Stateside Garage: Long Before the Business. The Birth of the Addiction.

Posted by Andrew Schmeling on

July, the year of Two Thousand (2000).  Drivers License acquired.  The family 1996 Subaru Impreza Outback Sport, Blue/Silver, Auto, Grey Cloth interior was en-trusted to me to begin independent operation of.  Freedom, more than every before, was realized!

Of course, long before this moment in time, I was reading every issue of Sport Compact Car and Super Street I could get my hands on.  Ordering every FREE Catalog to be shipped to me via MAIL from manufacturers and making list upon list of cars, parts, costs and timelines perceived to perform such builds on whatever 1st car I would be luck enough to call my own.

As the months following drivers license procurement went on.  I proved myself to be safe and trustworthy on the public roads and with the peer pressure of all that was/is High School.  The time was approaching for me to choose a vehicle to call "my own".  The list was short...and looking back on it now...very strange, but it was the Early-2000's and THICK in the middle of the Sport Compact, Fast and the Furious, Hot Import Nights, NOPI Nations, Mischief era.  In, somewhat, but no particular order they were as follows:

1. 94+ Acura Integra

2. 92+ Honda Civic

3. 95-99 Dodge Neon Coupe

4. 93-97 Ford Probe GT

5. 93+ Subaru Impreza Coupe/Sedan

6. 91-95 Mitsubishi Mirage Coupe

7. 91-95 Lexus ES300

These were the vehicles catching my eye on the roads, in magazines and videos.  Each with a strong enough aftermarket parts presence.  Much larger than what I knew I could afford at age 16!

As test drives started to happen and true understanding of what I liked and WHO I was as a "Car Guy"... the choice became clear.  The domestic vehicles were out.  Sorry America.  Love ya, but...not ya cars! :(  Japanese vehicles were calling my name and would officially be in my blood for life.

Fall of 2000 came about and while searching the World Wide Web on our desk top, family, home computer attached via dial-up a strong contender crossed the screen and we pressed PRINT!  This one we knew we were going to make the drive and go see.

Still have the print out to this day.  And soon I will actually frame it after all these years and numerous moves and life changes...I've always known where this piece of paper was. 

This Acura Integra just brought out the best in me and was a great car for 3+ years.  Many memories, many miles, a couple different "styles" gone through! 

It all came to an end Summer of 2003 when I sold it to fund the next big project/idea....1999 Honda Civic DX Hatchback.  This one I would go much harder on and regret to this day that I sold it... I'll save that journey for the next entry!  Plenty more stories to come...


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