Readers Rides First Edition With Euro Boutique
Today at GearHeads we are starting to shine some light on some of our reader’s rides and the stories that shaped their love for all things pertaining to cars. In today’s article we spoke with Rick who has had a lifelong love for cars which started at a young age and is still going strong to this day. Now owner of a custom shop in California by the name of EuroBoutique, Rick’s business is professionally modifying cars and business is good. http://www.euroboutique.us is the website and here is our conversation that took place.
GearHeads – Rick, how did you get into modifying cars, was it similar to other gearheads?
Rick – I think many of the car modders you see now started as ricers though many won’t admit it! I don’t know how it started but I had odd taste and tried to stand out with my mods. Being on a limited budget and with very little aftermarket support, I bought parts from wherever and this included Pep Boys and Wal-Mart on top of building my own things when possible. Growing up in the Midwest in the early 90’s there was no such thing as internet forums and smart phones so “trends” take a very long time to flow over to our region. Magazines and friends word of mouth was all we had. I started out racing R/C cars prior to getting my license and spent a small fortune building miniature cars and by my calculations I dumped easily $20k over a period of 5 years into my R/C car hobby. However once I got my license at 16, I wanted to play with real cars.
GearHeads – What was it like being able to finally and legally get behind the wheel?
Rick – I learned how to drive in my dad’s first generation Dodge Caravan but I was lucky that my parents were willing to help me put a down payment on a car, so my first ride was a 91 Blue Eclipse GSX (auto). I used parts from HKS, OZ, and PepBoys to mod my car. At first I could not even afford rims so I spray painted my center caps blue…haha I thought racing stripes were cool so I did that in white and eventually got a set of OZ rims. Lowering cars was a new thing so I never even bothered to lower the car but instead custom made my own side skirts using leather from JoAnne fabrics. I did put a very quality stereo system in the car and this is where I learned many things.
GearHeads – Did you ever think about restoring muscle cars?
Rick – My dad is actually a domestic muscle car guy but oddly that never rubbed off on me. I could care less about Mustangs or Camaros which most H.S. students in my class loved. My dream car was a MKI Supra Turbo or 3000GT VR4 bur both cars were way out of the budget for a high school kid in the 90’s. Remember inflation so $50k back then is more like $100k nowadays or even more! So I settled for a 97 Eclipse turbo and went crazy modding it and taking it to the DSM shootout in Ohio for 3 years in a row doing drag racing. Back then support was not like it is today and information is not passed too quickly. There was no digital camera or smart phone yet so everything you learn is from word of mouth or attending car shows.
GearHeads – Though you weren’t much of a Muscle Car guy how about RWD cars?
Rick – Keep in mind living in the Midwest, RWD cars are not practical and being able to afford only one car, I chose the Audi S4 when I started my college days. Pretty much I’ve always done my own work so in college we opened our car tuning shop specializing in imports. I bought my first euro car: B5 S4 after getting into college and this is where my SN came about: s4play College was a good time as we would go out on weekends to track our cars and motorcycles with very little care since we had no real obligations. I remember racing my S4 and my buddies e36 M3 on weekends and learning so much which I’m thankful since nowadays I have no free time to do these things.
GearHeads – So when did you decided to head out to Cali?
Rick -I moved to CA after college, I sold the S4 after 6 months here and got my legendary e46 m3. This car won one of the first ever Bimmerfest events when it was still held at Cutter BMW Motors in Santa Barbara. Back then modding cars were still about individuality. I see it now as a wave of commercialism where every car is a vendor car. Back then there was very little vendor cars and mostly individuals who love BMW’s and mod it their own way. The evolution of the internet is both good and bad. Good is info can be shared quickly but I see it also as bad because now few people will build things for themselves. Everyone wants to be the cool guy trying to beat the other guy by going over the top. Most of the show cars you see today cannot be driven much hence it’s now a bit overplayed in my opinion.
GearHeads –Looking at your history I don’t see any domestic builds, would you ever consider owning an American brand car?
Rick -Sure if it was a Viper or Corvette. Those have always been cars I love, problem is that there are too many other cars I like too and my garage space is limited. Between my wife and me we have 7 cars so it’s already a bit crazy.
GearHeads –Has your tastes dramatically changed over the years, I notice you prefer subtle clean looks?
Rick -Nowadays, I try to stay with the motto less is more and don’t do anything too crazy. I prefer clean setups because first I’m not young anymore but also it attracts less police and vandalism attention. I think as we age we learn to become more low-key. It’s a natural progression.
GearHeads – I noticed you have owned several S2000’s, how did this love start?
Rick – I picked up my first s2000 mainly to use as a beater daily driver in Oregon. But once I fell in love with the car I went out to buy an AP2 and over the years I have owned over 9+ s2000’s in various forms and colors. Now my wife has a red one and I have a white one. I’ve owned a lot of cars in my past some I’m proud of others I prefer to forget.
GearHeads – Have ever owned a car that just seemed to stick with you throughout the years? Either it was simply driving perfection or you just had sentimental value with it?
Rick – Yes, I’ve owned 9 of them now starting with my very first 2001 Spa Yellow and the car is the s2000. It’s the most versatile car around as long as you don’t need to put a baby seat in there!
GearHeads – Do you have any distinctly proud moments that stand out with your cars such as taking top prize at Bimmerfest or opening your shop that you care to share?
Rick – Not really, everything is just a learning experience from my first car at 16 till now. Each one has left unique impressions and memories and this is why I cherish each car’s ownership whether long or short. Winning trophies means nothing to me really. The first Bimmerfest win was nice however because they gave me a gift voucher in which I bought a BMW Alarm and some extra parts for my m3.
GearHeads – Do you have any dream cars in mind now that you would like to work towards owning?
Rick – At my age now, most of my dream cars are easily within financial reach but I don’t buy them because family priorities and spending time with kids are more important now. When the kids get older, I will buy another exotic toy ~ probably a F430 because it’s the last car they made in a 6-speed manual. My fun cars have to be manual cars or why bother.
GearHeads – For someone new to the import scene, is there a recommend vehicles or advice that you would suggest to them?
Rick – I think my advice is the same I would give my kids one day, stick to low cost easy to drive cars so you can hone your driving skills first. High horsepower cars are too dangerous and I would never let my kids drive them until they can prove to me they are responsible and respect the machines/laws/consequences.
GearHeads – If there is anything you wish to add about what you have or what you do we are all ears.
Rick – Not much, just that as we age, our priorities change dramatically. What’s considered cool in the past may not be so great in the near future so mod only for yourself. Many people don’t like what I do and that’s just fine because all of my builds are for my own enjoyment and not to impress strangers or win car shows. Those things are never in my head when I build my cars.
Here at GearHeads we appreciate readers like Rick who take the time out of their busy schedules to talk with us. As you can see from the pics posted, Rick has had some simply amazing dream machines in his garage and by the looks of his custom shop, has done some incredible work on customers’ rides. Keep it up Rick and for our other readers feel free to comment below as well as e-mail us if you would like to get your ride or rides featured on our website.
Categories: Readers Rides