Journal: What Makes You a Car Guy?

What Makes You a Car Guy?

By Yoav Gilad
November 14, 2014
42 comments

Like many of us, I can’t point to a singular moment when I knew I was a car guy. I’ve just always loved cars (vehicles in general, really), and known that I wanted them to be a large part of my life. And since the first time I gripped a steering wheel and felt the easy power under my right foot I’ve been addicted.

But it’s easy to love cars when every drive is a sunrise canyon blast or a throaty V12 is screaming behind you. And I’d argue that the specific car you happen to be driving doesn’t even matter much as long as the road is empty, the car is well maintained, and conditions are good. The strength of a relationship is not tested during a honeymoon.

What really and truly makes you a car guy or gal is your willingness to endure, or even enjoy, the burdens shouldered as a result of our love. It is encounters with police, breakdowns at the wrong time in the wrong place, sometimes even injury. Some might argue that an ability to wrench on your own car is a prerequisite, too. Or that owning a certain brand of car immediately bestows the title of Car Guy on you (as Top Gear argued in the case of Alfa Romeos).

For me being a car guy was always sort of an innate thing that I just felt. But in my early twenties, I drove a 1964 Pontiac Catalina. Both the Pontiac and I had health issues and at the time I lived at home and commuted to college. One day, when I probably should’ve just stayed home, I went to class. “It’ll be OK,” I thought. The carburator’s thermostat was broken so that starting the car was a process. You had to crank the engine, get out of the car and close the choke, crank it again, close the choke again, etcetera until it finally fired up.

I made it to class, but by the time class ended I was miserable and could tell that I was running a high fever. I walked slowly to the Big Cat and spent fifteen minutes firing up the engine. It was an Indian summer in Washington DC and over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit outside. I hit the Beltway, which was at a virtual stand-still and crawled along averaging about eight mph. My commute was about twenty miles.

Then it got worse—the Pontiac’s engine block thermostat failed shut. What could I do? I was about halfway home, crawling through traffic, my head burning, and now I had to crank the heat to keep the 389 from over-heating.

What made me realize I was a car guy beyond hope? Five days later, and three days into a two-week course of IV antibiotics, I drove to the local auto parts store, catheter in my arm, bought a new thermostat, and installed it that afternoon. Hopeless.

So we’d like to know what makes you a car guy? What hardships have you endured that an otherwise-sane person would not and when did it become abundantly clear?

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Garcia Maria
Garcia Maria(@garciamaria)
6 years ago

Nice concept with updated information. We choose a car as per its performance and features. After this car mileage comes into consideration. Every car owners should be aware about the [url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvuR0clh5CE&feature=youtu.be”]things and tips which affect the car mileage[/url]. We make our can run as per its mileage, so we can’t avoid this. Thanks for this post.

Teny Teny
Teny Teny(@t3ny)
7 years ago

Happiness, plain and simple! A car can drive you to the depths of insanity (L322 Range Rover, any Alfa). These cars try their hardest to make you crazy with impromptu breakdowns, random light shows on the dashboard, inexplicable self rectifying electrical collapses. But the day the heavens align and you get that moment of pure happiness whether its on the perfect road, plodding through the mud Green Lane-ing, all is forgiven!

It isn’t about power, torque, or handling individually. Its a combination of so many different things. The real beauty is that its all in the eye of the beholder! Where one person loves the power, another loves the mechanics of the engine and the next person just wants to stare at the lines of whatever car it happens to be!

Drive what you want, just make sure you are happy in that little chunk of metal!

Israel Collins
Israel Collins(@israel)
7 years ago

My Dad was a car guy. I didn’t really get it from him. Indeed the stories he used to tell me about his buddy Phil’s GT500 or when he and my mom took one of the first fuel injected Z cars to the top of Pike’s Peak (from Wichita, KS), didn’t mean much to me until I became a car guy in my own right.

Like most dudes of my era, I had the TrapperKeeper folders with Lamborghini Diablos, Ferrari Testarossas, and even an odd Vector. I remember being really taken with the look of the Lotus Espirit, and later (without knowing what it was) a 3rd generation RX-7. But I never really cared much about cars until I took an impromptu trip with a buddy of mine to Portland in 2001 to visit some folks he knew from the MR2 owner’s forum. It was riding around in a steelmist grey turbo mr2 through the beautiful winding roads covered with fallen leaves that it occurred to me that cars could be a source of pleasure. When I remarked to the driver that you could really hear the turbo (as it was a foot from your head), he responded “Yeah, turbos are fun.” It was an offhand comment to him, but it marked a change in my life.

