Where are you on the scale?
Four (!) years ago, in celebration of American Independence Day, I ran a series of interviews with three drag racing DSMs in red, white, and blue. As a DSMer (once a DSMer, always a DSMer, I say), I have a lot of respect for Scott Glassrook, Kevin “Kiggly” Kwiatkowski, and Kevin Jewer. These are gearheads like us who started out trying to get a little more out of their cars, ended up getting a lot more out of their cars, and decided to take on challenges the vast majority of owners consider too difficult or too foolish. The results are amazing. These guys are pretty much legends at this point.
At the time, I was merely looking for red, white and blue because 4th of July. And, to be honest, until just the other morning on the way to work, it was merely an American theme, really. Red, white and blue. Made-in-America DSMs. Drag racing. Add baseball and apple pie and I might as well be
selling recalling Chevys. What stood out to me that morning – aside from knowing I just said I want to run three stories a week and haven’t come anywhere close – was how being a gearhead means being independent.
NOT TO DISCOUNT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE 4TH
Don’t get me wrong, we (I) still support the troops. And the significance of American Independence Day isn’t lost on me, despite my personal sense of global, un-nationalism and love for the UK. I’m neither implying being a gearhead is more important than being a soldier nor any opinions on the last 25 years of America’s involvement in military conflicts around the world. Not at all.
What I’m trying to suggest is that being a gearhead brings personal independence, and only the individual gearhead can determine how independent he or she will be. Think about the freedom you enjoy as a gearhead. It usually goes something like this:
- You have no idea what to do. Cars are scary complex.
- You have an idea what to do. Cars simply require caution.
- You know what you’re doing. You know where to find answers.
- You don’t even think about what you’re doing. This is easy.
THIS IS POWERFUL STUFF, BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Now that I’ve been “playing with cars” going on 20 years, I look back on where I’ve been and I can see those stages pretty clearly. Maybe you can, too. We go from merely being interested in vehicles – enthusiasts – to either knowing pretty much everything about them or at least knowing we have the skills to apply whatever information we might dig up in pursuit of problems with new platforms. It’s one of the reasons why I like the idea of our Death Valley Adventure Rally having everyone save daily drivers. Sometimes, those new challenges – especially when shared with good friends – can be the most rewarding experiences.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
As much as I advocate this “next level gearhead” mentality, it’s not always easy to define. The next four might be:
- Having seen & done it all, you start looking for things you’ve never seen/done before.
- You meet new people, solve new problems, and get a new perspective on the world.
- You start using your automotive experience to sell yourself to potential employers.
- You discover your life’s work is based on something automotive and act on it.
Where do you fall on this scale? Personally, I see myself at that second #4. And yet, is it any surprise I often find myself looking at all the life’s work stuff I’m trying to build and can’t help but think I have no fucking idea what I’m doing. This publicly making promises and starting a “business” while still working full-time with a family is, frankly, scary complex.
I want GBXM|united to help people through the early stages – and lift gearheads up to the next level. When I talk about gearheads like us or high performance machines & lives – I mean it. I’ve just got to keep moving forward. I have a pretty good idea where I’m headed – I like to think I rely on a compass more than maps – and I know you have all the answers I need for us to crack the code together. I hope you’ll come along for the ride – and maybe point out the things I’m missing, eyes glues to the road ahead.
HAVE YOU MADE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL?
I’d like to know where you think you fall on the scale. Are you still figuring things out with the daily driver, are you pursuing your life’s (automotive-inspired) work, somewhere in between, or somewhere beyond? Leave a comment. I’d love to learn more.
(Oh. And don’t forget to grab a free subscription, because it shows us you care about what we’re trying to do.)