Octane on the Rocks

Filling your car up with ethanol at the gas station or fueling up a top fuel drag car are the only logical reasons for combining alcohol and driving. Other than that, NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE! That being said, the other night I was at home enjoying Miller time when a random thought ran through my head. Could have been the Southern Comfort… or the maybe even the Johnny Walker I was drinking, but my dazed mind started shuffling through my memory bank to find a silly online quiz that I had came across years ago. The online quiz was to find out what style of drink you were based off your personality. It gave me an idea. Based off their personalities, what style of drinks would cars be? I’m not saying one particular brand of whiskey to one specific Ford model; I mean a general overview of our favorite group of cars compared to popular alcoholic beverages. Here is the list of automotive groups:

  • Muscle & Hot Rods
  • Trucks
  • Antique pre-1959
  • Luxury
  • Sports
  • Low Riders & Kustoms
  • Vans
  • Exotics
  • Hybrids & Electric
  • Hot-hatch & Tuned import

MUSCLE & HOTRODS: Dark Beer

Muscle and hot rods would be classified as dark beer. Why, because although these cars are a crowd favorite, not everyone can live with them on a daily bases. Shiner Bock, Samuel Adams, and Guinness all have different variations of their beer which is no different than the endless variations of hopped up 1932 Ford’s or option combination on a 1968 Chevelle SS. This means that if you’re a fan of either one, you are bound to find one fitted to your specific needs. The stronger taste and higher alcohol content also means that they aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. These cars (in general) are not fuel efficient or practical, and dark beers (in general) are not cheap or healthy, but diehard fans won’t settle for anything less.

TRUCKS: Light Beer

In America, a pickup truck with empty beer cans in the bed is as iconic as apple pie and baseball. Anyone can drive a truck whether your eight years old or eighty. You have your big three: Ford, Chevy, Dodge and then you have your other big three: Bud, Coors, and Miller. I picked light beer for trucks because they just seem to always be together: tailgate parties, camping trips, cook outs, country bars, and any blue collar neighborhood after five pm. If Chevrolet and Budlight could feature each other’s product in their commercials without getting in legal trouble for advocating drinking and driving, you bet they would jump at the chance during their summer ad campaigns.

 

ANTIQUE CARS (pre 1959): Whiskey, Bourbon, Scotch.

The drinks your father or grandfather used to have. High balls, whiskey neat, scotch on the rocks. Drinks that go back to a time when everything was built to last and men wore a suit every day. When having a factory job was the equivalent to hard labor today and men, and some women, need a double shot of whiskey to wash the day away. Just picture a glass of Johnny Walker black label sitting comfortably on a freshly vanished bar top as a black 1937 Packard Twelve coupe roadster waits outside the bar and slow jazz plays in the background. Doesn’t that sound like the perfect combination to you? I matched whiskey, bourbon and scotch with antique cars because they are liquors that hold a certain level of class, history, and strength, much like the cars of that era.

LUXURY: Martinis, Old fashions, Champagne, Wine.

The sound of a Rolls Royce starting up and champagne glasses chiming seem to go as well together as an Aston Martin idling while a martini is being shaken not stirred.  Maybe you’re enjoying an old fashion during a power lunch while you’re driver waits outside in the Benz. Popping a bottle of bubbly in the back of the limo to celebrate another killing at the stock market and being a member of the 1%. Drinks of high society and luxury cars are both the premiums in their respective worlds, the best money can buy so that’s why they match.

SPORTS: Margaritas, Tequila sunrise, Pina colada.

Drinks full of color and multiple versions of themselves, what better fit than sports cars? They are as tasty to drink as they are fun to pronounce. Sports cars are no different in that they are built to have fun and not be taken too seriously like their older brothers the exotics or bully cousins the muscle cars. It is the same with these kinds of drinks which are best enjoyed while sitting on a beach or anywhere else that is not work related. A sports car is best when you do not have a care in the world except for the curvy road ahead of you.

LOW RIDERS & KUSTOMS: Moonshine.

This might not sound like a correct match but just hear me out. Low riders and Kustoms are built, not bought, and is a very family oriented car culture. Moonshiners are also family oriented in that they pass along their receipts for shine from generation to generation, and any respectable moonshiner will make their own still to brew their own shine. Low riders and customs are definitely not on many people’s must own list just as many people are scared to drink moonshine because of its high alcohol content. Both are extremes in their respective worlds and that is why they match.

VANS: Spiked punch, Swamp juice.

