Category Archives: Gearhead Lifestyle

Articles that deal with the automotive hobby and how Gearheads think.

New Blog Site!

Hi guys!

If you follow me, and enjoy my work I move to another WordPress site called

Jesus Behind the Wheel.

I started this new blog when I started writing professional auto reviews, but I also have new short stories from the “If They Could Talk” series as well as random auto themed articles. Worth a follow.

Thank you all for your support!

Motor Girls – Female Car Enthusiasts

Blue vs. Pink

It starts from the moment you’re born. Boys get blue and girls get pink. Boys get G.I. Joe and Hot Wheels, and girls get Barbie and Easy Bake ovens. Boys learn to work with their hands while girls learn to nurture. Recent generations have started to burr the lines on gender specific childhoods, but it will be awhile before a child is free to play with whatever their heart’s desire without judgement.

This unwritten rule of what a child should be playing with grows up into adulthood and it’s a contributor to why the car is seen as a male dominate hobby. Few girls grow up having grease under their finger nails and holding a flashlight while their dad works on the family car. Even when they do, the color of their equipment will usually only come in pink.

When a Dream Becomes a Reality

I never understood men who feel threatened by women who love cars and can wrench or drive better than them. As a car-guy, shouldn’t it be a fantasy to meet a girl that isn’t annoyed at the thought of going to a car show with you? To meet a girl that will bring her own tool box to help you work on your race car. A girl can make you weak in the knees just by saying the phrase “An inline six with triple Weber carburetors”. It’s supposed to be a dream to meet someone you can fall in love and share a hobby with. So why do some men exclude women? Why do some men see women in the hobby as just a pretty face to look good next to their car?

The Woman Who Helped Create Our Obsession

If it wasn’t for women in the automotive world the car could have been delayed by several years, possibly decades.

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Photo courtesy of History.com

In 1888, Bertha Benz became the first person in history to complete a long distance trip in one of the earliest examples of an automobile. Bertha Benz was the wife of Karl Benz, and their patent horse-less carriage is considered to be one of the first examples of the automobile. Although Karl Benz was a genius inventor, he struggled in the marketing department. The Benz family was also feeling the heat from another competing German engineer who was tinkering on his own automobile just a few miles away, Gottlieb Daimler.

Bertha Benz believed in her husband’s invention and decided to prove it to everyone by using it to travel 65 miles to her mother’s house. Benz’s car was a three wheeled, single-cylinder, 2.5 horsepower buggy that could sit one in the front and two in the back. Bertha left with her 2 sons on the world’s first ever road trip. The story of her journey is an article in itself, and the publicity created from her trip saved their company from going bankrupt.

hith-bertha-benz-E Car Replica
Photo Courtesy of History.com

The trial by fire road-test also led to Karl going back to the drawing board to work out all the bugs that Bertha faced on the 120 mile around trip, which lead to the introduction of the world’s first gear system. All you bros out there who love dumping the clutch on their V-tech’s owe their burnt clutches to Bertha Benz.

A woman saved the invention we would later revolve our lives around. She proved to people that the horse-less carriage was safe and easy to use. Her efforts got people on board with the idea of the automobile.

Modern Motor-Girls

I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a number of female car enthusiasts in my life and have admired them all for being as car-obsessed as me, if not more. They are the reason why I tend to stay away from using the term “car-guy” in my articles, because I know it’s not a one gender hobby.

I am not accusing all car-guys of discriminating against women enthusiasts, I’m saying that this type of thing does happen. There are car-guys out there who share my opinion just like there will properly be some who will read this and completely disagree.

As one female Gear-head said:

“You don’t steer with your boobs or shift with your penis, so why should it matter?”

– Kat Hagen

Biased Media Outlets

I constantly see the term “car-guy” being used to describe enthusiasts in popular automotive websites and even TV shows – media outlets that should know better than to ignore part of it’s target audience.

Car Throttle is guilty of constantly ignoring female car enthusiasts in their articles and media. They love carpet bombing the word “car-guy” all over their videos and articles. Even in videos where they compare non-car enthusiasts to Gear-heads they will still say, “Non-Car Guys”. Scan through the comment feeds of their content and you will find comments like, “car girls too.”

