Tuesday, January 22, 2013


So, I have been reading and thinking... and viewing and browsing... and trolling... and reading and thinking... Throughout my reflections, I have a few opinions. I know there are many out there in the import scene who do not share my predilections, but my opinion is as valid as anyone else's... Right?

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


  1. Hey, I doubt you remember me but we spoke through e-mail last year about ordering a set of custom wrapped leather brides for my evo. Well, as an example I was unable to pick up the seats as I was paying for my fiance's engagement ring. But long story short I ended up going through Mitsubishi's leather program and getting factory two toned perforated leather wrapped around my stock recaros. I say this to say that, although money is tight now a days people can still make choices that honor their build without cutting corners by choosing knock offs. I didn't go and buy fake brides off ebay, I did the research and found that Mitsu had vendors and a program in which you can upgrade your stock seats from alcantera to leather. Just as when I ordered my authentic Do-Luck trunk from Bulletproof auto instead of one of the tons of knock offs, you must simply make great choices, one at a time that all add up to be a quality build in the end that expresses your love of Japanese skillfully built pieces. I just landed a set of used te-37's this dec, and my dilemma after going back and fourth with Ben from bullet proof about what I coined my, "rescission spec" build lol was weather or not to wait much longer until I saved up all the money for a new set of te's from this company that I love or to buy this Authentic used set at a lower cost.In the end I went with the used set, now did I cut a corner being that I lucked up and found my dream rim but didn't show loyalty to the company I promised to buy from like I bought the rest of my jdm products? Let me know what you think but I'm comfy with my decision since at the end of the day all my parts remain authentic and I rep bp auto to the fullest either way. Remember life doesn't care about everyones plans, health problems reduced my work/money right in the middle of a terrible economy and wanting to wed my girl, which takes precedence over my jdm addiction. Still, my recession spec build continues on in a slower but anti knock off way.

  2. Personally I wouldn't think purchasing used wheels is a cop out. You aren't faking the funk. I lucked out and picked up a set of extremely nice WORK Cr Kai's for my fiancee's Accord coupe.

    I am finishing up my build of a 2007 Nissan Sentra SER Spec V so getting good quality products has been difficult as the market support is non-existent. Still I've managed to get a set of Nismo 57F's which are re branded Gram Light 57F's. Greddy did make an exhaust for a short time so I got that for sure. Two of my favorite moments in my build were receiving my Top Secret tow hook from rhdjapan and my Bride Digo and Digo Type R. Now every time I slide into that drivers seat and strap down with my Takata I know that I didn't compromise, it only took 5 years. When it came time for coilovers the only options were Megan, KSport, and BC Racing. I waited for 4 years hoping for Tein support but it still looks unlikely. Figured BC Racing was the best option out of those choices.

    With the Spec complete I now set my eyes on my next project that has been waiting on me. A '92 3000GT SL with all the twin turbo bits swapped in. I already have a couple difficult to find JDM parts for it like a PitroadM/Carbing three point front strut bar and a AeroCraft Kaze Exhaust cutout delete.

    Sorry for going off on the tangent. Johnson, I like the sound of your Evo and it makes me truly jealous. BP thanks for the weekly inspiration and fighting the good fight. Blogs like yours and JDMEGO are what inspire me and I try to spread the word to my communities.

  3. Thanks for the responses.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying legitimate parts used. The classified sections of automotive forums can be an amazing resource, often containing some great stuff. You have to watch them like a hawk because the quality parts get scooped up so quickly. As a matter of fact, I spent some time trying to get a friend of mine to allow me to do a little write-up about his car. I admire his build because, although he is not a "JDM Whore" in terms of parts, he is most definitely an 'innovation over imitation' guy. He does not agree with the corner-cutting of buying knock-off and replica parts and has purchased the majority of his authentic parts used. His car is a shining illustration of the notion that you do not have to spend top dollar to build a car with quality, authentic parts. (I hope he is reading this and gets in touch with me!)

    It has almost become cliche to spout the "build your car for yourself" adage and sometimes I think people miss the point. Of course we all want to have our parts immediately! That is human nature. However, when you really love the car - love the project, you enjoy the process... The saving and the wait times are worth it to you because you know, in the end, you will have exactly what you want. There will be no regrets and you can be proud of what you have accomplished. My car is 5+ years old at this point. It is no longer new. I do not view it as "complete" in any sense of the word, but everything I have done has taken time. Quality builds do not happen overnight. They really are a labor of love (and patience). Putting aside a few dollars at a time (legitimately, a few dollars at a time) is how I have been able to modify my car and how I continue to save to modify my car.

    Thank you for following JDMphasis and for refusing to fake the funk with your builds. If you would rock an 'Innovation over Imitation' decal on your car, shoot me an email at JDMphasis@gmail.com with a mailing address and I will send some out to both of you.