For me, it was my dad, he was seriously into Chevy muscle and was always getting his hands full of oil. He had a 1976 Chevy Impala with a 450 (or something like that) engine swap and he'd peel out all the time
He'd also take me to the illegal street races in the inner city Chicago neighborhoods. The cops showed up and prevented one racer from getting back to his vehicle when it was near a fire hydrant, the officer opened the car door of the Honda and then he opened the fire hydrant right into the Honda flooding the entire car.
Those memories burned into me pretty well and I've always had a fascination for wheels and things as a kid
anyway, that's my story, what's yours?