I sat down on the phone with my best friend for an interview for class and this is what came out of it.
So what got you into cars and why have you stuck with it?
“Well alright ummm I honestly have no idea what got me into cars. Ever since my parents could remember I had a hot wheels in my hand and I was running it around on the little mat with the streets on it. What kept me in it was probably that my family would go to car shows and I’d see the cool cars drive by. I could see the cars with their hoods open and I was always curious about that stuff. Another big thing was playing video games like Need for Speed, Midnight Club, and Forza. I would always play those as a kid and it would get me pumped up and I could not wait to get my own car. Also finding YouTube shows like mighty car mods. I found them when I was around 13 or 14 and I still watch them. It just made me want to work on my own car.” It’s honestly quite funny because he and I both got into cars basically the same way. Little toys to video games to actual cars (bigger toys).
How do you think that being part of car culture has affected your life?
“Oh god, ummmm.” I interrupted him with my own laughter here because I knew that I’d be struggling the same way. “Well I mean I don’t know what the hell I’d do without it. Because if I didn’t have the driving factor to like… in all honesty it’s my main driving factor. I want to go to Japan, I want to go to Germany, and experience the culture. It’d be completely new. I want to see their car culture, how they modify their cars and how they drive their cars. I want to race on the Nürburgring. They get cars that we don’t and I really want to see those. But at the same time I want to take my car and do all the different things that I’ve seen since I was like 12 and do all the things that I’ve been dreaming of. I’m actually doing these things right now.” He and I went down to Tennessee last summer and he drove his car on the tail of the dragon. “It’s just pushed me to work more and work harder. In order to do these things you need to learn more about the cars and so on. You take off the OEM stuff, the after market things don’t go in the same way and so you need to learn how they work. Sometimes you need to know how the old stuff worked to know how the new things work. It drives you to learn more, you can only learn so much from reading online and out of books. It makes you need to talk to other people and you get to learn about how they got into cars and the work they’ve done. It’s a network that leads endlessly to other people. Honestly to me, it’s like no other hobby. You can go to meets, go on cruises, go to shows, go for drives, and racetracks. You’ll meet all sorts of different people at all of these. Drives can be therapeutic and they’re fun. Some things aren’t good, like spending a ton of money (we definitely come back to this) you need money to do other things. Yesterday when I was putting the engine back in my car it took me an hour and a half because it wouldn’t line up with the transmission and I was basically throwing a fit because I got so frustrated. So there’s obviously bad things like that. Like when you helped me with the brakes on my beater car after I blew them out of neglect for trying to save money for this car. So there’s always good and the bad. When you tear apart your car and put it back together like we both have. I mean obviously it’ll have its issues but once you get the experience and you’re able to say that it was you. It’s like nothing else either. So it’s consuming but it’s mostly possible.” He and I both have logged hundreds of hours on video games and we’ve defiantly spent that much on cars. “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
What does modifying your car mean to you?
“Oh god. Everything. It means everything. When you buy a car, you look at it either for what it is or what it could be. When I bought my car I knew it was a regular plain Jane STI. But what I saw was the Karlton flares, the rotated turbo, the built motor, I saw the big pretty Brembos, and I actually have the majority of that stuff on the car. I guess for a car guy when you see a car it’s like a blank canvas that you can make your own. It’s like expressing yourself in a different way. Like here’s a good example. We’re best friends but we modify our cars in completely different fashions. – Well different yet similar. Like you flared your accord, I want to flare my STI but I want them to be paint matched and I don’t want to look too flashy. I want it to look like a factory race car. OEM plus while you like to stand out. I like to be subtly aggressive and you like to be punch you in the face aggressive.” I can’t hide that I agreed with that. “I speak calmly and carry a big stick, you carry a big stick and show it.” I couldn’t help but to laugh because these are things we discuss all the time and get on each others nerves with. I said that the way I saw it was making my dream a reality but hoping that my dream would also become someone else’s dream. “I mean yeah, I completely agree with that. When I was about 14 I was at crossgates mall, there was a white GD STI right across from where we parked. He had a ton of things done to it and I thought it was really well done. While I was staring at it the guy who owned it walked up and said ‘see you out there sometime’ and here I am now. Probably at the same level or a bit above him. That definitely impacted me. I swear I’ve seen some kids jaws drop at my car or my dads old boss 302 and I remember being that kid.” And we both still get that way.
