Welcome to the second installment of Ottawa Car Scene’s articles featuring some local car dads in honour of Father Day this week. We talked to five sons of three local car dads to get some perspective on what influence their dads have had on their current passion.
This article features the Baker family. Jim Baker owns a black and silver 1988 Chevy Silverado Pickup that he bought brand new. He has two grown sons, Kyle and Kurtis, and now a beautiful grandson. Kurtis drives a 1991, all original blue and silver Chevy Scottsdale Pickup that he has had for 3 years. Kyle owns a white and grey 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that he has had for 18 years and is highly modified. Kyle also raced at Capital City Speedway from 2008 until the track closed in 2014 in the Mini Stock Division.
Three generations of the Baker family. Credit: Kurtis Baker
Jim’s 1988 Chevy Silverado has always been special to him. He has never used it for work or driven in the winter. Some of the upgrades include a lowering kit, 2” inch cowl hood, American Racing wheels, dual exhaust, refinished interior and a new paint job in 2012. Jim shared his interest in cars with both boys early on. They tell us that Jim would let them sit in the driver’s seat and pretend to drive his truck. As the boys got older, he took them to Kanata Cruise Nights and they recall going to many local car shows during summer checking out rides with their dad.
Jim cleaning his truck at a car show. Credit: Roger McGetchie
Jim has been into cars since he was a teenager in the 70’s when most of these classic cars were new. As an adult, he shared this interest with his two young sons. From a very early age, Jim took the boys every Wednesday night (and the odd Friday or Saturday) to Capital City Speedway to watch the races. This prompted Kyle, in 2007, to buy his first of many Honda Civics to race. With no formal mechanic training, Kyle learned by trial and error. Kyle admits “a lot of error”, including doing his first ever brake job on the race car. He jokes, “thankfully that brake job worked out, because hitting cement walls hurt”. Jim was always by his side giving a helping hand and often being the voice of reason, while his brother Kurtis would often help in the pits and was always there on Wednesday night.
Team Baker in the Winners Circle at Capital City Speedway. Credit: Thompson Photography
Both boys tell us that their first memories of hanging out with dad was sitting on dad’s lap and pretending to drive his truck on their small neighbourhood street. They have vivid and fond memories of Jim’s truck as it been around all of their lives. The boys were involved young by helping him wash it or grab tools for him while he worked on it. “Little did he know the impact it would have on us.”
Kyle enjoying Jim’s truck at a young age. Credit: Kurtis Baker
Kurtis’s best memories with his dad are the times they spent together going to car shows or going for a cruise. He says, “this never gets old”. His brother Kyle tells us his favourite and most cherished memories with his dad have been spending countless hours working on his race car or modifying his Cutlass Supreme.
Kurtis and Jim parked together at a car show. Credit: Roger McGetchie
The best car advice Jim has given his boys has been “if you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you”. The boys take that seriously coming from their dad who has owned the same vehicle for 32 years and it looks better than when it came out of the showroom. Jim’s brand preference has definitely carried on to the next generation of the Baker family with Kurtis buying an identical truck, just in a different colour. His brother Kyle has owned many different brands of cars and trucks, but he always comes back to buying GM products, like dad.
Credit: Kurtis Baker
At many local cruise nights and cars shows you will be able to find Jim, his wife Marlene, and his boys by the two matching, brand new looking 30ish year old Chevy trucks, likely being polished up or dusted off. Jim’s respect for and care of vehicles shines on through the boys and their meticulously maintained rides.
Kurtis and Jim’s trucks parked together at a show. Credit: Roger McGetchie
We wish you a happy fathers day Jim! Thanks for being pit crew chief, head mechanic, cheering squad, number 1 fan for your boys and now an awesome granddad. Happy father’s day to you too Kyle and we hope you continue to bring your little one out to share the passion. (After the running and touching toddler phase passes of course…just kidding!)