“I think every old vehicle and anyone who has one will understand this. Its an inanimate object. A conglomeration of steel, bolts, wires and hundreds of tiny engine parts but when put together - it's another life. It is worthy of bearing a name and becomes a friend. A companion. A comrade.”
My first vehicle was a 1980 - something Honda CR-X. A 5spd - 4 cylinder, front wheel drive machine of madness. My dad bought it for me for $500 from the neighbors across the street and it didn’t even run. It was amazing. It was silver. The deal with my dad was, he buys it - we work together and get it running and then it’s mine. So, the next few nights, that's what we did. I use the term “we” very loosely because I was 16 and understood nothing about mechanics and my dad knows absolutely everything about most anything. I mostly just sat beside him and watched him work with his huge hands and tried to contain my excitement to drive my very own car.
When it came to life - my dad just let me take it and go. It was a gift. A treasure. I took it out of our huge shop, turned onto our street and went for a rip. There was freedom in the open air that ripped past the wide open windows. It was pure joy on 4 wheels - 7 inches above the ground. The quick shifting clutch to second gear was worthy of world class Formula racing. It was brilliant and fast. It was also certain death for the 3 rabbits I decapitated when they tried to cross the road. The Silver Bullet that was me - had achieved a badge of honour. The CR-X would be forever known as “The Bunny Slayer” and I would achieve wonders and greatness in that thing. It was my first car. It was old. It was colour faded and rusty. It had a bazillion miles but it was mine - and it was my first love for a vehicle.
My second vehicle solidified a longing for all things motor and old. It was Rolo - a 1984 Red Toyota 4 Runner. It was powered by the legendary but gutless 22-re - 4 cylinder engine. That engine was and is a bomb proof engine. Rolo had a removeable hard top with black roll bars, oversized tires and a bench seat that allowed the wind to grab your hair and toss it every which way it pleased. It was my first 4whl drive and it, to this day, is still my favourite. The nostalgia of where I went with it, the memories I made and the dino size shit pile of trouble I got in while driving Rolo around set an anchor in my heart for always wanting something old, something classic and something that could get shit done in any situation.
From the days of being 16 - young and dumb, to now 33 with 3 kids and… well tbh, still making a lot of dumb mistakes. I still love old vehicles. More specifically, old, iconic 4whl drive vehicles. They don't have to be able to push power - they have to have guts. It has to have character. It has to have the ability to be named something that could be personified. It has to be another member of your family.
Ghost - my 1984 FJ60 Toyota LandCruiser was probably one of the most iconic vehicles I have ever owned. I sold a 2002 7.3l diesel work truck and made $3500 on it. I used that money to buy Ghost on a kijiji ad in the middle of winter and remember picking him up and the temperature was -22 degrees. Ghost changed my life. It was a gift. It was iconic. Its mechanics were simple. Its interior was unmistakably made for adventure and not comfort. It was a new best friend. Ghost was one of the defining features of Great North Collective when @greatnorthco first launched. Soon images of Ghost traveling to the mountains with @greatnorthco 4 original founders as we traversed back roads of Castle Mountain in an old suv flooded Instagram and Tumblr. Road side stops, standing on its rooftop and taking in the surroundings, and almost getting stuck in a random mud bog were the beginnings of something amazing. It was the vehicle that captured the meaning of something unknown but needed for a generation.
I’m probably being a bit nostalgic and over exaggerating but I'm ok with that. I don’t honestly even know why I’m writing this except that - it’s sad to say - i don’t have that iconic 4whl drive vehicle in my driveway right now. I have a 100 series Landcruiser (which is amazing) and Ford Explorer (nicknamed the Exploder because.. well, thats whats going to eventually happen to it) and a 2003 Ford F-150 Lariat with 523,452 Kms on it that I use for work. I’m happy. I’m so content right now. Literally the most content and happy I've ever been in my life. I have an amazing, beautiful and talented wife (@timberandcord) and I have the 3 greatest kids in the world that I get to spend the rest of my life with. Yet, after spending a week in Montana with my brother and driving around this old Dodge Power Wagon (with a 350 chevy v8 in it) I realized I am missing a friend. An old acquaintance. I think every old vehicle and anyone who has one will understand this. Its an inanimate object. A conglomeration of steel, bolts, wires and hundreds of tiny engine parts but when put together - it's another life. It’s not something but someone, that when captured in a picture and looked upon 20-30 years later, you still remember their name. It’s not just a vehicle, they are the quiet friend that has stories to tell and you can only understand them on long drives to remote places.