Steve Jobs would be dying if it wasn’t for his best friend

Summer 1971. The Rolling Stones are rocking the radio with Sticky Fingers, that undeniably direct, rowdy and irreverent rock album. And Steve Jobs, just 16 years old, spends all day smoking joints. Literally: “I got high for the first time this summer. I was fifteen years old and that’s when I started using marijuana regularly.”.

But let’s not go so fast. Let’s not take it lightly. Without a good friend, Steve Jobs would have been left without the opportunity to make history, to invent the iPhone and revolutionize the telecom market, or to give substance to the Mac I’m using to write this article. This is a story of cars, drugs and rock & roll.

Steve Jobs’ first car

Steve Jobs’ relationship with cars goes back a long way. In fact, it starts when the above turns 15 years old. From then on he starts harassing his father to buy him a car please. And that does: gives him a repainted Nash Metropolitanfrom his own dealership, a cheap “small car” that good old Paul Jobs had revived with an MG engine.

“In retrospect, a Nash Metropolitan might seem like the funkiest coolest car. But back then it was the least cool car in the world. Still, it was a car, enough for me.” Steve Jobs – Officially Authorized Biography, by Walter Isaacson

Cool or boring, but what’s clear is that Steve Jobs didn’t think that was enough. He had a whim between his brows. That summer he started working and with all the savings in less than a year he swapped his Nash for a red Fiat 850 with an Abarth enginea coupe much more Cool By teenage standards, one of the hottest cars for Californians in the late 1960s.” “My dad helped me buy it and inspect it. The satisfaction of receiving a payment and saving the same… that was very exciting.”

We already have the car. We already have the music. The only thing missing was the medication. That same summer, after sophomore class at Homestead High School—in the same Cupertino— Jobs began smoking marijuana with some frequency. One fine day, when his father smelled the toast, he inspected the Fiat and found the drugs. “What is that?” he asked his son. Jobs bluntly replied, “It’s marijuana.” Steve wasn’t a talkative boy, but in that moment he defied his father. They had a big fight.

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This has hit the job budget deeply, for indeed the thing was no less. As Jobs recounts in his memoir, the following year he began trying LSD and hash, “and researching the overwhelming effects of sleep deprivation. I started getting a little high. We also took LSD from time to time, usually when we were out in the fields or driving the cars”.

A car that almost killed him


For example, on one of his afternoon drives, Jobs was driving down Skyline Boulevard, with the Santa Cruz Mountains crowning the postcard, when Tim Brown, his stalwart comrade-in-arms, he started screaming “Stop, the car is on fire!”. Jobs looked back to see flames and black smoke rising from the body and sweeping across the road. The car was burned. And Paul Jobs had no choice but to follow the warning, tow him away and take the damn Fiat to his garage.

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This fire did not quench his passion for the automotive industry. Absolutely. Not even for Fiat, a brand he has developed a passion for. In fact, on a trip to Turin, he met the company’s president and For years he professed his admiration for designer Sergio Pininfarina (Ferrari) and Dante Giacosa (Fiat) and brand them as real revolutionaries.

Many years later, both Brown and Jobs, who had been close since their Homestead days, recalled it as a lifetime experience. If he hadn’t warned him in time, Jobs could have died right there.

Home | Original photography by Norman Seeff

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