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For all the automotive enthusiasts out there....

Discussion in 'The Coffee Shop ~ Chit Chat' started by Big_Mike, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. Big_Mike

    Big_Mike New Member

    Question: What got you into automotive? A parent, racing, relative, friend, tv, etc.? Like for example, I had a combination of things. My dad was a NASCAR fan back in the days of Earnhardt Sr. I loved playing video games like Gran Turismo and Need For Speed series when I was younger (still do when I get a chance :) ) I also collected Hot Wheels, Matchbox, and model cars. Ah, I enjoyed those parts of my childhood...!!!
  2. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member 1000 Posts

    Define 'enthusiast', please, because I don't know if I qualify.

    On one hand:
    I hate NASCAR, Formula 1, drag racing, stock car racing, monster truck shows, and even rallies. (Basically I can't stand auto racing or shows unless it's something like a Mecum auction.) Video games involving driving never simulated driving well enough for me to bother for long and I stopped looking at/trying them some time ago. I had Matchbox and Hot Wheels as a kid but they were just toys in my past and I don't have walls of them or anything. In fact, I gave them all to Goodwill many years, ago.

    On the other hand:
    I'm a natural tinkerer/engineer. I customize practically any machine that tickles my fancy. Aerospace engineering is what I studied, but I work in the Information Technology world. I've been custom-building my own computers (and laptops ... and even servers) for years. Amateur gunsmithing is a hobby, too, and so are vehicles. I've tinkered with all three of these machine types since I was a kid...

    As for vehicles it started with a VW bug I (re)built from the floor pan, up, as a teenager. I saved for years (from age 12 to 15.5) for a car, bought a used 1980 Toyota Supra, drove it for a year, and sold it so that I could build something custom. Being a broke-ass kid, I began with a 1963 body whose engine was toast ... and a re-manned 1967 engine block that I used for a rebuild. I did a 6-to-12 volt conversion on the body, replaced the rusted out fenders and running boards with a fiberglass baja kit for the fenders (and trunk lid) and custom-made stainless steel tubular frame outlines to replace the running boards. I removed the bonnet, completely, so that the engine would be on display. I went with a 6' stainless steel exhaust system that ended in a stinger and had no baffle (so this bug was LOUD). On the inside I kept it simple on the dash and doors but went with a rolled & tucked red leather interior ... and had the bug sprayed in a candy apple red paint to offset the engine, firewall, running board outlines, and wheels which were all clad in chrome. She ran 15" wheels with the front being skinny and the rear being 305's meant for a truck.

    She was built by me to drive on the beach ... with help from two mechanics who let me use a bay in their garage and hooked me up with people to do some of the work on the cheap ... in exchange for me doing ****-work around the garage (cleaning the place up, oil changes, water pump changes, coolant system flushes, etc -- basically the really dirty, nasty jobs they didn't want to do). I spent every day from sun-up to sun-down on her the first summer ... and then every afternoon until dinner time during the winter. I had her ready by spring, as a VW is a simple machine.

    I owned the car in a drivable state for 9 months until one rainy night a drunk driver hit the car. The impact sheared the rear axle and the car was pushed 40-50 feet down the road into a stop sign, which cut through the fiberglass front/trunk, caused a leak in the gas tank (which is located under that trunk lid), and the car went up in flames. The insurance company, of course, stuck it to me. :(

    It was a fun car, though. I suppose that's where I caught the 'bug', so to speak. As for where the knack came from ... I'm no mechani, but give me a manual, tools, and enough time and I can disassemble and reassemble practically anything. Dad took the time to teach me basic organizational skills in the garage...
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012
  3. Big_Mike

    Big_Mike New Member

    Well, I don't have the right to say if you are an enthusiast or not, but it really does sound like you are. Those were all just examples I listed that I could think of at the moment. I believe an enthusiast is someone who is passionate about what they do and/or like. Not an exact definition, but I think it's in the ball park. So I'll answer your question with a question... Do you think you are an enthusiast?
  4. SurrealOne

    SurrealOne Former Member 1000 Posts

    No. Why? Because I'm engine- and transmission-stupid ... as in I know little to nothing about either in my vehicle. Perhaps once I know substantially more than I do in both areas I'll consider myself an enthusiast as it pertains to my vehicle, but for now I'm just a compulsive tinkerer and wannabe enthusiast, I guess.
  5. donyms

    donyms Active Member 1000 Posts

    I suppose my Dad got me into cars, my first was a 1954 chevy pick up. My Dad and I rebuilt that truck from the ground up and I drove it for years. I have always fixed up cars and trucks that I have had even though my Dad never did somehow I caught the bug as a kid and I guess if you look at my truck now you might think i still have the bug........... :glasses:
  6. PantheraUncia

    PantheraUncia Active Member 1000 Posts

    I never really intended to get into modding vehicles. My first car was a Buick Lesabre limited from the 80's similar to this with a huge v8 and a four barrel carb.

    http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5244/5332488681_88ce0b075a_z.jpg

    All I ever did to that car was normal maintenance.

