Re: Let’s Have a Talk – Do You

10 Feb

Recently on The Chronicles I read a really interesting article about the state of affairs in the scene, as far as cars getting magazine coverage and the behavior of their owners. Roja’s Blog also touched on this as well with his own take. I figured I’d chime in with my feelings as well, since this is something we talk about at the shop all the time with our customers and amongst ourselves.

The process of building a project car is like any other major step you take in your life. It’s filled with ups and downs, with joy and despair, and it costs a boatload of money. But you always have to check yourself as to your motivation. The motivation should always be your passion for the car and the hobby in general. Not what magazine you can get into. Not what internet high fives you’ll get. Not what girls you think you can pull after it’s done. It’s got to be about you. When you stop doing you, and starting doing it for any other reason, you lose. You become an also-ran that at the end of the day, no one pays much attention to. Sure, you might get labelled an e-baller by bouncing from one project car to another. Or by guys who are impressed by what parts you got. But those people aren’t you’re friends, and they don’t really care about what you’re doing. They aren’t helping you at 1 AM to finish an install for that event the next day; they aren’t working those overtime hours to pay for that part you covet. They are just jumping on the bandwagon, hoping to be part of something they perceive to be cool. The irony is, the bandwagon ain’t cool. What is cool is you getting out of the project what you put in. It’s you enjoying the fruits of your labor by indulging in a hobby that you enjoy and are passionate about. You gotta love it, and if you put your best into it, you’ll get the best out of it.

We used to do the show thing for a few years with our own cars and customer cars. Until it dawned on me one day – I am not having fun anymore. Hanging out with my friends and customers was cool, talking to random people I’d meet about my car or the shop was cool…but standing around for 10 hours in the sun waiting to talk to some jadrool about my car who didn’t even understand what he was looking at, and paying $50 for that privilege, had somehow lost it’s appeal. So I stopped taking my car to these events. I’d still go and show support for our customers who like the show scene, hang out for a bit, swap stories, check out the cars. But having my car judged just didn’t register high on my importance list anymore. Instead, I re-discovered doing what I should had done with all my previous projects – just enjoying the car. It was like re-discovering the reason I got into cars in the first place. Ultimately, I care about enjoying the car I built for myself. I care that it represents my hard work, and the help of my friends and colleagues. I care that my car has turned out exactly how I wanted it to. I don’t care of it gets in a magazine. I care instead about waking up early on a weekend morning and just driving out east just to enjoy the scenary. Taking the car home with me from work just to wake up a bit earlier than normal so I can take the long way to the shop the following day. Meeting up with a bunch of fellow enthusiasts and friends over dinner and just bs’ing. Hobbies need to be fun. While I am very fortunate to have my hobby also be my career, having a built Z is not a necessity in life. When it stops being fun and your motivation starts being for outside reasons, it’s time to re-evaluate things.

When we attended our first ZDayz a few years ago, I had more fun at a car event than I had in a long time. Even though my car had some gremlins that weekend, and I didn’t even get to drive it on half the roads I wanted to, it was just awesome doing a road trip with Kwame, listening to good music, and then meeting up with friends, customers, and shops we deal with all year and just hanging out. I am already planning on things for a ZDayz trip this year. We’ve got so many local customers and friends cars that are all on schedule to be completed in the coming months, that I think this is going to be one of the best spring/summer seasons in a long time. Ultimately, that’s what is should be all about. Hanging with friends, and sharing this great hobby together.

So that’s my take on it – you gotta just have fun with the car. Build it for you, and you’ll never go wrong. A special thank you to the above mentioned blogs for getting me thinking again about this topic!

7 Responses to “Re: Let’s Have a Talk – Do You”

  1. Kwame February 10, 2010 at 6:07 PM #

    Preach brotha preach!

  2. Robert February 11, 2010 at 12:14 AM #

    I’m happy to see there are others out there that share similar sentiments. Thanks for props. Keep up the great work on your blog! I check it every day!

  3. Jonathan February 11, 2010 at 12:37 PM #

    Who even READS import car magazines anymore? I can’t recall the last time I picked one up…maybe a year ago?

    I never understood the car-show scene…it just never made sense to me (in that “taste” is completely subjective).

    Car shows and magazines simply push along the latest fad. A styling or tuning trend starts, everyone jumps aboard and at some point it’s dead and you’re a loser if you’re not current. The cycle repeats…

    As Adam said, it just wasn’t fun for me either.

    However, get a bunch of car-guys together on a nice spring day for a BBQ and that’s what the hobby is all about for me. I don’t care if they drive muscle cars, imports, exotics…whatever. If they are nice guys and just wanna bullshit about cars, I’m game (regardless if I like their ride or not).

  4. Ronald Ortiz February 11, 2010 at 6:36 PM #

    Having walked in these shoes for some time now, I would say stay true to your origins. Having been in the scene and in the industry, I can tell you I stagnated to finally leaving it. A side distraction to a different passion finally healed my disdain for the direction things were going in 1996. Thanx to the surge from the true technicians that have kept this genre of motorsports alive. I am back again, a new project car started, boosted by a drive to enjoy the result of my best efforts.

  5. Sean February 11, 2010 at 9:43 PM #

    Agreed! Just as I did at “The Chronicles”. I hope all the fad/bandwagon kids get over it and move on as they always do. The whole online leghumping is crazy, just cause they have 3k low offset wheels on a “stock” car is “clean” or fake parts are “clean”? Really? Each to their own I guess. No one appriciates builds or qauilty parts anymore…it’s just about being in the spotlight right NOW and then cash out.

  6. Adam February 12, 2010 at 4:01 PM #

    Thanks for sharing the sentiments everyone. Ultimately, I think this hobby itself became a fad for many. Like any other fad, it grows by leaps and bounds, but then that crescendo has to decrescendo. The machine generates the interest, and in doing so, takes on a new form, and those who have been in it for awhile almost feel like outsiders looking in at a corrupted system. The net result is often apathy among those who helped to build it in the first place. What was once cool is now blatantly anti-cool. I sorta feel that is where things have been for the past couple years. It’s not just the fanboys fault though. Everything is everything as they say. Rather than throw our hands up and just accept things, I think it’s up to those of us who have been around awhile to steer things back to where we want them to be. There are still cool guys and girls out there doing cool things with their cars, whatever their choice of car might be. There are still those of us out there that can appreciate a clean weld, and an intelligently designed part, and appreciate what it is to really build a car with passion as the primary motivator.

  7. earlqhan February 25, 2010 at 1:54 AM #

    amen.

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