Letter of the Month
This month's Letter of the Month will receive an exclusive eurotuner T-shirt for his effort. If you'd like the same, email us at email@example.com or write to: eurotuner Magazine Letters, 6420 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048.
Did you get hit on the head? This was the first thought that came to mind halfway through your editorial in the 9/06 issue. I have a pile of magazines next to my computer that represents six months of et evolution. I thumbed through a couple of them in light of your letter and all I saw was cars that basically give a big ef-you to your delusions that the European tuning scene here in America is flat or pass.
I'd never try to deny that some tuners lack the imagination to do anything more than buy a grey, blue, silver, white or black car and throw a few bolt-on parts under the hood. But if you're going to generalize about the whole scene, we could say all Asian tuners buy Integras and Civics, add shitty vinyl and loud, farty exhausts.
In the tuning scene it's always been the minority who set the trend; the few who break away from crap like giant spoilers and tasteless vinyl to try something new are the ones who get into magazines, get sponsorship and inevitably have car junkies drooling over them.
If the purpose of your letter was to prod people into being more creative with their rides, I just bought a 2006 Ford Focus. Admittedly it was because I know the owner of the local dealership, but you can expect it to be a huge project while I'm at UTI, and I'll send you photos whether you want them or not.
I never stated the scene was flat or pass. I merely asked whether it was stifled by a desire to conform. It was simply to get people thinking about the cars we're building and maybe prod them in to something more creative. And yes, that is what we say about the Asian scene. What the hell are you complaining about? You bought a Focus!
Your Mk5 GLI isn't looking too bad in the 9/06 issue - good work. And yes, those are zany-looking cars at the Bodensee show in Germany (et 9/06). But they're intriguing enough to be worth looking into over here... I mean, over there in America. It may take some getting used to, but keeping your mind open is the way to go.
SGT Jim Lawson
I read your 9/06 editorial about the US scene and have to say I don't think it's about conformity or lack of imagination, as much as the desire to do things once with the goal of being proud of it for a long time.
Most of the show cars I saw while in Europe were different every season. They'd change their theme completely, and not because the interior wasn't custom, or their paint wasn't unique, but because it was last season's look and they needed something different to get a trophy this season.
Here in the US, modifiers don't want to do that sort of thing. The majority of us have an idea of what we want our cars to look like, and work toward it. Once we get there it basically stays there, with some small changes along the way
My impression of Europe is that owners can't afford multiple cars. So in order to conform to whatever freaky style just came out of Belgium or wherever, they strip the car down and start over on a whole new, eye-grabbing theme.
However, I want to say I really despise show cars. In my opinion, they aren't cars as much as lawn decoration. I enter shows I believe support the scene - not HIN or Streetcar Shootouts; those are for show cars. I enter the small but enjoyable club shows where I could care less if I get a trophy as long as there are people to talk to and tastefully modified rides that were driven there.
I baby my cars. I hate rock chips and scratches but I put up with it because I modify my cars to make them more fun to drive, not to look at or have some jailbait bending over it for photos while I wipe away every speck of dust.
I feel people who build show cars are modders who look at cars and ask, "what can I do to that car?" rather than, "what should I do to that car?" This leads to the bad examples that end up in shows.
Overall, whenever there's a group of peers, there's going to be some level of conformity. It's unavoidable. But I'd rather conform to a clean and smooth look I can be proud of in ten years, than conform to an over the top look that I'll be wanting to change next season.
You make some good points and talk for the majority who only modify their cars once and want to get it right the first time. However, I was challenging our view of what's right. I was also challenging those who do rebuild their cars every year to be a little more experimental.
I'm writing in response to the letter in the 9/06 issue about a shop taking four months to do a VR swap. I've also dealt with horrors of this nature. I had a '96 Golf and when the motor took a dump I figured it was a good time to do a swap. At the time, I didn't have the place or the time to do it. I had some cash so trusted the project to a local shop. Promises were made to me: "three weeks and you'll have it back." From the get-go I knew it'd be longer, but I was prepared to deal with it. After all, I know it's hard to keep schedules in a busy shop - I work in one myself.
