Featured: Through Heartaches and Hiccups, Cars Make Us Human

Through Heartaches and Hiccups, Cars Make Us Human

By Aaron McKenzie
February 13, 2015
18 comments

Photography by Rémi Dargegen, Lucile Pillet, & David Marvier

Sometimes, when the pain intrudes upon and consumes his thoughts, Jurgen Vogl slides into his 1978 Porsche 911 Targa and, leaving behind his home in Prescott, Arizona, steers the car south and then west through the arid expanse of Skull Valley toward the desert hamlet of Bagdad. Or perhaps he’ll turn northeast, joining Highway 89 as it traces a path through the red rocks and ponderosas that line the mountain roads running toward Sedona and Flagstaff. The destination matters less than the simple motion of the car, its six-cylinder boxer engine chattering calmly as he leans through the sweeping curves of Northern Arizona.

Vogl bought this car as an analgesic, as a way to escape his own thoughts whenever the rheumatoid arthritis threatened to get the better of him. A friend had recently introduced him to Petrolicious’s videos and the seed was planted: perhaps a vintage car was in order. Throughout his life, Vogl has always been incapable of sitting still – his idea of a relaxing vacation is to spend three months trekking in the Indian Himalayas or volunteering at a remote village in the Mexican mountains– and, yet, he now finds many of his once-favorite activities physically impossible.

Once the Porsche is in motion, however, the endorphins begin to flow, the bends and twists concentrate his mind, and before he knows it, he’s pulling into his garage eight hours later. Usually, he’ll glance at his watch and wonder if could still squeeze in a couple more hours of driving. For Vogl, driving is therapy – both mental and physical – and the road always beckons.

The road beckons because, as Vogl has discovered, cars – and especially vintage cars – are more than mere transportation, driving more than a task to be completed in the least possible time.

Yes, cars are a tool, the most efficient means of getting from this place to that, but they are also pieces of high art, collections of the best technologies of their time, and testaments to human ingenuity. The act of driving, meanwhile, is, at its purest, contemplative, focusing the driver’s mind on the next downshift, the corner at hand, the thrum of the engine. The object and the act, together, purify the mind.

“I no longer just go for a ride,” says Vogl. “Now, when I get into my car, I’m going to drive.”

In November 2014, one of Vogl’s drives brought him west for Petrolicious’s Drive Tastefully: Paramount Ranch rally, where he discovered yet another aspect of vintage car ownership, an element too often unappreciated by those who just don’t get it: the human connection that occurs when one encounters other vintage car owners. When Vogl first arrived at the Malibu Country Mart for the start of the rally, he was surrounded by strangers and their classic rides. Within minutes, however, he was comparing friendly notes with 911 aficionados and swapping travel tales with Alfa, Mini, and Datsun owners. These machines, it turns out, are unrivaled icebreakers.

Most folks will never understand why we endure the hiccups and heartaches that come with owning these machines, and some even go so far as to dismiss the lifestyle as frivolous and lacking in any serious consequence. Well, so be it. Truth is, once we’ve scaled Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – once we’ve secured food, shelter, and some semblance of safety – it is our hobbies, our unique aims, and our fripperies that make each of our lives unique and significant, and that make us not only human but also individual. Indeed, sometimes they help us simply survive another day.

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18 Comments on "Through Heartaches and Hiccups, Cars Make Us Human"

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Brian Driggs
Brian Driggs

The irony of so many artful pieces met with little commentary fanfare, yet one of the more meaningful reflective selections in the automotive media in sometime floweth over with only the most tenuous of connections to the point.

To Mr. Vogl, should you come upon a lumbering, orange spray painted Pajero on 89, I’d appreciate a moment to turn off the radio so I can enjoy your passing me by.

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

Real, fake or somthing in between… I wish Martin James would open the doors of is garage (and maybe is heart) to Petrolicious for a video or photo shoot. That would really be something I’d apreciate!

As for this article, real funny to see the small, modern, silver, boring Opel Corsa passing by… Did I go back in time? Might have said the driver

Riccardo
Riccardo

I’m loving the first picture, thinking its been taken in France maybe? Second one maybe Goodwood instead?

As for good ol Martin James (the real one, no MartIn), he might be a bit “pompous” at times but in the end I’d be sadder without his comments, for me its almost a feature of Petrolicious now. Did you notice how he comments on every article, takes dedication and passion and thats what its about at the end of the day, the guy is an enthusiast… just a bit… “eccentric” in his wording.

Josh V
Josh V

Scandalous things are going on in this comment section! Also, nice article Petrolicious. Your past few posts have given me a new appreciation for the back end of the E-type.

Josh V
Josh V

haha Oh that’s not even the TJ we all know and love. Look closer, he wasn’t even hacked.

Ray Jay
Ray Jay

Martin James

Jim Valcarcel
Jim Valcarcel
To all the readers of petrolicious and the staff that runs this wonderful site I deeply apologize for what I am going to say here. However, I am compelled to say this one thing. Over the last number of months Mr. James has shown himself to be difficult, abrasive, and insulting. But now with the comment of “my 300 pound black caretaker ” that he states is coming to bathe him shows him to be a racist to boot. Don’t give me this “wink wink” BS like as if you are trying to be lite hearted. You are nothing less… Read more »
Alan
Alan

MartIn James is writing this. Not Martin James. I don’t know if this is funny or pathetic…

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

I would go with Pathetic rather than funny. I disagree with quite a lot of what the real Martin says but find these fake MartIn comments stupid and purile especially the mildly racist overtones. Hopefully the Petrolicious team will just delete them.

Paul Steel
Paul Steel

I am sure Martin will see the funny side. Wink, wink!

David Vassilev
David Vassilev

Honestly, based on the punctuation differences between his posts, I really think someone hacked his account.

With that said, I do want to say that Martin is such a Debbie Downer. Good lord man, talk about a buzz kill. And the matter of fact attitude really irks.

“Fact is though .. some of us chose to grow up as we age.” Oh God, spare us.

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

I just noticed that Martin’s post does not contain any of his characteristic space before punctuation.

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

Martin, I never know when to believe anything you say and have come to err on the side of not even reading through your posts. But I did read this last one and if what you say is true then it is the most courageous thing I’ve ever heard anyone say. My heart breaks a little. And I hope I never discover that it isn’t true.

Dan Glover
Dan Glover

If Martin’s comments are for real – that he is in a senior’s home and rarely gets out – whoever lives nearby of all we Petrolicious readers should figure out a schedule to take him out in our cars, thereby combining the two elements of car guy culture expressed in the article above: therapy and the human connection.

Brendan McGuirl
Brendan McGuirl

Martin, the rest of us come here for the joy.

Dan Glover
Dan Glover

I didn’t see the “l” in place of the “i”. Very inappropriate posts. I request Petrolicious block this poster and delete his posts.

Martin James
Martin James
Its a good story and I’m glad Mr Vogl finds his 78 911 Targa [ a personal favorite by the way ] to be a bit of therapy for what ever ails him at this juncture in his life . But …. as far as the .. ” Most folks will never understand ” … comment from the author is concerned . Some of us understand all too well having been there – done that [ back before cell/smart phones /smart pads etc and doing that had the definite potential of becoming catastrophic if you didn’t really know what you… Read more »
Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

[b]NOTE FROM THE PUBLISHER: [/b]The above comment is from the real Martin James. The subsequent offensive comments by “Martin James” were made by another individual who registered with the same name, presumably to cause trouble for the real MJ. Those comments have now been deleted and the user has been suspended.

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