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Event Coverage: Autorama Extreme ’17

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As a BMX rider of nearly two decades I’ve become a little desensitized to the word ‘extreme’. Often overly used to describe the most mundane of things the word quickly lost its impact in the early 2000s.

However, name aside, Autorama Extreme is quite awesome and the most relaxed part of the Autorama show.

The upstairs portion of Autorama is great, don’t get me wrong, and I love the Ridler award competitors, but they are so far removed from the average car builder’s project that it’s a little surreal.

Extreme is a little (a lot) more down to earth and where the builds are more often than not completed by the builders.

It is also where people throw caution completely to the wind and do whatever they damn well please, like with the Dodge below.

This truck… or Ambulance technically (M43 Dodge to be precise) was chopped up in pretty well every which way to fit over a lengthened Ford cube van chassis.

It’s got a 6.6 litre turbo diesel motor under hood and was rough in pretty much every way but,  damn if it wasn’t one of the craziest looking  builds in the venue and I’m pretty sure it would turn more heads on the road than one of the Ridler cars just because it is so ridiculously large.

Autorama Extreme is also where, for unexplainable reasons, I’ve seen some of the most unusual aircooled beetle builds, something one would assume be reserved for the European shows I frequent.

The raw metal example had a crowd around it pretty well all day making a full shot next to impossible, but I did wait for the seas to part twice to get photos of the grey one which was pretty wicked.

are justifiably popular in Detroit, and while I’m dead set on 15s for my truck I must say that school of thought was rigorously tested over the weekend thanks to cars like this Buick Invicta.

There are quite a few more Autorama photos set to roll out this week stay locked for that and check out my ongoing Autorama coverage on RodAuthority.com

WTF Friday: Maximum Overdrive

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Semi truck hot rods are not that new concept, but the more elaborate ones are still some of the most ridiculous builds going. $50,000 worth of ridiculous? I’m not sure, but at the same time I don’t really know what a used semi truck goes for so maybe that is a bargain.

The owner of this Kenworth, called the Thunderhawk, sees it as an investment claiming that it will be work $500k or so at when complete.

The Thunderwak is long, really long, due to being stretched by the builder and having a legitimate sleeper cab. In addition to being elongated it has also had the roof chopped 6″ which actually looks pretty becoming.

However there are two things that really make this truck stand out; its stance (which is thanks to a custom frame and suspension which is independent front and rear and came from a charter bus and another semi) and the Detroit Diesel Motor.

On top of said motor is a pair of 671 blowers with a zoomy style exhaust set up. Unlike a lot of these Craigslist projects this one does run and sounds monstrous at that.

So what’s left to make the truck look like the rendering below?

Well honestly it sounds like just finishing work, paint, interior and the like. That is of course assuming that the frame is done well and the drive-line is hooked up so that the truck can move.

If you’re looking for a crazy project this one is for sale and if you do buy it please, please, please keep me in the loop!

Theme Tuesdays: The 2017 Pirelli Tires Great 8

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If you follow Grosirbajuanak on or then you know that this past weekend I was in Detroit attending the Detroit Autorama as part of my freelance work for .

Initially the ask for RA was 5 articles, two of which were to be done in quick succession as they were going to be on the Great 8 cars and Ridler winner respectively.

For those of you not familiar with the Ridler award, it is essentially a best of show award on steroids. Only first shown cars can compete, and they must arrive a full two days (Wednesday) before the show officially starts to be pre-judged. From there  ISCA (International Show Car Association) judges take over and determine the Great 8 which are the 8 cars that will be eligible to compete that year.

After those 8 are chosen they are again further judged with the Ridler winner being announced on Sunday. These cars are no joke and each of them could easily win a best of trophy award anywhere else, but there can only be one Great 8 winner and that winner was….

The Renaissance Roadster

The custom aluminum bodied Renaissance Roadster was the big winner at the 2017 Detroit Autorama taking home the Don Ridler memorial trophy.

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This car was built by Steve’s Auto Restoration and was based on the ’32 Ford (as a twist a full fendered Ford and not a fenderless one look everyone forgets).

