Why Cars?

It would seem to some an odd passion in this day, to be so focused on something that society and technology seem to be racing to make obsolete. Maybe that focus is the very reason, but for me, it is deeper than that. I have always looked at cars, especially sports cars, as a form of escape and freedom. As a child of the ’80s, I couldn’t wait to watch the latest exploits of Knight Rider, or the Dukes of Hazzard because the cars were fantastic. They were worlds away from the pedestrian vehicles of my family, from a gold Ford Granada to an original Dodge Caravan, or something so stunning as a Geo Metro; my family wasn’t exactly focused on automobiles, but I was.

I knew where all the cool cars were parked in my friend’s neighborhoods, I still remember the day one of my friends told me his mom had a Corvette. Then I remember her giving me a ride in that 1978 Pace Car Corvette, and I knew I had to have one. Then there was a 944 Turbo, a Jaguar XJ, Toyota Supra, Pontiac Fiero GT, Camaro RS and Z28s, and a Dodge Stealth R/T; these were the cars that I could see and occasionally ride in, but they were always on the periphery of my world, something I knew I would one day change.

While Farrah Fawcett may have been the ubiquitous teenage boy poster of the 70s, the 80s were ruled by the Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa, and the Porsche 930 Turbo and the 959, I had them all on my wall. Even though I knew I would never be able to afford one, these cars influenced me so much, the dream was there. I knew there were other cars out there I would eventually be able to own that could provide that same feeling as those halo cars, and those were my goals.

I took the plunge right after college graduation and spent as much as I could afford on a monthly payment on a high-mile Mitsubishi 300GT. It was the SL model and not the vaunted VR4, but considering I was replacing a 1988 Honda Accord with 210,000 miles on it, that SL was a spaceship in comparison. From there I went on to a slew of cars and motorcycles until I bought a pristine 2001 Corvette coupe, it was a rocket, for a little while. After about a year I replaced that car with a 2003 Corvette Z06, which was a game changer. The 405 horsepower Z06 was a purpose built track car that I proceeded to drive and modify for the next six years. I loved it and during that time I became entrenched in the car world, joining the local Corvette club, going on road trips, reading all the forums and magazines and just generally devouring automotive content.

More Corvettes and other daily driver cars would come and go, but while my tastes evolved, my general love of performance cars and driving only grew. Like many of you with the “disease,” the sickness really took hold after I did my first High-Performance Driving Education weekend. Now I really knew what my car could do on a track, what real speed felt like (without worrying about being arrested) and what it was like to hold 1G through a corner. My budget certainly did not support my habit enough for my taste, but I was able to get to the track just enough to know I had a lot to learn and this hobby would always have a place in my life as long as I had a say in it.

I have moved on from Corvettes (really only because of lack of storage space, I would still have one if I had room) and am now swimming in the deep end of the pool of Porsche. My 2014 Cayman S is my only car, it is my daily driver in all weather (I have winter tires mounted from November through March), my autocross cone killer, and my DE weekend speed machine. It is certainly down on power to my last Corvette, but it more than makes up for that in the interior, build-quality, and general handling prowess. The Cayman feels like it can shrug off anything on the track or off, I love it.

Hopefully, I’ve been able to provide a brief glimpse into what makes me a car guy (not to be confused with a “wrench” because once beyond the basics of fluids, brakes, and tires I am a useless mechanic). If you also share this “disease,” or if you are confused by why we obsess over cars and want to figure out more, I hope you find this site entertaining and follow along.


Author: Ryan Carignan

I am an automotive enthusiast, writer, and photographer; welcome to my blog!