A couple of years later, I dropped out of college (poor choice) and with my first real job, decided I should by a car that I wanted. Of course I considered MR2’s, and most 90’s Japanese turbo cars. In the end I found a Montego Blue RX-7 a couple of states away. I met the local RX-7 club guys, who all advised me to check the fuel filter, have the injectors cleaned, and other common sense things. Being 22, I ignored them, and just blasted down the highways at 100+ as often as possible (two poor choices).

The car broke, I kept insurance on it until I paid off the loan. I’ve moved half a dozen times since then, changed jobs more times than that, gotten married, and had a baby daughter. A couple of times the car made the move under its own power, most times it had to be towed. I guess if I was a REAL car guy, I would have pulled the engine and had it running within an afternoon. But I refuse (so far) to sell it, and now that I have bought a house and finally have my own garage… maybe someday I can do what a proper car guy does, and that is drive.

Kim Shugart
7 years ago

Since the earliest memory of looking at a car in lust, I remember underneath the cool lines, power and beauty of the vehicle, it was always about the freedom a car delivers. Especially as a teen, the idea you could be free of your family with a simple turn of the ignition was intoxicating. That feel of the open road and not a care in the world is what drives us each day. Of course, the pretty cars are a great bonus too 🙂

Jono51
Jono51(@jono51)
7 years ago

You know you’re a real car guy when …

You know the best line through every corner on the way to work.

You’re driving on a quiet country road, the sealed pavement runs out. You change down a gear and concentrate on setting the car up just right for the tight corner ahead…

You’re driving an open car with the top down and it starts to rain – you laugh and accelerate.

You’re driving home in traffic and the clutch cable on your Fiat breaks. You welcome the opportunity to practise shifting gears without the clutch.

You buy cars that you know are going to break, and you are looking forward to fixing them ..

You have strong opinions on most of the questions that are asked on Petrolicious 🙂

John E Adams
7 years ago

The first car I purchased was a 1961 Fiat 1200 Roadster, the body was in mint condition but the motor on its last leg and only lasted two months. I was working for minimum wages and could not afford another junk and fortunately my roommate had a full set of Craftsman tools, amazing car skills and said he would help me if I got stuck rebuilding it. I did work on bikes in the past but did not know much about cars so he told be just to keep everything together, clean, bag and box junk in groups as I removed it and everything would be okay and it was!

I drove the car on and off for 3 more years getting 36 mpg in 1979, it seemed to blow head gaskets like clockwork about every 4 months, always at night and in the middle of nowhere. Rather than get rid of it I just stocked up with mail order head gaskets from the JC Whitney catalog and always kept two along with a torque wrench and flashlight in the trunk. I could change one out in about 20 minutes on the side of a dark road anywhere in Northern California. It did almost break my car spirits once while on a trip from Mendocino to Santa Barbara with my brother to pick up some much needed cash diving Sea Urchins on the Channel Islands. Near San Jose on Highway 101 it lost fuel pressure, we pulled over and I tore apart the fuel pump only to find that a small spring had cracked, no problem just a quick walk miles down to an auto store, dig through some bins and we would be set. After a 5 mile walk on a Sunday evening only to find everything was closed, only enough cash to pay for the gas to get to SB, we were walking back pretty disgruntled, looking for a good place to set out our sleeping bags for the night near the side of the highway. About 10 feet from the car I noticed a crusty ball point pen in the dirt and remembered that they have small springs in them, after a minor cut with my buck knife and some emery cloth it looked like a Factory replacement, my brother could not believe it when the engine started up on the first crank and the spring ended up outlasting the car. This was the moment I suppose…

Since then I have always seemed to have the older rides while my wife drives late model in comfort, even now I am driving the most beat looking VW new beetle 313K miles with a junk yard engine I put in it, no heat or AC (other stories) in the South, winter is not bad and when the gates of hell open in the summer as long as it’s moving I’m good. String holds the power steering reservoir in place ( a roadside repair 5 years ago, the door panels rotted so I added homemade plywood panels covered with gas station Mexican blankets and brass cabinet handles. The paint was rotted so now it gets a fresh coat of canned spray paint primer (various colors about every 4 months). I always get plugged as to why I drive it and no one will get into it with me, I try to explain that it seems to be like a part of me after so many miles, fits like a glove but just can’t explain that feeling I get listening to it still buzz as I run through the 5 gears, screaming to ever so slowly get up to any speed!

