Opinion

My Name’s Steve And I Can’t Help But Love Intricate Engineering

Turns out I don’t have any photos with my car, but I do have stills from old gaming streams

Turns out I don’t have any photos with my car, but I do have stills from old gaming streams
Photo: Steve DaSilva

Howdy, Jalopnik! Now that I’ve subjected you all to my 2022 WRX take, I figure I’ve got some explaining to do. Who is this new writer, where does he come from, and does he need to update his glasses prescription?

My name is Steve DaSilva and I’m one of two new Breaking News Writers joining the team, alongside Owen Bellwood. I’ve been a car enthusiast my whole life, from childhood weekends camped out at Lime Rock Park to autocrosses and track events in my current daily driver. Some of my earliest memories are of Land Cruiser road trips, and perhaps someday I’ll write up a publishable version of my love letter to that perfect vehicle.

I’ve owned vehicles from all sorts of auto enthusiast subcultures: legendary off-roaders like the Wrangler and Lexus GX, highway sleepers like the Subaru Legacy GT (manual wagon, of course), and nimble track toys like the NA Miata and my current FR-S. Nearly every car I’ve owned has been modified, and most of them have been made objectively worse in the process.

Is it legal to own an 86 without referencing Initial D? Asking for me.

Is it legal to own an 86 without referencing Initial D? Asking for me.
Photo: Steve DaSilva

In my 25 years on this earth, I’ve found that there are seemingly random communities that overlap pretty considerably with car culture. Some are obvious: lots of Car People are also Watch People or Camera People. I may only fit one of those categories (I proudly own a very old Apple Watch that I got for free, and see no appeal in Limited Edition Swiss Chronometers With Atomic Links or whatever it is watch people like) but I see the similarities.

For years now, I’ve thought about why different interests cross over so much with car culture. It seems to me that any precisely-engineered item, no matter what it does, will get Car People interested. Watches, cameras, and pens (the classic car crossover interests) pack incredible amounts of engineering and design into a smaller and (sometimes) less-expensive package than a motor vehicle. If you appreciate the differences made by a 50 degree VTC intake cam gear, you might just appreciate what happens when you swap a kit lens for a prime.

One of my greatest regrets in life is losing this photo, leaving only this photo-of-a-photo in its memory

One of my greatest regrets in life is losing this photo, leaving only this photo-of-a-photo in its memory
Photo: Steve DaSilva

So if interesting engineering is the crossover between car enthusiasts and other communities, and I’m a car enthusiast, what else am I into? Let’s go down the list and see if my theory might be right:

Audiophile equipment: Yep, that’s engineering. It frustrates me to no end that the surfaces behind my desktop studio monitors are different, and I get completely off-balance bass response from the left and right channels.

Video games and PC building: You saw that one at the top. Computers, honestly, aren’t really hard to build — they go together like Legos — but picking out parts and checking compatibility is a fun time.

Keyboards: I promise keyboard enthusiasts are a real thing. There are dozens of us! Dozens! And we all care about the material our keycaps are made from, the feel/sound/actuation force of our switches, and other things that make no sense to the general public. For those in the know, check out the Prime Elise wearing GMK Nautilus in my inset photo at the top.

Movies and film theory: Did you watch Knives Out? Did you notice that one scene, the one Rian Johnson says they broke a dolly filming, where halfway through a steady pan it suddenly becomes a frantic handheld shot? If you’re reading this website, I’d bet there’s a better-than-average chance you did.

I built this desk as a quarantine project, and even this has some weird engineering quirks designed in.

I built this desk as a quarantine project, and even this has some weird engineering quirks designed in.
Photo: Steve DaSilva

So that’s me, my interests, and my theory on what makes car people tick. I’m so excited to move out of the grays, and into this end of the Jalopnik community. If you’ve got anything you want me to cover, any niche engineering interest you want to discuss, or if you want to harass me for thinking the new WRX looks good, feel free to reach out at [email protected]


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