Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Cars have been a part of my life since I came out the womb. I love the story my parents used to tell me about leaving the hospital as a newborn in my dads (s)old 77' 911 Targa. I always looked forward to being driven to elementary school in that thing; it was a rare occurrence only happening on special days, because his 73' Super-Beetle handled most of the daily driver duties back then. My pops doesn't drive with gusto like he used to, he's a senior who relaxes in his garden retired now, but I remember like yesterday smiling with delight as he maneuvered through bad drivers, cursing occasionally (which always made me laugh under my breath), getting me to school with time to spare. He's always been into true drivers cars and that definitely rubbed off on me although unspoken. Both of these aircooled German engineered autos had a lot in common: rear-wheel driven, manual transmission and a rear engine in a boxer layout...oh yes. The most important thing they had in common is that they sparked the obsession that I currently live with. I don't think I'm going to get into any of my current or previous projects here (may have to start another blog for that), but this love of cars, German cars especially, pulled me into the car show scene as soon as I was able to inform myself how, where and when.

I experienced my first car show pretty late in life, at about 19. It was an ‘Import’ show in PA. I took pictures with disposables, developed them at Giant and CVS on the cheap and put them in a shoebox to check out when I had downtime. The internet just started to get easier to access (took advantage of the 24/7 computer labs at UMBC), but I hadn't discovered online car forums yet...just reading MotorTrend and Road&Track like I had been for years before then, but like a message from above specialty mags like Sport Compact Car and European Car started becoming available and everything just clicked. This is what I always wanted to know more about and even though I had no car of my own yet, I would soon. Looking back I didn't know how much money it would turn into spent on parts, paintwork, upgraded parts and other customization, but looking into my garage now I have nothing but fond memories and 'drive' for what's next on the menu.

I went from shooting with disposables to cheap digicams, upgraded digicams to more expensive models, to where I am now with a DSLR I want to replace with a newer and better model next year (I hope). Along with the car builds, wrenching, repairs, modifications and other nonsense those of my ilk go through on a daily basis, one of the best parts of this lifestyle is perfecting the craft, sharing experiences, techniques and good times (and bad times that must be overcome with combined knowledge/effort) alongside others embodying the same mindset. This is what the car scene has been to me. A lot of close friends and associates that I still keep up with have come from my years hanging around the scene, putting cars together and taking pictures of everyone’s evolving automotive obsession over the years. It's been a fun ride so far.

One of the shows I make it to every year since about 2000 is H2o International. This VW and Audi enthusiast based show takes place in Ocean City, MD every year at Ocean Downs Racetrack (although this year may change) and usually represents the last big show of the season.

After this show every year the cycle continues...I figure out what I want to do for the following season, plan a budget that'll get blown out the window, dig in my vast archives and skull for inspiration and start saving money like squirrels save food for winter. It’s not surprising the aftermarket automotive products segment is a multi-billion dollar industry…and that’s just in the US. Regardless of how many newcomers arrive to push this new ‘I'm only doing this so you look at me' and 'spoon feed me what I need to know' generation of faux enthusiasts, I’m happy to play my part in keeping what’s left of the enthusiast old school still around.


  1. Well written, Allen.
    I think you should be writing for pvw, rather than the hackneyed "journalists" writing for them these days.

    Or perhaps S3 outta Atlanta.
    Glad to see this regularly updated.
    Are we on the "let's see where this goes in one year" plan?

  2. Thanks fck. Yep, that sounds about right ha.



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