low and loud
the ways and art of the tuner
Living the low life will make you hate them.
Potholes, speed bumps, curbs. It’s all a game to us: some hate it, some love it. Driving to your destination, avoiding these obstacles and still getting there on time, taking certain roads to avoid streets full of construction because you don’t want your car to get dirty from the dust or to get rock chips in your paint. It’s all harder than it seems, especially when you don’t see a pothole coming, because the last thing a stanced car driver wants is to hear his oil pan or his floors in the car scrape against the pavement. It’s like trying to get your boat through rocks in the water, invisible to the naked eye.
There are some perks of doing so. The funniest is when another driver pulls up next to you at a red light and looks at you crazy because you were driving in zigzags to avoid all the potholes. A lot of people will call you crazy especially because they just don’t see the point in having your car an inch off the ground.
There are some down sides to it. Going into a parking lot, depending on how high the curb is, you have to go at it by different angles. And on top of it, if the entrance is small and there is somebody trying to exit, you may have to wait for them to get out until you have the space to enter. Not to mention approaching a speed bump: do you hit it head on, or go at it from an angle? It all depends.
Driving low, there are its ups and downs. There are lots of things you can forget about; for example, lane ways are way too tight, and so are certain streets, parking lots, and even drive ways. But at the end of the day, your car looks nice and that’s all that matters. Scraping here and there is just apart of that lifestyle.
Living the life of a street racer slash tuner, you will encounter that you have lots of different rivals. You have people who hate the cars you love, you will have people hating on your set up. Talking shit about the things you like: it’s all dumb in my opinion. Everyone is into the things they love; they all do it for themselves. If you like it, you do, if you don't, too bad …
At the end of the day all of us love cars and we are all just a big family, believe it or not. We all just have different tastes in what we like on our cars: rims, motors, suspension, exhaust …
The people I appreciate are the ones that, no matter what you do to your car, they will always appreciate it even if they wouldn't want it done to theirs. They will always appreciate it because to people like us whether you’re fixing up a Honda civic or a BMW, that is your canvas and what you do to it in the end it will always be your piece of art.
Building a car isn't just something people do. It’s a passion. It’s an art. And it’s also a relationship.
Building a car you will run into lots of problems and short cuts. You will run into days where you can’t make decisions. Like if you’re building your motor: to either go all motor for your car, to be more reliable but still be fast, or to go supercharger so your car will have power but you wont have any lag, so as soon as you put your foot to the floor it will kick in. Or maybe even turbo; but the bigger your turbo is, the more power and also the more lag it will take to kick in, and you have more change of blowing your motor because you got a little too excited.
You will grow a relationship with your car. You will always be thinking what to do to it to improve the car and what things you have to fix and this and that. Yes, it’s an expensive hobby, but trust me: people who love it will all tell you it’s way better than stamp collecting.
You can build a car and never drive it, let it be a garage queen sitting there, and just admire it for years. Everyone expresses their passion differently, whatever it may be, and for car people they express it in their car. Mostly people build them to take it to shows, to meet people. To talk about the things we love for hours, to talk about improving their cars: things they have done to them, and things they want to do. Once you are building a car, you will slowly grow a love for it and will constantly be thinking what’s happening to it when you’re not there.
It becomes your baby from the day you sign that ownership.
I always thought having haters was a good thing. They would be there to motivate me to do better, and better because at the end of the day, I’m happy with what I have and with what I have done with my canvas. And to be honest, they are just jealous because they can’t have what I have.
(n.): a person who repairs and maintains.
You can ask a random person on the street what they think an automotive mechanic is, and nine times out of ten they will tell you that they are simply just a person who fixes cars.
But to us there are lots of mechanics. Backyard mechanics are people who mostly work at home with a friend or alone, doing everything on their own with no mechanic license — just the knowledge which they may have picked up over the years of slowly fixing things here and there.
Shop mechanics are people who are licensed to fix cars and they work at mechanic shop.
And there are side road mechanics who are similar to backyard mechanics. They have little to no resources but make use of what tools they have and work on their own.
You can go to a car show and talk to a lot of the guys who take their cars there, and most of us tuners do everything at home: engine swaps, brakes, rims, body kits, lights, interior work … it goes on and on. When you have your own build, usually you would work on it at in your garage on your free time, and that is what makes the relationship grow between man or woman and their cars, trucks, bikes, or whatever you decide to build. If you are building something you are never finished, you will always have something to do on your car, whether it’s big or small.