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Style wise I can’t shake the Prowler vibe I get from it overall, but that isn’t a criticism because the Prowler was likely inspired by the same vehicles that vehicle designer Chris Ito drew his inspiration from.

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Being able to plan out your own car entirely from scratch and then execute it to this level is no small feat, so congratulations are in order to Marcy and Buddy Jordan the cars owners.

The Phoenix

A lot of the Ridler cars are commissions, that is to say someone has a shop execute on their idea over a set amount of time. This car however was almost entirely built by one man over a twenty-four year period.

Styled to emulate the 60s era of hot rod building the Phoenix was red, on red, on chrome and the owner/builder Dennis Portka was never too far from the car keeping it polished and dust free throughout the entire event.

Outside of upholstery Dennis did all the work himself. The hinges and emblems on the car are custom designed, the un-chopped roof is vinyl wrapped and Dennis actually figured out a way to spray bed-liner smooth for the car’s interior.

People often criticize the Ridler award as a wallet based award so it was cool to see a vehicle entered built largely by its owner.

The Gold Standard

When I talked to the guys from the they all looked super tired, but they were also incredibly excited about making the Great 8.


The paint on this truck was something to behold, flawless like all the other competitors cars it was very deep with a lot of eye-popping flake and complimentary pin striping.

Outside of the interior the car was an entirely in-house build that the team said everyone contributed to in some degree.

They were most proud of the fact that no single detail stole from the other, I mean the flathead looks great but could you say it took away from or over shadowed the interior?

Not really, and that is exactly what they were going for with this build.

Heirloom

As you all know I’m more than a little intimate with the Advanced Design flavour of trucks, at this point being in the middle of building one, so the first thing I noticed about this truck was that the proportions were not at all stock.

The second thing I noticed was that the builders had called the truck a c10 on their sign board, C10s didn’t exist until the 60s which made me wonder if perhaps there was a C10 under the AD body.

While a swap like that would explain the increased track width, from a performance stand point it isn’t really that much of an upgrade compared to the other options available.

Knowing something was afoot I asked what was what and was informed the truck was built on a c5 Corvette chassis.

That performance chassis is what resulted in the generous propositions, and the distinct rear end is a custom bed made up in part of Cadillac Eldorado components.

Custom wheels tuck up under the fender and bed thanks to a lowered C5 chassis which if you look closely above is covered by a louvered belly pan.

The rawhide interior with custom dash, and bronze/steel assets was designed by Kyle Hix of who, in addition to being super talented, is one of the largest humans I’ve ever met.

Like a few if the other vehicles in the Great 8 the Heirloom was posted by a supercharged LS motor.

Transitions

The first of two Corvettes in the Great 8 this particular car was inspired by the first Corvette concept in 1954, of course it is an updated version of said car, a transtion between then and now as you will.

One of the most interesting things about this car was its stance. It’s been progressively body dropped (there’s an inch difference front to rear body wise) to give it the rake you see.

You’ll see no complaints from me over cutting something up to get the right stance!

The motor is, fittingly, a supercharged LS motor, interestingly enough it is backed by a 4L60e but apparently it is set up in a way that it can be quickly transitioned (there’s that word again) to a manual transmission.

The GPT

Even though there’s no rule, hot rods are what I’ve come to expect from Ridler cars, not sure why probably because I compare it to the Grand National Roadster show’s AMBR award but at any rate Ridler, I think hot rod and this year there were two fenderless Fords competing for the accolades.

The GPT is owned by George Poteet who is, from what I’ve read, a pretty serious automotive collector and this ’32 is his latest addition to .

Designed by E Black Design and Erick Brockmeyer the ’32 was chopped and re worked heavily (adjusted wheel arches, re-worked cowl, re-worked grill, shortened windows etc) before being painted black and perched atop a custom chassis.

Halibrand style wheels sit at all four corners and a potent Ford Y-Block sits in front of a custom billet Firewall.

The Split Ray

From afar the Split Ray looked almost stock, but as they say looks can be deceiving.

