Journal: What Makes You a Car Guy?

What Makes You a Car Guy?

Avatar 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

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

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!… Read more »

Israel Collins
Israel Collins

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… Read more »

Kim Shugart

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

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… Read more »

John Adams

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… Read more »

Vasi Atanasova

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… Read more »

Vincent P
Vincent P

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 Simon
Mike Simon

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… Read more »

Mike
Mike

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… Read more »

Matt Duquette
Matt Duquette

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… Read more »

Xxx Xxxx
Xxx Xxxx

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… Read more »

George V
George V

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… Read more »

Razvan H
Razvan H

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… Read more »

Peter Sente
Peter Sente

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… Read more »

nedijs
nedijs

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

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

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

[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

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

Frantisek Simon
Frantisek Simon

EXACTLY!

John Cochran
John Cochran

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.

jjfeke
jjfeke

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

Metric Wrench
Metric Wrench

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… Read more »

Steve Goudy
Steve Goudy

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… Read more »

Paul
Paul

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… Read more »

Samir Shirazi
Samir Shirazi

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… Read more »

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

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

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… Read more »

Sid
Sid

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… Read more »

Jason

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

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… Read more »

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

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… Read more »

Axel
Axel

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

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

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

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

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… Read more »

Bjorn
Bjorn

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

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… Read more »

Gus Pattison
Gus Pattison

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… Read more »

Cooper HeavyIndustries
Cooper HeavyIndustries

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.