Earlier this year, Eibach Springs' Ryan Hoegner (aka vtecvoodoo) held an impromptu meet at the company's Corona, California facility. Infamous for its mega-sized Honda-only event held each May, Hoegner wanted to hold something open to all makes to kick off the New Year. The event was promoted on a few of the forums and, based on past events, no more than 300 cars were expected. By 11 a.m. the parking lot--which has a capacity of more than 500 cars--was full. Cars were double-parked and the streets were beginning to congest from blocks away.
You just never know who's going to show up until those gates slide open. All types of cars arrived to complement the swarm of Hondas, including Nissans, Subarus, even a few nicely modded old-school VW Bugs. Excitement was in the air, the turnout was huge, and the weather was perfect. As I passed through the gates, I parked out back and headed toward the front to help with parking and traffic control. For the most part, everything went smoothly despite the massive turnout. Some stuck it out, eventually making it inside the gates. Others lost their patience and left angrily, heading home to complain online; how some can bitch about a meet having "too many" cars is beyond me. But the truth is, these individuals will never be happy; they'll always find something negative to point out. Such is life.
But even some of those who did stick around and enjoy the sun and rows upon rows of cars weren't free from complaints. I've seen it online and the gripe continues: "That car wasn't nice enough to attend," is usually how it goes. Such gripes are part of a growing trend--not a trend like rusted hoods on brand new cars, stuffed animals zip-tied to overpriced tow hooks, or unused roof racks mounted by guys who don't ride bikes or snowboards, but a trend that revolves around hating. Listen, meets like these aren't beauty contests and they were never meant to be. Like all Eibach get-togethers, it was held to promote interaction between enthusiasts and to help support the community. It wasn't a contest to see who could spend the most money. I enjoy well-built cars just as much as the complainers, but that doesn't mean that somebody just getting started doesn't deserve respect...or a parking spot. They're in the same boat as you, working toward the goal of one day "completing their builds." They might not be as far along in the process as you and your friends are but that doesn't mean they can't contribute. While some are fortunate enough to start building cars after settling into a career, others have their parents to thank for handing them their keys. But I think most of us started from the bottom, chipping away at our projects little by little. Watching the progress, week by week as the bank account allows, is one of the best things about building a Honda, or any car for that matter. If you can't stomach looking at a car that doesn't have a candy paint job and high-dollar JDM wheels, simply move on to the next car. It's really not that complicated. Yeah, some nice cars were turned away and forced to park out on the streets at the expense of the less-modified ones, but such is the definition of "first-come, first-serve." Patience and punctuality goes a long way. Why shouldn't those who arrived on time be allowed inside?
The direction of these community meets has gone off course over the past few years and it's time we get back on track. It's a chance for like-minded enthusiasts to meet, greet, and have a good time surrounded by the stuff we love, without trying to impress judges or bring home trophies. You never know, that primered Civic parked next to you might show up at the next one sporting a fire-breathing turbo setup and a mint paint job to match those new custom rollers. The truth is, you can't judge a book by its cover, even if you have spent hours in the library. We've got enough people on the outside looking down on us, we don't need it from our own family.