The stigma of car culture

I am a car enthusiast. I like cars. That doesn’t mean I’m that one teenager in that 1997 Honda Civic sedan with the big wing blasting bass-heavy music through his 2 12-inch subwoofers with his gain set to max. I don’t race people on public roads, don’t drift through public streets in the rain, or tailgate within inches of you. I’m not that guy, but what about the people that are? Are they all wrong?

Well, that teenager in the Civic will get over the ricer phase as soon as his woofers cook from the large amounts of distortion due to high gain. Just wait until his system gets to the point of blowing out alternators. Sorry, teenager, but those 2 12s aren’t the best things in the world.

Now, onto the rest of us. Mustangs, Subarus, Ford Escorts, etc. If you are a person who likes cars in any way, you are a car guy (or girl, sorry, it’s a generalization.) There’s a stigma about us car guys. We all apparently race around at the worst of times, endangering everyone around us…. Yeah, no. We also apparently rev and show off at every opportune time, and are general nuisances.

So what’s so dangerous about having fun on the public streets? Well, it can hurt other people if you get into an accident, you can speed, and oooh you can break laws. Well, it’s not all it’s chalked up to be. Racing, drifting, anything that can harm you and others is looked down upon by everyone. In my opinion, there’s a time and place for everything.

For a car guy, there is nothing more exciting than testing your car versus theirs. As Henry Ford said, “Auto racing began 5 minutes after the second car was built” Where should we race though? There’s always a racetrack or drag strip, but renting out a track for a day is very expensive. I live about ten minutes from Road Atlanta, and I have never been on the track itself, because I have never had enough money to get on the track, besides watching Formula D on the sidelines. I would love a chance to get all-access to the track on any day, but that will never happen. The closest dragstrip to me is over an hour, and it’s not very noteworthy.

I don’t own any private property, like a big lot I can have fun on. So I can’t dodge the legal system because I own land. I don’t own an abandoned airstrip, so I don’t have massive amounts of pure asphalt to consume my tires.

So, with my fully legal options completely dissipated, how should I use every one of my 88 horsepower? I have found gray areas. The first one is going on a rural highway in the wee hours of the night, racing up and down from a roll, so let’s say a 70-100mph to 120mph race, then back to the limit. If this happens at like 3 AM, there won’t be many people going up a rural route, everyone’s asleep. No risk really, just a straight road. The other is an empty parking lot, but people may use it. It’s 3 AM, so I really doubt anyone would care.

Here’s the thing though. Street “racing” is illegal. Even accelerating and then slowing down to the limit. Or controlling your car in a slide around a pole or something. If you aren’t a robotic driver that doesn’t want to have fun, you can be charged with reckless driving, so the legal system says. If I want to have a little fun, when I know there’s little to no risk of my own limb, well why do I have to drive like a robot at 3 AM on a rural highway, with no one else around me and a straight open road?

Well, the rest of us car guys get ripped new ones because of them. The ricers. The hooligans. The ones who beat up on cars, the ones who don’t care. The ones who stick a 4-inch exhaust on their single-jingle D series and expects it to blow away a custom tuned exhaust. The ones who blow past you on the highway weaving through traffic, while texting and gulping down Rockstars, all at the same time. The ones who go through tires almost weekly doing burnouts for no reason.

We aren’t all those people. My car can’t do a burnout, it sounds decent because I have a custom exhaust system on it, and I don’t text and drive. A lot of us aren’t those people, the ones who are reckless and just don’t care.

A lot of “car guys” pretend they’re perfect. A lot aren’t, I admit. That one aisle of AutoZone caters to a lot of “car guys.” A cold air intake won’t magically give you power, a tune needs to include a less-restrictive intake system to do anything in a modern car. A lot of people think we are all that one guy with the fart can exhaust ripping through your neighborhood at 2 in the morning. We do this on the highway, away from people. We’re all not the guy in that lifted F650 spewing clouds of smoke in children’s faces because it just “looks sooooo cool.”

What big lifted trucks spit out! ^

Most car guys are normal people, who drive normally. We just happen to like cars, no reason to judge. Some people who like cars drive like morons, not caring about themselves and others for an adrenaline and endorphin rush. Some just completely don’t know what they are doing. A lot of us aren’t those people though, so why do we get all of the blame?