Cars are far more than a means of transportation – a mere tool designed for a specific purpose. They are an expression of our God given desire to create. We transform an ordinary car into one that truly connects with our soul, one that reflects our personality.
The simplest form of this transformation occurs with our decision to purchase a car. Do we buy a perfectly fine Dodge Challenger with a free revving V-6 or “invest” a few more dollars to purchase a R/T with its thundering 376 horsepower hemi V8 and a performance tuned suspension?
Alpha Gearhead David Rutter's 2012 Challenger R/T Classic
Do we buy a new Miata or a used Porsche Boxster?
Alpha Gearhead Bryce Shriver's 2013 Porsche Boxster S
Any of these choices are great; a strong intellectual argument could be made for the lower cost option, which still meets the basic needs.
Yet, for a gearhead it is a matter of the heart, not just the mind. The decision often comes down to which car creates a deep emotional bond. A recent example was in the purchase of a Cadillac CTS-V, a very comfortable car. Logic, and my wife, steered us toward a six speed automatic coupled to its powerful V8; it was easier to drive and more widely accepted than the manual transmission variant. Besides, who buys a Cadillac with a manual transmission? After driving it, however, there was no connection, the V6 CTS was just as engaging. The six-speed manual won out and after three years, I am delighted that it did!
Bryce Shriver's 2014 Cadillac CTS-V Sport-Wagon
Gearheads also have a clear tie with other gearheads. We tend to join clubs and forums with like minded individuals. Whether it be a Mustang club, Pontiac G8 forum or even a local “Cars and Coffee”, we seek others who share our passion. While many gearheads are introverts, seeking comfort and purpose in the world of ideas, there is a sense of satisfaction in communicating with other car enthusiasts.
Brandon Shriver's (blue) and David Rutter's (green) Ford Fiesta STs before a trip to the 2016 Amelia Island Concours
Go to any of these venues and you will feel this emotional tie. There will be lively debates, even loud disagreements, but there is also mutual respect. Go to the drag strip or a judged car show and you will find an intense competitive spirit, tempered by an underlying desire to help other enthusiasts.
This is most evident at the race track or even internet forums where competitors are quick to share their experience in order to solve problems.
In its highest form, a gearhead’s heart expresses itself by encouraging strong family ties revolving around the hub of automotive passion.
Gearhead Matriarch Karen Shriver with her younger brother and his sons
A teenager who is helping his dad restore a classic MG, or change oil in the Honda Accord he hopes will soon be his, is far less likely to have interest in drugs than the one left to entertain himself with video games. It is in these moments that a sense of purpose, values, and logic are developed, not to mention the bonding that comes from sharing a common interest.
Alpha Gearhead Bryan Shriver's 1966 Corvette, and his oldest son (now 14)
Gearheads develop a deep passion for cars and others who share their love. It is far more than a logical investment of time and money. It is a deep expression of their inner being. This love of cars encourages them to connect with others having like interests and to develop life-long bonds with their children.
We encourage one another to embrace the gearhead’s heart by joining that car club or forum. We are eager to share our knowledge and actively seek to learn from the experience of others. We will take our family to races and teach them to drive – really drive, not just coax the car to obey, but make it eagerly respond to our desires as an extension of our will.
Yes, gearheads have a heart – a strong connection with their car and others who share the joy of creating a better, more satisfying culture. A heart, indeed, but it still pumps hi-octane gasoline!
“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones.”
Proverbs 15:30 – The Holy Bible, English Standard Version