First off, great magazine. Love the articles and pictures. The Bangin Gears column is always great. That is what started this letter. I subscribe to the top 3 mags, PHR, HRM and CC and buy others occasionally. I think their all great in there own ways. Very informative, entertaining and great pictures. In a sense, that is one reason I call my self a "real car guy". I don't discriminate. Sure I'm partial to Mopars but that's how I was raised. Doesn't mean I don't like anything else. I love 1967 Camaros, and others for that matter, but that is the point. I don't disrespect anyone for their liking. Even foreign is OK with me. It's another reason I'm a real car guy. Low riders, Donk's, Pro Street or Pro Touring, it's all about the person and there creativeness.
I'm 50 now and seen a lot of interesting trends come and go, and have been apart of some of them. From my first car when I was 15 to my latest project and all 32 in between. But the one thing that really makes me feel like a real car guy is that I never lost interest or gave up. Yes, I've been thru hard times, even now money is real tight, but I've always had the desire and willingness to put forth effort to achieve my dream. I have sacrificed for family sakes and would do it again, but never lost the dream. It's great to see people building cars, or having them built, but I notice some really aren't real car guy's. There in it for the money, or ego or whatever, but they would bale if there was none of that. A lot of it seems to come from fast money internet/computer people or inheritance children. It's like they buy there way into the hobby because it's cool or have a new friend with a hot rod. To me, a "real car guy" is a true pay your dues term. I have a friend that in high school, his dream was a 1969 Road Runner with a Hemi. His family was poor, but everyday of junior and senior year, he would walk to school, walk to work and then home. He saved every penny he made working at a gas station to build this dream. Over the course of a couple years, he managed to buy a Hemi and have it rebuilt, and restore a roadrunner he acquired himself. He spent to many a night in a single car garage, that you couldn't even walk down the sides of the car in because it was so small, under that car hand sanding every corner and inch to make it perfect. When the Hemi was ready for pick up, his buddy brought it to his home, he had the host to get it out, and we had to put it on a skate board to roll it 5 blocks around corners to the garage. Yes a Hemi on a skate board at 9:00pm at night rolling down the road. Priceless.
When I was 15, my first car was a 1964 Plymouth Valiant I bought for $110. It was a straight and clean 6 cylinder car that I promptly installed a 70' 340, automatic and 3.91 posi out of a wrecked Duster and immediately drove into a tree two days after my 16th birthday. I spent nights and days repairing it and made it better than before. I then sold it for a 1970 GTX 440 4sp car, less engine, for $400 that I then purchased a 1969 383 motor out of an old cop car to install. I remember putting the 18 spline Hemi 4spd in it in front of my parents house in the rain and with the tranny on my chest, looking over and seeing a small river running down the curb line with my hair dripping. It was my passion and dream to do this. Call me crazy, but this is what a "real car guy" would do.
I read your article this month and it made me think about a lot of times my friends and I did similar things to get our hot rods running. Sure, if I would've had a lot, and I mean a lot of money, I might have had more of the work farmed out, but I loved doing it myself. It gave me satisfaction of accomplishing my dreams.
This leads to another rant. You know, being a Mopar guy, I love Hemi's but it's a love hate thing now. When I was in my teens, seeing a Hemi in a car was very rare. Only knew of 2 around my town and they were legendary. Something you and your buddies dreamed of let alone actually see running around. It was like "mystical" and if you saw one running around, you knew that was "the man" and don't even try to race him. Now with the rebirth of the Hemi, which is great and all, I see them a lot. All dressed up and pretty. Hemi's aren't suppose to be pretty. There brutal and wicked, when running right, but now there like show Poodle's that anyone can buy with a line of credit, and it seems like it's always the guy that not really a car guy doing it. I don't want to sound like I'm hating anyone, but the mystic of the Hemi is gone. Yes I can't afford one, but that's not what really bothers me. It's the guys that really don't get it. Now I just smile and maybe chuckle when I see or speak with someone like that. This doesn't really make him a bad person at all, but not a "real car guy" either. I have, and would again, part a car out before selling it, just to keep the shell and hopefully rebuild it later. I've seen others build and sell when they got bored or after the first initial coolness factor wears off and people start saying, there's that car again, big deal. I build to drive and keep, not worrying about if I'm cool or not. That's a "real car guy" to me. We make stories and history. My cousin painted his first car in his dad's garage. It turned out beautiful and when we came out of the garage, we found the neighbor pissed off because we painted the side of his house cherry red from the fan in the window pointing that way, and had to now paint his house, that was great. Putting a 6-71 on a car for the first time, sure it popped and farted until we learned how to tune, is something I will never forget. I could go on, but I hope you get the idea. My son and his friends, and my younger friends, love to hear stories of us and what we went thru.
There's good and bad, from what I think, the rich non car guys are kind of hurting and helping the hobby. They have the money to keep new and restoration parts needed, being built, but also seem to have driven the prices of cars out of this world. I see beater Dusters with 6cyl for 6-7 grand, 4dr darts for 3-4 grand. And I'm talking beaters. Just because it has that magical Mopar attachment. Don't even get me started on Barracuda's. OK, I'm done here. I just know I'm a "real car guy" because that's what I wanted. What do you think?
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| Joined: 12/13