Gram Lights

Navigating today’s digital jungle can be tricky. In a place we affectionately call the internet”, you’ve probably noticed that social media runs the show. It’s all about clout these days – that online fame thing. And among the younger crowd, getting likes & followers feels like an Olympic sport. It’s like they’d trade their lunch for a thumbs-up. But let’s talk about the thought of breaking free from this clout frenzy, and actually building rides for *you*. Your own style, not the internet’s mood board. A life, free from the shackles of outside, self-proclaimed influencers.

Imagine saying goodbye to those Facebook pages… 

The pages that root themselves in one guy’s “facts” spun from another guy’s “opinions”… which are rooted in a story he once heard from his friend’s cousin’s dog-walker’s tuner. And instead, reach back out to those good ol’ days – when tinkering was the name of the game. Remember how we’d dive-in, figuring things out with our boys, fueled by pizza & cheap beer?

Hold-up wait, you haven’t experienced those kind of golden days?? 

Well, gather ’round and let me drop some wisdom/nostalgia on y’all. As a millennial who straddled the era of internet AND pre-internet times, I’ve lived both sides of it. And when you’d hit-up those early forums, you’d hardly ever spot a post that started with “Has anybody ever [insert blatant lack of research here]?” Or, “Which wheels would you…”

Nah, we did our homework before asking those kinds of dumb questions. Or we got butchered in the comments lol. 

We were true DIY champions… 

FAFO kings lol. Instead of twiddling our thumbs & waiting for the internet to answer all our questions, we embraced experimentation. We rolled up our sleeves and became backyard mechanics, learning by doing. The satisfaction of figuring things out ourselves? Priceless. Countless hours invested in ignoring instruction manuals, misplacing tools, eating shoulder tacos (inside joke), and sprinting to the local parts store a dozen times in an afternoon. It was all part of the glorious learning process. There was an energy that came from barreling towards the unknown… and/or trying something that you hadn’t seen done already online. And…

That learning process pushed us to tap into our well of creativity… 

We didn’t just settle for what was readily available; we created what we wanted. And guess what? We still keep that creative engine running to this day. When we couldn’t quite foot the bill for our dream-build, that’s when the real fun began. I can still picture it like it was yesterday – the day we stripped the bed off Jeepin Bubba’s S10, and crafted our very own diamond-plate flatbed. Not to forget, that matching diamond-plate toolbox that became our ingenious cooler. So many good times around that thing!

That old 2001 Explorer Sport I mentioned… 

In the “I Just Want To Drive” article. Yeah, the one with the almost non-existent aftermarket support? It’s amazing how it brings back those memories. When I sent Bubba and our buddy Jacolby the first few paragraphs of this article, I knew it would be like striking a nostalgia goldmine. And Jacolby’s response? He vividly remembered those countless hours I spent poring over forums, cross-referencing parts, taking measurements, and going to great lengths to set up that Explorer just the way I saw it in my head. I still do that to this day with my current fleet. And I’ve found that keeping the internet at a safe distance, tends to keep the creativity & motivation fresh. And with that, comes the true enjoyment of the hobby. You see… 

We should be building our vehicles for our own amusement… 

It’s that simple. Not for the internet’s approval, not to build social media’s database, and certainly not for e-clout. A car doesn’t have to be the perfect platform in order to be worthy, it just has to speak to you & excite you. It’s about having fun.

If someone liked what we did back in the day, fantastic! If not, well, we didn’t know or care because there wasn’t a comments section lol. We didn’t lean on strangers to dictate our wheel choice, paint color, or mod decisions. In short, the internet didn’t build our cars – we did.

So remember folks… 

Don’t let Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok become your car-building rulebook. Use those platforms for good, but if they start to eat away at your natural energy, know when to cut them off. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about your discretion, and the input of those few close friends who truly get your style, character, passion, vibe, etc. Build it for *you*, build it for the love, try to keep a child-like excitement that inspires people, and let your inner-passion drive the journey. That’s what it’s all about. Not the pursuit of clout.  -David S. Windsor

•Get the free S3 Magazine app. We won’t tell you what to do, but we’ll motivate you to do it•  (Apple)

•Get the free S3 Magazine app. We won’t tell you what to do, but we’ll motivate you to do it•  (Android)

Volk Wheels