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There are some articles and videos about car-girls but they are either written by guys or deal with the same repetitive topics. “The troubles of being a Car-girl”, “How to turn my girlfriend into a car-girl”, “Non-car girls vs. Car-girls”. Stuff we have seen at one time or another for years, nothing new.

Some Car Throttle loyalists will want to say that I am full of it. But, if you are a member of the site try searching for “car-girl”. All you will see are photos of attractive girls posing with cars, memes about how a girlfriend can drive a wedge between a car-guy and his race car, or memes about how rare and glorious meeting a car-girl can be.

Last year, I briefly wrote scripts for a Texas based TV show called, “The Car Guy Show”. I always had trouble with the name of the show because it implied that only men watched it, even though one of the main hosts is a woman – who is also a professional race car driver. Anyone with a fraction of knowledge in marketing will tell you that it’s an incorrect name for a television show trying to go national.

Don’t Pick Sides, Choose Common Sense

One of my female friends told me that in order to be a woman in this hobby you have to have tough skin and be able to take a certain amount of discrimination. That is not right. Our hobby is so massive because of its diversity.

There are so many nicknames for people who love cars: Motor-head, gear-head, lead-foot, petrol-head, rev-head, car-nut, car-freak, etc. So why has “car-guy” become the go-to name in our hobby? It’s time for all of us to start seeing car-girls as more than just objects to pose with our cars, or fantasies. Don’t be threaten that a girl knows more than you about cars, be glad that you can learn from her, and maybe fall in love in the process. Every Dom needs a Letty, and our hobby has enough room for two lanes.

For the record I am not a feminist, because I do not believe in picking one extreme over another. Everything has to be categorized to a point where you are forced to pick a team and join in on the debate instead of just using your own common sense to distinguish right from wrong.

The Roast of America’s Pony Car

A Dysfunctional Family of Gearheads

The automotive community is one of many personalities. It’s composed of subcultures expressing their own opinion on how a vehicle should take you from A to B. There are those who prefer to go sideways, others who want to only go fast in a straight line, while others prefer to travel as the crow flies. This spectrum of opinion means that our community can behave like a sarcastic dysfunctional family that may not always get along, but knows deep down that we’re all we got.

The Mustang – Terror of the Meets

Over the last month, there has been a trending series of internet memes devoted to the Ford Mustang’s recent inability to leave a car meet without attempted vehicular manslaughter. It seems that when you put a live axle in a sports car, and toss the keys to an inexperienced driver, all-hell breaks loose faster than the Mustang’s rear-end. The internet has grown its inventory of videos showing Mustang owners wanting to leave a car show/event/meet in style by smoking their tires – only to lose control and crash into a crowd of spectators, or other cars.

People have gotten hurt in these accidents, not something to laugh about, but what the community does find funny is that it’s always a Ford Mustang kicking its ass around and sending its panicked driver into a world of legal trouble. Memes targeting Mustangs have been popping up everywhere like a McRib comeback ad.

Ford Mustangs are like the Kardashians. There are those who worship the ground they roll on, while others spit at the sight of a Coyote engine. While everyone else who is indifferent can’t escape seeing them everywhere they look. So the fact that it’s gotten so much heat is a statement that no car is safe from the wrath of meme creators.

Dark Ponies

Some memes are funny, but the joke has a dark tone. The joke is that Mustangs want to behave like Stephen King’s Christine and attack people. Non-car people love to associate our hobby with unwanted deaths and injuries. It’s been that way since the late 1940’s and hasn’t stopped since. Poking fun at Mustangs wanting to hurt people may look bad to those who aren’t in on the joke.

A New Vehicular Stereotype?

Following high school tradition, the Mustang roast will cool off by the start of the summer, unless another one accidentally plows into a crowd. However, I feel that the damage these reckless drivers have caused will haunt their favorite Ford’s image for a long time to come. The Mustang’s new reputation for acting like a Tasmanian devil may stick like an unwanted nickname. It may join the list of other stereotypical jokes that come with ownership of certain cars. For example…

  • If you drive a Prius, you are driving the car equivalent of a vegan.
  • If you drive an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes Benz, you must be a D-bag who is incapable of using turn signals.
  • If you’re a Corvette owner you must be suffering from a mid-life crisis.
  • All Mazda Miata’s owners are “hair-dressers”.
  • If you drive any truck that requires a step-ladder to climb in, then you are driving something big to compensate for something… small.

