A topic I have previously, albeit briefly, touched upon with a JDMphasis post, automotive forums can be a great source of information where consultation and exchange of ideas and experiences can prove quite helpful. A place to share the latest crazes and trends, as well as a means to unite automotive enthusiasts, the forums can be an invaluable resource. However, as much benefit as forums serve to the aftermarket industry, they can play an equally detrimental role, as well. For me, the forums are slowly becoming a source of interminable frustration. Every time I log on, I inch closer and closer to the edge of that dark, bottomless abyss where I feel as though I am the sole party left acknowledging the trend of destruction to this industry, not only by these fly-by-night replica companies, but by the so-called enthusiasts supporting them.
I was recently labeled a "hater" and accused of trying to be a "badass" in a thread where I pointed out a few facts about the modifications to a car that rendered it "not my cup of tea." I simply stated that I would have preferred the owner kept his Infiniti G37S stock. To give some background, the car featured 1) "rolled" fenders. Now, anyone familiar with the G37 will know that the G's fenders are not the same as those of a Z - the fenders come pre-rolled from the factory, making this modification completely useless and, basically, destroying the fenders of this car. 2) The G featured Varrstoen wheels. Enough said. 3) This G37, like many of the "trendy" cars of the day going for the HellaFlunk look, is slammed on stretched tires. 4) The "lip" on this G37 was made from rubber weather stripping material, purchased at Home Depot. No lie. For those folks wondering what I mean... Take a peek at the bottom of your garage doors. The rubber that unites the door to the ground to create a "seal" against the elements, THAT is a material similar to what was used to make the "lip" of this G37. Does it really need to be stressed, on a forum of "enthusiasts," that anything purchased from the Home & Garden Department at Lowe's or Home Depot will not land a spot on any sort of list of accepted automotive modifications?
I suppose I'm just a hater... I digress.
We are all aware that making any sort of non-complimentary comment in a vendor thread will inflict the wrath of forum moderation by way of a banishment. Thus, I am not permitted to speak my mind when I witness the ignorance (or simple miseducation) of the people posting in the replica/knock-off threads where vendors advertise their ripped-off, unoriginal designs. My posts have been deleted in the wheel/tire section of the board for stressing my displeasure with certain vendors selling both Volk wheels and knock-off Volk wheels. An entire thread was deleted where I expressed my opinions about BAUS Auto knocking off the G37 Zele aero kit.
Teeth clenched in umbrage, I scroll down the page as people drool over this knock-off body kit and the vendor brags of how many he has sold. I view comments like the one below, made by a member who has modestly dubbed himself an "Original Trendsetter" (Do I even have to remark upon the incredible irony of rocking replica parts and baptizing yourself as one who sets trends?).
My kit is a head turner ohhhh yeahhhhh I think this is the best kit yet for a 37. Always wanted a zele original but now w this option I'm freaking glad, looks good, fits good, quality is good and for a good price. How can u say no? Go [BAUS]!
My answer to the posed question of how one can say no? Because some people refuse to cut corners. Some people respect ingenuity, innovation, and originality. Some people care about the future of JDM in the States. Some people enjoy "The Real Deal."
I wonder just how many enthusiasts realize there is a company in Japan that has poured their energy and resources into creating this great design only to be undermined by a cheap, hack company in the US simply out to make a few dollars.
Then, not to be outdone, yet another G rocking a fake Zele surfaces... This one makes me more sad than angry. I actually helped this member out when he was buying his wheels shortly after the TE37SL made its debut. Really nice guy. I offered my assistance in regards to wheel specifications and tire sizes. Quite simply, I suppose being forced to acknowledge someone else faking the funk just disappoints me.
Please... I urge you to become aware. Wake up, people!
JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation