Car Culture at TL

Leo Crane

At TL, school ends with a bang on the daily. Kids with custom cars whiz past the front and back of the school (staying within the speed limit of course). It can be startling for the untuned ear. But do these souped-up cars have more to them than sheer sound? I talked to some of the owners of these cars to see what makes them so special.

Here at Terra Linda, car culture has a huge identity. From students to teachers, car maintenance and modifications have created a sense of individuality. 

I spoke with a young crew of boys who are currently working on a project car. Marco Vanoni, Maren Garcia, Miles Finn, and Kyle Martin, bought a 1997 Mazda Miata from their friend’s grandfather for $500. The boys spend their spare time working on the car to get it into better working order. 

This crew got lucky with their find because it was in great shape when they bought it. All they had to do was routine maintenance before they could get it on the road and add their own pizazz to it. Additional modifications that they have added after getting the car working again include a wing, decals, and an upgraded horn, as well as a turbocharger upgrade in the future. They agree that working on cars and making them how you want is a great way to express oneself and can lead to a lifetime passion. Vanoni wants to be a mechanical engineer when he is older, and he is using this experience to help fuel his dream.

“I associate people with their cars. Your car is one of the easiest ways that you can express yourself” Vanoni said. 

Marvin, a Junior at Terra Linda is a great example of this. He drives a 2021 Ford Mustang GT. If you’ve ever heard a pop and bang come out of a car, it was probably him. As a first modification, Marvin swapped out his stock resonator with an X-pipe and plans on doing more in the future. “There are a lot of possibilities with what you can do to a car.”  The creative pipeline that car culture has are endless, you can make them bespoke to your liking. This of course will take some time but the end result is worth it, especially if the car becomes exactly how you imagined it to. These can be things like horsepower mods, exhaust mods, and other gadgets that oil the love of car culture. 

Even our teachers see the beauty that car culture can have on a person. Take Mr. Callas, who has been working on cars his whole life. He started out by modifying a 70’s Chevy Vega. He chose this to be his first car because “There was a lot of information on putting big motors in it.”  From the get-go, he knew that he wanted to go fast and went on to say, “it was probably the fastest car in school.” Callas is no stranger to building the fastest cars and having fun. When Callas was younger, he would go on cruises, where teens would get together and just drive around. 

These days there are now fewer and fewer car events like the ones Callas had as a teenager. However, we did talk about the Cars and Coffee event that happens on the first Sunday of every month. Cars and Coffee is a great way for everyone to see more cars and to be immersed in the culture surrounding these machines. Mr. Callas and I spoke about how there has been a severe lack of car appreciation around the Bay Area for the past few years. “However, as of recently more and more car interest has been emerging.” Mr. Callas said. Getting into cars opens a whole new world of new opportunities, friends, and loads of fun.