Believing In a Higher Horsepower

Illustration for article titled Believing In a Higher Horsepower

Hi. My name is Marcus and I'm a car-aholic. You and I, we're the same. We're friends of Ray. That's why I come here to my support group every day without fail. It's a ritual. The second of 12 steps....

The first of those steps of course is admitting we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

I'm in recovery.I check out car sites before I lift a finger for work. I'll play Gran Turismo or Forza and max out cars I've owned in the past because I dreamed of, but didn't have the funds to do it back in the day. Obviously I've got a long way to go yet. Unlike other support groups though, you encourage this sickness. It is a sickness, an addiction. An addiction that can only be eased when fed. Fed by money I don't have. The video games help, models of AE86's and GTR's. Like licking the inside of an empty dope bag. Its just not as satisfying as that little baggy being full. Oh, were it full! Like many of you I drive a POS. Its sad really. I can tell you everything of note about any random car that drives by. I'm always being called by friends and family when they're looking at new cars. I'm dragged to the dealership by sisters and cousins. However, I drive a craigslist special. So far from gearhead nirvana. I still dream of fixing it up though, I see its potential! I could pick up the rear disc setup from a non ABS Duratec powered car, what? NO! Wait! Its the sickness talking... Sound familiar?


Every morning I hop into my 1996 Ford Contour, GL. I drop the kids off at school, I drive to work. My middle schooler is more than a little embarrassed by the Ford. My wife won't be seen in it. The front half primered, missing a hub cap, the wear bars showing on the front tires, the list goes on and on just like the car itself thankfully. When I get to work I log onto an obscure car forum to see what other gearheads are doing to their Ford Contours. No hybrid SVT/Taurus 3L swap for me. No BAT suspension and forged rims. No matching trailer made from the back half of another Contour. No turbo, for me. You get my drift. My point is that even though the purchase of this particular car was one of necessity there is that sick gearhead part of me that can't help but see what there is to love about the car. And dream about this cars untapped potential. If I had a dollar for everytime I mentioned the BTCC wins of the Ford Mondeo in defense of this car..... If only I had the dollars. Money.

Speaking of money. This contest money to be exact. What would I do with it? I would love to say that I'd take all 10k and sink it into my Contour, make it the most wicked Contour ever the world has seen, but that wouldn't happen would it? My wife would pitch a fit! I have bills to pay, the rent is due, you know how it goes. No, the reason we drive these work beaters is because our money goes to more important things (at the moment). We're a selfless breed (when it suits us), us beater drivers. We don't really care what people think about what we're driving because this particular car is being pimped. Not pimped like what Xzibit and the crew in LA do, but pimped like what those guys in green Cadillac's do to runaway teenaged girls. Ford better have my money! Oh, I'll own another turbocharged something or another. Or maybe I'll pick up a 911 that needs some work a little later on down the road. But right now at this particular intersection I need a car that pays ME to drive it. If you're like me you smile when you pick up a set of brake pads for less than school lunch for a week. You hit the junk yard with your bucket o' tools and leave the yard $20 dollars poorer, but but with $300 worth of parts. The $30 insurance premium every month is the least of my worries. Things like this satiate a part of the gearhead in me. This is the beauty of the beater.

Not long before my father passed away he said something disparaging about a car we'd owned. An E70 Toyota Corolla two door, with a 5 speed and a 1.8 badge on the trunk. This car was largely responsible for getting me interested. Every weekend he'd take my brothers and I to our Uncles in Vallejo, windows down, oldies on the AM/FM radio. I was shocked and confused! I loved that car, in fact I'd loved every car we'd owned growing up. Hadn't he?! So I asked, why buy it if you didn't love it? He answered, "It was the right car at the time. They all were.". It was again out of necessity that he bought our next ride, an 87 Toyota VanWagon. He had 7 kids to haul around and that was the most cost effective way to do it! I had no idea though, I thought it was a space ship. I grinned like an idiot riding shotgun around the bay area in that thing. It went 220k before giving up the ghost! It was a tank! And that is what we needed it to be, a tank. What he wanted it to be was probably a 911 but he and I know our wants from our needs. Right now I need a little money, but I really want to be a Jalopnik contributor.....and maybe some lowering springs and a rear sway bar for the Contour.

This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"


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