The other night at dinner, my friend started talking about a forum panel that he was going to be a guest on and went on to tell me about how he was asked by the group's moderator how hardcore of an enthusiast he considers himself to be. He didn't know how to answer it - this coming from an owner of a drift team - but came to the conclusion that while he may not know the exact science behind how certain parts work harmoniously to create power, he knew enough of the basics to get by and that his 14 years of modifying cars in some way, shape and form was enough for him to say, "I think I just love cars. Isn't that hardcore enough?" Which got me thinking, how hardcore am I?
I've been into cars for as long as I can remember and modifying them is something that just came along with the territory. I used to immerse myself into whatever car it was that I was working on at the time and though I admit to having lots of help from extremely knowledgeable friends who had more of a mechanic's touch than I did, I felt I learned a lot. Some might consider me to not know much at all since I don't actively road race or assemble engines with my eyes blindfolded, but I do get out there and try. I watch racing because I like it. I sit shotgun in drift cars because my friends who are pros are amazing to watch in action - and I like it. I grab tools and install what I can while my friends explain how the more labor intensive wrenching should be left to the experts - I like it and I get to learn from it. I continue to play with cars even though it's not a high priority during my off-work hours - and that's because it's just as fun as it was from the day I got into cars and because I still love it. Am I hardcore? I am.
My friend and I aren't alone. Hardcore racers, drifters, showcar builders and tuners - they're all out there, somewhere. Guys like the Bergenholtz brothers and Chris Rado are some of the last standing drag racers in a time when everyone thinks that segment of the industry should be dead, yet they're standing alongside the last remaining drag series, Battle of the Imports - you can tell they're doing it for the love, and that's hardcore. I know whoever's reading this editorial right now will appreciate the cars we've highlighted this month because we picked some true enthusiasts; the same as you, my friend and little old me. And that to me speaks 'hardcore' in volumes we can all understand.