    Then I got something a little better:

    http://www.ryderocz.info/ic_cars/94_grandprix.jpg

    I loved that car and that is when I started playing around with car stereo installations. That car mysteriously disappeared when the transmission stopped working the second time in 8 months. ( I did not intend to learn how to rebuild transmissions back then ).

    Then I bought the Silverado from my dad when he lost his job, he only had it about 2 years at that time and 93oct cost about $0.89 a gallon. As prices for gas and everything have gotten more expensive and the fact that I have a number of friends that are mechanics now; I learned how to change my own oil, transmission fluid, brakes, shocks, belts, spark plugs.

    So in the end, learning to "mod" the truck has been because I can find better uses for the money I would have paid in labor to do that normal maintenance. Since that, I have been putting some of the money back in the truck with the upgrades I have done.

    It will also make it that much easier for me to mod my next truck when that happens.
  7. sfdefender24

    sfdefender24 New Member

    I guess you could call me an enthusiast, when i was younger i would always help my dad and brother work on the 69 camaro and the nova, both were 10 sec drag cars. Then from there when I hit 12 years old I got really big into dirt racing, my brother and I both ran the local circuit for a few years before we moved up in the modified class were we both started travling on the weekends to where the BIG event was. That all end back in '08 when i rolled a car and the fuel cell exploded. And as for daily drivers, first truck i ever worked on was an early 90s chevy that was my brothers, lifted it and had some boggers. After that truck we started to build a 2001 mud truck on tractor tires. From there I stuck with Chevy and my brother went to Fords, i had an 06 2500 for 2 years before my current 2010 1500, my brother owns a 2000 f250, both trucks lifted and were always doing work to them to see who can out do the other. So i guess you could call me one. I may not know everything about the vehicle when i first start to work on it but i would figure everything out i need to kno and have it repaired quickly. I love to work on any vehicle i can get my hands on. which before i left for afghanistan was my buddys ford mustang and 04 silverado 2wd 1500. But now that i have alot of money saved, ill be doing some major upgrades to mine upon my return to the states at the end of the year.
  8. ahmitchell1

    ahmitchell1 New Member 1000 Posts

    I think if you love cars and try to always make your car stand out( not autozone stand out) then your an enthusiast. I grew up with my dad building cars for himself and a small group of clients, his main business is fire protection sprinklers and now all construction. But for the first 19 years of my life he had a huge shop with tons of cars. I've been turning wrenches next to him my whole life. He has taught me everything i know but nowadays I can teach him a few things. He also got me into racing really young with carts and dirt bikes. I think the reason I love car so much is how he never pushed me. Later he got me into midgets and running street bikes at 10. Now we go at each other as many times a year as we can get on the track. He is retiring this year as me and my brother take over the business. So I'm hoping that gets him back into building more cars, I know he wants to start doing antique races again and I can't wait to join. Sorry sitting in Gba425 bored
  9. ahmitchell1

    ahmitchell1 New Member 1000 Posts

    You should get back into racing. I'm trying to get on a some circuit next year. I have a good friend who runs gt and gs series in grand am and he'll admit I'm a better racer than him so I'm hoping he can get me out in a car sometime this year. But don't let a bad wreck take you down, everybodys gunna wreck just gotta have the right equipment and it seems like you did. I have some pretty good battle wounds, most of them are from motorcycles though
  10. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Super Moderator Staff Member Platinum Contributor 1000 Posts

    My addiction started when I was around 3 or 4, we had a 64 Chevy wagon with a rear facing back seat and a 409, I could never decide if I wanted to ride in the back and watch stuff pass or up front listening to the engine rumble, spent most of my time climbing across the seats to do both.
    When I was starting Jr High my dad retired from the Air Force and opened a shop specializing in building expedition/armored vehicles for the military, from day one I was at the shop helping as much as they'd let me. He bought me a dirt bike to keep me out of the way but it didnt work since I'd rather hang out at the shop. A few years after that my oldest brother spun a custom body shop/machine shop off of the Expedition shop and that gave me more places to hang out. Meanwhile my other older brothers started getting their licenses (mid 70's) and getting cars, mostly junkers that needed a lot of repairs before they could be driven so I was always ready with my tools help get them on the road.
    When I joined the military I wanted to work in the motor pool but the Detailers conducting the ASVAB exams thought I was a better fit as an Aircraft Mechanic and Aircrewman so I trained and was assigned to repair and fly aircraft but throughout my whole career I took every opportunity I could to work on vehicles, even getting assigned to the Aircraft Support Equipment division Aboard the USS Kitty Hawk for a while and as the Lead tech for a Mobile Strike Maintenance Facility in Kuwait.

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