Mike Garrett: The Life of a Car Geek
It started when I was two years old. Maybe even younger. My parents tell me that when we drove around town, I would read the names of pickup trucks off their tailgates. "Nissan! Ford! Toyota!" I would call out. At that age, I couldn't actually read the words, but I did recognize the logos, nameplates and the bodies themselves.
Such began a lifelong love affair with the automotive world that's lasted over 30 years and since has come to shape my entire life. As I got older, I soon moved on to Hot Wheels and Matchboxes, and then later plastic model kits and racing video games.
Much of the influence came from my dad, who is just as crazy about cars as I am. Throughout my childhood, I would spend my weekends hanging out in the garage or tagging along with him to cruise nights, car shows, the drags or just about anywhere else he went.
When I got my license at 16, my first car was a 1972 Ford Torino station wagon — certainly one of the most unusual cars in my circa 2001 high school parking lot. It wasn't fast by any stretch, but my friends loved all the room it had for sneaking them off campus. Next I got a Plymouth Duster, then a Mustang 5.0 followed by a Camaro Z/28.
I also read every car magazine I could get my hands on, and they piled up across my room. Writing about and photographing cars professionally seemed like a dream job to me, so I chose mass communication and journalism as my college major and decided to start practicing the craft as much as possible.
During my college years, I developed a strong interest in drifting and Japanese car culture in particular. I visited Japan for the first time in 2006 and enjoyed it so much that I decided to move there for a while. I started blogging about my experiences on a website called "Auto Otaku," and that eventually led to a career as an automotive writer and photographer — my dream come true.
In 2009, I moved back to California and continued to spend my days photographing and writing about cars and car culture. While some enthusiasts dedicate themselves to one brand or style of vehicle, my tastes have always been all over the place.
I enjoy covering an amateur drift event as much as I do a gathering of traditional hot rods and customs. I dig a vintage race car as much as a modern hot hatchback, and my dream garage would include everything from a 1970 Buick GSX to a 1998 Toyota Mark II.
Whether it's here in California, on the streets of Tokyo or anywhere else, cars are much more than a hobby for me; they are my life. When I'm not working on a car, shooting photographs or writing a story, I usually fire up the video game console or PC and turn a few virtual hot laps. The car life never ends.
When the opportunity arose to join Driving Line as Contributing Editor, I knew it was the perfect fit. There are few places that cover such a wide spectrum of car culture, and I couldn't be happier to become part of the team.
Right now my mind is swirling around with ideas for cool stories — not just the feature cars and events, but everything from project vehicles to road trips to video game reviews and more.
Good times are in store, so let's fire it up and have some fun.
EDITOR'S NOTE: On behalf of the whole Driving Line team, we'd like to give Mike a big welcome! We've followed his work for a while now and love his fresh take on car culture. From the automotive world at large to its unique niches, Mike just gets it. We couldn't be happier to have him join the team of enthusiasts filling the pages here at Driving Line!