I want to talk to the Performance Snobs in the audience. You know who you are: turning your nose up at anybody who spends a dime on car products not performance-related, while at the same time acting as judge and jury on all things performance-related. You walk around spouting the revelations of corner-weighting and the inherent evils of bump-steer. You declare any cosmetic modification to be "rice" and you seem to derive joy from putting down the younger crowd who seek to make their car look better. Don't you know you're just discouraging the future of our hobby? I know you're an elitist bunch but if you scare everybody away there won't be anybody left to witness the flexing of your intellectual muscle.
What's it to you if somebody prefers a super-low stance over proper weight distribution and perfectly balanced handling? Why do you care so much that a staggered wheel and tire setup serves no genuine benefit on a front-wheel drive vehicle? Why does it send you into an apoplectic fit to learn some poor slob has simultaneously added a carbon hood and a heavy stereo to his E46 M3?
Technically, of course, you're often correct in pointing out that much of what constitutes a cool mod in today's aftermarket scene is actually detrimental to performance. Still, being right doesn't automatically make you any less of an asshole.
Some of you guys are coming across so high 'n mighty that I have to wonder if you've ever even been to a racetrack, let alone driven one. Your attitudes remind me of some of the stories my father used to tell me from the '50s, about guys who owned tiny, spindly-wheeled European sports cars. They wore tweed jackets with elbow patches, silly hats and leather driving gloves on two-mile trips to the grocery store. These arrogant types loved to make fun of all the poor young guys modifying their crappy American cars,only to eventually eat crow when these same clunkers ran rings round them on the road and track.
I've spent a great deal of time driving capable vehicles on various road courses around the country, as well as some of the most challenging European roads, and I dare say I can drive my way out of a paper bag (provided said bag is slightly moist). I also understand modding a car is essentially a hobby and there's no right or wrong way to go about the process - some enthusiasts care about looks, some like performance, and others strive for a balance of the two.
Rather than being complete asses on every automotive forum you can find, I'd like to see you performance-biased snobs try educating when it comes to interacting with the ignorant masses. Because although I've been deriding you, the truth is that those of you with a working knowledge of what truly makes our cars perform better are a valuable resource to those people who've never considered it possible to make a car perform worse than stock simply by choosing the wrong aftermarket parts. So instead of pushing people away, drop the holier-than-thou attitude and help these people understand your way of thinking. You could try being polite, courteous and open-minded. But also understand some people prefer their own approach. And if big, fat tires on the back of a FWD hatch really makes somebody warm and tingly, perhaps we have to respect that.
At the end of the day, what makes the aftermarket so interesting is the ability for an individual to express their personality through their vehicle. And just as we don't like everybody we meet, it's inevitable we won't like everything that's done to all the cars out there.
Keep in mind, one man's rice is another man's sustenance.
The views of the author are not necessarily shared by eurotuner magazine.