Yes, it's true, project cars and legions of Honda heads existed long before the automotive Internet explosion took place. Today, we don't hesitate to log on to find technical information or new and used parts, or to keep tabs on the latest trends. But years ago, before the forums played such a vital role in our daily lives, car building took a little more time and quite a bit more effort. Face-to-face sales have been replaced with websites and digital shopping carts, but there's no harm in making sure that the younger generation understands just how things used to be.
The New Parts Search: Early Surfing
Local performance shops played a key role in offering the newest products and an insider's look at what would come out next. Showroom browsing was the early version of web surfing and performance shops flourished during this era. Enthusiasts in smaller cities yet to be overtaken by the import boom relied heavily on magazine ads to track down manufacturers and order vital parts over the phone. Yeah, the phone.
Used Parts: One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure
Without online classifieds, most were forced to buy new, often saving for months in order to change the look or performance of their build. Trading and selling used parts has become the most highly regarded aspect of the automotive forum. However, prior to the cyber classifieds, we had the Recycler. Similar to the Auto Trader, this weekly paper was the industry-standard tool for unloading old parts or picking up new ones from fellow enthusiasts. Everything from rare Japanese wheels to custom turbo kits could be found hiding between its pages. Weekly, 5 a.m. 7-Eleven visits, in search of the newest issue, were common amongst die-hard parts hunters.
Technical Advice: Show Me the Way
Let's say you're working on your first swap and you get stuck. Simply Google search the type of swap you're doing and give it a few seconds. You'll probably pull up a few pages packed with helpful links complete with step-by-step instructions and visuals. But before that option was available, this task was done by good ol' trial and error. If you really ran into trouble and couldn't finish up, you'd probably have to rely on advice from a local shop or crack open the Helms manual and just keep searching for the answer.
Keeping Up With the Times: The latest and Greatest
Whether you admit it or not, everyone wants to know what's hot and which direction Hondas are moving in. The numerous threads posted online everyday will give you an up-to-the minute description of what's going on 24 hours a day. Back in the day, that information was viewed firsthand at events like Battle of the Imports and Import Showoff. Magazines like Turbo and Sport Compact Car also lent a hand in keeping enthusiasts in the loop with feature cars and event coverage. Events and magazines helped spread the word and even set a few standards along the way.
Some of our readers were working on their Hondas well before the Internet explosion and can vouch for its effect on how we've progressed over the years. For the younger generation that grew up on the web, be appreciative of the incredible access you have at your fingertips-it wasn't always a mouse click away.