Ever tried speed dating? Felt that familiar tingle of excitement that comes from having no idea what to expect? Are you going to hit it off? What happens if you don’t? Can you walk out? Nope, not today – definitely, not today. I’m strapped to a chair. The deafening noise makes any attempt to converse futile. Speed dating, what are you doing to me?
Two hours earlier: fortunately, I haven’t come on my own to this date, and really, it’s not a date in the traditional sense. For those looking for a date online, you don’t just have the option to seek out a man or a woman for one night or your entire life, you can also hit up people with similar hobbies. That’s how I found myself here, meeting the members of Stuttgart’s HEIZR club at the ENDURO HQ. It’s a high-speed group date with classic cars. So, what happens when you meet complete strangers in real life after exchanging a few Instagram DMs?
Tension builds: the first attendee kicks off proceedings with a Porsche 911 G model emitting a hoarse air-cooled six-cylinder symphony. Stuttgart’s HEIZR club formed over Instagram in recent months and has brought together a motley crew of classic car fans, into everything from tuned-up wrecks to technically flawless originals. They care more about sharing the classic car hype, meeting new people, swapping stories, and letting off steam. All of these feature heavily in today’s programme: outside our office, one 911 G model became four of the same kind, joined by an innocent white Audi Quattro, a Mercedes R129 SL (so lust-worthy it should come with a warning), a 1989 sophisticated BMW E30 convertible, and a mustard-yellow British MGB GT. The highlight? The Porsche 550 Spyder: a 550 kg with 120 hp – by now, we’re aware that the rules of speed dating potentially need to be re-written.
Life is just a series of dates: old and new faces, new places, new conversations. You can rarely predict what will happen or what the next day will bring. The more open we are to experiences, the more of these butterfly-inducing, anticipation-building sensations we can enjoy. A fundamental requirement when it comes to truly embracing the brilliance and diversity of life is that of being open, giving into the present, and making room for new encounters. There are other reasons for going on a date other than finding ‘the one’ and getting a ring on your finger – brief encounters can leave lasting lessons. And that’s exactly what we hoped to gain from speed dating with the HEIZR club.
Blind date, speed date, or just life?
Bikes, classic cars, or running shoes – whatever your thing, it probably gives you membership of a community or a subculture, and the chance to meet up regularly with like-minded people as well as come across new faces with the same passion. Like today, when I catch my breath, remove myself from the 550 Spyder, and find myself in a dark hall. Since when did my speed dating turn into blind dating? We’ve stopped at a small industrial zone northwest of Stuttgart. Our motor has fallen silent, but we could still hear a hiss of a legend. There are certain days when the stars fall into alignment and something special happens. Today is one of those days. You can’t describe it any other way as we came across a second Porsche 550 Spyder and Jens, the owner of the space that I find myself in now. It’s his Porsche workshop – or, rather, his Porsche treasure chamber. It’s lined with shelves of meticulously organized spare parts, and the sorts of cars that many automobile lovers can only dream of, such as a Porsche 996 GT2 and a self-built replica 964 RS 3.8, which we discover is the source of the hissing that had caught our attention. Some people collect Rolex watches, Jens collects motors. He’s the embodiment of someone who properly lives their passion – and we get it, it’s like us with the magazine. Each day, we get up with an openness to meet new people and broach new topics. It takes a certain curiosity and desire to develop. Good things come from investing your soul into what you do. In other words: if you don’t do something with passion, there’s a heightened risk that it won’t work out, void of passion, forced, and, most probably, sub-par. After all, aren’t emotions exactly what humans are made of?
Off the internet, and into real life
Tinder, Grindr, Facebook marketplace, Gumtree – is there anything you can’t find on the internet? The opportunities might be endless, but they’re often limited, virtually. Those who dare to take the next step by taking things offline can discover a whole lot. That’s how the HEIZR club came into existence. Online-turned-offline, it had its finger on the pulse and there was no shortage of people who wanted in. We came across the HEIZR club by chance on Instagram and our relationship escalated: the first contact, meeting place agreed and suddenly a whole horde of finest cars stood in front of our HQ. Meeting new people, hearing their stories and I realize that whether it’s bikes, classic cars, chess boxing, or dog yoga, sharing a hobby unites people. When you’re brimming with enthusiasm and so are others, people that you’d never have met otherwise can become friends. And that’s just the beginning: through those new friends your analogue friendship can undergo a sort of exponential growth and who knows where it’ll go and who you’ll meet. It’s so full of unknowns and that’s what’s so exciting. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
Speed records or the experience? A question of attitude
Faster, more rigid, more precise, higher, further – when it comes to developing modern cars and bikes, these are taken for gospel, but is it the only way? Sure, it’s reassuring to know there’s something in reserve, but do us mere mortals ride or drive to break records or because we love it? There’s a tension felt when you’re hitting limits, and those are reached much more quickly with classic cars than modern supercars. Those who appreciate putting hard work into the wheel choose to drive oldtimers. No assistance, no frills – it takes skill and sensitivity. You’ve got to know what makes your precious machine tick – and there’s a beauty in discovering its intricacies–equally as enjoyable as when you’re on the limit. Some of today’s bikes are super confidence-inspiring and fast, but are they still playful? Wouldn’t you prefer a bike with personality that takes some coaxing and TLC? Here’s where a relationship with your bike is truly born – one that’s deeper than just pedalling or shredding. Does it sound romantic? Until we’re being paid to win Le Mans or the Tour de France, surely, it’s more important to have fun than shave off tenths of a second. It’s a question of attitude, and our standpoint is firmly that it’s better to have the best time than clock best times. The time spent riding is time spent living, right?
Create something – Life is what you make of it
We can wait our entire lives for things to happen or we can act: found a club, start a business, bring people together, try something new. Whatever it is, do it. It might be right in front of you: instead of taking your Old-timer to be serviced, see what tools you might need and lift the bonnet. You can find yourself in a community with like-minded people and the new hobby could bring a whole lot of richness to your life. Don’t complain that nothing happens in your local area: What’s missing? What would make it more fun? Maybe it’s up to you to start it. There’s nothing better than bringing something to life and seeing people get excited about it. Create something!
It’s much easier to tell people to think positively than to do it. Negative thoughts tend to win out, and even when things are going well positive occurrences are often brushed off, talked down, or barely noticed. You can shape situations from the outset so that the outcome can’t be anything but positive: classic cars help. Imagine an A to B drive, with traffic jams or bad drivers that are getting on your nerves, see your hunk of metal as reason to decelerate. So what if you puncture and it starts to rain, see it as an experience and who knows how your day will turn out, or who you’ll meet. As cliche as it sounds, the journey is the destination, and every drive (or ride) is an adventure that you choose to embark on. Fortunately, you don’t specifically need a classic car to get the same effect – even just having a plush sound system blasting out top tunes in your car can be enough to shake off the monotony of life. Another example? Your commute: instead of cramming into a packed train or sitting in traffic, take your bike. MTB, gravel, or road, whatever works. Movement, fresh air, and a new route. It’s not about having a special passion, but a positive attitude. Take the pressure off.
Of course, speed dating isn’t the only way to discover something new. But only those who are leaving their comfort zone, are open to one or two adventures along the way, or get involved in things they have never done before will get a different perspective on life. Whatever you’re up for, do it – just keep it legal, mind. Cheers to life in all its diversity! Enjoy it and remember: There’s only one limiting factor in life… you!
Words: Tobias Hörsch Photos: Peter Walker