#2. The Symbol of the Machine
There's a lot of infighting amongst gearheads because, like pretty much all groups, they're focusing on the differences instead of the commonalities. In the world of motorcycles, sport bike riders hate cruisers, cruisers hate tourers, Harley riders hate everybody and scooters don't count. Classic car aficionados hate modern car lovers, Ford owners hate Chevy owners, fans of the Japanese market hate the European and everybody hates Priuses. Aside from despising scooters and Priuses (naturally), I never bought into this mentality. I have my preferences, of course. I like my cars like I like my cheese: American and a lot of it.
Source.Ladies, please, you'll scratch yourself on the rusted panels.
And I like my bikes like I like my beers and situational comedies: dark and British.
Ladies, please, I can't give ALL of you a ride ... because I keep accidentally shifting into neutral.
But hey, that C10 is badass, that old Rolls Royce is really cool, too, and your sport bike looks like a fucking battle mech; of course I get the appeal.
I'm pretty sure there's a Japanese schoolgirl discovering the untapped power inside of her just out of frame.
If we took all the bickering out of it, maybe we'd find that every gearhead has something in common: a place of reverence in their heart for what the machine represents. These things we love are the culmination of thousands upon thousands of years of human ingenuity. You don't have your beloved Skyline just because somebody in Japan built it, you have it because an engineering team focused on the mechanics, an aesthetics team worked on the looks, the QA guys put countless hours into testing it, and so on. But it goes beyond that. You wouldn't have that car today if somebody hadn't invented the turbocharger, or if somebody else hadn't invented liquid cooling; if they hadn't refined the process for breakaway glass or perfected the hinge. You couldn't sit down in that beautiful machine if there hadn't been countless iterations of countless teams throughout history, all devoting their entire lives to developing one type of valve in one small part of your engine. And that goes all the way back to the day the inventor of the wheel, Oglak Wheel, first noticed that round things rolled downhill and then immediately started hurling his poop to mark the more desirable females as his own.
You know what they say: Mo' money, mo' poo.
The means that lead to the end of pretty much any machine are billions upon untold billions of man hours. There are innovations upon innovations, processes upon processes, pressed unto themselves over and over, folded and tempered like a sword until, at one particular point in time -- whether that was in 1967 Detroit or 2012 Osaka -- they all came together to make one amazing thing. That's your car, your bike, your plane, your boat. All vehicles are the pointy bit of a mechanical sword that's several millenniums long.
And now you're going to slap a bright green spoiler on it because you fucking know better.
#1. The Potentiality
You've heard (and likely rolled your eyes at) this line before: "It's the freedom of the open road."
Kerouac got high and liveblogged about it half a century ago, and guys who insist that the poster of Steve McQueen pinned above their headboard isn't the least bit gay still repeat it to this day. But there is some truth to the association of freedom and vehicles. Usually at this point the author would tell you a story about a '57 Chevy they fixed up with their dad, or an '82 Corvette they worked three jobs to save up for. I'm going to tell you about my first car: It was a 1986 Ford Taurus.
Source.Ladies, please: Why run away, when I can drive you away?
The back seat smelled like corpses from the day I got it, and in under a year, I'd managed to fuse the thing to a stone fencepost in the backcountry of central Oregon when the power steering pump rage-quit on me mid-corner. And to this day, I still love that smelly, murderous, ugly, ugly bastard. Because your first car is never just a car: It's an entire city, a state, a country! As a teenager, your pre-automobile field of influence is a small circle about five miles around your home. Maybe you had a bus pass, or a bicycle, but there are limits to both of those things: The buses only ride certain routes at certain times, and, with some rare exceptions, you're probably not bombing down the only highway out of town on your Huffy. With a car, your field of influence is only limited by your gas tank. And I grew up at a time when gas was relatively cheap.
Source.It was the golden yesteryear of 1998, when men were men and women were women ... as they still are today.
If I could scrape up a dollar or two, I instantly added hundreds of potential square miles to my life. My car meant parties across town, late movies and impromptu road trips. But it went further than that. Your first car is always your first house, too. It's a roof, a lockable door and a tiny, uncomfortable bed that smells like corpses, sure, but it's yours. It's a place to crash in when you're too hammered to drive, a place to bring girls (if you hang with the kind of girls who are down to mack atop a mortuary floor, of course) and even the occasional bathroom, when you lose a tag team match to Jim Beam and Pauli Percocet.
I think some measure of what turns people into gearheads is a sense of gratitude that we just can't shake after that first terrible, broken, shitty, smoking, rusted-out Festiva opened up our worlds like a goddamn Disney movie.
Source.DON'T YOU DARE CLOSE YOUR EYES.
Get the first episode of Robert's Sci-Fi Serial Novel, Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, right here, or buy Robert's other book, Everything Is Going to Kill Everybody: The Terrifyingly Real Ways the World Wants You Dead. Follow him on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.
For more from Brockway, check out 5 Bizarre Pitfalls of Owning a Classic Car and 7 Real Car Chases Way Crazier Than Anything in the Movies.