Tuesday, September 7, 2010

As good a student "auto" biography as one can get -- ADam Josefczyk, "Gasoline in the Bloodstream: the Josefczyk Car Family Tree"

Adam's Nissan Altima SE-R

1962 Corvair Spyder1963 split window Corvette

2002 X50 turbo

2001 911 Turbo

Adam Josefczyk
“Auto” Biography

“Gasoline in the Bloodstream: The Josefczyk Car Family Tree”

Many of the interests and hobbies we develop from life are “genetic.” By genetic, I mean boys often love what their dads and grandfathers love. Though far from being an absolute rule, the idea of families passing on pursuits, pastimes, and passions to the next generation is often a wonderful blessing, a glue which further unites family members in love. Throughout my life, these inherited interests, sometimes, obsessions, have centered around a love of Jesus Christ, an interest in conservative politics, and a love of sports. I bleed Bengals orange and black, Buckeye scarlet and grey, and Flyers red and blue because of my dad and my grandfather. I love and became addicted to golf because they invited me with them numerous times to hit the links, to watch them hack it up, and later to be a “ringer” who could impress their buddies and clients with long drives in golf outings. Generally, I have been blessed to enjoy the same things that my dad and his dad love.
Perhaps the one interest that runs through the bloodstream of Josefczyk males that I failed to appreciate until recently was a fervor that drove their wives crazy: a fixation with fast, high-powered automobiles. My grandfather, rightfully so, intiated this trend with his infatuation with these four-wheeled “toys.” Hank Josefczyk boasts quite the car legacy.
His gasoline-empowered love affair with phenomenal high performance sports cars began with a with a 62 Corvair turbo convertible and concluded with a 2002 silver Porsche 911 Turbo X50. Throw in two other Porsche 911 Turbos (2001 red 6 speed and a 2001 silver with tiptronic), two Porsche 928s, a sweet 1974 Pantera GTS, and a ’68 Corvette (427 with a T top), and you have one heckuva lineup. However, the jewel of the collection might just be the 1963 split window fuel-injected Corvette Stingray, a car whose value has skyrocketed and whose legacy is defined as one of the most famous ‘Vette’s in history. Though many of those speedsters preceded me, as a twelve year old riding in my grandfather’s Porsche 911 I remember feeling on top of the world as the speedometer quickly soared over 100mph. Needless to say, I boasted of my grandpa’s newest hot rod to all of my friends in school.
Hank and his wife, Sally, the UD cheerleader he married as a basketball player raised three rowdy sons, Mark (my father, the oldest brother), Mike, and Matt. Amid constantly raising hell and playing sports, the brothers developed a shared interest in working on their dad’s automobiles. Bringing to mind scenes from the Tom Cruise movie, Days of Thunder, working on cars was one of the only activities they could do together without the potential of trying to kill one another. The boys loved cars because their dad loved cars. This shared enthusiasm took them in different directions in their experiences and preferences with cars.
Mike developed such a zeal for cars and huge trucks that automobiles became his vocation; he eschewed becoming a chef in order to follow his first love and be around these iron horses as often as possible. He became a sought-after mechanic, turning his hobby into a profession which he deeply enjoyed. Employed at six Ford dealerships in California and Ohio, he rose to the highest level ---ASE certified. Anyone could count on Mike for advice to work on their cars; he saved family and friends a lot of time and money, fixing their vehicles for free. Mike did not just take an interest in other people’s cars; he owned quite a few high-powered toys himself. Mike had quite an infatuation with 4x4 Jeeps & Broncos. Always the hands-on one of the brothers, he took pleasure in purchasing ones that required a lot of work so he could repair them with his buddies. One of his most memorable “beasts” was a 1969 Jeep (Buick V6 motor & 4 inch lift – bright yellow). After several Ford Broncos (full size) later, his last truck was a customized F-350 converted to a Bronco (basically what would be later be known as an Excursion). Add being a race-enthusiast to driving and messing around with trucks, and one can easily see that Mike took great pleasure in automobiles—they were central to his life.
The youngest Josefczyk brother, Matt, also inherited an affection for automobiles, particularly those that are designed to race. A pilot for Jet Blue, Matt adores fuel-powered marvels of engineering. Not content to fly only in the sky, Matt boasts quite a high-speed history of supped-up Integra Type Rs, Subaru WRX STi’s, and most recently, a 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. It’s probably safe to assume that he is always first in flight. Symbolizing the role that cars play in their relationship, Matt and Hank often bond over driving their speedsters to racing schools.
