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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BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
3 months ago

Learn to weld. It’s a super power for car stuff.

70degrees
70degrees
3 months ago

Give up on owning a nice old car. The very structure of the car industry means your treasured old car will eventually be obsolete and unsupportable.

If you get an old car in good condition for not much money, it will most likely be broken (or soon to break) in ways that you can’t see.

Even if you luck out and find a relatively inexpensive car with a 100% solid history, you will find any mechanic willing to work on an old car is most likely someone who thinks they can handle anything. They cannot, and will break some parts on your car that they aren’t familiar with. And if you confront them about it, they’ll say “Well, your car is 30 years old, parts start randomly breaking all the time at that age,” and will then ask for $3K to fix it.

And even if you, by some miracle, find a mechanic that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg and does a good job, then parts themselves become the hard part. Parts will wear out from ordinary use, and some of those parts have no good aftermarket equivalents (in my experience, ball joints and motor mounts) and once original parts dry up, you will be forced to ruin a nice car with cheap new or remanufactured parts because 99% of people with cheap old cars just want to fix them as cheaply as possible, and there is no market for quality parts.

And finally, even if parts availability is so bad that you resort to A1 Cardone parts, you will find that every company will eventually decide to stop making any parts for it at all.

And that is it.

You have reached the end of your journey.

There are no new parts.

There are no remanufactured parts.

There are no used parts, in any junkyard.

There is absolutely nothing left for you to repair your car with.

You will now leave the realm of “repairing” your car, and you will enter the world of “restoring” your car, where craftsmen have to start rewelding parts back together and rebuilding parts from scratch to keep your car running. And that realm is full of four-figure price tags for any medium-size job, and five-figure price tags for any large job. And even if you love your car immensely, there is only so much your wallet can handle.

Just give up now. You won’t have to suffer through the misery of failed expectations.

Jeff foy
Jeff foy
3 months ago

3100, crap

Pappa P
Pappa P
3 months ago

At 43, I’m pretty much on the same trajectory I was at 12. That is, trying to make my dreams come true with little to no money or resources. I made shit happen.
I had no shortage of great mentors, but I didn’t always listen. Sometimes I needed to make the mistake for myself to really learn the lesson. I’m grateful for those mistakes.
The note: Go to college for some finance shit, but concentrate on getting a job driving buses asap. Buy a house for 100k. Buy more of them as soon as you can afford.
Buy a few vintage $1500 911s, and learn to specialize in them. Start flipping the houses in 2013 or so, just remember to put all you make into more expensive houses. Now it’s time to start collecting some cheap NSXs, F355s, Testarossa, and especially Ford GTs.
Now chill, you’re about to be a multi millionaire. Buy every car you’ve ever dreamed of.

Jeff foy
Jeff foy
3 months ago

To Young Me. Do NOT sell the 56 Chevy 5100 long narrow bed that you drove to
Colorado from Portland just cuz you’re too lazy to get a job once you get there!

Oldskool
Oldskool
3 months ago

Don’t drive your nice car, your pride and joy that you worked so hard for, in the winter. If you love it, put it away. Buy one or more winter beaters. Rust is just like cancer.

If you see that rare car, and you’re on the fence about it, buy it. You probably won’t find one again, unless perhaps you search far and wide and pay out the ass for it.

SlowCarFast
SlowCarFast
3 months ago

“Don’t sell a car to a dealer the Tuesday after time change! You are never your best self on that day!!!!”

Theotherotter
Theotherotter
3 months ago

You don’t have to wait as long as you think you do to buy that 911.”

Toobs-N-Stuff
Toobs-N-Stuff
3 months ago

3 things:

A: don’t try to downshift to 4th at 100 MPH in a car with a sloppy shifter
2: remember that leaves are slippery and the upcoming turn is off camber and downhill

had I known those 2 things in the fall of 1986, my TR7 would not have died an ignominious death.

instead I hit second and bent a valve, then a week later slid off the outside and bent the unibody between the A pillar and the McPherson strut tower.

such a fun car. such an idiot kid owning it.

the other thing I would want to know was to watch out for Chevettes in parking lots.

my beautiful ’81 Civic DX hatchback got totaled by a Chevette that drove across my bow (I was at a complete stop behind the stop line) in a parking lot at about 15 mph. pushed my 5MPH bumper to the right which moved the whole front clip which tore off the front engine mount tearing a hole in my engine block.

Turn the Page
Turn the Page
3 months ago

My oh my, the list is long. Here’s a few of my greatest hits:

Put money into the braking system before putting it into adding another 40-50 HP to the 340 that you swapped into the 1964 Valiant 2-door in 1971.

Buy and store the very clean used 1970 Superbird 440+6 in 1974 for $2,995 asking price.

Buy and store the very, very clean black Hemi ‘Cuda 4-speed in 1976 for $4,000 asking price.

