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Video | Here’s Why I Am a Terrible Influencer to My Friends (And Car Enthusiasts)

I’ve just come to the realization that I’m a terrible influencer for the car community — and it’s not because I street race or make any dangerous modifications with my cars. The only real “don’t try this at home” moment I’ve had was being halfway buried alive inside of a Range Rover. Still, I believe I’m toxic to the car community because I normalize, and even promote, compulsive buying and hoarding tendencies with my channel. As fun as it sounds to own over 20 cars, I’m worried my viewers don’t understand that I have a very unhealthy obsession — and it worries me even more when I see friends slipping into my bad habits.

I use my YouTube channel to justify my behavior, since a new car every month means new content — but this format guarantees I will never, ever make money. Obviously, the cars still have value, should I need to sell them — but the repairs, storage and insurance costs me thousands of dollars each month. There are also the several cars that I don’t maintain properly, like my prized 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500SL, which has become mechanically arthritic after long term storage. Even my Viper has been parked for months after getting a flat tire — simply because I don’t have a jack that can fit underneath it, which would enable me remove the wheel and have the tire repaired. If I wasn’t so overwhelmed with so many other projects, I would never allow this to happen.

So I’ve vowed to do better with myself, and I’ve also decided to stage a few interventions with friends that I believe are on the edging towards my level of insanity. They may have not known I was planning on trying to save them from themselves — and unfortunately, none of them seemed very receptive to my impromptu therapy session.

In the video posted above, I visited three of my friend’s “collections” that I feel are getting unhealthy. The first stop was with my friend John Ross, who just spent $55,000 on a very broken, high mileage, 2008 Audi R8. He plans to showcase the restoration on his YouTube channel, which I imagine is what he intended with his six other cars that are still in various stages of disrepair. My favorite project of his with no end in sight is a home-built Shelby Turbo-powered Dodge Rampage — even though the driving experience felt more like a coin-operated vibrating bed in a cheap motel.

My other friend, Bob, doesn’t have a YouTube channel to justify his behavior — but does have a dealership and parts sales business that gives him endless access to great deals on cars. When I met him over 10 years ago, and up until recently, he always had a few cool cars and projects that he would eventually sell — but now his collection of “keepers” has grown to nearly 20 cars. This wouldn’t be a problem if he had a place to keep them — but instead of paying to repair the leaky roof on an old building he owns that could house his collection, he keeps buying cars. His solution so far has been to stash cars in various places — including several in my storage barn.

Bob also keeps four to six cars at a time at the shop of my mechanic, the Car Wizard, who coincidentally also has also developed a bad case of whatever disorder I’m afflicted with. His short attention span had him cycle through seven drivers in the past year — and since mechanics usually hate working on their own vehicles, he doesn’t like finishing projects. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop him from buying new projects and making ambitious plans — only to abandon them later.

Sadly, my attempt at an intervention with these three otherwise rational adults completely failed. Perhaps I’m not a good therapist — or perhaps my friends are stubborn jerks. I also might not be the best person point out they have issues, as I continue to buy a car (or four) every month. But at least I know that I have a problem!

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  1. This type of thing can be a problem for those who live in jurisdictions where there’s a limit to the number of cars you can register without a dealer license.  Last I knew, you needed a license to have more than 5 cars in CO. 

  2. My boss is literally making a Plymouth Scamp with Shelby Turbo power as we speak. He’s almost done. I could actually get them in contact if he has any questions!

  3. I feel like 4, maybe 5 cars is sustainable?  Once you pass that point, keeping them maintained and exercised regularly becomes really problematic when we’re in the hooptie fleet price range.  It should also (in theory) mean that you’ll always have at least one running.  If you have the means for an in-house mechanic, and unlimited funds, then go ahead and throw reason out the window.  

  4. You’re not toxic. You’re an inspiration. You represent what every broke car enthusiast knows what would happen if they got a little money, threw out all purchasing logic and chased car ownership dreams. I’ll live vicariously through you until those opportunities comes for me. A fleet of hoopties can be amazing if done right.

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