Crazy Call Me
Since 1994, over 100 million Foreman Grills have been sold throughout the world. A little fun fact bouncing around in my head as I sit in my home office finishing up the last bits of the issue you just so happen to be holding in front of you. Random yes, but it's well past 3:00am, and the delicious caffeine-soaked sea-salt coffee that I downed about five hours ago is showing no signs of letting up. The television is on, more for company than entertainment, and I overhear a group of entrepreneurs discussing the smashing success that is the Foreman Grill. Dollar figures are estimated, but Foreman sold the use of his name for somewhere around 135 million dollars, in lieu of receiving a portion of each grill sold, which, at its highest grossing period, had him raking in approximately 4.5 million per month-far more than he ever made as a fighter. Ok, I'm nerding-out with this stuff I know, but to me, the mere idea of inventing something that revolutionizes an entire industry is mind-boggling. Call me crazy, but I like checking out the wacky inventions that show up on TV from time to time, even the ones that make me livid because the next guy got filthy rich off of that little doo-dad that I've thought about at least two dozen times in the past week.
I can only imagine the Foreman Grill pitch during initial investment meetings; "It's a grill. It's electric. You can cook with it and stuff. The fat runs out of it. Oh, and we'd like to get George Foreman to promote it." Beyond that, can you imagine how many people laughed when they heard the mere idea? What if they had posted their grill invention on some type of grilling forum, where, as you know, everyone is an expert? Posts like "you're never going to cook anything with that," "it's going to fall apart the first time you use it," what a waste of time and money, it'll never take off. DIAF." The hate would have filled the forum pages to no end. But luckily, it did take off, and the naysayers really couldn't do anything other than shake their heads in disbelief. These guys got rich, and are probably getting even richer as you read this.
In the automotive modification world, things don't go quite the same way. Well, there is the outspoken ridicule, coupled with plenty of hate and disdain, but the riches aren't following close behind. Rather, the inventor is bombarded by know-it-all's who are absolutely positive their "friend" came up with the idea years ago, and that this new invention will never work. When it is in fact proven to work, they say it's not cost effective, or that it's a waste of time. It's a tough road no matter how you look at it, but most deep, outside-the box thinkers could care less. They have an idea spinning in their heads and short of complete failure, their sights are set on making it happen at all costs.
This issue features two free-thinkers heading in different directions, but aiming to solve the same problem; finding more power with the S2000. Now some are backing these ideas 110 percent, as they've been longing for more torque, and more horsepower from the agile roadster. I call these people progressive. Others however, argue that it doesn't need any more horses, it's exactly as Honda intended, and can never truly be improved upon. I call these people boring. Kevin Nguyen's K24-powered S2K is a glimpse at something that I'm sure someone has thought of before, but rather than wait for something to happen, he got his own two hands dirty. My hope is that he puts together a complete kit, and makes some money from all of his hard work and research. Still, I don't think we'll be seeing Kevin working with Brock Lesnar to promote his new K-swap kit on late-night infomercials anytime soon. And that's fine, because in the end, Kevin will know that the revolution that unfolds is a direct result of his efforts, and maybe that's enough.
In the case of Gary Castillo of Design Craft, his ingenious iVTEC conversion is just a small sample of what he's capable of. Clever ideas that have been used and proven in competition, and a wall full of future endeavors that forum trolls will no doubt try to discredit, are already in motion. Presenting both Gary and Kevin's handiwork in the same issue makes me proud to be a Honda-fanatic, and ecstatic as an S2000 enthusiast.
In my eyes, the entire U.S. Honda community was built on enthusiast-made improvements, from the late '80s Civic/CRX beefed up with performance carbs and Oscar Jackson-built bolt-ons, to the modern-day K swap that's taken the industry by storm. If not for the unsatisfied individuals who refused to accept only what was being offered, we wouldn't have experienced mechanical gems like the turbo-charged Honda, or the B series swap era. It's somewhat sad to see our peers condemning ingenuity and forward thinking, rather than keeping an open mind and seeing where these things might take us. If you're the Honda enthusiast you claim to be, try giving a new idea a fighting chance before you bash it. These are the moments that are going to carry our community's progression into the future. Are you with us, or against us?