Creating the Readers' Rides issue is something I look forward to every year. It's refreshing to break away from the same monthly feature cars and tech and get to see what you, the readers, are driving on a day-to-day basis. The downside is that I have the tedious task of sorting through more than 3,000 emails and narrowing down the choices to the cars that grace the following pages. Ideally, I would feature every single submission, good or bad, because if you put the effort in to submitting your car then you deserve to have it seen. But that would require a magazine the size of a phone book and despite trying, it was turned down.
Still, I tried to jam pack as many cars as I could into this issue. That means, the monthly project car tech articles and event coverage are gone. I even cut the mailbox section to fit an extra page for the cover story, which features a classic EVO vs. STI rivalry-with a twist. The owners, Archie and Luis, aren't trying to outdo each other, they are actually good friends. When I asked them both whether they wouldn't mind throwing their cars on the dyno for the article, knowing full well that his STI was underpowered, Luis was still down for the idea. He was even willing to let us punish his car down the quarter-mile. After some discussion and fear of broken transfer cases or drive axles, we decided against it though.
I hope you enjoy the variety of modified cars that we've put together for this issue. And if your car didn't make it in, be sure to check out the back page of future issues because it may appear there. As a bonus, we'll send you a Mother's car care package!
Dodge SRT-4: Dead Or Alive?
While we're on the topic of personal rides, having recently moved to Los Angeles with my trusty DC2 Integra (minus working A/C) along for the ride, I was given the option of driving Sport Compact Car's old Dodge SRT-4 project car or dealing with the sweaty back and arm pit stains during my daily 35-minute commute to work. If you don't remember SCC's SRT-4, its bright-orange paint and Plymouth Cuda decal theme scream American muscle. Still, it had cold air-conditioning, essential for stop-and-go LA traffic.
Reluctantly, it became my daily driver. If for some reason the exterior wouldn't grab your attention, then the constant backfiring from the side exhaust or the obnoxious "psshhttt" sound coming from the vented blow-off valve (which I later found out is electronically actuated via the throttle position sensor, so it blows off even in vacuum and essentially every time I lift off the throttle) definitely would. Now I'm not hating on the Neon SRT-4 here, despite lacking in the amenities department, I can still appreciate it for what it is-a fast and affordable four-door, but everything else about it needs changing. And so begs the question: Should we resurrect the SRT-4 and bring it on as a project car or let it rest in peace in our parking garage graveyard?
Every soul I talk to in the office says the SRT-4's life has expired, but judging by the number of Readers' Rides submissions I know there's a good following behind these cars. Therefore, I'm going to leave it up to you; send me your emails and if I get enough positive responses then we're on. If not, I park it for good.
Include ideas of what you'd like to see done to the car in your responses. Redoing the exterior is a must. Adding more power could make it an awesome drag racer or focusing on the suspension could be good for autocross. What if we took it to the Bonneville Salt Flats for some high-speed passes? Could I be losing my mind, or is this a brilliant off-the-wall idea? I know it's an older and domestic platform, but hell, it might be time to try something different.
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