Let’s Have A Chat About Lockdowns & The Car Community

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.

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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.

Ben Chandler
Instagram: ben_scenemedia



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Sold the Redeye, bought a manual trans 991 GT3 and now working on setting the record for highest mileage example on the planet.

I have a long way to go, but it's been great so far. Had to make my own license plate frame since the store is stil kaput...lol


How many miles are you at so far? Being a manual it must a 991.2, so is still fairly new? Ant P car that gets used a driven gets a thumbs up, especially a GT3. Enjoy.


Yes, 991.2. I received the car about 2 days before my post above with 3300 miles on it. I just hit 4000 this morning. If my license survives the experience, I should be well into 5 digits before summer. Hopefully the weather cooperates (Houston area). I’m itching to drive it to the Bandera/Leakey/Kerrville area (west of San Antonio) as soon as I can to tear up those incredible roads out there...


It's hard to stay out of the driving seat of any GT3, let alone a 991.2! There was a 997.1 GT3 CS for sale in the UK 3-years ago that had clocked-up 149,000+ miles on its original engine. That car looks to have covered over 167k miles now. Brilliant cars.


I think 2 things are certain during COVID19 pandemic.
1) Car communities established new and interesting means to communicate, and continued to share projects with others.
2) Car communities proven to be die hard


100% brother. We've got a few stories being put together that show both of your points are true.


I put the winters on our ND the other day. If my wife says I can't get rid of it, I will drive it as much as I can. Different now I'm doing it myself given we have a little one taking up so much of our time. We need to get past all this BS so he and his peers can get the lay of the land of this world they'll be inheriting.


Look good!


Got my '78 S100 Crown finished in the middle of 2019 after 2.5 years of restoration but haven't really got the chance to enjoy it for the latter part of 2019 (college out of town). At the beginning of the year i went home just in time when the pandemy started so i spent most of my time to do late night drive with the crown with 80s music banging through the speakers.
Stay safe everyone!


That's some serious Speedhunters car geekery. Enjoy.


Now that is a dream. I myself haven't got my license yet, but older Crowns are something I wish to own at some point in my life.


I bought my dream car during lockdown
94’ W140 CL500 in very rare avangarde azzuro
And thanks to the lockdow i have enough free time to start building airlift suspension for it and now im on a hunt for some nice wheels


Pure class. I bought a W124 TE during lockdown with 182k miles on the clock as a new daily driver. I'm really enjoying going through it, making sure it's good to keep soldiering on.


I was lucky enough that the previous owner maintained it superbly


That's a beautiful color with an elegant car


Its awesome fell in love with early 90s German opulence the interioir is amazing and the feel of the big V8 “Autobahn” cruizer is awesome


It took a start of COVID for me to firstly do some minor upgrades to my dream car (e92 m3 comp pack) and then the rest of COVID to realise I didn’t like the car anywhere near as much as I was tell myself. So promptly sold it for a nice profit. If COVID has done one positive in Australia it has made used car prices explode.
Now I get to do my favourite thing. Hunt for a new ride!


Some used car prices in the UK have gone up, too it would seem. Why didn't you like the e92? Love that S65 motor.


I had started on this before lockdowns came into effect, but they were the spark that drove me to get things finished this year. I'm a multimedia designer and decided to treat my car as the wildest folio piece I'd ever worked on. Bought it bone stock five years ago, did some mild performance enhancements over the last four, but turned it into something special in the last twelve months.


Looking sick my guy!


Sick! Need more pics


Cheers! There are more on Instagram, I'm at @array_still


I've been building models. Nothing standard or even close to the instructions and I got third in the vw category in an online comp, for which i received a nice plaque. I've got loads of projects started and even more ideas for the unbuilt kits. I guess this is my garage and the model I won with


oops, forgot the pic of the model


Incredible work. I admire the patience you have.


There is no way to overcome Corona Chan! CORONA CHAN IS GOD! :p


Small section of my garage. I can't paint Graffiti, but I can hang wall paper, so that's what I did. This virus can get bent. I want my car meets back!


