Bucket List Experiences for the Gearhead
As an automotive enthusiast, there are some things you just have to do in your life. Whether doing it yourself, or just spectating, a lot of the items on this list are fun even for non-car people. Here are a few things you must do at some point in your lifetime.
Great road trips can be the epic stuff of legends. Be sure to properly prepare beforehand, as a poorly planned road trip can easily become a disaster. Remember that everything costs money, so bring plenty, take alternate routes off the main highways, and go slow and see some sights. Detours and impulse stops can lead to some of the best experiences.
Teach Someone to Drive
Teaching someone to drive is a priceless moment you, and they, will never forget. Just remember to be patient, and take it slow. Explain first, demonstrate, answer questions, and then have your student do the same in a controlled environment. Bonus points if you are teaching them stick.
Top Fuel is the absolute peak of drag racing. If you’re a jaded enthusiast that thinks it isn’t hard to stab the accelerator and drive straight, you need to experience Top Fuel. An estimated 10,000 horsepower blasts these land missiles down the strip faster than your mind can comprehend, and the sound that hurts your insides if you are too close. It is automotive brute force taken to its violent conclusion, and an absolute must see.
While they are stupid and destructive to the automotive hobby, destruction derbies do offer solid entertainment. These are usually held at another event, say a state fair or Monster Jam show, and usually cost little to nothing to get in. A derby is like a continuous train wreck, and you can’t –and don’t want to – look away. Even better, there are few barriers to entry if you would like to smash your own ride.
NASCAR or Formula 1
Much like Top Fuel, these are the top racing class of their types. NASCAR is much more popular in the United States, and offers a viewer a great deal. You can experience the best stock car racing for as little as $25, and even get up close and personal with the pit crews before the race. F1, while the most popular form of racing in the world, is a little harder to access in the US. Tickets prices are higher, and pit access is very restricted, but seeing these cars take 4g corners is just plain nuts and totally worth the price of entry.
Take your own car racing, for just a few bucks! For about $25, a complete newbie can take their completely factory vehicle around a timed course. Even your Prius can be competitive here, as AutoX is more about driver skill and control than how expensive or the number of mods on your car.
There’s no bigger redneck fun than mudding. Taking a vehicle down a muddy trail can be a big, stupid fun way to spend the afternoon. This is best done in an old Bronco or Jeep, but even modern Scoobies and other AWD cars can be a blast off-road. Know your limits though, as getting stuck while muddin’ can mean serious damage.
Build a kit car
Building a kit from the frame up makes a vehicle truly yours. There’s a saying among some gearheads, “If you bought it, you don’t own it,” and while I disagree, the experience of building a kit car gets you involved in your vehicle like nothing else. Also an option here, is a frame-off restoration of a classic. The DIY aspect is something you can always be proud of.
For a more intimate experience, bring your significant other out to help you “break in” your ride. Keep in mind, this can be inappropriate and/or illegal in many areas. Go somewhere secluded where no one will see even your vehicle. This is probably a better idea for a long term lover than as a second date. Also, a sedan or SUV is probably best, but bonus points if you have something tiny like a Fiero or MR2.
Drive an exotic
Exotics are the supermodels of the automotive world. Rare, expensive, gorgeous, and not always the best long term decision, exotics are a blast to drive. Many companies like Exotics Racing, Xtreme Xperience, World Class Driving, and Dream Racing, offer you the chance to drive a high-end Ferrari, Lamborghini, or McLaren for a very affordable price.