We all know these are just jokes at the owner’s expense, but the joke has become part of the car’s image. How many of you have thought about buying any of these vehicles but hesitated for a moment because you wondered what people would think? One shouldn’t care what others think as long as you are happy with your car, but the split-second hesitation means that these jokes can have a negative impact. Plus, any moron thinking there a stand-up comedian will see you as an easy target and that’s just annoying. “Oh you drive a Mustang? Don’t hit me bro. Ha..ha..ha.”

Not Worth It

Remember that the reward of leaving a car event in a trail of tire smoke is not worth the risk in damages. The art of driving may become endangered in the not to distant future, so we cannot give the people who don’t understand our hobby an excuse to take it away. Drive safe, and don’t fall for stereotypes.

Cars & Coffee– A Melting Pot of Subcultures

Under My Nose

I have been seeing articles and photos of Cars & Coffee events for years, and only recently discovered that one was being held six miles from where I live.

I got up that morning, still feeling the vibrations from the tequila shots I enjoyed just a few hours earlier, and made my way to the event. In my mind, I saw Cars and Coffee events as a way for older car enthusiasts to gather with their weekend toys without having to worry about young kids in slammed Subaru’s doing donuts in the parking lot.

Clean Slate for a First Impression

When I arrived, I parked my Mazda in the very back, because I was not there to partake but to merely observe. Plus, I did not have a time to wash the Mazda and I felt guilty about it.

My father taught me long ago that it is always better to listen before speaking. To gather information before making a decision or forming an opinion. I threw away my thoughts of old men and their Porsches holding Starbucks cups and walked to the car show area with a blank slate.

I noticed that all walks of life were at this event. Families, young gear heads, old gear heads, and people who were just enjoying their weekend looking at machines. One thing that I never liked with car shows is that they love putting Hondas with Hondas, Mopars with Mopars, etc. Seeing the same car over and over again with slight differences in color or wheels is boring. A car show is an event where everyone shares a common interest, cars, so why segregate them as if they were gang colors? This cars and coffee event had some Camaros set up in a line, but other than that it was parking lot of variety. It was nice being able to admire a different machine as I made my way through the lot.

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Listen & Observe

Although I may have a cynical opinion on people sometimes, I am always fascinated by them. I walked along taking photos of cars with my ears open, hoping to catch sound bits of people’s conversations. I heard the stereotypical conversations being hosted around cars. Two guys trying to one up each other on who knew more about a blue second gen Camaro. A bored girlfriend waiting with a bored expression on her face while her, I’m assuming, boyfriend talked to the owner of a Nissan GTR. Young teens with learner’s permits in their wallets geeking out over a Green Hellcat Challenger with paper plates. Young people with expensive cameras and drones, taking photos for their own automotive blogs.

I was still feeling dazed from the events of the night before, so I stayed quiet and unnoticed.

The Drag Pack

I was admiring a beater looking El Camino with the words NITRO EXPRESS written across it when I noticed a crowd gathering over a tow truck. A local speed shop was unloading two examples of their craftsmanship. A set of 1970 Dodge Challengers, each modified way beyond factory spec. The Drag pack were parked next to each other as people flocked to them to get a better look at these quarter mile stallions. The owners were bombarded with the same questions over and over again.

“What engine is it?” – It’s a Hemi.

“How fast does it go?” – It’s a 7 second car.

The owners gave off the impression that they were annoyed with the simple questions, but I know that any show off loves the attention they receive. Especially if it’s something they built. They were there to promote their business. A free marketing opportunity.

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Staring down the blower of one of the Challengers gave me the same expression Mad Max had the first time he laid eyes on his Falcon interceptor. That childish look of want as the imagination cycles through scenarios of burnt tires and high rev gear changes.

