In Search Of...
Collecting has always been somewhat of an obsession for me. But I'm not some crazed lunatic who dedicates a single room to whatever I'm into or creates custom-made display cases to show off the goods; I tend to find bits and pieces and store them away in a section of my closet for safekeeping. I started off with baseball cards during middle school and was starting to work my way up to Air Jordans until I hit high school-and that's when girls distracted me for a good number of years. Oh yeah, I also discovered an invention called the automobile.
It was at that time (I was 17) that my collecting took an interesting spin, and really, I wasn't even collecting a thing-I couldn't afford it. But I pieced together in my mind all the things I would get once I had money. I had an unhealthy obsession with SSR's early line of wheels, which came with magnetic locking center caps and were a staple to the SoCal car scene. More specifically, the wheels to get were the SSR/Racing Hart Super Fins. If you had these, you were the shit-or were pretty spoiled. I can't tell you how many times I walked into the local wheel shops to get a fix for my eyes only to walk out like a denied crack addict because I was broke. I eventually managed to save up enough to buy a pair without keys but otherwise intact with caps and rings, but trashed them shortly after a blowout on the freeway. I stripped the parts off, figuring I could use the spares in the future.
The job I had right before I started working at Super Street gave me my first opportunity to buy a complete set of SSRs; not the Super Fins I wanted, but EXC Mesh and for only $800, which seemed steep at the time. I cashed in two years later when I finally found a set of Fins-16s even-and sold the EXCs to pay off the Fins. They needed to be restored but I finally found my unicorn long after they'd been discontinued. I used them on an EG and a DA after, and when I sold off my Hondas for my 240SX, I was on the verge of selling them until I thought, "I can store these. Maybe someday I'll be in another EF or something." They sat in storage for nine years until this past spring. I'm glad I held onto them because the market's terrible for old SSRs as they've become somewhat of a collector's item to certain circles of enthusiasts. I thought they were hard enough to find back then; it's a million times harder now.
My recent EF project has put me back into a collecting mode of sorts. I'm still not seeking out every set of SSRs ever produced (I'm leaving that to the guys we hooked up with this month; see our "JDM Bounty Hunters" story) but I wouldn't mind coming up on a set of Super Mesh and Neos. I did, however, manage to stumble across the second unicorn of my life: a Mugen exhaust that cost me a good penny, but damn, it was totally worth it.