I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this, I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate? But here we are, reading this post.
Recently, SpeedHero was contested. I knew, the name 'SpeedHero', a small combo of words easy to stumble upon, was going to be contested at some point. SpeedHero, Speed Hero, speedhero, speedhero, SPEEDHERO, SPEED HERO, is just a really lazy name I guess. Not in a bad way, but it’s rather an easy conclusion to a specific feeling. You get a great feeling of success when you do something cool with cars. It’s not a grand Kayne-scale ego, instead, just a wholesome internal bump of spirit. It feels good, it makes you feel kinda a little bit like a hero.
The name originated out of mockery of the Japanese infatuation with English. It’s a mockery I personally really enjoy, and continue to enjoy to this day. The idea of the name was to capture the spirit, an idolization, of a drift team that you might catch a glimpse of in Drift Tengoku, video option, or hot version. Intended to be as typical as any of those drift team names would be.The origin of the name, and the motivation to stick with it, were purely for spite. A friend thought it was a terrible name, and argued about it constantly. I decided it needed to stay for that very reason.
It was around late 2008 I finally did something with this joke, I registered a blog. I wasn’t sure then, and still am not sure now, the intention of this. Yet, things began happening with this name. 9 years later we find ourselves here.
It was a random morning, I don’t have a twitter account, but I was curious if anyone had ever linked in, or wrote about SpeedHero. That’s when it popped up.
I almost didn’t catch it at first. It seemed as if someone had posted about speedhero.com but forgot a letter; Speedhero.co. I decided to check it out....WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS! I proclaimed. I’m sure my roommates were used to swearing billowing from my room, but this time it was with true conviction. It was a website, selling SpeedHero T-shirts!!! And they’re raffling off a race car as well? Who is this!!!!
Some friends and I did some digging and tracked down this person. I emailed them, just something brief, asking about the name of their store. The reply I got can be summed up as ‘Yeah, you don’t live in my country, you don’t own the .com name, so whatever’.
It's true, he’s right. I have no legal bearing on the name, but that wasn’t important. What is important is SpeedHero's identity that I've felt so attached to that was being threatened. It wasn’t legal at all in my head, rather inconsiderate. So I started typing an email to them. I’m not an aggressive, violent, or confrontational person, rather I wanted to share where the name had been, what adventures it had experienced, the items that it had created and the people it had interacted with. It was important to share the identity of SpeedHero. So, if you're still interested, please enjoy the email I never sent.
You’ve got some good taste, SpeedHero is an awesome name. That’s why I picked it back in 2008. Who am I? I’m Quinn Howling. You’re right, I do live in Canada, I’ve lived in many places in Canada, but mostly Ontario and British Columbia. I’ve also lived in Australia and Japan too. All these places are places my self and some of my SpeedHero co-contributors have taken and shared the SpeedHero identity.
What is Speed Hero to me? I bet much like yourself, I grew up interested in cars at a very young age. It’s not uncommon to be drawn to automobiles at a very young age. I drew about them, collected toys and games revolving around the automobile, and spent my entire childhood and eventually, teenage and adult life focused on the automobile.
My great grandfather in 1922 started a small repair shop in New Dundee, Ontario Canada. Howlings Automotive, it lasted until somewhere around 2010. I spent chunks of my childhood lost in mechanics pits, observing repairs of everything from weedwackers to full size transport trucks. It was the only repair shop for many miles, and many years, and needed to specialize in all things internal combustion. It was even a Gas Station and for a while as well as a Ford/Lincoln dealership.Although in my teenage years I was separated from access to this shop, primarily due to differences in location. I still continued an obsession with the automobile. Much of my teenage time was spent funneling energy into experiencing the car virtually, but the rare chance I got to collect enough resources to play with real cars-I did. Some of that energy was funneled into bicycles, which were much more attainable at a young age. Obsession was placed digitally, I spent a lot of my time teaching myself 3D modeling and bits of coding so I was able to design, build, import and play the cars I desired in the games I found fun. These are things I shared online with many others to enjoy too.
