Friends bond over auto love

Published 11:00 pm Friday, May 11, 2012


The Troy Car Enthusiasts meet each Thursday and Saturday night to share their love of all things auto. The group welcomes new members to their meets in front of AutoZone at 7 p.m. both nights. (From left) Ryan Quiniones, Dustin Jackson, John Bull, Cody Austin, Jose Figueroa and Dominik Briggs stand by their vehicles at a Thursday night meet. (Photos by Thomas Graning)

There’s an empty parking lot on U.S. Hwy. 231 in front of AutoZone most nights. But on Thursdays and Saturdays, cars of every make and color line up.

The Troy Car Enthusiasts have been meeting since last March and stemmed from a group of high school friends who were once part of a car meet in Enterprise.

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“We’ve all been car enthusiasts for a long time,” said Ryan Quiniones, 20, who drives a blue 2002 Subaru Impreza. “Some of us even work at parts shops.”

The group began as a few friends just catching up to chat about cars, but has grown by way of connections and “drive bys.”

One of the newest members of the group, 23-year-old John Bull, met Quiniones at a red light.

“He had a car I liked,” Bull, who drives a white 2008 Honda Civic Si, said. “We had a conversation until the light turned green and here I am.”

While some car lovers may be into style or big names, Dominik Briggs, 20, said he chose his blue 1990 Nissan 240 SX because it’s highly customizable.

“There are a lot of things to do to this car,” Briggs said. “If I can dream it, it can happen.”

Jose Figueroa, 20, is the odd man out with his 2000 Honda CVR 929 RR custom bike.

“I like the sensation of riding it,” Figueroa said. “It’s one of those boyhood things and when you have the ability to get one, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Figueroa also has a 1965 Volkswagon Beetle.

“I love knowing that I can fix it,” Figueroa said. “I like to get my hands dirty.”

Dustin Jackson, 20, makes the drive from Dothan each week to meet up with the Troy group.

“There is no car scene at all in Dothan,” Jackson, who drives a red Honda Civic Si, said. “And these are good guys. It’s nice to spend time with people who love cars as much as I do.”

And while some love stems from new vehicles, Cody Austin has been in love with his car since he saw one in Germany when he was 14.

“It’s every thing I’ve hoped for,” Austin, 25, said of his 2007 Subaru STI.

Austin said there are many things, such as the computer and exhaust, he’d like to tweak, but he plans to do “nothing to the body. It’s perfect.”

Anyone, even ladies, are invited to join the Troy Car Enthusiasts on Thursday and Saturday nights beginning at 7 p.m. For more information, Quiniones said you can find the group on Facebook.