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  • Gearhead - What Is a Gearhead?

Gearhead - What Is a Gearhead?

Steve Warner
Jul 1, 2004
Photo 2/2   |   gearhead classic Truck
I am constantly amazed by the amount of people who will either drive by or come up to me on a semi-regular basis and proclaim themselves to be true gearheads. I have heard the arguments over and over about how these people love automobiles and have been actively involved in the building or rebuilding of cars and trucks at some point during their lives. And these self-proclaimed gearheads also just simply love new cars - the latest Porsche or BMW, or the newest SUV to hit the market. They claim to love these cars and trucks and, in their minds, that makes them gearheads.
I beg to differ. A gearhead is someone who lives, eats, and sleeps all things automotive - not just simply liking a car or truck enough to go out and buy it. A gearhead is someone who has no sympathy for those who let that old rusted hunk of metal they call a truck sit in a driveway long enough to have it hauled away for tax credits. A gearhead is someone who sees a vehicle's uniqueness enough to actually think about and carry out a build process on a truck whose time was long ago forgotten.
I can lump a true gearhead into three different classifications: a modern-day gearhead, an old-classic gearhead, and a blending of these two. Obviously, the modern-day gearhead is someone who knows all of the new computer programs and can practically cite verse after verse of computer code when that latest and greatest new power accessory that was just installed kicks on a trouble code on the truck's dash. A classic-old gearhead is someone who knows absolutely nothing about computers, doesn't own one, doesn't want one, couldn't even begin to tell you how to turn it on, but can literally cite verse after verse of part numbers from just about any old truck or car manual. He is also the guy everyone in the neighborhood turns to when they have a problem with their car. The blended gearhead is probably where 75 percent of the rest of supposed gearheads fall - myself included. I can recite certain part numbers from certain vehicles. I have been actively involved in building, and yes, I do know how to turn on a computer (well, at least most of the time). And yes, I can tell you certain troubleshooting codes for that modern-day truck's computer system.
That also being said, does being a gearhead limit yourself to just cars and trucks? Can a gearhead also be actively involved with motorcycles, boats, and cars? Can a gearhead be someone who likes or admires anything mechanical and has a tool collection that outshines anything you or I have seen? Do you get the idea here? What may be a hobby to some is a true passion for others. So, when someone addresses you as being a gearhead, how do you fit the term?
I personally have probably met every one of the gearheads I have described above. I am sure it is just the nature of my job. However, that being said, I am also sure every one of you have also met most, if not all, of the same aforementioned individuals. Personally, I like to think of myself as somewhat of a better person for having met people who can be called gearheads, because I think automobiles, trucks, street rods, boats, motorcycles, tools, engines, and anything mechanical is a good thing. I think these are areas that unite most people and can keep them engaged in conversation for hours at a time.
Case in point is a gearhead conversation or meeting. How many times have you been to a party that seemingly always ends up with the men heading into the garage to bench race and talk gearhead lingo, or they head out into the driveway to admire that restoration project that is underway? These are the topics that bound men, and in some instances, women, if they enjoy all things mechanical. Yes, we are gearheads. Can you say the same? Hopefully, if you are a monthly reader of Truckin', you can most certainly answer with a resounding yes.
- OF



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