Around my late teens I was able to finally get my hands on junk cars. Finally attaining the real experience I craved. It wasn’t much, but I ended up buying a $700 1989 Chevy S10 Blazer, 2 door, 2.8l V6, 2WD manual. It was my first car. It was brought into the Shop Class in a small town near Ottawa Ontario, where I got some of my first experience wrenching on cars. In Grade 10 I was appointed a role of teaching grade 9’s about car repair. Helping them learn small repairs on my own vehicle! This was the first of approximately 67 vehicles I’ve owned to date. It was the first bug bite of an sickness to collect and interact with cars.
It was around this time that SpeedHero was born. Although the spirit of it existed since I was young. With no official family support, I was on my own to play and dabble in the world of vehicles. I started hours towards my mechanic apprenticeship in high school by taking an advanced automotive program. This placed me in many different situations, like working on Corvettes and Humvee’s in a Specialty shop, and working in a transmission repair shop. I even managed a ‘recycle cycles’ bicycle shop, teaching refugees to Canada how to build and repair bicycles.
It’s here where the Name SpeedHero really began to fruit. The ownership of a variety of cars isn’t all that important, but the stories created by each are all unique and fun pieces of car culture. One of the wholesome truths that’s always led me to great adventure is that everyone has a story about cars. I know you do, I know you have stories about fun things you’ve done with cars. Fun adventures you’ve accomplished, with the use of a car. Places a car has taken you, moments that occurred around and regarding cars. It’s a truth of the population of this earth in the past 100 years. We’ve almost all interacted with cars. It’s not just enthusiasts, but people even disinterested or impartial are affected by vehicles everyday in their life.
This belief that everyone has a story about cars has led me to some of the most enjoyable moments in my life. A favorite is when friends and I will Car Hunt. Drive around new neighborhoods, dipping down roads we’ve never been down before, just to peek down driveways and catch glimpses of open garages to see what abstract and interesting vehicles lay in others everyday lives. This is pure joy, great adventure. When a vehicle of exceptional interest appears, its common for me to knock on the door, and inquire about the vehicle. People have stories. There is a reason they have that car, and I’ve rarely come across someone who isn’t interested in sharing something that gave them exceptional emotion about that vehicle.Each one of these vehicles has their own story, which is their own adventure. Like that time James and I, the two founding members of SpeedHero, bought a Corolla All-trac wagon for $25. We arrived at a GO (light rail) transit station in Hamilton Ontario. We were replying to a classified ad that had no photos in it. “4WD Corolla wagon, hit by truck. $200”. I remember James seeing the car as we pulled into the stations parking lot, and immediately proclaiming “NO!” before we even got out and talked to the owner. You can read more about this 2009 post here: https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/speed-hero-and-the-ae95-obsession/
Or maybe you want to read about the First of 27 Toyota Corollas I bought. An AE86 in Toronto that I acquired from a shop, I kid you not, named Speed Star Auto. I arrived, with cash in hand, thinking I was buying a GTS coupe, but when I got there, it had already been sold. I then bought the owners daily, which had a 4AGE swap, but still the SR5 rear axle.
Maybe you’d like to hear about the 1977 Toyota Corolla I found in Toronto. Owned by a lovely lady who brought it from Brooklyn, where she had purchased it new. It had bumperettes, that were on the car from the dealer, in order to bump other cars when parallel parking. Also in there, is the talking S12 I bought, which would tell you things like “The door is ajar” in a clear tone. The lady who owned that car made me promise to keep the name she’d gave it, because the voice reminded her of her dead mother...
Even more importantly, is the 1980 Toyota Supra an amazing old man gave me to drive, and asked me to promise to split the profits with him if I ever sold it. By selling that car I got a very important Job in my life: Working restoring Toyota Supras for a small shop called Adrenaline Motorsports. You can read more about it here: https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/the-beginnings/Actually, here’s another great SpeedHero story! About the RX7 James and I got for free, which took us to our first ever drift day!!! It was pieced together with dreams and hope, as we had no idea what we were doing, and we were learning on the fly! You can find more out about this important car from 2009 here: https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/speed-hero-ingCar hunting is quite an important activity to us here at SpeedHero, and it’s super fun to find neat and abstract vehicles! Here’s a few car hunting posts from 2009.
