Our enthusiasm for cars can teach us much about the rest of our lives. The feeling you get the day before a build is quite similar, whether more or less intense, to the one you experience when starting any new endeavor. While you may be excited about the new project (car related or not) there are always apprehensions that go hand in hand with the gusto.
With a new project build, these apprehensions usually include things like: Did I get all the parts I needed? Are those parts the right size? Or: Where the hell is my 17mm deep socket? Usually these variables have quick fixes. All you need to do is go grab the part you need, or buy another 17mm for $5 at Autozone. Real life apprehensions are slightly more difficult to deal with, as they're almost never resolvable.
Am I ___ enough to ____? Is my ____ good enough? What does ____ think about me?
I think those differences have much to do with why I build these cars. I need to conquer something as complex as a car to make up for my inability to control everything else. When I put a motor together and get it in a car and running, thousands of parts are playing a beautiful symphony, and I am the conductor.
For every symphony there are as many chances for a weak link as there are players. If one trumpeter is off key, the whole orchestra sounds horrible.
A relatable example of this phenomenon is a botched build in a daily driver. Picture this; you've saved every dime you made over a whole year to buy an Integra GS-R. After buying the 'Teg, you saved even more money to buy a turbo kit. Every egg you have is in this basket. If something goes wrong you're out a daily driver, with no means of transportation whatsoever. With no way to work you'll lose your job, and if you can't pick her up to take her out, you'll probably lose your girl too.
Now it's time to install the kit. With all these thoughts about the possible negative outcomes it has become a bit scary, but you've convinced yourself for the past week or two that you're ready for whatever comes out of this. As each part goes on smoothly, one after another, you start to get more and more excited. "Hell yeah," you tell yourself, "Everything is working out perfectly."
The build is done, turbo is installed, and you're ready to drive that bitch. With all of the parts going on so smoothly your confidence in the project has gone up exponentially over the expanse of the build. What's the obvious next step? Get in the driver's seat and rip on it. Right?
You idle it down the driveway, palms sweating and sliding around on the steering wheel, and get it into the middle of the street. 1, 2, 3, GO! You watch the tach start moving as you feel the car lurch forward. That split second before you reach boost seems like a year. 4000 rpm comes and you're thrown back in your seat. 5000, 6000, 7000, BOOM!!! The motor spews its guts all over the place. As you watch the white smoke and steam begin to rise up from under your precious Integra's hood, you realize: "Damn! Those two wires you weren't sure about on the ECU actually were crossed." Too bad you spent your bus pass money on a turbo kit, you're gonna need it now.
Life has its ups and downs, but it is always some little insignificant thing that will take you from sittin' on top of the world to sittin' in the back of the bus. The key is to keep on climbing back up, because even 10 seconds of a boosted 'Teg is better than not having ever had one at all.