My BFF, Jeep

In my journalism class, we were told that we should write about a person that we have really connected with in the field our blogs cover. I thought long and hard about a person I have connected with and realized it wasn’t really a person, more a thing. It’s my car of course!

I have really connected with my car since the acquisition of my license. It really is important to build a relationship with your vehicle. I feel more comfortable, more at home in my Jeep with each passing day. It not only makes driving easier and safer, but a more fun experience. I have learned the limits and capabilities of the good ol’ gal and I can control her within those boundaries.

I know I have to  turn the music up when I’m going fast because of the soft top noise.  I know I shouldn’t really get anywhere close to four on the tachometer  unless I’m being a silly fool when accelerating. I know I have the greatest turning circle of any car ever and can turn around sharper and in tighter spaces. I know my reverse gear doesn’t like doing what it was made to do so I have to hold it in gear when backing up. I can tell when I’m on the verge of stalling and how to correct. I know a lot of things about this car, and after only 3ish months after driving it full time.

Light bar on, lights mounted, top down. Good day.

Light bar on, lights mounted, top down. Good day.

I have gotten to spend a lot of quality time with the Jeep lately. Mercifully, the cold weather seems to be leaving us and I got to do some work on the car. I FINALLY was able to put the light bar on the car which was quite the experience. With the help of local handyman Andy “Big D” Serraino I was able to drill into the Jeep’s bumper mount and connect light bar. Then with the help of Cooper “doesn’t really have a nickname that could be put in quotes” Hayes I was able to put on the lights that he so generously sold to my cause.

I also got to drive with the top down! I finally understand the reason the soft top exists. Its very easy to take off and is incredible to drive around in when taken off.

All this quality time has brought me much closer to the gal. It’s strengthened my love, something all car owners should have towards their vehicles. And it’s only going to get better, this is truly what driving and car culture are all about: love for your vehicular companion.

Santa Claus and some good ol’ American modifying

HAHA! Yes, finally, the barrier has been hurdled, the battle won, the army conquered, and I am victorious. Yes despite my bit of a pitfall (see my last post) I am finally on the road, legally of course, and it feels so good.

Naturally the next thing to do, to start of my automotive career right is to modify.

In Europe, people are content with boring stock cars, no mods, no uniqueness, just colorless uniformity. That is what makes America’s passion for automobiles great. Any French hairstylist can go out and by a Merc or a Bimmer, but here in America its pretty fun when some rednecks from Kentucky plop 1000 horsepower in some gigantic mustang.

Things that make us different, we want to be faster, we want to corner better, we want to look cooler, we want to be more comfortable, even we want to bounce up and down on 50 inch solid gold rims with neon lights underneath. That’s what makes American gear heads great and  different from “petrol heads” or any other enthusiast who drives on the wrong side of the road, as vulgar as we may be sometimes.

So my inclination as a newly licensed American gear headed driver was to modify my own ride.

When its all said and done this is what I am hoping the end product will be.

When it’s all said and done, this is what I am hoping the end product will look like.

Having gotten my license on the 21st of december I was out of money much before Christmas and had to call on old saint nick for some financial aid.

I received I grill guard that I intend to put auxiliary lights on and a trailer hitch so I can tow things because towing things is cool.

The grill guard will be the first major operation on my Jeep so it will more than likely be documented with the intention of posting it to this blog.

The trailer hitch is really not for aesthetics and won’t really separate me from the large crowd of Jeep owners, I personally feel that the ability to tow things like trailers and such is not a bad ability to have. It’s not very “cary” but it will also allow me to transport my snowboard, mountain bike, and dirt bike with ease through various attachments.

The winter is really against me in these matters. It’s cold, and as much as I love cars, I’m not getting frostbite for mine, especially because that will probably limit my driving ability.

That being said I am quite eager for to get to work so I can make my fellow American motorist’s proud.

Gear Heads

The last week has left me questioning myself a lot.

Remember me talking about how excited I was about finally getting my license? Yep, failed that.

This failure has me questioning my “carsculenity,” if you will. I decided that I needed to call in some experts, namely: Bill Hayes, Wells Coafleet, and Gene Reily.

To you these are just names but to me they are the names of my comrades, my brethren, my fellow enthusiasts. These men have been given the task of defining what it is to be a gear head. I will then, in turn, figure out if I can consider myself one.

