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 Car Enthusiasts, Unite: A public service announcment.

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Male Number of posts : 7510
Age : 30
Location : Cheltenham
Registration date : 2008-07-03

PostSubject: Car Enthusiasts, Unite: A public service announcment.   Thu Jan 05, 2012 8:41 pm

Just read this interesting article about the scenes developing within the car enthusiast world... See if you agree with everything he says...

Quote :
Following words written by Charles Kha:

It’s not easy to be a modifier these days. While our scene has finally gone from underground obscurity to mainstream acknowledgment (modified cars have infiltrated television, toys, video games, movies, fashion and music), we are now facing a growing number of obstacles.

On one side enthusiasts face tough lifestyle decisions that didn’t exist before. Do we want an exhaust or an iPad? Do we spend the weekend at a track day or a music festival? These new temptations have all had an impact on the aftermarket industry, which has also been battered by the financial crisis.

Then there are the seemingly never-ending pressures from society. While our car culture may be recognised by the mainstream, it doesn’t mean we’ve been accepted. The media continue to circle above us, waiting to pounce the moment there’s a car crash involving a modified car or young driver. This in turn compels politicians – vying for the public’s vote – to put pressure on the Authorities to clamp down on us with stricter regulations and harsher penalties.

When you look at all the above as a collective, it’s easy to see why many believe the outlook for our scene is dire. Indeed, many of the conversations I have with readers at a car meet or with industry folk at events revolve around the future of this generation of modifiers. And while consumerism, the rise of hybrid technology and pressures from the Authorities have all had impacts on our scene, I’m certain none of these will cause our demise. Modifying cars has been around since the automobile was invented, and so too have these social and political pressures. Technology will always advance and the Authorities will always be influenced by the outcries from the public and media.

In my opinion, the real threat to our scene is ourselves. Let me explain. As our scene exploded into popularity, so too did the number of styles that fall under the late-model modified car umbrella. There are now dozens of interpretations of how cars should be modified. To some, matte black is the poopoo. To others, candy paint is cool. Some like massive wings, others delete them. This diversity is supposed to be the greatest thing about our generation, but it might well prove to be our downfall.

The biggest problem is how enthusiasts are starting to view one another. In the past, there was always an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality; where late-model car modifiers stuck together as a unified front, irrespective of whether we drove mini-trucks, Honda Civics or Lancers. In our scene’s infancy we fought together, as a unit, for recognition.

In Australia, we were up against some of our street machine and hot rod predecessors, who viewed anyone with a Japanese modified car as a tasteless rich kid, with no idea of what innovation and build quality stood for. In the States, it was the domestics who laughed at the import tuner generation, labelling them as a bunch of ‘rice boys’ playing around with grocery getters. Back then we all fought tooth and nail to establish our scene, to gain credibility and to earn recognition. Having finally accomplished this, we’ve now begun to turn on ourselves.

If a car show enthusiast accidentally jumps onto a drifting forum, chances are he’ll be annihilated within minutes of his first post. If a drag racer tries to show off his latest creation on a forum full of J-style worshippers, there will probably be a pack of keyboard warriors ready to flame him for building a car that’s only fast in a straight line. And what’s even worse is that traces of racism are starting to surface as people pigeon-hole specific car trends to ethnicities.

Even if an outsider can appreciate the style and beliefs of those in that forum, it’s rare for such acceptance to be reciprocated from that forum’s community. If your car isn’t modified the way they think it should be then f**k off. That’s the mentality I’m seeing today. Not everyone on a forum does this of course – in fact the majority are innocent bystanders – just a few bad seeds are enough to scare away those of differing modifying religions. And this is the equivalent of erecting huge walls around each online community to keep intruders out.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but an opinion doesn’t entitle us to turn on our own kind. Any of us can insult someone online and take comfort knowledge they won’t be punched in the face. However the old adage ‘for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction’ still applies; we might not face recourse for our actions directly, but we’re still inflicting damage to our scene as a whole.

Perhaps i’m just dreaming of a far-fetched automotive utopia, where modifiers of all types can appreciate each other’s tastes – even if it isn’t keeping with your own personal modifying ethos. Where an airbrushed, chrome-wheeled show stopper can rub shoulders with a sleeper GT-R and still be appreciated for what it is. But if you think about it, such an oasis already exists.

One of the most ironic – and frustrating – things is how so many enthusiasts now draw inspiration from Japan’s car culture. This whole ‘JDM’ thing has been revolutionary; it is actually the first time a single trend has swept to all corners of the globe, overriding the unique modifying flavour each country used to have. You can be in Finland, Hong Kong, South Africa or New Zealand and you’ll see J-style cars cruising the streets.

But what people need to realise is that “JDM” is not the definition of Japan’s scene. Not even close. Japan’s scene isn’t just about functionality over form; it isn’t solely based around performance over aesthetics. It’s not about modifying ‘purity’.

What’s great about Japan’s culture – and it’s this aspect we all seem to overlook – is that anything and everything is accepted. If you want to see horrific rice boy creations, go to Japan. If you like a hundred neon lights, over-sized chrome wheels and a fish tank in the boot, go to Japan. Airbag suspension on a scooter? Japan. Triple stacked wings, pink paint and ludicrous body-kits on a van? You guessed it, Japan.

