The Car You Do Care About
If you’ve read my article titled “The Car You Don’t Care About” then you’ll understand why owning a car that’s not that important to you can be fun. For this article we’re looking at the other side of that same coin.
A car first and foremost is an important tool most of us use daily. It allows us to go to work, the grocery store, or anywhere else we please. They aren’t cheap (or if they are, there is a reason why), so gathering the cash to buy one can be a daunting task. Most people obtain a newer vehicle through financing or a bank loan and end up having a monthly fee associated with their car along with gas and any surprise repair bills. I find this can sully your car ownership experience since it may seem more like a burden or a nagging monthly bill (unless of course you’re completely okay with paying that extra over time for peace of mind through warranty services).
I could just be blowing smoke however, as I’ve never taken the leap and financed a vehicle (outside of bank loans). It’s just my particular taste primarily spans late 80s-early 2000 Japanese sports cars. So I can’t just roll one off the lot with less than 50k kms and a bumper to bumper warranty. Either way, when you invest that much money into something you can’t help but hold it up in a higher regard. You’re going to care about that object when it gets worn down a bit, since you’ve invested your hard earned cash. With bigger purchases like a vehicle you tend to take more time making sure it’s the right vehicle and decision for you. You’re proud when you eventually get it and like to hear people talk about your fancy new car. New car, new you, new attitude.
When it comes to repairs, I attempt to fix what I can on my own when problems arise. Something happens when doing so: you gain a deeper appreciation and connection to the hunk of metal, plastic and rubber. You begin to care about it more. I’ve found throughout my car ownership that each vehicle has its own quirks, issues, and perks. Each one grips the road differently, sounds different, feels different. So because of this I like to name them (I also at some point began to think naming objects was enjoyable). Some cars I get attached to more than others, some I wish I never got rid of, and others I’m happy I did when I had the chance. I actually wrote about how I slowly became more of a gearhead in my two-part series here: Part 1 | Part 2
Like most of my cars as of late I start off with good intentions. A basic goal in mind. However this goal gets skewed over time. Lexa was never meant to be fiddled with. I bought the IS300 to be a nice clean daily driver that was good to go when purchased so I could focus my time and money on my RX7 build. As I put in more time behind the wheel I began to appreciate the car more and realized how much fun I was having when I was sitting behind the wheel. So things changed and I started thinking about ways to make the car more personable to me. I began messing around with fitting different wheels I had purchased for the RX7, since Toyota and Mazda share the same bolt pattern for a lot of their cars.
Then since I was going to be driving the car to a drifting event on the weekend I decided why not have a bit of fun and drift Lexa as well as take photographs. So much for just a daily driver. Afterwards, I was staring at these nice new wheels and tires I bought for my RX7, and thought to myself: those would probably look nice on Lexa. So I tried them on, and they sorta fit. I then decided they looked better on her so I’ll make them fit.
I rolled fenders once on my old Subaru with a heat gun and a hammer. Well, if I was going roll the fenders on the car I cared a lot about, I was going to do it the proper way. So I went over to Princess Auto and bought a fender rolling tool. Essentially, if you were to look at the inside of your fenders or run your finger along it you will notice that there is a lip running along the inside. It’s about a 90 degree bend from the outside to the inside of wheel well. That’s all fine and dandy until you put on wider wheels or lower the car and that edge now becomes a cheese grater for your wide tires. So rolling that lip up back on itself (180 degrees) reduces the chance of your tire rubbing and getting cut up. So after I finished all that heating and rolling, the rears actually still rub due to the offset and how wide the rear tires are.
It’s too bad because the car just looks so damn good with these wheels. Following a new pattern, I did exactly what I said I wasn’t going to do with this car and racked up a decent bill ordering up some juicy car parts to make it work. I shall not be defeated.
The parts are being built as I write this article but in a few weeks time I’ll be taking my ‘not to be fiddled with’ daily driver apart to install some BC Racing adjustable coilovers. This will help by stiffening up the suspension and giving it a sportier ride. Oh, and you bet I’ll be lowering the height a bit more. We’ll see if I can squeeze these rear tires into those fenders more once I get the coilovers on. It’ll also reduce the body roll of the vehicle when drifting… I mean driving to work, and the corner store.
This car has gone through the car wash more times than my other two combined and I’ve only really had it on the road for three or four months total. It has some scrapes and cuts that I’m painfully aware of but in my mind it’s okay because I know one day I’ll be getting new bumpers for it. This car has become more than just a hunk of metal, it’s got character, flaws, and guts. Just like every other aspect of my life I strive to make it better and pump every ounce of joy out of it. It’s a rather large distraction in terms of priorities with my project car. It’s just hard to ignore something when you’ve grown found of it.