Home » What Would You Tell Your Younger Enthusiast Self?

What Would You Tell Your Younger Enthusiast Self?

Autopian Asks Younger Enthusiast Self
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The automotive affliction is one that often takes hold at a particularly young age, and as youth as a time of experimentation, we often make some mistakes in our journey to being the car people we are today. However, what if you could potentially, maybe, perhaps attempt to stop some of those mistakes before you even started? Yep, today’s Autopian Asks involves time travel, so fire up your Mr. Fusion and let’s get cracking.

Imagine that underneath the seat of your latest second-hand ride, amongst crumbs and other debris, you found a magic envelope capable of sending precisely one letter to yourself in the past. What would you tell young enthusiast you? Obviously, you could mess up history and indeed the future considerably depending on what you write, so exercise extra care, but a little anonymous message probably won’t hurt, right?

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Admittedly, if I had to do this, I’d probably write just three words: “Trust the process.” Everything I’ve done and haven’t done has led up to this point, for better or for worse. Everything about where I’m at right now, from writing about cars to owning the cars I do, has been a massive moonshot, and perhaps out of an abundance of caution, I wouldn’t want to risk messing that up. Of course, the alternative is “find space for that RX-7,” but then I’d be tempting fate. Our own Mark Tucker, pictured in the lead photo, would send a message along the lines of “The rust isn’t worth fixing.”

So, what would you tell your younger enthusiast self? Would you drastically attempt to change history, assuming the Novikov self-consistency principle won’t save you, or would you do something else? As ever, share your thoughts in the comments below.

(Photo credits: Mark Tucker)

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Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 months ago

1) Rustproofing is worth it.

2) Don’t buy the BMW. Just….don’t.

Spartanjohn113
Spartanjohn113
2 months ago
Reply to  Rollin Hand

Which rustproofing did/would you go with? I’ve been eyeballing getting a fluid film treatment on my ’23 Maverick…but just haven’t gotten around to it.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 months ago
Reply to  Spartanjohn113

An engineer acquaintance who saw some testing materials said Krown was head and shoulders above the rest. It’s the only one I’ve used: ironically, it was on the BMW!

Spartanjohn113
Spartanjohn113
2 months ago
Reply to  Rollin Hand

Repair Geek did a really great video in 2019 where he tested all possible substances on sheet metal and then pressure washed to see how well the undercoating held up. Fluid Film seemed like the best for both protection and still allowing accessibility for maintenance/repairs. Looks like he did another round of testing in 2020. I’ll watch it sometime tonight to see what his new results came out to.

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
2 months ago
Reply to  Spartanjohn113

Yes, I find that I no longer have to break out the fire wrench (torch). I do reapply every fall, but that’s a 1 hour job with my compressor and the spray gun. I do all 4 of our vehicles. It’s what the fleet managers use on plow trucks, so you know it works. Now it also comes in black (they just add graphite powder).

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 months ago
Reply to  Spartanjohn113

The sutff this fellow saw was testing done by the National Research Council of Canada. Apparently the core ingredient of Krown is something the US Military uses for the same.

And don’t fall for the electronic rust protection. It does not work.

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
2 months ago
Reply to  Spartanjohn113

Do it yesterday. Any product on a rust free chassis will be fantastic compared to picking the “right” one when you get around to it and there is already salt and sand in the nooks. I use fluid film, it’s easy, a bit messy, but my cars have been doing well in Maine where others rust.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
2 months ago
Reply to  MikeInTheWoods

The engineer I mentioned would get the full “drill into cavities” treatment on new cars. He would void the corrosion warranty, but the car wouldn’t corrode.

