Cars and car culture are no different from other social groups. Think back 10,000 years or so. People worked together in small groups (a tribe or a pack) toward a common goal. Back then it was known as survival.
Fast forward to 2003 and picture a socially awkward 30-year-old arriving in Dallas, home of bling and glam and social cliques. That guy didn’t know anyone. Nope, not a soul. No friends or family nearby to ask advice on where to live or even who made a good burger.
That guy was me and it was a tough first couple of weeks. In a sense, survival instincts set in … until I found common ground with a group of good people. It was a group of real, non-pretentious people, more diverse and welcoming than any church could ever hope to be. It was a car club.
My car wasn’t the fastest or the most modified or the fanciest but it was a car and that’s all that mattered. The group was quite large and growing. The leadership was friendly but with an edge; you definitely had to earn the group’s respect but not in the way you might think. Mostly you just had to show up, show off your car and have a burrito. That’s it. (Hey, it wasn’t the movies.) Sure, we raced, but most of that was done at the three local drag ways and some SCCA-sponsored autocross racing.
Instantly I had tons of friends. Questions about everything, like where to get the best burger, were answered with ease. What apartments were good, a neighborhood to avoid … it was better than any chamber of commerce.
Today, to say I’m an active member of my car club would be an understatement. We meet regularly, not in any kind of formal setting or because we have to but because we want to and we enjoy one another’s company.
If you were to look around at one of our weekly meets, you would see college students who searched the couch for enough change to afford a pizza, established shop managers, fast food workers and business owners. We’re a diverse group of car people that simply come together to have a bite to eat, tell an occasional joke, laugh and talk about what we enjoy most.
We don’t need a Starbucks cup to start a conversation about race or politics or advice on how to modify an engine. We just need a warm night, a sturdy fender to lean on and some iced tea or a cold beer – your choice, we won’t judge.
Go forth and find some car people.
Written by Jim Sherman
For more blogs, including auto reviews by Jim Sherman, visit NakedAutoReviews.com.