To live in a constant state of automotive rejection. It hurts. I live it every day as I merely try to make connections with fellow enthusiasts. What follows is a detailed story/rant on rejection from the gearhead clan.
It was gorgeous. Breathtaking, even. The silver 997 4S sat purposefully in a primo spot right in front of the cafeteria, looking mighty-fine next to the rusted-out Windstars and claptrap Sunfires that plague the salt-ridden streets of Wooster, Ohio. I could hardly believe it. A 997 4S! In Wooster! This would be a regular sight for my hometown of Dallas, but in Wooster? Heck, the "cooI" cars here are so far and few between that I rejoice when the old Lancia Beta passes me as I trudge to the library. As I got closer, I saw the owner had opted for the good ol' six speed, eschewing the fancy, albeit faster PDK. A quick inspection of the brakes revealed that he even checked the carbon ceramic box on the options list! Heart aflutter, I noticed the sport chronometer sitting on his dash, letting me know that this was a serious enthusiast. Laying out my attack plan, I hunkered down on a nearby bench and began flipping through some class notes. Eventually, the owner appeared and began rummaging amongst the trunk. I strike quickly. "Beautiful car, sir." I smile and nod at the 911. "Uhh…thanks." He nervously continues to put various magazines and bags in the car. He ventures a tentative peek and sees me still staring intently. "Um….its an oh-eight," Here's my chance! "Nice! I actually have a 911 myself!" At this, his face betrays skepticism. An undergrad student with a Porsche!? Ha! "It's a '81 911 SC Targa, the three liter" He nods and climbs in the 4S, locks the doors with an audible click, and pulls out onto the main street, leaving me with nothing but a resonating exhaust note that only the 3.8L's can produce. Dejected, I walk back to the dorm with the disappointment I always get when a fellow enthusiast dismisses me. It's ok, I think to myself, this ALWAYS happens. No matter where I am, no matter what I say, all I get is dismissal and avoidance. Its funny though, because whenever an adult enthusiast actually allows me to engage in a car related conversation, they are shocked to find a teenager who actually does know what a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia is, that I actually do know what a "bathtub" Porsche means, and that the 1967 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale is in my top 3 all time favorite car list. I am actually a young guy who fawns over a Citroen DS, knows what a shock the Aston Martin Lagonda made with regards to the styling when it debuted , and enjoys talking about your 1972 Cosworth Vega that all the other kids pass by to go look at the Mustangs.
These conversations occur very rarely, however, and just because I roll up in an '07 Cobalt SS (the 2.4l, not the 2.0), I get nothing but a few curt nods and sentences when I ask the owner about his stunning 308 GTB parked at the hardware store. It frustrates me to no end when my friends send me pictures of them sitting in a Diablo that they happened upon at the mall, or the GT2 that they got a ride in. It's not that they shouldn't be allowed to do that, but it's the fact that I've never in my life had that happen to me. The tragedy! I got a text from my friend the other day. It read, "Is a Ferrari 599 a good car? Lol" I immediately told him about the 6.0 V12 that lay under the hood, with the magnetic ride control and the glorious music that the car produces. He answered, "Oh, well this guy was gonna let me drive his but I was scared, so I just kinda walked away" I sighed, and resumed leafing through the latest Excellence issue. Within all the rejection, I have also found solace and comfort. As I move forward in life, I pledged to be welcoming and open toward the younger crowd when they ogle my ride. I have made a promise to let the inquisitive kid sit behind the wheel of my Ferrari 355, to take the teen I caught snapping photos of my '69 Camaro SS out for a spin. Now, however, I believe I actually have a chance at gear-head acceptance. I recently purchased a 1981 Porsche 911 SC Targa from a good friend. I have been working on this car for around two years, assisting him with a full rebuild for the engine and tranny. Now, whenever an old wizened Porsche purist fuddy-duddy with the '73 2.7 RS walks up to my dad to inquire about the car, he is referred to me. I inform him of the facts, the factory options, and the future plans. Now that I actually have a car that is considered a "cool" car, I have developed the egotistical habit of throwing the phrase "that's my car over there" to the end of every introduction that I make to enthusiasts so that they may know that I am part of the greasy clan. I persevere, knowing that sometime in the future, this 19 year old car fanatic will have his chance to be the seasoned car guru who will explain the Ferrari-Ford battles of the 60's to anyone who will listen. I will always remember that I was once the kid with the Testarossa model sitting on his dorm-room window ledge. I will keep the spirit alive.
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