Last edited 2 months ago by Rollin Hand
Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
2 months ago

Don’t drive to college that rainy day when the drunk driver totals you 67 MGB.
Or
Don’t buy that 280Z to replace the MGB, because you just blow the engine 3x cause you’re not a responsible 20yr old.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

Blow the engine three times? You don’t learn quick I guess

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

Well, one time it really wasn’t my fault. The builder didn’t clean out the oil ports after they turned the crankshaft. So all the bearings spun on my way home. They rebuilt it again for free.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
2 months ago

Tricky. Do I warn myself about the crash that broke my spine and hand? What if there was a worse crash I missed?

So far this timeline has worked ok. I don’t want to risk it.

I wish I’d bought an NSX when they were 15 grand, and an FD RX7 when they were 5, and an R32 Skyline GTS-t when they were 3. That’d be a cool three car garage for ever.

Piston Slap Yo Mama
Piston Slap Yo Mama
2 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

I missed out on a nice NSX back in 2014 for $19k. I dithered on a decent 912 back in 2005 for $5000 and sold my 4WS Prelude Si for chump change back then. But not that long ago I bought a low miles Fiat Abarth and I’m pretty damned sure it’s a future collectible as every time I drive it it feels abundantly ‘right’.

Torque
Torque
2 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

Roughly 15-20 years old (generally speaking) seems to be the sweet spot for buying a car if you intend to keep it a long time bc you love it and think it will be a future classic.

The Challeng of course is cars take up a lot of space, so…

1. You need the space (or find a safe, preferrably inside space) to store it when it’s not being used
2. Preferably you drive it or at least run it 1x per month minimum to keep everything working
3. Maintenance for a 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, nth car can get tedious
4. (excess) funds for 1-3 too 🙂

JMJR
JMJR
2 months ago

“Enjoy modifying cars while you have disposable income”

By the time I bought my third vehicle in my late 20s, all I could really justify buying was something that was fuel efficient, reliable and comfortable to commute to work in. I still add small things that improve my enjoyment like alloys for my snow tires, window vent visors, light window tint and Tuxmats, but pretty much everything else gets left stock.

I modified my first two vehicles a fair bit, and wasted a lot of money doing so, but I had fun, learned about turbochargers and got to own one of my attainable dream cars (Mazdaspeed6)

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

Stop worrying so damn much about the car being spotless; it doesn’t matter.

I used to be fairly obsessed with keeping my cars pristine, esp when I got my first ever new one.

Now, I keep things clean & tidy, but no longer spend hours sticking brushes in vents or waxing constantly.

So much better for my sanity and my enjoyment remains the same.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
2 months ago

Buy the car you like and keep it running. Having the new shiny impresses one.

Also do sell your first car you will miss the family connection.

Avoid the SHO.

Buy the full size Blazer.

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
2 months ago

To myself 15 years ago: “Buy that Dodge Viper now,it will not get cheaper”.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
2 months ago

Just try to make the repairs. Learn more, try more, do more, Buy what you want.

Just buy the Rubicon as you will never be allowed to add the fun stuff to your JK sport so just buy the Rubicon.

Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman
2 months ago

I am my young self, so I can’t really say much to myself now. But, I see a lot of people who are older then me who wish they could have keep their first car. So death do me and my 350z apart.

Unless a very nice Chrysler New Yorker comes along… just maybe…

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul Goodman

That is a cool first car! I loved my 350Z.

My first was a 2CV, which went on to be my cousin’s first car, and he still has it.

Saul Goodman
Saul Goodman
2 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

I love mine too. Even if the vq35de loves oil..

I have never seen a 2CV in person! They are super neat though. Don’t those have the hydro pneumatic suspension?

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
2 months ago
Reply to  Saul Goodman

The 2CV has conventional suspension, sort of. Front and rear on each side are connected via a weird horizontal spring assembly under the doors.

The body roll is ridiculous, but you can, and should, drive one flat out all the time.

My cousin drove my old one through the Sahara, and stopped for a weekend in Germany on the way home to replace the chassis. I think David Tracey would get on just great with my cousin.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
2 months ago

The problem with altering the past, even a little bit, is that you never know what happens in the future.
You rent a different house, that house collapses in a sink hole. You take that vacation, the cartels kidnap and murder you. The brakes fail on your new project car, you end up trapped in a ravine while fuel inches towards the sparking electrical hodgepodge under the dash.

