I recently attended a Carshow/Cruise-In and I heard the following statement: “Stupid Tuner Cars! Who the hell lets them in!” It was obvious that person never read my article about attending a car show.
Now, before I go any further I should remind everyone that my “Show Car” when I attend is a 1995 Corvette. Is it a show winner? Hell NO! Not even close. Does it get attention? Sure, a little bit, I mean, some. There is always a person who loves a good corvette. Everyone has a different taste.
For a myriad of different reason, the “Tuner Scene” has gotten a bad rap and I gotta say I’m disappointed by the whole situation and it’s my feeling that it needs to stop… Immediately!
Why all the Hate?
Ask any Gearhead over 30 and the following explanation comes out: There have been too many kids, getting Honda’s and whatnots, slapping fart cans on them, auto meter 5″ tachs on the dash, gauges on A-pillar that ain’t even hooked up, with 4 or 5 point belts, body kits, a stupid biplane wing stuck on the rear as a spoiler, etc, etc
Then these people thinking they have a race car, are talking like they have a 9-second car, running off at the mouth, putting other non-Honda cars down, giving hearsay info as fact, driving like fools on the highways, and racing 3, 4, 5 wide on the interstate.
Sound familiar? I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this and what is really sad is that I have heard it from people who brag about almost the exact same things…. About their (Insert Nostalgic Car they owned as a teen Here)
People in Glass Houses
When my Dad was a kid he had a 1932 chevy coupe that he had dual 2 barrel carbs on. He added a Sunpro Tachometer and the 3 gauge cluster with temp, ammeter and oil pressure. (That was not hooked up) Only the temp and ammeter worked. He had Glass packs on it with thin tires on the front and big beefy wheels and tires from a Buick Roadmaster (he thinks) on the back and they used to drag up and down the New York Thruway while it was under construction.
This does not really sound that different from the above description, does it? I should state that My dad was in his Teens when he did the above and it was back in the 50’s. He is now in his late 70’s, housebound and, relegated to watching repeats of “Chasing Classic Cars” and Barret Jackson Auctions. SO How much has really changed? The brand and year of Car?
Confession: I was once a Ricer:
Even in my youth, over 30 years ago, my first car, a 1980 Chevrolet Impala. Yup, I Had a Tach… That was never hooked up. I replaced the stereo with a pioneer and huge 6×9 3-way speakers in the back and 5″ 2-ways playing my late 80’s “big hair bands” on the cassette deck. I had done what everyone else did to make their car go faster. An open face air cleaner and on the body of the car a paint-job featuring black and red stripes put on with masking tape and Krylon enamel paint.
Then later on I upgraded? Er.. Downgraded? Hmm – Depends on your point of view, I suppose, to a 1979 Honda Quelude, I mean Prelude! It was Black with Red orange interior and the usual stereo upgrades occurred and the ultimate “make it faster” upgrade was the “turbo” emblem taken off of a Saab. Snails went faster than this thing as they feared the salt that was falling off of the undercarriage.
We were all Ricers at one point in our lives
A “ricer” is anything that looks fast but really isn’t, Ironically, it doesn’t have to be an import. Come on, admit it, you have seen “riced out” Mustangs and Camaros, and now the growing trend of brand new Mopar SRT’s. My 1980 Impala mentioned above was a good example as well. So it’s NOT just the imports.
What’s sad is this hatred of Ricers has its origins from the motorcycle communities. “Ricer” comes from the Harley guys putting down the bikes made in Japan that blew them into the weeds and thus calling them “Rice Burners”. And it’s Ironic because even the Harley guys get a lot of hate from the communities at large because many of them are the ones who insist on loud exhausts that always seem to bring frowns and disapproving looks.
Confession: I used to ride a 2002 Honda VFR Motorcycle too. Harley guys would hate it when I passed them. Am I biased?
Suck, Squeeze, BANG! Blow, Ad Infinium….
At our cores, we all love the same thing. These large chunks of metal, plastic, and yes, even sometimes fiberglass, that have at their heart: an internal combustion engine. We all have the same love, but it now comes down to the style. And when we were younger we did silly things to our cars and told tall tales while beating our chests and mocked those who did not understand.
We need to come together. Embrace those young kids and realize they will grow up. When you shun them you create a divide that is in all actuality killing our culture. Face it, you’re not going to live forever. That kid you are mocking about his Honda Civic or his Suburu WRX in 30 years will be bringing his kid to car shows. And his kid might see a white 1995 Corvette.
And what will that guy say to his kid about the one guy he met back in his youth who had almost the same exact car at a car show he attended? (AKA Me…)
We are all the Same
This Website will never “not” take a picture of a car if I can help it. I’ve taken a picture of a 1979 Pinto. Corvairs, Hot Rods, WRX’s and yeah, Full disclosure: My winter car is a 2007 Honda Civic Si. Cars are personal to each of us. Not everyone likes the same Beers and/or wines. Our pallets are personal to “us” and we each have a different taste. I prefer IPA’s as my beer of choice but I can appreciate how Budweiser can consistently make the same pilsner beer in volume.
We each have a preference and reason why we love the car we bring to a car show. Listen to those stories and more importantly “Share” those stories! I love my Corvette because when I was waiting in line in 1995, having just been married, registering my car, wondering if there was enough in my account or would my paycheck come in on time. Then, in pulled a brand new 1995 Vette with the paper plate on the back. Never thought I would be able to own one…. Hence, I fell in love with that car that day and now I have one…
We are all the same and we all love our cars… We all have a story on why we love that car… From the Hot-Rodder to the Mustang owner, to the Mopar guy, that guy who watched “Smokey and the Bandit” with his 78 Trans Am, and even those guys with an old pick-up truck. and especially those Tuner-guys with their import motors. And I’m here to tell you those Tuner and Ricer guys with the cheap mods because it’s all they can afford? Those guys and gals you look down upon? You’re looking into a mirror and it’s up to us to embrace them and bring them into the fold so that they may carry the torch and keep the car enthusiast events alive when we are gone.
How will you and your car be Remembered?
A Hot Rodder putting down that guy in a Honda Civic will alienate him and he will never understand the rodder’s love. And then when he grows up and brings his kid to a show will he say: “Hot-Rodders are cool People, They love their cars” or will he say: “Hot Rods are pieces of crap. People that own them are douches.”
Can’t we all just get along? I think we can but it’s up to us. And any of you Tuner guys reading this? It’s up to you too. Respect works both ways. IT’s high time that all of us learn that in order to get respect you have to “give it” in order for it to be returned.
Happy Motoring Everyone!