Featured Ride: jamie

? I'm avant-garde, I'm the heir, I'm the Vogue
I'm the she she ohh hee hee
I'm the man a la mode ?
"Fashion is Danger" as written by Bret Mckenzie and Jermaine Clement

April 2010. I open my mail box and I am immediately struck with a revelation; I can see colors. I can see them in the way that my girlfriend walks into Sephora and knows that she wants "Caffeine Fix", an opaque dark plum coffee, instead of "What A Broad", an opaque deep royal purple. I can see them because what lies on the cover is a striking image of Champion Motorsports's 658-hp 997 Turbo resprayed in the 1956 Porsche 356 color, "Mode Grau". This color is not Lamborghini's "Oro Elios Metallic" nor is it Aston Martin's "Moon Shadow". This color is special. It will be a part of every car I own until my great grandson takes my keys away and wipes the dribble from my toothless mouth as my withered lips un-stick from one another to form the word "mode" one last time before my teary eyes betray my feelings of defeat.

April 2010. I arrive early at the parking lot of Fuddruckers and I am immediately greeted by the kind, genuine smile of Jamie Conlan. He is the proud owner of a Flash Red, supercharged VR6 MkIII GTI. The beefy tires and black wheels hint that the motorsport-themed car would be more at home blasting through the freeways of Houston than sitting on the showgrounds of Hot Water Blast, our destination that Sunday. The others in our group have yet to arrive, so Jamie and I walk to the nearby grocery to gather water for our caravan. Jamie is easygoing like the older brother figure from a 90's sitcom. He is Eric Matthews to my Cory. Zach Morris to my Screech. He has the cool car. He gets the girl. He deflects compliments with Olympic grace and credits others when referencing triumphs. He is Dali Lama humble. "Daria Conlan rescued the car from my friend in Austin". "Doug Pascual created the tune". "Clay Hundley turned wrenches". "Pat's Paint Werks resprayed her". "Ben Norrell would never let me settle for less than perfection". "Peer Strogies is German". "Leo Villa did something in addition to looking good, probably".

? I had to move
Really had to move
That's why if you please
I am on my bended knees
Bertha don't you come around here anymore ?
"Bertha" as written by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter

January 2012. I open MS Outlook and I am immediately delighted by an email containing the first photo set of Jamie's car, Bertha, since her completion. She sits proudly atop polished HRE 505's with black windows. Her color coded intercooler piping peers through the front grilles. The 337 Recaro interior, visible through un-tinted windows, contrasts the Porsche Mode Grau paint with striking results. It's as if the air has been forcibly removed from my lungs, or perhaps I am recalling standing too close to the bay while the turbo spooled. The Megasquirt management lies in quiet anticipation of its next lover's quarrel. Girls and elephants never forget and Bertha is a bit of both. Perhaps she is still bitter over Jamie leaving her for New York in '01. Maybe she is jealous of his wife, Daria, and their son, Cord. Though without their patience and understanding, Jamie's dream car might be a decaying carcass in an Austin graveyard, her heart transplanted to a MkII previously diagnosed with 8-valve atresia. But nobody ever claimed a beautiful woman to be rational a beast, especially not Bertha.

Photos: Jamie Conlan

Words: Jake Hayes
Special thanks to Jamie for allowing me the honors of putting this together. Bertha has been a large influence and inspiration as has Jamie. I appreciate everything, buddy.