American car enthusiasts are known, world-wide, for enjoying car customization more so than many other countries. We like to put different wheels, lowered suspension, bigger brakes and as many performance mods the engine block can handle. We like our cars to be expressions of ourselves. Which can be a very good, very cool thing. However, it can also be a repulsive, atrocious thing.
Modern car shows that are scattered throughout the nation, such as H20 and Canibeat, are home to hundreds of thousands of car enthusiasts filled with enthusiasm about their newly “worked” car. It’s a specific kind of car culture that seems to escape me but, nevertheless, is quite popular. These shows seem to flood cities with people showing off their cars, which range anywhere from tastefully modified to astoundingly disgraced.
It isn’t impossible to find a classy BMW or Porsche that has been subtly customized to meet the owners specific tastes. But it’s more likely that someone has taken a perfectly wonderful car, such as a BMW M3 and turned it into a shameful mongrel that is so cambered it can barely go around corners.
The latter kind of customization is something that I could never understand. Performance mods I get, if someone wants to engine swap and E36 M3 motor for an LS7 because it fits and adds a few hundred hp, I can understand it if not necessarily agree with it.
However, when someone takes something that is genuinely a fantastic and rare car, like an E30 M3, and slams it as low as possible, puts it on hideously gaudy wheels, gives it 40 degrees of negative camber and puts a big “illest” sticker on the windshield, I start to see red.
The aforementioned and hypothetical E30 M3 wouldn’t be able to power-slide, clip apexes or even corner half as well as a wooden skateboard, yet the sole purpose of the M3 was to be quick around a race track. So the customization has completely ruined the car’s only intention. Just take one look at Canibeat’s website and while you will see some cool cars, you’ll most definitely see some very capable cars turned into slow, disgusting mongrels all in the name of looking “sick” or some other similar synonym.
If people want to do this to their cars, that’s fine, i guess. It’s technically none of my business. But all I ask is to try and understand the value of the car. “Tricking Out” a Honda Civic is a non-issue. A Civic is a slow, slightly decent handling car, so slamming it and cambering it is inconsequential. But when it’s done to something like a Porsche 911 or M3 or Audi R8, it hurts us real enthusiasts inside. I saw a Ferrari F40 once that was given this “worked” treatment and my heart almost stopped working.
I think the reason why it bothers me, as well as many other true car enthusiasts, so much is that we would do anything to be able to own those wonderful, perfect cars and these people seem to completely disregard the value and incredible engineering of them. I understand that cars aren’t just static objects to us enthusiasts, they feel alive to us almost like a friend, and many people want to have their car their way.
I get that.
But my only wish is that the people who heavily modify their cars would take care to modify the specific car to aid the intended function of of it. A Ferrari F40 is possibly the finest driving instrument ever assembled, don’t turn it into a tricked out show car. That defeats the purpose of why it was built and there are countless people who would kill to own one that would take care of it properly. So basically, what I’m saying is, customization is cool…to an extent. And if you put an “Illest” sticker on your car, you shouldn’t own one.