Yeah, you read it right; the scene is officially dead. Or is it? Being involved in the import world and, more specifically, being a Honda guy for the last 15 years or so, I've heard this same thing at least a thousand times. Whether it's at a track event, a SoCal car show, or even a local meet, there are always a few people making this similar statement.
Perhaps these individuals are referring to the number of local car show attendees. Maybe they've attended a few meets that didn't meet their expectations. Or perhaps they don't see quite as many modified Hondas roaming their neighborhoods these days. True, the car shows that once filled large venues and had fans waiting in line for hours to enter have certainly decreased. Some organized meets fizzle in comparison to others, sometimes due to weather or bad timing. As far as Honda street cars, many have taken a stealthier approach to their public driving duties so as to avoid attention from potential thieves and local authorities. But we here at Honda Tuning magazine have no shortage of quality feature cars, so what's going on? The Internet and words lost in translation probably have something to do with the negativity, but I think some of the older enthusiasts may be comparing the old days to the new.
The older guys probably remember when Hondas and other imports didn't garner the amount of attention they do these days. Unless you were driving a slammed mini-truck, your import was considered a waste of time by most. Because of that, enthusiasts were much closer and many times relied on one another for assistance. These days, with unlimited information at our fingertips, and a healthy history of trial and error already perfected, most don't feel the need to share the experience with others. I'm not saying this needs to be a team sport because individuality is one of its greatest attributes, but poor attitudes and animosity abound and the family feel is almost nonexistent, prompting many to proclaim the movement dead.
The one place I've noticed a much tighter knit group of car guys is at the track. Be it drag racing or road racing, these groups are almost always willing to lend a hand just to see the next guy go a bit faster. Sure, it's competitive and there are adrenaline and aggression pumping through the air, but behind it all is an attitude geared more toward having a good time. As events like time attacks continue to recruit more loyal fans, this will hopefully create a ripple effect amongst our community, resulting in a much needed attitude adjustment.
In all honesty, I've never liked using the word "scene" when describing what we do. The reason being, in my eyes it indicates something fly-by-night or temporary as well as somewhat adolescent. With the massive progression we've made over the past few years there's no question that we need to start viewing our passion in a mature manner rather than writing it off as a passing phase. You've probably noticed Honda Tuning oftentimes uses the words "community" or "family" and it's certainly premeditated. These terms attach a bit more importance and a sense of establishment, indicating signs of organization and camaraderie among peers.
We're Not Going Anywhere
In the early '90s, as the Honda movement began to really gain momentum, most outsiders felt that the trend would be over within a few years-especially the local dragstrip, musclecar fans. As time went on and barriers were destroyed in the quarter-mile battles that took place month after month, the naysayers eventually changed their tunes. Though still frowned upon by many in the automotive world, there's no mistaking that Honda and imports in general have made their mark and continue to multiply. Don't be so quick to say that we're dead...we're just getting started.