I was hanging out with a lovely person, not attuned to car culture. It was her first drift day; she had a lot of fun. I remember specifically her words. “I would’ve never thought this was a thing!” she proclaimed excitedly. It reminded me of a thought I often have. I don’t post much here anymore, it’s not that Speed Hero is dead, it’s just I haven’t learned too many new things in a while, my excitement to share isn’t as vibrant. People already know about this stuff, I often feel, so I discourage myself from linking to the obvious and easily found elsewhere-content. I’m wrong. I’m always surprised when a close car friend of mine isn’t aware of a Toyota Cavalier, or something basic and common knowledge to me. It seems too basic to even discuss. I think that makes me a snob, accidentally.
I do like sharing my passion for the automobile. This same lovely person warmly questioned why I found the idea of the automobile so engaging. Their beautiful, not just as a finished object, but more so as a dynamic project. The complex balance of art and business, fueled by the transportation needs of people and objects, but also the cultural cravings of buyers to express themselves socially. It’s from this dynamic seed grows the opportunity to create form, focus on function and milk it for profit. Much like building the great pyramid, partially without the forced labor, a single automobile is built from an idea to reality over the course of sometimes decades, by the hands of thousands of people, at the costs of millions of dollars. People fight, generally politely for the opportunity to mold and shape this growing idea into their own ideal of perfection.
Appliances for freedom, these cars start as a blurry mass in one persons mind. Chalked onto paper as a rough series of scribbles and lines, imagination slowly develops definition. Colours, and shading begin to splash the page, dimension starts to bulge back, now we’ve moved from one person, onto a small team. Clay slathered on wood, is scraped and carved, an ominous overlooking creator evaluates development and barks orders. Management steps in, consults marketing, who in turn interrogates target market groups. Profitability is projected, calculated. Now we’ve invested the time of a few hundred people. Adjustments are made, fights are had, imaginations clash. Accountants versus designers, sales people versus engineers. Months have passed. Technical sketches score paper, you can here the heavy pressure, fast strokes of the pens. Engineers begin creating and solving problems. Researchers begin consulting outside manufacturing companies. Designers continue to refine, almost Zeno’s paradox when considering form. Architects begin planning factories, while factories begin designing tooling. 2 years deep, not worth going back. Human resources now a buzz with resumes, eyeballing and inspecting potential workers. The population of the project hits the thousands. Materials are harvested from the ground, refined and constructed into prototypes, engines, drivetrains, complete cars. These materials also begin to lay down the foundations for buildings. Dealerships are signed up, educated and begin preparing for the new models. Marketing teams are cast into action to create an emotional image for the vehicle. The vehicle hasn’t even been released yet and it has affected the lives of a small city of people. Robots breathe life, sparks begin to fly and assembly gets underway. Truckers deliver parts from outside manufacturers, while hauling away cars to dealerships. Boats ship fleets of new vehicles to far away lands who too want to sell the new car. Hundred of Millions of dollars spent, not a single car sold yet. Governments of participating countries pound the vehicles to oblivion, their scientists study the results. Aftermarket manufacturers begin tooling up to build affordable replacement parts, while auto part stores research possible common failures and sales volumes to predict their own potential stock. Vehicles begin landing at dealerships, sales people learn the cars, and potential customers, strategize sales approaches. Magazines ring out the vehicles, test them and review them. Now nearly a million people have been involved, still no actual sales yet, for some it’s been almost a 10 year process. Finally the car hits the floor. “Does it come in a blue?”
In two years there will be a new model. Sold along side the 9 or 10 other models the company makes, sold next to another manufacturers dealership who also makes 8-10 models. etc etc etc.
Why do I think cars are beautiful? The impact they have on so many peoples lives. The art and creation process is immense and wild. It’s such a huge project for something so disposable, appliances of freedom, danger and motion. Emotion.
We’ve considered the process to the customers hands, what’s even more beautiful is the love each individual puts into their own appliance of freedom. This is car culture. Here’s a quick skim of all the various types of car culture. Feel free to add your own. The possibilities documented are endless, let alone what’s not captured for sharing. 🙂 Enjoy some videos, I hope to introduce you to some new types of car cultures. These are in no particular order, just a sampler of random.
The list is ENDLESS. Please dig in, add more, and adventure beyond your current knowledge. I love cars! 🙂