For many of us, a car is just a way to get from point A to point B, and sometimes point C when there is something worth doing. But, there are many in our Valley who see their cars as something so much more.
For car lovers, there is nothing better than the smell of the exhaust and the roar of the engine.
In the Mahoning Valley, it is common to see a Chevrolet Cobalt or Cavalier, but how many people can say they own a car that has a 480 cubic inch engine, 4,000-horse power and can reach 250 miles per hour in a quarter mile stretch?
1970 Dodge Challenger 440 Six Pack, owned by Mark Fordeley, owner and operator of Buff-N-Stuff on East Market Street in Warren.
1971 Cuda 340, described by owner Mark Fordeley as “probably my favorite car.”
The owner of B&B Automotive on West Market Street, Bill Walls, has been racing since his teens. Walls' drag racer may not be a common car, but it has become a sort of obsession for him and countless other dragsters across the country.
"It gets into you blood," said Walls. "Most people get into racing because of the challenge."
Much like at the racetrack, at B&B Automotive, Walls is interested in getting the most out of an engine, even if it doesn't have four thousand horsepower.
"We specialize in automotive engine machine work," said Walls.
A 428 cubic inch engine from a 1968 Grand Prix is just one of the many motors being worked on by Walls and his team. A1948 Ford Flathead V8 is also being restored for installation in a "fire truck", Walls laughs. As is a four cylinder engine from a Mazda Miata that is raced by its owner.
In his shop, Walls can see the clear difference between the generations of car lovers and racers.
"We basically have to two types of customers. We have the older generation that comes in and they are working on restoring the 60's and 70's generation cars. The young crowd is a lot of domestic made cars and foreign cars and they want to build the motor," said Walls.
Across town, Mark Fordeley, owner of Buff-N-Stuff, has devoted his life to his love of cars.
"I've been doing this since I was 15 years old," said Fordeley. "I've been in business 25 years doing auto detailing and painting. Plus we're starting a mechanic shop, oil change, performance add ons we're going to do pretty much anything mechanical."
Starting with his first car, a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda, Fordeley has been amassing an incredible collection of restored and classic cars.
In his collection, Fordeley has a 1970 Dodge Challenger; his second car, a 1923 Ford T-Bucket, a 1970 Cuda Convertible and a 1952 Plymouth Woody Wagon that is special for more than just its classic status.
"The Wagon was built by Dick Dean and George Barris," said Fordeley. "They were the guys who built the Bat Mobile and the Monkee Mobile."
With all those to choose from, Fordeley has one that stands out as a favorite.
"1971 Cuda 340, this is probably my favorite one," said Fordeley.
As with most things, the largest obstacle when getting involved in racing or car collecting is how much money it is going to take.
According to Walls, the cost of running his team is in the ballpark of $250,000. "I like to compare it to building a house. How much money you want to spend and how you want to spend it," said Walls.
In addition to his car, Walls needs a special trailer to tow the car to events and must fill the car with special nitro-methane fuel that can cost upwards of $35 a gallon.
Although different in their styles, the cars owned and raced by Walls and Fordeley are linked by the love of an owner with his automobile.
Whether it's a Mazda Miata, a Dodge Challenger or a 4,000 horse power rocketship with wheels, the pride owners have in their cars is apparent every time they fire up the engine.