Cooped Up

While on the subject of unwavering passion for S13, it’s no secret that I have had a strong desire to build a coupe variant of the chassis (often referred to as the PS13) for the last couple of years. I wasn’t too fond of them compared to the fastback/180SX variant when I first had a desire to own one of these cars years ago, but the desire to try my hand at building one has been growing. I always felt that the Silvia just looked a lot less exciting than the 180SX, especially when equipped with their respective OEM Nissan factory optional aero setups. But as I have gotten older I have grown to respect the relative simplicity of the PS13 body.

I’ve had the pipe dream of building a second S13 chassis for a while now. “I’ll get a chance to do that when my house is paid off in a few years or after all of my girls are away at college,” I often tell myself. This thought is immediately met by an overwhelming sense of dread and urgency when thinking about just how hard it will be to obtain a decent rolling chassis to begin a build from in those 7-10 years. Surely all of them will be rusted out or crashed beyond repair by the time I am ready to build one, right?

A photo from the for sale listing.

I always keep my eyes open for deals and opportunities with buying and selling parts that might be beneficial to me. My budget at home is tighter than ever these days with me being the sole member of the family going to work each day, so finding deals occasionally allows me to put a little extra cash in the bank- or into my car. My good friend Tim that is building this red 240SX I shared a while back has recently grown a bit tired of trying to complete the car and has taken an interest in drifting. He picked up a rough looking 240SX coupe shell a couple weeks back to use as a drift beater but needed to find a KA24DE engine or two for it to get it running and on the track.

The car and truck were both loaded to the brim with spare parts.

While browsing the 240SX Facebook for sale pages, I came across a beige S13 coupe for sale in Indiana. The owner had purchased it a while back from someone in South Carolina and began tearing it apart to build it, only to lose interest along the way. He had collected a decent amount of spare parts for it including two KA24DE engines and a manual transmission swap. His asking price was much lower than the sum of the parts he was selling and his main stipulation with selling it was that whomever bought it had to take everything with them- the chassis and the entire pile of parts. I sent the link to Tim and told him we might be able to end up with a couple of free engines and a free S13 rolling chassis if we played our cards right. I decided I would buy in and help by selling all of the parts if (and only if) the chassis checked out to be as clean as the seller described. Tim ended up driving down to Indiana and bringing everything home to his barn.

The chuki popup front end was stripped and sold as I won’t have any use for it.

I wasn’t available to drive out to his parents’ barn where the car and all the parts have been stored until a couple of weeks later, but I spent the day going through everything with Tim last Saturday. We took inventory of everything we had with the car, which items each of us would want to keep, and what we could sell to get our money back. I spent the day taking photos of everything and hauling as many parts home with me in my Pontiac Vibe as I could to begin getting everything sold. I’ve been working on this through the course of the week and am pleased to report that I have now sold enough items to have this bare-bones chassis at a total investment of $0.

As for the car itself, it’s in much better condition than I had anticipated. It’s definitely my least favorite color for an S13, but beggars can’t be choosers right? The car was bone stock before it was taken apart and has not been modified in anyway. When removing the gross old seats and carpeting from the car, it appeared that none of the interior panels had ever been taken out before- very cool. I checked each major area that is known to rust on these cars and was consistently surprised with the condition of each- the spare tire well, floorboards, rocker panels, rear fender wells, and frame rails are all free of rust of any kind. The rear quarter panels have not even been rolled!

Here you can see the area of rust above the frame rail that needs to be addressed. This is just about the only rust on the entire car. It even still has the stock exhaust!

The only area of rust on the car is in the engine bay below the brake master cylinder along the frame rail. This area will need to be cut and patched properly to remove the rust- just like I needed to do on my current S13. There’s also a very small spot on the passenger strut tower that would also need to be addressed. Pretty funny since both of these spots were areas I fixed on the black car when I painted the engine bay. The body definitely has its share of dings and does have a decent dent from dragging along something in a parking lot on the driver’s door, but it really is in remarkable condition for being a 1992 Nissan with over 300k miles on the chassis- especially considering the price.

