“I built my car for me, and nobody else. I don’t care what you think.” I’ve probably seen that line posted on the web no less than a thousand times over the years I’ve spent as a member of various automotive forms. You know the situation; guy posts his car on a forum asking “what do you think,” which is followed by other members picking the car apart and letting him know everything that he did “wrong.” I’ve always said there really is no wrong way to modify a car; as long as it’s safe, and you’re not risking the lives of bystanders around you on the road, it’s your canvas to paint as you please. I believe there’s a pretty good chunk of the import community that agrees with that, but I think a much larger piece of the imaginary demographic pie chart would rather appoint themselves as your personal build manager, advising you on every part to buy and install on your pride and joy. The truth is, if someone really built a car for their own benefit, they would feel no need or desire to post pictures of the car on the web. Whether you want to admit it or not, you’re inevitably in search of some type of approval from others. You can argue all you want about how you’re different, but the evidence is stacked pretty high against you.
I’ve seen a healthy number of people who make a thread showing off their car and complaining they never got a magazine cover, even though their car is better than “that guy’s” car. Here’s a quick wake-up call; your car isn’t better than theirs. If it was, a magazine editor would have picked it up. But again, you built your car for yourself, so why would you care about a magazine feature, right? I guess what I’m getting at is why is it taboo to admit you built a car to show off? Is that not what you do when taking your car to a meet or car show, or even posting pics online? It sure seems like it. You order new parts, clean more than usual, and make sure your ride is looking better than it ever has in order to display your hard work and perseverance, and what’s wrong with that? Should you feel guilty for having your buddy snap hundreds of shots of you ripping up your local track day so you can post the three best shots over and over again on your favorite forum for others to check out? There’s always been a stigma with wanting to display your accomplishments in the Internet-based Honda world, and I’ve yet to figure out why. I don’t see the shame in enthusiasts displaying what they think is perfection, sharing information, and possibly building new friendships based on the way like-minded community members prefer their cars. Furthermore, it’s very difficult for me to believe you have a 150-page build thread that you update every other day with pics of parts arriving from the delivery guy just for memories’ sake. Let’s be honest, you want people to see how you build your car, and how much hard work and detail you put into the process. This goes for race, street, or show cars. Believe it or not, we’re all part of the same movement, even if all members don’t see eye to eye on the final product.
If you do in fact post photos of your car online, you’re basically asking for people to give you some feedback—good or bad. You’re only human, so it’s OK to admit the negative comments sting a little bit. Let’s face it, no one wants to slave over a car for months, or maybe even years, pouring all of your spare time, money, and hard work into something only to be laughed at. The more you try to convince someone they don’t have any effect on you, the more they see right through you. Best thing to do is suck it up, and move on. Remember, it’s your project, not theirs. If everyone built the same exact car, it would be a pretty boring world. As long as you’re genuinely happy with what you’ve done, you’ve succeeded. Seriously, you can stop trying to convince everyone that you “only built it for yourself.”