I had a bit of an epiphany the other day. I was cruising down the street in our GarageFR-S project car, eyeing the road like a hawk scans a meadow for its prey, but instead of lunch, I was on the lookout for road hazards. The thought of damaging the pristine Rocket Bunny kit fastened to our FR-S made for an uneasy ride that day-not to mention the stress anytime a police car drove by.
That's when it hit me: It's no fun driving this car! As much as I love how it looks (and boy, does it look good), I want a vehicle that can be driven hard without the worry of taking off a front lip or cutting through a tire. I guess my mind-set about cars is a bit different from the trendy stance movement.
Don't get me wrong, I love how slammed cars look (there's a very low 350Z in this very issue), but I guess I'm just not sure what the point is. I feel a sense of discomfort seeing Evos, STIs, and FR-Ses slammed so low that their performance-and these are some of the finest performance machines in our scene-has been completely compromised.
I've always preached, "Do what you like to your car" and "Don't care what others think or say," but there's a right way and a wrong way to approach it. You can have a classy, low-slung ride that retains (or even improves upon) its corner-carving ability without having tires stretched over wheels poking out so far that you have to run 6 degrees of negative camber. Maybe I'm getting old, but I just don't know why people think that looks cool. There is such a thing as too much lip, too much camber, and too much tire stretch.
The fact that you see cars like our FR-S online and aspire to build them one day is a great thing. That's what we're striving for here, but for some reason, I feel like we're guiding some of you down the wrong path. If you've got the money to buy a second car and assemble it to show-spec status, then the more power to you, but I know most of you are using your car as your primary means of transportation, and that's where I'd urge you to check your inner stance fanboy at the door and retain some function before you take the form part of the equation too far.
And while I'm at it, I'd also encourage you to take your car autocrossing (it's cheap, so no excuses), drifting, to a track day, or at least do some spirited canyon runs so you can reconnect with the passion that fueled the engineers who built us these amazingly fun and engaging four-wheeled speed machines. I guarantee you'll see how much more fun it is pushing yourself and your car to the limits of performance than it is pursuing Internet fame with extreme wheel offset or camber setups.
If you're anything like me, once you get a good taste of what it's like to drive your car at something approaching its limits, you'll forget all about the Facebook "likes" and start dreaming about your racing lines and braking points instead.
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