Thursday, November 29, 2012

Your journey, our collective passion

In continuation from previous posts The end of an era and The evolution of iheartstance

2012 has been one crazy year. 

When you write a blog and share it with the world, one thing you start to slowly realise is that it isn’t just your blog anymore. It may be written by you, it may be about your life and you may own the domain name, but it isn’t just yours. It also belongs to those people - your readers, whether an audience of 50 or 50,000 people – it belongs to every single one of them as well as you.

Over the last couple of years iheartstance has become my identity and my name. It's the first thing people think when they see my car, when they see me. The truth is that I do and always will heart stance; I love the way a car sits with what I believe to be the right wheel choice, ride height and body modifications. These are all things that I am passionate about. But I feel as if the word 'stance' has gradually become disassociated from the actual meaning of the word itself. I'm also passionate about having a point of difference, and being original is something that matters to me. Being categorised with a million other websites with a similar name is not really something that appeals to me at all. But as I've said, this has now become my identity.

Instead of focusing on the word stance, I think that people should take note of the meaning behind it. I think the word itself is a trend, and trends always change. ‘Movements' move on. But what stays behind? Well, that's up to you – it’s up to all of us. I've found that as I learn more about cars and automotive culture, the things that I consider 'cool' are constantly changing. As individuals, our paths are all different, and because of this our tastes and likes will also be different. Throughout my journey I’ve not only discovered things that I do and don’t like, but I’ve also gained the experience to give reason as to why I prefer this over that.

What have I learned from my experiences so far?

I've developed a huge amount of respect and appreciation for the Japanese tuning industry, older nostalgic Japanese vehicles especially. The Nissan/Datsun S30 would have to be my favourite old school chassis, and it almost gives me shivers thinking about how AWESOME my very own S30 is going to look once it is completed! 



Photo from Auto-Otaku.com

One day I’d also love to own a Kenmeri (C110) or a Hakosuka (C10) Skyline, but for now - one car at a time!


Photo from Speedhunters

As my obsession with wheels has developed I’ve learned quite a bit about them – different makes and reputable brands, suitability to the vehicle, correct size and offset, wheel gap (or lack of) and camber are all important to me. As I’ve learnt more about wheels I’ve grown to love old school/vintage Japanese wheels, Hayashi, SSR/Speedstar, and Work wheels in particular. I still have a lot to learn though.

For those people who haven’t followed this blog from day one, let me start from the beginning and explain how I’ve got to this point. My journey started with the internet, where influences from the USDM scene caught my attention.


Photo by Phaze2

What did I see when I looked at this photo? A cute daily driver with character would probably sum it up the best. And so my new love for slammed Scion xBs with roof racks blossomed, and I set my mind on acquiring one and slapping on some wheels, suspension and a roof rack as soon as possible.


From the moment I started modifying my bB, nothing came easy. The struts I purchased didn’t fit, the spacers didn’t fit – it was all basic stuff but it was still frustrating! After that I remember people saying to me (and these words will always stick in my head), “If it was easy, everybody would do it” and “Welcome to cars!”

Ahh… so it was meant to be a challenge!


Around this time my partner announced ‘I’ve had enough of wasting money on modifying new cars!” and decided to buy a beautiful classic 1967 Cadillac Coupe Deville. I had never seen anything like it before! We went to classic car meets and discovered Beach Hop for the first time, and we soon fell in love with classic American cars. I was fascinated especially by the styling from the 50s and 60s, the big tail fins, detailed interiors and oversized bodies. After selling the Cadillac it also taught me the lesson that classic cars don’t depreciate in value.


Meanwhile with my bB, I began to search for a set of wheels within my price range, and I saw a set of 15" ‘OG old school' rims which I went ahead and purchased. After reading around on the internet I soon discovered that these were a cheaper replica design of another wheel, and I didn't like that. In fact, nobody even pointed this out to me at the time, which seems weird. Maybe it was because I was a girl and they didn’t want to offend me! Either way, I didn't know what a 'fake' wheel was. The fact was that they were a direct rip-off of another (more expensive) design of wheel, the Work Equip 03. For me, I didn’t like that a company was producing a product that was pretending to be something it wasn’t. I felt a bit stupid, like they had tricked me. From this point onwards I started learning more about Japanese wheels and other wheels in general.