No matter what kind of mechanic you are, remember that we are all different. We all have different kinds of knowledge and know different techniques for doing certain jobs. Say you go to a body shop and you want to roll and pull your fenders: they will use a roller which attaches to your bolt pattern on your car, they will heat up your fender and roll it back and forth. Now, a backyard mechanic would grab a bat and a heat gun, park the car on the street, remove some air from the tires, place the bat in the wheel well, and slowly reverse the car whilst rolling the bat on the wheel against the fender. That would do the trick after constantly using the same technique couple of times. Slowly it would go into shape.
the last goodbye
I'm going to miss her.
We have had good times and we have had bad times. Lots of memories. Spending countless hours with her going to places, and helping her with her problems, even stopping at a gas station for a quick drink when she was thirsty. I have always shown her the respect she deserved; it was always nothing but the best for her. I never beat her, never hurt her — always kept her happy. There could be lots of reasons why it would go up on the object you’re selling.
But in this case, I’m talking about my car.
Unfortunately I’m selling my car, my child, my everything. I have a reason and most people would say it’s because of my decisions. And honestly I know it is: I don't like to admit it, but i guess the one time I learn, it had to be the hard way …
Long story short, I’m selling my car, and reason is because I was driving the last one without insurance, licence, stolen plates. It wasn't the best idea I have ever had. Turns out I got caught, and only after did I notice letting peer pressure and getting too happy driving my car around wasn't smart. Lots of things could have happened; thank god nobody got hurt. Caught four tickets, lots of drama at home, and half a year later I end up with three thousand dollars to pay and a suspended license …
I know, it sucks!
Putting that For Sale sign on your car, especially when you have a good relationship with it, makes your heart drops. Every time somebody who is interested comes to check it out in person, it makes you sad in your head. You play the good and the bad times with it like a movie. It makes you sweat from head to toe, not because you have something to hide, just for the simple fact that you do not want to see it go. Not even for all the money in the world. Sometimes it even makes you hate yourself.
Now I have to sell my baby, the last thing in the world I want to do; but unfortunately I have no choice because this ‘saving money’ thing isn't working out. When this one is gone and I have the money for another project, I promise myself to make that car twice as good.
where the money goes
You can go to car shows and think everyone there has money.
Truth is, most of us are broke. You wouldn’t believe the things most of us go through to get our cars the way they are. Most of us beg and borrow just to get a chance to work on our cars. Some of us even have close to no resources or tools to do certain jobs; but believe it or not, we all find a way.
The struggle is real.
A lot of us don’t even have power in our garages. That means no outlets, no lights — nothing. Sometimes, fixing something that’s broken, or just getting a chance to work on our cars late at night to get the finishing touches for a show the next morning, we have to ask a friend to keep his car on with his (or her) headlights shining into the garage, just to be able to see what we’re doing.
You can go to a car show and think everyone there has money. Seeing all the cars with expensive paint jobs, rims, turbo kits … but looks can deceive. Truth is, most of us work minimum wage jobs making little to no money. We just manage to put every nickel into our cars, then only have a bit left just to get by on gas and insurance.
Some people like to spend their money on clothes, some like to drink, some even like drugs. Everyone has their addiction, good or bad, big or small. Building cars is our addiction and our passion. It’s our drug. Some may even say it’s our life.
There are lots of different kinds of bullying: physical, verbal, social and emotional, and cyber. But for a tuner on the streets, our biggest enemies, our worst bullies, are the cops.
Believe it or not, a lot of us get bullied on the streets by other drivers, and worst of all by the cops. Cops are always a tuner’s biggest haters, our worst enemies. A lot of us get bullied by cops on the daily, and usually it’s for the dumbest little things. Cops will pull us over for anything and everything. Once in a while, you get lucky with a nice cop and a warning; but the worst is when cops treat you as if you have just murdered their families.
When a tuner gets pulled over, he knows he is about to get harassed because he was low and loud. But one thing you may not know is that a tuner can show respect. Being nice and respectful to a police officer is the only chance he will get to getting police to be nice back.
