Car enthusiasts share family connections and aspirations


Photo courtesy of Aabhi Anand

Kian Palmer, Aabhi Anand and Duncan Fuji pose with their cars. Their love for cars has allowed them to make new friends, find jobs and grow closer to family roots.

Self-expression, passion, inclusivity, dedication and community.

This is what being a car enthusiast means to seniors Aabhi Anand, Duncan Fujii and Kian Palmer.

“The main misconception I hear is that you have to own a fast and/or expensive car to be a car enthusiast. I don’t see this as true at all. The amount of money you do or don’t spend on a car doesn’t mean you can’t be included as part of a group” said Palmer, adding that “it’s totally possible to be involved in a car community and be an enthusiast without owning a car at all.”

For these seniors, their fascination with cars started at an early age, even expressing interest around age two or three, and each have a very personal connection with their vehicles.

Anand, who knew 12 years ago the exact car he wanted, also knew it was important to set goals.

“Nothing comes without hard work,” Anand explained.“Because of dedication and hard work I was able to achieve my goal many years earlier than anticipated and I was able to purchase [my dream car] without the help of my parents. Even though I get a lot of hate for my car, just for myself knowing that I worked very hard to achieve something of this magnitude… it is truly a gift.”

For Fujii, his connection to his car stems from family ties.

“My grandpa left me with a new pickup when he passed away and said I could sell or trade it to get something I wanted. I made sure to keep his plates on my car to have a reminder of where the car came from.”

Palmer, who was formerly a member of a large Subaru club in Oregon, explained some of the challenges he noticed with being part of such a large organization.

“I used to be a part of a very large Subaru group that had members across Oregon, but just like groups of friends, large car communities have the same, if not more potential to have bouts of drama.”

Palmer, along with a few like-minded friends, started a smaller and more close-knit club, describing it as a way to “talk nothing but cars for hours” if he wanted to, adding that it also serves as a great general social outlet as well.

Looking to the future, Fujii, who will be attending Oregon State University for mechanical engineering next year, hopes to find a job in the automotive field, explaining that “[He] is trusting [his] future to [his] love for cars.”

Anand will be attending the University of Arizona, while Palmer will be attending the University of Portland.