- Suspension and braking: $4,000
- High-end wheels and tires: $3,500
- K swap, all of its necessities, bolt-ons, and ECU: $10,000+
- Seats, rollbar, and other interior bits: $5,000+
And the list goes on and on. The tally at the end of all this project stuff is pretty ridiculous when you get right down to it. You’ve probably heard it too many times, "for the money you put into that little car, you could have bought a BMW!" Yay. However, it’s true that all of the cash we dump into our pride and joy could certainly be put toward a higher-end car, maybe even a status-elevating sports car. Well, that is if you want to deal with the sky-high maintenance costs, insurance rate hike, and everything else that comes from breathing the air up there. Instead, we stick to what we know and love. That little hatch, coupe, convertible, or sedan wearing the H badge in your driveway is personalized to the nth degree. Even if there are four other guys on your block who have the same wheels, they don’t have your car. If you’re a little newer to the madness that is vehicle customizing, you’re probably asking yourself, "Where does all the money come from??"
Bank of Parentals, est. 1985
Now this is a common label bounced around the web quite a bit, and usually refers to a car loaded with authentic and rather expensive parts. The label "tosser" is often angered by the fact that someone else has acquired such lavish goods and assumes that their economic standing is based on nothing more than funds from their parents. There’s also the possibility the car in question was built by the owner’s paychecks, but due to a very supportive family, life’s necessities, i.e., rent, insurance, etc., were taken care of for them. Do either of those scenarios actually exist? Probably, though I doubt anyone would ever admit it openly. We’re not all on the same playing field when it comes to the pay scale, and many feel that they’re raging an uphill battle against those who seem to have unlimited funds.
"This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient, but I do love Fig Newtons"
Sponsorships have been around much longer than you or I. The goal of sponsoring a vehicle is very simple—showcase and promote your product on a vehicle that will undoubtedly receive attention. For the car owner, the goal is typically to get free or discounted parts to help complete their build. Like magazine covers and Internet respect, everyone feels they deserve a sponsorship. Some work hard to get them, and other more established builders essentially have them falling into their laps. This is a sore spot for many who are angry that they’ve never been sponsored and bitter that someone else is receiving assistance on their build, while they have to shell out full price for their project.
In the ’90s, vinyl roll call stickers were regularly placed under the car’s mirror, running down the door with a windshield banner reserved for larger companies. Sometimes the side rocker panel played host to brand names and contributors. Early 2000s had many placing various stickers along the passenger side of the windshield, and lately, the middle of the front windshield is the preferred real estate for brand recognition. Obviously the stickers are there for the shoot or the show, and then they come right off. Some refer to it as selling out, which is completely ridiculous in my eyes. If it’s a product that you like, and you’re able to get help, why not work something out? I’ve seen a few comments about “they’ll own your car once you get sponsored” which is completely false. The guidelines and expectations are laid out ahead of time.
If you are interested in obtaining a sponsorship, don’t post it on their Facebook page; get proactive, put together information on what your build is about, what you feel it’s destined for, and what you can do for the company you’re approaching. Wait, what? You have to offer something to the company and show them that sponsoring you is going to be in some way beneficial? Yep. And please, don’t replace "the" with "da" or "to" with "2" and anything else that resembles text messaging in any way. Use your head; type out something that resembles English and you’ll be taken much more seriously than the guy who sends a Facebook message full of slang and a link to his build thread.
But what does it all mean, Basil?
Sponsored by parents, sponsored by companies, free rides, what does all of this really equate to? I’d say it boils down to people being far too concerned with what the next guy or girl is doing. Some people have it better than you right from the start. Others kill themselves working toward their goals and deserve everything they’ve achieved. But back to the handouts—if someone gets every single part on their car handed to them for free, whether it’s from a manufacturer or Team Mommy and Daddy, it really shouldn’t make any difference to you. You’re building your car and that should be your only focus. Let them deal with the harsh realities of the real world once their parents (hopefully) scale back their monetary support and realize life is much tougher than they thought. And as for sponsorships, don’t automatically assume it means a blank check and free rein of their inventory shelves. Nine times out of 10, it really means a discount on select parts, which certainly helps, but doesn’t magically create a cover-worthy car. Remember that too much of anything is usually a bad thing, and there’ve been some monstrosities, covered in sponsored goods, that simply missed the mark in terms of feature quality builds. Keep building. . .