Fresh Inspiration: S3 Mag and the road ahead

Yesterday the first issue of my S3 magazine subscription arrived. That’s not interesting in itself, but it’s part of a bigger story. So bear with me and read on.

I haven’t been a magazine reader for the last few years. In the space of about 5 years, the Australian import staple – HPI – went from being an inspirational must-read to demotivational and dispensable. The focus of the magazine has shifted, seemingly irreversibly, from interesting and individual cars to identikit big-power GTRs and Supras with shopping lists as long as your arm and a complete lack of anything interesting about them. The mentality is that bigger, more powerful and more expensive is better. Perfection is the ideal, and nothing less is acceptable. Everything reads like an ad for the workshop that built the car. Put simply, the magazine lost touch with the real import culture long ago.

I remember when HPI inspired me though. Everything seemed exotic, interesting and, most importantly, achievable. There is still, and will always be, a desperate need for that sort of publication in our scene.

Enter S3 magazine.

It’s a smallish publication run out of Atlanta, Georgia. You’ve probably seen me post about Still Hood brand before, and that’s run by the same people. They’re just guys like us, in it for the right reasons. So I knew the magazine would be good. I was completely unprepared for exactly how good though.

Car magazine features follow a tired old blueprint. List the parts in the car, starting with the engine build and working outwards. Throw in a few tired, try-hard analogies (“the car hangs on to the road like a snail on a lettuce leaf”), a token mention of the “struggles” of the owner to get the car built, mention the sponsors, then on to the next. S3 is completely different. The cover-car feature in this issue never mentions a single part on the car. It is a discussion about why it it’s important to feature cars like that one – cars that aren’t perfect, but have style and attitude and a purpose and are achievable and accessible –  so that we remember our roots and have something achievable to strive for. It’s an intelligent perspective on our culture that is rarely, if ever, discussed. Put simply, it’s brilliant magazine writing. There’s a preview of it here.

You should really grab yourself a subscription. They’re ludicrously cheap (even with international shipping included). Check it out at their store.

But this isn’t an ad.

The writing in the magazine articulates something that I have been trying to express for a while now. It’s all about being involved in the culture for the right reasons, reasons that have nothing to do with petty infighting or one-upmanship and everything about why we all got into it in the first place. The cars and the community. What the magazine does is what I have been trying to do in my own small way here – to feature things that are otherwise overlooked – the budget builds, the grassroots events, the heart and soul of the scene. But now that I’ve seen what is in my head articulated so well I’m inspired anew. Knowing that there are people out there that really get it gives me the energy I’ve been looking for. So here’s where that inspiration is taking us at Garage Dusty in the near future:

  • I’m going to make some new clothing designs and see if y’all would like to buy some. Not Garage Dusty specific – general import stuff. I hope you dig it. I’m looking into illustration courses to try and make it the best I possibly can. No promises, but I hope we get some cool stuff out if it.
  • I’m fixing the 86, bigger and better, and competing my ass off in it. Feelers are already out for a new bottom end, but if you see something in your travels please let me know. The cheaper the better. Hillclimb with the Primal Garage boys in October is the ultimate goal, but hopefully it’ll be done even sooner.
  • I’ll be looking into buying some new camera gear
  • I’ll be actively looking for some more cars to feature
  • Both the Silvia and the Galant will be finished sooner rather than later. Galant is getting some mechanical work done tomorrow, in fact.

So yeah! All that from reading a magazine and getting inspired. When you see my cars repping Still Hood stickers, you know it isn’t for looks. I back those guys as hard as I possibly can.

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