Words by Ben, Snaps by Ben & June
Ben here. I've been kicking myself about writing a piece to explain why I started POWAA Garage over a year ago, and what is my aim with this blog, and now's as good a time as any, so here goes.
Sorry, reader, no car feature, race report or event coverage this time, this time I'm putting myself in the limelight.
This piece is about my passion for cars, and what I hope to share with the world through this humble little blog. If you've read my words regularly, you might already have an idea of what drives me. This is a deeper plunge into the engine that is my heart.
Like most motorheads out there, I realised there was gasoline running in my veins very early in my life. I don't have full recollections of my early childhood, but most of what I remember is related to cars. The strongest memory I have dates back to when I was around 4 years old, walking down a street, holding my dad's hand when a Testarossa drove by slowly. I clearly remember the sight of the red beauty, with those signature side air vents and straked tail lights. I can still hear the low growl of the V12 as it passed by. I asked my dad what it was, and he replied "a Ferrari Testarossa". I'll always remember this car. One of them roared by me not too long ago and gave me goosebumps for a good minute.
Since this age, I've always been "connected" to cars, and when I got into the local car scene as a journalist 5 years ago, my life was changed. Where I was just passively enjoying a passion by looking at cars and reading magazines and websites, I realised that I could do a lot more by not only living my passion, but also sharing it with others. My voice could be heard, and I had lots to share.
I made my way through various online portals, among which my first blog, Gordini's Pit Stop, where I featured events and I wrote new car reviews. This boosted me in the car scene, and soon after landed me a job as Editor with local print, BLACK Magazine, part of the 9tro Group.
Suddenly, my passion wasn't just a sideline, it was my bread and butter, and my life kicked in a new gear.
Sadly, after 1 year with 9tro, BLACK Magazine was shut down and I made my exit from car journalism. But as you may guess, now that my engine was revving, I couldn't just cut the ignition off and walk away, so I started POWAA Garage.
I just couldn't help it. I had to continue sharing my passion with the world. I can't get myself to go to an event without a camera, nor can I resist shooting people living their motorhead passion, or write about it to let the world know that Singapore too has a car culture.
I am often asked why I chose to come to Singapore with my passion for cars, given the local rules on car ownership and modifications. I don't have a proper answer to this, but what I can say is that the passion for cars is something that drives people (pun non intended) against all odds. Around the world people are "fighting" the governing powers and taking risks just to fulfill their automotive addictions. We can't help it, and nothing will stop us.
And this is why I have POWAA Garage. This everyday combat not only deserves to be documented, but I also hope that through my words I can help non-motorheads out there to understand why we do it.
Through my journey with POWAA Garage, I have featured quite a few cars, some of them carrying strong aspects of what it means to be a motorhead. These are the cars that are more than just machines. They are cars that have grown a soul through the love and care of their owners. Non-motorheads might roll their eyes and think I'm crazy, but yes, some cars have a soul.
Gerald's EE101 Corolla is such a car. Built with his sweat and blood, different and brilliant.
Nicholas' GC8 Impreza is another one. A car out of time in Singapore, her COE is out. But he won't give up on her, and he is exporting her to Malaysia where he will continue to work their story.
Being a motorhead is not a fashion statement. It's a way of life that catches us and never lets us go. it's an expression of ourselves through our cars, and sharing this with the world is why I love running POWAA Garage. Hearing owners touched by my features of their cars is the best "thank you" I could ever ask for. It makes me proud to have POWAA Garage and motivates me to always try harder.
Yes, I've done shoots under the hot sun, cooked till well done with a generous amount of burnt rubber seasoning. My lungs are probably running on semi-slick rubber too. I've caught colds from shooting in the rain, and I'm sure I'll have plenty more of these experiences to come. But I always come out of it with a smile on my face because it allows me to see people's passion at work, to hear the stories that have forged their personality and their bonds with their cars, to learn from their experiences, and most importantly, to share them with the world.
Mr. Pang's Datsun B310 is one of those people who inspire me and make me proud to be a motorhead. He is in his late 60's, early 70's, and he is a motorhead to the core. When I met him, he had this spark in his eye, and his pride to share what he had done to his beloved car was evident. This is what I live for. To meet passionate people like him and many others, and share it with others.
Motorheads in Singapore are looked down upon because of the misdeeds of a few. The government is on a constant witch hunt for modified cars, and will not give us a listening ear when we try to reach out to them to discuss the matter. All I hope to do is spread awareness that we are not criminals because our cars are modified. If the crowds could listen to us instead of judging us, they would hear that we are no different from them, we just have a passion and live to express it.
It might just be a small website in the sea that is the Web, but POWAA Garage is there to share, and maybe educate about our passion and way of life. Since I started this site, I take pride in the people I have brought together:
June, my lovely girlfriend, has gone from being car ignorant to understanding the inner workings of car mechanics, and I thank her for her undying support in my passion. And motorhead girlfriends out there know how tough it is to live with one of us. With motorheads it's never a couple, it's more like a love triangle, with the car in the middle.
Darren, one of my very best friends, has been supporting me and POWAA Garage since before we even started. He hunts for cars and feature opportunities, and is always here with advice and knowledge. He's the one we owe all the rolling shots on this website to.
Victor, the crazy Swede who's been writing from Dubai and Sweden. He regularly sends me pics of his Renault Megane that he's set on keeping alive despite all French-engineered odds. (Keep it up man!)
Sam, the newest member of the POWAA Family, who has spread the POWAA to Australia and now the UK. He lives for cars and has found a passion to share it with the world too.
The owners of all the cars I've featured and of the features to come.
All the motorheads and motorsports fanatics, whether new or seasoned, who I've met at meetups, events and races.
All these people are my family and my pride, and with their help, I know POWAA Garage will continue to live and grow.
I will of course never forget you, readers, for without you none of this would make much sense, let alone have a meaning.
This is my quest and my passion. Welcome to POWAA Garage.