June 1, 2023

The ignition turns over and the car rumbles as it warms up. The exhaust sounds like an angry dog ready to lash out. The driver pops the car into first gear and the ‘stang takes off. The RPMs (revolutions per minute) increase as he picks up speed.

From 0 to 100 in 5.6 seconds, Brandon Watchorn’s 2010 Ford Mustang GT is fast. He goes from first to fifth gear in a matter of seconds. It is also quick and agile and his driving is nimble like he could perform every maneuver with a blindfold on.

Watchorn sits on the hood of his Ford Mustang GT at McLennan Park in Kitchener, Ont. on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. Photo by Broderick Visser / Spoke News

Watchorn is a co-founder of @Kitchenercarmeets on Instagram. He said he and his high school friend, Kody Grant, created the account in 2016 to bring together car enthusiasts. 

“We literally started out with nothing but a best friend and a vision,” said Watchorn. “We wanted to bring people together to learn about the automotive world by connecting them all to the local events, eventually making it our own once it grew. … Back when we started out we knew absolutely nobody. I didn’t even know there were car meets in the city. At the time, there was nothing available so we thought, ‘Hey, how ’bout we make our own.”

Many motorheads like Watchorn are always working on their vehicles to maximize their true potential – making them faster, sportier and more visually appealing. 

Some will put thousands of dollars into their cars.

From a 2018 Honda Civic to a ’99 Toyota Supra, no matter how new or how old, car enthusiasts have an insane passion for everything car-related. 

Car culture, however, has positives and negatives.

Some gearheads take to the track for a safe, community-friendly environment while others take to the streets, putting others in danger and breaking the law.

According to the Waterloo Regional Police, in 2017 they laid 59 stunt driving charges, and by mid-July in 2018, the numbers were nearly double in comparison to the same time the previous year — 49 by July 16, 2018.

While there is a lot of negativity inside and outside of the car community, including hatred by people not liking the loud exhausts on modified cars — not a lot of people see the benefits involved in such a rapture. 

Back in the summer Watchorn’s group of car enthusiasts created a fundraiser for the local food bank called “Stack the Stang food drive.” Participants brought non-perishable food and filled up the trunk of his Mustang with 170 pounds of donations.

‘Stack the Stang’ fundraiser results. Photo from @kitchenercarmeets on Instagram.

“A buddy of mine was going through some personal issues, so we ended up helping him out with a couple meals to get him through a rough time. So then it gave us this idea — if we could do that — why not go one step further and help the whole community,” said Watchorn.

One of Watchorn’s event goals was to help others see the good in the car community.

“We already have some people looking at us like they have a bad outlook on the car culture, so we wanted to take that and turn it around,” he said.

Before modifications on Post’s Honda Civic. Photos from @aero_fk7 on Instagram

Mikinnen Post from Simcoe, Ont. fell into the car scene a few years ago. He bought his car, a 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback, as his second car. But he didn’t want to be a plain Jane with an all-stock vehicle — he wanted to forge something special.

After modifications on Post’s Honda Civic. Photos from @aero_fk7 on Instagram

“I got my car in October of 2018 and I fell in love with the car scene at my first meet … I have roughly spent $8,000 on the car so far (on modifications),” said Post.

Post is part of a group of car enthusiasts called “10thGen Club,” which is a club for 10th-generation Civic owners. They are the biggest Civic club in Canada and are based in Toronto. 

“Oftentimes we will have a pack of 35 plus cars from our club go to shows and especially ones that are to raise money to support a cause. This summer we went to Sick Rides for Sick Kids to raise money for kids with any disabilities,” he said. 

Photo from @sickrides4sickkids on Instagram.
McCarl poses with his 2008 Ford F150 at a 
pop-up car meet in Kitchener, Ont. on Oct. 6, 2019
Photo By Broderick Visser / Spoke News

Zack McCarl, a local car enthusiast, thinks that many people don’t see the good in their community and that’s why his community of motorheads participate in their annual Ride for Matt event. 

“I think that we, as a scene, have a really bad reputation. We get a couple of bad apples and it makes us all look bad … that’s why with our group we just try to give back to the community,” he said.

McCarl is part of a local car community called Trinity Auto Meets. He said they hold an event annually for a woman he went to high school with who lost her father to cancer.

The event is to celebrate the life of Matt Funkenhauser by gathering together and enjoying cars, motorcycles, trucks and food and then ending the get-together with a long convoy of vehicles going on a drive. They raised just over $11,000 for Hospice Wellington in Guelph, Ont. 

The third annual Ride for Matt fundraiser raised just over $11,000 for Hospice Wellington in Guelph Ont. Screenshot from the Trinity Auto Meets Facebook page. 

In addition to doing good deeds throughout Waterloo Region, car enthusiasts get together to enjoy their hobby, passion and what many will say is a lifestyle. These gearheads are a community of individuals, all with different walks of life, knowledge and passions. 

Although they don’t always get along, at the end of the day they are all one big family.

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