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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Auto Guy
Auto Guy
2 months ago

Never buy a non-running car.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
2 months ago

It has to be either
“Don’t let anyone convince you that you “need” an automatic”
Or
“Don’t buy a modified car”.

FuzzyPlushroom
FuzzyPlushroom
2 months ago

“Don’t sell the Saab.”

Dolsh
Dolsh
2 months ago

“Don’t buy the Altima.”

– Me, to younger Me.

Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago

Just say no to that bargain BMW. It’s not going to be a bargain after all.

Toecutter
Toecutter
2 months ago

What Would You Tell Your Younger Enthusiast Self?

Buy a Miata NA manual for a first car.

Chronometric
Chronometric
2 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

That’s what I did.

Mantis Toboggan, MD
Mantis Toboggan, MD
2 months ago

Turn the drug money into a legitimate business before the end of 2012. When you send the last shipment back and the guy asks if you’ll take Bitcoin for a refund say yes. Sell at $20k. Buy a damn Pantera. See, I brought it back to cars in the end.

Internal Error
Internal Error
2 months ago

That Superbird in meh condition you were eyeballing in ’87 for $3k. BUY IT

VermonsterDad
VermonsterDad
2 months ago

1. Buy it, whatever it is.

Matthew Skwarczek
Matthew Skwarczek
2 months ago

It’s OK for people to like boring cars

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
2 months ago

Do NOT buy a Chevy Citation…nuf said

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
2 months ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

Well, mine was a 1981 Buick Skylark, but same thing.

Codfangler
Codfangler
2 months ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

Freelivin1327
43 minutes ago

“Do NOT buy a Chevy Citation…” or a Plymouth Volare.

Bucko
Bucko
2 months ago
Reply to  Freelivin1327

Scoped out a Bronze 1983 Citation X-11. I was frightened by some rust on a fender and bought a 1979 Scirocco instead. I believe this ended up being a very wise decision.

Rob Evans
Rob Evans
2 months ago

DO NOT SELL THE 280Z OR THE CRX

Aerostarman89
Aerostarman89
2 months ago

Don’t sell the truck, you’ll end up buying back several years later in slightly worse condition. Learn from your dad on how to fix cars before its too late. Unfortunately you won’t be wealthy enough to just pay for repairs and such like you thought at 16.

Don’t buy the used Yukon, thank god for Covid car prices and being able to get out of it. Don’t buy the beautiful ruby red Fx4 F-150, you’ll get married and realize $500 a month + horrible gas mileage don’t mix, when you don’t need a truck.

Last edited 2 months ago by Aerostarman89
Grimy Ghost
Grimy Ghost
2 months ago

That paid off powder blue 79 Ford Fairmont with a rust spot on the hood, a desmogged 200 and 3 on the floor (yes really) could have carried me all the way through college if I’d made friends with a mechanic or been a bit more curious/resourceful. Lost second gear and sold it for peanuts when I likely just needed new bushings in the shift linkage. Could have saved me from SO many shitboxes over the next few years!

Skmini
Skmini
2 months ago

Buy a welder and an angle grinder. And an impact.

Jim Warren
Jim Warren
2 months ago

The fun you will have with that SCCA Scirocco is going to be fleeting, enjoy it while you can. If you want to save money and afford anything, it has to be. Family is important, include them in your auto experiences.

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
2 months ago

Don’t trust Brad.

If I had trusted my instincts rather than him, I might still own the one-owner Mazda RX-3 sedan I picked up cheap in the 90s. I paid $150 at the time, and to buy one now in the same condition (assuming it was even possible to find one in such original condition now) would likely cost at least $50,000, and probably a fair bit more.

Yngve
Yngve
2 months ago

1a) Check the oil twice as often as you think you should. Then add another check midway between those two.
1b) You might want to clearance the choke circuit on your carb; it looks like it’s in danger of shorting out against the doghouse and frying your entire electrical system
(both from a 1962 beetle that was on its third 1835 when the aforementioned short occurred)

2) A Miata is NOT the answer when you and your wife are expecting a baby

3) I don’t care if they’re the right size for the tires, those cable chains won’t work on a FWD Eclipse GS-T

4) Do a compression test before you install a frankenengine assembled from random parts of unknown provenance.

5) You’re not gonna believe this, but the turbo AWD Juke you’re about to pull the trigger on will get about 1mpg better going up and down Parley’s Canyon than the full size truck you wish you were buying (and will subsequently replace it with)

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
2 months ago

I followed my own advice 8 years ago: Only buy running and driving projects. I bought a non-rusty 69 Scout 800 which had the engine removed and needed lots of work. I never got it finished and sold it before getting to enjoy it. That’s when I made a rule to only buy running and driving projects so I could enjoy them and fix them. The next one was a 56 Lincoln.

V10omous
V10omous
2 months ago

Invest in Tesla in 2010.

Buy a Bugatti in 2024.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 months ago

I would tell my Feb 1989 self to wait a few months, save your down payment, work on your credit, fly to your next duty station – and get a new Miata in the spring.

Then install a removable radio – get and use a car cover – never leave anything in it and never lock it – maintain it well – and keep it as long as you possibly can.

Last edited 2 months ago by Urban Runabout
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago

Research clubs and models. I have a VX and parts are usually only available when people wreck. We help each other out sourcing and selling cheaper. I once found a wrecked VX near me. I called the yard said it had been.picked clean. I asked for permission to enter the yard strip what I could. They agreed dropped.me off and said call when you are done. 3 hours layer I was not done they came and checked on me. I had several bins full. I guess the owner was sure it had been picked over because he had some kid ask me what I would pay I said not sure what do you think? He said $70 and I wrote a check so don’t fast his head spun. I sold a partially damaged roof rack for $175 and still have many parts left. I actually sold it for $300 to a club member and mailed it once she got it she said it was worse than she thought. I said what is it worth? She said $175:and I sent her a check. Club membership is good. I would love to see a cars and parts for sale or wanted here. Members get free ads non members buy ads.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
2 months ago

Dear 16 y.o. Max,

Swing-arm suspensions can be dangerous, especially when driven by you.
https://www.theautopian.com/heres-why-the-chevrolet-corvair-is-the-best-cheap-classic-car-right-now/comment-page-1/#comment-277176

Also, buy Apple, Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, Google, and Tesla soon after their respective IPOs.

Sincerely,
57 y.o. Max

Last edited 2 months ago by MaximillianMeen
OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
2 months ago

Less an enthusiast thing than a practical thing – why did I wait so long to buy the Suburban? I should have done it long before I actually pulled the trigger.

Fuzzyweis
Fuzzyweis
2 months ago

Oh man, so many things, just car related though?
“Make sure you have the timing right when replacing plugs/cap/wires on the Chevy Celebrity, you’ll blow a valve and that was a comfy car.
“Just replace the rusted rear/frame bed on that Isuzu P’up diesel, don’t swap the engine to an older LUV, it wasn’t built for that.”
“Don’t buy that Subaru Brat, too much rust”
“Don’t trade the 4wd Ranger for a PT Cruiser, you can fix the 4WD, and the Cruiser gets just as bad mpg, also don’t do the subsequent 4 more trade ins as you won’t be as happy with any of them.”(Sad note, saw my Ranger a couple years later in a mall parking lot and it looked great, never good to see your ex doing well.)
“Don’t sell your Volt during Covid cause you’re wfh now, you won’t be wfh after and will need a car and that was paid for.”

Think that’s most of the big ones.

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