Here she is :

http://www.adamsviews.net/art-in-the-winds/242-gonna-catch-a-southbound

A car gal
7 years ago

Great article and a great question! What makes me a car gal? I am almost 100\% sure I can call myself a car gal because:

Although, I have been mostly driving automatic, I know how to drive manual as well. My first car was a 1999 Acura CL 3.0 200 hp. This is a coupe. An AWEsome car capable of giving you the chills. Every time I drove it over 75 mph I wished it was a stick shift. I sold this car when I moved to California and I still think about it and remember the face of the guy who bought it. He knew what he was getting. I was very sad because I had to separate with it and to console myself with my husband’s Honda Civic.

Now my husband and I own a BMW 320d and who will drive is always an issue. 😀 I am still getting used to this car and I am constantly comparing it to my Acura. I wonder whether comparing BMW to Acura is a good thing.

I observe cars all the time and I think about their capabilities. I write about cars, although I am not too technical in my writing, I am learning.

Another thing is probably that I like to clean my cars. I take care of them. I remember once at a car wash I had just vacuumed my car and I was using some sprays to cleans every nook and a guy next me told me he had never seen a girl to take care of its car that much.

I am already thinking of my next car, I mean both my husband and I want to buy a sports car so occasionally we think and talk about it. I will get to choose.

So, I think I can call myself a car gal 🙂

Vince P
Vince P
7 years ago

You know you are a car guy when you spend your lunch and spare time reading the Porsche forum threads for no real reason but to know what is breaking on everyone else’s car so you are prepared when it breaks on yours.

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

1979 I got a summer job near Manchester England. Arrived in town with $800 in my pocket and I needed a car to get to work and get around. All the $500 cars in my price range (mostly Minis) were broken. Then I saw an advertisement for a Mk.10 Jaguar — I took three buses to get to the car (in another suburb) and bought the car. Glorious drive back to my apartment in my first car: a 15 year old Jaguar. Two weeks later the honeymoon was over, the car broke down on the way to work. Trying to start it the starter solenoid went up in flames. When I opened the bonnet the reason for the stall was obvious: the head tank had ruptured spilling water all over the motor. Fire and Water. I knew VERY LITTLE about auto mechanics but I was handy. Fortunately, the Jaugar had the good sense to break down RIGHT IN FRONT of the largest scrap-yards for Jaguars in Northern England. The rest is history…. Wrenching is important; but after 31 1/2 years with a Triumph TR6 I’m moving on to a new Jaguar F-Type which has NO user serviceable parts on it — but I don’t car, I’m secure in my identity as a “Car Guy”

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

I guess it was growing up with a father who was a car guy and always having interesting cars around rather than the usual Holdens, Falcons and Valiants. In no particular order, a couple of Citroen IDs, four Mercedes (the last one was a 6.3), Peugeot 504 then 505, Triumph MkII 2500 PI, Rover P6, Morris Mini, Lancia Beta coupe. And they were just the everyday cars, there were also pre-war cars – Alvis Silver Eagle, Lagonda M45 saloon, Ballot 2LS, Lagonda LG6 and MG P-type, the last two we still have.

I recall Vintage Sports Car Club two-day rallies huddled in the back of an open car with my siblings while dad drove and mum navigated.

Modern cars are better in terms of their capabilities, comfort, etc. but not so much in terms of character. I may feel more tired after a drive in an older car than if I’d done the same drive in a modern, but it’s more enjoyable because of the engagement – you really feel as though you’ve “driven” the car rather than having it perform for you.

Matt Duquette
Matt Duquette(@matt101590)
7 years ago

Being a car guy. is just caring enough to notice. i have friends who couldn’t tell you the difference between a viper a corvette and a honda civic. Some people get it and it gets lost on others. pulling on the highway and seeing a ferrari can make my day. some people wouldn’t turn their head to look. when you stay in the parking lot a few extra mins to hear the new corvette start up. or you slow down when you pass a bombed out old MG on the side of the road. IF CARS AND BIKE GET UR HEART GOING even when you are not driving them hard and fast. you are a car guy

Road Trinkets
Road Trinkets
7 years ago

I was 15 years old in a classroom in Japan when a school administrator walk into the classroom and escorted me to the office. My father had called and said we have 30 days to get my affairs in order to move to the US. I did what a 15 year old would do… started getting names, addresses and whatnot… In Japan, driver’s licenses start at 18 years old so to my shock, I arrived in my new home enrolled in “Driver’s Education”. Mechanical aptitude? Well, yes. Cars? Pffft. Building models, collecting STP stickers. Scant knowledge of some cool cars of the day; Datsun 510. Mazda Cosmos. That Nissan Prinz the guy across the street used to race in Japan.

