as I got older, I was doing some of the work.
After that, I had my own car and he was helping me.
My brother-in-law and I—in two weeks—put on a coat of paint on my sister Jen’s ‘67 GTO, and had it ready for their wedding.
It’s amazing that my father passed those skills down to me, my brother, Rick, and my sister, Jen. It’s very empowering to know that if we have a problem with a car that we can handle it on our own.
I have two daughters, Ella and Anna, and I’m looking forward to doing the same thing with them.
You, your brother, Rick, and your father once all worked on GTOs at the same time?
My father was in the Air Force. He was a lieutenant colonel. He’d work on different bases as part of his last job when we were teenagers, and he’d find [cars] in the enlisted men’s lot where the enlisted guys would park their cars if they went overseas.
When my brother, Rick, was 15, my father drove by and saw a ‘65 GTO sitting there—not in very good shape. For $800, we went up and brought that home. My father, my brother, and I fixed that up for my brother his junior year of high school.
We did the same thing a few years later. [My father] found me ‘64 GTO for, I think, $1,100. I spent many nights with him and Rick fixing that up.
Do you have a car memory of your dad that makes you laugh?
I remember seeing the hood open and looking, and he’s pulling part of the engine. I believe, at one time, he actually lifted the engine block out. He took the whole engine apart in the car, and then the engine block—which still probably weighed 300 or 400 pounds—he lifted out of the car himself. He kind of liked to do things the hard way.
Have those memories positively influenced you and your interest in cars?
Definitely. Those experiences are invaluable to who I am and what we’ve been able to do. And I think, with any hobby you learn about confidence, you learn about patience, you learn about taking something apart and then the process of putting it back together the right way.
And all of that translates well into life; translates into the company; translates into [our] videos. He did a great job showing me the right way to do things.
Do you think that’s why it’s important to you to share your love of cars with your daughters?
For sure. Cars are a big part of my life. They’re a hobby. I want to balance the things I enjoy with the things they enjoy.
I also want to show them it’s possible to take something apart and make it into a bunch of pieces, and basically, with love and care, put it back together so that it looks better than new. I think it teaches them there are some things you can do on your own and enjoy, and there are some things you’ll need help with.
I think it’s valuable and I enjoy sharing memories … living and laughing with them… it’s nice as a parent to see them not having the skills to accomplish something, and then having the skills to accomplish them.