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December 2013 Editorialisms - Save ’em For The Toolbox

Peter Tarach
Dec 3, 2013

When I was 16 years old and had my first car, a ’90 Eagle Talon TSi, I could barely afford any modifications. And when I did, they were few and far between. Modifying a car is expensive, and working a minimum wage job meant that I had to save up for months before I could afford wheels or an exhaust system. I turned to cheap exterior mods as a way to enhance the look of my ride, decals being at the forefront.

A decal (or sticker if you want to call it that) on each rear quarter-window and a front windshield banner did just the trick. You know the saying that stickers add 5 horsepower? Well when I got behind the wheel, it certainly felt like it.

That’s why I can understand the whole sticker phase that most of us go through, but the current trend has got me scratching my head. It has gone from acceptable to borderline ridiculous, at least in my opinion. I just don’t understand how a large windshield banner that says “Pantydropper” is cool, and I won’t even get into the fact that it’s covering half of the lower portion of the windscreen.

Remember, 99 percent of us aren’t driving race cars, where decals actually serve a purpose (fulfilling sponsorship obligations). On the street, there’s really no need for them to be plastered on every body panel. Don’t get me wrong, I have no qualms with enthusiasts reppin’ their favorite brand or car club with a discreet decal or two. But I constantly hear people complaining about being pulled over in modified cars, and I can’t help but wonder how many of them are sticker-bombed. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what a cop thinks when he sees a giant lewd windshield banner on a modified car. Perfect excuse to pull you over and give you a hard time about even the most legit of modifications.

Maybe I just can’t relate to the rebellious attitude that’s obviously trying to be portrayed with a “Pantydropper” sticker. I guess I just feel like our scene has matured to the point that I want our cars to be taken more seriously and respected by other types of enthusiasts and even the police—the same way the hot rod guys get the nod of approval from little kids in the back seat of minivans and Johnny Law in his cruiser.

We’ve come a long way from being called rice rockets and have gained a lot of respect from other scenes, and for this trend to continue, we’ve got to start thinking in a more mature way. That means leaving the stickers for the racers and kindergarten scrapbooks. Your car and everyone else in the scene will thank you for it. Clean is the new cool, so let’s keep it that way.

Remember, 99 percent of us aren’t driving race cars, where decals actually serve a purpose.

Comments, questions, disagreements, suggestions? Send them to All emails will be answered, nicely or not.

By Peter Tarach
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