Fast and Furious

By: Joe DiMeo


(3 min. read)

As a little kid, I always liked cars of all types. My parents would take me to car shows because they were car people, too. My dad was a Chevy guy. He had a Chevy Nova, but he turned into a Cadillac guy as he got older. My mom had a Trans Am, but she always wanted a canary yellow BMW M3. She got one later on in life.

When I was growing up, the Fast and Furious movies came out. They were a really big part of my childhood because they opened up my knowledge of different types of cars and how to modify them. Most car shows I went to were classic muscle cars, which I like, and they are still my favorite, but Fast and Furious opened up the JDM car scene for me, like Paul Walker’s orange supra and his blue and silver skyline. Whenever a Fast and Furious movie came out, my parents took me. Seeing them in the movie theatre was a different experience than watching them at home.

There is nothing better than a V8 Muscle car in surround sound while eating my go-to snacks of Milk Duds and popcorn. Thinking about the combination of buttery popcorn mixed with chocolate and caramel makes me want to head to the movies right now.

I became a Dodge guy when I saw Dominic Toretto’s 1970 charger in Fast and Furious. I appreciated the fact that my parents didn’t try to change my new interest. I had a couple of friends whose parents didn’t like the cars they picked out. In many car family’s eyes, you can only have one car brand. Ford, Chevy, or Dodge.

I was never a fan of exotic cars. The V8 sound does it for me. When I turned 18, my dad took me to a track. And I got to drive a Ferrari Lamborghini and a GTR. The best-sounding one was the Ferrari. But the GTR had the better handling and quickness. But they never deterred me away from American Muscle. My dream project car is to build a 1969 Charger with a 572 aluminum Hemi. But I would have to say, my ultimate dream car is a 2016 Dodge Viper ACR. I was disappointed when I learned that Dodge would no longer produce that car. This made the price value shoot up. Dodge has decided to also drop the production of the V8 engine. In general, muscle car brands will cease production. I hope to be able to own one, one day.

When I turned 19, I bought a Dodge Challenger RT. It was my first muscle car, and I was super proud of myself. I was able to get this kind of car all by myself. And on top of that, I was also supporting myself and living independently.

My parents never tried to stop me from getting a muscle car. Like a lot of other parents did with my friends. They were very excited for me. They never even complained about my exhaust setup, though they could hear me coming a street away. It was the loudest in town, with long tube headers and straight pipes. If I ever get another Dodge, I will definitely have the same exhaust setup. Can you tell it was my favorite?

Some people might say that having a muscle car is dangerous. And bad. I venture to say that those drivers who are texting and driving or cannot get off their phones to see who is coming are more dangerous.

Many dirty looks were thrown my way when I would drive by, but at least I was paying attention. I’d just smile and drive off.

I no longer have my Challenger. In 2018, at the age of 20, after an overtime night shift, I fell asleep at the wheel. My long tube headers scraped the curb and caused a spark. Simultaneously, the oil pan cracked, and sparks and oil don’t mix too well.

The car ignited with me in it. If a passerby had not pulled me from the burning vehicle, I would not be writing this blog. I burned 80% of my body and spent three months in a coma. However, I was blessed to be the world’s first face and dual hand transplant recipient.

In 2021, three years after the accident, I drove a car again. It was my girlfriend’s Subaru Crosstrek. Before driving an actual car, I had driven several go-carts, which is more challenging because they do not have power steering.

Someday, I will get a Challenger Hellcat, and yes, I will again put long tube headers on it just like I did with my old car.

Joe DiMeo
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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