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.


Cars, we need to talk about your future

This week a somewhat frightening thought popped into my head. We live in a world with some pretty established classics. We have 60s Stangs, 70s Corvettes, basically any M from the 8os. From E-Type Jags to old SLs to GTOs there are many to chose from.

There are two very, very important questions that need to be asked. First of all, what is going to happen to these classics. Even the first cars, model As and such are still around. Will they ever be extinct? Will there be a day when they are gone? Granted, the greats will live on in some museum, but car people don’t like museums. We like to drive and experience the cars, not just look at them (though we do like to look at them, just not only look at them).

I really don’t want to think of the day when the Mustang dies, or when there are no more Alfa’s broken down on the side of the road. Yes, classic cars aren’t practical, and sometimes, when compared to modern cars, inferior, but they are part of a culture and a history that needs to be kept alive. I don’t want to be on my rocking chair one day explaining what M meant for BMWs back when they existed,  I want to show him how to drive mine.

The second important question: What will the future classics be? In 2050, what car will I see a youngster driving to which I give a nod of respect? Will all these complex electronics stand the test of time? It’s a very scary thought. When you have a car like the 458 which, without electronics, probably wouldn’t move, you have to wonder what will happen with time.

Maybe someday I will make a list, I don’t know, I’m still too scared. And who knows, maybe Orwell and Rand and these other guys are right and someday I will be driving my Carmobile and all culture will be lost. Or maybe we will live in a mad max-esque post-apocalyptic wasteland where we drive jacked-up BA-Mobiles.

I’m scared.

Road test: BMW E46 M3


Exterior: I love BMWs I have relations with quite a few thanks to my enthusiast friends. They are great cars, well made and excellent to drive. But their exterior designer isn’t exactly creative. Yes, the M3 is sharper than a regular 3 series. It has big ol’ shiny wheels andImage chiseled features. Despite this the M3 is still nothing special. If you look at it from the front it definitely has some fierceness to it. The headlights are blinding and it has the classic kidneys on the grill that let you know you’re dealing with the Bavarians. I also have always thought that soft tops look a bit weird. Hard tops are definitely better looking. With Bimmers like this, it’s like a black suit; you look professional, you may even look good but you’re not going to stick out in the crowd.

Business as usual, leather stuff, electric stuff, but the stuff works and will forever.

Business as usual, leather stuff, electric stuff, but the stuff works and will forever.

Interior: The inside is truly a nice place to be (unless your in the back, but I’ll get to that later). It has fancy illuminated dials and easy-to-use features; body hugging seats made of high quality dead cow skin; even some Steve-Jobs-style brushed aluminum on the doors. Once again, it’s all business. It’s designed to do its job and do it well: nothing more nothing less.


Engine: This is where the Bimmer loosens its tie a little bit. This is a piece of art. It means business but it’ll make you giggle. The acceleration will put a smile on your face. Driving this car is a pleasurable experience you leave it a happier person overall. You have a lot of power at the disposal of your right foot and it is truly something you need to be careful with, but when used correctly, it’s magical.

Handling: This may be the best part. Being Jeep driver I am used to horrific steering, but in this you are so planted and there is so much grip. Corners I normally had to brake for I now find myself accelerating through , it’s a much better way of handling corners. Really is.


Ability to be lived with: This car is comfortable; the suspension is not too hard. It’s fun to drive; it’ll make your commute to work or anywhere else a little bit better. An M3 everyday? Yes, please.

Economics: This is a performance car, its not made to break any MPG records. It doesn’t have a hybrid engine; it has a large supercharged dinosaur-bone-burning engine. This car burns fuel and it does it well, but not in respects to your wallet. Its got a big gas tank and a thirsty engine. If your keeping baby polar bears in mind when buying a car then you may want to check out a different market.

If you are one of those people who have feet it might be a bit difficult to get in back here.

If you are one of those people who have feet it might be a bit difficult to get in back here.

Backseats and Trunk: Once again: performance car. Not a soccer mom car. Honestly; the back seats are bad, all 5’10” of me really has trouble both getting back there and being comfortable. The trunk on the other hand is good. Some rear leg room may have been compromised so the execs that are supposed to buy this car can fit their golf clubs in the back.

All joking aside this is a great car. It’s a driver’s car, but if you’re a driver, you won’t want anything else for the rest of your days.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

These times between now and my last last post are very well defined by that Dickens quote:

I’ll ask the question: You want the good news or the bad news first?


Well there seems to be a problem. Remember that post a couple of weeks ago about patriotic car modifying? Do you remember the light bar/grill guard that I was eagerly waiting to install? Well when I attempted to do so I made a discovery, after I had successfully removed the grill and the splash guard I discovered it was all for nothing.

The previous owner seems to have, in an attempt to provide sufficient room for the big ol’ tires, moved the front bumper up and in doing so he has blocked off the area in which the grill guard is installed.

I see myself having 2 options: 1. take the bumper off move it back down and hope it doesn’t screw up the tires OR 2. sell the grill guard I have and search for one that will fit. There are risks in both; unfortunately I could either destroy my tires or there could be no ones that fit.

