Model car building
I am at the wheel of a red Ferrari Modena. The interior is plush, black leather and smells rich. The gauges, tachometer, speed, fuel, oil, amperage/battery are, are retro in design. The engine, which is larger than a full-sized SUV, is throbbing; ready to tear up the country roads as soon as I floor the pedal.
As soon as I flick the transmission paddle by the right side of the steering column and step on the gas pedal, the red Ferrari lurches forward. I accelerate up to 7th gear, effortlessly. The golden maple leaves billow in a wake behind me as red menace eats up kilometer after kilometer of country road. ‘’Born to be wild’’ is blaring through a dozen speakers around the car interior. The red Ferrari Modena grips the road like Schwarzenegger’s handshake; it does over 150 kph at the turns and even at that speed it neither swerves nor sways. It is as surefooted as Sea Biscuit. The car is marvelous; a supersonic siren.
I glance briefly at my rear view mirror and see Raikinon several hundred meters behind me. Behind him is Alonzo. Further behind are the twirling red lights of a police car in hot but futile pursuit.
It is exhilarating. I am having the time of my life. Can this be real? No, it is not. I am just engaging in a fantasy, associated with a hobby I would like to pursue: model car building.
How infantile, some people might say upon hearing about it. Grow up, get real still others might say. Hey different strokes for different folks, right? Free country, isn’t it? While I outgrew childish pursuits and hobbies like pet rocks, gold fish and G.I. Joe toy soldiers at the appropriate age, something that I continue to be passionate about and absolutely interested in continues to be model car building.
What’s wrong with model car building as a real life hobby or profession? It is not illegal, immoral, nor fattening. Model car building is self-expression. Model car building is a celebration of speed in its purest form; almost unshackled by gravity. And finally, model car building is harmless, jolly good fun.
Model car building is self-expression:
Why would someone like me want to pursue model car building? As I mentioned before perhaps it is because it allows me to express myself to the fullest. If there is one thing that my heart, soul and intellect needs, it would probably be the need to express myself to the utmost. Perhaps it comes from having had strong-willed and ambitious parents.
I was raised to believe that one’s ambitions are only limited only by the size of one’s dreams and by their extent. The sky is the limit – or perhaps the edge of the speedometer dial.
Hard work, perseverance, education became core values. I acquired a healthy ambition from my parents to attain one’s fullest potential. That potential can be adequately expressed by pursuing my ambition of model car building.
Going beyond the self-expression that model car building facilitates is self-improvement, brought about by a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo. The vehicles available today continue to chase after elusive ideals of weight-to-speed ratio, fuel economy, and minimizing their carbon foot print. Model car building will brings us closer to these ideals; if not, to their ultimate attainment.
Model car building is a celebration of speed
The Olympian credo exhorts its athletes to be stronger, go faster and higher. Man has always been fascinated by heights and speed. The Biblical Old Testament residents of Babel tried to construct an edifice that would reach up to heaven. This desire to reach the heavens has been replicated throughout history by many civilizations, Egyptian, Incan, Mayan in their pyramids and temples that wanted to touch the stars and provide a stairway to the gods.
Greek mythology tells of one Icarus who escaped the tyranny of a king by gluing feathers to his arms and along with his father flew away from the oppressive island. Icarus deadly ending is well-known but the exhilaration of his flight – though brief and final – has captured the imagination of many. Perhaps even those of Oliver and Wilbur Wright.
Model car building is really about defying the limitations imposed by gravity and friction on speed and, ultimately, flight. Where I live, traffic, even along expressways, can be so congested that the expressways have been aptly named long parking lots. It is really only at certain hours of the day or on rare weekends that this expressway lives up to its name. Perhaps that explains why the residents of my city continue to purchase Porsches and Ferraris. Putting aside the status one gains by acquiring these outrageously-priced machines, the few minutes of death-defying, exhilarating, ‘’super-sonic’’ (or almost) speeds of over 200 kph is what perhaps makes every single dollar spent worth it.
Model car building indulges this unquenchable thirst for speed, in a manner that is clean, green, and accident-free. It is also a lot cheaper than shelling out six figures for the real item with a prancing horse logo.
Going beyond a celebration of pure speed, model car building also means recreating a world that has become dangerously dependent on smokestack industries (e.g. steel and rubber tire manufacturing) and on rapidly-depleting fossil fuels. Model car building is fleeing from a dependency on technologies and resources that are wasteful and destructive and towards those that are restorative and renewable.
Model car building is jolly good fun
Our world offers a lot of opportunities for distraction and entertainment, ranging from dangerous to destructive. Drinking, designer drugs and drag racing – or all of the above – are but a few of those ways to ‘’have fun’’.
What constitutes fun occupies a very broad band, morally, legally, ethically.
Model car building and sharing is unequivocally moral, legal, and ethical. It is also about designing a greener, cleaner environment. While I imagine myself designing a meaner-looking Maserati, a faster Ferrari, or a jauntier Jaguar I also realize that these machines require tons of steel that have to be mined, leather that has to be taken from animals (even though domesticated), and leave a huge carbon footprint from the fuel it guzzles and the rubber it burns.
Somehow the thought the a potential model car that I design undergoing commercial production and wreaking such potential havoc to the environment and possibly punching a hole in the ozone layer dampens my enthusiasm for pursing this planned passion.
Which is when I rationalize and redefine my mission in model car building which is to build environmentally-sound and safe macho machines.
The metal parts of the models that I design do not have to come from mined steel; they can be recycled. They do not have to come from domesticated animals, grown for their leather. They can be from those that are culled or grown for some other noble purpose like medicine.
Faster does not necessary mean greater fuel consumption and larger engines. The public has been led to believe what the Detroit auto manufacturers have been preaching all these years. Are there viable alternatives? Certainly. The introduction of hybrid engines, albeit infinitesimally relative to the volume of conventional gas engines still in the market, attest to this. Hence, the macho machine that I will make models of does not necessarily have to be fossil fuel dependent and wasteful.
Macho machine or muscle car models are not the only ones that I would like to design. My ‘’bread and butter’’ models would be the functional, utility, universal cars that majority of the motoring public can afford and will use. And which, in total, would use up most of the fossil fuels anyway.
The idea of another world wide VW Beetle, Fiat Uno or Renault L-4 is due for a renaissance, individualistic expression notwithstanding. All these models were by far the most fuel-economical small vehicles during their time.
Model car building goes beyond child’s play. It is peaceful process. It can be a productive enterprise. People will still have to travel and cover great distances in the foreseeable future. Efficient forms of luxury and commercial transportation will continue to be in demand. Commercialization of successful prototypes could result in job creation, energy conservation and environmental preservation.
Conclusion: Modeling a better world
Model car building is not only the realization of a childhood fantasy. When one considers that this could result in more judicious use of limited resources (minerals, fossil fuels, etc) and a cleaner and greener environment, it could certainly be argued that my passion for model car building is actually for a living planet, to paraphrase the slogan of an environmental group.