For those that do not know, spiked punch is adding vodka (or liquor of your choice) to the bowl of fruit punch at a party. Swamp juice (goes by different names) is usually created when you are running low on alcohol at a party so you grab everything you have left and pour it into a bowl of juice of your choosing, and maybe tossing in some fruit or berries for texture. The Van culture is considered to be the black sheep of the automotive world, because it is taking something that shouldn’t be cool and forcing it to be everything at once. A van is built to carry stuff from point A to point B. Shag carpets, disco balls, wall to wall TV’s, paint jobs, or hot engines, are added and turned into Good times machines. Fruit punch is not suppose to get you drunk but adding a whole bunch of different liquors to it will have you thinking it was 1978 all over again.

EXOTICS: Shots!

Both are things we think we can handle and usually bite more off than we can chew. You always see a guy at a bar thinking he can take five back to back Jagermeister shots and then see him singing a very sloppy version of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing before going into the bathroom to drop his phone into the urinal. It is the same type of guy that will think he can handle a brand new Lamborghini and will end up wrapping it around a tree while trying to go around a corner. Both are the ultimate examples in their respective worlds and both are underestimated until they leave us with a bad headache as a result of a hangover or an airbag.

HOT HATCH & IMPORTS: Vodka & Redbull, FourLoko, Jager bombs, Saki Bombs.

Golf GTi, Honda Si, Focus ST, etc., all cars that were simple econoboxes at one point that were modified by their manufactures into weight reduced, carbon fiber infused, paddle shifting, pocket rockets. Nissan GTR, Honda NSX, and Toyota Supra are their older siblings born to compete with the exotics and muscle. The drinks I paired them with are mixed drinks that contain caffeine or both beer and liquor in them because these cars are built to do it all while still being very exciting. Cars that can be raced on Sunday and then take the kids to school on Monday, while getting reasonable gas mileage.

HYBRIDS & ELECTRIC: Virgin drinks.

These cars were built with the responsibly of caring for the environment. They look like and feel like the other cars but lack the excitement of there gas burning cousins. Advances in technology will someday make these cars fun to drive as the others, but until that time these cars are the designated drivers of the automotive world.

Remember, this article is for fun and should not influence your decision next time you are at a bar or dealership and to NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE! Real Gearheads would walk than risk wrecking their rides, so always designate a driver or call a taxi.

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The Runaway King, Elvis’ letter to America

Dear America,
This is the King speaking. Not from beyond the grave but from right here in Graceland. At the tender age of 78 I feel my time is coming to end and I feel I need to unload something that has, let’s just say, all shoke up. I know you all think I died on the crapper in 1977, but there were some who never believed I had actually kicked the bucket. Well those people were right and I’m writing this letter to set the record straight.
I was in a bad way in 77, my heath was as bad as LA smog and I was struggling to keep up with the times and this new fad called Disco. I longed for the good old days when I was just starting out with Berry, Lewis, and Cash, hitting the road from one gig to another. It was tough going, but that’s why started popping pills. I guess that’s when my problem with drugs began, at the time I didn’t think anything of it, neither did Cash, to us they were just wake-me-up mints. They were just a way to stay awake through those long rock n roll nights.
I think this whole thing started back in 71 when I had my little meeting with Tricky Dicky at the White House. At the time, there were a lot of issues Dick and I both agreed on: we both hated the black panthers, dirty hippies, drugs, and those girly voiced Beatles. I asked him if I could be a special federal agent, so I could do my part in the fight against drug abuse and hippies. Amazingly he thought it was a good idea and ordered me a badge from the bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, good looking picture too. I remember Dicky telling me that if there was anything I ever needed, to just ask, even if he wasn’t the president. It made sense for him to say that, after all we had become friends now. Who would have guessed that just years later I would be cashing in on his word.
Being a special agent was a gas man, but everything around me was taken its toll on me. My family, my career, my health, my fans, it was all becoming one bad trip. In order to fight the war against drug abuse I had to conduct my own research and that meant seeing firsthand how drugs had become their own lifestyle. Acid, Mary Jane, pills, you name it and I tried it… for the good of America. Not going to lie though, every once in a grey moon I would conduct extra research, just to take the edge off.
By 76 I was all over there place, and my friends and family were beginning to take concern. I felt fine, or high, I couldn’t tell anymore but I kept rocking the mic at Vegas. One show I met a “me” impersonator named Jimmy “Bucky” Walters, a Georgia kid and man he was the best one I had seen in a while. If he would have been nine year older we could have been twins. I shook his hand and made his day, I even offered to invite him to Graceland for dinner. I don’t remember if it was my mind or the drugs that invited him. The next night as I was sitting in the limo as fans pounded on the windows when the idea came to me. If I was to fake my death I could runaway to some faraway place and live in peace for the rest of my days, maybe even get sober. It seemed like a breath of fresh air at the time. All I needed to do was “die”.
That’s when I made a call to Dick; I needed help if I was going to pull this off. It was the summer of 77 and ever since our meeting in 71 we had been keeping in touch and he considered me a close friend. Granted when I told him my plan, he thought I had spent the night smoking the reefer with Lennon, but I was able to strong arm him into setting the whole thing up. He used his connections to arrange a little surprise for Jimmy Walters that involved a cocktail with enough drugs to overdose an elephant, and then move him to a lab where they would mark his body with the same birth marks I had and age his face a little with plastic surgery. The end result was a complete clone, except this one couldn’t be used for spare parts anymore.
That night we took him to my place and set the whole thing up so people would find “me” dead in the crapper. Why I ended up in the toilet was some thug’s idea of a joke when I told him to place Jimmy in a room people would find me in the morning. I never told my family because, they would never allow me to go through with it and if I did they would uncover my truth so I decided to leave them and tell them later on after the storm cleared. After Jimmy was all set up, we left for the airport on a one way ticket to China, but not before agreeing with Dick never to speak of this. Shooting a man is nothing like you see in the movies, it takes a lot out of you, and lord only knows how those boys in Vietnam did it. Dick and I disposed the bodies of the two thugs that helped us by dumping off the plane, into the sea, while in route.
Over the years I moved around a lot: from China, staying in Tibet with the monks, to the Middle East, to even South America. I grew out my hair and beard so I could walk around in public, and Dick had some of my assets moved to an off shore account so I could get around. It wasn’t until the early 80’s when I told my family, my daughter Lisa didn’t take it too well and she started dating that kid from the Jackson 5 just to piss me off and get me out of hiding, but it had been too long and I was in too deep into this lie.
I wanted to say the truth before I strum my last guitar string. I am sorry America, I am sorry for running away from my fans, I am sorry for being a junkie all those years and living a lie. I do not ask for forgiveness, I am just here to clear the air and unload my burden. I have acted like a hound dog, and I know nothing can change that now.

