It's no secret that I'm a forum junkie. Though I only post on a few, I keep an eye on a number of them, especially those that cater to the big H and its family. I love forums, even with their constant bickering and the PMs I get from people complaining about how someone badmouthed their car that they posted 15 times in a 24-hour period, or whining about why their uncomfortably specific thread titled "Post your fluorescent orange wheels on purple cars lowered 1.75 inches in a vacant lot with a gravel surface during a slight torrential downpour on a Thursday night surrounded by dandelions and lava rocks" was locked. The threads that pop up every other minute are like an up-to-the minute blog showing us what's new in every part of the country. Over the years they've become their own monster, spawning a subculture that relies on posted information to learn new methods in every aspect of Honda building. Many of the most popular trends you see at your local meet or track event were a result of a thread created by someone, then copied by someone else. From there, the trickle effect continued until that trend became the norm.
This month, I'm taking a look at some of the trends that have become the standard along with a few that many hope won't see another week in existence. Now don't get me wrong, just because someone steps outside of the box and tries something new doesn't mean it's a trend or a bandwagon venture, but the following items have been flooding the forums recently. Love them or hate them, they're everywhere.
*Mothertuckers: You can argue all day that it's not functional or real-world friendly, but there's no denying the dramatic effect it has on cleaning up the appearance of any bay. Less is more, and this trend is nowhere near falling off. In fact, there are small businesses that have spawned from it, including Rywire.com and Chasebaysonline.com. Whether it was born under the hood of a VW or an old-school hot rod, the fact is that it's here to stay and that's a good thing.
*Special K: The only people putting this swap down are those in severe denial. A six-speed two-liter engine with unbelievable potential in boosted or naturally aspirated trim is a dream come true for Honda heads. We've only seen the beginning, there's much more to be unlocked, and the aftermarket support just keeps pouring in.
*Sticky outty wheels: We've touched on the subject a few times in and explained the pros and cons, but the average enthusiast is probably leaning more toward appearance rather than performance. Though the safety of stretching tires is still under scrutiny, low-offset pioneers are pushing their wheels out farther and farther, finding new ways to clear some space under the factory arches
*That hood looks horrible...props dawg!: I don't completely understand this one. I've always liked seeing cars put together with a clean exterior. Rusted or dented was never really a turn-on. These days it seems like the rusted hood look is coming on strong. I've seen VWs and old BMWs but never any Honda project with one until now. Perhaps these are the hoods that were sitting on the side of the house when everyone was aboard the carbon-fiber train.
*The bra, or the bro?: I never thought that we'd be seeing hood bras used as a fashion statement for a Honda, but lately they seem to be popping up everywhere. In fact, I can recall recently seeing an EH Civic with a rusted hood and a bra. You wouldn't want any rock chips on that rusty sheetmetal now would you?
*The bike lane: The first time I saw a few pages of "damn that looks clean!" comments after a four-door Integra was posted with a bike rack, I was shocked. "Clean" wasn't the term I thought of when I saw a black jungle gym attached to the roof of an otherwise very nice sedan. When hatchback owners started bolting these monsters overhead instead of using their, well, hatches for bicycle transporting, it was apparent a new trend was on the horizon.
*Good vertebrae-tions: In the early days, we had cut springs and terrible ride quality to thank for our sore backs. Bottoming out and bouncing along the freeway was just accepted as part of the package. These days we have dozens of suspension options to get good handling and a functional ride height. Still, there's plenty of street cred to be earned by slamming your car to the ground so that you're forced to make three-point U-turns and have to be completely sideways to scrape your way over road reflectors.
As always, send your thoughts and opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org