All Roads Connect: Car Culture is a Global Affair

Huh. Small world. All roads connect…

We’ve all said this phrase countless times in our lives. When we meet someone from our hometown halfway across the globe. When our blind date turns out to be an ex from another city. Every time the media shares a story about unsuspecting twins reuniting. And we think, “Wow, the world is shrinking.” And it certainly feels that way, thanks in large part to modern technology. But in reality, the world is incomprehensibly enormous. This planet encompasses a surface area of 196.9 million miles. Its core is roughly the size of Mars. More than seven billion people call this planet home, and there are more of us by the minute. If you made it your business to make one hundred brand-spankin’-new friends every single day, and nobody else was ever born, you would be pals with everybody on earth in a cool seventy million years or so. Tinder might help make up for some of it, but still…

And in case you were wondering, there are more than 11.2 million miles of paved road on Earth. It is more than any one person could possibly travel in a lifetime. We’ll simply never see all of it. Yet, the more we know about each other’s unique interests on opposite ends of the automotive spectrum, the more we learn the back roads of each other’s car culture, and the shorter those roads in between seem to be.

No matter how far away someone or something may seem, there’s always a way to get there. Whether it’s a timeworn highway or a quaint main street, a shortcut through the field or a rough mountain pass—all roads are connected. And that’s what we’re aiming for with this new column: a little more understanding of one another’s home turf, even if we never get to see it in person. To watch as a similar passion as our own takes different forms.

Freedom at the Turn of a Key

Ignorance is the womb of monsters,” famed American clergyman Henry Ward Beecher once said. That guy died in 1887, and frankly, he didn’t know a thing about cars. But his words ring as true as ever. To learn things about each other brings about understanding and respect. It enriches us in a way not possible if we never venture past our own street. We get to see what we have in common and appreciate our differences. It’s a microcosm of the best tenets of humanity. Additionally, it’s just fun to see people do cool stuff with cars. (I mean, c’mon, it doesn’t all have to be philosophically trenchant, does it?)

Car culture is a global affair. There are over one billion automobiles in use at any given time around the world. Over 70 million new cars will be produced in 2018 alone. Globally, the auto industry is a nearly two trillion-dollar business. It’s a multifaceted affection shared by millions. Different people loving different things about different vehicles for an ocean of reasons. Building a rat rod in the old man’s garage. Racing off-road rigs across sand flats. Overlanding through the Australian Outback. Ice speeding in Sweden. Endurance racing in Italy. Sports car touring in Cape Town. Car culture reflects the people who celebrate it. It’s molded by the same stressors—geography, politics, economics—and yet it reveals more than any of those things independently.

This month marks Independence Day celebrations for both the United States and Canada. And our friends in Mexico will be voting for their new president on the first Sunday in July. So, we thought it only fitting that we start this new column in North America, at a time when the three largest countries on the continent are expressing their freedoms and celebrating what makes them unique. And stay tuned, because very soon we’ll be launching our first exploration into an misunderstood subculture, right here in the states: Donk cars.

So, come along with us as we explore this vast, ever-changing, and diverse landscape of global car culture. Who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something new. Perhaps you’ll see the big picture. All the roads connecting, forming an intricate tapestry of defining trends and short-lived crazes, personal interest stories and inspirational accomplishments. And as you discover that the people behind these cultures are more than a little like you, you’ll chuckle and say “Huh. Small world.”

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