Here’s “the deal”, my dad said; we’ll buy you your first car but my job was to maintain the family fleet. I took to tune-ups, muffler changes and oil changes pretty quickly… an then there was Don, my next door neighbor. He took mechanical aptitude to another level as a shipfitter in the nearby shipyard and gearhead. The mid seventies saw the van craze in full swing as I got my first “car”, a 1970 Ford Econoline (party) van. A very used Montgomery Ward delivery van. I wasn’t seventeen but Don had me cutting springs, painting it, lowering blocks and putting my hard earned money on some sixty series wheels and tires. A hotrod van was not a bad way for a kid in a strange land to assimilate and make quick friends.

Don passed away too early in his life, but I will be indebted to him forever.

George V
George V
7 years ago

Personally, it has been cars since I remember myself; even before. On the subject of “car guys”, I believe there are 2 types of us. The ones that are fixing everything themselves, literally everything, sometimes from scratch. Then there are the guys that can go around their bay or the peripherals but not really fix. I consider them equal in “value” but definitely the “fixers” are way cooler. For the record, I’m something in between.
Owning an Alfa Romeo, I’m happy to read that by default I’m bestowed with the title, even though it is not my Alfa 75(a monster of reliability!) but my passion, my ’99 MGF VVC (yes, I live in Europe) that has tormented me with breakdowns. Allow me to share 2 of the stories.
First, while casually, night-cruising on the ring road, I started competing with an Alfa 156 2.5 V6, both not allowing each other to pull away. We were head to head, 3rd gear fully revved when, trying to up-shift from 3rd to 4th, the gearbox cable snapped leaving me hanging on 3rd gear for the remaining 15km to my house; some uphill with traffic lights… Note: not a thing I fixed myself.
For the second story I’ll go back to the line “The strength of a relationship is not tested during a honeymoon.” I decided to surprise my, at the time, girlfriend with a road trip around my country. I’m not gonna bother you with too much info, I’ll cut to the chase. On our second day of the trip, the passenger side Hydragas suspension collapsed. (To those not familiar with the Hydragas system, it replaces the conventional steel springs of a regular suspension design using displacer units, which are pressurized spheres containing nitrogen gas and interconnected between the front and rear wheels on each side of the vehicle.) That meant that we had to replace it. Bearing in mind that in only 3 cities there are garages that can deal with specialized MG parts, we had to change our route completely. On the “tilted” way to the garage, luckily only around 150km away, we had to climb a mountain before reaching the city. Just before reaching the top of the mountain, I suddenly realized the water T was higher than usual. I took my torch to check the engine bay. Apart from being pitch black outside (it was already night time) the MGF engine bay is anyway only slightly visible. The only thing I could make out, was that the water level was dead low. Not having any more water with us, I had to walk downhill for about couple of kms to a petrol station we had just passed by. Eventually I poured the water in the waterbox only to have it leaking in my legs beneath. The water hose was bust open… With no tape with me and enough km still to go, I had to call a tow-truck. When the latter arrived, MG would not start. The battery had drained after an hour in hazard lights… A hotel was situated right opposite the garage, so that was at least convenient. Next morning the garage announced the obvious. But had no replacement displacer unit. We had to order. I managed to source one and have it sent to me in 2 days. I’ve also replaced the battery. We resumed our route with a 3-day delay and all seemed well. 2 days later we encountered crazy rain conditions. Floods in many areas, including the great area of my location, were all over the news. The soft-top stood proudly on the task. I wish I could say the same for the driver side wiper… Mind you, while driving in the middle of what was the heaviest rain I have ever encountered until this day! It started slowing down its wipe until it was caught up by the one from the passenger side, both getting tangled, forming an X in the middle of the windscreen. The wiper’s arm flex point is (stupidly if you ask me) made out of hard plastic, i.e. doomed to fail. And that on a car originated from England. What do they know from rain after all, huh…?
Luckily, from next day onwards, the weather was all blissful and sunny, only encountering light showers on the highway that the speed alone repelled from the windscreen. So no more issues. Oh, I did get a speed fine. Note: neither things I fixed myself.
After all these, this car is still my jewel, my absolute love, my choice over any other car on my real or imaginary (call it future) garage!

Razvan
Razvan
7 years ago

When everyone around you tells you not to buy a certain car ( Alfa Romeo), you ignore them, you buy it anyway, two months after the timing belt snaps and you have to tow it to the mechanic from 1 meter of snow because it`s January, you throw all the money at the reparation costs instead of a week at a mountain resort, and after that you still ignore mechanics when they say every single time you should sell it because it`s an Italian piece of crap (although secretly they love the Alfa)

Of course it`s a true story, and you can replace Alfa Romeo with any other car, because it would amount to the same thing.

