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!