So what’s the plan for this second S13? That’s a great question. My wife and I had a lengthy discussion about the idea of keeping it set aside for when I have the means to build it up, but the size of our garage presents a storage issue. Tim and his parents were gracious enough to allow me to store the car in their barn for the winter, so I should be all set with that until March or April of 2019. I’d really like to bring the car home to my house for the spring and summer months of next year to tinker around with it and clean it up a bit, but we’ll see what happens. When winter arrives next year I would either need to move it somewhere else or find another place to store my current 240SX on the cheap. We’ll see what happens.

Nasty beige carpet and seats removed- looking better already.

The chassis was originally an automatic transmission with brown interior, so my first order of business would be to alleviate those issues. I have a number of black interior panels from my own car and that were included as spare parts, so I actually have a pretty good start on converting the interior to black. The car also included manual brake and clutch pedal assemblies, so I can drill the hole in the firewall for the clutch master and install those items too. If anything, converting the interior to black and setting up the chassis for a manual transmission will likely increase the value of the car, so I’m not too worried about putting in the effort to accomplish those things should I decide to sell the chassis later down the road.

At least the inside of the trunk looks presentable.

If I do end up deciding to keep this car around, the build won’t be remotely like the pace of my current car. Life looks much different these days and I simply do not have the means to build a second car, as much as I would love to. There are very simple tasks that I could take on to clean it up and prepare the car for the future though that would keep me busy and bring me some enjoyment. I also have a number of spare parts from my current car that I could use to partially assemble this one. We’ll have to see what life throws at me to determine how I proceed next, but I am excited about the possibilities. Fingers crossed that I can one day join the ranks of those that have a nice, clean example of both variants of the S13 chassis in their garage.

Thanks for reading- feel free to drop me a comment or email any time if you have questions!

Damon

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A Decade of Unwavering Passion for S13

It truly is hard for me to comprehend that this past Sunday marked ten years since the day I brought home my 1993 Nissan 240SX. I’m honestly not sure I would believe you if you told me then that I would still be driving and putzing around with this same car ten years later after graduating college, starting my career, buying a home, getting married, having three daughters, and parting the car out and selling the shell only to buy it back and rebuild it all again two years later. And though it hasn’t been without its challenges, I am beyond grateful for everything the experience has taught me about not only building one of these cars, but about navigating life in general. The friendships I have made through a mutual interest in these cars are ones that I will likely cherish for a lifetime.

As I do every year, I snapped some photos of the car from the same angles as the pictures I took of it the day I bought it to remind myself of how far it has come. They aren’t so much progress pictures anymore as they are a comparison of where it was then and where it is today. It’s always fun to remind myself of where I started with this car.

My passion for this hobby has grown over the years, leaving me with the overwhelming sense that it isn’t just about a car anymore. Though I started this blog as a means to document and share my progress on the car itself, it showed me that I really do enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with others online. Whether I am any good at that or not remains to be seen for me, but as the actual build process has slowed over the last few years it has presented me with an opportunity to speak with other car enthusiasts about bigger-picture topics like the every day struggle many of us face surrounding being a part of the hobby at all. I feel some of the most meaningful posts I have shared here on my blog have been the ones where I just sat down and started rambling without any sort of clear ending point in mind. I’ve always questioned if I should even press the publish button on those posts at all, but those very posts have always been the ones that generate the most positive feedback. It’s still just as surprising for me as it is validating.

In the beginning, I never set out to try to achieve fame or internet notoriety. The purpose behind my build thread on Zilvia and creating this blog alongside it was always to document what I did with my car and share it with others to solicit feedback. Sure, I of course wanted that feedback to be positive and was seeking validation and recognition to some extent, but Instagram, having the most followers, and “YouTubers” weren’t even a thing back in 2008. The landscape was different. I was simply a guy that was passionate about cars and wanted to share what I was doing with others.

