Has anyone ever told you that your obsession over cars is stupid and pointless? Have you been dumped by your partner because you spent more time with your car than him/her? Chances are, cars are more than just transportation to you; it's a way of life. I could go on a rant that most people won't understand the almost intimate relationship an individual can share with a hunk of metal with four wheels on it, but that's not my aim just yet. For the time being, I will talk about the fruitlessness of our lifestyle choices.
We gearheads are not a benefit to society as individuals; we pollute the environment, bother our neighbors and ruin their days when revving the crap out of our engines early in the morning. We waste through gasoline by driving pointlessly in the canyons or the racetrack. For someone like me, cars are more than a hobby; they're my career. On the week days, I wake up, go to work in order to wrench on some awesome cars, come back home, write about cars, go to sleep. On the week-ends, I wake up, work on my car, do some more writing about cars, then go to sleep. I have multiple photo albums on my phone, one for photos with me and the love of my life, and seven different albums related to cars. Four of these albums are for cars I've owned/currently own. Two are inspiration albums, which are exactly what they sound like- I find photos that inspire me to do something to one of my cars, I add it to that album. The last one is for cars I wrench on at work. So in total, I have about 500-600 photos in the album involving my girlfriend and I whom I have been dating 3 years, and something like 10,000 photos related to cars and tools. And don't get me wrong, I love my girlfriend, I really do, but she does not occupy my mind 24/7. Cars do. Even when I'm with her, 60% of the time is spent sitting on the forums, or looking up specials on eBay for a set of Snap-On tools, or maybe even going through the Schroth catalog for a new set of 5 point harnesses.
You get my point, cars are a big deal to me. One could even say I breathe cars; and that's where the problems start. I'm not a show-off, I'm just a purist; I like my suspension rough, my interior missing, and my exhaust loud. I want my wheel centered, my seat low and my shifter short. I want my tach gauge above 5000 rpm at all times, my tires smoking and my paint chipped. I want to smell that cold, catless start in the morning, I want my bypass valve screaming between shifts, and I want loud pops. Look, I'm not going to sugar-coat it; I'm not helping anyone by wanting any of this besides myself and others like me. Us car-guys are parasites, and I acknowledge this. We're not perfect, but at the same time we don't care about being accepted in whatever a "normal" person's idea of "society" is. We fight over absolutely stupid things, we chase time and go vroom around a track, and find it entertaining to put our lives on the line corner-after-corner. A normal person may pause and think "but why?". Forget that, the real question is "why not?".
I don't live my life a quarter mile at a time, but I do live every day like it's my last. This means not holding back on finances when it comes to spending money on quality parts and tools. Another big no-no to me is letting a car sit in a garage to enjoy it "later in life", because "later" is never guaranteed. This means trying to have as many cars as possible, regardless of its country of origin or the number of cylinders (or rotors). To put it simply, as long as it's not a Prius, chances are I'm interested. Give me anything but a Prius, for every car-guy knows that a Prius to a gearhead is what kryptonite is to Super-Man. We're almost automatically repelled from it, and we want to have nothing to do with it. Some of us take it a step further, and don't want any car to exist if it doesn't rev or make noise. I'm a little more moderate; I like Tesla, I like the Volt, and I do love the idea of an electric car. The fact of the matter remains, the electric car is the future of the automobile, and there's nothing us outcasts can do about it.
My brother recently asked me a very good question which involved the future of the current automotive culture; where does our future lie? To answer such a complicated question, we must look at the car community as a withering forest. Now I'm no botanist, but I know that a forest is full of different kinds of trees, much like the automotive community is filled with different types of car-guys. There are the muscle guys, jdm fans, track bunnies, and as much as I hate to admit this, the stance crowd is also a part of the community (though I'd rather they weren't). Obviously it's far more complicated, as there are fans for practically every car brand known to man, but you get the idea. However, regardless of how diverse our crowd is, we are a dying breed. In the future, the term "petrolhead" will be way out of place, because petroleum will no longer be the primary source of fuel for cars. In a sense, then, we are so lucky to be living in this current generation. We were born just in time to play with the toys of the past, and will still have some time to witness the rebirth of the automotive culture over the decades to come. What matters most is that no matter how old we become, cars will be more than just a way for us petrolheads to drive from point A to point B; it's a way of life that is forever etched into our hears, and it is the only way we know.