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Before I start into my rant, I want you all to know this has nothing to do with you guys. If you don’t know my stance on modding cars, here it is. DO IT! Mod the heck out of your car. Even if you want to bring your car to the dealer to get it worked on. Just remember you will pay to play! But this rant is less about modding cars, and more about how people act.

Okay, on to the rant. I try and spend a fair amount of time in forums and Yahoo answers. I work hard to try and help folks out with there car questions. The folks that might not ever find the blog, or bring their car to me for service. It also helps me keep up with what folks are concerned about.

In spending so much time in those places I realized that people are really arrogant mean. I can’t tell you how many times I have read.

That car looks stupid, you need to do this and this and this, then it will be cool.

You can fill in whatever you want for the “this”. It could be slam the car’s suspension so you can’t even drive it, or tinting the windows so dark you cant see in or out. Then tell me how great the car drives, or they can totally see fine. Both of which I know are lies!

Here is the truth about modding cars. If you like it, do it! If you think that putting huge wheels on your car is cool, rock on. If you want to load your car up with stickers, go for it.

The only thing that I will say is do the install right, and be safe. Pinching the power wire of your amplifier in the car door is STUPID and dangerous. Do the job right!

So when it comes to “pimping your car” do what you like. Get over the fact that everyone has different tastes. Just because you like something, doesn’t mean that your was is the only way. There is no need too throttle someone else for doing something to their car, just because you don’t like it.

Sorry for the rant guys, but I need to say it.

 

Well, it was only a matter of time before we came to Fahrvergnügen. Do you remember the ad campaign from the 90s? You know,

Its what makes a car, a Volkswagen!

I didn’t work for VW during that ad launch, but I remember it pretty well. I know that people were kinda nuts about saying it. Since the weather is getting awesome, I thought that I would take a little step back and share my “Driving Enjoyment” story.

Growing up I was not really a kid that was into cars. I mean, I loved the poster of the Ferrari Testarossa, or the Lamborghini Countach as much as any kid, but that was about it. My first car was a sweet red Jeep Wrangler. It was the super underpowered 5sp 4 cylinder, but none of that mattered. It was so much fun to drive. What could be better than 4wheel drive, AND a convertible? Not much in my mind..

Now me being me, I could not leave the Jeep how it was.(hang with me, I will get back to driving). The first thing that I did was get a CD player installed. Now this was pretty awesome for 1997. Since I ALWAYS had the top off, I needed to add some bigger sound. I got a couple of speaker boxes from Best Buy, and installed them. I had no idea how, but I figured it out. I had an amplifier installed to pump more juice to the speakers. At the time, I didn’t care about going fast, it was all about the ride.

As a teenager, there as nothing better than cruising around on the back roads with the top down, and radio pumping. I thought I was the coolest cat in town. It was those times that made me fall in love with driving. It didn’t matter if I was in a bad mood, a great mood, mad, sad, you name it. That drive seemed to cure what ailed me.

Fast forward a few years, and a couple of lame cars later, I fell back in love with driving. Ironically it was about the time I started working in the car business. When I worked at CarMax, I found the next my next car love. It was a 1997 Acura Integra GSR. The GSR looked cool, sounded awesome, and was FAST. It was far and away the fastest car I had owned, and my love of driving was renewed. Much like the Jeep, it was windows down, radio blaring, just enjoying the ride. Well, I sold that Integra in an adult decision. I needed to ditch the car payment to go to tech school. It was a sad day to see her go. I learned a lot about installing car stereos on that car. It was the first car I really hooked up, the right way.

Since then I have had some cool cars. My Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX was cool. I had an Acura CL Type-S for a while that was nice, but nothing like the GSR and the Jeep. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Passat. I have had it longer than any other car I have ever owned. The Fahrvergnügen is there, but not like it was.

You know its funny, I talk to people that say “I hate driving”. I like of all the really awesome times that I have been behind the wheel. It bums me out that they don’t share that same love of driving that I do. Now don’t get me wrong, I HATE sitting in traffic and I hate driving in snow. Short of that, I am all about the drive. Let me also be clear, NOT the ride. I don’t make a very good passenger. I am sure that my wife would be more than happy to tell you all about it. 😀

Be sure to subscribe to the  Humble Mechanic YouTube channel. The videos will coming more often. The Cabriolet will be coming home on Tuesday(I hope). I can’t wait to start working on it. There will be lots-o-videos to see. Don’t miss them.

If you have ever caught the Fahrvergnügen consider sharing the love, by sharing this post. Share this post by clicking your favorite icon.

NAME:

Joel C Armstrong

How long have you been in the Industry?

Since 2005

What is your current job title?

Currently Unemployed

What were you doing for your first automotive job?

I worked at Manhattan Motorcars Inc. In New York City. It’s a luxury/high end dealership that specializes in Porsche, Lamborghini, Bentley, Rolls Royce, and Lotus sales and service. I was a Porsche and Lamborghini Technician. We have a certified Pre-Owned/ used car department that sell other high end brands such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz/ Maybach etc.

Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?

No, after Manhattan Motorcars I went to work at Mercedes-Benz. I honestly prefer to work at a dealership because of certain benefits but you have more of a family oriented feeling at an aftermarket shop because it’s smaller. There’s less politics to deal with.

When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?

Everyday i get up at about 5:59 (because 6:00 is just clichéd), I take my mom to work, come home and take care of what I’m doing for school because I plan on going back to Law School.

What kind of car do you drive?

2004 Ford Expedition. I also have a 2006 Yamaha R6 Anniversary Edition.

What was your first car?

