Break the first rule.
Last night, I spent an hour or so on the phone with next level gearhead Ryan Scott, of Rally Team for Dreams. As part of my continued efforts to develop the idea of a gearhead charity-type thing, I reached out to Ryan to get his thoughts. You see, Ryan recently raised a nice chunk of money for Camp Sunrise, which serves kids with HIV/AIDS, as part of his efforts to get a Ford Focus down to Leon, Mexico, where he and buddy Andrew Frick, earned top honors at Corona Rally Mexico (WRC) and got a taste of celebrity.
What did Ryan think of the “Gearheads Without Borders” idea?
“At the core I see the goal being to design/build a program where gearheads/auto enthusiasts/car junkies/do-gooders w/ mechanical aptitude can use their collective skills, interests, and experiences to pass on valuable and worthwhile lessons and knowledge to those hungry for such an opportunity. The whole ‘teach them to fish, rather than hand them a Filet-O-Fish’ idea – far more sustainable, and hopefully resulting in fostering a ‘pass it on’ mentality. Such a program would provide numerous benefits to the receiving individual/community, from gaining an employable skill(s), a sense of accomplishment and pride in their new found ability, to helping an impoverished community advance into our current age through the use of transportation, or even just engines in their day-to-day lives (think how back in the day people used to use their tractor engines to drive everything).”
But Ryan pointed out one of the toughest nuts to crack on such a project; this would all take money, which would likely come from gearheads’ pockets, impacting their personal projects. Now, this isn’t to say the gearheads of the world aren’t among the most generous folks out there, or that any of us would necessarily view our automotive projects as being more important than people in true need, but many of us already struggle to make what little progress we do on things, so it would be a major sacrifice, making the decision a bit more difficult. And really, should helping others be a hard decision?
The conversation turned to into Art of Manliness meets Fight Club on race gas. We got to talking about local/regional car clubs, meets, and mentors. Gearheads are already getting together on a semi-regular basis, so what if we could come up with some kind of national/international club status where we took our skills to the next level? If you’ve reached the point where the thought of things breaking on the machine is more annoying than scary, if you know you can fix pretty much anything that might break – but just don’t want to – then this idea is for you. We’re thinking smaller groups, maybe 4-5 core members, and what follows are some ideas for what they would be doing.
Let’s learn more about other things of interest. Advanced auto skills like chassis fabrication, welding, or electrical came to mind, as did others you might not immediately associate with gearheads like carpentry, sharpshooting, fishing, or grilling. The idea being we look beyond our cliques and find opportunities to get some hands-on experience in new areas. We can fix our own cars, but can we build our own houses? Can we confidently protect them? Can we find our own food and make it taste good? For some, the answer is yes to all the above, but there are more areas than just these, and wouldn’t it be cool to learn something new that helped us (or our brothers) become a little more self-sufficient?
Let’s help each other learn more about everything. Let’s find automotive rookies and show them the ropes. Yeah, this is already kind of going on, but we’re thinking something a bit more structured. Think of all the hard lessons we’ve learned over the years, and not just the ones where things went wrong, but the truly meaningful ones where we realized how things could have gone better. Being a mentor is about helping others understand how and why so they can make better decisions regarding what, when, and where. And let’s be the ones who teach each other about advanced chassis prep, carpentry, sharpshooting, fishing, grilling, et al..
Serving our communities.
Let’s challenge ourselves right here at home. Here’s a question: When people donate non-running cars to charities, some are scrapped, sure, but who fixes the ones that get re-sold? This is where we start getting back into the “Gearheads Without Borders” angle. It all has to start at home. That’s how we make it easier to get involved. Up for a challenge? Could we get our local crew together and spend a day volunteering at a local charity fixing cars or helping part them out to maximize their returns? Could we put a little cash together, buy a non-runner off Craigslist, get it running, and sell it to someone in need? Could we cruise the highways around town in the summer with a toolbox and a cooler of water looking for stranded motorists in need of a little help?
Gearheads Without Borders.
Let’s take this idea worldwide. Organizing an international charity-type service project is a major undertaking. It’s hard enough getting our projects off the jackstands (or getting comments to our stories, here, hint-hint), but if we can take what we’re already doing – getting together semi-regularly to talk cars – and evolve that into something even better, we stand to have the kind of manpower to really organize around bigger automotive adventures. This idea is entirely scalable. We all got to where we are today with our cars/trucks/bikes by getting together to share what we know about cars/trucks/bikes. Think about what might be possible if we got together to share what we know about other things.
In the end, gearhead clubs like these would be all about getting things done; getting our machines out into the world to do what we bought them to do, but also making sure automotive culture grows, showing our local communities – and the world – that being a gearhead means something. It’s like Ryan said, “The time for being passive is over, get some grease under your fingernails and tear up some knuckles already. Something I try to live by is the thought of when I’m 80 years old, am I going to wish I had sat behind the computer more or will I have wished I spent more time actually living. Pretty easy to answer that one.”
Will the next level gearheads please step up?
- What do you think would be critical in getting this started where you live?
- What do you think success could look like for clubs like this?
Let’s make this happen. Share your thoughts below. If you’re interested, let’s talk. You can leave a comment here or drop me an email directly through the contact page here on the site.