In-between Lanes

The automotive world is a melting pot where different subcultures come together over one basic common interest. You have tuners, muscle, import, low rider, 4×4, etc. I never fell into one specific subculture for some reason. I prefer classic muscle if I had to pick a favorite, but I am not going to dismiss a beautiful Alfa Romeo just because it doesn’t have a V8. I like the Cars and Coffee events because they are simple. No trophies to win, no best in show award, no forced advertising, and no hooning to spoil everyone’s fun. It is just a place to show off your car and talk with people who share your interest in the hobby. I plan on brining my own toys to this event in the future.

 

Running on Greed – The Journey of a Senator

For the Record

I am not saying all politicians are crooks and puppets. This short story tries to dive into the mental change that one would have to go through in order to become a corrupt public servant. They have to be okay with trading their morals for a materialistic bliss. Be able to put the wants of few over the needs of many in order to indulge in a deadly sin. It’s a frightening state of mind to be in if you one day become aware that all you are is a distraction for the evils of the world. It’s the closest one can get to being a sociopath without physically killing someone. This is a short story for entertainment purposes only – not to start a debate.

Campaign Road Trip

I ran an honest campaign. I didn’t drag anyone through the mud and I actually listened to what the people wanted. They say they want change, but they don’t know from what or how. Catch them off guard and they won’t be able to explain why they are angry, or in support of, an issue and end up sounding like five year olds trying to explain a dream. I know what the people want; they want the news to stop scaring them, not worry about Wall Street taking their 401k’s, “terrorists” defeated, even though they are no longer sure who we are fighting and why, and they want to stop hearing stories about immigration so they can stop feeling guilty when they hire a Hispanic to do something they don’t want, or know, how to do.

The election is the easy part. Make one speech, and just change the name of the city you are in. One long road trip saying the same speech that someone crafted, not wrote, with just the right amount of buzz words. It makes it sound like I’m answering questions when in reality I am not saying anything at all. The hard part is coming up with the money to win, not run.

In the Beginning There was Ambition

“I’m not going to be like them.” I tell myself as I walk up the steps of the capitol building. Today is my first day as a senator. I am young enough to use slang words without sounding like a dad, but old enough to be one. I worked hard in school, did what was asked of me and never arrived late. I couldn’t wait to start doing my part in changing the country for the better. I’m going to do great things. When I walk into my new office I stare at my name on a gold plate at the edge of my desk. My heart races with excitement at the realization that my hard work is finally going to start bearing fruit.

Exposed to Infections

I have been a senator for a few months now and I am starting to learn the jargon and operations of this place. Every hand you shake comes with a favor, or an IOU, and every dinner ends with a deal. When civilians are not around you see them take off their mask and relieve who they truly are, people. Normal people with many imperfections like the rest of us. Frat boys riding on the past glory of their fathers or grandfathers, independent women trying to play the man’s game, ex-attorneys who couldn’t make it as a judge, or ex-military trying to provide steady work for their enlisted brothers. I am an outsider to them because I have not asked or taken a favor from anyone. I can feel their judgement when I walk the halls. Like a new kid in middle school with a foreign name.

Being outside the loop gives me a front row seat to how the game is played. They try to combine two issues and turn it into a “one or the other” situation. They laugh amongst each other as they watch the country tear itself apart debating the issue they created from two mistakes. It’s all an act to them. If we keep the debate going we don’t actually have to come up with a solution. Just keep throwing logs into the fire and never let the flames get low enough to see what we are doing.

The Darkness Begins to Set In

Being here can wear out your morals. Constantly being surrounded by greed and seeing FOR SALE signs on people’s backs. I try to stay moral, but every bill I try to pass gets shut down because I am not, “one of them.” Some nights I drive home and question why I even bother going to work the next day, I’m powerless.

Then one day my mind goes dark. I see how the system works and its ugly truth sinks my heart down to my feet. I could leave but then it dawns on me – I do have power. My decisions have an impact on millions of people. I am a god, a king, a supreme being, in my own way for I have the power to make people suffer, or bring joy, by signing a piece of paper. This sense of power is overwhelming as I sit in my desk staring a bill I was about to propose. Things are going to be different from now on…

Into the Depths of Greed

A man in a suit comes into my office carrying a briefcase. He tells me that he wishes to speak to me about a sensitive issue. The meeting turns into a sales pitch and I’m the product. He is trying to sell me to myself. He opens the briefcase and I see stacks of tax free income in front of me. “One deal couldn’t hurt”, I thought. I can always make up for it on something else, something to benefit the community. It will even out. Checks and balances.

