There are a lot of things that can motivate or kill that motivation when it comes to doing a big car project.  This 20v swap in my ae86 has proven to be a rollercoaster of that.  Starting out with really strong motivation and drive to get my swap going, followed by a dry spell, back to motivation.

As of the last couple weeks, I hit a wall with my swap.  The engine was in the chasis and was awaiting all the little things.  But I simply just did not have any motivation to get it finished.  I KNEW it was just a bunch of small things that were left to do…but I just couldn’t get myself to do it.  My motivation was lacking.  There were nights where Joseph was going to come over and help me finish the swap, but I told him I was too tired after work to do anything.

Part of it was because I work long days.  And as of recent, the restaurant’s only gotten busier and busier.  Making me more and more tired.  Exhausted.  I went zombie-mode.  I did not want to do anything after work except relax, crack open a cold one, and pass out.

This past Sunday was one of those nights.  I was supposed to head back to the house after work and start working on the engine a little bit more.  But I was too tired from work.  I was going to head over to my buddy’s house and drink some beers and call it a night…

When I got to my buddy’s house, I sat outside waiting for them to get home.  I was browsing through facebook and came across some terrible news.  All I saw was one of my friends’s statuses that said “you’ll always be remembered” and tagged in that post was a really good friend of mine, Juan Navarro.

Juan and I go WAY WAY back.  I’m talking like circa 2000-2001.  Back during my good ole awkward middle school years.  Juan was one of the first best friends I ever made in middle school.  I transfered to a school far from home and had no friends, the first person I met?  Some long-haired mexican kid who wore a pancho to school EVERYDAY.

He was a 7th grade speedy gonzales.  Always high in energy and happy.  He was just a very cheerful person.  Fast forward about 5-6 years later, we were in high school, going to different schools and pursuing our own futures.  We still kept in touch, but never had many chances to hang out.

One of the most memorable times was, after not seeing each other since middle school, he went along with me down to San Antonio for an autocross.  May 18th, 2008.  SASCA Autocross at the AT&T Center in San Antonio.  He stayed up so late the night before, he was completely exhausted and drained.  Especially when he had to wake up at 7am for me to pick him up for the auto-x an hour away.  While I worked the cone course, he passed out in the driver seat of my 86, both windows down.  I came back to prep my car for runs and awoke him from his sleep.  All he could tell me was how comfortable the seats were in my car.  He loved it.  He couldn’t stop raving about how much more comfortable they were than other cars.  He even went as far as to say that he wanted to get an 86 too JUST because they were so comfortable.

dynamic trio circa 2000-2001 – (L to R) warran chan, juan navarro, thaison nguyen

Over the years we’ve kept in touch and tried to hang out whenever possible.  He was going to school at Texas State and after a few years joined the military.  He was sent off recently to Afganistan for his second and last tour.  He was supposed to be back in austin in a few months when things were cut short for him.  He was supposed to help out around the restaurant and we were gonna build him a super gangster car as he went back to school to get a degree.

I was devastated by the news, but I know Juan would’ve wanted me to keep doing what I’ve been doing.  Keep my chin up and keep wrecking on life.  It was the way he lived his life — enjoying it and having a great time.

After hearing about the tragic news, I’ve decided to dedicate my 86 build to my dear friend Juan Navarro.  He’s been a true inspiration to everyone he’s met.  He has that intoxicating personality where you can’t help but smile and have a good time.  He was such a warm hearted person.  Juan, I’m dedication my 86 build to you.  Although we didn’t get a chance to build a car for you, i know you’re looking down on us now and peeing your pants in anticipation to the evolution of my car.  I’ll even leave the stock seats in there, so the car stays 100% comfortable!

Miss you bro, this build is dedicated to you.  I’ll see you on the other side.

what a fun night

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