Unfortunately the reality is, for every golden-hearted person out there, there are ten more willing to stab you in the back at a moment’s notice
It could take place at just about any setting too: drag racing events, car shows, parts stores, “unsanctioned” race activities, or at the local hangout. Not to mention thanks to the internet we now have message forums and Facebook. Making new friends in the car game is easy, and just about everybody has their individual talents. Personally, I know guys who can do bodywork, some that are willing to help out at a drop of a hat with a flatbed trailer and a pickup truck, and others who can wrench on just about anything… in their sleep!
Brian: The Best Kind Of Car Guy
These are the best kind; the ones who are willing to do anything on a car, but are also there for you as a friend in other scenarios. Not just in car-related situations, but when you need a hand around the house, a wingman when you’re bar hopping for hotties, or a drinking buddy when you’re having girl trouble. Fortunately for me, I have a friend like that; one who makes MacGyver look like an average Boy Scout with his technical savvy, can mechanically fix anything on wheels, and is always ready at moment’s notice when you need to enjoy a Saturday night out with a buddy.
His name is Brian. I’ll spare you his last name, but this kid knows his way around a car better than some people I know who have actually went to tech schools to learn the stuff. He makes his own tools when the occasion calls for it. I’ve seen him use parts off of cars to help mend something on another one he was working on. He has no problem pulling all-nighters, either. Hell, there were times when we didn’t even start a project until 10 o’clock at night, only to be finished at around 8am.
How did I meet him? I actually met him ten years ago this coming January at a local hangout where all the young kids who at least thought they had fast cars would meet up to talk trash or partake in illegal automotive activities. Most of these consisted of doing burnouts, doughnuts, blasting their mega-watt stereo systems, and/or finding a desolate stretch of road to see who was the fastest. This was only a few months after the first Fast and the Furious film was released, so I’m sure you get the picture.
He drove a ’97 Cougar during those days of youth and confusion, and I had just picked up my WS6 off of the showroom floor. I also owned a Blue Oval product at the time, despite being a die-hard GM enthusiast, but let’s not get into that. He was more of a Ford person though, but soon after getting acquainted with my Trans Am, that all changed for him. He would eventually go on to pick up a Trailblazer SS several years later, which ultimately dipped into the 11.90s with nothing more than a very healthy shot of nitrous, some weight reduction, and a few intake and exhaust tricks.
He’s helped me plenty on all of my projects too, including the three cars that I have now. I don’t even want to think about how much money he has saved me and others over the years with his self-taught skills. Brian is proof that there are good people out there, always willing to lend a hand, and is still a true friend at the end of the day.
Unfortunately the reality is, for every golden-hearted person out there, there are ten more willing to stab you in the back at a moment’s notice. During the course of the 2006-2009 car seasons, I was the president and one of five founders of an all-GM car club in my area. Being based in an area that consists of mostly GM vehicles, the club was open to anybody who owned any factory-produced, high performance GM product. This ranged anywhere from a ’64 Chevelle SS to a late model, turbocharged Cobalt SS.
This also included GM trucks, SUV’s, and sports cars that fell under our specific criteria, and we had a good number of people in a relatively short amount of time. Members would come and go for obvious reasons (loss of interest, moved away, sold their cars, etc.), but there were also those that saw the club as nothing more than an excuse to cause drama and take advantage of other people.
Most of the drama usually revolved around fighting over women (more like groupies, if I’m honest) and some members turned out not to be the car enthusiasts they initially presented themselves as. These guys were the types that seemed to have bought a muscle car by accident, never held a wrench in their life, and whenever they needed help modifying their ride, relied on other people. Now on the surface of it, the latter seems like a natural thing to do after all, right? Maybe. But when you go over to a guy’s house and his idea of “help” is literally standing there watching, while you (and maybe one other person) are sweating bullets in the hot summer sun wrenching on his car tends to get old after the first or second time you do it.
There were also those instances where you needed to keep an eye on your tools and whatever valuable, but easily accessible parts you have lying around your shop as well. You may be surprised how many “sticky bandits” there are in automotive circles pretending to be your trustworthy best friend. I didn’t have this problem personally, but other members had.
But it all wasn’t bad times. We had cookouts, went to all of the local shows and drag events together, and got to know each other a little bit better. As a result of the latter, yours truly made new friends and new enemies, but that’s the gamble you play when you deal with people on a public level. The point of the story is this; enjoy your cars, treat people how you want to be treated, never fully trust anyone that you don’t know, and don’t always assume that someone is your friend simply because you have similar interests. I speak from experience.