32 things that make a car guy happy

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ILLUSTRATIONS
BY STEPH BRAVO

A car guy and his car are integral to one another, not just in the sort of jinba-ittai manner Mazda professes (horse and rider as one), but also in a way the car acts as a total support package for the driver: as a beast of burden for SMEs, as a means to get you to and from places safely and securely, and as a means of escape from the troubles of life.

It is for this reason that a car guy invests a huge amount of emotional energy into his (or her) car. It has to connect at both a rational and emotional level. It’s not like buying a refrigerator, a washing machine or a vacuum cleaner.

A car, to a car guy, is an extension of himself, his soul, his will. That’s why, as car guys, a huge part of leisure and enjoyment involves him (or her) time, and of course, the car.

In line with the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s 32nd year anniversary, we’ve picked out 32 different ways a car guy (or gal) will be happy with his or her car.

1 Finding the right car

Got a budget for a new car? Ready to buy? This is like the courtship stage.

You research online, browse through different reviews on car magazines and newspapers, pore over the internet, and finally, hop over to the dealership, check out the cars, and schedule a test drive.

2 Spec’ing the car

This applies to those fortunate enough to have a car that allows for a large degree of customization.

You can also pick out factory- and/or dealer-fit options (wheels and tires, a body kit, sound system upgrade, or simple things like a tint, horn, etc.).

3 Picking it up and driving it for the first time

I always prefer picking up cars
from a dealership, rather than having them delivered.

That first drive with your new car is always special, like your first date, or first night as husband and wife. Relish it.

4 Attending car meets and car shows

Now that you have the ride you take pride in, it’s time to meet with like-minded people, enjoy the camaraderie of friendship built on cars, and yes, be proud of your very own car.

There are regular car meets and car shows throughout the year, so scour through the interwebs regularly.

5 Modifying/personalizing your car

After attending a few meets and car shows, you now have some sort of idea/inspiration on what you’d like to do with your car.

Want to make it faster? Slam it to the ground or lift it to the heavens? A new set of wheels and tires? A crazy wild body-kit?

Planning your tuning and upgrade program is just as fun.

6 Taking it to the track or off-road trail

As a car guy, we’re all curious
about finding the limits of our vehicles. Is it a fast, low-slung rocket ship? Or a lifted, ready-for-war rig?

The only way to test the limits safely is to head to the track, or the trails, in the company of experts.

7 Taking the car on your very first, epic long-drive

For many, a long-drive is always a tremendous achievement for both car and driver.

It is a test of your car’s reliability (especially if it’s modified), and a test of you, your skill, stamina, endurance and perseverance.

It always feels great.

8 Driving down new roads, or making your own

Oftentimes, the road we take dictates the mood—and the adventure.

Driving a new, beautiful road in the midst of equally beautiful scenery with your car is always a true pleasure, more so if there are no roads, and you are making your own.

9 Discovering new places along the way

Quite often, we take the scenery for granted. Slow down a little, and you’ll see many hidden gems hiding in plain sight.

A beautiful lay-by/parking area, a café or quaint resto, or a unique landmark that just looks so different, yet it had always been on that road.

Step down to discover these things, and you’ll always be thankful for your drive with your car.

10 Trawling the internet for more info

Take your car’s looks and/or performance to a totally different level, or take on a tuning/upgrade path outside of the norm.

Surfing through the Internet to find new information—and finding the right one you’re looking for—can always be tricky, but is very rewarding.

11 Trawling the internet for rare parts

Same as above, you want a look that’s totally unique, or to have that bazillion horsepower kick.

Searching through the Internet for uber-rare parts and accessories, discontinued parts from companies long dead, or brand new/old stock parts for a resto-mod, and finally finding them, tickle a car enthusiast pink with pleasure. Always.

12 Attending driving events and clinics

Attending driving events as a participant is always enjoyable, especially when the car being driven and tested is the same as, or at least similar, to yours.

You get to see experts demonstrating the many safety equipment (ABS-EBD brakes with cornering brake control, traction/stability control, hill-start assist, hill-descent control) of your car, explore the limits of grip on the skidpad, etc.

These experiences give you a much better confidence with your car.

13 Check out the local car scene on Sundays and holidays

Sundays and holidays are the best days to see the best cars being brought out for a drive.

Even if you have no destination in mind, just drive around and you will see a lot of exotics, sports, and vintage/classic cars going through their weekly exercise sessions.

14 Going on a cruise

Sometimes, we car guys find some therapeutic relief just driving around.

Going on a leisurely cruise can help clear our minds and rejuvenate us.

Even with no destination in mind, it’s always fun driving our cars.

15 Going on a fun-run with car friends

Whether it’s an organized club activity or a casual, spontaneous get-together, a fun run to destinations with great driving roads is one of the best ways to spend time with both our cars and our car-friends.

16 Going on a track-day

Sometimes, we get the urge to test our cars’ (and our) limits, so there is no better place to learn about our skills (and our car’s abilities) than on the track, flat-out.

17 Going off-roading and camping with friends

This is much like the above,
but this time, testing your rig’s off-road abilities with the benefit of a picnic and camping.

You will surely be treated to some of the most breathtaking sights in the mountains.

18 Going on a proper road-trip

For car guys, a proper vacation always involves some form of driving.

With our country’s varied sub-culture on food, fashion and languages, it will always be an adventure to drive up north or down south.

