Start your engines: Vikings take off


Aldo Giannini

Students congregate at Eastgate Park and Ride Mar. 11 for a car show before they were forced to leave due to a request by police.

William He and Aldo Giannini

The car community has emerged as one of the biggest communities at Inglemoor. Unique cars of all shapes and sizes sit dormant in the parking lots during the school day and certain cars and their owners meet together at the end of the week to relax and talk about cars. 

Senior Jimmy Paredes purchased his 2008 Nissan 350z half a year ago, and it did not take long for people in the Viking car community to reach out. “When I bought my car, I had a whole bunch of people text me, saying ‘Hey, nice car’ and then I just started talking to them, and eventually I kind of got closer with them,” said Paredes.

Paredes regularly schedules car meets via his Snapchat stories, usually holding them at Eastgate Park and Ride in Bellevue on Fridays or Saturdays around 7 p.m. 

Paredes said he quickly bonded with the car community when many people contacted him to help fix up his car. Paredes said he has had unpleasant interactions within the car community, but that most of the time it is a friendly and enjoyable experience.

“You can get made fun of if your car is ugly, or slow,” Paredes said. “If you have an automatic car you also get made fun of. It’s a pretty toxic community, but I’m trying to keep it as friendly and civil as possible…the people in Bellevue are usually really friendly.”

Senior Mason Stocker said he owns a 2009 Audi a4 and has also had some negative experiences at car meets, but most of the time, he enjoys the atmosphere.

“It can vary. I’ve had some meets that are super chill and laid back, with people just sitting around talking about their cars. I’ve also had some bad experiences with meets, but it’s very few and far between,” Stocker said. “Some people just ruin the meet for everyone. Most of the time, it’s a super loose and laid back atmosphere where everyone is just having a good time, being passionate about cars.”

Senior Nesta Fitzgerald, who drives a 1965 Toyota Stout, believes that tough skin is needed to get into the car community.

“It’s pretty toxic and pretty controversial, but at the same time I think it’s pretty friendly if you just stay, talking to cool people,” said Fitzgerald.

Paredes said that the car someone drives doesn’t always represent the person.

“I’d say that the car I drive doesn’t really represent me because I know people that own the same car, and we’re not the same,” Paredes said. “No same interests, taste in music or anything.”

Paredes chalks the toxic stereotypes surrounding the car community up to all the competitiveness of comparing each other’s cars. Still, Paredes said he recommends people go to car meets.

“It’s a good way to create a stronger friendship going to car meets and actually hanging out with people outside of school,” said Paredes.

Senior Peter Roumelis, who drives a 2011 BMW 335i, enjoys the car community and being able to customize a car to fit his personality.

“I got it pretty recently but I definitely feel myself starting to get attached to my car,” Roumelis said.

Many interviewed believe the biggest challenge in staying involved in the car community is the cost of maintaining your vehicle. Stocker says the emotional toll is comparable to the financial toll.

“Just know you’re going to have to put a lot of money, a lot of time and a lot of emotion in your car,” said Stocker.

Junior Zayan Ahmed drives a 2006 Dodge Charger RT, and has turned cars into a fun side hustle. Ahmed runs a luxury car review channel on YouTube called Oversteer Auto Reviews and gives comprehensive reviews of high-end cars.

“I’ve seen a lot of people review cars on YouTube, and they spent too much time doing bogus,” said Ahmed. “So I wanted it to be straight to the point and relatively in-depth.”

Today, Ahmed uploads frequently and shares his car knowledge with over 850 subscribers. Ahmed is constantly reviewing cars from local dealership Dwayne Lane’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram but has had a lack of cars to review recently due to the pandemic.

“With the chip shortage going on, there’s a higher demand for cars below production,” said Ahmed. “And because of that, the prices have been skyrocketing and production numbers are really low.”