Dad Uses Dealership Trips As Reward To Foster Son's Love Of Cars

Illustration for article titled Dad Uses Dealership Trips As Reward To Foster Son's Love Of Cars

This isn't a new car-buying strategy on how to torture salespeople with toddlers, though that may be crazy enough to work. It's about how one dad is turning his tyke into a gearhead, without going broke, by visiting the showrooms. Even though they aren't making a purchase, the dealers are pretty cool about it.


The story comes to us from a the Huffington Post blog writer Marco Gonzalez. He was trying to find a way to encourage his son's love for cars and trucks without over indulging him with Hot Wheels and Matchbox. So he decided to reward his 4 year old with a trip to a car dealership so the little guy can see his favorite 4 x 4 vehicles up-close.

Take a few moments and read the whole thing; here is my favorite part-

I let him know of my plan, and whoa... if he could do backflips and cartwheels, he would have pulled a Mary Lou Retton all over our house. His excitement was unreal!

So, sure enough, we set the first goal. I told him, "If you have an entire week at school where you listen to your teachers, eat your whole lunch and clean up when you're supposed to, we will cruise to your truck dealership of choice this weekend." First words out of his mouth were: "Ford? Can I go see the F-150s and F-250s? I want one like my Uncle Robert." Yes. It was on!

Now that my son is about to be 2, I am proud to report that I can purchase Hot-Wheels, Matchbox, Tonka and all my favorites that started me on this path and not look like a weirdo. (It is perfectly fine for a childless grown men to buy Hot-Wheels. If you are a childless grown man buying Hot-Wheels, there is a place for you on the internet). So as a dad with a little guy of my own who says the word "Car" more than "Mommy," I look forward to trying this out. Like, Marco's son my boy Andrew prefers his construction vehicles and off-roaders to the sports-cars that I picked out. So maybe Andrew is just a Truck Yeah! name.

As someone who works with dealerships on a daily basis, this story reinforces my belief that there are many good salespeople out there who got into the business because they love cars and want to share that love with others.

This kid was in truck heaven. We walked around that dealership for a good 45 minutes, and he never once stopped smiling... and talking. The salesman put the cherry on top when on our way out, he handed him a brochure for the F-150. I could tell by his face, this was better than any book he already owned. Yes, I'm referring to the library of books currently in his room. Not only was this a memorable experience for him, but he got a memento to take home.

So good work Mr. Gonzalez, we are proud that junior will join our Jalopnik ranks someday....In fact he already has.

(Image Credit: Marco Gonzalez used with permission)

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Tom, Hot Wheels are cool and all, but the toy industry has moved on recently. You should look into these for your kiddo:

Modarri Cars is a new independent toy-maker that is turning out some of the highest-quality toy cars that [reasonable amounts of] money can buy. They are a super-simple building toy with no screws or small components to lose or create a choking hazard. The 'lug nuts' are permanently captured inside the wheels and all the components are robustly made for high-impact play. They even have functional suspension components! It may be a bit complex for a two-year-old, but you can build the kit for him and he can grow into them. Once assembled they make for a super-tough toy that is specifically designed not to come apart during extended play.

There are a handful of Modarri models for now. Amazingly, despite their very different designs, all of their parts are fully swappable so that many different iterations of the cars can be played around with. The people behind Modarri are true car guys who wanted to create a rugged, hands-on toy car that would stand tall in a market lousy with fragile remote-controlled bullshit. They've lavished their product with beautiful design in a toy segment that just doesn't get that kind of attention anymore. They think kids should have proper toys that require some imagination to have fun with and I couldn't agree more.

Modarri is just now getting off the ground. They had a very successful kickstarter and the beta models have been really impressive. They recently had to push back their retail release date to September due to tooling troubles, but they are still on track to deliver an amazing product. You should keep an eye on them and maybe look at picking a model up later in the year once the dust has settled. Would make a crazy-cool Christmas gift.