I’m generally happy where I’m at. I haven’t sold any of my cars (I haven’t done as much as I’d like to with them, either.) I don’t need to tempt fate

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
2 months ago

DON’T SELL IT!

Huja Shaw
Huja Shaw
2 months ago

Floss every day?

MrLM002
MrLM002
2 months ago

Pretty isn’t worth the premium. Any number of random events can get rid of the pretty of a car.

Cars are a big PITA, as is generally anything with a ton of moving parts, and the less you’re able to work on them the more of a PITA it is to own them.

Brockstar
Brockstar
2 months ago

Just buy a mk3 Supra before they get “expensive” also don’t promise your wife a parking spot in the garage.

ChefCJ
ChefCJ
2 months ago

It’s not a project car if you have to drive it to work stupid

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago

Advice to younger self: Stop turning the air filter housing covers upside down on the family car. It’s silly and does not make a 225 Slant Six sound cool.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
2 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

BWWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH
I can report that it DOES make a Buick 455 4-bbl sound cool.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Good point. I did spend a large amount of time when I got my Mustang debating if I should take the snorkel out.

Eventually did, then replaced, and did again. I think it’s still out, sitting in the back of my hall closet, but I’m not sure. What a tool.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jack Trade
Lockleaf
Lockleaf
2 months ago

Maybe buy a few more of those prized rare parts you came across. They never get any cheaper. Otherwise, keep going. Its awesome here!

Staffma
Staffma
2 months ago

Don’t listen to your dad, swapping a transmission is not impossible! Could’ve had a mint Mercedes 240D 4 speed for 1200$. Probably still be driving the thing!

Last edited 2 months ago by Staffma
Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Staffma

Transmissions are easy

Torque
Torque
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

(Transmission) Swapping seems like it should be pretty straightforward…
Transmission rebuilding on the other hand is certainly more of a speciality that even lots of professional mechanics leave up to people that decide to specialize in them

A. Barth
A. Barth
2 months ago

Everything I’ve done and haven’t done has led up to this point, for better or for worse.

I normally phrase that as “everything I’ve done has brought me here, and I like here”, but just the same I’d appreciate it if you got out of my head. 🙂

Operating under the assumption that the note to self should be about things mechanical, I would probably tell me to stockpile some interesting air-cooled VW performance parts: Weber 48 IDAs, cylinder heads, etc.

As a much younger man I did tell myself to keep that one motorcycle and to get on eBay in 1999 and start buying parts for it, so that part worked out already.

Also: hold on to that 1991 Grand Am with the 5MT. It’s a good car and you get hosed on the trade-in.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
2 months ago

Good job on not buying that GTI you were thinking of, you really dodged a bullet there, and as far as project cars, once you’ve got it running well and enjoyed it for a while, don’t sell any of them to make room for the next project car if they start with RX and end with a number

Brockstar
Brockstar
2 months ago

Correct. Keep the RX350… we all need something to rely on.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
2 months ago
Reply to  Brockstar

LOL, my current fleet is an RX8 and an is300 wagon as my project car. Had the Lexus since 2019 and many go fast parts ready to put in as soon as something breaks and I have an excuse to pull the engine, but the stupid car just insists on working perfectly.

DysLexus
DysLexus
2 months ago

Oh this is easy!!!
Time warp June 19, 1995: Scrap of paper found in the glove box of a new to me 1977 Camaro I just bought from my brother-in-law.

“Do NOT eat the chili”

Real life: I stopped at a sketchy roadside restaurant in Nowheresville MO at 3 in afternoon. I ordered the all you can stomach entree/salad bar. Worst food poisoning in my life and made the next eight hours of driving a living (barely surviving) hell.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago
Reply to  DysLexus

Shit happens.

