The Car Guy of Benchfield
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Why is TCGOB Here?
by Steve Wingate (TCGOB Webmaster)
I first heard the term "car guy" from this man right here-- Jay Leno. Although I was never a big Leno fan, I found myself watching "The Tonight Show" one night when he had Tim Allen as a guest. They were out in the studio parking lot where Tim was showing off his "Tool Time" race car. Jay had brought along one of his cars, which I think, although I can't remember exactly, was a "hot" Buick Regal. I remember being amused by the way these two guys carried on with one another about their rides-- the almost juvenile poking, prodding, bragging, the my-car-can-whup-your-car banter. I remember thinking that I would be a lot like these guys if I only had any cars to brag about. Just before the end of the segment, Jay referred to Tim as a "fellow car guy", and the term has stuck with me ever since. Here is a man who has made it big and gained the financial footing necessary to amass a fleet of cars to "play" with. This is the same man who went wheel-to-wheel with Dale Earnhardt in a lawn tractor race... he's a big kid when it comes to that sort of thing, and I respect and admire him for it.
Why The Car Guy of "Benchfield"? What does that mean?
When I started this site in August of 2000, it seemed only appropriate that I try to capture a little of Leno's attitude. Something where folks can come and talk about cars, maybe get a laugh or two. "The Car Guy" seemed like the most natural choice, but after searching the web and finding hundreds of sites called "The Car Guy", I decided to be a little more original. However, my desire to be original wasn't enough to make me forget the "car guy" phrase and I ended up using it anyway. "Benchfield" was actually the name of the tiny community in northwest Alabama where I lived at the time, so I just tacked it onto the end of "The Car Guy". "The Car Guy of Benchfield" even sounds somewhat regal doesn't it? I think so. Stop that snickering.
I guess you could call this a "mission statement" of sorts....
My purpose here is to proclaim my love of cars and racing to the world. I am a big fan of all types of cars from Detroit muscle to Italian speed to German engineering to Japanese ingenuity.
In addition, I am a NASCAR fan with an interest in all types of auto racing from LeMans to The World Rally Championship. I have written NASCAR commentary such as "Bad Mouthing at Bristol" and "The Curse of Internet Driver Bashing", and my work has appeared on coffeeandprozac.com, racingangels.com, and Stock Car City. I have also been published in Chicken Soup for The Soul of NASCAR, which was released in April of 2003.
I want to give you, the reader, something that you can't get at just any "carguy" site. Anybody can plaster their websites with pictures of Corvettes, Porsches, and Lamborghinis... while I greatly admire these exotics and many others, you will find very few pictures of them here. Mainly because you can find these pictures anywhere, and there are many sites out there that do a far better job than I do. And secondly, I don't have the server space or bandwidth to feature all of the cars I like. I try instead to capture images of cars that most of us might conceivably own someday. I also aim to provide thought-provoking commentary on the automotive world in Mad Mad Automotive World, race and issue commentary in NASCAR Pages, and a little something to make you laugh with Humor Pages.
Why you should not ask TCGOB for automotive repair advice...
Let me stress, however, that I am not a true car guy by the most common definition. Allow me to explain....
1. Unlike most car guys, I don't own a lot of cars. I own two cars to be exact, a 1997 Honda Passport (the family car) and a 1984 Trans Am. (my toy)
2. I am a horrible mechanic. I don't even change my own oil. But-- I'm using the Trans Am as a guinea pig for my lacklustre mechanical skills.
3. I've never owned any really neat "car guy" type cars, although I've always admired them, and on occasions, coveted them. I've never been able to afford the kind of cars I talk about here. (Not nessicarily true any more... in July of 2002, I purchased a 1984 Trans Am, my first real "carguy" type car.) I've owned a 1975 Chevelle Malibu, a 1980 Corolla SR-5, a 1992 Ford Probe, and my Passport, a purchase necessitated by my growing family. I realize that by owning an SUV, I am contributing to the gradual slaughter of the very cars I have coveted for years, but this was the result of a compromise between me and my wife. Namely, we needed a big roomy vehicle for ourselves and our two children. I hate mini-vans, my wife hates station wagons, and deems four door sedans "too small." So, naturally, we looked to SUVs. The prices were simply appalling on everything we looked at, and we were ready to give the idea up when we found the Passport. The price for a new '97 Passport was just a little more than some of the used Explorers and Blazers we had looked at, so we became SUV owners. I must say that it is the perfect vehicle for us, but I still feel terribly guilty.
Despite all of this, I still consider myself a car guy because I genuinely love automobiles of many different types. My grandfather, who collected and restored classic cars, instilled this in me. If you want to read a little more about my grandfather's cars, click here.
...and here's the bottom line.
I hope you enjoy my site. I don't claim to be an expert on anything I discuss in these pages, just a guy who really likes cars.