James and I spent a lot of time playing around in those early years of SpeedHero. Car hunting, visiting shows, and buying up weird junk cars for fun. Here’s an awesome post of some of the abstract vehicles we were playing with, even back then under the SpeedHero name.Car hunting:One of my favorite Speed Hero adventures was going to Japan for my first time in 2009. That RX7 I posted a few pictures above? That car got us to Japan. It’s a bit of a long story, but when it broke down, one of the guys helping us that track day, called me a few months later and asked “Wanna go to Japan? I had so much fun adventure on that day, that I’d like to go with you guys?” Heck yes we do! James, my boss at the Adrenaline Motorsports and myself, all prepared to get our asses to Japan. Below is a great photo of me riding shotgun on my favorite track in the world, Nikko Circuit!
You can read so much more about us spreading the word of SpeedHero in Japan, in posts like:https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2009/05/07/navigating-japan-is-serious-business
https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/shops-of-japan-mega-postOne of my favorite Adventures in Japan was meeting Igor! Igor met James, Phil and I in an UpGarage store. We were trying to find a place to shower, and all he wanted to do what to show us his favorite Touge to drift on! lolYou can see more of Igor and his boro Starlet here:James moved out west. To Victoria British Columbia, where I post to you from today. We were both hooked on car culture and Ontario wasn’t cutting it. He had a better chance to move than I did, so he went, and started making west coast posts.
https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2009/05/28/speedhero-covers-new-groundmean while I was still stuck in Ontario, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t having fun with cars. I was still working at Adrenaline, fiddling with Supras, playing with my own wrecks, and sharing interesting facts and culture about cars.
I’m sure you’ve watched Climb Dance before? If not, it’s an absolute must for all enthusiasts. Sometimes I’d go out and interview other enthusiasts and dip into their lives.
Or I’d check in on old friends and see what’s going on in their part of the world.
James was spreading the SpeedHero name on the west coast quite aggressively in the summer of 2009. He was spending time at Capital Drift, which at that point was only a year old! Taking photos and doing artwork. Drifting was alive in Victoria!I stayed in Ontario. Still working in the supra shop, and wrenching on my own pieces of junk. I really do enjoy learning and sharing things about abstract vehicles too! It’s one of my favorite hobbies, a great motivator.https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/day-in-the-life-of
One of my favorite things to do is to teach racing. While James was in BC interacting with the desirable drift culture, I was still in Ontario, but I was just starting my instructing career. We often had customers at the Supra shop who had a lot of money and interest, but lacked the skill I had behind the wheel. Although it was profitable for us to do their repairs, it was difficult to acquire new customers when you’re always fixing the old ones. So we started offering instruction at track days! https://wordpress.com/post/speedhero.wordpress.com/630Helping others drive, and drive well has always been important to me. I remember running my first SpeedHero drift day, back in Ontario. We rented a small go-kart track for the day and had a lot of fun sliding! It felt like the tight courses of Japan!
Although we had some stickers and T-shirts for people to buy at this point, I never really considered those too serious at the time. It wwas just fun to wear your own stuff, things you came up with. However, it was around this time that SpeedHero had begun quite a following of loyal readers. Through posts about them driving, but also the many Car Culture posts being created on the blog. I had always had interest in designing and making products. Carrying over these design skills from my first venture, a BMX parts company, I started making SpeedHero designed products. Here’s the first set of wheels I tried to bring to market.https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2009/10/30/sure-id-love-to-see-your-studio <—- T-shirts from 2009Although I’m not a professional. One of my favorite ways to share enthusiasm for cars, and bringing people to see what SpeedHero is about, is taking photos! When I can’t participate, by driving or volunteering, I’ll steal a camera and document the moment. Often it’s not about the art of the shot, but noting a moment for someone else to remember. “I was there, I did this.” is almost as valuable as a photo that is beautiful.
I’ve built a lot of trash cars. Partially because of a low sense of self value, and partially finding the beauty in the refuse of others. Killer Bee/Bad Apple was an amazing experience of finite resources. This is one of my favorite SpeedHero adventures to date. In roughly a 4 day period, for $164 total. A group of locals and I built a 13B swapped AE86 race car using nothing but junk people had laying around. A pre(?)ode to LeMons I guess. You can read more at these links:We celebrate all automobiles here at SpeedHero (except MK3 Supras) Here James helps document and celebrate some British vehicles found at a show in British Columbia.Catching really cool locals. Is always fun. Any time I run into someone doing something cool, I try to document it!!Like any enthusiast, getting your buddies together for a car meet was important. We did it all year round! RWD meets was a big deal for a while. Hanging out with other idiots is the entry level form of enthusiasm for cars.
