Max Parker Dahl



Men are re-connecting to their cars. It seems Hollywood is telling
us something: Drive, Drive Angry, drive Fast and Furious.  With other movies featuring
man’s real best friend—Cars 2, Transformers and the Green Hornet—we are
teaching the rising generation to appreciate American muscle and man’s favorite
past time and deepest rooted obsession; not baseball, but driving effortlessly
fast. A throaty muscle car from the steel mills of Detroit, ponies under the
hood anxious to be put to a gallop. The Torqued
crew spent an afternoon with the three things as synonymous as the red, white
and blue—girls, beer and muscled steel. The beauty of design and composition,
both by machines and God himself, are awe inspiring sights. These aren’t robots
in disguise, and though this afternoon seems staged and rehearsed, there is
something very real about how our cars are beckoning us back to them unlike
Hollywood’s films.


The first decadent morsel was the very first Dodge Viper in Utah, ordered from the Dodge
factory and delivered. The 1994 snake was THAT Viper red, not like a bowl of
ripe cherries, but the color of a plastic Hot Wheels model. It was perfect in
every way; sensual curves and lines, immaculate interior, clean and tight…but
the hood had a weird way of popping up over the right headlight. Easily fixed
with an open palm, but it unlatches a half-inch when bumping down poorly
maintained roads. It is a teenage car that needs some attention – not by way of
repairs, but someone willing to appreciate its beauty, to drive it.

The next stunning sight is a 2008 Shelby GT 500 Super Snake, black (of course), with two
broad white racing stripes. Its guttural exhaust sounds like a speedboat, and is
probably equipped with comparable horsepower. It tore from the bowels of the
factory-turned-fantasy garage like the blockbuster scenes of Tinsel Town, and
came choking on its gargling gas to a final stop. The paper floor-mats and
plastic film on the GPS entertainment screen are still intact from the factory.
“I don’t know how these cars get so dirty, I washed it yesterday.” said Brock
Meacham of Northern Utah Diesel Experts as he pulled out a towel to clean off
water spots. “The biggest maintenance for these cars is trying to keep fresh
gas in them,” said Meacham, “they just don’t get driven.” In addition to owning
a diesel shop for repairs and custom performance enhancement, Meacham is the
steward of the car collection owned by Jeff Hoggan, his father-in-law. Hoggan’s
has collected an array of toys and corrals them in an empty Del Monte factory
in Northern Utah. This is a magical place where either a Helion or STS twin
turbo will be installed on a beautiful orange Challenger, which rarely sees
outside the garage doors. These American Muscle cars aren’t ripping down Santa
Monica delivering drugs, sprinting away after a bank robbery, running from
corrupt cops or  to fight injustice, or used
for street-racing…they sit to collect dust and value. These Hollywood cars lead
don’t lead a sexy life.

The star of the photoshoot was Justin Carson’s interpretation of an Acura Integra. A car that gets rebuilt
completely every year, it is gaining a national reputation after winning
numerous drag racing events against seasoned racers. This is a car that gets
driven. Its fastest quarter mile was clocked as a 9.69 at 157 mph. That is
faster than cars in the Fast and the Furious, which is a sore subject with
Carson and serious import racers.  “Drag racing is not even close to what you see in the movies,” Carson said. “When you wreck you are injured, especially at high speeds. You
don’t come back from death.” Carson had a close call last year as he was making
a pass. His right rear caliper locked up at 135 mph, spinning him into the
barrier. “I think Hollywood wants to keep people entertained, but my
relationship with my car is strictly business,” Carson said. “It is a purposely
built car; it’s built to go straight and it’s built to go fast, and that’s what
I do with it.”


These gorgeous cars taunt mere mortals like you and I but give us hope of having something
beautiful as well as functional, someday. We would love to have a movie-star
lifestyle, or a collector’s variety and freedom, but we have jobs and families
and financial obligations and monthly payments. And although we’d love to drive
the newest and sexiest, we are too smart to lease something transient—because
where is the pride in driving someone else’s car? We want it parked in our
garage where we can use our elbow grease in waxing and repairing and driving
it. Cars can be beautiful display pieces, but they are designed to be driven
and enjoyed. The Hollywood complex comes in wanting to have all of the good
without the bad. If we have the money to collect wonderful cars, we don’t have
the time to enjoy them. If we have the car of our dreams, it takes so little to
destroy it and ourselves. Unlike Hollywood films, there are consequences for
our mistakes. A healthy respect must be developed for these machines that we
pour our money and safety into so often. We need to remember to enjoy the
thrill of driving a car.


Carson is realistic when it comes to cars. He won’t be sucked into becoming larger than
life, and laughed at the plotlines surrounding Hollywood’s car stories. He personally
couldn’t ever collect cars to sit around, “I enjoy driving them too much,” he
said with a chuckle. “I don’t have a dream car, but I’d like to drive several
different cars to see how they are going to react. I have cars that I want to
build and see what I can do with them.”



Hoss Nobles
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