Being on the road with a lowered car with a lot of modifications is hard. Sometimes you have to constantly speed bumps, potholes, and drivers. Cops sometimes will give your car a full out inspection it’s annoying. Meanwhile, they probably just pulled you over because they had nothing else better to do.
Cops hate tuners; but tuners don't care. They will do almost anything to get around a lot of laws just to get their cars the way they want. Needing a two finger clearance between your tire and your finder? That's cool: just get air ride. It is more expensive than coil-overs, but at the click of a button, you can have either your oil pan kissing the pavement, or you can have your car as high as truck.
Ask any street racer or tuner on the street and they will all tell you that they all have their little cheats on getting around a lot of tickets. Cops like to screw with them, just because they think a tuner’s car is not road-worthy. Meanwhile there are people driving cars around with smashed headlights or taillights. There are even people driving cars that are burning oil, running rich: we all know that’s not good for the environment. There are people with cars that are pissing oil all over the roads, going into the sewers; and yet cops come after tuners because they have some camber...
They may have their cars looking a certain way because they like them, but trust me when I say this: no tuner would build a car that would be falling apart halfway down the street or not running well. Most tuners don't even bring their car out into the streets if it isn't running well or looking the way they want them.
No tuner is going to give their car a butcher job. A tuner takes his time on his builds, and they all do it right. Maybe not the first or the second time, but they all certainly don't give up until the car is running perfect, or looking great, or even clean enough to eat food off of it.
I got two sides to me: day and night.
By day I drive low and slow, everyone trying to get a glance at my car as it glides down the street with the speakers blasting and the exhaust growling. I can only imagine what people are thinking.
Night time is a different story. It’s all about racing wherever and whoever. I’m always down for a race ‘cause that just means I get to feel the adrenaline as I push my car to its limits. Trying to beat my opponent, street races, running from cops: the night is when all the fun starts. It’s what I live for, it’s what I have a passion for. It’s what my blood feeds off of.
The generation of the scene has evolved in lots of ways just like inventing something it never looks good your first couple of models so I’m sure if you scroll down Google you may notice how times have changed in the car scene and you will see that the more into the past you go the worse it looked.
Believe it or not but there are lots of different kinds tuners. There are people who tune there cars to make power for the track,people who make power for street races, people who are just into the good looks for their cars, there are even people who drift cars on the track and on the street, there are street races but not only for quarter mile drags there are groups of people who join up and go drifting on the street at night while everyone is sleeping that's when we all make our memories, that's when we live.
What i have noticed with the scene I’m more into is that with our cars we try to keep it as original as possible with our own touch. We do lower our cars, modify the motors, and even upholstery but we try to stay away from body kits because nobody likes a ricer, if your wondering what i mean by a ricer is a car with ugly body kits and wings on the back basically somebody who fixes their car up with cheap parts and makes it look terrible. Just in case your wondering there is a word for the scene I’m in its called OEM PLUS, oem means original and the plus next to it means that we are using original parts to make our cars look nice. Don’t get me wrong just because we keep it simple doesn't mean it doesn't count or it doesn't look nice, just like an artist if he or she paints a black dot in the middle or a bit to one side of an empty canvas doesn't mean that painting inst beautiful or that it doesn't tell a story, for all we know it could mean that the black dot is the artist and that he or she has always been alone.
in the oem plus scene we like to keep our cars looking clean, just because we have the original look doesn't mean it inst hard work to make a car look the way we have our just a wire tuck and and shaved engine bay is a lot of work, tucking all the wires together through the frame or through the fenders, taking out the motor to fill in all the bumps in your engine bay grinding it down, sanding it, welding it, there is a lot of work just so we can open our hood and you can see our motor just sitting piece fully in the middle as if it is just floating with out seeing any wires or bottles around it.
into the abyss
some people think cars at to get you from point a to point b, but to us there is a lot more to it.
to a car fanatic driving is our get away from life just going for a cruise with a couple of friends no plans no destination just you, your car and the open road. some people try exercising some, some like yoga but not us. being able to cruise with a car you built, a car you have a relationship with, something you have seen transform since the day you got it just puts a huge smile on your face. you can go from the most stressed out person around to the most calm and collected a lot of car guys just go for cruises to think things out get things out of there mind a lot of us may say the driving is there medicine its there therapy.