Firing Up – Decisions, Decisions

By Nick Licata

Being an automotive magazine editor, I get quite a few letters and emails; some with constructive criticism, some requesting we do articles on a certain subject, some informing me that we don’t cover enough of a certain type of engine, some suggesting we feature more of this and less of that. I appreciate all of those who take the time to write in with recommendations and requests as it helps me guide the direction of the magazine. And every now and then someone sends an email  telling me how much they like All Chevy Performance magazine and that we are doing a good job. I appreciate those, too. There’s absolutely no way to make everyone happy but keep those emails coming and we’ll do our best.

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So, this leads me to a handwritten letter I recently received from a person who was incarcerated. The gentleman admitted to making poor decisions in the past and contributes that to being raised by a single mother and running around with the wrong crowd as a teen. Today he is working on turning his life around and mentioned that his subscriptions to All Chevy Performance, along with Modern Rodding and Classic Truck Performance, have inspired him to get his life back on track and to focus on taking his life in a more positive direction. I always had suspicions that hot rodding was a great way to stay out of trouble even though hot rodders of the ’50s were deemed as rebels and a menace to society. It was definitely a simpler time when one of the biggest threats to society was those damn kids revving the engines in their hot rods and making all kinds of noise.

The letter goes on to explain that he has applied to and been accepted to college. He points out how our magazines influenced him to follow a clear path toward fulfilling a lifelong dream of building a vintage muscle car—a Cortez Silver ’69 Camaro with a bumblebee stripe, to be exact. Like many of us who grew up in the muscle car era, it was those late-’60s and early ’70s cars that stuck out to many of us as being the coolest cars ever.

Sometimes we take for granted what we have, whether it’s a good job that allows us the ability to own a vintage muscle car or the home we always dreamed of owning. For many, those things are way off in the distance, but when I read this letter of hope, it made me realize the challenges that come with this job, including constantly looming magazine deadlines, are what enables me to be part of a special industry.

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I, too, see cars in this magazine that I can only dream about owning. Writing the features and ogling over all the great photographs of these cars is about as close as I’ll ever get. I like to remind people that many of the cars we feature may be out of our price range, but the inspiration offered by these amazing cars is free.

The letter goes on to thank all of us at In The Garage Media for helping him to look not in the rearview but to focus on the future and build a new life and hopefully that Cortez Silver ’69 Camaro he’d always dreamed about.

Speaking of dream cars, mine would be a road race-style ’69 Z/28 Camaro with a high-compression 302 … No, wait. Maybe an LT4. I like the idea of a supercharged engine with tons of horsepower that gets decent gas mileage so I can drive for miles on end. It won’t sound like the 302, but the reliability of that engine will keep me on the road forever … almost. You in!

See all my “Firing Up” Editions here.

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