With one motion I sell my soul to him and curl up in his pocket. I am now part of the club, much to my co-worker’s delight. Now my inbox consists of invites to CEO yacht parties, top dollar fundraisers, and appointments to make more deals. They all need me because I have the power their money cannot buy, unless they buy me first. I am the missing link they are willing to pour money into in order to fuel their greed addiction. My ego grows in parallel with my off shore accounts.

One of Them

Everyday the word “enough” gets washed away from my vocabulary.  I do not recognize myself when I stare into the mirror, but a voice inside tells me that I am not the bad guy. I am just one man trying to survive and find a way to live comfortably. The oil companies are polluting the earth, not me, I am not shooting at our troops hoping for their death, that’s the enemy – I’m just a man trying to make a living. With each briefcase I take I feel a part of my soul vanishing, but I cheer myself up with a new watch and a suit to hide my inner disgust.

I wouldn’t feel as bad if it wasn’t so easy. The public will believe anything if the media talks about it long enough. The media is a business, just like us. It’s all a game we play to keep the money flowing in the directions we want. Fear is our greatest weapon.

Too Late to Turn Back

It’s been 20 years since my first day as I walk up the same steps, only a little slower now. The man that first started has been dead for years, but the memory of him still haunts me on certain nights when I am alone with Johnny Walker. It is too late to turn back now, even if I wanted to. The only way out is up and my craving for “more” has found a new target, a big white house. Ultimate power is within my reach, but I feel the weight of the favors I owe on my shoulders like a wet coat. Alcohol allows me to drown the dark reality of my live. I am a puppet – all my ideas of having power were long sold off for pennies on the dollar. I only represent the idea of power. I put myself before my country, before millions of people, just so I could have a coin in my pocket. The pain of this realization doesn’t go away no matter how much whiskey I pour into it.

The shame is excruciating and I can no longer bare it, but I cannot quit for I am a slave with a debt to pay. As I finish the last drop in the bottle I look up to see my old hunting rifle. I take the rifle and study it in my hands. This honest piece of steel and wood has never given up on its purpose in life. It was built to do one thing and one thing only, and now it was going to be the solution to all my problems. “I’m not going to be like them”, Is the last thought that pops into my head before the bullet runs through it.

Curse of a Speeder

To my friends and family, it is no secret that I like to drive fast occasionally. Some people say I have a problem, others say it is just a side effect of being young, but I see it as a way to forget about the annoyances of everyday life. Every day we are constantly bombarded by the media about horrific events happening around the world, flooded in a tsunami of ignorance on social media by people who are masters at spraying hate and fertilizer out of their mouths, and that’s just checking your phone in the morning. Life is hard, but it is simple, its people that make it complicated. In order to keep one’s sanity, one has to find a way to get away from it all – even if it is just for a few minutes each day.

I confess that I am a speeder, although I do not drive like a madman. Like most people with my, “problem”, I do enjoy painting asphalt with rubber, going sideways, and reaching top end speeds when the conditions are right. The problem with this relaxation technique is that police officers do not find it very amusing and love showing their disapproval in the form of traffic tickets. I could fill a glove box, and I have, with the number of citations, warnings, and court receipts I’ve collected over the years. I am here to talk about the struggle of being a driver with an exuberant driving style.

At this point, some of you might be thinking that I am just an obnoxious punk whose only problem is being too stubborn to slow down and letting his ego fool him into thinking he’s the next Richard Petty. Before you unleash your judgement upon me, please let me point out that I know I am not a professional driver and I know that I can be as stubborn and rebellious as a teenaged mule. However, I do need to point out that because I have a passion for driving and car control, I do feel that I am at least more qualified than the average driver. I’m certainly safer than someone who’s bad habits behind the wheel consist of applying makeup, checking their Twitter feed, or sending Snap Chat videos of them looking into a camera while their favorite song plays on the radio. Those are only a handful of bad habits that I witness on a daily bases when I’m traveling on the Interstates.