The car scene and the world as a whole have greatly evolved since then. A few people have managed to get rich quick by becoming YouTubers or creating a brand on Instagram- and far many more are trying to do the same. It’s easy to feel it’s all a bit insincere, isn’t it? I don’t knock people for having goals and trying to accomplish them, but as this path has slowly become the norm I have wondered what my role in all of it is. Sure, no one maintains a blog anymore, but it’s what I have always enjoyed and felt the most comfortable doing- even if no one reads long-winded posts from a guy in his early thirties anymore. Writing words and preserving them for future generations feels like a very important part of the car community for me.

Many of my friends regard my following on Instagram to be something outside of the norm. I never set out to reach X number of followers and haven’t really wanted to market myself in that way- it’s just something that has sort of happened organically. Compared to most people I feel I really don’t even have very many. I’ve always felt that continuing to share my build progress and attempting to lead by example in both life and in modifying my car was the best course of action to take- and if people enjoy it and decide to come along for the ride then so be it. My wife and a few of my friends have always encouraged me to try to capitalize on the small following I do have from a monetary standpoint, but for whatever reason I have never felt any degree of confidence in that. I never wanted to lose my sense of authenticity or make people feel I am simply out to make a quick buck like the endless sea of YouTube channels and Instagram repost pages we see in this day and age. I wasn’t a shop or a drift team- I was just a guy building a car. It never felt like it really fit for my situation. Many of these pages start out from the beginning as a brand without having any sort of history to back it up or creating any original content. They try to reap the reward without actually contributing or creating anything. Everyone wants the end success, but most don’t want to put the time or work in to achieve it within the car community today. I don’t mean to sound pessimistic, but these are the thoughts that run through my head from time to time.

Recently I realized that the things I share here are of great importance to me. While it’s all centered around a hobby that I do for fun, I am very passionate about it. I felt it was time to start taking the site a bit more seriously and decided to create a bit of branding around CamryOnBronze.com, as I am sure you have noticed during your visit here today. These changes come not out of a desire to change what I represent, but to strengthen it. I care a great deal about the small audience I have managed to obtain over the years which has motivated me to give it my all and put my best foot forward when it comes to this website and the message I hope to convey.

After receiving a growing number of positive messages both through Q&A sessions on Instagram and comments on the pieces I write here from S13 enthusiasts all around the world, the ten year mark feels like a great time for me to shift the momentum a bit in a positive direction. I think it makes sense for me to develop my website into something more serious- to harness the passion I have for this hobby and assist the future generations in any way I can with their own builds. I take it all very seriously and get a great amount of enjoyment from it, so I feel it is time for me to give it the attention it deserves.

In addition to the branding changes I have made to both this website and my Instagram page, I will also be offering a small amount of merchandise moving forward should anyone have the desire to show their support for what I am trying to accomplish- the first being the sticker shown below. I’ll be using any proceeds from these items to continue to generate future S13 content, fund my website hosting, and Flickr image hosting account. (Some of you may not know this, but all of the photos here and on my Zilvia build thread are hosted through Flickr. They were recently acquired by SmugMug and they are going to limit free accounts to only 1,000 photos. I will now need to pay for their services to ensure all of my image links remain functional- similar to the PhotoBucket debacle from earlier this year. I knew this day would come eventually, but hopefully the new leadership at Flickr keeps things rolling smoothly for years to come.)

I sincerely hope that you’re on board with the changes I am hoping to implement. My goal remains to not only document my own personal journey with building an S13, but to share my knowledge and mistakes with any members of the younger generation that hope to build one of their own. I want my website to not only be a place that people can come to learn more about these cars, but to also represent a certain mindset and methodology with the way I feel these cars should be built and preserved. If it’s something you have enjoyed over the years or feel represents a similar mindset to your own, I’m forever grateful of your support.

