Why do we do it?
Why do we love vintage vehicles?
Why do we stain and cut our fingers?
Why do we bleed, sweat, and swear over our machines?
Why do we spend more money, and certainly more time than if we just bought a new car?
Why do we work in the cold and heat, in the rain and snow, all night and all day?
Why do we neglect our friends and family to tighten just one more bolt because we are “almost done?”
Why do we work feverishly non-stop just to end up waiting 5-7 business days for the FedEx truck to arrive with our suddenly needed part?
Why do we try so forcefully but vainly to bring our mates, parents, friends, sons and daughters into our mad world?
Why do we spend hours on eBay or trawling through forums and get in internet fights with strangers over such little things like thicknesses or torques?
Why do we spend our hard-earned money on buying non-functioning and by all rights scrap metal “parts cars” that take up room that we don’t have?
Why do we put up with constantly breaking down, with being off the road more often than we are on it; and on the rare occasion that our vehicle is working why do we accept warming up and cooling down periods, non-functioning heaters and air conditioners, uncomfortable seats, fiddly switches, dim lights, seatbelts that are more of a prayer than a safety device, and steering so heavy it makes weightlifting unnecessary?
Why do we risk certain death if we crash?
Why do we gleefully partake in this madness?
We do it because it challenges us.
We do it because we feel like owners working on their own vehicles is becoming a lost art.
We do it because people look up to us for being able to fix the oft quoted but mystical “blown head gasket.”
We do it because we think the old ways were more beautiful and have a feeling of soul.
We do it to customize our rides and be unlike anyone else on the road.
We do it to gain confidence, to gain friends, and most importantly to gain time to think away from the distractions of this future world.
We do it because as children we recklessly and foolishly decided that this is what we wanted to be like when we grew up; because our 8-yr old selves fell in love with a rat rod, an ancient Indian motorcycle, or a custom Impala.
We do it to feel in control. Despite the rest of the world, no matter what happens to this mechanical beast we can fix it. We can deal with it and make it right again.
We do it to proudly proclaim, “I did this.” To drive and show the world what we are capable of doing – a mobile trophy case to our skill, dedication, hours, and personal taste.
We do it because this is a craft that we can always work toward, always learn more about, but never master. The beauty is in the journey not the destination, in the task not the output, in the time spent rather than the miles undertaken. This hobby, this craft, this life is in us. As much as we have bled and sweat on our machines, they have leaked and spread into us in kind.
We do it because we are it.