I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, my focus on certain parts of the car enthusiast lifestyle has changed quite a bit. It’s probably me becoming more mature and responsible, but really… who knows?! When I first immersed myself in the car scene during my sophomore year of college, circa 2005-2006ish, I was really only focused on one thing. Modifying and owning a fast car. I wanted to be that kid on the block with a fast car. I wanted to outrun Evos and American muscle. And I wanted to so badly modify my Impreza into something amazing and fast. More specifically, I wanted to convert the NA drivetrain to that of the turbo WRX.
Almost a decade later, here I am on the totally opposite side. No longer am I focused on building a fast car, or modifying it. Rather, I prioritize the experiences associated with cars and their owners. I guess I’ve grown less materialistic. The BRZ is pretty much stock. Instead of investing in my time into making new additions or modifications to my cars, I instead try to find a means and a way to do things with cars. My drug of choice is autocross. However, it could really be anything. It could be a cruise, a BBQ, or a kickback. Instead of using the cars to define myself, I instead use cars as a medium to meet new people and to enjoy myself.
This past week, I did something that doesn’t happen very often. I ended up going out to a Subaru meet and a FRS/BRZ meet in the same week. I must be getting old or boring, or both, but the Subaru meet was so dull. Not sure why. I think it might be the shift of focus from the owner to the cars. For whatever reason, the car holds so much more weight now. It seems like everyone puts so much money into their cars, and for what? I think that 90% of cars out there are for show. Put some big wheels on and slam the car, and you are a rockstar. Dump 15-20-30k in the car and you are a god.
And I think this is generally true for the FRS/BRZ scene also. People are spending ridiculous amounts of money decking out their cars, whether it is vinyl wrapping, mods, or force induction. And for what? Mostly for show I guess.
To me… it’s just a waste of money. It’s a lot of money that is being put into a car so it could look cool. I can’t really fault people, though. It is their money and they can do whatever they want. But my experience tells me that the money can be used in much better ways.
Yesterday, at the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant table, I struck up a conversation with a fellow “twins” owner and his father. He wanted to get his car, with intake and exhaust, dynoed to see how much power he was making. As soon as he asked where, I suggested that he save his money as both parts don’t really make substantial power gains. After some debate, I countered with, “Instead of spending $100 to dyno your car, why don’t you instead take your parents out to a nice dinner?” I suggested to him that cars and mods are fun and all, but there are a lot of cool things that he could also do with money.
Afterwards, I suggested that he and his dad consider coming out to an autocross and giving it a try. He was hesitant in his answer, and he didn’t really seem too on board with the idea, but I did try to reason with him. I pointed out that he would have a great opportunity to see what the car can do and that he would learn a lot, but more importantly, he would have an amazing time while spending time with his dad.
I know I am beating a dead horse with the whole autocross thing, but I do really love autocrossing. Just not the competition portion of it, but a lot of it is the PEOPLE. I love my fellow competitors, or at least most of them. There’s always going to be one or two guys… but for the most part, I love being around the people. I enjoy their company and the friendship, and I am very blessed to be competing against many high class individuals. And yes… I do hate being slower, but that is so miniscule compared to being around some amazing friends.
So, to sum it all up, don’t let cars mislead you. There is a lot more to the car enthusiast scene than just cars. There are a lifetime worth of experiences and friendships to be had. Don’t let cool cars distract you and overlook them.