I’am a Barnfind

            Anyone who considers themselves a Gearhead can recall the moment when they were, “Bite by the Carbug”. Being bite means having an addictive illness that has no cure, and we are thankful that there isn’t one. I was one year old when I was bite and it happened the moment my father came home one day with a Hot Wheels toy car for me. According to my parents, I was transfixed by it and my father kept buying me more and more until I got a pedal car in the shape of an Indy race car at age three. I got my first taste of driving and owning my own means of transportation with that pedal car and it further drove my passion for my soon to be obsession for anything on wheels. Growing up I was always the kid who knew cars in school and was even the president of my high school’s auto shop club during my senior year. When it came time to deciding what I wanted to study in college, I was confident that I wanted to become a mechanical engineer, (coming from a family full of engineers), but after my freshmen year I found out that it was not for me. It wasn’t until the following year when a professor saw my writing ability and recommended I join the school newspaper, which I did and discovered my love for writing. I wrote for the school newspaper for the rest of the year but they failed to publish any of my articles for two reasons: they were too opinionative, and most were automotive related. What I did learn from that experience is the degree I wanted to pursue and the career I wanted to obtain. I switched my degree to Communication Studies and if all goes well I will be receiving my Bachelor’s degree in the fall of 2014. As for a career, if someone was to ask me what my dream job was I would have two options, writing for Hot Rod magazine and hosting the show Top Gear, or any automotive related television program.  Anything I do, whether it is writing or filming/editing short films, they all have a direct correlation to my love for automobiles. Within the past two years I have had people in my area calling for my help in appraising their automotive collections and I take it as an honor to be considered with such a vast reasonability. 

                I am 21 years old, turning 22 this year, and so far I have five cars in my collection: 1997 GMC Sierra, 1985 GMC Sierra, 1977 Camaro LT, 1977 Yamaha 360cc, and a 2013 Mazda 3. They all own a piece of my heart, especially the ’97 GMC because it was my first car and it has gone through hell and back with me over the years. I even totaled it when I was 17 and refused to see it get hauled off to a salvage yard to die. I rebuilt the truck from ground up, with huge support from my father, using a cocktail of new and junkyard parts. People who are not in love with cars, like us, fail to realize that a car is not just two tons of rubber, plastic, glass, and steel. A car can hold memories and experiences that can take you back to different time in your life just by looking at it in a driveway or sitting behind the wheel. Anyone who can remember their first car will feel 15 or 16 years old again the second they spot one driving down the road or parked in someone’s driveway.  A car is a vessel for your soul and you store a little piece of yourself in that vessel every mile you clock on the obometer.

                I feel that I am a barn find because I am like a 1964 Shelby Cobra hidden in a barn somewhere in the country side waiting to be discovered and brought out into the world. I am waiting for the right opportunity to find me so I can go out into the world, make a name for myself, and be the next Jeremy Clarkson, David Freiburger, Chip Foose, and Richard Rawlings of the automotive world. Cars are my passion, and I cannot wait to develop a career that revolves around them.

CAR BASHING

Gearheads love cars, and we love everything about them, whether it’s the thought of doing donuts at a Wal-Mart parking lot at two in the morning, being left on the side of the road with a broken fan belt , or looking back at our ride before entering the house at the end of the day. However, just because we love everything on wheels does not mean we love anything on wheels because we all have that one particular car that, for rational or irrational reasons, we just hate. It could be because we had a bad experience with the car, spent more time under it than driving it, or the shape of its taillights offended us, whatever the reason is everyone has at least one car we love to bash.

            For the most part, the Toyota Pruis wins the election on being voted most likely to be run off the road, because it’s like the unwanted party guest that drinks all the beer and they lectures us about how wine is better. Personally whenever I see a Pruis with a dented fender I get a sense that someone has committed some good old fashion street justice and admire it for a split second. This car isn’t number one on my list, that pot holed ridded parking space is reversed for… the Honda Civic. Every time I say this in public I get one of two responds, “Aw why, there such great cars!” or “… I drive a Honda Civic”. I have nothing against the build quality of these cars because let’s face it, Honda builds a car like Mother Nature builds a cockroach. My beef with this car started in 2001 when the first Fast and Furious movie was released in theatres and started the tuner movement.

