Kevin’s story is one I’ll be including in my little book project. In this installment, Kevin and I talk about what it means to be a gearhead. As we change our vehicles, we change, personally. Add in all the people we meet along the way, we – and our machines – change even further. I wonder, how many other gearheads share this perspective.
[bd] I like your thoughts on patience and focus. I also like how you were able to walk away when you had to, and still came back when you could. The machines are part of our lives in many ways. They shape us as much as we shape them. What does it mean to be a gearhead? Forget the term ‘gearhead’ for a moment and tell me how your experiences with the Galants and other enthusiasts shapes who you are.
[kr] Being a gearhead to me is appreciating what vehicles are for what they are. Much like human beings, not everyone is the same. We are built differently. We all have our own special skills that we are good at, and don’t appeal to everyone. No car is perfect. Perfection is designated for a person for which that vehicle fulfills his/her likes and or loves, where either history or experiences create that “bond” and no matter what others may say of feel, to that person, their vehicle is perfect.
As a “gearhead,” I like to appreciate what a car has to offer and what makes it what it is. The arguments of which is better between AWD, RWD , FWD and 4cyl, 6cyl, 8cyl, etc., etc., is all pointless IMO.
Ultimately, if the owner truly enjoys the platform and is is proud and happy with it, what does it matter?
My first Galant was a 95 and it was FWD. When I was first getting into the scene I did basic mods which were a intake and a exhaust. I went to local DSM meets where it was either a 1G or 2G Eclipse/Talon/Laser and majority of them were AWD. Lets face it. I didn’t get much help or attention as I was just a N/A SOHC FWD sedan, which their cars’ chassis were based on. Luckily, there were a few guys willing to talk to me and give me some knowledge which eventually helped me understand and go forward which future projects. Even when I installed a turbo on my 96 Galant and brought it to the meets, the coolness and unique factor which I would at least get was shot down simply because, “Oh… it’s still FWD.”
This still goes on today where MOST (not all) people who upgrade to Evos or GTRs or any higher end performance vehicle, suddenly feel superior and entitled to respect and envy because they drive those types of machines. To me this is bad for the car culture community and definitely affects the reputation of the car/brand of “people who drive ____ are douches.” I have met some people that I could have gone about my life not meeting and I have met some GREAT people too. Being in this car culture, both have shaped me to the type of gearhead I am today.
[bd] How is this perspective reflected in the way you build your machines? Clean lines, clean engines, nothing too extreme – what’s the fundamental belief driving your choice of parts and projects?
[kr] When I first started I will admit – I did some “ricey” things to my car – but doing those things has shaped the way I want my cars to look today. Meeting the different types of enthusiasts through the years, from the show car crowd, to the performance crowd to the people that actually race professionally, it has definitely influenced how I vision a goal for my projects. As I meet new people and explore information online and internet communities, the way I want to build my machines changes as I grow.
For now, I like to have to clean OEM look to my cars with nothing too crazy. I have always liked a nice clean motorbay with minimal clutter if possible. I used to like some bling in my engine bays, but I have had an infatuation with a dark-themed motor bays with colors like black, gold, silver or purple.
I am not into high horsepower builds. I like to have reliable, good power with street drivability; just basically turnkey operation and performance without worrying and going out of my way or do special things just to drive my cars. I like to use quality and proven brands for my parts on the cars – ESPECIALLY the vital parts essential for vehicle operation. I don’t mind buying used parts, but they have to be QUALITY, good condition parts. One of my good friends, Jason Aleman, gave me advice a long time ago before I got really serious on my builds that has stuck with me still to this day.
“Have a goal for the car. Plan. And ONLY get the parts to achieve that goal.”
If I had a goal of 400hp, why should I buy parts to support 700hp? The extra money I spent could have went to other areas of the car that could use attention or help support 400hp.