An Interesting question (to me at least) is how people ended up falling into cars as a culture, hobby, lifestyle, etc. Some people grew up around it, others got into it because of a certain movie.
For me, it was a 1987 Nissan Sentra.
I got the Sentra my junior year of high school to replace my first car, a Dodge Shadow. I had no interest in cars at the time, it was just my A to B transportation and I didn’t think much of it. One day I was looking up something online, probably how to check a particular fluid, or how to replace some part I had broken, when I stumbled onto a forum and found not only maintenance information… but performance tuning as well. At the time I was baffled as to why people would bother tuning economy cars. At the time, what I knew of performance cars was that they all had big V8s. It’s funny to think that there was a time I thought modifying a Civic was silly.
There wasn’t much I could do to my car, both due to the lack of aftermarket parts, and my teenage budget. I recall that I purchased a K&N filter, flipped the airbox lid (this was a carburetted car, so it still had the big round air box), and removed the back seat for weight savings. I also spray painted a lot of the interior some hideous color, added some AutoZone fog lights, and added “performance” pedal covers and a very silly looking shift knob.
The car finally reached its end as vehicle #3 in a 5 car pileup one day on my way to work. I wasn’t terribly sad to see it go, but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for that car that turned me on to tuning about 17 years ago.
So what about you? I’d love to hear some stories from readers, so chime in below!