I am a gearhead. Just about every piece of clothing I own has grease, oil and general car funk stains on them. Except for a few nice pants and some Polo shirts, I wear jeans and T-shirts. I even buy Mechanix Wear shoes. I live in the garage, under the dash, in the motor or under it. It is what I do and who I am. I love all things automotive—street machines, hot rods, race cars, cruisers, even ricers (they have their place). Most would call me a fanatic.
When it comes to the automotive hobbyist industry as a whole, encompassing everything from rodders and tuners to restorations and show cars, there is a lot of animosity on the inside. Cruise a muscle car through a group of old-school hot rodders or tuner cars and you will get griped at. Don’t even think about trying to park a Honda between to a ’69 Camaro and ’71 Challenger, it might not be drivable when you come back. But is it necessary? Of course, it isn’t, but this is the difference between fans and fanatics.
Back in the early ‘90s, when I got my start in car audio, things were a little more crazy than they are these days. If you had Rockford Fosgate, Alpine or Phoenix Gold gear, you hung out with guys that had the same gear. You certainly didn’t mix and match your gear. Today, everything is jumbled up and there is a lot less hatin’ going on in the parking lot.
Most of the time, I would say that being a fanatic is a bad thing. Religious fanatics, political fanatics, they really just cause trouble for the rest of us normals. Being a car audio fanatic doesn’t hurt anybody, as a matter of fact, it is actually helpful. Being a car audio fanatic means buying more gear. Spreading the word about building better car audio systems, impromptu sound-offs in parking lots and at stoplights. Being a car audio fanatic is more than just dropping some subs in your trunk, it is a lifestyle, one that you have to be proud of and display to everyone.
I am not saying that you should cruise around neighborhoods at 11pm with the bass booming, waking everyone within 3 miles, that just give the rest of us a bad name. Instead, take it to the high-school parking lot, the cruise nights and the football games. Find a car audio competition and enter. Get involved and show them that you are true fanatic. Oh, and toss that iPod and buy some real CDs, they sound better (had to say it!)