Nice garage brother


great colour on the 'vette!


I managed to acquire one of my all-time dream cars early this year, just before the whole COVID situation started getting out of hand - a 1998 Nissan Skyline R34 GTT. It was imported straight from Japan to Germany and is now sitting in my garage with a bunch of parts on its roof, for the most part. Hope to be picking up some speed on the build next year!


Man, I miss Germany. Congrats on the purchase and Happy New Year.


Hey Ben! Thank You very much & i also wish You all the best for this year and am excited to see all the stories coming on Speedhunters! ;)


Would love to see more of it!


@Basith P. Thanks mate! Sure, if You are interested, just check in on my instagram from time to time! ; )


Very cool :)


This has been at least 6 years in the making, but the lockdown gave me a chance to actually to get my hands on it daily. Now all that's left is some paint and to dial it all in. Looking forward to this coming year


Very cool FD3S. Always wanted one. Never owned one. Prices here in the UK are high now for a nice example and I'm pretty certain I missed the boat on these. Enjoy.


Living on the peninsula in the Bay Area, I was thoroughly enjoying driving up and down Skyline. Pushing the climb up, and then cruising through the woods with the sounds of tires squealing and turbos whistling. All was fun and good until I blew a head gasket.
Now I find myself with a lot of time to take to rebuild the engine. While I'm at it, why not put in a new cam? Oh! maybe some 4032 forged pistons too. I guess i might as well tuck some wires and install some acorn head studs as well. Any other time I would probably be a little pissed off at a blown engine, but now I have the time to take my time.
Thanks to all of you at speedhunters and out in the car community! Y'all continue to inspire me every day.
Anyways, Here is Betsy:


My 106 Rallye's engine has died a death, so I can relate to this. Need to get it back on the road for spring. You've reminded me to get on that tomorrow morning. Thanks. Good luck with your head gasket and motor upgrades.


You've got that replica Rallye I spied at Andy's thou


Some times all and engine needs is to be loved to pieces (literally!)


That's a serious jigsaw puzzle. You're a better man than I am. haha


This whole pandemic made me take a step back and learn what really brings me joy, sold off many things I had collected over many years that I believed were bringing me joy. Turns out they weren't. But the 91 Beat I bought with some of the cash sure does! Already had the wheels I wanted and other parts waiting for it by the time it arrived. Haha folders on folders of parts/ideas. Cant wait for the next JCCS!


Beats, in fact kei cars in general are absolute pure car joy. Out of my comparatively small selection, the little Honda is the one that asks for the least but puts the biggest smile on my face!


But the 91 Beat I bought with some of the cash sure does!

Woooooaaaah. You got a Honda Beat. Midship Amusement.

*Paging Latham Papworth, my crazy UK brother who has one of these. Where are you based?*


Yeah cant wait to get it to willow springs. Haha. It is definitely pure joy, sometimes fear when large truck passes but ultimately joy. I'm located in Orange County California.


Man what a year! 2020 may be the worst but at the same time despite the pandemic we still kept pushing through and many great things have happened in the car community or just the community in general let's end the year with a bang and look forward to a new year!
And I could be getting my first car and I'm so excited while nervous at the same time


Sounds exciting. My first car cost £500. Nothing more exciting than going car hunting. What are you looking to get?


Oil change, coolant change and brake pads change in my RX-8 R3. Also order couple of parts (oil fitlers, wipers, oil, spacers, exhaust, Takata Harness) and waiting for free spot in my friends workshop to make streetport, popcorn mode and change exhaust :D


1976 F100. Got a ton of progress done in the last 6 months.


That looks super cool. Any more photos?


i will consider myself lucky that the only time i think about this "pandemic" is the times when people start talking about it.


Owned an AE86 for 22 years. Decided that it was time to move onto another project. Picked up a MINT 1989 Honda Civic DX hatchback (ED6) to take its place. Spent the summer performing a DPFI to MPFI conversion, as well as, replacing all the seals/gaskets on the engine plus a bunch of other stuff.


Looks like you're not afraid to get stuck in and do things yourself. From someone who can just about swap a head unit, mad respect to you.


