Tyler’s ’04 Mustang GT is mechanically stock. While his gargantuan wing and roll cage screams heavily modified street racer, the only thing Tyler has done to the driveline is weld his rear differential. Beyond that, this Mustang, henceforth referred to as the Driftstang, is an active drift car with 190,000 miles on the engine and only three blown power steering pumps to show for it.
At 28, Tyler currently owns the Driftstang and a ’04 Mitsubishi Evo VIII. However, his history with cars begins before he could even get a driving permit. At the young age of 16, Tyler’s first car was a hand me down from his father, a ’86 Mercury Capri 5.0. Now to explain how any father in their right mind would give a teenager what is effectively a V8 Mustang with a nicer interior, you have to understand Tyler’s family.
His two older brothers had several years on him and they were in deep with cars. Watching his brothers work on vehicles ranging from a Z28 Camaro to a Prelude, Tyler was effectively raised on car culture. And that’s not even mentioning his father. Tyler’s dad helped and actively encouraged his sons to perform engine swaps, automatic to manual transmission conversions and a whole menagerie of repairs. So it did make sense that Tyler’s first car was a Capri.
However, in what is probably one of the few cases of teenage self-awareness, Tyler sold the Capri figuring he “would drive it into a wall or something”. With the funds from the sale, he bought a modified Honda ’95 Civic EX off of his brother, which, in addition to keeping him alive, gave him “the freshest Civic in High School”.
Having fallen for the “spaceship dashboard and digital display” on his brother’s Prelude, Tyler’s next car was a 4th Generation Prelude. Like a first love, Tyler fell for this car hard and it took three blown engines and an AT to MT conversion before he realized that he had to let it go. The years following his Prelude purchase involved a different Evo VIII - eventually struck down by way too high insurance costs - the Driftstang, and finally his current Evo.
Interestingly enough, racing the Driftstang isn’t his main project at the moment. Tyler is really focused on building a car club. According to him, the big problem with modern day car culture is its antagonistic culture. The story repeats itself over and over – relative rookie with a big mouth posts something wrong, gets rudely called out, responds in kind and before you know it there’s a flame war. Instead, Tyler hopes to grow Esoteric Society into a positive online community that ditches the infighting and replaces it with a healthy respect for one another.
What Tyler is hitting on with the idea for his club is the fact that it is extremely easy to reduce people you don’t know down to negative stereotypes. The internet gave us incredible reach to communicate with people everywhere, but it also removed the personal aspect of it all, making pigeonholing people into negative stereotypes as straightforward as cooking popcorn. That’s why it’s easy to insult that aforementioned idiot with a big mouth – without the repercussion of having to actually see them ever again, degrading someone is pretty easy.
It’s the same reason why the rhetoric against Democrats (by Republicans) and against Republicans (by Democrats) has gotten more and more vitriolic over time. Just by liking certain things on Facebook and only going to certain news sources, people isolate themselves from different perspectives and entire demographics. Once that gap is formed it’s supremely easy to be openly rude and insulting, which happens to be the exact opposite way to change someone’s opinion.
Fortunately, cars aren’t as heated as politics, and all I think Tyler wants is for members of Esoteric Society to have a little empathy for each other and to remember one thing. You like cars and they like cars. At the end of the day is it really worth unduly dumping on someone just because the way they view car culture is slightly different than the way you do?