“I am a gear head, and I take pride in it,” says Gene Reilly. Gene is a man I have come to know through many stories and Cc emails. He is the quintessence of a gear head as are these other men. Gene’s interest spans through the realms of motorcycles and even farm machinery.

Gene stresses the importance of appreciation for all things machinery.

Wells stresses the need to work on it. No matter your skill level he explains you just need to get your hands dirty sometimes.

“One who embraces all things mechanical, but particularly transportation related, and enjoys working on vehicles even if lacking the most rudimentary skills, and enjoys discussing and exchanging ideas and opinions with like minded individuals. A person who pursue mechanical interests with a vigor, who appreciates the sometime subtle beauty and latent sensuousness of sheet metal. A person who never met a horsepower he didn’t like.”

This was a quote shared to me by Bill Hayes, and Gene, Wells and Cooper agree that it is really THE philosophy as far as gear heads go. The man who said it is called Egan and all I know about him is he has created the philosophy that truly sums up a gear head as far as intangible qualifications.

I feel like I can constitute myself as under this definition.

But to many there is an tangible part of being a gear head.

This is where the purpose of the title of my blog comes into play. Here I am, a broke teen, who can’t even evade a cone or two when in a car. This is the struggle, it’d be quite difficult for this unemployed 10th grader to pull together enough money for an Alfa or something like that.

But an Alfa is required, BBC Top Gear, a british show about cars explains that it is necessary for a petrol head (british equivalent) to have owned one at any point in time. Bill Hayes adds any car with lucas electronics, which is essentially a late 20th century british car. These are both things that are incredible to drive (so I’ve been told) but equally incredibly unreliable.

I also need to be sure that I am not a poser. Bill says that it is needed to be able to drive a manual, which is something I can do. In fact that is one of the main reasons I got my Jeep.

Wells explains that a poser is one who talks but does not act. If you do something with the soul purpose of looking like a gear head then you are a poser.

Having worked on cars quite often with the son of Bill, Cooper, I would say that I am not a poser by these words.

All this being said I think I can safely say that at least philosophically I am a gear head, I may not yet be so with my tangible requirements but I think I can also be sure that I am not a poser.

This has reassured my confidence, despite this I will not jinx myself by saying that I will obtain my license on my next try, but I sure hope I do.

Hearts and Souls

A life without a heart is a pretty tough one. Blood isn’t moving, how can anything really work? You have no pulse, no animation, nothing to power all the wonderful functions of the body. Hearts are what power humans, they get us going, they regulate our energy, they make us tick.

Without a heart, a human being is essentially a hairy sack of water. Though in reality it is a function of the brain, we describe our souls and our animation through the heart. We reach into our hearts looking for the passion in our souls, it’s how we get through the hardships of life, not our brains, not our livers, our hearts.

In order to keep this from being a biological/philosophical post, a connection should be made to the realm of automobiles. The engine is the heart. The car is the body. Without its engine a car is a waste of raw materials: metal, plastic, oil, rubber etc. It has nothing to power it, nothing to make it go, it’s essentially a rusty carriage.

You also have to ask yourself as a motorist what brings up your passion in a car. What is it? Your seats? You trunk? Your windshield wipers? If a car is simply a quick form of transportation to you, or a some worthless piece of machinery that will soon be replaced as does and technology, than I question how you found youself reading this. If an engine truly is parallel to the human heart then the answer should be the engine; mine is. It’s what makes you put your foot down farther, it’s why so much money and time is spent on these inanimate objects, because in our eyes it is animate.

Cars are our friends, not in a crazy person way, more of a companionship way like a cat but more mobile. I only have my temps but I already have my companion. The Jeep and I may not know each other that well yet, but we will.

Without an engine all of this is gone; this blog doesn’t exist, there is no car culture, passion or industry, and us school kids are forced to  walk ten miles two ways barefoot in the snow while it’s 30 below to school like back in the day.

If hearts didn’t exist, well, nothing exists the human world is gone as the car world would if the disappearance of the heart of the automobile occurs. The blood that runs through our veins can simply be recreated by our marrow, someday though, cars will run out of the oily blood that keeps their heart going,  and thats a day I can safely say all human hearts will be break.

Here’s my companions big ol’ heart.