Peter Sente
Peter Sente(@petersente)
7 years ago
Reply to  Razvan

Totally agree! I bought my car (Alfa GTV) when it was 11 years old and technically sound. What I didn’t realise at the time was that some crucial parts were starting to wear out. Three years later I have spent ‘some money’ replacing rusty exhaust pipes (mufflers) and the ‘sensitive’ rear suspension (bushes). Currently the front suspension is receiving a do-over. But it doesn’t matter. As long as I can afford it, I simply have to keep it going 🙂 To sell it would, I imagine, be like selling a piece of myself.
As for being a car guy: as a child (I remember standing upright behind the front seats) I liked to look out of the car window and name all the other cars on the road by brand a model. There is nothing that has interested me longer than cars. The fact that I like Alfa Romeo more than others is just a matter of taste, no matter what Top Gear might say (which in many cases is funny but also rubbish ;).

nedijs
nedijs
7 years ago
Reply to  Razvan

Dude, its common knowledge and the first thing to do to change an Alfas timing belt if the service history is not certain!
But yeah, for me it is important to know the source of every squeak and rattle, understand what is happening and how it is happening to truly be in a relationship with a metal coated being with a mechanical soul (love Alfas)

Razvan
Razvan
7 years ago
Reply to  nedijs

well the service history was certain – unfortunately low temps and lots of snow lead to the timing belt problem.

Same applies here as well regarding the squeaks and sounds.

Frantisek Simon
Frantisek Simon(@frantisek)
7 years ago
Reply to  Razvan

totally! but finally it begin to look better and better: [url=”http://http://img13.rajce.idnes.cz/d1302/9/9567/9567899_f4ada4467f70b2c578b05d6306464415/images/IMG_20140331_142425.jpg?ver=0″]w115 us spec (very rare back in here)[/url]

Frantisek Simon
Frantisek Simon(@frantisek)
7 years ago

[url=”http://img13.rajce.idnes.cz/d1302/9/9567/9567899_f4ada4467f70b2c578b05d6306464415/images/IMG_20140331_142425.jpg”]w115 US spec – very rare back in here[/url]

Ed L
Ed L
7 years ago

Sorry–I’m too busy thinking about cars to think about this question.

Frantisek Simon
Frantisek Simon(@frantisek)
7 years ago
Reply to  Ed L

EXACTLY!

John
John(@jcochran)
7 years ago

I don’t know why it started, but my mom fueled the fire with her talk of Porsches. When she bought a 911, I was hooked.

JJ
JJ
7 years ago

Taking a picture of the odo on your favorite car when it hits 100,000 and posting it on FB……

Metric Wrench
Metric Wrench
7 years ago

Me wife and I, whilst dating too young and all that, headed out from her parent’s farm in a ratty ’79 Buick that I had purchased just to figure out turbos. I had rebuilt the carburetor that day, using her father’s parts washer. We made it to the end of the lane before the motor shut down with a mighty backfire. After a few moments to collect me thoughts, I lifted the hood, twisted the electric choke by hand as lean as it would go, and hopped back in to fire it up.

It was reported that her father observed the whole event, shook his head slowly, and announced to his wife “They’ll be OK. He’s a car guy.” Which, to him, was high praise. His world was split evenly in two – worthless people, and those that could fix things.

Steve Goudy
Steve Goudy(@steve-73)
7 years ago

My father started taking me to sports car races at Mid-Ohio when I was five months old. Did I ever even have a chance not to be a car guy. When I was 16 I took my drivers test in a standard transmission car. My friends thought I was crazy. Just after college I owned a Ford Tempo ( 2 dr. 5-speed). On the way to work almost every day a guy in a 944 Porsche would pass me on a long straight. Just after this was a set of about five corners over hills and ending in a nice set of S-curves. Every time he passed me he would then hold me up in the corners. I don’t know if that makes me a car guy, but owning that Porsche defiantly did not make him one.
Any nice handling car on a smooth road (other than a divided highway) with little or no traffic is always enjoyable. Drive tastefully.

