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Old 09-05-2009, 04:57 PM   #1
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Tuning, Your Thoughts?

I live in an area of Southern California that has quite a few tuners(or rice rockets, pending on your preferred word choice) around. I'm friends with a few of them and considering that I'm the stock boxster driver amongst a bunch of tuned/riced Evo's, Sti's and a few Nissan Z's, it's easy to assume I stick out. Needless to say, I get ridiculed occasionally for being "slow" since it's in the blood of every ricer driver to go and shoot on any car that isn't theirs. It doesn't really bother me since I'm driving a more reputable brand.

Maybe I might not sound like a gearhead/petrolhead, but I'm just not a big fan of the tuning world. In my eyes, If I've spent a lot of money on a car, if I felt like I needed to put on more odds and ends into said car, I'd feel as if I bought an incomplete car. And I hate the idea of having to spend a few bills, or maybe even a grand for the sake of a few more horsepower from some 3rd party part. Honestly, I think it's a waste of time and money.

In my eyes, my car is beautiful, and doesn't require a bunch of random tin cans installed for it to sound or look nice. My baby doesn't need plastic surgery to look hot. She was born that way.

I understand that tuning is a must if you're going to go and track your car. But most people around my idea who drive cars like that, don't even bother with going to the track. Therefore, what's the point? Yes, because adding a splitter to your car helps cut your understeer. Which of course, is mandatory when I make a left turn at the light. And if you want to go fast in a straight line(which is pretty much all you can do if you're not tracking it), you're better off with a Muscle car.

I just hate the idea of having to do something to a car to consider it viable. Am I standing alone with this viewpoint? Or am I speaking from the minority? I'm just wondering.

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Old 09-05-2009, 06:02 PM   #2
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My last car was an '05 Tiburon GT, which I think is a beautiful yet woefully underpowered car. So, I got heavily into modding for a while. Catback exhaust, cold air intake, supercharger, intercooler (designed, prototyped, and refined by me...), strut braces, torque damper, larger injectors, Apexi NEO fuel tuner, brake upgrades, new taillights, HID headlights, new headunit, amp, subwoofer, car PC... The list (and the $$) can go on and on.

For me, the thrill was in taking a beautiful car and making it better. I added roughly 50% to the stock WHP, dyno tuned myself to ensure that my motor wouldn't self-destruct, and personalized it tastefully. My engine bay was a thing of beauty, and I turned every nut and bolt myself.

There are platforms that are designed for tuning. The Miata, Supra, EVO, etc. etc. etc. are great cars for people who enjoy it. The Boxster - not so much. I've done a few upgrades, but since everything I read indicates that forced induction + factory block = $10,000 hand grenade, why? The Boxster is a SWEET ride. With a few tweaks, it's magnificent.

I am in the process of finding my next project car - maybe an LT4 Corvette to supercharge. I LOVE modding. It's like carpentry, or electrical work - the satisfaction of finishing something and seeing your creation work is a feeling that some people enjoy immensely. Other people derive great pleasure from buying a piece of equipment and having it perform its task exactly as expected. I happen to enjoy BOTH. My Boxster is a wonderful machine. Do I enjoy making it my own? Yes. A couple of exhaust mods, debadging the rear deck, drilled rotors, and the flat black exhaust tips make it uniquely mine, but don't "rice it out."



While I certainly understand that you love your Boxster the way it came, I wouldn't necessarily look down my nose at those tuner guys. The good ones know as much or more about cars than any one of us will, and some of them have done some damn nice work building something spectacular, often out of someone else's crappy old used car.
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:39 PM   #3
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Yeah, I'll give you that. A "fixer-upper" type of project. That's respectable and it kinda does zero you in as a gearhead. Especially with the way you talked about your cars.

I live around the Inland Empire, and most of the fellas who do these sorts of things are the type of people who get off on speed. The type of people who get touchy if some people are going faster than they are. They'll ask you what you drive and as soon as you mention the company, they immediately interupt and say that they're faster. They're usually broke and live with their parents because their paychecks are going towards a car part. So you can understand my biases towards that.

While I won't change my perspective on the community, at least I can see it through your eyes and respect it.
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Old 09-05-2009, 08:03 PM   #4
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Yeah, it's easy to find idiots when you run in those circles, and there's always gonna be some clown who tells you that his VTEC POS is faster than your "poor man's Porsche."

That's when I point out that I could wrap my car around a phone pole and it would still be worth more in salvage parts than his Honda...

I definitely know where you're coming from - but it's a gross generalization to lump all tuners/modders into the moron category. You'll find douches anywhere if you go looking.
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:15 AM   #5
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Immortal,
Sounds like it's time to make some new friends. PCA-GPX is a good place to start. Lots of others who share your love for Porsche. No need to change it if you don't want to. They go plenty fast right off the lot.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:05 AM   #6
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IMO, the whole "tuner" culture came from people who couldn't afford to buy nice cars to start with, but instead could only afford to buy a Honda Civic, but still wanted a performance car. The idea is that if you spend $10k on a car, you can spend another $10k on mods and have a better car than if you bought a car for $20k. You've got a car that cost a bit more, but already performs well. Why bother upgrading it?

Of course, "if too much is just enough, more has to be better," has always held true with horsepower.
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:44 AM   #7
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Some of "Tuning" is related to classic hotrodding.. Its the modern version of manipulation.

Any engine/ car can be made "Higher Performance" through manipulation and outside the box thinking.

The M96 is an excellent engine to "Hotrod" because the factory imposed some constraints on the engine for mass manufacturing and time/ money conservation and to allow the engine platform to grow for over a decade before being phased out. This is the reason why our gains with earlier engines are so dramatic over their factory output.

As you can see below, it is possible to "Hotrod" the M96 to get real power increases... This wasn't done with modern "Tuning" as much as classic hotrodding.. This is the same engine before and after being transformed from a 3.2 to a 3.6 big bore built from the same base engine.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:04 AM   #8
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This thread didn't go the way I had thought it was headed. Tuners to me are companies like Gemballa, Ruf, AMG, 9ff etc.

What a lot of young car enthusiasts have tapped into is the other side of hot rodding from the hp that Jake accurately mentioned and that is personalization.

Just like the post-WW II car crowd, they want something that screams ME!. Instead of the ubiquitous Model Ts or 32 Fords of that period or later 57 Chevys they've got a different choice of affordable and upgradeable blank canvases.

Look what it has done for the aftermarket entrepreneurs. And the SEMA show! And Hot August Nights.

Here's to the young car lovers of whatever car culture.
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:40 AM   #9
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To me Tuning is what you make of it. some tune to go as fast as they possibly can with what they got (maybe a civic or mustang hell i even see tuned lamborghinis out here) but they wont turn one wrench for themself, there are others who love the fact that tuning is a product of their hard work and dont car if its the fastest because it is their baby. the list goes on and on, and it can be a complete mixture of any factor also.

for me i just like sharing something cool with others. thats why i always let my friends ride with me if i want or let them help me work on my car or even drive it. but ill tell you some little boy came up when i was washing it and he was like " is that a race car" of course its not a racecar but i told him it was cuz hey its as close as i have! and let him sit in it and what not it was pretty cool and im pretty sure it made his day.

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