Monthly Archives: March 2014

My Second Life: Cars PART 1

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Well seems this page is getting a lot of traffic, so I’m fast tracking a post about myself to give a better feel of what this blog is about. This is just a introduction into one part of my life, the start of my passion for cars and some of my early thoughts about vehicles.

I always wanted to be a car collector since childhood, my Hotwheels collection was stacked and I built many models. When time came to get into remote controls I decided (like my dad with airplanes) I want to do the real thing instead of this half step of simulation collecting R/C cars. R/C cars are fine for those who don’t have the resources, room, energy or even interest for full sized vehicles, but for me I felt at 17 I was ready for to take the step.

My mother had always wanted to help me with cars, but with no father for most my childhood and definitely no male role models to teach me to turn a wrench. I didn’t really become mechanically inclined until i got my first car and bought my first tool set. My main passion is BMX, so i followed that for most of my teens but at 17 I decided enough was enough. It was time to start my car collection and also learn to fix cars because I wouldn’t be able to afford to pay someone to fix mine, or have the income to buy pristine cars. So I got at job at the local Toyota dealership as a detailer. I picked that dealership because it had auto body and mechanic bays, so I would be surrounded by all the knowledge I could ever need, and I tend to ask a lot of questions freely so apprenticeship wasn’t needed nor an offered position since I just walked in there with a resume and said I love Toyotas give me a job. I cleaned cars and managed the lot. Learnt a lot about life, proper work etiquette, but most of all the library of Hans manuals. That was my favorite part on breaks, lunch and even checking them out and taking them home, I just loved learning about the mechanical engineering and how these cars worked in literal detail.

My favorite cars were always Porsches even at age 7 I told my mom i never wanted to be 6 ft tall because I wouldn’t be comfortable in a 911. They are a real piece of art to me, such amazing lines and perfect proportions. Were most cars excel at one or two things the 911 has beauty, power, prestige, uniqueness, danger, and technicality even to operate….but the 911 will be a whole post itself I’m sure. Anyways, being a frugal BMX’er with no mechanical skill I quickly realized with my detailing job I would not be driving a Porsche anytime soon (although with my 1st pay check I started a saving account for a mid life crisis to the Porsche dealership) and so I had to find a more realistic vehicle goal and had to prioritize what I Loved about cars.

A MAN. Cars to me were one of the many things that make up a true man to me, or the man I want to become.  As a child it didn’t matter your job, your class or your house. All that mattered was what you drove, to me it showed where your priorities were. Every guy I looked up to wants a sports car, but how many make the sacrifices to get one? Everyone compromises in some way, and to me no compromise in what you drove was a test. So as a child i judged quite a lot of the older males around me and never did find a really cool one. But zero compromise was something that formed my opinion on what I liked so I wanted the most technically hard and pure driving experience, power wasn’t a goal I wanted to push hard and make up for it with skill and teach myself to drive…RWD was obviously the route to take, 2 doors, no assists and something I could learn on. I value modesty and efficiency much more than forced presence and over flowing power, something most people strive for but not true to myself I feel. So factoring where I worked and what I liked I settled on the AE86, a small, light under powered Japanese modesty box. Nothing flashy so I could drive it as hard and stay under the radar, also not enough power to get me in trouble. But they had street cred and drifted and seemed to fit the bill.

As luck would have it, n my prairie town of 35,000. A skateboarder at the park I spent everyday at happened to have a cousin with one. One day when his cousin showed up in this red Trueno, I ran over awkwardly introduced myself and offered to preform fellatio for a ride in the car…which in hindsight was a bad joke to say to a guy you have never met, as it creeped him out and he didn’t really ever come back to the park. But a couple months later I got a hold of him and he offered to sell it to me, I actually over bid on it and he told me it wasn’t worth that much money, So I went and got him to pick me up and drop me off with the car since I still had my learners license! I was now the owner of my first car a 1987 Toyota corolla GTS and my car life had finally started…

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HOT RODDING NEVER DIED…YOU JUST GOT OLD

As you sit there watching TV, in your favorite chair, Thinking to yourself “why doesn’t MTV play music videos anymore?” You suddenly hear that young neighbor hood kid coming screaming by your house driving way too fast in his smoke blowing “Datsun two hundred “SX” or something like that.” You can hear the timing is off and it’s having some knock issues, you also think to your annoyed self “maybe I would help him if he liked real cars like my last Corvette or a good old Hemi, some cool hot rods”…Guess what, he does. 
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He IS driving a hot rod, and it’s doing one of its intended purposes by pissing you off. You’re just in the wrong generation now where the music is bad, the trends are terrible, the cars cheap, and the motorcycles too loud. Nothing changed, you just got left behind…MTV doesn’t play music videos because music videos don’t market anymore. Everyone gets their music online and believe me if they did play music videos it would be Justin Beiber and Miley Cirus, not Queen and Kiss like you want. You’re no longer their demographic..sorry to break it to you.
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Hot rods started out as dangerous experiments to go as fast and have as much fun as you could, with what you could afford and do it with style that attracted tail. The formula hasn’t changed, the resources have changed. No 16 year old kid is going to go pay $5000 for a hunk of rust and door frame someone calls and 32 ford, or go to the local yard and find a good condition flat head or 442. They get last generations entry level cars just like you did. Those used to be Civics and Sunfires and by being fwd, fashion become more important then performance because modifications weren’t as plausible. Still every Honda had an exhaust because the quest for more power and attention is universal, just the platform wasn’t the same. So lights, bodykits, and flashy paint took over for a bit but now the next generation of cars is here again. Some are fwd, some are awd, some are even rwd once again, but also at the same time the 3rd generation sports cars are now affordable and they drift! 
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So the drag strip is no longer the main street or best 1/4 mile you can find. It has transferred to industrial corners and mountain roads, the naturally aspirated v8s replaced with the sound of a hissing turbo and the scream with the rpm given by less cylinders, but the root is still the same; teenagers and young adults expressing themselves and having fun learning to love cars like you did. Its just a different age, and scene. Shooting flames out of loud exhaust, rebelling with smoking tires that don’t quite fit right, throwing in a bit of danger, race parts and some outright “fuck you”s to standards of society. You have yourself a hot rod and hot rodders. I don’t expect my opinion to matter, or even be right, but next time that “ricer” fly’s by, remember that we all love cars and it’s just a different time. Maybe you can turn that irritation into a positive and give him a thumbs up instead of a call to the police…

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Epsilon

Drift cars are cool, Drift missiles are even cooler. “Missile” cars are drift cars that have forgotten the rules of being a car and have ceased all attempts at cosmetic standards and practicality as transportation and become a tool of fun with function dictating form.
Yet style is not lost, i believe style is increased by the quick fixes and battle scars of slammed rear wheel drive drift machines, no longer cars, no longer held to a standard, no longer apologetic, no longer preserved…which is the essence of true art to me. Not put on display and protected, but used and used without caution and without permission to have fun and express yourself.
So I introduce Project Epsilon, Rii’s first Japanese rocket…stay tuned.