Opinion: Facing Mortality with Car Parts

Image credit: edgesuite.net

A subwoofer came in the mail last Friday. There was no fuss, no drama. Just a few clicks on Lazada and here it was three days later.

That’s all there is to say about the JBL sub I just bought. I wired it in and it was a great improvement over my old Targa woofer. The Targa was part of a pair of subs I traded a 2DIN head unit for, the latter I got from a car club audiophile friend who previously used it in his Altis.

Online shopping takes the story out of a parts search. A lot of the parts we buy for our cars have a tale all their own. The thrill of the chase, the triumph of a new discovery – where will all those be when you don’t have to move your gluteus off your seat?

Sometimes the parts we acquire possess notable lineage. We bought a used set of head and signal lights for our Patrol many years ago. We met the seller in Marcos Highway someplace. He alleged that the lamps were from Dingdong Dantes’ personal Patrol as the actor had his upgraded to Presidential Edition specs. My dad didn’t know who the heck Dingdong was nor did he care when he forked over the cash. True or not, our Patrol still stares back at us with its tough, action star gaze.

Its mouthpiece – este, intercooler – was found not far away, in Libis. It took us about one more year before it was installed by famed tuner Dax Santiano. These are only a couple of Patrol parts stories, such was the financial struggle to put the car right after its major accident. It has been more than 10 years since we were collided head-on with a 10-wheeler. I still remember the curve in Dalton Pass where it happened.

I don’t buy car parts for the stories. Memories are merely imbued to them in the process. Some kuwentos are sadder than others. A crashed Coupe with its driver killed gave its beating heart to anyone who wanted it. If I was somebody else I would probably be freaked out. I hauled it out of General Trias much the same way I hauled a 4K out of Novaliches – with my Carens.

Like everyone else, the concept of death makes me uncomfortable. Last month I spent one dreary night outside the ICU, tense that a loved one is inside, mortified that someone else’s loved one is being wheeled out towards the basement morgue.

Our imams always remind us that death is inevitable, and that we should be tough enough to face it. Out of the shoulders of the departed was made the world for the next generation to build upon. And so life goes on. The Coupe engine is now in the shop, waiting to be transplanted to a body, or it could be sacrificed to give a new lease of life to other cars. Or it could be the foundation of an all-out N/A project that has been at the back of my mind for a couple of years, and have been piecing parts for.

A while back I got some 4AGE Silvertop ITBs. It needed the stock plenum, which I saw was available from a dude in Las Pinas. We decided to meet in SM Southmall on a Saturday night.

Traffic was terrible en route to Southmall so I didn’t arrive on the agreed time. Cedric, the seller, texted me to just meet up in a Jollibee nearby. I got the item and chatted with him for a bit. He said that there was a shooting at the mall, thus the change in venue for our meetup.

The victim was a Pasay City councilor named Borbie Rivera, who was killed as he exited the mall premises. It turns out that he was a classic Toyota fan who owned a Liftback with a 4AGE.

Today I checked the plenum and the ITBs and put them together. Right now they’re in a box inside the garage cabinet, bunking with a set of 1st gen Mitsubishi 4G63 connecting rods and Honda B20 flat top pistons.

As I lock the cabinet, Dingdong’s lights seemed to wink, reminding me of that fateful day in March 2007. We could have died then. Yesterday, there was a chance of being collateral damage if I had arrived at the mall early. I guess we cheat death every single day we are alive. And we would all be safer from mall shootings if we bought everything from Lazada. But where is the fun in that?

I think we should really piece together that N/A Frankenstein Coupe motor, make it a reciprocating reminder of the preciousness of life. If I live long enough to do so.

Image credit: Borbie Rivera via Classic Toyota Club Philippines FB Group
Image credit: Borbie Rivera via Classic Toyota Club Philippines FB Group

We dedicate this article to Councilor Borbie Rivera. We are attaching pictures of his pride and joy, his classic Toyota Corolla to honor him by. We extend my deepest condolences to his family for their loss, and hope for a speedy resolution for this case.

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