December 16, 2005
Written by C.N.
One of my favorite reads, AutoWeek Magazine, has an article that asks whether import sports tuner compact cars are going out of style among automotive enthusiasts. You might recognize these as Honda Accords and Civics, Acura Integras, Mazda RX-7s, Subaru WRXs, etc. that have been modified (many rather garishly) for greater performance, aesthetic appeal, and/or attention-grabbing features.
They’ve been a fixture in the automotive world for more than a decade now and as I describe in my article on Import Sports Compacts, a phenomenon that — at least initially — has been heavily identified with Asian Americans, as exemplified by the slang term of people “ricing” their cars — modifying their cars in overly flashy, gaudy, tasteless, and otherwise ridiculous ways.
[Many aftermarket experts] think the wave of sport compact tuning that washed over America in the past decade may have crested and is receding from its high water mark. Yes, Honda is back. It is reclaiming lost ground with a new Civic that should help Honda secure it as the darling of the tuner world. . . .
But the distant—and growing—rumble that is drawing everyone’s attention is nothing less than the resurgence of modernized muscle cars. At SEMA, plenty of mainstream examples were on hand, such as the latest Shelby Mustangs from Unique Performance, and manufacturer entries such as the Pontiac GTO and Solstice, Ford Mustang and GT500, and Dodge Charger that signal a return to muscle.
Like virtually all cultural fads and fashion trends, the import sports compact phenomenon will inevitably give way to the next major trend, and so on and so on. This has been clearly and consistently reflected in the automotive world as the muscle cars of the 1960s gave way to the mini-trucks of the 1980s, and then to the import sports compacts in the 1990s.
If their popularity is indeed waning, I just hope that those who welcome their demise don’t turn it into a racial issues — that somehow if American cars are becoming more popular than Asian imports that it means that American culture is superior to Asian culture.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "The End for Import Sports Tuner Compacts?" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/12/the-end-for-import-sports-tuner-compacts/> ().
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