Whilst car culture features rarely within Australian mainstream media (aside from ‘Hoon’ related media panics), domestic and as well global car culture is littered with peripheral groups that exist away from the spotlight, but play fundamental roles in the facilitating culture. Car clubs, online forums, car meets, Facebook groups, YouTube channels all encapsulate these peripheral identities.
One of the most significant of these identities remains the weblog. Weblogs have become a highly functional and popular platform for modern creators to post entries and discussions on particular topics. Within car culture, blogging and bloggers have become an a vital part of the cultural cog, giving enthusiasts the tools to document their own processes and submit them amongst the cultural conversations that occur online, further enriching the interactions of the culture. Blogs like ‘Noriyaro’ and Nigel Petre’s ‘Engineered to Slide’ are key examples of blogs run by ordinary car lovers, who have developed diehard followings for their highly popular content and automotive stories.
Petre’s ‘Engineered to Slide’ blog is Australia’s most outstanding example of an automotive blog. Petre made early use of the blog to document his car activities, but quickly became a household name amongst car enthusiasts worldwide for his outrageous and spectacular, self-fabricated, custom, Toyota Hilux drift Ute. Attached to his build, his regularly updated blog documented the entire build process – the highs of nailing his first perfect weld, to the lows of constant setbacks and redesigns, and ultimately the triumph of his first competitive drive of his machine around Eastern Creek Raceway Sydney (which, ironically, ended prematurely with a broken third gear and a devastated Petre).
Petre’s blog, like other successful automotive blogs, encapsulates a peripheral nature, as it stands firmly on its own two feet as an alternate story telling portal, whereby the author has been able to document his own personal automotive narrative, and share amongst a worldwide community. Automotive blog’s are key aggregators to national and international car culture. From a national perspective, Petre’s ‘Engineered to Slide’ redefined the parameters of what it means to be an the Australian car enthusiast, demonstrating the potential of the ordinary human mind when armed with a love for machine and a mind driven by passion.