I grew up in Michigan, not Detroit that everyone knows and either love or hate. I grew up in a town 2 hours north of Detroit, all that town had was a dot on the map, a gas station, 2 schools, and a lot of farm land. I lived in Michigan at a time when we drove cars from 3 manufacturers, and if you don't know what those 3 are, stop reading now as you won't understand.

What Fast and the Furious taught me.

I was 13 and desperately wanted a Mustang, my favorite car since I was old enough to remember. I worked on my family's farm as an unpaid worker so I didn't have money, nor was there any in my future. My mother was a stay at home mom, and my father was an executive for a consulting firm for the big 3 that had helped in the development of ABS, the SRS airbag, as well as a few other things that I really don't know. On my 14th birthday, a full 2 years before I could drive, my mom and dad took me out to look at a car about an hour and a half away.

It was a 1968 Mustang, 289 v8 with a 2 barrel carburetor, and the ugliest lime gold paint I have ever seen. It was mine, salvage title and all. It was the epitome of my dream car, sure it had a black vinyl roof and a rusting floorboard, but it was mine. I bragged on that car until I could drive, I washed it, tuned the carburetor, tried to fix the floorboard... and couldn't. When I turned 16, I passed my drivers test, got my license and registered my muscle car, that looking back on it was a big piece of crap.

What it also instilled in myself for that time was that "American cars are the best, and if it doesn't have a V8, it sucked." Until I saw a movie with a friend who owned a 96 eclipse. That movie as implied was Fast and Furious. It bonded us closer together in its heinous action, and terrible acting, that all car guys share at least one major thing in common, the love of all things auto.

It didn't matter if it was Japanese, Korean, German, 'Merican, British, or the other various types. We all share an affinity to anything vehicular. Beyond all of that fads we may not like, or things that we do enjoy, there will always be someone out there to share it with. You may love Miatas, wagons, or even Jeeps. We are all bonded by the love of our transportation choices.

I sold that old Mustang when I went to college, I couldn't drive it the 90 minutes to the suburbs of Detroit. I have stayed true to what I have liked, American v8's, by owning Ford trucks and most recently Jeeps. My wife drives a Ford Focus, but all the people I hang out with have their own likes and dislikes but we all can talk about what we like.

With the passing of Paul Walker I am reminded that time is fleeting, and that one day our time on earth will end. While we have that time though, we should not push away what we don't agree with but try to ask and understand why, as gear-heads, someone else likes what they do and try to understand it. Remember street racing is for the movies. Teach that to all, and condone your local track days. Don't put others, or yourself at risk. Also, remember where your brake is, since every part of the fun pedal is the one right next to it to slow down.

Good Luck and drive safe Oppo's! Thanks for reading my novel of a first post and if you didn't make it all the way through, oh well. I enjoyed writing this!