I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on this, so feel free to drop me a line any time at Damon@CamryOnBronze.com or via Instagram. I’m always up for lending an ear to questions about the build process or details around the car. I hope to have an actual storefront up and running in the not too distant future with some stickers and maybe even shirts available if there is interest. In the mean time, if you’d like to order one of the URL decals shown above check out the temporary store page for instructions on how to do so.

Thank you for all of your support and readership over the years. Being able to share my journey and passion for building these cars with people from all over the world for the last decade is truly a privilege I do not take for granted. Thank you, as always, for reading. Here’s to the next ten years!

Damon

 

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Where the Magic Happens

I recently came up with the idea to share what my workspace looks like with everyone as I’ve gotten a couple questions about it over the years. I think showing what I am working with might help to encourage some people and show that you don’t need a ton of fancy and expensive tools to get the job done.

My wife and I purchased our home back in the spring of 2010, just under a year after we got married. I was really excited about this as I had been storing my car at my cousin’s house in his pole barn about an hour away- and in my grandpa’s garage before that. It used to be really difficult for me to work on the car with needing to travel to do so, so having my own space attached to where I lived really helped me a lot.

Though I do often wish it was a three car garage, it is a pretty good size for what it is. It seems to be a bit larger than a lot of my neighbors’ two car garages so I am appreciative of the extra space. The garage was drywalled and hastily taped and mudded when the home was built, but was never fully sanded and painted. I have planned to do this many times over the years but have never devoted the proper time and money to doing so. With three kids at home now it’s tough to find the extra cash and motivation for such a project, so I’ve ultimately decided to live with it. Some day I will have a nice coated floor and painted walls, but for now this suits my needs just fine.

My wife parks our van on her side of the garage, along with the majority of the kids’ toys. It’s a bit less organized right now as it is set for winter storage mode. A number of their toys have been moved to the basement and the patio furniture now resides inside until the weather breaks in the spring. The system I have in place for separating the project car side from the family side seems to work pretty well and allow me to have the space to work should I need it.

For years I have worked in this garage under the light of only a couple light bulbs and the fixture connected to the garage door opener. The lighting has always been terrible, but I guess I sort of got used to it. My family surprised me with some cheap LED lighting from Amazon on Father’s day this year that I quickly tossed  up and have been enjoying immensely since then. It’s so nice to be able to see! I also have a Craftsman shop light hanging from the ceiling, but the wiring is messed up and it rarely works properly anymore. I usually just end up using the flash light on my iPhone if I am working under the car. You can see the piece of missing drywall due to a leak in my siding that I have not been able to track down yet.

The basis for my tool set consists of this cheap Craftsman 125 piece set I bought in college. It is always a total mess as my daughter’s like to “help” me when I work on things and I am usually too lazy to put everything away properly. A number of the ratcheting wrenches are broken and have been waiting to be replaced at Sears for years, but that could probe a bit difficult now that they are going out of business. I’ve gradually added odd sizes to the set over the years and typically have just about everything needed to wrench on an S13 at this point.

In the corner you’ll find my other tool box, a Husky setup my wife got me for Christmas one year. It’s the perfect size for the amount of tools I own and garage space I have to work with. Let’s have a look inside.

The top drawer includes screwdrivers and box cutters. It also has random things like razor blades, scrapers, “claw” tools and magnets for nuts that I drop in places I can’t reach, and even old skateboard tools.

The next drawer down consists primarily of various pliers, clamps, and allen wrenches.

The third drawer includes specialty tools like pulley pullers, oil filter wrenches, clutch alignment tools, brake caliper piston tool, some random sockets, hack saw blades, and some Team Losi RC car wrenches that I haven’t needed in over a decade.

The fourth drawer is for electrical work and includes my broken volt meter, random pieces of wire, various electrical connectors, a soldering iron, and electrical tape. Teflon tape is also stored here for some reason.

