5 Reasons Import Tuner Car Culture Is Getting Stupid

The import tuner car scene was popular in the 90s and exploded in the early 2000s when The Fast and the Furious movies hit it big. Tuner cars like souped-up Honda Civics, Mazda RX-7s, Toyota Supras, and other Japanese cars were popular among enthusiasts.

Over the years, many of these enthusiasts have shared their ideas and knowledge online and in person at car meets and other events. This exchange, along with the evolution of building cars, created a culture in the import tuning community.

However, this culture has gotten a little stale in recent years, if not a little stupid. How do we know? Automotive YouTuber David Patterson – better known as That Dude in Blue – recently posted a video titled “Car culture is getting stupid.”

In the video, he asks his viewers “What is the worst car argument you have ever heard?” Some of the answers show that it’s clear that some import car enthusiasts in the scene are a little misguided. Here are five reasons.

A lowered orange Honda Civic drive through a parking lot.
A lowered orange Honda Civic drives through a parking lot. | Lucas Oleniuk/Toronto Star via Getty Images

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1. Some enthusiasts believe that front-wheel drive is best for drifting because the power is at the front wheels

Whether you know a lot about cars or not, you most likely know that you need a rear-wheel-drive car to go drifting. Sending power to the rear wheels and controlling the steering wheel in a precise manner can get you into a nice slide. However, you really can’t expect the same from a front-wheel-drive car.

“I want to make it absolutely clear, sliding a front-wheel-drive car is not drifting,” Patterson says. “It might power slide or it might do an adorable little e-brake turn.”

2. “Respect all builds. But taste is a different thing”

Tire skid marks on the road.
Tire skid marks on the road. | Getty Images

This viewer comment was basically alluding to the fact that enthusiasts should respect everyone’s car build, even if said car build is mainly made up of cheap Autozone parts. That’s not necessarily true. Sure, we shouldn’t knock other people’s builds, but having good taste is another story.

“Have some taste, look up some builds online, and think ‘What do I want to go for even if it is on a budget?’” Patterson said. “Do some research, don’t just jump to the conclusion that more stuff on your car is better.”

3. Some enthusiasts believe that weaving in and out of traffic makes you a “driver”

Two cars line up for a street drag race.
Two cars line up for a street drag race. | Jeff Neumann/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

We have all seen them before, the drivers that speed by us on the freeway weaving in and out of traffic as if the cars around them are traffic cones. It’s dangerous, it’s stupid, and yet, those drivers think that they are “real drivers” by doing that. They’re not. Instead, they’re endangering their own lives as well as the others around them.

“Nine times out of 10, if not 10 out of 10, when someone has told me ‘I’m a good driver,’ I refuse to get in the passenger seat with them,” Patterson said. “The people that are humble are usually the safer ones because they understand the risk.”

4. “Takeovers are cool”

Illegal Street racing activities on Ana Street in Compton.
Illegal Street racing activities on Ana Street in Compton. | Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

No, they are not. If you don’t know what a street takeover is, it’s when a huge group of car enthusiasts “takeover” a car meet, an empty street, or sometimes a busy intersection to do burnouts and donuts.

During these orchestrated takeovers, many cars have been wrecked and people have been hurt due to the recklessness of the drivers participating in it. Takeovers are stupid and they need to stop, but they, unfortunately, most likely won’t.

5. Some enthusiasts prefer automatics because they are “faster”

People gather on a abandoned road to watch or participate to street racing.
People gather on an abandoned road to watch or participate in street racing. | Pierre Crom/Getty Images

We can’t really knock anyone for wanting to drive an automatic car, especially since some cars like the R35 Nissan GT-R only come with an automatic. Also, it is true that a lot of the newer cars with automatic transmissions are faster than their manual-transmission-equipped counterparts. However, every real enthusiast knows that there’s nothing like shifting the gears yourself.

“It’s a preference thing, if someone wants to drive an auto, let them drive an auto. But should we save the manuals? Absolutely!” Patterson said.

Is the import tuning car culture becoming an Idiocracy?

Yes and no. Just like any other type of culture, fad, or “in thing,” the car scene is going to have its ups and downs. Remember spinners? We digress.

At the end of the day, anyone can do anything that they want with their car and we should all be able to attend car meets and races with the same type of respect. However, it’s always those few bad apples that spoil the bunch when they show no respect.

Case in point, don’t kill the car culture and show respect to your fellow enthusiasts so we can all enjoy our cars without any judgment or negativity.

RELATED: What Is the Point of Drifting?