Words and Photography: Jonny Smith
The past 19 months have been quite the ride. It generally feels like it was December 2019, we all wished the new year of 2020 in and hoped for a fulfilling one. We've blinked twice, and it's now October 2021.
For me 2020 was going to be one very busy year. Whilst holding down a full time job, I had planned many events to attend. Here in England, all over Europe, some repeat, some new. Getting back over to Japan and finishing off the year in the USA. In hindsight maybe what actually happened in 2020 is what I needed and something that slowed me down. I was already burning out struggling to edit all the photos and write the articles I had planned. No-one knows how 2020 may have gone.
Times are tough, we all can agree on that. It's good we all agree because it feels like we can talk about it easier between family and friends. Over the past years and months, we've had some heart-breaking news about people who've lost their battle with mental health. Close to many of us, and one I think hit the hardest was Andy @Caffeineiscool He was a dear friend to many and he's missed every day. 2 years back in the skateboarding community Ben Raemers sadly took his life. Someone so full of joy, whether you met him in person or watched his many fantastic video parts, he was one I looked up to but unfortunately deep inside he was struggling. Its important to know it's okay to speak about the struggles and issue we face and also in looking after each other. It's okay not be okay and talking is cool!
So with all this said, shall we get to the cars. 2021 looked to be a more joyful year. I myself felt a lot better, with help from family, friends and other means I found some small motivation to sit down, finish editing and bit by bit write some important piece's that I'd love to share with you all. I always say it's amazing how through this shared passion of cars, where ever we go, we're able to make friendships. It's meant I've been able to travel the world, and you can do that too!
Well, "tonight" I stay in Garretts spare room. Sammy shows me his new 240 and Austin pushes the RX7 out of the garage... again.
This Journey for the next quarter actually will start in 2018, The first trip I took to the USA where I didn't go for H2Oi. I went to just see friends. Garrett was my first stop off for a week of hospitality. Finally I shot his Jetta Coupe. A car built by Garrett for Garrett. It's not built for likes or fame, just to be enjoyed whist blasting Childish Gambino up the I91.
Second we jump forward a year to 2019 and Garrett takes me on a trip to visit Jimmy Oakes and his Garage. A "famous" Youtuber with the heart of an angel. Everything about the Oakes Garage is about "Fun and Friends". He even let me take the LHD manual E30 out for a rip in the neighbourhood. To kind!
Garrett is a theme for these first few posts. One day we wake up and he needs to head down to FCP Euro for some parts. This ends with us meeting up with Zak DePiero and popping by to see the Harli Golf. A car that's just completed a full coast to coast return trip!
Zak knows good people in his neighbourhood. He took me over to Buzigear, a Porsche Specialist in the heart of Milford.
Part 4, I'll introduce you to Sammy and Luke to see both their 240s. Luke's one being around for along time and Sammy's dream build nearly finished and soon ready for some Lock City Drift events.
Part 5 I swap coasts and head from Boston to Seattle. Alex and Krystal pick me up and we instantly head North to Vancouver. On route we stopped by Joe and Alora and had a round of golf...
Another friend I got to meet through knowing Alex and Krystal is Aaron. He has done the same as Alex and moved his life from the East Coast to the PNW, bringing his R32 MK4 with him. America is such a huge Country, you forget the distance between coasts.
Part 9 I feel is one many of you might enjoy. For years I would stay up late or wake up early to grab some Never Content or Marble Soda merch. Austin is a very good friend of Krystal, so when she introduced me the first time it was quite a humbling moment. Austin pushed the RX7 out of the garage once again for me, as the year before I hadn't taken my camera.
My last post for the PNW will be Krystal's Jetta. The other half to Alex. It's quite fitting they both have the same car. The Jetta is a car Krystal has owned for such a long time. With a lot of subtle touches and a familiar Euro it's a great look back to the earlier days of clean show builds.
The ending to this series and my trip, I'm back on the East Coast ready to fly home from Boston. On a quick adventure north to spent a morning with John Ludwick and see the sights of Mt Washington, I contacted Corey seeing if he would be free in the evening as drove back towards Boston. We had a great catch up and I put his simple but effective A4 Advant in front of the lens, only to learn a valuable lesson in charging your batteries.
Not everyone I met on this trip was focused around cars. Some people I hung out with but my camera didn't, because as much as I like to visit for cars and photography, the thing that means the most is the friendships and memories. I hope you'll enjoy this little USA series. I've had an enjoyable time writing them as it's taken me back to those days. In a time where we can't travel, in my mind I've been able to re-live this trip and feel like I've been traveling.
Well, lets get onto Garretts MK2.