Do you feel closer to your friends that share the passion or does it not matter?
“Oh there’s definitely more of a connection. Like Tori, she would hang out with me and be around them, and now she is with Krizden. When you work on cars with someone it elevates the friendship. Especially with Cole, he’s a great example. I would never have met him if it wasn’t for cars, well shit I never would’ve met you either.” He and I come back to this every so often. He has a backpack that he no longer uses, it’s meant to look like it has Takata racing harness straps as the backpack straps and it’s a normal car guy thing to have. “But ummm, you came all the way from Saratoga to help me work on my pile of shit beater at a last minute notice” I got there at like 6 and he lives about an hour away. “Who else would do anything like that for any other hobby? And Cole, he let me have my car ripped apart in his basement for about half a year and I took up a good amount of space. Before that about two years ago he trailered my car all the way down to New Jersey to drop it off at prime to get it tuned. And I’d known him for like a year at that point. There’s not many other terms that you could meet people on where they would do that unquestionably. There’s definitely a lot more bonding that goes on with cars. You sit there and talk about the things you like, the things you don’t and the way you want to do things. If they line up with the persons views, like I mean me and Cole very much so agree with what we want to do a lot of the time. But then again me and you don’t but we still get along and help each other out.” He and I constantly go at it about who’s right and who’s not when it comes to style. (He told me that my taste is trash at that point and laughed.) it’s just our own style differences and I will always respect what he does.
If you could own any car, what would it be and why?
He made it seem like I was torturing him for this answer. But for most car guys it is hard to narrow this down. “Any one car? Like I have to pick one? So many cars come to mind. Let me walk you through a few that come to mind right now. So a forester STI, cause like it’s a wagon” I chuckled here because he’s always had a thing for wagons that I DO NOT understand. “And it’s an STI, it’s got the big brembos, the 6 speed, a big sunroof, and a big cargo area. It’s very practical. I can do every single thing I’m doing to my car right now, I can do to that. I could make it like a 1200hp STI or a 400whp daily driver. Or I could have a one in the world midnight purple (his favorite color is purple) Z tune. It’s a 500 something factory horse power R34 and there’s only one of them in the world. It’s pretty much a factory wide body and it’s got a really built motor from the factory. And then there’s the Lexus LFA, it’s the most gorgeous sounding car ever, despite what you say, it’s the best sounding car period. But then you have the Ferrari F40 and I’m sure there’s so many others I’m forgetting.” At this point I had to convince him to narrow it down to one. “Ughhh I guess I’d have to choose one car in the world I’d have to go with the R34. It’s the single midnight purple z tune out of 19 of them. No one else has that. You can’t compare to it. I’m sure I’ll own one of the foresters one day.
If cars couldn’t be your passion, what do you think it would be?
“I’m still really into photography, granted most of it is cars. I still like photography in general though. Dirt biking and air soft.” I asked if he would have gotten into like real guns. “I couldn’t have gotten into hunting but just shooting in general is fun as hell. I would’ve owned a few guns for target shooting. I would’ve gotten way further into dirt biking and have more camera gear.” It was funny that his other passion also includes a combustion engine “and wheels” he reminded me.
How much money do you have into your car?
I already knew the answer to this and he said “I actually haven’t actually added it all up but I’d say mid 40 thousands. Maybe 45?”
How does it make you feel that you spent basically one whole year of our tuition on your car?
“I never would’ve had it any other way. I mean I worked for all of that money. I started saving from when I was ten. I bought my WRX wagon at 15, put money into it and sold it at 17? All the money went into that car and the money I saved up after went into this car. All nights I slaved during and all the time I worked during the summer went into this car. Most of it was blown on it recently. It’s a stress relief. It’s a dream coming true. If you had told me I’d buy an STI at 17 I wouldn’t believe you, and if you told me I’d be building it to be about 600 crank hp at 20. I wouldn’t have believed you still.”
