A funny thing happened to me the other day. There I was, ducked under the hood of my most recent purchase, an 18-year-old Nissan picked up from now editor-at-large Ed Loh. It stinks, it creaks, it's dirty, the paint is fading, the driver's side window doesn't roll down and I seem to notice more of its character (by that I mean more of its problems) each time I get behind the wheel. And yet I find myself strangely intoxicated by the thing.
From the epicenter of filth in the engine bay, I trace every line and hose within view and set to work. With suspiciously dark and unidentifiable grit lodged under my fingernails, I finally fire up the engine and crank the wheel. Everything is right in the world.
To the unknowing eye, it may seem like tedious work best left to Bubba J. Buttcrack down at the local repair shop, but for a car guy, it's something completely different. It's a few hours of quiet problem-solving in the sanctity of your own garage, using your best set of tools-your bare hands. It's about escaping the girlfriend, the wife, the parents, the police, or whoever may be chasing you down at the time, and entering your own world. Because, once you emerge, you'll discover the greatest feeling of accomplishment and pride that could ever come out of a wrench, a socket, a pipe and a few f-bombs.
It's the same feeling you get at the track, on the road, and underneath your car: a sense of bonding between man and machine, when your car becomes more than just transportation. I've wrenched on a car underneath suspect Taiwanese-manufactured jackstands, cursing the whole time, only to emerge giddy and elated that my work actually functioned correctly. I've spun exiting Turn Three at Laguna Seca during the first rain of the year, hit the local tire shop, and then headed back out for the next session. I've done the nine-hour, one-way tow by myself to get to the race track and I've topped out an RSX Type-S on the highway-just to see how fast it would really go.
I've walked on both sides of the fence, but I haven't forgotten what it's like to be a reader instead of a writer. We have a lot of new and cutting-edge editorial lined up for you, with all the data and tech you've come to know and love. The staff here at SCC wouldn't have it any other way and I know you wouldn't either. After all, I know where you're coming from, because I've been there.