Moving on to the larger drawers, the first includes safety glasses, gloves, and masks. This is where my breaker bars, torque wrench, pry bars, and C clamps are also located. Hammers are found here as well.

The second large drawer includes a host of power tools I rarely use aside from the drill. I wired the drill battery up to my daughter’s power wheel at one point and now it doesn’t hold a charge for longer than a couple minutes. I have a few different Harbor Freight electric cutting and grinding tools in here that have served me well over the years. My rivet gun and drill bits are here too.

The third large drawer has some random items like my brake line flaring tools and my trusty Dremel. I think my compression test kit is here too.

And finally the bottom large drawer holds my Harbor Freight electric impact and impact sockets. That’s right! I do not have an air compressor unfortunately so this bad boy has to do the trick. I rarely use it- usually just for hub and axle nuts really. Also included are various brushes and my Ott light, which comes in handy when working in the interior.

As you can see, my shelving units are a mess. They house all kinds of stuff like fluids, cleaning supplies, extension cords, blankets, and other knick-knacks. I organize these once in a while, but it has been a minute. They could definitely use some help. But, I think I do know where just about everything is, so that’s good!

In the corner are my various jack stands, scissor jack, and floor jack. I still have not bought a low profile jack and really should one of these days. Lots of scrap pieces of wood are used to get the car in the air as well as my race ramps that my mom got me for Christmas one year- those always come in handy! I also have my grandfather’s bench vise that I need to mount on a workbench one day if I ever manage to build one.

Up towards the front of the garage is our trash bin, a broom and dust pan, and my shop vac. The vacuum is getting pretty tired since I got it for my wedding and needs to be replaced at some point. I hate having the trash bin inside my garage, but our homeowner’s association is really uptight about them sitting outside for some reason. You have to build an enclosure if you keep it outside and ain’t nobody got time for that!

Lastly, this is my trick for hauling tools with me on road trips. I am not sure why I came up with this method but it seems to work pretty well. I lay out all of my tools on a blanket, roll it up, and secure it with a bungee cord. That way it doesn’t take up too much space in the trunk and has saved me in a pinch a couple times. My theory is that if I bring my tools with me, the car will not break down. Seems to be working so far!

So there you have it- the garage where most of the work was completed on my S13. It is far from ideal and doesn’t really have any nice or name brand tools, but it definitely gets the job done! Once you get used to the tools you have and where they are located it makes tackling most tasks go fairly well. Having nice equipment is definitely a plus, but nothing will replace experience gained from working on your car.

A quick aside- I ended up attending Jake’s memorial service outside of Chicago last Friday night in the S13. It was great to see how many people showed up to honor him. Very tough on a lot of people, but I think it also brought everyone closer together. I did not end up going to the D Day event in Shawano where they spent some more time honoring Jake as I could not be away from my family that long, but it looked like a great event.

The car didn’t skip a beat on my short adventure to Chicago which was really nice. I really enjoyed having some solo drive time with the car and the cooler temps allowed me to drive with the heat on and the windows up which was great. It made me appreciate the car and the state it is currently in. It even got over 30 MPG to boot! A great cap on a relatively quiet season with the car. I’m planning to drive it for a couple more weeks until the roads are salted and then it will be time to put the car away until spring.

Thanks as always for reading!

Damon

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A Stroke of Luck

A couple weeks back, a fellow S13 owner messaged me on Instagram to let me know that a seller had listed a brand new in box center console for a 240SX. I have been considering trying to restore mine a bit for a while now but was concerned about having to use interior paint. I have had great luck with SEM products, but nothing beats the real deal. My interior panels aren’t in terrible shape by any means, but it is something that kind of bugs me a bit. I’ve always thought it would be really cool to replace a lot of it, but most of it has been discontinued by Nissan.