And with the Philippine Nautical Highway (RoRo to you and me), travelling all the way to Mindanao from Luzon has just been made even easier.

19 Trying different cars out

As car guys, we’re always curious about what’s out there—how to improve our cars, stretch fuel efficiency etc.

We’re also curious about if we made the right choice with the cars we bought.

20 Dropping by car dealerships to check out new cars

As car guys, even if we’re not yet planning to buy another car to add to our stable, or to replace our old car, we always love dropping by car dealerships to check out the latest and newest models.

For someone like me, I love visiting the Lamborghini, Porsche, Subaru, BMW and Ferrari car dealerships all the time even if I can’t afford these cars.

21 Fixing your own car

We may read books or watch instructional videos, but to actually work on our cars is something else.

Installing that simple cold-air intake or coil-overs, doing a full engine-swap and wiring, or even changing a flat tire—the ability to do these things decently gives car guys pride in themselves and in their abilities.

22 Going to Banawe

Banawe Street in Quezon City (or similar places) is hunting ground for the latest mods and car parts and accessories.

The surplus/used/second-hand scene has slowly moved away from Banawe Street, with real estate become very expensive lately.

Most of the establishments there now sell brand-new car parts and accessories.

For many people who visit Banawe Street regularly, it’s all about checking out the scene, seeing new car parts and accessories, and hanging out.

23 Hanging out with car friends

Hanging out with car friends at a gas station or a coffee shop, talking about cars, travel to new places, or the latest parts is a huge component of car culture and its proliferation.

As car guys, this is a must to relax, rejuvenate and de-stress.

24 Picking up a car-related book or literature

A true car guy gets into the whole lifestyle thing that associates himself (or herself) with his car.

Finding books or any literature that is somehow related to his car make and model is always a must.

25 Collecting cast scale models of cars

Sometimes, we just can’t bring our cars to all our dream destinations. Or we want to be reminded of dream cars, even if we can’t see them or drive them. Or we just want to express our love for our cars and be around them.

How can we do this? By collecting die-cast scale-models. I own two Toyotas (a Supra and FJ Cruiser), and I collect almost any scale model, size, brand and style of both these two cars, and keep them at home or my office.

26 Buying co-branded car clothing

We love our cars, and we want to show it to the world, even when we’re not driving them.

And it’s not just our cars, but our favorite race teams as well. So we buy car-branded and motorsports team-branded clothing to show our love for cars.

27 Visiting car-related museums

As car guys, we should learn to appreciate the different facets of the car guy spectrum.

Some like low-slung rockets. Some like lifted monstrous rigs. Some dress up cars for the scene as cruisers, while some love that battered drifter look. And some love Japanese cars, while others prefer Euro, and yet some enjoy muscle cars and V8’s.

There’s a car museum for everyone. The Honda Collection Hall at Twin-Ring Motegi in Tochigi, the Toyota Megaweb in Odaiba, the Nissan Heritage Collection in Zama, the Petersen Museum in California, USA, the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, and the BMW Welt and Museum in Munich are a must for car guys, regardless of preference and affinity.

28 Visiting famous race tracks all over the world, and driving in them

In my line of work, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and driving in some of the most famous race tracks all over the world such as Sepang in Malaysia, Fuji Speedway and Twin-Ring Motegi in Japan, Portimao in Portugal, Navarra Circuit in northern Spain, Bira Circuit in Thailand, and the Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit.

It’s always a special feeling to set foot on what feels like hallowed ground for car guys.

29 Driving famous roads all-over the world

Like driving race tracks, there are some infamous driving roads we all yearn to experience.

These include the Stelvio Pass between Italy and Switzerland, the Col de Turini in France, the Hakone Turnpike in Odawara, Japan, the Pacific Coast Highway in California, Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, and the Autobahn A5 which runs north to south of Germany are all good examples of famous roads.

30 Meeting your motoring heroes and icons

They say it’s always a bad idea to meet your heroes, but I disagree.

While many consider famous race car drivers and car designers/engineers as their motoring heroes, I also always look forward to meeting well-known and renowned motoring journalists all over the world as they give inspiration and guidance to many a young motoring scribe.

As a car guy, I like meeting famous tuners like Kazuhiko “Smokey” Nagata of Top Secret, Tatsuru Ichishima of Spoon, Kazuyoshi Okamura of Yashio Factory, Tsuzoo Niikura of Mine’s Tuning, and Daijiro Inada of Option Magazine.

31 Experiencing car culture abroad

While we have our own local car scene in the Philippines, attending a car meet abroad is oftentimes an eye opener.

There are numerous Cars ‘n Coffee events in the United States, the infamous Daikoku and Tatsumi Parking, rest area midnight meets at the Shuto Expressway in Japan, and the Gatebil events in Norway and Sweden.

These aren’t events in the traditional sense. There is nobody really famous here, and no huge manufacturer support.

It’s all about car guys and gals taking their passion to the next level, and something to inspire us to also level-up.

32 Watching a race

Watching a full-on profes-sional race, especially abroad, is always an eye-opener.

I’ve had the pleasure of attending a few Formula One races, but my favorite is always the Japan Super GT Race because access to fans, the cars and the drivers is amazingly very open and casual versus a Formula One race.

It’s also a great place to learn new things, practice your photography, meet new people, and buy really cool merchandise.



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