Don’t trade the 1974 Trans Am SD-455 4-speed you ordered new to your brother in 1976 for a daily driver because you were a broke college student. (Good news, he has kept the T/A in 100% original condition, stored, never-driven-in-winter, along with his other cars. Bonus: he does allow me to drive whichever cars he has out of storage on my summer visits!)

Don’t sell the numbers-matching 1970 Challenger 440+6 4-speed for $4,000 in 1980 because you were a really broke college student, finally graduating.

My view: Live and learn, do not live in regret, and enjoy the simple pleasures and experiences in life.

Giulia Louis-Dreyfus
Giulia Louis-Dreyfus
3 months ago
  1. Probably should have bought that used, unmodified (CPO?) S2000 in 2009 for $18K, even though you felt disrespected by the dealer forgetting the appointment to see it and the car not being on the lot that day.
  2. One big question mark I have is that I decided against an E46 3-Series in favor of a Subaru Legacy GT out of fear of the maintenance and repair costs that come with BMW ownership. That Subaru ended up shitting the bed on multiple occasions. Would that BMW have actually been a better investment of time and money?
Chris Kuers
Chris Kuers
3 months ago

“Don’t sell your 996, you idiot.”

James Carson
James Carson
3 months ago

Keep every one of your 50’s, 60’s and a few of your 70’s cars, don’t modify them, rent a storage space, keep them pristine. Profit. But no, I had to flip em like pancakes, modify them like a 20 something, and look back at the carnage I committed in my older years.

Myk El
Myk El
3 months ago

Take the hood ornament off the Plymouth when you start having to park it outside. Changing that would have radically altered the trajectory of a project.

Josh Jones
Josh Jones
3 months ago

“Don’t let your dad have a key to the Focus.”

OCS-BN
OCS-BN
3 months ago

What a coincident. Just this morning I was cleaning the back seat of the minivan (damn kids) when I found this faded crumpled up note between the seats. It read “Don’t bare your soul to total strangers on the internet. Not even on the website you love. And for heaven’s sake, don’t….” The rest was unreadable, gummed-up with leftovers.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago

Time machine you say?
What would I tell my younger self?

Buy that immaculate $6000, 21 window VW bus and store it in your mother’s garage for as long as you can.

Devote less money and time toward alcohol. It will become a crippling addiction that you can’t escape.

Listen close you little fucker!

Do you want to be the guy parking a 1999 Chevy Prizm in the same oil slicked parking spot at your boring warehouse job every day of the week?
Commenting on a car website like you still care about all this bullshit?
Too far gone to recognize that you’re too far gone to recognize that you’re too far gone?

Get it together you dumb little punk.

That dumb little punk would surely kick my ass. Drop me like the old ass invalid I’ve become.

Jokes on him. He could have had a GR Corolla by the time he was my age.
Dumb little fucker.

So many wasted years and skills.
Here’s your grimy Chevy Prizm, a consolation prize. It’s leaking oil. Everyone you work with can see and smell your automotive failures.

I’d go back and show myself me now.
A scared straight sort of approach.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago

Buy that NA Miata (despite your stature). Take care of it, and yourself.
Care more about what you want than how you are seen by those that can’t be bothered to see what you are.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago

Easy for you to say.
Did you have a paper route when you were ten years old?
Did you work a job at a young age so you could buy yourself ramen noodles? To afford yourself enough calories to continue working that job to buy more ramen noodles?

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago

Of course I did. We’re the same person you moron.
Driving the vehicular equivalent of ramen noodles.

Pappa P
Pappa P
3 months ago

I just laughed so hard that I cried.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
3 months ago

Are you ok

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
3 months ago

Are both of them ok?

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago
Reply to  Thomas Metcalf

Both?
That’s a diminutive estimation of the millions of characteristics and personalities that I could encompass given a Time Machine.

Oh, that guy…
He’s out there somewhere?

I guess you could say “both” of us are if you want to phrase it as simplistically as possible.

There’s more to it than that…

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago

Are you making fun of me?

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago

No.
I totally get that I could’ve been you. No offensive intent here.
Things just happened to work out better for me.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when our past paths dissected. When you became that and I became this.
Time travel is confusing.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
3 months ago

Nugget of wisdom for you?
Since we are the same person, with the same car…

It’s the intake manifold gasket.
An easy wrenching fix for even the drunkest of me.

$27 on Amazon. If Amazon exists in your haunted reality.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
3 months ago

“Manu, that guy restored this car with his bare hands for thousands of euros, don’t be a dick and point out imperfections on it just because you don’t have the guts to do the same. Do as he did instead and fix a classic”

Boosted
Boosted
3 months ago

Don’t sell that brand new s2000 you bought for $28k, and keep it stock.

Auto Guy
Auto Guy
3 months ago

Warm it up. Afterward, cool it down.

Auto Guy
Auto Guy
3 months ago

Slow in, fast out. Every corner.

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