Saturday, November 7, 2009

Happy Birthday To Just A Car Geek, Pt. 2

Long and rambling...

The actual writing of the blog is easy (because I don't proofread...). Finding cars to write about is sometimes tough. There are weeks when eBay, Craigslist, AutoTrader.com, etc., have a ton of great cars listed. Then there are weeks where they have nothing. Those are the times when it's tough to write this blog and probably tough to read it.

Years ago I worked at a radio station. In radio they talk about having a "crutch". A crutch is something you say repeatedly when you have nothing really good or clever to say. I found myself developing a crutch when writing this blog. When I couldn't find anything unique to write about, I fell back to writing about an Alfa, Maserati, Renault, BMW, Audi, whatever. Cars I am comfortable with. I'm trying to get past that, and that's why now you're seeing posts about cars like the Goggomobil Dart. That was far from being the best post I've ever written, but I felt it was better than writing about another "comfortable" car. Anytime any of you guys want to help me out by sending me links to cars or websites, feel free to do it. Really.

I don't make any money from the cars I post. I just find a car I like and write about it. Unless I e-mail them for some more information, the sellers have no idea their car is on this site.

When I write about a car I am not suggesting that anyone should buy it. I'm just pointing it out. I'm not qualified to pass judgment on a car's value. When I do write something like "this car seems like a bargain", I'm basing that on the prices of similar cars I've seen. It's also important to remember that 99.9% of the time I have not seen the car I'm writing about in person. When I write something like "this car appears to be in great condition", I'm looking at the pictures and taking the word of the seller. Recently, there was a case of someone who did buy a car I wrote about and it was in nowhere near the condition the seller described it. If you're interested in a car I've written about, check it out thoroughly and do some research. Don't take my word for it that it's a good car at a good price.

I've taken some heat for some of the cars I've chosen to write about. A Fiat Brava sedan, an Austin Marina, a Yugo, a Renault...

Cars like that fascinate me. It's pretty easy to see why someone would restore or preserve an exotic like a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Aston Martin. They are truly incredible cars and usually worth the money one needs to spend in order to restore and maintain them. Old Alfas, Jaguars, MGs, Triumphs, Healeys, BMWs, etc., are understandable, too. They are fun cars with historic names and are great classics for people on a bit of a budget.

But the Fiat sedans, Austins, Yugos and Renaults of the world are, in a way, classics, too. If nothing else they're a piece of history. Most of those types of cars were sent to junkyards as soon they outlived their usefulness. Yet the ones I write about have somehow survived. A few I've written about have been restored. Parts for those cars are often tougher to find than those for true "classics" and it takes as much time and effort to restore a Yugo as it does an Alfa.

Each year I attend several cars shows at the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation. They break some of their shows down into countries of origin, i.e. British Day, German Day, etc. At the British show I'll see dozens of Healeys and E-Types. They become commonplace. "Yeah, yeah, another Healey 3000, another V12 E-Type..." I've never see a Marina at one of these shows, yet they're British, they're old and they're historical. It would stand out parked next to the Triumphs, Jags, MGs, and Austin Healeys. Because of its rarity today, it might even get more looks than many of the better known classics.

I look at this blog and all the other car blogs out there as cyber car shows. I'm just including some lesser known cars in my little car show. I respect anyone who takes the time and spends money on restoring a car that, for all intents and purposes, is worthless. In my mind, they deserve as much recognition as the guy who restores a Ferrari. Being passionate about any car, be it a Marina or a Ferrari, is better than having no passion at all.

When I started this blog I said I wasn't going to write about Ferraris, Porsches, Aston Martins, etc. There are many, many great websites dedicated to those cars. I wanted to keep this blog dedicated to unfamiliar cars and cars the average person could afford to own. There was one problem with that... I like Ferraris, Porsches, Aston Martins, etc. I like them a lot. A few started creeping into the blog. When that happens I try to feature an unusual or reasonably priced one. That doesn't always happen, but I try.

With a lot of help from my friends...

My friends, Jeff, John, Tim and Tony, have all provided me things to write about. Other friends (and a few strangers) have provided inspiration (often unknowingly) for posts. Readers Simon, Brandes, Matthew, Richard and "Hoov" have also sent me interesting cars and links to interesting websites. Thanks! I really appreciate it!

Going forward...

When I started this a year ago, I no real idea what I was going to do with it. It was sort of aimless. I posted some of the old "Car Geek Breaks", some personal stories and a few cars. I sometimes look at the first few months of this blog and cringe. It was pretty lousy. It's a little more focused now, I think. It's kind of become a clearinghouse for unusual and interesting cars. (At least that's how I see it.) It will probably stay that way, but I'm always open to ideas.

I've kept this blog pretty simple. Using Google's blogger.com to write and publish the posts makes everything incredibly easy. It does limit access somewhat, though. I've done some searches for this blog on search engines other than Google and it rarely shows up. I registered the name justacargeek.com when I started this blog, but I haven't set up a website. After the first of the year I may make an attempt at moving the blog off of Google and over to its own website. I'm not the most computer savvy person in the world and this could take some time, but that's the goal.

As it says in the upper right corner of the blog "submissions are always welcome". Feel free to e-mail me your stories, pictures, cars, etc. Don't forget that there is a "Comments" section below each post. It's a great place to add your opinion, talk about a car or criticize the post.

So that's about it. There's not much more to say, except for thank you for reading the blog. Thank you very, very much.

1 comment:

Max Power said...

'...A Fiat Brava sedan, an Austin Marina, a Yugo, a Renault...'

These are EXACTLY the cars I want to read about. These are the cars that get my attention. Last year, I saw a relatively clean Plymouth Cricket zip by...my jaw dropped! I don't even remember seeing these as a kid in the 70's let alone now. A 69 mint Mustang on the other hand...I might glance for a second.

Keep it up! And for the record...my first car was a 1978 1/2 Super Brava (the first year of the Brava series had two trim levels...in 79, Fiat got rid of the lower Brava trim level (it essentially had the old 131 interior) and changed the name of the Super Brava into the Brava)