Earlier this year, we brought you an update on what some of the Speedhunters were getting up to in Covid lockdown isolation. Nine months on, many of us are still facing restrictions – some stricter than ever before – so if you’re in the same boat, we want to hear about your car culture dreams and garage activities.
But before we all have a chat about our community in the comments, here’s why I think we are wired up to cope with this challenge.
If you’re reading Speedhunters, then the chances are you’re into cars and share a love for tuning, driving and modifying your own car. Now, as frustrating as lockdowns and these restrictions may be, as car people, I feel that we’re naturally able to get through it. Perhaps this isn’t immediately apparent, but together we’ve been helping each other do so. Why? Allow me to explain…
Nothing ever goes to plan
Have you ever packed your car for a really long road trip and done your pre-adventure checks by crossing off all the essentials? You’ve got all the bases covered, right? Some things just can’t be planned for, though, like crazy recovery truck drivers shouting and slurring their words at you 500 miles from home.
Or maybe you’ve spent ages building an engine, only to have it blow itself to pieces on the first dyno run. When the shit hits the fan, as a community, we always improvise, adapt and overcome.
There always a vision
If you’re anything like me, then when you’re scrolling through Autotrader, eBay or whatever other classified ad sites take your fancy, then you’re also dreaming up what tuning parts you’re going to install. I’ve got a folder on Instagram full of E46 M3s and another one specifically for Mercedes-Benz 190 E posts that inspire me.
There’s always an end goal. When I look at Mike’s 1931 Ford project before and after photos, my brain is blown into the next stratosphere by how he got to the final piece of automotive art. I saw this build a few days before SEMA; it looked like there was no end in sight, but Mike kept going. He had a list of tasks to complete and nothing was going to stop him.
You might be feeling completely overwhelmed by the challenges we’re all facing right now, but when you work out what you can actually do with this time and break it down into smaller tasks, there are things we can achieve.
I’ve been writing daily lists and maintaining focus on what’s possible each week. Naturally, I only cross off half of my scribbled notes, but it’s progress. If you can picture the end goal and make the very best of each day, this certainly helps with motivation.
Us automotive geeks are optimists and good at visualising the win. We are great at making shit happen and we’ve got this.
Car people have a PhD in improvisation
After my prison term at Redline magazine came to an end, I left and went to work for Fast Car mag. It was at that point, thanks to the gift of creative freedom – and the best editor I worked under, Mr. Scary Steve – that I met Speedhunters’ Technical Editor, Ryan Stewart. Well over a decade ago, I interviewed him for Fast Car and he said some things that both amused and inspired me. I knew I wanted to be friends with Ry.
At the time, he was starting out on the journey that was his R32 turbo-powered 4WD ‘Zombie’ Golf build. It was Christmas time, and had to modify some suspension turrets in the freezing cold in order to get home. He did it but also managed to get shingles in the process. I remember him saying “your driveway is just a workshop without a roof.”
More recently, I’ve seen Ryan – albeit via the internet – struggling to fit a used exhaust with no ramp and limited tools. It took him two days on and off, but the exhaust is on and for the next half an hour after I am sure he was happy. The message? Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.
The car culture community is all about togetherness
If you know someone who is into cars who lives down the street, chances are they won’t mind you knocking on their door at 10:00pm to borrow a tool or help you out with something. That favour doesn’t even have to be car related. We like helping each other. In short, car people are a different breed. We’ll drive our friends 400 miles to go and look at a car that might turn out to be a snotter. We are not normal. But in a good way.
During the first lockdown, Porsche asked the car community to post their garages – no matter what the car or brand – promising to share their favourites via the #DreamsAreMadeAtHome hashtag on Instagram.
Some simply brilliant posts by BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and others followed.
We’ve all seen the witty post-race advertising campaigns with brands mentioning each other by making tongue in cheek jokes, but this is the sort of togetherness you might not have ever expected. And it also serves as a good reminder that, sometimes, we simply need to stay at home.
When we’ve beaten this thing together and it’s in the rear-view mirror, our community will emerge stronger and even more open minded. I’d love to know what’s been keeping you motivated during the year, and what automotive projects you’ve been working on. It doesn’t matter if that’s in your garage, in video games or even in your head as you go to sleep or daydream. RC cars, wheel builds, suspension swaps, detailing, stereo upgrades, renders; here at Speedhunters we want to know about these creations.
Let us know in the comments section below and feel free to upload photos of your garage, workshop, driveway or stack of car parts.