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Behind the Wheel with Jesus Garcia

By: jwilder

jesus behind the wheel jesus garcia interview
Jesus Garcia. Automotive Journalist. Car Guy. Artist. Texan.

Introduction

The internet is filled with words, typed under the influence of instant inspiration. Like dark matter in space, no one ever sees them.

The fame didn't come. The inspiration ran dry. The sacrifice was too great. They abandoned the dream.

Then, there's Jesus Garcia.

Jesus is a young man with an old soul.

He pays the price for his dreams.

He's going the distance.

If you're a car enthusiast and haven't heard of Jesus Garcia, it is my great pleasure to introduce you to him.

About Jesus Garcia

Jesus Garcia, of Laredo, Texas, is a freelance automotive journalist.

Since 2016 he has been consistently publishing his automotive stories at Jesus Behind the Wheel.

He is a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association. He joined at age twenty-three, and was the youngest member at the time.

His dedication and writing skill have always impressed me.

So I decided it was time to reach out and meet this guy.

He was gracious and accepted my request to interview him.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome, Jesus Garcia...

What inspired you to get into writing about cars, and when did you first start writing about cars?

I've always been creative but didn't realize it was creativity until I was in high school and started drawing in class and writing stories for fun. At the time I didn't consider them skills or talent. I merely saw them as ways to keep me entertained or clear my mind.

jesus behind the wheel jesus garcia auto toonz
Jesus Garcia. @auto.toonz

Around the same time, I discovered Top Gear UK, and like most car-guys, I thought being the host of that show was the dream job to have. Getting paid handsomely to power-slide the latest supercars, but I had no idea how one would even begin to work their way to that level.

I settled for finding a job that would let me test drive cars for free. Car magazines, newspapers, they all had car reviews, and I figured at age 17, "Someone has to write these, and I like writing, why not me?"

On your website About page, you say "I'm ... determined to make a name for myself in automotive media." What would that future look like when you get there?

A level of success that would allow me to built a rally-cross track in my own ranch. That is the ultimate goal.

[Note: While talking on the phone, Jesus mentioned the driving that could be done legally on your own personal track. The photo and video opportunities would be massive. I could see where he was going with this idea.]

What was your first car?


My first car was a 1997 GMC Sierra 1500 that I still own.

This year, I had the original engine fully rebuilt to restore a 23-year-old truck.

The story of why I spent the time and money in this not particularly unique truck was the first article I wrote for The Drive, which was incredibly sentimental and exciting because the topic was very personal to me, and people responded very positively to it.

jesus behind the wheel jesus garcia interview
Jesus Garcia. First vehicle owned. 1997 GMC Sierra 1500.

What cars do you own, and why?


I own several cars, a 1997 GMC, my first truck, a 2013 Mazda 3 MT, my first new car, and a 1969 Camaro z/28 tribute, my first classic car.

I've done every oil change on the Mazda since I drove it out of the dealership on July 4th, 2013, and it's taken me across-country three different times and took me to the top of Pike's Peak. It's been a loyal little car that's me on countless adventures, 95k worth of memories and counting.

The Camaro was an unexpected moment on Mother's Day 2014. The car just rolled up to the parking lot, and I spotted the white lettering spinning around a set of chrome Cragers, and it caught my eye like a love interest in a romantic comedy. My family and I ended up striking a conversation with the owner and his wife, and two weeks later, I was at the bank applying for a loan to buy the car. It's a period-correct muscle car built by the owner I purchased from Rodney Goodhall. This is a 4-speed, manual steering, drums all around, air-shock risen, drum-line thumping small block, terrifying car to smile in.


What will your next car be?

I have a dozen project cars that need my attention before I even think about getting another car.

If the 2021 Mazda 3 is everything we hope I may strongly consider trading in my 2013, but the new car has a meet a very high bar.

I've always wanted to buy a Crown Vic Police Interceptor. I adore those big panther body sedans. I want one to turn into a stunt-car that still works as a daily driver.

[I vote for the Crown Vic.]

What are your favorite car websites?

The Drive, Jalopnik, craigslist (technically), and I enjoy listening to the ramblings on YouTube's channel Regular Car Reviews, by Mr. Regular.

I saw your work on The Drive. Has this made an impact on your career?

I'm still too new, but The Drive was one of the first real online automotive publications I started following and reading when I was 18 and started to practice writing actively.

