The sound of the 2004 Ford Mustang Cobra's powerful engine echoed in the parking garage as Joey Finelli revved it on. The long hood, short rear end and black-tinted windows of the muscle car stand out from all the cars around it.
"I try to park it as far [out] as I can. Someone keyed the car some time ago, and I had to re-paint it," he said.
Finelli, a senior majoring in biomedical sciences, is the president of the UCF Car Club. With the help of his roommate, he created the club back in 2012 as a place to get together and meet people with the same interest.
"The main purpose of the club is just to meet people in the automobile field, help each other out because we're always doing something to our cars [and] get together around the hobby," Finelli said.
Of all the time Finelli spends on his car, much of it goes to researching, asking questions on Internet forums and reading manuals to be completely prepared before he starts to actually work on his car. The best way to trick out his car is by making it faster, Finelli said.
Kyle Frank, a junior majoring in psychology, shares Finelli's passion for cars.
He always had an interest in cars, and said his interest goes beyond a hobby and has become much more like "a way of life."
In his teenage years, he started building up his credit in order to be able to get the car he wanted when he grew up, and on Valentine's Day back in 2011, he bought his Hyundai Genesis. Since then, he has spent roughly $1,000 on improvements to his car.
Putting on a new exhaust is one of the major things Frank is working on right now. At around $770, the exhaust is the most expensive item Frank has purchased for his car.
Apart from that, he has done other exterior adjustments to the car, such as changing the wind envelopes, dipping the wheels black and changing the front grills of the car.
Frank said that most of these exterior alterations make the car stand out because people don't really know what kind of car it is.
"I kind of see the car as part of me," Frank said."You want to make it unique, make it your own."
Unlike Frank, Timmy Goode, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, centers his attention on the functionality of a vehicle more than the appearance of it. Goode tries to dedicate most of his spare time — when he has it — to his car, which comes out to between 10 to 15 hours a week.
"I want a car that looks mean and is fully functional and can go through anything. Because ideally, I want a car that I can drive through a brick wall and [will] still be able to get me to and from school," Goode said.
He strongly believes the best way of learning is by trial and error. When he was younger, he used to help out his dad with the cars he worked on, and he learned to do things himself.
Hieu Anh Pham, also an junior studying electrical engineering, spends plenty of time on his car as well, usually dedicating about five to six hours —including research — to his car weekly.
Pham has made a few modifications to the car, and plans to keep doing them in the future.
In the next five years he thinks he will spend around $10,000 on improvements to his car.
Some of the adjustments he has done to his car include a full turbo back exhaust, fuel injectors and an E85 tune, among other things. Pham said that changing regular fuel to an E85 gives the car a higher boost pressure, and it saves the engine by giving off less carbon deposits.
"One of the reasons why people avoid an E85 is because very few gas stations offer it, and if you choose to convert to E85 your whole fuel system has to be upgraded," Pham said.
"I consider my car my girlfriend, I definitely do. All the time I spent reading up on the car, researching and figuring out what I want to do in the future," Pham said. "It's not an intimate relationship by any means, but it's definitely a part of my life."