Chase Harnett: 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade

Nothing’s better than the classics for Pace junior Chase Harnett.

chase harnett
Chase Harnett’s 1991 Jeep Wrangler tackling heavy weather conditions. Photo courtesy of Chase Harnett. 

When Chase Harnett was 16-years-old, his father had bought a brand new 2001 Mini Cooper and allowed his son to practice driving manual on it. After failing to get it into the garage, Harnett then tried his hand at his dad’s 1967 Pontiac Firebird.
With a classic in hand Harnett found his callsign in terms of cars.

The Nyack, NY native got his first car right after the SAT’s in high school. His dad decided it was time for him to have a car.

“[My dad] just wanted something safe,” said Harnett, who’s a junior at Pace. “Something that I could pile my friends in and go to the beach or whatever.”

They settled on a used 2010 Ford Edge that did the trick and acted as an everyday car.

Two years later, Harnett wanted to buy his own car and turned to Craigslist where he found a black 1991 Jeep Wrangler Renegade with a 5-speed manual transmission.

“For some reason I started looking at Jeeps,” said Harnett, who works as a model for Major New York. “During a lunch break back in high school, my friends and I drove over to Long Island, checked [the Wrangler] out for 20 minutes, and zipped back to school.”

The car was also listed on Ebay where Harnett bid for it in an auction. He won the auction for $3,500.

The Wrangler’s had its ups and downs. It had eight owners before Harnett, needed some work done, has air conditioning that doesn’t work, and has seen many different iterations. The axle broke twice before it was replaced with a reliable one.

Performance cars are interesting to Harnett, but his definition of performance is different from most car enthusiasts. He takes the Wrangler off-roading a lot and since it’s a Wrangler it performs well.

However, the Wrangler’s time is coming up. Harnett will be replacing the Wrangler in the coming weeks, as well as the Edge, with another Jeep. Harnett’s got his eyes set on a 1976 Jeep Cherokee, which is another classic.

“I like the classics for sure probably because of my dad,” Harnett said. “That’s all I’ve been exposed to.”

It may not be old American Muscle, but Harnett’s Wrangler is a classic in his eyes.

Gjek Vukelj: 2015 Audi S4

The road is the track for Pace Sophomore Gjek Vukelj.

Audi S4
Vukelj’s 2015 Audi S4 in Brilliant Black. Photo courtesy of Gjek Vukelj.

Gjek Vukelj isn’t like the car enthusiasts that argue that their car is better, instead he is true to form and loves any car for what they are, as long as they perform.

The Bronx native didn’t become a car enthusiast until 16. After he received his permit, his interest towards fast performance cars began. His father, also a car fanatic, wanted to treat his son to a graduation gift.

Vukelj’s parents told him they were looking at cars for him, but he had no idea what his they were looking at. To much of his surprise, his father brought him to an Audi dealership showed him a 2015 Audi S4.

“I was like ‘are you planning on buying it for yourself?’ and he’s like ‘no it’s for you,'” said Vukelj, who’s a Pace sophomore. “[My dad said] it’s the one car I’m going to buy you and I want to get you something nice. It was literally like a dream.”

Vukelj accepted his dad’s offer and “The longest three month wait of his life” because it was custom ordered. They went to different dealerships to negotiate deals and decided on one in Greenwich, Conn.

The care was delivered on a cold sunny day, they took care of the papers, their sales rep took them out back, and their was his Brilliant Black Audi S4.

“I was literally speechless, my mouth dropped,” Vukelj said. “It was just like a movie; I could not believe it. We drove home in utter awe.”

Vukelj’s Audi S4 is a supercharged 3.0 V6 putting out 333 horsepower (HP) and 325 lb-ft (pound-foot) of torque to all its all wheel drive system. It’s capable of laying down a 4.9 second 0-60, according to audiusa.com.

As of right now, the car is stock, but Vukelj has searched for some modifications such as an a cold air intake, exhaust, and tune.

The mods mainly for the sake of performance, but his car is more than capable of performing without mods, which fits his criterion for cars.

“I’m open to a lot [of cars] actually; if it can prove itself on the track or in the road,” Vukelj said. “I think every car can have its own personality and its own appeal.”

He has two dream cars one that’s attainable and one that’s not. The Koenigsegg Agera One:1, which is a super car capable of 260 mph, and the Jaguar F-Type, which is slightly more conservative.

Like most performance cars, the gas is bad, but the acceleration’s effortless. The ride quality can be rough, but the performance aspect is worth it.

However, all the fun with the car may have never happened.

“I wasn’t even thinking of buying a car [at the time],” Vukelj said. “Would I have wanted [my parents] to spend all that money, I would have been fine with some little Honda.”

Travis Rivera: 2015 Challenger RT

It’s Mopar or No Car for Pace junior Travis Rivera.

 

Rivera’s 2015 Dodge Challenger RT in the eye-catching B5 Blue. Photo provided by Travis Rivera.

He grew up in an “all Ford” family, but if you talk to Pace junior Travis Rivera now all he’ll want to talk about is Mopar.

Rivera’s favorite car growing up was the Ford Mustang GT and he’s been an invested car enthusiast all his life. However, when it came time to buy a car the Mustang was out of question, according to his dad.

He settled for a 2009 Ford Escape as his first car, which did the trick, but six months after the purchase a car going 55 mph hit his driver side door. Rivera sustained little-to-no injuries. But it began the transition from Ford to Dodge.

“[The Escape] took three weeks to repair and once you get into an accident, the car’s repaired great but it’s never the same after it,” said Rivera, who’s a Bronx native. “So I started gathering information about looking into a new car.”

The decision for a new car came down to the three muscle cars in the auto industry: The Mustang, Challenger, and Chevy Camaro. However, he believed that the Camaro and Mustang were more sports cars than muscle cars.

“The whole brand of Mopar and Chrysler came to mind and how, after research, Challenger’s are the safest, most spacious, and that’s how I convinced my dad to look at a Challenger,” Rivera said.

His car is a 2015 Dodge Challenger RT in B5 Blue. The heart of the beast is a 5.7 HEMI V8 that’ll put out 375 horsepower (hp) and 410 lb-ft (pound-feet) of torque.

It was a long wait for him to take the Challenger home. He first glanced upon it when he showed up to an Eastchester dealership to test drive some cars.

He waited four days after finishing the paperwork to get the car. A process full of jargon and pointless banter, but it also just meant he owned the car, it was his.

“I just kept looking at [the Challenger],” Rivera said. “I actually positioned my seat so I was looking at my sales rep, my dad, and the car. I knew it was mine.”

The rest has been history. His family’s fallen in love with his Challenger, he’s slowly integrating Mopar into his family, and has joined a car crew called the Mopar Misfits.

There are two years left on his lease for his Challenger. His plans are not to keep it, but step up to the Scat Pack–a 485 hp version of his car with a 6.4 Liter HEMI V8 capable of a 12.5 quarter mile time.

Until then, the B5 Blue Chally will have to do and because of that there’s no doubt in his mind that he’ll ever go back to Ford.