Almost all of us have done it. There’s a moment when you’re carrying just enough speed through a turn. Maybe it’s a wide open intersection or maybe it’s a tight corner you know well. You’re feeling sly, suddenly aware of all your driving talent, and you punch the throttle enough to step the tail out. If it was the first time you’ve done it this afternoon you might immediately lift off and flail at the steering to settle the car back down. If it was midnight in a rainy nowhere you’d probably been doing it for the last half hour and you keep the throttle pinned until the telltale flare of wheel spinning revs levels out, your grin so large it threatens to shatter the side windows. For those few yards, you felt you were drifting.
There comes a point in a car’s lifetime when it is simply a used car. A pile of metal and rubber forgotten to all but the most dedicated owner or poorest college student. Cars that the California Air Resources Board offers you $1000 for every two years. That prompt a swipe left when included in your profile pic. That inform your co-workers that an older car to you is from twenty years ago, not five.
We’re in an odd spot, those of us who appreciate cars of this flavor. It’s even difficult to name this grouping of car so many of us are enthralled by. You can’t call them classic without fear of the homie with a ’70 Charger and matching torque wrench coming after you. Calling them vintage feels wrong, the very utterance of the word clouds your vision in sepia filters and sparks the uncontrollable urge to nonchalantly light a cigarette and exhale toward the ceiling.
Wiggle the steering wheel. Blip the throttle. Check the distance between it and the brake. Slot the lever from first gear to second to first. Observe the shift distance.
Light changes. Green means go.
Note the clutch take-up. Roll halfway into the throttle, then mat it. Slight giggle as the rear tires pay lip-service to the concept of traction. Slight giggle from the passenger as her seat tilts back with the force of acceleration, forward with the brakes.
When you’re the car guy at work, coworkers often feel free to share their enthusiasm with you. Like that dude Jeremey who sits four cubicles down. One day you’ll be at the water cooler at the same time and he’ll give you the ‘sup homie’ nod.
Being constantly connected to the internet, whether through my phone, my desktop, my laptop, or my Gameboy SP (takes a while to connect…) is as dangerous to my wallet as leaving your unlocked phone around friends is dangerous to your Tinder profile.