DysLexus
DysLexus
2 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

That was only the half of it.
Literally

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
2 months ago
Reply to  DysLexus

The problem with that message is that you wouldn’t know which chili. Then you’d be depriving yourself of delicious chili for the rest of your life.

DysLexus
DysLexus
2 months ago
Reply to  DialMforMiata

My 30 year older self would be fine with that.
At the time, I would’ve been Vegan for rest of life.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
2 months ago

Move the Rabbit to high ground: that dry creek bed back there will be a raging torrent one day

🙁

Torque
Torque
2 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Legit even though I don’t live in a flood prone area… flood maps were checked before I bought my current house.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
2 months ago
Reply to  Torque

The kicker was I had worked where it was parked for 15 years and water never rose near as high as the building I parked it against. One event put almost 30” of water throughout that building.
Live, lose, learn

Torque
Torque
2 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

“That’s a lotta water”…

Your choice to say the above line in a fun Super Mario Brothers cartoon stereotypical Italian accent or not 😉

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
2 months ago

“Look, just trust me, painting the car at home just isn’t going to look good, ok?”

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

Not if you suck. I’ve done some very decent home paint jobs and will do more.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I’m sure grownup me could do a pretty decent job of painting and I KNOW I could lay down some badass stripes and designs. Young me with his first car and more exuberance than experience? Not so much.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

That’s fair, most teenagers don’t have much attention to detail or patience. I know I’m the exception there.

Tondeleo Jones
Tondeleo Jones
2 months ago

Find a way – somehow – to buy the $1,800.00 Mercedes 190SL. And the $600.00 Alfa Giulietta Spider.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago

DO NOT BUY A DISASSEMBLED PROJECT CAR. JUST DON’T. NOT AT ANY PRICE. ARE YOU LISTENING, YOUNGER ME?

No, you’re not? Sigh.

Last edited 2 months ago by Mike Harrell
67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

That is possibly the best advice yet. If someone has already disassembled it it is fully fucked and should not be touched. I once bought an 69 Riviera in boxes,stupid young me thinking I was able to un-fuck it. I was not..

Lockleaf
Lockleaf
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Maybe good advice for younger enthusiasts, but this is how you can get amazing deals when a little older and actually capable of getting it put back together.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Lockleaf

DO NOT BELIEVE LOCKLEAF. ARE YOU LISTENING, CURRENT ME AND OLDER ME?

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Actually cheap disassembled project cars make great parts cars.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Yeah, that’s a fair… NO. REMEMBER HOW MUCH SPACE THESE OCCUPY WHEN DISASSEMBLED? GO BACK AND READ IT ALL AGAIN, ME.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

I think I get it. But a project someone is sick of is far cheaper than searching and buying piece by piece and you have parts that no one thinks of selling. Knobs of a original radio, an antennae, a better set of rims, glove box etc. Plus a store of extras or a few parts to sell.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I’ve done this on a few occasions myself but overall I’ve had better experiences instead with the two extremes of either fully-assembled parts cars or individual parts.

The rare and truly magical option, of course, is to find someone who is willing to sell their disassembled project at a single, low price but who then for some strange reason doesn’t really care whether the buyer takes everything away. I’ve only encountered that once, which is just as well because my shed is getting rather full.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

Yeah I’m a hoarder just can’t leave anything behind.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I sympathize. I said it was rare and truly magical, not that it was easy.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago
Reply to  Mike Harrell

No while not EZ over time I have paid for cars and houses with smart buying and long waits. I actually spent years to find a roof rack for the VX. Once I found it I sold the 4 little pieces of plastic that fit in the roof rail hiding the connection for $450. This is 4 pieces maybe 29 cents of plastic each but a collector want original VX gave me $200 more than the roof rack cost. An astute car guy with access to internet and salvage yards could make a living on recognized valuable parts ahead of time. Cool cars with what is unique or often broken with the ability to hang onto the part.

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