I wouldn’t really consider myself an active member of a specific car scene these days. At one point in time I was very active in the VW scene; car shows, forum participation, the whole deal. But as we all know, priorities evolve over the years. Some things move to the front and others get pushed back in line. Plus, the car scene has blown up so much in the last three years it would be hard to keep up the way I once did, even with all other things created equal.
I still love cars just the same though, and stepping back has allowed me to gain a greater perspective than I may have had previously. Instead of taking one giant bite of the same thing, I take a bunch of smaller, different bites. I do a fair amount of random website browsing; I’ll find a pic blog and keep clicking through to different sites until I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole – an amazing archive of 1960′s Gasser pics that I need to save (only 123 more pictures!) before I can leave. (Is that thoroughness or OCD, not sure.) It can be a lot to take in. I totally understand why some people can’t keep a car for longer than 6 months. There are so many great ones out there and so much access online that you sometimes feel compelled to keep moving so you can still hope to cover 10% of your “Must Own” bucket list.
I’ve somehow managed to remain pretty monogamous with my cars. My first “fun” car was a Mk3 Jetta, which I owned for about 6 years before I decided it was time for a change. I’ve had my E30 (the Jetta’s replacement) for going on three. My recipe is a lot different this time around, and that was one of my first lessons with the BMW. My plans became less complex the more I got to know the car and realized my initial trajectory was trying to ram a square peg into a round hole. These are the types of things you discover if you’re taking your time with a car.
I still think really low cars look great and wide wheels with stretched tires are cool (in fact I’ve run them on my E30), but it’s not a one size fits all proposition for me anymore. I have some chunky performance tires mounted on my stock wheels that I run the majority of the time. The car is a blast to drive and still looks cool to me. Never thought I’d say THAT.
I think a car that’s been dialed in to devour an autocross course or track day is every bit as cool as one that looks great sitting at a show. It’s not hard to find support for those two viewpoints all over the internet. It’s a little harder to find them together in a single place though, and that’s one of the reasons the car scene can feel like a 7th grade school dance at times – boys on one side of the gym, girls on the other.
This is where a site like Panned comes in. It’s a great opportunity for some cross-fertilization of ideas from a wide spectrum of sources…check out how the other half lives, you know? We don’t need more outlets ultra-focused on one pinpoint aspect of our cars. A broader scope is what we need. Something that will allow for some perspective and a greater understanding of what it is about cars that’s virtually made them a religion for so many people all over the world.
Huge shout to Ethan, owner of 8380 Laboratories, for the stellar Panned logo. You can visit his website 8380labs.com for standout apparel, merchandise, and tuning products, as well as design services.