The next level after local meets is always car shows. It’s the next step in the evolution of automotive enthusiasm. We spent a lot of time playing around at local shows! This show led to a neat discovery of a local free car for me!Checking out cool shops is the next level of enthusiasm. John was an awesome dude!!
I can’t stress enough. We at SpeedHero, love all cars in all conditions. Like I mentioned earlier, each person has their own story. Additionally, so does every car. Sometimes the most mundane task, can turn into an interesting one if you let it.Although a lot of these posts have been about events and moments we’ve seen here at Speedhero, there’s so many other posts about car culture. From documenting the past, to guessing the future. One of our best researchers is Aaron, who from time to time, throws us out interesting bits of car culture, or even things he spots, while he’s working in Japan.Ever since I was little I wanted to be a car designer. Though, no matter how much I draw, I’m never very good at communication my idea from my brain through my hands. Computers changed that for me. but I often lack the confidence to sit down and really draw ideas to their fullest extent. I still design when I can though.
Free cars keep happening to me. Often it’s just because I ask questions. I knock on doors of cool cars, leave notes, or have friends who have an excess. As mentioned above, the CSCS event resulted in me scoring a dope free car!
While James was doing well spreading the word of SpeedHero out west, I was busy finishing up my life in Ontario, and needed to join him in his west cost adventures.
These are just a small Sample of the Adventures we’ve had as SpeedHero! Most of these are back in 2009! There’s tons and tons of other awesome Speed Hero adventures we had from 2008 through up until 2017 now when I’m writing you this email.
Another great SpeedHero Adventure was failed trip to Australia. I planned on building a ghetto race car in Australia and illegally racing Bathurst. A lofty goal that quite clearly failed before it took off. However, one cool thing that came out of that. Was a race car raffle, just like you’re doing!
I too ran a race car Raffle. $5 tickets. My trusty and beloved Rotary Corolla wagon needed to go so I could afford my trip down under. So we ran a SpeedHero race car raffle! in 2013!
https://speedhero.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/lemonade-raffle-wtf-am-i-doing-with-my-life-fiy13shvabtb/That Corolla was such an interesting car. Built for less than $500. I drifted that car from around 2010 through 2013 when I decided to try my luck in Australia. It was a 12A rotary, with homemade suspension, a nice racing seat, and some other cool mods. It drifted awesome and decently reliably.
Upon my return from Australia, I was challenged that “You’d never be able to build that again!” so I did….for cheaper. Corey Bergerud, a contributor to speedhero, helped me build a replica of my previous drift car Lemonade, calling the new one Swamp thing as we, quite literally, dragged the shell out of a swamp to build it.there’s some videos and photos of Swamp thing located here:
Another quite important facet of SpeedHero life is design. Like I mentioned earlier, my dreams of designing products for a living has always been quite strong. From stickers to cars parts, clothing and posters, I’ve designed TONS of stuff in the SpeedHero name.You can see WAYYYYY more than just these samples below, at this link here. It too is boiled down to my favorite things. So there’s more beyond what’s listed in my portfolio.
Another Favorite Adventure of mine is the Hunt for the Star Wars Celica. It’s a cool story that I spent many months on! I’ve since passed the torch of the search onto Dean Shada.
These are just a selection of fun things we’ve done with SpeedHero. We really enjoy our identity as you can see.
I really do enjoy helping others as well!From volunteering at our local drift events as an Organizer, Judge, but more importantly a racing instructor.My regular career is even driving instruction for new drivers!
(update, I now teach racing full time)
Feel free to dig into more of our posts and adventures! Thanks for taking the time to look through some of the fun things we’ve done with SpeedHero over the past 9 years. We’re really excited to have our 10 year celebration next year!Posted below are some examples of people we’ve met, and some of the products
Thanks to all who sent in photos to help with this Email that never got sent. :) <3 DQ