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Synthwave car culture: A new wave of automotive enthusiasts
I was once a man of loosely defined, youthful ambitions: I wanted to pursue a career in automotive design and meet folks that would forever alter my path. The Glassell School of Art introduced me to a woman in her late 50s who, at first glance, seemed like another free spirit seeking inspiration via afternoon workshops. That changed when she busted out a copy of Blood Sugar Sex Magik in an open studio. The past 23 years fogged my memory, but one comment remains clear:
"I crave the music that young people enjoy. I need their inspiration, their energy to create ... the Red Hot Chili Peppers motivates me."
After that exchange, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing that crazy diamond gettin' her shine on. Perhaps that's why I'm following in her footsteps with the electronic music of Gen Z and millennials, which I discovered because of their bottomless love of modern classics on YouTube. I stumbled upon a trove of videos starring everything from a Nissan 240SX or BMW E36 to a Corvette C4, Lexus LS400, or Mazda RX-7, all overlaid with synthesized tunes. This isn't some obscure corner of the internet; it's a full-blown automotive subculture.
My great uncle blessed me early on with the indoctrination into his 1969 and 1982 c3 corvettes. Ever since i saw that angular fighter cockpit, I wanted one, and when he passed away in 2015 when i was 15, I hoped to one day own those wonderful cars for myself, while those exact cars went to his sons, I can say at 20 that i own a 1982 C3 and a 1984 C4! And synthwave culture was a part in both of them. My father raised me on New Wave music which holds similarities in the level of synthesizing within the songs to synthwave. So it ended up being the perfect storm! (btw I'm also proud to say my 82' received a t56 magnum last fall which makes me a Z that drives stick! :D) Thank you for this awesome article!