The FT-86 and the Age of the Car Forum

Motor Trend just posted this video review of the Scion FR-S. It’s got me pretty excited because I was worried about how well the FR-S and it’s twin, the Subaru BRZ, would be received here in America. I’ve noticed a bit of a disturbing trend in enthusiasts lately that involves taking tuning too far. Everybody seems to be dreaming of massive power numbers or some sort of intricate fabrication intensive way of doing something that nobody else has had the resources to try. I overhear a lot of these delusions of grandeur at car shows where some guy is talking really loudly about how the car that he’s going to build is better than the one everybody is looking at. This kind of mentality bothered me to the point where I cancelled my subscription to Modified magazine when they decided to turn all of their weekend warrior project cars into unlimited budget time attack racers and then raised the cover price to pay for it. I’m not willing to pay $35 a year to read tech articles on how to install a $12,000 carbon fiber wide body kit that’s not readily available here in the States. I was thinking about it today and I think at least part of the responsibility for this mentality is due ┬áto the age of the car forum.

The internet makes it a good time to be a car guy right now. All of the cars that I have owned have had their own dedicated forums where I’ve been able ask questions and do research. I’ve even been able to download free PDF’s of all of the factory service manuals that I’ve ever needed. This sharing of information makes car forums great, but it’s not without its downsides. Just like the rest of the internet, problems arise when some people realize that they have access to a large audience of people to impress. That’s when sensible tuning philosophy goes out the window. “I sharpened up the turn-in of my car and did some autocrosses” simply doesn’t carry the same weight in digital text as “I made 800 hp with my custom turbo setup.” I think that’s why a lot more people are too eager to go over-budget on a project that’s well beyond their skill level. It could also be that I’ve been in the car scene long enough to turn into the equivalent of the crotchety old man who yells at all the young kids and their big turbos. Get off my lawn!

Either way, I was pleasantly surprised when the guy doing this review of the Scion FR-S, Carlos Lago, starts talking about how well balanced the car is. He realized that the driving experience the car provided was the result of the engine power, steering, brakes, tires and suspension all working in harmony. That’s exactly why I’ve been so excited about this car. This is what it means to be a driver’s car, not “Check out how hard you get pushed into your seat as I mash the throttle to the floor and get a speeding ticket.” Lago even goes on to ask the tuners of America not to ruin the car by putting turbos on it. They then proceed to do the standard barrage of tests and hand the car over to Randy Pobst to drive on The Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs. I would say this is the best review for the FT-86 that I’ve found so far.


Source: Motor Trend on YouTube

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