Truly a predicament, but in teenage fashion I will put it off until later.

Now for the good news. I have often questioned my dad’s carsculenity. You see, he formally drove a Volkswagen Beetle. Yes, he did have the turbo, but he also had a built in flower vase. It’s all changed now though.

Cooper Hayes, a friend and fellow auto-enthusiast, has a father who is also a friend and fellow auto-enthusiast. This father is a bit of a BMWophile, and with good reason. He had an M3 and still does but he has a different one now. He formerly had a convertible but now he has moved on to the coupé. Where did the convertible go you ask? MY GARAGE.

M3 (Silver) with its grandpa a 3.0 cs (white)

M3 (Silver) with its grandpa a 3.0 cs (white)

Yes, the best high performance saloon car in the whole world is my garage. I can’t wait.

Auto-Journalism is a dream job but I’m definitely going to make some form of road test for this car and I will present it to you, the readers.

Not only that, but had reaffirmed my faith in my father’s. He told me of how upon receiving the necessary registration he took it out and drove to near Dayton and back touching a speed that was well above the speed limit. He went out and he took a drive, and that’s what it is all about.

You have no alterior motives, you simply go out and drive. Why? Because you love cars, because it’s joyful, because the incredible engineering of those Bavarians can put a smile on a persons face just about as easily as anyone can, even puppies and babies.

Half a 10 Car Garage

Every gear head has one or is currently forming one, it’s one of the criteria. 10 perfect cars that you would put in your perfect garage to drive for the rest of your perfect life. I’ve found that everyone like lists so I will be displaying my perfect garage in list format, though, in order to not drone on, I will post half of the list now and the other half at a later date.


1. Nissan GTR

Not a particularly beautiful, but from an engineering standpoint it's gorgeous

Not a particularly beautiful, but from an engineering standpoint it’s gorgeous

Listen: this car isn’t gorgeous, it doesn’t have some eccentric, beautiful interior out of a space shuttle, but it does have one trump card.

You see, every engine in a GTR is hand-built by Nissan’s engineers. Someone, with their hands, took some metal, some rubber, and a bit of plastic and made a thing of beauty.

This thing of beauty is, without a doubt, it’s centerpiece. The engine (3.8L V6) pumps out 545 turbocharged horses. This is a drivers car and that’s why it’s perfect.

2. Ford F150 SVT Raptor

100 miles an hour, on just about any surface.

100 miles an hour, on just about any surface.

Snow, sleet, ice, mud, rocks, sand, gravel, grass, asphalt: these are the surfaces that this car can take on with ease, and if there’s some that you can think of that I forgot then please add it to the list.

In my mind, this is the ultimate truck. The lubricant in the suspension in this car is more expensive than entire suspension systems in other cars, pure insanity.

This is the insanity that drives gear heads. Yes, I would like to jump off of dunes in the Mojave going 100 miles an hour and when I land, I would like some well lubricated shocks.

Best truck ever, america, yes. (That’s not really a sentence but I think it gets the point across of why it’s perfect)

3. Mclaren F1

Doors that say "look at me! I cost more than your house! And I can go 250 MPH! Try beating that in your camry!

Doors that say “look at me! I cost more than your house! And I can go over 200 MPH! Try beating that in your Camry!

I have always had tremendous respect for car engineers. They pump out things that inspire passion within us, but in the case of the F1 they hit a milestone. When it was released in the 90s it was the fastest production car in the world.

This is admirable to me because, to me, this is what engineering crazy cars like this should be about.

I just imagine in the meeting they sat down looked at an aerodynamic fish and said “how can we make that go well over 200 miles per hour?”

The answer: 6 liter v12 with over 600 horses in a car that weights a little more than a ton.

And the best part? One seat, in the middle, like your piloting a tie fighter from Star Wars. That’s the reason its better than a Veyron.

in all seriousness, it was built to be the best and that’s how a supercar should be.

4. Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang

The most classic definition of American classic muscle.

The most classic definition of American classic muscle.


You see one of these, you don’t think of the genius of some engineer who has a girl’s name (although you should), no, you think of america: good ol’ boys, red white and blue, stars and stripes, big V8s, steak, burgers, freedom, loud hemi’s, drag races in between the lights, and blue jeans, you think of America.

Hop in one of these, barbecue with your friends, watch some football, and then go sit by the fire pit with maybe a bit of Springsteen or CCR in the background.

Classic America: that’s what it defines. Perfection.

5. Subaru Impreza WRX

It's not a looker, it's a hatchback, but there's something about it that makes you scared a bit.

It’s not a looker, it’s a hatchback, but there’s something about it that makes you scared a bit.

This car is perfect for one reason: versatility.

You want to take your kids to school, with your dog, to school and then go to the grocery store still with dog and buy enough groceries for the next few weeks? You can, but on the other side of the coin you can go drive 100 miles an hour, around a dirt and gravel rally track.

That’s what make this a perfect car, you can transport your mountain bikes and your snowboards and your golden retriever and your kids, and have a bit of fun while you’re doing it.

What else do you need?

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.