"It's nice to see your car being used for what it was intended for instead of sitting in some stupid parking lot." If you frequent most any Honda forum, you've no doubt read this line countless times. It always makes me chuckle a little since my '93 Civic project car was intended, by Honda at least, to get me from point A to point B without using much gas, perhaps pick up some groceries, or maybe even scoot a college kid or two to and from the university. I never bought a Type R, an S2000, or an NSX (damn you Aaron!), but instead opted for an economy car. Honda never really intended to see it race through a deserted business park at 3 a.m., cut through local mountain back roads as the sun starts to crest, grind away lap after lap chasing down that boosted all-wheel-drive monster, or stand proudly in a sweltering parking lot while a judge decides if it's good enough for the owner to be handed some arbitrary piece of plastic like the ones often found in storage wrapped in cobwebs and sawdust. No, it was actually me. I'm the one who decided what the car was intended for, although I never actually told anyone. If you see my car posted on a Honda forum, most would probably assume it's a show car. They'd have no idea where it's taken me, how fast it's gone, or what kind of competition it's faced. Unfortunately, judging books by their covers is a standard online practice these days.
You're Either With Us Or Against UsWhen it comes to forums and photo threads, members will usually formulate an opinion based on what's presented to them visually. A sort of label is attached to the car and its owner almost immediately. When it comes to the practice of labeling, we can be downright nasty, especially with the protection of a computer monitor and an alter ego fortified screen name. Nine times out of 10 it seems the car show regulars are the ones taking the majority of the hits. Street racers, mountain side speedsters, track day heroes, as well as non-Honda owning lurkers are quick to point out a "show queen" or "hard parker" whenever their sixth sense starts tingling. Expensive Japanese parts? Show car! Super clean paint and tucked bay? Show car! No dents or paint chips? Then it must be one of those dreaded show cars, which is a fate worse than death to many. Why so much animosity? Different strokes for different folks, right? Well, maybe not.
Fast Times At Hater High
You see, labeling gives some members a chance to lash out at others in an attempt to tear them down publicly without having to actually do it face to face. Think of it as a stress-relief program, or online therapy. Maybe they had a bad day, perhaps the wifey is nagging, or maybe they're just the self-conscious type. The hating used to be isolated but it's since become normalcy. It reminds me a lot of high school, and how every student was categorized by his or her interests. There were jocks, gangsters, skaters, and stoners at my high school. Sure, we were all in the same class and had the same short-term goal of getting through the day to find some freedom, but the labels discouraged cross-association between groups, and each stuck to their own while each mocked the others.
All Your Bling Are Belong To Us!
The one gripe that seems to be the most prominent is the amount of money show car owners spend on high-end aero and performance parts that never really get used to their full potential. Whether it's for show points or exclusivity, race-inspired performance and appearance parts have influenced the entire spectrum of import builders for quite some time. Carbon-fiber wings, splitters, rear diffusers, and towhooks are just a few of the items that were used regularly on the track and eventually trickled down to show and street levels. High-powered engines stacked with forged internals, forced-induction, and ITB motivation have become commonplace at car shows and meets across the nation, yet many of these cars will never see a dyno or even come close to flirting with their redlines. Add to that the appeal of JDM parts and collectibles, and you have a group of cars adorned in the appearance of a Japanese, tuner-built race car, but without the actual race experience. This upsets the diehards who put in the track time and enjoy abusing their cars during heated lap battles. Many of them can't understand why anyone would want to waste their time at a show when they could be out screaming down a straightaway chasing down some competitor. While many show car builders wouldn't be caught dead with knock-off parts, most racers couldn't care less if the car is primered, rolling on Rotas, and rocking a Home Depot garden trim lip, as long as the car moves and handles properly, they're in heaven. Although both sides drive the same cars and use many of the same parts, they're obviously worlds apart in their perceptions of what constitutes a good time.
On the flip side, I know a number of car show regulars who have a blast competing in shows. They meet new people, see old friends, show off their hard work and determination, and at the end of the day, might event take home a trophy. Some are trend setters whose influence can be spotted from a mile away. Others represent sponsors or friend's shops proudly throughout the year, and have absolutely no interest in attending track days. Some don't feel comfortable at high speeds or don't have a desire to crack their $1,500 front bumper on a misjudged corner. Their intention from the beginning was to build the car they saw in their heads and show it to the world, and really, what's wrong with that?
A Jerry Springer Final Thought
The truth is, there's nothing wrong with building a show car, and there's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to hit every track day you can. Being able to pull off both is even better, and there is a small group of people who do just that. Whatever your intentions are, have fun with it, and at the same time, take those negative comments with a grain of salt. You aren't going to make everyone happy no matter how hard you try, so why bother? Just enjoy the ride. -RodrezContact: email@example.com