Stop the Hate
I miss having a turbo car. Or maybe I just miss the time when I was building it. Back then, with little money, resources, or hook-ups to speak of, building homemade turbo kits was the only way I could keep up at the street races. I couldn't afford a swap, especially a built one, so I had to make the power via boost.
Getting new parts was exciting then because I could only afford one every other month or so. It took me almost a year to piece together my first turbo kit, which added a sense of accomplishment to the euphoria I felt the first time that compressor spooled. Even though the pompous N/A B-series guys talked down on my turbo D, I felt like I had earned the right to be proud of my blow-off valve.
As the years went by, my resource pool grew, and building N/A B's and K's has turned into an everyday occurrence. I gradually became the elitist that I never wanted to be. I've been on the N/A bandwagon for so long that I've forgotten the original reason I started building these things: to go fast. Now my ambition to build cars is to have a cooler one than the next guy's. Only recently have I realized how much of a problem this is.
The Honda scene is kind of self-destructive. We've taken a culture founded on individuality and camaraderie and bastardized it into one based on brinksmanship and petty competition. Read any Internet forum and you'll find that 80 percent of the posts in any given thread are argumentative. Is it the Web's fault? No. It's ours for taking a resource with so much growth potential for the scene and not using it to it's fullest.
A lot of us came from a time when we were a minority in the aftermarket world. When this scene first started, we were dodging verbal (and sometimes physical) attacks from every other facet of the car world. You'd go to the track and see 3 out of a hundred people driving Hondas. You can bet that, whether or not those 3 people knew each other, those guys would be best friends for the day. We stuck together because we had to, and we didn't care one bit whether the other guy's wheels were fake.
Now that we've grown into one of the largest groups of enthusiasts in the world, we've let ourselves turn into the Mustang-driving douchebags we hated so much, and worse, we're doing it to each other. Remember how bad it felt to hear some redneck tell you that your car needed a V8 to be worthwhile? How is that different than telling a kid that his car is ghetto cause he rocks a turbo D? In the early '90s you would have been impressed by that same setup-what's changed?
There needs to be a clear divide between the 3 types of cars that our scene builds. We've got race cars, street cars, and show cars, but the definitions of these classes are blurred. Compromising one ride's purpose to appease the masses has become a common concession. A race car's purpose is to go fast, that's it. It's OK to rock whatever parts you need to on a racecar to go fast, even if it isn't JDM or rare enough to wow the Appearance and Cosmetics forum groupies. The $1500 difference between a real set of wheels and a knockoff set could be a few tenths off of your ET, or a second or two off of your lap times. Why waste it to impress people when you could just impress them by being faster?
Street cars are daily drivers. A car that we rock everyday should be comfortable. Why roll on some sick JDM race car coilover setup when there are street specific setups available? To be cool? C'mon.
Of the 3, the class that needs the most work are the show cars. When this scene first started, show cars were extravagant. Bright colors, big wheels, crazy interiors, and body kits were the norm. I'm the first to admit that we went a little over the top back then, which facilitated the coinage of the expression "rice." This one word changed the way we, as a group, look at cars. Having your car considered rice is a fate worse than death. Over the years it's become harder to stay out of that category because the limits of what is acceptable have gradually grown narrower. Nowadays, even having a part that looks the same as an acceptable one but doesn't have the correct sticker on it will get you thrown into the rice category.
Personally, I'm over it. I think we should be pushing the limits of what is considered rice. We've got experience with both sides of the spectrum, so why not take some from column A and some from column B? We'd end up with a car that is still in the ballpark of the aesthetic guidelines that we've enforced on ourselves, but with a little bit of personality, soul, and flavor. We're supposed to be expressing our own artistic talent and vision through our cars, not everybody else's. Use yours to show the rest of the world who you are-I dare you.
No longer will I instinctively ask myself what Honda-Tech.com will think about my cars. When this all started for me, I built what I wanted and took the heat from the haters with a grain of salt. When the hate started coming from my peers in the Honda-verse, I started taking it more seriously. However, much as I don't want to admit it, I'm just as guilty of Internet hating as any of the rest of the population of e-thugs. I don't want to contribute to this anymore. Building cars to fit the mold of what's "in" has put a damper on my enthusiasm for them. I resolve to build cars for myself from now on.
I think I want 17s on my EG. Say what you will about it-I don't care anymore.