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Old 07-17-2012, 12:58 AM   #3
mkodama
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Part of my liking for cars, and science, which I've always had, made me decide that being a mechanical engineer would allow me to build cars some day. So that is what direction my classes took starting in high school. The elective classes though, I just picked whatever seemed fun.

After doing a year of Ceramics, I ended up taking photo classes, which I continued with through the most advanced level offered at my high school, which actually gave me college credit. Berkeley High strangely enough, has a really good and well equipped photo department, with really good teachers. We started taking pictures with black and white film, then learning to open them in a black bag entirely by feel and putting them into a container, and then developing the film there at school. From there we learned to use photo enlargers, and even developed our photo paper, all with the setup at school. In the second and third years, we also did color enlargements, though the class had much fewer students, the black room with actually pitch black instead of lit orange, and the photo developing was all hands off. I feel pretty happy in knowing that I'm one of the last few people that was educated in classic film photography.

ANYWAY... one of my photo class projects I combined with something else that came up. The same neighbor that tuned my dad's car back in the 90's, chatted with my dad, and asked if I wanted to go help him out with one of his customer's track cars. I didn't really know what to expect, but I loved cars, had never been to a race track, and was totally excited that I had my own DSLR(crazy to think my Nikon D50 is a decade old now) to bring with me. I think this was my junior year in high school. At the time I really had no clue about BMWs other than they were German, had cool race cars, and had cool street cars that were also James Bond cars Z3, Z8, E38, etc.. (before they became ugly).

I had to wake up super early on a Saturday morning, my neighbor picked me up from my house, we had to pick up one other mechanic who I was told was really weird, and that we would meet the customer and one of my neighbor's paid race car drivers at the track, who would also be doing some mechanic duties and helping train the customer, since as it turned out, had rented half of the Buttonwillow Raceway for a personal practice session. The other half of the track was rented to some formula cars sponsored by Lucas Oil. The car I was helping with ended up being an E36 M3 sedan prepared by PTG, so essentially a BMW factory race car. If I remember the rumors correctly, it sold for something like $250k and currently worth around $125k.

And the pictures I'm sure you guys care about way more than the story:









































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Last edited by mkodama; 07-17-2012 at 10:32 PM.
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