1990 Ford Taurus. It was a free gift from one of my teachers when I went to school.

What made you want to work on cars?

I always loved cars. I had several subscriptions to automotive magazines like Road & Track, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Automobile, and Euro Tuner. Naturally, I was attracted to the higher end performance vehicles and wanted to work closely to them. I wanted to see what it felt like to be able to do 150+MPH, just because the car has the ability to do so. The mechanics and engineering that was put into creating such cars captivated my interest while reading about them in said magazine subscriptions.

What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?

I was once removing a headliner on a Cayenne Turbo and while doing the R&R on the driver side visor, a bunch of Polaroids fell in my lap. Upon further investigation, they happened to be naked pictures of the customer’s girlfriend(s) lol they were at least 3 different girls. Weird.

Do you have much customer interaction?

Yes, for the most part I do. well, when I did work on their vehicles.

What is your favorite part of your job?

The Road test. Definitely.

If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?

It’s sad to say but I would never trust people so easily. You’re of the mind that everyone is on the same team, but I realized it’s never like that.

The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?

Depending on the situation, I would try to find out what the problem was and then explain to them what we would’ve done or what we usually do in our situation/shop. Most of the time a lot of women think they’re being given the “Shaft” because they’re usually ignorant of most automotive problems, but I explain to them how things work as far as let’s say: why your car takes so long to get an oil change. or why does it cost so much to change a tire or repair a transmission. etc I let them know about labor times, over head, flat rate, parts, tax, test and asses and making sure your problem is fixed when you walk out our door. Things like that take time. So i explain that to them.

Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?

I would have to say get regular oil/filter services. That goes a long way. Trust me, I’ve seen what NOT changing your oil EVER would do to an engine. This one customer hadn’t changed her oil in her Boxster since she had gotten the car. She came in complaining about her engine pinging. We first off opened the drain plug and what looked like black jelly dropped out in globs. The whole engine was filled with the stuff.

How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?

It’s really important because it answers mostly all the questions you may have, from what kind of gas your car needs, tire pressure numbers, how often you should change fluids in your car etc.

Have you read the owners manual to your car?

Yes. I’m proud to say that i have!

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

It’s either a toss up between my Makita Drill (set) and my Snap On 3/8″ flex head ratchet with the soft grip and smooth ratcheting action.

Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?

Snap-On. Not trying to sound like an advertisement, but it really does make a difference!

If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?

A light for dark places, my drill with bits/ sockets and flat head screwdriver for prying. I think those are the most universal tools of all. The bottom of the drill would also act like a hammer indifferent applications and the screw driver for leverage.

If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?

A HUGE pair of hands to toss these Sunday drivers/ NYC yellow cabs out of the way when I’m going somewhere and running a little late. lol

You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?

Maybe a Toyota Camry or a Honda Accord. Those are good reliable cars and pretty OK on gas.

What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?

It’s actually EASIER to get a job there than you may think. Go in and apply, but be prepared to work, though. Any sign of slacking and you’re outta there faster than you can read this sentence!

 

GREAT interview Joel! I am totally cracking up about the pics of the customers girl friends!!! I am also pretty sure that if I was a Lamborghini tech, test drives would be my favorite part if the job! If you guys have any other questions for Joel, post them up in the comments.If we can get him to post in the comments, I would like to ask him how hard working on such high line cars~ How cool!

 

I am really excited to get some aftermarket point of view. The great thing about the performance market, is that it’s more fun for most car people! Thomas has some pretty awesome stuff! If you have a VW, Audi, or Porsche, check out APTuning.

NAME:

Thomas Dickinson

How long have you been in the Industry?

Professionally – approx 11yrs   Enthusiast – approx 15yrs

What is your current job title?

Wholesale Sales and Marketing Manager

What were you doing for your first automotive job?

Car stereo/electronics installation

Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?

Aftermarket, never worked at a dealer

Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.

I do not work on cars much nowadays so my typical events include email, website, and online orders. Website and internet marketing and advertising. Managing our subdealers for companies such as APR and United Motorsport.

When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?

work on other cars lol, work on my motorcyle, relax with family

What kind of car do you drive?

B5 Audi currently for a daily

What was your first car?

Honda CRX

What made you want to work on cars?

As any true enthusiast would tell you, I do not think there is a answer for that, it’s just in our blood

What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?

No Comment HA

Do you have much customer interaction?

Yes quite a bit

What is your favorite part of your job?

Used to be completely some crazy or custom such as a big turbo build. However since I have pretty much migrated to the digital world of the business, once of my favorite things now is finishing video like a dyno runs and such but in a new, cooler looking way

If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?

Not really sure

The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?

I don’t think it has a bad wrap as a whole, consumers usually think used car dealers seem to be that way, but as we are in the aftermarket its not so bad other then trying to compete with online only venders with little overhead

Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?

maintain proper oil change intervals

How important is reading your vehicles owners manual?

It is definitely helpful to making sure to know and get the most out of your vehicle

Have you read the owners manual to your car?

Yep

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

hard to say

Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?

MAC

If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?

Adjustable, pliers, and phillips screwdriver. Not that its easy but theoretically almost any job can be accomplished with them

If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?

Turbos 🙂

You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?

A pre-MK4 Vw. Its easy and cheap to maintain yet still looks cool to the right person

What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?

It can be a very stressful and complicated job, its not just turning wrenches nowdays.

 

Thanks Thomas for letting us in on yet another side of the auto industry. If you guys want some performance stuff for your VW or Audi, check out APTuning!

If you would like to be featured on “Behind The Wrench”, just contact me