Junior Scott Peterson stays connected to his father through his passion for cars

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Joseph Denklau

Junior Scotty Peterson finishes painting three of his brake calipers, a sky blue to match with his headlights. He was waiting for suspension upgrades to be fitted into the car, which makes the car more sensitive to steering inputs. “I chose a bright blue because it seems unique,” Peterson said. “I wanted them to stand out while also being cohesive with the rest of the colors on the car.”

The sun is setting. Vroom, brab, brap. A car. Without warning, it flies into vision, a gray bullet amongst the red sky. It slides to the left, then the right, then the left and comes to a standstill. A trail of tire marks are left behind, black lines etched into the pavement like a signature. Out steps junior Scotty Peterson, a smirk on his face.

Peterson’s love for cars began with his father. His dad never refused to let Peterson come along on little trips around town. Whether it was AutoZone or the grocery, Peterson had many opportunities to sit in the passenger seat of his dad’s car. The Porsche 911 Turbo S was one of Peterson’s favorite childhood memories since it was the last car his dad ever drove.

“I still remember the exhaust sounds. Every time my dad started up his Porsche, I would stand behind the car just to hear the loud growl,” Peterson said. “I loved everything about the car and it has a special place in my memories.”

Peterson’s father passed away in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It still doesn’t feel real, I can’t believe it’s already been two whole years since my dad passed away,” Peterson said. “I am grateful for the love and support my friends and family gave me. It was a tough time.” 

Peterson dreams of owning a Porsche 911 Turbo S one day.

“If I could have one car for the rest of my life, it would be a Porsche 911 Turbo S. There is no other car in the whole world that holds as much significance to me than that specific Porsche,” Peterson said. “Since it was the last car my father had, it would be awesome to have one and recreate those special memories and times I had with my father.”

One of Peterson’s favorite things about his car is the parking brake. Since his car is rear-wheel drive, he can use the handbrake to drift his car. “My mother did not feel comfortable with me drifting my car around corners,” Peterson said. “But I always find an abandoned parking lot, where I can let my wheels slide around. It is a hard skill to learn but it is worth the time.” (Joseph Denklau)

The Turbo S is one of the fastest cars Porsche has to offer, and it packs a 3.7 liter twin-turbo V-6 engine pushing out 640 horsepower. It accelerates from zero to 60 in just 2.6 seconds, making it one of the quickest cars on the market.

“One of the most vivid memories of being in the car with my father still sticks in my mind to this day. We were driving along some random back road and my dad stomped on the accelerator. I still remember the whine of the turbocharger and the feeling you get in your gut when you accelerate real fast,” Peterson said. “I won’t say the exact speed we reached, but it was faster than 70 mph.”

Since a Turbo S starts at $207,000, it could be some time before Peterson can own one. For now, Peterson drives around with a  2012 Mazda3 sedan, coated in dark gray paint and with bright blue brake calipers. The Mazda has 65,000 miles, but Peterson plans to put many more on the car. He also has modifications set for this summer in addition to the ones he has already completed. 

“I would love to do more modifications on my car. However, my mother doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable with it. Since my dad had such powerful cars, my mom doesn’t want me to have any dumb ideas while driving,” Peterson said. “She thinks I am too young for higher speeds and more horsepower, so I will just have to wait until I am older.”

Peterson’s friendships have been created through a common interest in cars, allowing him to discuss cars and everything about them. 

“Some of my earliest friendships revolved around cars. We discussed cars and there are some friends that I would not have had it not been for our shared love for cars,” Peterson said. “If not for cars, then I would not have built these relationships to be as strong as they are today.”

The front facia of the Mazda3 is built to allow air to flow into the engine compartment to cool the engine down. Peterson has a different explanation for the funny front side. “To me, the front of the car looks like a huge grin, like a child who is very happy,” Peterson stated. “It matches the car and speaks volumes about its fun, sporty, personality.” (Joseph Denklau)

Peterson, with the assistance of a friend, hopes to paint the car emblems black to match other parts of his car. 

“I think it is important to have a hobby. We have objectives at school. These push us to do our best and achieve certain goals. However, I believe that it is important to have a hobby outside of school. It provides opportunities for personal achievement,” Peterson said. “It also gives me something to discuss with friends outside of school so that we are not just sitting around playing video games.”

Peterson’s car has a seven-speed automatic transmission paired with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. While it sacrifices performance figures for fuel economy, the car still manages zero to 60 in a little less than eight seconds. The Mazda does not have any extra options, but it is a reliable and comfortable vehicle, according to Peterson. 

“I think my desire for fast, expensive cars has changed over the years. I no longer want a Lamborghini just because of the price tag. It would be more exciting to have a smaller, sporty car that I can do modifications on,” Peterson said. “My dream project car is an E92 335i BMW because of the balance of performance and handling on the car, making it the perfect car for upgrades.”