Your Runaway King,

Elvis Aaron Presley

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Not for Sale

There are four types of Gearheads in this world: The Fixer, the Collector, the Racer, and the Hoarder. Fixers are those who mainly love the project of taking a junker and turning it into a custom ride or show quality restoration. Collectors are those who want to have a warehouse full of their four-wheeled trophies and investments. Racers are lead-footed speed junkies who can never satisfy their need for speed and will throw every cent they have into their race car. Lastly we have the hoarders, who dream of being racers or fixers but think they are collectors. We all know they have a far greater problem that a speed addiction or a rare part hunt, but we do not know why they choose to hoard their cars in a barn, field, warehouse, forest, or back yard and let it slowly rot into the earth.

When I was 16 years old, and finding any excuse to drive, I was exploring my city when I spotted a familiar shape in the backyard of a very rundown house on the side of the road. Naturally, I ripped the e-brake and turned around to satisfy my curiosity on what exactly that familiar shape was. What it turned out to be was a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner almost hidden away by over grown weeds. I knocked on the door to see if anyone was home and was greeted by an elderly woman who was kind enough to let me step into the landscaper’s nightmare of a yard to get a closer look at the car. The Plymouth was in sad shape with 90% of its paint burn off from the sun leaving only primer and getting eaten alive by Mother Nature, but it was full of potential in my eye. The same eye that began to twitch when I discovered the faded remains of plum crazy purple paint on the lower body of the car and pistol grip shifter sticking out of the floorboards inside the dusty interior.

Like any good Gearhead, I asked the elderly woman if the car was for sale knowing full well that any amount over 50 bucks would be too rich for my blood. That’s when I heard the all too familiar phrase, “not for sale”, which has the same heartbreaking weight of disappointment as a love interest telling you they just want to remain friends. Being as I was just a broke kid, I thanked her for letting me see the car and went on without giving it another thought… until recently. Nearly 6 years later,  I was visiting  my hometown to see the family and was cruising the streets when I passed the same house and noticed that the Plymouth was still there! The only way you can spot the car is if you wait for the wind to make the weeds dance which allows you to see the front fender of a car behind them. By now the car probably has weed growing through the rust holes in the floorboards and wrapping themselves around the pistol grip shifter.

My story is one of countless others of Gearheads discovering or chasing cars that an owner will refuse to sell based on a day dream of restoring it someday and then having to drive past it for years watching in depressing agony as the car falls further into decay. That is the clear difference between a hoarder and the other 3 types of Gearheads, because the other 3 would rather sell their cars to each other than let it face the long slow dead of rusting away into the wind. All Gearheads have a reason for what they do, and a car hoarder is no different, there is usually an emotional meaning behind keeping their cars.

Most car hoarders have a sentimental attachment to a car, whether it belonged to a family member who passed away or holds a special memory in their life. I have met people who own the car their father or mother had when they passed away and hold on to the car because of the sentimental value but cannot bare to look at it because it reminds them of the grief of knowing they are no longer with them. This leaves the car which no option but to just sit and rot with no chance of ever driving or being restored. Or they are saving the car for their children to grow up and restore together. The last reason I usually get is when they say that they have plans on restoring the car, “someday”, which never comes because life will always get in the way of a project.