Been looking for a BMW 1 series in good condition for more than 3 years. My brother in law found a pristine 135i late February, got registered on my sister's name beginning of March (working off-shore and had to seal the deal), I had to go back home during April but then the airports closed.
So, the positive part of this year: I did find the ride I'm seeking for; the negative part: I couldn't see it in person, let alone drive it, until late October. I think you can imagine my frustration during this period of time.




I didn't let the lockdowns keep me from finding an almost perfect ATS V manual coupe 2500 miles away from me. Been looking for one with all options I want for a few years.

While the dream of flying there and driving it back with one of my best friends didn't happen, when it showed up off the transport trailer, I knew I wouldn't mind spending my new found free time getting to know her.
I have now amassed a pile of upgraded brake parts, spent meticulous hours combing through the car all in prep for the start of track season.
Car people always have something to push them through adversity. Keep it up.


Sometimes booking that transporter makes a lot of financial sense. A flight plus 2,500 miles is almost always fun, but having someone else load it on a transporter is often better for the bank balance, in this case.


Oh I'm still lusting over an E36 that, if anything goes as planned, I might get during the next year. I have some ideas for it as I plan to keep it as much as possible. Also during this year I was able to improve my simracing skills... Which aren't the best, but hey! It works for me


E30, E36 and E46 will be forever cool in my mind. I've been working on getting my E46 back to good health over the last 2-years and plan on finishing that up this year. Happy E36 hunting.


Here is my R34 GT-R that I bought around 1.5years ago. Now in the garage with broken engine and BIG goals. In my opinion you should not leave your car sitting in the garage for years, because something broke. It's a good reason to make it even better than last time. :)


WOW! That looks incredible. The turbocharger looks larger than both my Peugeot 106 and 205 put together. haha. What engine spec are you going for?


18 months into building a mid-engined British 'kit' car: a Sylva J16. The quote marks are because the kit is a body and chassis, a single page of instructions...and that's it: everything else is up to the builder. So far, I've learned to use a sewing machine to make french-stitched seats, 3D printed my own instruments and lost a fingernail to a freak jigsaw accident. Latest stage has been MIGging up an exhaust to my own design.


Mad science + DIY = hero


I've been keeping my head down trying to not get too excited before that newly-blue Z you've seen was all done ;)




Looking good brother. The paint is insane. Glad I got to see it in the metal. Hope you're enjoying it.


The skirts are giving me a small ground clearance issue...

But that only served as a prompt to pull the trigger on some 19" Works and a set of Trofeo Rs all round


Completed an entire interior replacement on my ‘98 Toyota Celica GT-Four! Needed to clean up and correct immeasurable damage from the previous owner. Still working hard to clean up the car for one of my best friends weddings (hopefully) this year!


These things are iconic. Where are you based?


After nearly 5 years of ownership, I can happily say I still adore it!

I’m based in Southern Ontario, Canada!


I spent way too much time 'driving' the GT-Four at the arcades.


I promise driving the real thing is just as enjoyable!

In contrast to the Evo’s / STi’s of the same era, the ST205 is more of a tourer than a balls to the wall speed machine. This makes for a pleasant and comfortable driving experience, while still being able to have loads of fun when you want to.

If you’re ever passing through Ontario in your post-Covid travels, give me a shout and I’ll throw you the keys! Otherwise I’ll send some photos into the team once I get a little more elbow grease on it!


That's a decent offer. Don't be weirded out when I come knocking on your door asking for the key!

Jean-Luc Cartwright

This is what will be keeping me busy - Hoping to have ready for the summer when life has hopefully returned to normal here in Scotland!

73 Chevy C10 with a freshly fitted 454 (7.4L for us on this side of the pond) Big Block


C10's are so cool. 7.4-litres! Heck, that's over 4.5 times the displacement of my 1.6-litre Peugeot 106 Rallye. They both have white body paint, so that's something in common, I suppose. Looks like things might be getting back to 'normal' more quickly for you in Scotland than for us down South. Good luck with the project Jean-Luc.