16 years old. It's when most kids go to the DMV and get their license. It's when they get their first car, be it new, something they buy, a hand-me-down from their older sibling, or even just the family car they get the keys to on Friday nights.
Then there are the car enthusiasts. The kids who have been dreaming of driving since they were young. Hot-wheels sparked the drive for them. They got RC cars and started racing their friends, modifying them to look cooler, go faster, turn sharper. Anything to give them an edge against their friends. So when these outsiders got their license, their whole world changes. The car isn't just a tool for A to B for them, it becomes their world. Sitting in the lunch room talking about the new super car on the market from McClaren, or Nissan, The Racing series that's coming to town in a couple months, it's all they think about!
They go explore back roads, find the tight turns, the signs that warn drivers to slow down for a series of curves. They tell their friends about these spots, they go and push the limits of the turns, the tires, their skill, and do whatever they can to push the rush.
These habits don't die off, the feelings don't fade. They simply grow. That kid with grease stained hands in High School becomes the College kid eating ramen because they just spent their pay check on gas and new suspension. Their Friday nights aren't spent at the local bars, or at a house show. They fill up the tank, and head out with their friends to burn gas. They wake up at the crack of dawn, or even hours before, just to make it to the track, the even across town, or even just down the road to make sure they have the perfect lighting for taking pictures of their ride.
This breed of enthusiast. Car enthusiasts, are social outsiders. Spending time in empty parking lots, cruising at midnight down the highway. Driving just to drive. They congregate around one another with such ease that you would think they have some sort of internal GPS.
These kids, these adults, build friendships that last a lifetime. They find like minded people wherever they go. It's a part of who they are, They are willing to spend countless hours working on something that anyone else would just pay a repair shop to do, even if nothing was broken to begin with.
It's not necessarily something that everyone will understand, But for a select few who get excited when they smell freshly pumped gas, the burning of rubber, and the sound of a Flat 4 with Long tube headers. It's a way of life that will stay with them forever. No matter where they go, where they relocate to, They will seek out other enthusiasts, and gladly live in the world of the car enthusiast, even while the rest of the world is driving Hybrids and self-driving Teslas.