A Product of Environment

This post features a few photos that Joey Lee of The Chronicles captured in his WekFest Chicago coverage. Thanks as always for the shots Joey! It has been a long time since I had some nice photos of the car to share. Be sure to check it out here.

I had to chuckle to myself driving home in my S13 from another Final Bout event in Wisconsin this past weekend. With my wife by my side and my friends from all over the world cruising along with me to begin the long trek to our respective homes, I realized how much joy I get from this car and how many great people I have met along the way. It made me think about last week’s blog post and how all of those feelings of frustration and embarrassment had completely melted away.

I guess sometimes your mindset can be a product of your environment whether you choose for it to be or not. Under those bright fluorescent lights inside of Navy Pier surrounded by cars built for that purpose and some people I look up to and respect from the center of import tuning in California, I felt really ashamed and frustrated about my car. These guys represent the best of the best for me from a show or “total” car build, so to not be able to live up to what I envision and actually execute my car the way I want to due to financial strain was something that made me feel like abandoning the car all together.

But spending more than 1500 miles behind the wheel of this car in less than a week traveling to four different states through all kinds of different weather conditions really put a smile on my face. Outside of a car show environment where you’re constantly being judged (or at least it feels like it) and comparing your own car to others, your car becomes a standout. No one expects it to be clean or have a perfect paint job when you just drove your car 500 miles through a massive thunderstorm and the brutal streets of downtown Chicago. In the right setting you begin to realize just how special your car is and how much you enjoy it. After putting it through a lot in just one week’s time, I never had a single issue with it. I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Someone called my car a “labor of love” build over the weekend and I can’t remember who it was, but I think that hits the nail on the head. For reasons I can’t explain I am completely obsessed with this car. Though it may be so incredibly simple at this stage, driving a long distance from home in something you assembled with your own two hands and living to tell about it brings such a great sense of accomplishment. While it may not be about making constant changes and having the rarest and flashiest parts for me anymore, just trying to maintain and improve this car is such a cool experience for me.

I think Yasu’s quote that Joey posted really summed up Chicago and the midwest well. “Chicago doesn’t build show cars, they build street cars.” Though I don’t drift my car like a lot of guys out in the midwest do, I still took a bit of pride in that statement. I often just feel that my car looking less than perfect says to people that it lacks quality or I just wasn’t able to get the job done properly- but I think it is more just a product of what happens when you street drive your car consistently. I never want to use that as a crutch or excuse, but for me it’s just a combination of that fact combined with the season of life I am in right now. With any luck I’ll be able to keep my car through my kids growing up and give it the level of detail I have wanted to for a really long time- but we’ll see what life throws my way.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling post once again. If you read this week and last week’s posts back to back you’d probably think I am losing my mind, but I think that’s just how it goes sometimes. I haven’t decided if I want to post my own photos from WekFest or not since they’re just from my cracked iPhone 7, but maybe I’ll make a quick post soon. I’ll definitely make a summary post about Final Bout Gallery soon though.

Thank you as always for the support. Have an excellent weekend!

Damon

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