Paul
Paul
7 years ago

taking a $300 VW and replacing almost every component you could think of. Why? Cod my brother needed a car he could rely on. You wouldn’t believe how many times I was told “you want a X part for one of those? It’s probably not worth it..” Well… After the hours of effor replacing suspension, belts, tensioners, cooling systems, gearbox, clutch, electrical issues and even sourcing a AC compressor it’s about to go for its roadworthy. I can’t wait to hear how much he loves it and how many adventures it’s going to go on. All it took was love to rescue it from becoming 3 hyundais!!

samir shirazi
samir shirazi(@samirshirazi)
7 years ago

well, its hard to guess. I was told by my mother whenever I was in a taxi at 3 years old, I called every car: “Dady’s Benz,Dady’s Benz”… he was a car guy I think and he had a w111 300SE coupe 1965. a so rare car in Tehran.(I lived in Iran at that time) the first thing I remember was to play some kind of game with my self to guess the cars at dark by their headlights on. which now I prefer to guess it by sounds of a car before looking at it. my father bought and sold a lot of classic cars trough years. but he really loved his 300SE and he bought it again when I was at school. I clearly remember how I started to teach my self to drive it step by step.
I got my license so fast when I was at the age and the day after,for my first time in life I drove about 400 Kilometeres from Tehran to Isfahan. I became a classic car lover as my father is, cause I think i grow up with them and I dreamed to driving dady’s cars. I bought and sold some classic Muscle cars till the time I went to Italy to study design. Dady asked me to sell them all cause we didnt have any space left for them. I sold all of them Except my 69 camaro. this was the first car I bought with my saved money, and I am still working on it.
living in Italy since 2012, I understood obviously how much I missed my car,or maybe better to say I missed driving, now I understand better if you really love cars, you will love anything to drive, anything to change gears, and any thing that lets the wind blow to your face. Anything I mean,you should stop driving immediately to understand what I mean!

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
7 years ago

Thought for a while about this, I reckon the simplest answer is the best – I love cars as simple as that. Yes I love certain cars and brands more than others (who doesn’t?) but everytime I get to drive something new I get excited about it and want to find out what it’s like.

Bandit
Bandit(@bandit)
7 years ago

I simply wanted to spray new black paint on my 2nd Generation Special Edition Trans Am but this simple exercise turned into a complete overhaul of almost all major systems. I decided that since I have the fenders off for paint I might as well swap the engine to a Pontiac 400, and since the engine was coming out I may as well just upgrade the stock th350 auto up to a newer 700r4. The body has to be stripped anyway so may as well just pull out the interior, and since that is gone I’ll just rewire the dash while I’m at it. Oh and since the whole car will look great when this is done except the wheels, I may as well go and refurbish all of them by hand. A simple couple weeks of work respray turned into a year long full restoration. Am I crazy? No, I’m just a car guy

Sid Widmer
Sid Widmer(@sid)
7 years ago

I just love driving. I can get behind the wheel of anything from wheezy economy car, muscle car, farm truck or a track prepped 911 and have fun. I like to find the soul and character of a car and kind of synchronize with it. I love getting in an old car and being mentally transported into a bygone era. I love that feeling when you know a car so well it’s like you can put it anywhere on the track and know exactly what it’s going to do. As if you are hardwired to it. I can find a way to enjoy almost any car. Accept maybe that ’84 Corvette I had the displeasure of driving once. I wanted to drive that car off a cliff for the sake of humanity after the first 5 blocks.

Jason
7 years ago

I drive a 2004 Land Rover Discovery. It’s a V8 and I commute approx. 50kms a day. I must be a car guy…

Josh
Josh
7 years ago

I got into cars when I was 16 (I’m 20 now). my vow was too restore a car using all my own money as opposed to just having my parents buy me a car. The car that got me into cars first was actually and Opel GT I saw for sale. The price tag was $2500. I had previously thought that classic cars were out of my price range, so when i saw that price I started wondering what else I could get. My dad had a nice 1973 Corvette back on Hawaii that he had to sell to get a mini van back in the late 80’s, so I decided my first car would be a C3. I tracked down a ratty 1976 Corvette from a guy who lived down a logging road at the base of mount Rainier. That’s an excellent story for another time, long story short I talked him down $2000 and had the car home that same week.

The car had been sitting for 9 years do to the engine smoking. That was the least of my problems, since I had previously overlooked the fact that the driver side window had been rolled down probably the entire 9 years. The entire interior was unusable. We were able to get the engine to fire after all that sitting and immediately decided to rebuild the engine. What had happened was the guy welded a tow hitch right onto the fuel tank support (completely destroyed the fuel tank) and was towing his fiberglass speed boat with all 195 horse power of one of corvettes weakest years. I ended up putting $6000 into the engine and got it to fire, then sold the car since it would cost much more to get it even drive able.

