I don't usually have much time to, but recently I spent about an hour sifting through the Honda Tuning email box. My goal wasn't to find feature cars or fodder for "Grass Roots". I wasn't looking to handle Dru's domain of unanswered tech questions. No, I was simply trying to get a sense of what you all thought of the book, or at least figure out how well a job we're doing in the eyes of the reader.
I can report, with a modicum of confidence, that in general you seem to like us and the direction we're headed. In fact, of the scores of correspondence I clicked on, there were only a handful of barbs. I guess I shouldn't be too surprised that the Honda faithful who read our publication give us a resounding thumbs up, but then I rarely get the opportunity to crawl into the minds of our patrons. Almost any kind of feedback (presented constructively, of course) is appreciated, good or bad. Fortunately for us, most is good.
What set me on my fact-finding mission was a dispatch with the phrase "You can't be serious" in the subject field. The anonymous note came from an individual who clearly has issues with our content, specifically with what he perceives as the unrealistic nature of our tech projects. Citing a lack of dynamic testing and his belief that "there no mag out there that does real world daily driver mods" (sic), he goes on to say:
I know for the next 10 issues all I will read about is the Fit, S2000, 2006 Si, etc., cars that are most likely under warranty. How stupid would you be to do some stupid modification to get maybe 45 more whp, or 150 whp from a turbo to a car that will void your warranty? Get real your magazine is becoming retarded.
Interestingly, homie claims to be a long-time subscriber, which left us scratching our heads in confusion. For any of you that have been reading for more than 6 months, we don't even need to tell you how full of shit this guy is. One need only look at our published legacy to see the gaping holes in his argument about impracticality.
Apart from the errant hate, I'm still getting vitriol from the EP3 clique about my not-so-favorable assessment of the car (Aug. '06). Over the last half year, fans of the hatchback have unloaded with all kinds of digs, everything from the immature-one guy actually told me to "lay off"; what is this, "Leave It to Beaver"?-to the sarcastic, like the well-written rejoinder to my use of the word "pig" to describe the '02-'05 Si. To the entire EP fan base who might still be reading HT and harboring anger, I can only echo what I wrote all those months ago: relative to other Si's, Integra's, RSX's, and cars in that segment, in stock form, it's an OK car, and that's about it. I'm afraid no one will ever convince me otherwise, so please stop trying.
Luckily, letters like these are few, and indeed most begin with praise for the job we've done. We've even touched lives with our little car pub, if the emails are any indication, which is a totally humbling experience. Like Zach Demarary's in Helena, Mont., who tells us we are the "ONLY thing keeping [him] from going completely insane" in a town where there is no import car scene. Or the correspondence we got from a guy who signed only as Billy, a dude who says he was addicted to pain pills until his family, his Honda, and HT intervened to turn around his life. "Thank you guys so much," he writes. "You have no idea the impact you have on people."
My favorite notes, though, are from guys who don't even own Hondas, yet somehow we've played a role-however small-in selling them on the Big H. There's Airman Chris Alter, who's currently serving in Iraq; he plans on trading in his Corvette for an Si when he comes home, and says, "I'm blaming you guys for my decision." Or Mark Hackett, a self-professed Subaru fan from Connecticut; Hackett gravitated to us when he was forced into a CB Accord, and now looks forward to a "close relationship with [his] issues of Honda Tuning."
The best recent letter, however, has to be Reggie Nicholas' communiqu from Chicagoland. A DSMer to the bone, Reggie appears to have had enough automotive experience to understand that enthusiasts are the same everywhere, regardless of medium. Recognizing HT for its tech quotient and pro D.I.Y. objectives, he commends, "Your magazine really impresses me ... Much love."
It's enough to make staffers of your favorite Honda book blush. So with all sincerity, thanks, to all of you, not just for reading HT and supporting its advertisers, but also for being our muse. Keep those cards and letters coming; we'll do our best to give you the best damn Honda mag we can-BH