I can’t believe I’m writing this, but today marks the 10th anniversary of the first post on Build-Threads.com (although back then it was buildthreads.wordpress.com)
I’d had the idea in my head for a few years before I started it, but had no idea how to execute it. I was even thinking about calling it “Ground UP” back then. My web browser bookmarks were full of builds, I’d even memorise some of them and show my friends when I went to their houses (this is pre-social media, remember). I don’t know why but I always loved seeing the process of a car come together. Even when I was a kid I’d squint to see the tiny picture in the corner of a magazine showing a half-built car in bare metal. Watching Home Improvement I’d stare intensely at the screen and hope I’d catch a glimpse of a rolling chassis in Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s garage. I would watch American Chopper not for the gaudy finished product and family beef, but to see the mock-up bikes sans-paint with solid wheels and no embellishments. I don’t know why I loved it, but I just did. When I discovered forums that love of all things build-related took on a new life.
The idea stewed in my head until I discovered free blogging software, and simplified the name to it’s core value. This was a time when Speedhunters had just launched, and I had the urge to be more than just a content consumer, I wanted my own way to share my passion with the world.
I finally put two and two together and Build-Threads was born.
I was 24 years old, I lived at home with my parents, had a girlfriend and a pretty relaxed job. I had just sold my S15 and the Datsun was only in my possession for a very short time. Fast forward to today and I’m 34, my girlfriend is now my wife, there are two kids at my feet, I’m onto my fourth job and have a mortgage. With life and age comes more personal responsibility, and unfortunately that means priorities shift and Build-Threads has taken a back seat in the recent years. With that being said, it’s still a big priority to me and I am continually aware that I owe it to the readers to keep it going.
In the early days I would use pronouns like “us” and “we” to try to make Build-Threads sound bigger than it was. But after a few years I realised being a one-man-band was something to be proud of. I work damn hard to make this whole thing happen, so why pretend it’s something that it’s not?
Has the site reached my expectations? Yes and no. After a year-or-so the site gained some good traction, I wondered if it would turn into a career path in the automotive media world, but it has always stayed as a passion project. I’m lucky to even make enough money to pay for half of my hosting every year. But the success came in other ways, namely the passionate audience and community the site has garnered. This isn’t a fly-by-night genre, builds aren’t a fashion piece, and the people who love them (I mean truly love them) are the ones who are willing to sit through a 100+ page build thread to get their fix, and are willing to wait for the next post to show up, sticking by me this whole time. That’s worth more to me than money.
It’s a community of like-minded individuals with a true passion. We all love the journey of the build. We’re not the ones grabbing onto the latest fad, this is what is inside us and what makes us tick as human beings. Whenever I put up a “show us your projects” post in the Build Threads Communal Garage, I can never believe what I see. To think that this site is a common factor in bringing those people together truly humbles me.
I had some help along the way. The first two people to really get my name out there was Judson Bryan from JDMego and Nigel Petrie from Engineered To Slide. To them it was a simple act of sharing a new website they’d just found with their own audiences, but to me it meant the world. I still follow each of them today and they both continue to inspire me for different reasons.
I was lucky enough to guest-post for Speedhunters on multiple occasions. What a trip! I never would have imagined that when I started this humble little blog in my bedroom that one day I’d have my name up in lights on one of the words largest car-culture websites, arguably the blueprint for all car blogs that have come after it.
The site even gained recognition in print, being named “Website of the month” on two occasions in Performance VW Magazine, along with features in Fast Car, NZ Performance Car and others. As a kid who grew up buying every car magazine he could afford, this was completely mind blowing.
I’ve been lucky enough to share words with some people whose work I’ve featured. I could never comprehend how they would be elated to find out their project made it onto the site. To me they’re the real heroes, I’m just a guy bashing some keys and pushing “publish”. I’m talking about insanely talented people like Lewis Peasnell, 3D Magic Mike, Kyle Kuhnhausen, Daniel Grub, Shawn Hibmacronan, Chris Purr, Gregor Halenda – just to name a few.
I see some big names like and comment on my posts, in the real world I guess it doesn’t mean much, but it’s nice to know I’m reaching the people at the top of the game and I hope they like what I’m doing.
The landscape has changed, blogs are old news and forums are fighting off extinction (although there are still more than a few holding strong with dedicated members and great content). I’m hopeful that there’ll be a renaissance, when people tire of hitting “like” and discover you can go on a real journey with someone when you read a multi-page build thread all through the night. I’d like to thank the guys and girls out there who know it’s not easy to document their build, who know it sucks to stop 10 times through the process to take pictures, and stay up all night uploading and writing captions. But these are the people who make this site possible. I’m merely the middle man between the creators and the audience.
I’d also like to thank all of you who have emailed, left comments, or Facebook/Instagram messages with builds you’ve found, your own builds, or even just saying thanks and acknowledging what I do. This means more to me than you’ll ever know, and has kept me going through times when I’ve felt like giving up on the site.
I’ve made some great friends along the way, even if I’ve never met them in person. Dave Thomas from Stanceiseverything.com stands out, someone who I call the hardest working blogger in the world. We’ve shared many a message over the years and have found common ground on plenty of topics, even though we’re at opposite ends of the hemisphere. His site is a constant source of inspiration and I’ve shamelessly re-shared his work on more than one occasion when I’m struggling to get a post together.
I can’t name everyone individually but there are countless people who I’ve chatted with that I’m better off for knowing. Sometimes it’s a one-off, and other times the connection lasts years.
I of course have to thank my family for being on the other side of the fence while I constantly bang on about needing to “get a post up” because it’s been too long since the last one. They know how much it means to me and have never once done anything except encourage me. To be a grown man with a blog that takes a lot of your time yet makes no money and still have the support of your loved one’s is priceless.
All I have left to say is, support your forum of choice, dust-off your log-in, update your avatar and signature, and get your build thread back up to date. We’ll all be better off for it.
Thank you all once again for joining me on this journey, here’s to 10 more years.
P.S. Special shout out to my biggest Mexican fan LCG for always keeping me in check.