I would like to assert that I am an enthusiast. I have no allegiance to anyone. Quite simply, I like cars. I like Japanese cars. I like high-quality parts created by skilled Japanese tuning companies. I do not like replica and knock-off parts. Plain and simple.
My observations over the last few months are some of dismay and, perhaps, a bit of disgust. Now, call me a hypocrite because I constantly denounce faking the funk as well as the hack companies that turn a profit by way of stealing the product of another company's pioneering and innovation. Do not get me wrong - I am not of the extreme melodramatic mindset as to suggest that the tuning world is in dire straits because people do not always see eye-to-eye. I enjoy the diversity in taste in modifying. However, I wonder where and when the seemingly constant insolence was born. I look to social media.
I recently came across a comment on Facebook. The comment was a response to a feature of a car in which the author directed attention to an extremely rare part (1 of 1 in the States). A beautiful aero part with meticulous carbon fiber weave and incredible attention-to-detail, this particular online publication devoted exactly two sentences and one photograph to this automotive specimen of lure. The comment that irked me a bit stated that "all it comes down to for feature cars is who has the most money." I do not think I have to state that I wholeheartedly disagree with this statement, as we see cars riddled with knock-off and replica parts cyber-broadcasted every day. I also think it is worth it to address the issue of denouncing quality and legitimacy. What does it say about the state of the tuning world when modifying with well-constructed parts from the best companies in Japan is something to criticize or declaim? Is it jealousy? Envy? Once again, I find myself reverting to the notion that so-called enthusiasts want something and they want it yesterday, without working for it. To me, that mentality is entirely in line with supporting replica and knock-off companies. I believe a large part of that mindset is attributable to social media. When one can log on to a blog, Facebook, or a forum and see cars put together hastily with replica and knock-off parts earning praise, "features," and acclaim, where is the incentive to build a car with quality parts? Sadly, I do not think it is much of a stretch to suggest that many allow the e-fame of shoddily-built projects to influence their decisions when it comes to modifying their own cars.
We should all be building our cars for ourselves and not to please, impress, or stimulate others. Embracing diversity and embracing trends harmful to the tuning industry are two very different things. I cannot tell someone how to modify their car. If there is one thing that is universally understood, it is the reality that money is tight and people have limited budgets. However, if we call ourselves enthusiasts, should we not strive for the best? Is that not what we are told to do in life and in all of our professional endeavors and personal pursuits outside of our hobbies? Why should building something based on a passion; something of which we want to be proud, be different? The "best" does not have to be the most expensive, but why must we be forced to embrace something that is feigning the appearance of the most expensive? We are constantly expected to recognize that which is inherently and fundamentally mediocre at best. A point I have stressed more than once, why modify at all if we are going to replace perfectly operative stock parts with something of inferior quality? Do we not modify to improve?
In this vacillating social construct where enthusiasts engage daily in the Function over Form fracas and continually debate how much tire stretch is appropriate and how much is idiotic, I suppose I believe this staunch chagrin should be redirected to other automotive cultural afflictions, such as yearning for features showcasing cars exhibiting shoddy (or worse) quality parts. Quite frankly, I don't get it. (Ironically enough, I end up the one labeled a "hater" for questioning it.)
Only three weeks into 2013, I hope to see less promotion of corner-cutting and mediocrity over the next year and to see a more concentrated acknowledgment of and focus on innovation, ingenuity, authenticity, and the real pioneering of the Japanese tuning world.
JDMphasis... Innovation over Imitation