Wednesday, June 12, 2013

For the of the love car

Why valley guys love cars so much


By JON MENTZER
Express Staff Writer

Mechanic Phil Huff polishes up a 1939 Ford in his garage in Hailey. Huff said he has owned the car for 52 years, since he bought it with money he earned mowing lawns. He specializes in restoring cars from the 1920s and 30s. Photo by Roland Lane

Sometimes there are no words to describe how a guy feels, but rather a sound. It can come in the form of a grunt, a yell, a laugh or in some cases, the sound of an engine. The roar of a car engine is like a man’s call to nature.
    Whether you’re a grease monkey, a car aficionado or just a regular guy with a regular old truck, there’s something that we all have in common: When we hear an engine, we take notice and for a moment our minds take us to the road. It satisfies the primal urge to roam free and the beast within is eased. Having a cool car is like pumping our chests out. Egos get stroked with every pumping piston and it feels good.
    “I look at it like art. Art that you can smell and feel and hear. It makes you feel good to drive it,” said Dave Stone, owner of Sun Valley Auto Club. “I think it has something to do with power and sex appeal. It appeals to the stereotypical man. You think of the growl of the American muscle cars and the beautiful lines of the Italian super cars.”
    Stone and the Sun Valley Auto Club have seen their fair share of beautiful cars as the club puts on the annual Sun Valley Road Rally every year.
    Even though newer cars like the Audi R8 have come into the Auto Club, Stone said he’s still amazed by some of the vintage cars.
    “Some cars that blow me away are some of the old muscle cars that come back to life,” he said. “Some old Corvettes and some old Porsches are what get me going. Some cars that weren’t special in their day are now special. An old pickup truck is a hot car to have right now. To me, it’s the visual images.”
    If we are what we drive, then the vintage, well-polished cars are the ladies men. These cars are clean-cut, smooth, comfortable, fast and catch females’ attention. We as men have been influenced since we were young. We watched red Ferraris capture our imaginations in Magnum P.I. and Miami Vice. We watched Bo Duke and Luke Duke run from the police in their General Lee 1969 Dodge Charger in the Dukes of Hazard. And who could forget Daisy Duke? She played an immense role in our love for cars.
    A car fuels us like how our testosterone drives us: It just feels good to be loud, fast and sometimes mean. And if there’s a parallel to cars and testosterone, then one big reason why we love cars so much is because women notice them.
    One connection that this valley has to cars is that Hollywood’s greatest actor/stuntman roamed these parts. None other than Steve McQueen’s legacy has drawn the awe of many guys who love cars, and when you sandwich the fascination with cars and McQueen’s coolness, many guys in the valley picture themselves driving a forest green 1968 Ford Mustang GT like the one McQueen drove in “Bullit.” And even though McQueen mainly drove an old pickup around town, he’s synonymous with fast cars.
    It’s the personal history that we have with cars that gets us guys going, too. It’s the time in the garage when the wife can’t tell you what to do and your boss can’t yell at you. You can sit there and listen to music and drink beer while making your car look and sound good. It’s the ultimate hobby. It’s like building a fort when you were a kid. You built one up just to tear it down so you can build another one.
    New cars don’t have the soul of an old car. Old cars have a feel and when you can put together your own car or engine, confidence bleeds through your senses. The old cars have history that comes along with the territory.
    “There’s so much history in cars,” said Mike Walton, a State Farm Insurance agent in Ketchum. “When you look at older cars and when they were made and how they were made, it tells a lot about the state of the country at that time. What types of custom modules were getting done? What kind of paint and what kind of finishes were on the cars? It tells a lot about our country.”
    We live in a magnificent valley full of mountains, hills, rivers and the desert. It’s hard to imagine driving anything other than a car that can take you anywhere.
    “I don’t see how anyone could survive in this valley without a truck or an all-wheel car,” Walton said. “The most common car is probably the Subaru Outback because of the all-wheel drive and the good gas mileage.”
    Walton also added that his favorite car is a black 1969 Pontiac Firebird with red interior.
    “It’s just flawless,” he said.
    This valley has a wide variety of cars that we guys all love and need. There are the Italian sports cars, the American muscle cars, the Chevy trucks, the bigger Dodge trucks, the little 4x4 pickup trucks, the Subaru hatchbacks and of course, the Jeep Wagoneers.




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