Does it bother you that people think you’re weird for spending that much money or do you not care?
“I mean I don’t particularly care. I think it’s annoying the amount of judgement people give when they say things like ‘why don’t you just save money and buy a house?’ Well eventually I will but moving out during college would put more stress on you. You’d only be getting an apartment. You’re not making an investment. In my opinion it’s stupid. Family members give a lot of judgement because they didn’t have a lot growing up so for me to be blowing this amount of money it’s ridiculous to them so I kind of understand that. It’s just something I’ve always wanted and I’m very fortunate to be able to do this. If you didn’t do something that your parents worked to set you up to be able to do that would be stupid because you’d just be throwing away what they worked for too. What’s my alternative? Save money, pay bills and be responsible? With my limited experience in life, the most responsible route is the least fun, least rewarding. Well least rewarding currently. If it’s going reward you later than I mean sure. But if you keep working for later then you’re never going to experience all of what you could’ve because you’ll be old or dead by the time you could.” He’s chasing a dream while he can. How many people can say that they actually went out and chased their dream and got it done at 20?
If you couldn’t go into a job that involved what you went to school for, would you go into the automotive industry?
“I originally wanted to. I didn’t think I had the capabilities. No I definitely did. I just didn’t know what I wanted to do within that industry. I thought mechanic but that isn’t as good of a well paying and steady job as I would’ve liked. I’d probably end up a photographer but that would’ve been very hard but that is something I would have really enjoyed. I definitely would still go for a job in the automotive industry.
Who’s your biggest inspiration in life and or in cars?
After a thoughtful pause he starts talking about how his family is pretty patriotic. “This is the first time in 50 something years that someone in my family hasn’t been in the military. We’ve always had someone in the military. My aunt served 26 years” he went to say that most of his uncles, both grandparents, his father, and his brother both served. “A lot of my inspiration comes from people that were in the military. If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Lone Survivor’ it’s about operation red wings. I believe it’s was four navy seals that were on a surveillance mission that went totally south. The one guy Lieutenant Michael Murphy was so devout, he wouldn’t quit. He would give the shirt off his back and you couldn’t stop him. He literally gave his life for call in a medivac and a support team for the remaining two seals. It’s guys like that who were huge inspirations to me. Not necessarily that I want to be a hero, I want to be the person that people can turn to when they feel like they can’t do it anymore – when they think they’ve met the end of their road. I want to be the person to help them keep going because, not to get too personal, what I’ve been through and what I’ve had to fight through. So I know what it’s like to be close to your point. And I want to be the person to bring someone away from that point. That’s my inspiration in life. For cars, I don’t know exactly. Some car people are big into the social media part and some people take it over board. I don’t look too much at what other people are doing. The guy that races time attack with the hawk eye STI. He made me want bags for my car. He used to think they were for people who wanted to slam their cars and that they would handle like crap. I thought the same way but he races time attack on bags and wins regularly. The guy who’s car was a post on stance nation ‘thick n sexy STI’ it had the Karlton flares and it was the first one I saw. It made me want them and look into them. I ended up getting a set out of the second production second batch set.”
If you could fix any one thing world wide, what would it be?
He definitely hated me for that question. I actually gave him world hunger, peace, depression, and or death. He got philosophical kinda quick. “If you end world hunger we’d be over populated we’d end up at each others throats because there’s not enough land.” He went on to think about what would have more good and not a lot of bad. I goaded him into talking about depression because he suffers from it “I don’t know. I’m trying to think of what would happen if you cured something like that.” He pauses and then said “I’m actually leaving more towards global warming cause like that way emissions can leave me the **** alone” I laughed because it had to do with cars rather than himself. “I feel like I dealt with so much growing up, it made me who I am. For better or worse. There was a lot of pain to get to where I am and I like who I am. Even though I say I don’t. I do.”
I thanked him for taking up some time for the interview and then we went about playing video games.