Never one to be out-done by his younger brothers, my dad, Mark, also shares his father’s zeal for automobiles. Like his brother, he remembers loving cars as a little boy because his dad exhibited such an enthusiasm for them. Though the constant competitor, Mark could never rival Mike’s knowledge and ability to work on cars. Though a capable grease monkey, in truth, he always enjoyed the driving aspect far more. As a high-schooler, my dad was given an impressive first car—a 1977 Ford F250 with a 4 inch lift kit (351 motor). Needless to say, cruising around in this monster gave him quite the confidence boost in high school. When he graduated, his taste in cars also matured into the muscle cars that his dad loved. Sharing Mike’s love of Fords, my dad purchased a 1982 Ford Mustang GT with T-top sunroof. This speedster had a 302 V8 motor, designating the nickname “the Boss is back.” Ford’s 302 V8 was called “Boss” back in the 1960s, and ’82 marked the return of the V8 in a Mustang. The envy of his college classmates, he drove the “Boss” until 1994 when he gave it to Mike to restore. By 1995, my dad had three kids (myself, and two younger sisters). However, even though he moved on to more “family friendly” and company cars, he still had trouble distancing himself from fast cars, owning four Taurus SHO’s (Super High Output). Just a few months ago, Mark bought a sweet 2010 SHO, a car he describes as the “best” he has ever owned.
Clearly, quality automobiles with substantial “giddy-up” run in the Josefczyk lineage. However, as afore-mentioned, though I’ve truly enjoyed riding my grandpa’s Porsches and have been blessed with exciting trips to the Indy 500 and other races, I never shared my family’s obsession with automobiles. For the first five years I had a driver’s license, I treated cars as the vehicle which moved me from point A to point B. I have recently realized this lackluster treatment of cars may have been due to the type of car I was driving in high school and my first three years of college. Though the two used Taurus’s and especially the 1986 Honda Accord (passed down from Hank’s mother, my great-grandmother) that I’ve driven were largely reliable, I never experienced true thrill behind the wheel. The ’86 Honda holds a very special place in my heart, as it transported me to and from golf tournaments and class; however, I often described it as a “go-cart with metal on top.” I can authoritatively declare that no amount of maneuverability can ever make up for an engine that despises acceleration.
However, this mild-apathy toward cars was radically cured and transformed into car-owner enthusiasm the moment that my dad, after buying his new SHO, bequeathed me his Nissan Altima SER –high performance. This car is super smooth, has leather interior, and is ridiculously FAST. My conversion has been almost immediate. For the first time in my life, I look forward to driving just for the sake of driving. I am now an insider in the world of legendary Josefczyk cars, and I will never be the same. I look forward to the adrenaline rush of cruising down the open road.
Tragically, my uncle Mike died suddenly in 2005 of a heart-attack at the age of 40. God works in mysterious ways, and He faithfully heals our wounds; however, some suffering will not subside until we see Him face to face in Heaven. This terrible loss deeply affected family and friends; however, the Lord has given them strength to remember the wonderful times they enjoyed with Mike and honor his memory. The world, and the car community, lost a great ambassador when Mike passed away, but his influence lives on in our lives.
Around a month ago, my dad drove home in a red 1973 Ford Bronco, completely reconditioned show truck —a classic, truly an awesome ride. My mom thinks the purchase may signal a mid-life crisis, but my dad insists that he bought it because it reminded him of the days when Hank, Mark, Mike, and Matt would work on cars in the family horse barn. More importantly, he bought it because it reminded him of his beloved brother.
Two weeks ago, one of my best friends convinced my dad and I to drive his Bronco up to a weekly car show held across from The Greene in Beavercreek, OH. My grandfather joined us, driving my grandma’s red Thunderbird. As we made the rounds and my dad and grandpa talked shop with other car buffs and aficionados and recalled stories involving cars my grandpa had owned that were represented at the show, I began to realize that this was about much more than fuel-injection and horsepower—this experience revealed and exemplified a bond forged between Josefczyk father, son, and brother several decades ago. I realized that a love for and friendship centered upon cars had increased Hank, Mark, Mike, and Matt’s love for each other, and (as I glanced at the Bronco and thought of my Uncle Mike) held an even greater meaning now that this devotion was a constant vehicle to access memories that united them with Mike.
Additionally, as I reached in my pocket and felt my keys, I quickly recognized that my SER might represent the starting point in me carrying on this legacy once the torch was passed. I experienced joy in knowing that I share in a very special inheritance, one that far transcends the automobiles that ignited it. Further, I look forward to this common bond deepening as I have been allowed a very special opportunity to have my grandfather audit this seminar beside me.

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