A collector can turn into a hoarder when the collection begins to turn into a health hazard due to not being able to walk into a garage without falling over a car part or not being able to exit the garage in an emergency because there is so much stuff in the way. Keeping a collection of cars and not using them is also a sign of turning into a hoarder. Because not only does it defeat the purpose of a car, but it is no different than letting a car sit in the field for years at a time. A car has to move to live.

Whether you’re restoring a 68 Impala you found at a salvage yard, fitting a roll bar to your 700 horsepower street machine, or deciding which car out of the stable to take to the car show, remember to always keep them moving. Keeping a car stationary is like keeping a work of art covered up in the basement; you take away the purpose it was created for. Life has a habit of being over possessive in keeping Gearheads away from their cars, but we shouldn’t use it as an excuse. I will be returning to that home to ask if the Plymouth is now up for sale in order to rescue the Mopar from its fate. It is always disheartening seeing a classic being put out to pasture to get washed away by time, or locked away in a barn to turn into an urban legend. As Gearheads we should be trying to save them for the future generations instead of letting them fade away into the past.

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Miles of Delusion

They have written songs about it, published books on it, and have made countless films about it, and it’s something we have all thought about. Now before your corrupt minds go into a sinful place, I am not speaking about that, I am talking about road trips. Everyone loves a good road trip whether it is with friends, family or a random hitchhiker that your gut feeling told you seemed like an ok guy, even though he was holding a sign that read, “Nid 2 reach point B”. When a group of guys get together to enjoy the company of Mr. Daniels and Mr. Weiser, at some point during the night 3 topics will come up: Who’s hotter *insert female celebrity names , opening up a bar together, and taking a random road trip to a specific location (usually Las Vegas). With girls it usually comes up when one of them is going through a rough patch in their life and they all feel they just need to get away from it all. But whatever the reason may be for taking a road trip, the idea is always fantastic, and why shouldn’t it be. A road trip is taking: your favorite people, your favorite music, your favorite gas station snack foods, and in some cases, your favorite car and hitting the open road with no troubles except for how far the next bathroom is. But I wonder, are we really in love with road trips? Or are we merely in love with the romantic idea of a road trip?
One of my favorite stand up comedians, Lewis Black, once mentioned that the moment of anticipation is always more exciting than that actual moment, because anticipation is fantasy and reality can never live up to a fantasy. If you gamble, the most exciting moment is the second before you find out if you win or lose, because you get the adrenaline filled rush that hooks you into making another bet whether you win a jackpot or lose a montage payment. I feel that it is the same situation when it comes to the idea of a road trip. Now this does not apply to short road trips less than two hours or 200 miles, I’m talking about long hauls that make you say, “Wouldn’t it be easier to fly?” , road trips. Naturally there will be some of you out there who do not agree with what I have to say next, which is fine, this is just one man’s humble opinion.
The moments of planning and anticipating of a road trip are the best, getting the destination planned out, car serviced and ready, luggage packed, and departure time set. Then the moment you and your travel party set off, you start the carefully prepared music playlist you made specify for this trip filled with the classic road trip songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Boston, Tom Petty, AC/DC, and more. You have your small stock pile of beef jerky, sun flower seeds, Mountain Dew, and Lays potato chips at your side for your munching pleasure as the miles roll by and you just left your hometown city limits…the road trip has officially begun, and now fantasy takes a backseat for reality to get behind the wheel.
Somewhere between the first bathroom stop and the four hour, that amazing playlist you created has ended and is about to start again for the second time. That stock pile of snacks has been reduced to a wrapper graveyard on the floorboards of your car and your travel buddies are starting to get restless from being cooped up in a car for over four hours. The road itself has turned dull as you leave any nearby civilization for rural landscape with nothing but an arrow straight highway ahead of you. Like a marathon runner, you have hit a wall. The wall can appear in different forms like: Getting stopped by police, car trouble, car accident, or even a car sick travel buddy.
Now, I understand and know the joys of having a road trip, and I am not saying road trips are bad. This article was merely to point out that on a road trip, not every single mile you pass will be memorable or exciting. The best road trips are the ones that do not go according to schedule or plan, because then it turns from getting to point A to point B into an adventure. Driving from Texas to Las Vegas wouldn’t be a story worth telling if all you did was drive and arrived on time, you gotta have a flat tire, rain storm, tourist trap, or something added into the trip to make it an official road trip. Ever since President Eisenhower signed the bill to construct America’s Interstates and highway we have become obsessed with driving all over them and seeing what our country has to offer. So the next road trip you and friends or family plan, follow the rule of, “We’ll get there when we get there” and not, “Are we there yet?    

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