Soon after this I also came to the realisation that the bB couldn’t go any lower without getting stuck driving into my work parking building every day, and that was the deal breaker for me. Aftermarket parts could only be imported from overseas and were expensive. At that point I knew that if I really wanted to take things to the ‘next level’ of awesomeness, I was going to have to own two cars. One for the purpose of daily driving, and one as a project car. Enter, the Miatasaurus! 


Photo from Stanceworks.com

I drew initial inspiration from this RX-7 after reading a feature on StanceWorks. I loved how it was so unique looking; I loved how it had purpose. After this I knew what I wanted from my project car - I wanted something that reflected my own personality, but I also wanted something nimble and lightweight; ideal for developing further skills behind the wheel, not just for looking good. I wanted a vehicle that could be easily modified with plenty of available aftermarket support, and I wanted something that could go super low, and something that I could have a lot of fun with. Something that could be a bit girly but also have the potential to be bad-ass. I decided that a caged MX-5 convertible would be the way to go!


Somewhere in between working on the MX-5, blogging and driving, I found out about the cartoon series Initial D and became totally addicted. It might sound a bit silly but it completely changed how I looked at the car scene. I became more interested in drifting as a sport; and I also became more interested in Japanese cars and the history behind them. Soon opportunity came knocking, and I found myself on a plane bound for the land of the rising run, where some crazy adventures went down! The part of my trip that had the biggest impact on me was the day I spent out at Tsukuba Circuit and watching the cars race in the Idlers games.

 

All the things I’d seen on the internet I’d drawn visual inspiration from, however physically being in this environment in Japan surrounded by these incredible machines was a new kind of inspiration for me. There was an MX5 class racing that day and I found myself in awe of the little convertibles zooming around the circuit – some of them damn fast too!

 

From that point onwards I felt differently about my MX5, I understood the car better – I understood its purpose, I felt more connected to my car. 



I enjoyed being in the driver’s seat more than I did before.


While I was busy modifying my MX-5 and throwing myself head-first into all things JDM, I also got to watch as my partner went through the process of restoring an old 1967 Chevrolet. He took the car and transformed it from an old rusty hunk of metal into the most beautiful and pristine example of an Impala that I’ve ever seen (of that year anyway). Seeing the car go through that transformation from something ordinary to something extraordinary really inspired me, especially seeing how all of the hard work and careful thought that went into the build process has now paid off. Having such a unique looking car that you can have so much fun cruising around in and have so many other people share your love for it with you – that’s something special. It made me realise that I really liked the idea of ‘being responsible’ for restoring a classic car like that.


But my heart lay within the chassis of a Japanese classic, not American. Although I knew that one day I was going to own a Z car ‘when the right one popped up’ I had no idea that day was going to come so soon. When I saw the listing for it online I knew that it was meant to be… It didn’t have the 240z badge I’d been dreaming of, but that didn’t matter to me. Something about this car in particular felt right – I could see the potential and my mind had already gone into overdrive thinking about all the amazing things I wanted to do to it! I had to make a very quick decision about buying it, and I knew that I could only afford to have one project car in my life at this point in time. I knew that once I made that decision there was no turning back…


Unfortunately, the consequences of this decision have now caught up with me. I’m sad to say that today my MX-5 was sold to a new owner. Did I get a lump in my throat when I handed over the keys? Yes. But do I regret letting go of my beloved car? Yes… and no.

My MX-5 wasn’t a car that I modified to ‘show off’ and become an ‘internet success’ if you would call it that. My MX-5 was part of my journey, my path of discovery, my life – which has changed considerably because of my time behind its little steering wheel. The Miatasaurus was just another stage of my journey in discovering my own automotive passion, and perhaps it helped me realise the most important thing of all.


Our journeys may all be different, but if two people both love cars then I believe that we should still be able to be classed in the same category. The word ‘stance’ might always be a part of who I am and what I like. But it doesn’t define my blog, and it doesn’t define what is ‘cool’. Cool is whatever you like. What you love. Whatever YOU think looks good.

