Friday, March 16, 2012


Over the past 20 years I have vacillated on the subject of cars. When I was young, I was a hopeless car nut. I had a subscription to Sports Car International and I indexed every article so that I could look up the basic stats for a car (hp, 0-60time, price etc.) and know the issue and page number that the article was on. I spent most of my high school years working on cars with my best friends and thought that it could not get much better. Then at Cal Poly I started racing bikes and commuting on bikes and really fell in love with them for their fun, simple and sustainable form of transportation. I really started to realize that cars are about 3,000lbs of excess weight that really is not needed. I still appreciated a good car, but I did not put as much stock in them as I used to, my SCI subscription lapsed, I started thinking about buying a newer reliable car so that I would not have to work on my own car any more. Then I got a job teaching Auto Shop and had to start obsessing over cars again. This time it was with a certain amount of reservation. While teaching class I would say things like, "Cars are horribly inefficient and will always break down because there are too many parts." Kids thought I was weird because I would ride my bike to school but then when school got out I would coast by them all when they were stuck in traffic. In a car it would take me 10 minutes to get home and I would be in a foul mood after. On a bike I would get home in 3 minutes and be stoked!

So here I am in Bangladesh and the same is true. It would take most people less time to get home on a bike. It just makes cars seem so wasteful and unnecessary. After saying all this I have to admit something... I have wasted countless hours on the internet looking at cars for sale in the US. Cars that I would never buy but I really want to! Classic Land Rovers, Porsche 911's from the 60's that need complete restorations, 1988 BMW M6's, 1950's Chevrolet suburbans, Triumph TR6's, 1950 Cab Overs of any make, Lotus, Datsun 510's, and the list goes on. I even lust over the big V-8 muscle cars (not with original brakes or suspension though!) I can't help it. I don't have the disposable income, the shop to work in, or the time but I REALLY want a project. I need something to work on and tweak and spend hours perfecting and none of this makes any sense! I cannot figure out why I can't get over this.

If I have learned one thing it is that I need a shop. I have to build stuff... anything, but for some reason cars are the things that really draw me in. I need professional help. I know they are money pits and I would never get my money back out but I keep looking. I keep thinking I will find a car that needs restoration that I can pick up for a song that would be worth a bundle after I finished building it. I think there are lots of reasons for this. I got my obsession for searching for the diamond in the rough from my mom. We would go to thrift stores and yard sales and she would find the coolest stuff. So I started looking too and it was fun to look through all that crap to find the one thing that was worth money or that you could re purpose into something else or that was just cool and old. Stuff that was built well and beautiful. From my dad I got the importance of the integrity of craft and that making something is more that just the steps of making it. There is a satisfaction to something made right, to knowing that no corners where cut and you learned a bunch about yourself and the medium on the way. From old timers like my neighbor Ernie I learned that everything can be fixed and most of the time you can fix things with remarkably little. He held the idea that things should be fixed and that there is a ton more soul in something brought back to life than something bought new. I hold all these lessons dear I just wish I could change my mind about the car thing. Why do I have to want to work on cars? Any thoughts?


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  2. Cars are fun..... I thought about getting rid of all my newer stuff and getting an old cheap classic to turn into something really cool, but soon there wont be anything to put in it (gas). I was going to go back to school for Mechanical engineering but decided to go with a major that I know nothing about. I chose Chemical engineering, The world is going to need alternative energy very soon and i think it would be great to be a part of the research involved in that. But.... Cars are fun....

  3. Try out electric RC planes

    1. Not sure about that but electric cars... now there is a thought! CAn you imagine rolling into a car show with an electric camaro? It would need to have a PA system so that you could make engine sounds, do a few burn outs, and play off the electric whine like it is a supercharger. Work the V8 gearheads into a lather and then pop the hood to show them the electric motor.