My next car I tracked down was a 1971 MGB that a guy had out in his barn in Stanwood, Washington. That was an awesome experience, the car needed a lot of work but was solid and came with all the parts. We drove the car back to our home in Edmonds and began “Restoring” it from the ground up with my own money. I had always wanted to rebuild a car to bring to the Edmonds car show one year, so that’s what we ended up doing. Mine was the only MGB there, and they put my little British car in between a restomodded 1957 Bel Air and a fully restored 1963 Corvette split window. My car had the most attention of the two from people who had owned it or knew someone who owned it, lots of great stories. I still have that car and don’t plan on selling it.

Since i’m not planning on selling the car, I figured it might be helpful to get a second car since the roadster was no good in bad Washington weather. I tracked down my favorite 60’s design, a 1967 Barracuda fastback. When I initially looked at the car, it looked better then it actually was and ended up buying it. I then discovered that the engine probably hadn’t had maintenance done to it in the past 20 years. So after an engine rebuild, I ran out of money to restore the rest of the car. Plus it kept breaking down, I think it was a timing thing. I ended up selling the car to a 16 year old for a cheaper price. From what I have heard the car is now running strong and they are working on all the things to get it road worthy.

To me, what makes a car person is a willing to teach and enjoyment of the hobby, whether that be a Max wedge Savoy, Peel P50, MG Midget, Ferrari, Bugatti, ralley racing, vintage racing, prewar cars or 80’s tuners. as long as you like cars and are a nice person who wants to talk about cars, you’re a car person. I don’t care how much your car costs or from what period it came from, as long as it’s fun.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin
7 years ago

What started the whole thing ? When a family friend showed up in his then brand new Austin Healy 3000 and took me for a spin . Next up was my Italian grand father telling me the stories of his watching the Mille Miglia , Monza etc as a young man . Then his returning from a trip to Italy with a Ferrari F1 diecast in hand .. as well as in 1964 buying me my first slot car set . Add in the family friend just before he traded the 3000 in on a C2 sitting me on his lap and letting me steer … then ‘discovering ‘ R&T magazine .. and the deal was done !

But Yoav ? Much of what you’re describing above is not ‘ Passion ‘ GearHeaditis or even being a Car Guy . You my friend are in fact describing … Obsession . Passion being defined as a constructive healthy love of something .Whereas Obsession is a state of [ self ] delusional thinking that can only be described as unhealthy and self destructive .

So passionate about cars ? Damn right I am . And in fact I’d wager a whole lot more than 99\% of the readers here as well as possibly the writers seeing as how I am P-A-S-S-I-O-N-A-T-E enough to read and discover the truth about things as well as having the willingness to express those truths … rather than chose to live within the confines of restrictive and destructive delusions

A little quote to ponder when considering the differences between Passion and Obsession ; ” Passion seeks out truth and beauty . Whereas Obsession wallows in delusion seeking only temporal gratification … the inane .. profane and the ephemeral ”

I’ll let y’all guess where that ones from … Hint ? Matthew Lange might know seeing as how it comes from one of his countrymen .

Axel
Axel
7 years ago

The first time I drove a friend’s car to and around a round-about. I just loved handling the gear changing and the balance between the clutch and the accelerator (it was a manual car). It was a spontaneous coast-line trip, my friends had driven all night and stopped to a shitty restaurant. I drove along the coast with the sea on my right, for about 200 yards 😉

Seamus
Seamus
7 years ago

When I was 4 I was opening the door on my mom’s Oldsmobile and as it swung open I noticed it was going to hit my dad’s ford. Instead of letting it happen I put my hand between and crushed my hand. My mother was appalled that I would do such a thing but my father told her with a hint of pride in his voice, “his hand will heal”. With that I felt accepted into the fold.

Future Doc
Future Doc(@futuredoc)
7 years ago

I always knew I was a car guy… owning a car with 1.5cuft of trunk space was my badge of auto-hysteria.

I think the point of no return when I convinced four professors to allow me to look at car brochures for my doctoral dissertation. 3 years, 75+ vehicles, hundreds of pages later, I was no longer a car-guy… but rather Dr. Car-guy

Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa(@genovevo)
7 years ago

Well, I remember I wanted to sit in front with my dad in our car since I was 2 or 3 years old. From that time on, I would count the years, months and days until I reached the legal age to be in the front, 12 years I guess. Then I would fight with my older brother for the right to sit there, usually wining because he wasn’t that interested. He sure isn’t a car guy.
But by the time I was 12 I had another goal allready, and another countdown: 18 years and a driver’s license.

Kleppy
Kleppy
7 years ago

I think it started when I was very little. We all had our hot wheels. I was fortunate enough to also have some HO slotcars purchased for me. It was a Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty stockcar set. Because of that set I decided to watch a race and look for that shiny Black #3 car on TV while I watched. I don’t know who won, what race, wheere it was held or what position that black car finished in, but it was the start of something. This was my entry into cars, racing and “The Man in Black” Dale Earnhardt.

