Saturday, August 11, 2007

Modern Day Muscle.

I'll admit it, I like tuners. You know, those little compacts with the huge wheels and obnoxiously loud exhausts? The ones with the wild graphics and paint jobs? Yeah, those cars. In a way, they are the modern version of the muscle car.

What defined a muscle car is an over sized, overpowered engine placed in a bare-bones mid-sized car. They were intended to raced, and raced they were, either on the track or on the street. Modern tuners are similar in origin, as early examples began as economy size coupes and sedans with easily souped up engines.

There's nothing like modern excess though, and the aftermarket soon sprouted wild wheels and graphics, along with ground-hugging fiberglass body kits. They look good and go fast.

However, like the bad boy reputation of muscle cars of yesteryear, the tuners have their sinister side. Excess is as much a part of the lifestyle of many who drive these cars as it is of the cars' appearance. Wild parties and illegal racing are typical of the modern day car culture. Naturally, I don't approve of those activities, but there are plenty of legitimate avenues opening up.

There are sanctioned drag racing divisions for street tuners, where racing is done in a controlled environment under official rules. Drifting has caught on in a big way. But deep down, the last forty years has not really changed the deep seated desire of young people to have a car that looks good and goes fast.