So I ask you, take time out to think why you like what you do like and the reason behind why. Don’t follow what everyone does just for the sake of it, have an informed opinion. If you don’t agree with something that someone else has done to their car, STOP and think about what you see. This person has had their own automotive journey and they have their own tastes and reasons behind what they like, just like me.

If your tastes and likes are similar to mine, then that’s great! But if not, keep an open mind. Respect other automotive enthusiasts, and respect our collective passion. 

“Let’s all join together with positive energy, desires and dreams. If everyone could share these feelings together we could have a wonderful life with cars” - Kato-san from Liberty Walk.

So here's to new beginnings, new dreams and new chapters. The Miatasaurus is gone; but I believe that all things happen for a reason. The S30z is just the next chapter in my journey, and I'm excited to find out where it's about to take me.


To conclude this update for 2012, I wanted to share a few of the messages and emails I’ve received from some of my readers throughout the time I’ve owned the Miatasaurus. Although it is sad letting go of a car that I have formed such a close bond with, reading some of your thoughtful and positive messages makes me feel like the last two years have truly been worth it!

Hey Taryn!

I just wanted to say thank-you for finally getting me interested in cars! My boyfriend has been trying to get me to share his interest in them for over a year now and I just really didn't get it until he showed me your blog! I was absolutely fascinated by your car because it's so pretty and just amazing! Now my aim is to one day have a car as awesome as yours; my boyfriend’s a mechanic too so I’m sure that will help.grin So thanks for finally showing me that cars are actually really interesting! 




Hi iheartstance!
I just wanted to say that your Miata is sick and I’m glad there’s another blonde girl who had no idea what she was doing, but then fell in love with a Miata and cars in general and wasn’t scared to get in there! It’s great what you’re doing!



Hey Taryn,

I have been a huge fan of your efforts and your blog. I have recently started following you on Instagram and look forward to seeing more of your efforts on your Miata. It's great what you are doing for the NZ stance/flush fitment scene. I'm here in Canada and at my local meets in Toronto I have introduced my blog to some of my friends. Even the girls I hang out with are so impressed with your work and now finally showing interest in my hobby...cars. Thanks and keep up the great work!



Hi Taryn,

I'm from the United States and your Miata is one of a few that inspired me to get one as a first car. Thanks so much!


Hey Taryn,

I didn't realise but my 6 year old daughter has been reading your blog on my computer. She thinks you’re really great and asked me if I could get her an iheartstance sticker for her. She knows all about your trip to Japan and everything. I’m so proud she is reading your blog while on my computer rather than reading about Barbie etc. I think you've inspired a future stance queen!



Hi Taryn!

I just wanted to let you know how much of an inspiration you are to girls (and guys for that matter) out there. My family has always been involved in racing so I’ve been around cars my whole life; and your website has let me see a whole new perspective and I LOVE IT. So I just wanted to say thank you, I love reading your site, reading about everything I love. Your posts have opened my eyes to a whole new world. Your latest blog post ‘the evolution of iheartstance’ is definitely one of my all-time favourites; it shows how much you have grown with everything from the Miata to your blog. Basically what I am trying to say is that it’s so refreshing reading your blog and knowing that there are some girls in the scene too! I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for you, your blog and the Miata. 


Thank-you and congratulations on the success of iheartstance.

3 comments:

  1. Hey Taryn....really sad that the MX-5 is gone. I don't own a car yet, but I've always somehow found myself looking at yours and sort of planning what mine would look like. When i found your blog two years ago, it kind of kicked off my love for the stance scene. Like you said, the meaning of that word has really evolved over the years, but I think you have somehow managed to stay true to what it was initially when i first found you. Im sure you'll keep that passion going on with the S30 :)

    Nuff Respect from Jamaica. U zeet. Just Duh Road and nuh watch nuh face.

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  2. I just want you to know that you inspired me to get a miata. I now own a 91 miata in white :). I worked my assoff for it and I LOVE it!!! I love your blog so much and I'm so excited to see what else ur new car will bring. I used to want a Z for the longest time but realized the miata was for me. Thank you for your awesome blog!

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  3. Saw the post on speed hunters, found your blog and read the whole thing. Your a legit car fanatic, I can tell cause I'm also a fanatic and the feelings you describe are the same as mine. Its an all consuming addiction that grows day after day.

    Keep up the good work :)

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