I would become entrenched in finding a spot on the couch every Sunday from spring to fall, watching the cars and drivers change over the years until I was old enough to start thinking about my own car to drive. Being as my father was employed by one of the Big 3 I was not going to get a choice in brand. As it would turn out I would not have say in the model either. I learned to drive a minivan and took my road test in a sub-compact. 2 weeks later I would end up being gifted a Jeep Wrangler, which sadly I abused to an inch of it’s life but in my opinion that’s what you do to cars, you enjoy them.

When that wranglers time was up, I acquired another but it was to be short lived. The car was stolen 3 months after I got my hands on it, stripped and dumped in an alley in the city. It was a sad day that would lead me to hopping into temp cars all while the sport-compact scene began to explode. The loss of that jeep allowed me to get on the bandwagon and in the end I found myself behind the wheel of a sport-compact car and during my time with my Jeeps I had taken auto mechanics and auto body classes. My newest little car was a lease so it kept me from getting too in depth, but at the same time this is when the car bug was imbeded in my soul. I found myself buying a project car for $400 in hopes of having it ready for the road as a raped ape by the time my lease was up. It was a great plan in theory.

This little car would prove to be a complete bear. It would be the source or many tears, lots of sweat and many a drop of blood on the concrete, both mine and it’s own. We would go through a few engine tear-downs, dozens of sets of headbolts and more oil and coolant than I care to think about. It was the best terrible decision I ever made because when it ran it was a oil-smoke, road hugging, ovearheating, hot as hell, manual rack, short-shifting dream. Sadly when it died for the umpteenth time, I was in no position to fix it. I was forced to sell it for parts to an acquaintance. But what that little car taught me was invaluable. Cars are forever. Cars are a part of you, and with enough wrenching you become part of it.

I would go on to own a few more cars but I have never been anywhere near as invested in wrenching as I was with that little car. I will always look fondly back at it. I will always have a passion for the style, the feel, the smells of cars and hope that I will continue to enjoy the ability to drive them, admire them and dream of them. So what makes me a car guy? I love cars.

Because I can.

Bjorn
Bjorn
7 years ago

I knew when I was about 12 years old and washing a car in a snow blister by hand. The water did not even hit the ground before freezing, that was my sign for being a petrolhead.

Scott Spaeth
Scott Spaeth(@fb_1601306911)
7 years ago

I honestly can’t remember a time I wasn’t in love with cars. I had forgotten how far back my obsessions went until the day I heard my wife and mom bonding over tuning me out when I’d get started talking about cars or bikes. I remember playing games on the bus on my way to grade school – one was to be the first to recognize cars by their headlights or taillights and the other was who could spot the coolest car during the trip; our bus used to go past a Rolls Royce and pre-owned exotic car dealership, so there was always something amazing to see.

To this day, I still get a rush from just seeing cars on the road, that though I might have no desire to own, are rare and special. From a 70’s Corolla to a TR6 to an ’89 TTA; and all the way up to genuine exotics and old American muscle. I feel the world is a better place with more rare and even oddball cars on the roads.

Angus Pattison
Angus Pattison
7 years ago

As you mentioned there was no specific moment when I realized I was a car or for that matter a ‘vehicle’ guy. What does come to mind is my gradual recognition that cars and motorcycles represented a medium for self-expression and a means to enact agency on the world around me. Understanding that my choices, whether they be how I tuned a carburetor or my choice of tires, had an immediate impact on how the vehicle acted was very empowering. One specific hardship that I endured that cemented my commitment to self-reliance and being a “vehicle” guy was one evening a few summers ago when I took out my 1968 Puch M125 for a ride. I had just finished rebuilding the carb and the weather had cleared so I decided to ride it into town. I got about 3/4 of the way there when the engine started to rev extremely high then it would cut out completely. Thinking it was the carb I walked the bike about 4 blocks to the nearest gas station to inspect the carb. I spent the better part of an hour fuddling with the carb and in the process I manage to slice my thumb wide open, to the point where I knew I would need stitches. Once I had my thumb taped up I put the carb back together and tried starting the bike; nothing. It was at this moment that I decided to check the fuel and of course the tank was empty. After filling the tank the bike fired up and I rode home and then to hospital shaking my head the whole way.

Cooper HeavyIndustries
Cooper HeavyIndustries(@fb_100006057643810)
7 years ago

I changed a cyl. head gasket on my 57 Plymouth once when I had a broken leg. Not so easy to wrench when you are standing on one foot using crutches.