            After 2001 I started noticing more and more Civics being “modified” with the traditional ricer equipment: stereo sound system decals (for added horsepower), park bench styled spoiler, coffee can exhaust tip, and the lightshow from down under neon lights. These little buggers started popping out everywhere and buzzing around town which left a bad impression on me by the time I started driving years later. In high school I joined the never ending war of muscle vs. import and the school’s auto shop was the battleground for displacement debates. Since Civics are incredibly common I’ve had opportunities to drive them to maybe understand what people saw in them. First time I drove one, that belonged to one of my cousins, it was a riced out 2001 coupe. The car even had a fire extinguisher dressed up to look like a can of NOS, and driving it was like being forced to watch a documentary about nothing while painting a wall the color beige. The car feels well built but it feels like just a means of transportation, not a car that has soul and gives you some kind of emotional feeling when you drive it, it’s completely forgettable. Driving a Civic is like eating a dollar burger, yes it is cheap and it’ll get you full but it you could eat a steak instead, you would.

            People will say I am being too judgmental about the car, but isn’t that the point of a personal opinion? I do not like Honda Civics because they are the poster child for the ricers and they just annoy me, it is irrational and I am aware of it.  Someone’s reason for hating a car does not have to make sense to anyone but the person bashing on that car and it is just another example of the Gearhead lifestyle.

Night Runner

Cruising along through the darkest of nights

Your eyes widen when the cop flashes his lights

As you ease to a stop your mind will race

What will you say as you slip on your poker face

As you wait for the law, all you can see

Nothing but darkness and a road just for me

You hear the footsteps of his boots

Thinking it’s the perfect time to break loose

In the heat of the moment you decide

Cops can’t catch me tonight

Foot to the floor, balls to the wall

Feeling the devil is behind it all

Headlights cutting through the night

Sensing the danger as you run through a red light

Tires scream as you make the turn

The car breaks loose, make that rubber burn

Up ahead a road block you see

Johnny Law is pulling out all the stops to catch me

Engine bellows in rebellion

As you force it to charge like a stallion

Cops don’t know what to do

As you drive through the roadblock at a hundred and two

Headlights smashed, hood is gone

Car still has gas, so make it run

Sparks flash in the night

Every time a cop tries to bite

With a twist of the wheel you push him into a ditch

Two blown tires making it hard to control this bitch

You’ve gotten away so it seems

Better blow the scene before it turns mean

Engine idles in dark

As you wait for law dogs to cool their bark

What Kind of Gearhead am I?

I have a family history of the “car bug” so I was born with a natural interest in automobiles. I will drool over any car built between the years 1929-1985, see European cars as works of art, and think vans are cool. I do not consider myself a brand loyalist but I do play favorites and those are: Mopar, GMC, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, and Mazda. (I know, but Mazda has been my first car and first brand new car, plus they are just plain fun to drive). My least favorite being Honda and Toyota, and I see hybrid cars as the annoying younger sibling, of automotive world, that your parents force you to bring along when you go out with your friends.

                I love reading about racing history and I will defend it with my last breathe when somebody says, “Racing isn’t a sport”, but I do not follow any kind of motorsports currently. That being said, I do dream of getting a chance to proof myself on a racetrack someday and follow a dream. Like most Gear-heads I turn into a show-off once I get behind the wheel and I love doing burnouts, speeding, power slides, bootlegger turns, reverse 180’s, but after going through a new set of tires in less than ten months I have since calmed down and reserved it for the occasional rainy day. I believe everyone should learn car control, and I constantly day dream about being on a race track.

                I do not hate cops, and this is coming from a Gear-head who has been stopped by five-O since he was 15 for a total of 28 times. (This number may increase by the time you read this). To me they are just doing their job, and many are fellow Gear-heads so a good attitude is always helpful when bullshiting your way out of a ticket. The occasional drag race at a street light is harmless showing off but street racing in general gives Gearheads a bad reputation, take it to a track.

                My favorite car movie is a tie between Christine and The Blues Brothers and I think the title of best car chase belongs to The French Connection because it was filmed on public roads without permission. I think F&F movies are trying to break the Dukes of Harzzard’s record for most Chargers destroyed so I do not like them at all. The best movie car is Kowalski’s white Dodge Challenger, because who hasn’t thought of running across country in a supercharged Mopar while listening to 70’s rock.

I do not believe that in order to be a Gear-head you need to be a master mechanic, but you do need to know the bare basics: tire change, checking oil levels, know how to drive a stick, change an air filter, how to jump-start a car battery. I myself am not a master mechanic, but everything I have learned about wrenching on cars have been on a need-to-know bases, as in my GMC truck has left me on the side of road I need to know what’s wrong. A break-down lane or gas station parking lot is the second home to any Gearhead who drives anything vintage or custom.

I am the type of Gearhead who names their cars, and will refer to a car as a he or she. I believe that cars have personality and I am convinced that cars can develop a soul from his/her owner. What I find most interesting about this hobby/lifestyle is that two Gearheads who have never met before can talk for hours to each other about engines, cars, etc. and all it takes is the phrase “nice car man”. That’s the kind of Gearhead I am.