The Story of How I Became a Petrolhead

The Story of How I Became a Petrolhead - Meet And Greet

So, tonight, my mom gave me a Chevy jacket that belonged to my Grandpa (one hell of a car guy and a former drag racer). So, just in time for Christmas (his favorite holiday), I’d like to share with you, CarThrottle, the story of how your pal Max became a car guy.

My grandpa was the reason I got into cars as a kid. He was always tooling around in some classic Chevy, first a ‘68 Camaro, then a ‘76 Monte Carlo, then finally a ‘67 Corvette Stingray that someone scammed him on (the parts’ numbers were faked). It was these cars that sparked my love of old American muscle and shaped me into a car kid. I spent many hours after catching the school bus to his house in his garage watching him restore or fix whatever he was fixing to sell. I always wanted a Vette like his when I grew up.

Gramps died from brain cancer before the Vette, Crazy Diamond was her name, ever ran. I lost interest in cars and drowned myself in video games, isolating myself from everyone. Mom sold Diamond to a father and son. I still wished we could have kept her. I remember feeling like we were throwing away my memories of him.

I didn’t have any interest in cars for five years. It felt too painful to crack open a hood and look at the engine anymore. I looked in an engine bay and saw the cancer that killed Gramps, and I couldn’t look at old men driving classics without getting angry at them. How come they got to stick around and he didn’t? How come his Vette had to go to some snot nosed punk and his loaded daddy, and some wrinkly country club snob got to keep his Skylark? I couldn’t deal with cars. I developed a nasty lead foot and I drove like three drunk men having a fistfight in the driver’s seat. I didn’t touch a steering wheel for another year after I blew the engine in my mom’s Sentra drag racing some jock from school and got myself arrested and my learner permit revoked.

And then I saw Mad Max: Fury Road.

Suddenly, seeing a classic didn’t hurt. Fury Road is the kind of movie where if you’ve just seen it, you’ll turn to the guy next to you and simultaneously high five him and punch him in the face, and if they’ve just seen it, they will let you. The adrenaline dulled the pain, and I could look at classic muscle and not hurt again. I looked at a classic and saw myself behind the wheel, Mad friggin’ Max. And then I took interest again.

I thought it was a passing phase, just another distraction in my life, like video games had been. But the more I looked into how cars worked and what made classics like Diamond work, what made them go so dang fast, the more I fell in love all over again.

I got my license a few months ago. I learned and took the test on my (now ex) girlfriend’s Datsun 720 pickup, but with the breakup she kept the truck and the dog (I should be writing a country song, right?), and I had just enough in my savings for my first car love after Diamond, the first classic I looked at again with awe and wonder.

Betty, the Black Fury. And that’s where we are now - Max, no longer mad, the driver of a black Fury, and going in tomorrow to start training for mechanical maintenance under the tutelage of my ‘uncle’ Rick, my grandfather’s lifelong friend and our family mechanic.

Thank you, CT. It wouldn’t have been possible without you guys. Thanks so much, from lfayy_lmao to Chadkake - all of you are the kind of people that the late, great Steve Estacado would want me to be hanging out with. Thank you, CT.

Sincerely,
Desert rat, Chevy kid, new blood mechanic, and driver of Betty the Black Fury, Max Estacado.

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