Chapter One

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Weather forecast for the week is rain, rain and more rain. The first meet up was Monday morning at 6:30am to try get a sunrise shoot and story done. It seemed unlikely with dark clouds and strong winds on Sunday night…but screw it I thought, we’ll give it a go anyway, just like this first real post.

Nothing unusual about a photographer getting up at 5:00am to get ready for a shoot. A good photographer would get up earlier, have his equipment ready to go and sit down for a good breakfast to fuel up for the dayMe on the other hand, having been out of this schedule for a while, ran out of the house at 5:10, toothpaste half rinsed out with a muffin and red bull in hand.

The morning was still dark on the way there but it’s always a nice drive up to Palm Beach up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. There was no traffic and the drive is filled with beautiful beaches and coastal views, highly recommended if you’re thinking of ever going for a drive to watch a sunrise. Even if you sport a Toyota Corolla.

On arrival, my first story teller and his partner had already arrived before me. Shit. Late to my own party.

Meet Min Kim. (I actually don’t have a photo of him which I will remember to do from now on with every story teller)

He’s a 21 year old, a resident of Dee Why who woke up way earlier than I did on what turned out to be a beautiful Monday morning.

I like a bit of life background, it gives you a good idea who the person is and where they’ve come from.

Min is from South Korea and migrated with his family back in the 2000s and has been ever since. Knowing Min in general, I wanted to find out more about where the passion for cars started for him and also what his opinion on car culture was.

Essential to this blog is what he currently drives. Here it is:

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pearl white Toyota 86 GTS. 

Where does Min’s story start? Before he bought the beautiful 86 in the photo above, he had a Volkswagen Golf and it was an automatic and began his story about how it had managed to be written off…we’re off to a good start! I think that was the moment that I woke up properly and asked, “How?”

Min had his innocent VW Golf parked outside his house, like he had every day and every night without any trouble. One night, Min’s mother had just come home and rushed into  his room with a slightly worried face (I would imagine), “Min, I think someone hit your car.” Hopping quickly out of his room to check the damage, he found out no one had left a note to accompany the there was a small scratch on the door. Okay it wasn’t a small scratch, his car looked like it had been hit by a bus. From the damage, it was concluded that his car was actually hit by a bus. There’s a lot of buses on the Northern Beaches and especially Dee Why being a major stop as it is quite central and is a major transit hub for commutoes. It’s almost like the Chatswood of the North Shore, that’s how I think about it. Now Min’s car was written off and not having a car for a month, he started to research into was written off and not having a car for a month, he started to research into what he would invest in next.

A few months back, Min had been to a car meet around Sydney and saw a few cars that he’d liked but never thought of owning one due to the fact he had his Golf. . When one door closes, another opens right? Well, when Min’s door was literally smashed shut, this opened another. Min told me during his research as he told me, he looked at two cars in particular: the Nissan Silvia S15 and the Toyota 86. But once he had walked into the Toyota showroom and saw the 86 sitting there in all it’s beauty, he knew he had to have it. The same week he looked at it was the same week he had the keys in his hands. A brand new Toyota 86:

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Why the 86? In the car scene, especially with Japanese sports coupes, it is really hard to find what they call a “clean” model of the car. A clean model basically means the car is stock and hasn’t been modified. In my time of being involved in the culture, I don’t think I’ve seen a clean S15. This was one of the reasons that Min didn’t go for the S15s as it was hard to find used one that was “clean” and untouched so to speak. On the other hand, when purchasing an 86, the only added “touch” would be the engineer’s careful pushing of plastic clips into the holes that you can never ever remove. Why do you want a clean car to start off with? In my opinion, it gives you the chance to modify the car to the way that you want it.

For Min, he’s had the car for two years now and has made the car his own. Although there is a big population of 86/BRZ’s out there, you’ll see in future posts that no one’s car that I’ll share will ever be the same either on the inside/outside. Yes, there are what we call “purists”  who do keep their car as stock as possible but that’s a heated discussion for later discussion.

Min has made his car his own as the following photos hopefully show:

 

By this time, I’ve had a good chat with Min and his partner now and it was time to move on to the important questions. Why do people see us – car enthusiasts – in such a negative manner and what does Min see in cars and the culture that has him hooked?

Min brought up a good point that media makes us out to be worse that we actually are. We must admit that some people do stupid shit on the roads that makes us look bad, but one bad apple doesn’t mean that all apples doesn’t the tree is rotten.

If car culture isn’t what the media portrays it to be, how would you describe it? ? Min explained that having a passion for cars doesn’t mean that you have to drive around like a race driver all the time on public roads – owning a car that is uniquely yours is something that you can take pride in and is enjoyable to drive.

One thing that I think I couldn’t agree more on is that in the end it comes down to the attitude of the driver and their own car. It’s good to know how much power your car can make and how fast you can go. But more importantly to know the limitations of your car and yourself.

I’d recommend anyone with any car to go to a track day at least once to experience what it’s like to take yourself to the limit or over the limit without causing danger to anyone else. This was the best way – for me anyway – to learn about my car and about my driving skills. Even if it’s not your thing” to track your car, it’s a good way to know both the potential and limitations of every car.

We made it to the end of Chapter One!

I’d like to thank Min for sharing his story and his thoughts with me on an early Monday morning!

Now for some more photos:

 

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