Who Let The Honda Guys In?
It's 4:50 on a rainy Friday morning and I'm tired. Not just regular tired, but the kind of tired you feel after only three hours of sleep. The kind of tired when you know you needed at least seven. I'm standing shoulder to shoulder in a sea of caffeine-powered shoppers, most of whom are elbowing their ways through a poorly organized line to reach that beloved cashier's counter. That's right, I woke up at 4 a.m. on Black Friday in a feeble attempt to find those legendary "can't-miss deals" that I'd long heard about. Though my attitude is that of an angry pre-teen, I sheepishly admit that it was well worth losing a few hours of sleep in order to save 300 big ones on that shiny new plasma that'll shock my mom on Christmas. Due to the Disneyland-esque line in front of me, my short attention is quickly drawn toward the magazine rack. I note a few import titles alongside the muscle car magazines and Auto Traders, but what really stands out is the Honda Civic on one cover in particular. It's probably the fourth or fifth Honda I've seen pasted on the cover of a magazine other than Honda Tuning this year, which is surprising. For a short moment, it reminded me of the good ol' days, when great mags like Sport Compact Car and Turbo would hit my mailbox with a CRX or an Integra on their covers just about every other month. It was a great time, and there was an endless flow of Honda info coming from every direction. For those of us mesmerized by all things Honda, it was a chance for us to learn. Times were good.
Where'd They All Go?
Ever since the massive drift boom hit the U.S. and the STi and EVO movement blanketed the nation, Hondas have been all but forgotten. Sure, Honda Tuning magazine's remained true to the enthusiasts who keep building them, but the mainstream hasn't smiled on the brand for some time. Occasionally, the competition would pop a feature in here or there but the passion was gone. In all honesty, at times I've even felt that things were getting stale until a little something offered by Honda known as the K-series shook things up. Builds began breaking new ground, especially those intense, stripped-to-the-core, restorations and projects that have been built back up to ever increasing standards. The quality and innovation combined with the right high-end performance and aesthetic pieces have taken Hondas to a new level, and it hasn't gone unrecognized by the masses. Add to that even more online involvement from the Honda camp, and it's becoming all the more difficult to ignore us. Although some of this may look like ground-breaking stuff to those who've strayed from the Honda community, we all know just how commonplace it really is. We see it day in and day out online, at the track, at shows, and at meets.
This Is Why We're Hot?
So here we find ourselves once again seeing front covers and reading tech stories about our cars, but I think we can all agree that it may only be for a short period of time. Once the next big thing comes along we'll be sitting on the back burner once again, but I don't think that's such a bad thing. With too much recognition comes that feeling of over-saturation. Builds and builders can become lazy and the clones can start popping up by the dozen. Also, there's the fair-weather fans that jump into things while they're hot, and are the first to go the instant something else is dangled in front of their faces. Those that are truly dedicated and not just jumping trends will stick around no matter what. The fact that you're reading this right now means there's a pretty good chance you're one of those people who loves your Honda whether it's for the simplicity, the reliability and potential, or because the bug bit you and got you hopelessly hooked.
Will we continue to see this current Honda renaissance carry on through 2009? It's tough to say this early on, as it will depend on what new trends pop up. As far as Honda Tuning is concerned, we're excited about the quality of cars that continue to come out of the woodwork. Mods that were once considered "one-off" now seem standard when putting a car together-wire tucks and shaved engine bays along with K swaps and ITBs or turbochargers have become commonplace and the envelope-pushing continues. The RSXs and S2000s now have a few years behind them and prices have fallen. This opens the door to a whole new generation of builders that can now afford to pick one up and create something new. At this point, there's really no reason to call it a comeback-we've been here for years.