I've been lurking around on Jalopnik for a little over a year now, more recently I dived into OPPO and I just got authorship recently so I figured I would introduce myself.
I'm 23. I live in the northwest Chicago suburbs. I grew up on a farm in central Illinois (though I spent a few years in Ohio and Georgia as well). I graduated from the university of Illinois with a degree in mechanical engineering a little over a year ago. I currently work as a mechanical project engineer for a contract manufacturing company. With that out of the way lets get to the good stuff.
My first relevant vehicle was a ~1988 Suzuki quadsport 80. The one below wasn't mine but it is pretty much identical. I did some great things with that sucker. I learned to do wheelies, I learned to do doughnuts and powerslide (I also learned to clean gravel out of the yard). I'll also call this the first vehicle I worked on rebuilt the carb, charged the battery, adjusted the brakes (kid stuff I was 12). The smell of 2 stroke exhaust will forever remind me of this little machine.
Next I got a 2003 Honda Sporttrax 250EX. This was the first vehicle I had where you had to shift gears, although it is cheating because it lacks a clutch. More of the same shenanigans on this as my other ATV, though the extra power and gears really took my hoonage to the next level. I was older (14) so I tore it apart even further than the 80, sometimes I was doing it for a productive reason too. I did my first vehicular modifications to this one too, a skid plate, some ITP holeshot tires (which are great), and of course I took the spark arrestor out of the muffler, so everyone could enjoy that beautiful 231cc single cylinder sound.
I got my first car when I turned 16, it was/is (I still have it) a used 2001 Ford Escort SE (that means it is a 4 door with the 2L SOHC engine and a buttery smooth slushbox. I would say its best characteristic is that it is red. Second best characteristic is the handbrake... I treat my car like a princess, it gets detailed (who says you cannot polish a turd) and maintenance but from time to time I've been known to drive it like a rental car. Frankly the car has treated me great, unfortunately after this last brutal winter it is starting to rust out, there is a pretty nice hole in the floor at the base of the dead pedal and the sideskirts are rusting through.
When I was 19 I took a MSF course at my university and shortly there after got my motorcycle license. When I was 20 I got my bike, a 2010 Kawasaki 250R. It's real nice, it is most fun in the mountains. those who are paying attention will say, "Mountains, didn't you say you lived in Illinois?" you are correct, I got my bike from my dad, how still lives near Atlanta, it stayed there for a year and when I came and visited we would go riding in the north Georgia mountains. The bike is so nimble it is actually faster in the mountains than my father's ducati monster (though that fact that he isn't as young and dumb as me may contribute as well).
At school I was a member of the Formula SAE team. I hopped around between subsystems, starting in chassis where I learned to fit tubes, moved to suspension where my project was designing and building assembly a validation fixture and my senior year I ended up co-leading the aerodynamics subsystem. I handled structural design and composites manufacturing, I managed some real nerds who handled the aerodynamic design.
Since I ted I've lived in an apartment with no garage ( I know it's tragic). This has meant that my current project is just research and preliminary design for building my (lets real) dream project which is sort of a Locost 7 derivative.
P.S. Damnit Kinja I give up getting the photos to show up in the right places....