After several months I started to wonder if it would ever be done. I did the usual calling and stopping by at least five days a week. Finally, after eight long months the work was completed. When I heard I could pick it up I dropped everything and headed out there. But the car still wasn't done!
After giving them a list of corrections and going without my car for two more weeks, I picked it up. They washed it for me and I was on my way. Since then I've been fixing things any experienced VW tech would have done in the first place.
I recently sold the swap to a friend with a '86 Golf. He finished the same swap in six weeks. A couple of autobody techs with some spare hours after work finished it in four!
If you want something done right, do it yourself.
There are some great tuners out there that offer exceptional service, and some that don't. The good ones might cost a little more, but you can see why. Meantime, many companies are complaining people buy cheap parts online and DIY fit them. Is it any wonder with experiences like this? Has anybody out there had a good experience with a shop that delivered on time and on budget? We obviously need to know who they are.
Ideas for Project Dub I had a few ideas for Project Dub. Now, I understand you guys didn't want to go crazy and build the world's first Jetta cabrio, so here are my ideas in no particular order:
1. Try smoking the clear part of the tail lights to lose the rice look
2. I noticed the Mk5s have built-in turn signals. Why don't you try and smoke them too?
3. I remember an old issue with the Abt Mk5 GTI (et 8/05) - try a carbon hood like they did, with the center left carbon but the outside color-coded
4. I like your clear foglights but would like to see them yellow
5. The Caractere body kit is nice but the front end looks raised. Here's an idea borrowed from the R32 guys - why not try a Seat Leon Cupra R chin spoiler?
Well, those are my ideas. If I had Photoshop, I'd show you what it looks like... Bijan Behrouzi email
Some good ideas, thanks. Apparently smoked tails are available in Europe, so we're looking into that. And somebody was building us a carbon hood. The front end may look raised because we're on 20s. With 19s and coilovers we could've got it much lower. But the rounded front spoiler does mean we don't hit every driveway we enter
Rabbit power I'm writing after receiving my first copy of et (9/06 issue); and because I've been searching for some solutions to extract more power out of the 2.5 liter five cylinder in the new Rabbit. I've ordered a '07 and am anxiously awaiting the completion of my deployment so I can get home to my family and my new ride.
Obviously I want more power out of the 150hp engine. I ordered the car with the six-speed auto, factory ground effects kit, stability system and 17" wheel package. Since it's a new car I need to bridge the gap between modification and maintaining the factory warranty.
We're still in Kosovo and yes, the Albanians and Serbians still don't play well together. The place looks like Germany with a lot of trash. It'd be a beautiful place if they didn't throw everything in the ditches or rivers. Obviously I am not Red in the photo attached. Maj Fred Prill Kosovo
Fred had many specific questions and we've replied by email, recommending the tuners Neuspeed and ABD Racing as two companies that have a lot of experience with the 2.5 engine.
Too late 1 Here's my entry for the Photochop Challenge (see p46) Andre DeSousa Email
Too late 2 Here's my entry for the Photochop Challenge (see p46) Dmitry Zhouk Email
You missed the entry deadline, but look out for our new Challenge in the 1/07 issue.
Chopped 1 Here's my '03 GTI getting an exhaust installed. I snapped the photo and did some photochopping. I did a color change, added 18" powdercoated versions of the Longbeach wheels, added a decal on the gas door, lowered it and added some cosmetic work on the doors as well as fender flares for kicks. Michael Wesala Email
Chopped 2 Just thought I'd drop you a new chop to see if you could use it. Lan Le Masters Email
Hello Boys I found your email in a search on the internet and decided to write and introduce myself. My name is Larisa. I know my letter may get lost among the others that come to you every day, but it would be cool if you write to me. If you're really searching for your second half, and you have serious intentions to build a family, and if you prefer present dialogue instead of games, I'll wait for your answer. I've attached my photo. Have a nice day. I'm waiting... Larisa Lapina Email
There's some spam we don't mind...