I checked the auction and found that the seller was also selling a brand new ash tray and shifter trim to match the center console- crazy! He had purchased the items off the shelf from a Nissan dealer in Virginia to use to restore his daughter’s S13, only to have her now ex-boyfriend (and rightfully so) total the car. All of these items have been discontinued for a while so I was shocked to see them up for grabs. After sacrificing some other items I had been holding onto to free up some funds, I was able to score all three. It took a while for the seller to ship them due Hurricane Michael down in Florida, but it was definitely worth the wait.

I also picked up this headlight switch that he had. I wish I could replace all of these buttons but it is probably pretty unlikely that I find the rest of them brand new like this. I’ll probably have to settle for the Restomod Ninja treatment at some point in the future. I believe these are supposed to light up too- and I don’t think that any of mine do. I am going to look into replacing all of the bulbs.

Finally, I grabbed some replacement headlight bezels he had for sale too as they were much cheaper than buying them new from Nissan. These will be a great addition when the car gets painted someday.

I really think that small OEM touches like these can make all the difference in a build. I never used to even think about or consider stuff like this, but for whatever reason I have grown to appreciate stuff like this as I have gotten older. I’m thinking I will hold off on installing these items until my kids are a bit older and don’t climb all over the inside of my car as I would hate to have anything happen to them. I like for my kids to be able to enjoy the car without causing me too much anxiety, so it seems to make sense to wait for a while.

I am leaving this afternoon in the S13 for Jake’s memorial service just outside of Chicago. My friend Chob and I will then head up to Shawano, Wisconsin for the Club FR season closer drift day before heading home early Sunday morning. Fingers crossed the car makes the trek OK!

Thank you as always for reading. Have a great weekend!

Damon

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These Cars, Man.

I tossed the car on jack stands earlier this week as my replacement brake rotors and pads were due to arrive. I elected to just replace all four corners even though on the front rotors were warped as I wanted to go back to standard blank rotors instead of slotted ones and wanted them to match. I sold my rear rotors and pads as they were still in great shape so that someone else could get some use out of them.

Last night I was working on finishing up the install. When I removed the brake rotor from the front passenger side, one of the wheel studs also fell apart. Perhaps this was the source of the vibration? In any case, this is probably what I get for using cheap hubs. These current front hubs are ones that I tossed on after buying them used locally last fall to fix a bad wheel bearing in a pinch before driving up North on a trip with my wife. I ordered another pair of cheap hubs from Amazon to replace it since I need the car on the road for my trip next week. I always find it easier to just swap hubs and sell the old ones in the event that I break a stud as it saves a lot of time and hassle. So, with any luck I will have the car back on the ground tomorrow evening.

I don’t like taking the cheap route on important components, but when it comes to hubs and wheel bearings I always find myself in a pinch and need a quick solution. My hope is to eventually move to NISMO suspension arms and bushings in addition to OEM wheel bearings and hubs- probably with some stronger wheel studs for good measure. Maybe I can make that happen in the near future.

I elected to go with Stoptech street pads (instead of the sport version I had previously) with some standard blank rotors from Rock Auto this time around as it was much more cost effective. I think this might be one of the only times I have used standard blank rotors on the car, but it just makes sense for what I use it for. No reason to have anything crazy on there. I’m really looking forward to the car not shaking like crazy when I apply the brakes.

I’ll likely take the car off of the road soon after my trip to US Air next weekend. We got a pretty hard frost two nights ago and temps have been struggling to make it into the low 50s during the day. I’m sure we will have a random nice day or two before the weather really takes a turn though, so hopefully I still have a little bit of time to enjoy the car before tucking it away.

I hope you have a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by.

Damon

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It’s Nearly That Time…

After enjoying temps in the high 70s and even the low 80s earlier this week, a nasty front has moved into Michigan bringing with it some temperatures that are more accurate for this time of year in the mitten state. The forecast from here on out appears to feature highs in the mid 50s and lows in the mid to high 30s reminding me that it’s only a matter of time before the snow begins to fall- meaning that the road salt will rear its ugly head and it will once again be time to put my car away for the season.

