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2009 Import Tuning Trends - Spotlight

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised"

Rodrez
Dec 15, 2009

A simple phrase coined by Gil Scott Heron well before many of us were even born, and one that can be applied to a number of different subjects; though in our case, it's the Honda movement as a whole. Earlier this year I mentioned the increase in Honda activity in magazine pages and covers, and I was curious as to whether it would slow down once the next big thing rolled around, as it had in the past. Well, that "thing" never arrived, and attention toward Honda builds has never been higher. Some say it was miraculously saved by the K series motor, though I'd have to disagree. There's no question that motor has made the biggest impact on our community in years, but what were we saved from exactly? The D, B, H, and F series motors have kept us motivated this long; the K family merely broke some new ground. With the swap now perfected, the sky is the limit. Turbo and all motor builds will continue to reach new heights in 2010, as experimentation and aftermarket support have both steadily increased. So you see, our revolution has never been stronger, even if it wasn't blatantly advertised to the masses.

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So, What Changed This Year? I know it sounds cliché, but time really does fly by when you're having fun. Actually, even when you're not having a good time, time still has a funny way of blowing right past you. To say a lot has changed in just the last six months would be the understatement of the year. Taking the role of head editor this past summer has certainly opened a few doors, as well as added a new level of responsibility that has not only managed to steal a few nights sleep, but also sped up time as the months seem to click away in an instant. It all seems like a blur as deadlines come and go, and the search for well-built cars continues. You may have noticed a few changes in the last two or three issues, most notably the "street level" feature label has been accompanied by the new "race-bred" tag. These are cars that see significant track time, some of which don't even see public roads. The inclusion of these types of cars is important to this magazine, and I'm sure you'll agree that track cars and the parts they carry have a direct effect on street and show cars. With feature cars, the objective is to include a good selection of old and new chassis for each issue. Unfortunately the selection of Accords, Preludes, and other less popular models are still pretty slim. If you feel your favorite model is being neglected, maybe it's time to step it up and build something groundbreaking. If you do, drop me a line, I'm always looking.

Nip, Tucked, Stripped, And Dipped Wire tucks have gone from wanted to needed. It's become a staple of the Honda realm after taking cues from the VW and hot-rod crowd, and it's traveled into the path of other makes and models. Wiring gurus from Rywire.com and Chasebaysonline.com have both earned respect amongst builders from around the world, and both camps are now venturing into non-Honda territory. With so much emphasis now placed on even the smallest of details, the bar has officially been raised for imports, and no one wants to be left behind. Race teams have even jumped on the process, eager to free up space under the hood, and ease engine removal and replacement in a hurry.

Those looking to separate themselves from the crowd once their hood is popped have opted for all types of different valve cover colors and designs. From custom hand-painted offerings, to advanced hydro-imaging services from companies like Dip-tec.net. This trend offers artistic expression that can be stripped and changed over and over, sort of like an aluminum canvas.

Paging Dr. J, Please Report To The Swap Room Immediately...
You know things are getting crazy when you see Civics running around with monster V6 swaps sticking out of their shaved and tucked engine bays. With so many people in search of more torque, it was only a matter of time before this swap caught on. Information and examples are flying around the web and this may have a huge impact on 2010, as V6 owners might find themselves surrounded by new aftermarket upgrades for the J family. As with anything new, everyone is claiming to be the first, but somewhere along the line, J swaps started popping up everywhere, especially in smaller cities where drivers can get away with driving hoodless on their local roads. Try that in California and you'll find yourself buried under a pile of citations!

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The Breakdown of What We Saw in 2009
• Fast K-powered race cars - they're the present and the future.

• Ground-up builds - from a stripped shell to a neck breaker, no piece of metal left untouched in these meticulous project cars.

• Genuine interest in Super Lap Battle and other timed track events with drag racing attention faltering even further in recent years, road racing has steadily gained a new following.

• Low-offset wheels - more controversial than V6 swaps and a great way to waste an hour of your life arguing on any Honda forum when the subject comes up.

• Painted engine bays (usually the opposite color of the cars exterior) - anyone remember this style from Import Showoff Hawaii? It hit the mainland hard and is still carrying a pretty big following, though it may start to fizzle by next summer.

This is of course the winter issue, so that's it for 2009. Once again, thank you very much to everyone that has continually supported Honda Tuning magazine. The magazine literally exists because of you, our readers. Be safe and I'll catch you in January, 2010. (Is that right? 2010?!! That just sounds weird...)

By Rodrez
656 Articles

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