For the last ten years, I've looked at The Drive as a summit, and it does feel like being at the point of a mountain, grateful, little terrified, with a sense of disbelief.

What are your top three car movies and why?

The first movie is Vanishing Point (1971) because it's the ultimate driver's fantasy.

The second movie, The Gumball Rally (1976), because it's the best of all the cannonball theme movies (there are more than you'd think).

Finally, third, The Blues Brothers (1980), because it's hilarious and who doesn't love a 440 cop motor?

Has being a member of the Texas Auto Writers helped your career? If so, how? Do you recommend it for other aspiring automotive writers?

I was the youngest member when I joined at age 23.

Being a member and attending events allowed me to directly network with manufacturers and put a face to my writing.

I cannot stress enough how welcoming and encouraging TAWA has been to me.

I do recommend the Texas Auto Writers Association to aspiring writers, but only if they are dedicated to the craft.

What do you think about the current state of Texas car culture? Growing? Anything new you have noticed?

The most recent sub-culture that's been getting traction on the internet that in the Texas border. Trucks, lowered or lifted, showing off like performance cars and cruising around town, called Trokiando (trok-i-an-do), which is Tex-Mex slang for saying Truckin. They have their own memes, so I think it's officially a thing.

Are there any Texas car shows that you enjoy attending?

I really enjoyed attending RADwood, Austin, but what I'm really looking forward to is Groesbeck Grand Prix later in September. It sounds amazing.

On Instagram, you say you are an Okay photographer. Is photography a passion for you, or more of a tool of the trade?

I like to think I have a good eye for photography, but I wouldn't call myself a professional. I'm better at writing.

What camera do you use? Lenses?

Mostly my phone out of convenience.

Are there any books or authors that have inspired you, and why?

I enjoyed reading Stephen King books in high school, and discovered Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Bukowski while studying in college.

I learned from each one of these very different but similarly twisted writers.

From King, I learned how to write dialog and the importance of detail. Thompson showed me that journalism can be creative as well as informative, but only if you're willing to do the work. What I learned from Bukowski is to study my surroundings wherever I go, because people are often better characters than anything I could ever imagine.

Do you have any advice for aspiring auto writers?

Life's too short to read every comment. Not having the right equipment is not an excuse. And read more books.

Consistency is very important. Keep writing and publishing on a regular basis.

What are the future plans for your blog? Do you plan to keep blogging on it the rest of your life? I think it would be cool.

I'm very proud of my blog's name and will try to keep it updated as long as I can. I like my little blog because I can write freely, almost as if it were a journal.

Anything you want to add?

I loathe the Fast n Furious franchise because they butcher all the car stunts with rapid editing, defeating the purpose of destroying all those cars and putting stunt performers at risk. Also, I think stunt performers should get more recognition. They are the closest we have to actual Marvel superheroes.

What do you want your legacy to be?

Be a great writer.

jesus behind the wheel jesus garcia interview
Jesus Garcia. Jesus Behind the Wheel

Keys to Success

When observing what Jesus Garcia has done over the years I clearly see the principles of success shine through.

  • Recognize your natural abilities.
  • Have a dream.
  • Gain skills any way possible.
  • Have determination.
  • Connect with peers.
  • Be consistent.

It is said it takes ten years to become an overnight success.

In other words, people don't see all the hard work, dedication and sacrifice. They don't know how many times you were tempted to give up and take the easier path.

These keys can work for you too.

Finally

Jesus is a car guy you just want to keep talking to.

He has put in ten hard years of writing. Ten years tends to be a tipping point where consistent hard work starts opening doors of opportunity.

You can find Jesus Garcia on the web at these locations.

Jesus Behind the Wheel
Auto Reviews, News & Car-Fiction
jesusbehindthewheel.com

Jesus Garcia on Instagram
Writer At-Large, AutoJournalist, Content Creator, Texas, Carguy, Okay Photographer.
www.instagram.com/jesus_behind_the_wheel/

The art of Jesus Garcia
Bootz is a Cowboy who loves cars.
www.instagram.com/auto.toonz

jesus behind the wheel jesus garcia auto toonz cybertruck
Jesus Garcia. @auto.toonz

James Wilder

James Wilder is the owner, writer, photographer, designer, and developer for MOTOR Texas, as well as companion sites CarPhotography.Life and CarMovies.Info.

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