If we’re going to to draw inspiration fro the land of the rising sun, we shouldn’t just look at their hard-tuned street culture. We should look at Japan’s scene as a whole: how they can appreciate and embrace such an eclectic array of styles. We should be throwing out the welcome mat whenever we find someone who likes modifying, rather than slam the door if their ride doesn’t meet your stringent criteria of how it ‘should be done’.

I know forums are designed so you can meet like-minded people and build communities. But as our scene’s growth has risen, we’ve begun segregating our own kind; creating niches within a niche. The hated have become the haters.

That’s the real danger. Even if the Authorities put speed limiters on everyone’s cars, the media continues to paint us with that social menace brush and our race-tracks make way for residential developments, modifying cars will still continue on. While our scene may never have the attention to detail of the hot rod builders, or the faultless quality of street machiners, what we do have is our innovation and diversity. And if we strip that away from ourselves, what are we left with? Nothing.

-Charles Kha, Autosalon Magazine, Issue 85, 2010.

So maybe, just maybe the next time I see a car with silly stretched tyres, or a Micra with an electronic dump valve, I won't be so quick to judge... what do you lot think?

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Can Handle Lift-Off
Can Handle Lift-Off

Male Number of posts : 771
Age : 26
Location : Tewkesbury (now bristol)
Registration date : 2010-06-06

PostSubject: Re: Car Enthusiasts, Unite: A public service announcment.   Thu Jan 05, 2012 9:47 pm

I think he is completely right. I don't think there will ever be a time that drifters will love drag racers and so on, it is only his dream. There are segments for a reason you cant love everything in my opinion.
And yes the Japanese scene is taking over but people have lost what the Japanese street culture is all about just act on what they think it is..
Even within forums such as ours and others, there is bad spite naming no names..so yeah i feel it'll just get further apart not closer together.
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Male Number of posts : 1654
Age : 33
Location : Cardiff
Registration date : 2010-03-07

PostSubject: Re: Car Enthusiasts, Unite: A public service announcment.   Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:31 pm

Kind of agree but a bit part in separating the interests has been the explosion of the internet in the last 12 years. It has grown so much that every car, club, modifying taste has a forum where you meet with like minded people. 12 years ago it was just magazines which we all locked at as being cool!


Click me to see my thread!
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Male Number of posts : 2059
Age : 28
Location : Gloucester
Registration date : 2009-10-01

PostSubject: Re: Car Enthusiasts, Unite: A public service announcment.   Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:54 am

Sort of there, maybe slightly off the mark - don't think the answer lies with Japan's car culture. But yes, unfortunately, this scene is full of this separation - and within that there's plenty of cliques too.

Personally, I feel that being almost 'multi cultural' within the car scene has lots of benefits and very little negatives. Admittedly, everyone's going to have their own favourite area and so will others, and this will obviously form groups - doesn't mean that others have to be excluded or to be taken the piss out of. I myself have found some cool little touches that have been in some of the most unlikely sources!

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Track God
Track God

Male Number of posts : 2746
Age : 31
Registration date : 2010-04-23

PostSubject: Re: Car Enthusiasts, Unite: A public service announcment.   Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:43 am

I see his point about it all separating. Dont think it will ever get back to how it was. People will always disagree, argue etc. But hopefully it can be done in a fairly jokey manner rather than thats poopoo f off if you dont do what we say.

I suppose only the next few years will tell. I like to think im open minded, I dont like all the stretch but I appreciate its all hard work and such gone into making it.
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Can Handle Lift-Off
Can Handle Lift-Off

Female Number of posts : 742
Age : 28
Registration date : 2010-07-03

PostSubject: Re: Car Enthusiasts, Unite: A public service announcment.   Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:05 pm

As much as I half agree, it's a little bit dramatic but then again I'm sick of walking down the street and getting bullied just because I own a French car :'( one day y'all be sorry ya hear!!

Last edited by Steph on Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:08 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : watch this space...............y0)
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Male Number of posts : 261
Age : 31
Location : Cardiff
Registration date : 2010-06-12

PostSubject: Re: Car Enthusiasts, Unite: A public service announcment.   Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:00 am

So his theory is that the modifying scene has become very segregated and that 'cyber bullying' is becoming more common within forums.

As we all know those that choose to attempt to 'outcast' others who develop cars that aren't to their particular taste are the ones who inevitably look like tits to the other forum users!

This minority that do hate on others for there choice of car or wheels etc are clearly narrow minded and need to become aware that the land we live in is a diverse multi-cultural place and thats how its going to stay, including a multi-cultural modifying scene.

We cant all afford to spend 10K on a top spec engine and some just don't want to but we do all still share the same interest....our beloved motors so embrace that fact and accept thats how it is going to be...always.

Its those with this narrow-minded attitude that need to address there underlying emotional detachment from modern-day society and accept we are all different, fat, thin, tall, short, long-hair etc....thats what makes the world and the modifying scene so interesting and enjoyable.

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