Knowing how this process tends to go, I have been trying to drive the car rain or shine this week. I took it to an off site meeting I needed to attend for work on Wednesday about an hour away despite the forecast looking pretty rainy and had a blast spending some quiet and reflective time on some back roads a friend recommended. The route I took is often used by Car and Driver execs for road tests and comparison articles so it was filled with many twists and turns in addition to elevation changes. The trees and country scenery is awesome this time of year as the leaves are changing.

I’m planning to drive my car to Jake’s memorial service outside of Chicago two weeks from today, followed by one more trek up to US Air in Shawano, Wisconsin to continue celebrating his life at the final Club FR D Day event of the season. It will be a somber time given the circumstances, but I also believe everyone will have a great time- just as Jake would want us to. Hopefully the weather won’t be too cold and nasty and the car will make one more trek there and back before the season closes without any major issues.

Prior to that trip I need to replace my brake rotors and pads as the fronts have become a bit warped for whatever reason. They are four years old after all though, so I guess it is to be expected. I’ll give the car a quick peek once it is in the air but hopefully I don’t find any other nasty surprises.

As for this winter, I don’t really have any major changes planned at all at this moment. I am feeling really content with the car aside from a couple of minor issues that have been there for a while. Paint is always something I want, but something I can definitely live without for the foreseeable future. Being able to drive and enjoy the car every day definitely keeps me content. It’s when I am not able to do that for several months that my minds starts to wander a bit. We’ll see what the future holds!

Thanks as always for checking in. Hopefully I’ll have some actual car-related content coming soon. I do have a couple things I would like to discuss when I am able to. Have an excellent weekend!

Damon

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Gone Too Soon

I would expect the weekend after one spent with friends at a large event like Super D to be a positive one, still riding the high of the previous weekend’s festivities. There’s something about spending time with people you enjoy and rarely get to see that fills you up, and the positivity tends to linger for a month or to afterwards. However, these feelings were cut short this time around due to receiving some terrible news about the passing of a friend and member of our community – Jake Possemato.

I was downstairs with my kids last Sunday morning when Alicia came downstairs and asked me if I had heard the news about Jake. She was staring at her phone and had seen one of our friends post a message about him. My stomach dropped as I immediately had a good idea of what had happened, and unfortunately my suspicions were confirmed when I learned that Jake had taken his life.

I only met Jake maybe four times or so at various events at US Air- mostly the Final Bout events and maybe one other D Day sprinkled in there. Though we weren’t incredibly close by any means, he always had a hug waiting for me when I saw him at the track. Jake was a bit of a misunderstood soul as he tended to be pretty abrasive online. He was never one to shy away from speaking his mind and this often gave people a negative perception. But in person Jake had a heart of gold and was always friendly to me- always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone that needed it. He really was an awesome guy.

I had reached out to Jake via Instagram just a couple weeks before his passing to ask if I would see him at Super D. He told me that he wouldn’t be in attendance as life had really been dealing him a poor hand lately, but assured me that he would make it out on the other side. I tried to continue the conversation and told him he could always hit me up any time if he needed an ear to talk to, but it didn’t really go on much further. This is why I had suspected the worst when Alicia asked me if I had heard the news.

It really hurts to lose someone this way. There are so many questions and feelings of guilt. Those of us left behind always wonder if there is something more we could have done- something we could have said to make that person change their mind. My father took his life when I was 16 years old, so some of those same feelings came back to me upon hearing this news.

Fortunately with tragedy like this there is always an outpouring of support from this close-knit car community. Everyone managed to raise a good amount of money in a short time to support Jake’s family. Click these links if you are interested in contributing by making a donation or purchasing a sticker.

It always sounds cheesy, but remember that our time on this earth and our time with the people we care about is not guaranteed. If you suspect that someone you know might be having a hard time, reach out to them and see if there is anything you can do. Even asking to hang out or get a bite to eat could make all the difference in a person’s life. It’s important that we all take care of and look out for each other.

Damon

 

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