What Really Grinds my Gears
My name is Robert Farago, and I used to modify my ride. Back in the day, I couldn’t afford what I really wanted to drive: a Dino. (A Pinto station wagon is about as far as you can get from a Dino whilst remaining in the same solar system that’s home to planet Earth.) So I spent my hard-earned money on Pirelli P3s. And sway bars. And God knows what. OK, a Nachamichi tape deck. Then, when I saved-up enough for a Mazda RX4, I swapped out the gearbox for the RX3’s more aggressive unit. And again. And again. RX7? Rear ribbed metal thingie over the hatch and numerous performance mods to the suspension, tires, wheels, engine and so on. Somewhere along the line I realized that no matter what I did to my car, it screwed-up something else. The manufacture spent millions achieving the perfect balance of ride comfort handling, reliability, cost, etc. Why did I think I could do better? I couldn’t. So I stopped. Whilst Mehta recovers from his coronary to pen a suitable rip-post, I’ll say this to enhance his experience: the only thing worse than a ridiculously modified car is its owner.
Sure, modded motors are an expression of the owners’ individuality. The best of the breed require tremendous mechanical skills and a vivid imagination. I admire hot rods and kit cars and race-modified cars and scissor-doored Toyotas. Truth be told, I’d give my left testicle for a RUF Porsche. And thank God we live in a free country, where car owners with little to no taste can sink billions of dollars into an endeavor which has about as much social utility as cigar smoking. Seriously. The American economy needs you! Party on Dudes.
But please don’t ask me to admire that shit. That’s what really grinds my gears. The other day, I was filling-up with high test, when a fart-canned Honda Accord with a giant wing zizzed-up next to me. As I said, fair enough. But then Sunglass Man smirked at my GL and literally patted his modified sedan. Puh-lease. At least when I was an jerk I wasn’t an jerk about it.
At the end of the proverbial English day, I’d prefer to see a well-loved example of a bone stock ride than something that’s been taken seriously sideways. Speaking of bone stock, a heavily modded car is like a T-shirt with the word “Hung” on it. Even it’s true, it’s proof positive that it doesn’t always pay to advertise. If you know what I mean.
Robert is a regular phone in commentator on the Real Deal radio program, and founder of website www.thetruthaboutcars.com