When I say I have a passion for driving I mean I love it! To me, driving is a skill that is fun and challenging. Most people can safely drive a car from A to B and not give it a second thought for the rest of the day, but I like knowing what a car can and can’t do as far as braking, steering, and acceleration. It is important to know how a car will behave during an emergency, so yeah sometimes I like to give a car’s ABS system a workout and drive it like I stole it. But, there is nothing more relaxing, in my opinion, than being behind the wheel of a car on a beautiful, low traffic, day with your favorite playlist humming through the stereo. You don’t need to drive fast in order to enjoy driving; sometimes a nice quiet drive is all you need to get your stress out.

The Curse of a Speeder is that once you’ve earned a reputation as a speeder some people will label you as being reckless or a, “Bad Driver”. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never wrecked, practice car control – to most people speed equals danger. The irony of it is that people who text and drive do not, for the most part, get the same stigma. Sure there are campaigns warning us of the dangerous of texting while driving, but we all think, “That won’t happen to me, because I’m careful”. Maybe you have a system of only answering a buzzing phone when you are at a stoplight, or maybe your eyes can part into two different directions like a chameleon. Whatever the system is, the response for someone who texts and drives is usually, “Oh? Haha, I do that to sometimes”. The usual response for someone who speeds is, “Oh. Be careful…”

This year alone I have received two speeding tickets, three months apart, in two different cities. What annoys me is that when the police officers spotted me on their radar, I wasn’t trying to speed I was simply driving. The first time I was caught speeding I was driving home and I knew I was getting on the interstate so muscle memory took over and I sped up before the on-ramp. The second time, I was traveling between cities. I was passing a convoy of five semi-trucks and I sped up because I hate when they bounce peddles and road dirt off my hood and windshield – that landed me speeding ticket number two. If I was doing triple digit speeds or doing donuts in a parking lot than yeah I would have gladly accepted my law breaking punishment, but speeding up a mile before an on-ramp or passing semi-trucks is not what I would consider, “reckless driving”.

Since I am still under 25 years old, taking online defensive driving courses in order to reduce, and dismiss, a traffic citation is an option I always take. The problem is that the course is six hours long, and hilariously outdated. The safely videos shown were filmed in 1994, so you hear instructors recommending you to purchase a vehicle with Anti-Lock Brakes and telling you how to use them. Safety features in cars, and traffic laws in general, have changed a lot in the last two decades, so the course is a joke. It is detention for drivers.

A better system would be a written Driver’s Ed exam that you need to pass in order for it to count as taking a defensive driving course. It wouldn’t take you more than half an hour and at least then a person is forced to review traffic laws before getting a ticket reduced or dismissed.

Auto makers build cars that practically beg us to break the law. The new Ford Focus RS has a Drift Mode button which allows you to slide the compact car around a corner easier. Dodge created the Hellcat Challenger and Charger, normal family sedans that can reach 200 mph. That is like a general store selling high proof whiskey in a dry county. Why make such powerful cars if the average driver has no place to fully enjoy their bang for the buck? Not everyone with a fast car has time to go to a drag strip, which are constantly being closed, or a race track, which don’t always offer track-days here in the U.S. The easier option is street racing and that is about as dangerous as it can get.

So what is a speeder to do? We are entering an era where cars are getting faster and traffic laws are getting stricter. It’s not like in the old days when you could in fact out run the police if your car was hot enough, the days before dash cams and speed cameras. It is a curse to have a need for speed these days, one that can affect your wallet as well as your health.

I think I can speak for most people who can relate to my story that we won’t change, driving is a passion and speed is a byproduct. There are always a few rotten apples that spoil it for all of us by not being able to control their cars or not knowing their own limitations, but we are not a danger to the public nor should not be seen as such. We just like to fully enjoy our cars as the engineers who designed them intended us to. If they built a car that can produce 707 horsepower, why shouldn’t we be allowed to experience every last galloping pony? So whether you are a speeder or see driving as a chore remember to keep your eyes on the road, and both hands on the wheel. Drive safe everyone.