The Split Ray is a wide body, an actual wide body, not flares, not wide fenders and quarters, no this car was cut down the middle, opened up over six inches, plunked on a , and welded back together.

One of the more subdued Great 8 builds this was a car that you really had to study to realize just how far beyond stock the car really was.

I particularly liked the interior which was updated to look like a 2016 Sting Ray, if I had to choose this car would have been my second pick.

The After Thought

If the Split Ray was my second pick what was my first you ask? Well those honors go to the 1930 Model A known as the After Thought built by .

In the video that was playing in front of the car Cal Auto creations describes the vision behind the stance which was a cartoon like rake for the perfect stance.

Looking at the photo below you can’t say they didn’t nail it.

The color scheme of the car is described as art deco and the fins you see used all over the car were inspired by an exhaust manifold Cal Auto Creations owner Andy Leech spotted over two years ago.

The fins were used everywhere on the car and yet still somehow not over done. I spent a lot of time looking at this car and honestly couldn’t find a single thing on it I didn’t like.

I almost had to laugh when the video said that the car originally came in for a minor over haul.

While this car didn’t win, I hope that it doesn’t disappear and more people get to see it in person because it’s a pure work of art and one of the best coupe builds I’ve ever seen.

As a completely shameless plug if you want to read more about the Ridler cars you can check out and The on

Motorama Or Bust: Part 8

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It’s been just less than a year since the last update on the but this one is one that many of you have been waiting for.

In preparation for this weekend’s Blair put a lot of work into making the car in a much more drive-able state, seats were upholstered and put in, the shift linkage was sorted out, air ride checked over, fluids filled and the car was fired for the first time.

The video below documents the first start and idle, and is, as far as I know, the only video of a Latham supercharger running anywhere.

As one can imagine there’s still a bit more teething to do before the car is out and driving, but there’s plenty of summer ahead and lots of rubber to burn!

Event Coverage: The 2017 Canadian International Autoshow

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Running throughout mid February The  doesn’t quite signal the end of winter but it’s pretty damn close and always a welcome escape from the cold.

Every year, in addition to debuting a number of new models from major manufacturers (many not just first time showings in Canada but first time shown in North America) the Autoshow curates a few different exhibits designed to showcase various parts of the automotive hobby.

This year the stand out attraction was an exhibit located on the Metro Toronto Convention Center’s 100 level that showcased 50 years of Grand Prix Racing in Canada.

I don’t follow F1 racing particularly closely, but this room was one of my first stops on media day and can you blame me?

As legends of the sport Villeneuve (both Jaquces and Gilles), Schumacher, and Senna are all names that are recognizable to even the most casual of racing fans and seeing the cars they drove to assorted accolades all in one room was pretty incredible.

Despite being 25 years old at the youngest, these cars still look remarkably fast sitting still and looking at the cockpit of Gilles 510 horse power 312T3 I couldn’t help but wonder how exactly he fit inside the car.

I’m a pretty skinny guy but I couldn’t imagine shoe-horning myself into the car, never mind sitting in it at any length of time while wrestling it around a track.

The cars in the 50 years of Canadian Grand Prix showcased technology from eras gone by while in the Infiniti booth sat the latest in F1 technology, the Infiniti/Renault joint F1 vehicle.

After spending previous years working with Redbull, Infiniti has partnered with Renault for the foreseeable future.

The engineering resources of Infiniti will be put to task on the Renault car and Infiniti has been they have no intentions of just being a player in F1, they want podium finishes within the next two years.

Big words, and it will be interesting to see if they deliver on their promises.

Having now seen the car in the flesh I just might tune in to a few races to see how it performs.

Not one to sit on their laurels (or copious amounts of money) Redbull has partnered with Aston Martin in 2017 to create the AM-RB 00. Debuting for the first time in North America the not so creatively named car is designed to be the new super hypercar standard.

Details are still a bit sparse but production will be limited to about 100 units, one race variant and one street going, and the vehicle will be v12 powered.

Ratcheting down the insanity, if only slightly, brought a Paganai Huyra to the show which was actually slightly over shadowed by their latest project, a gn, Pfaff commissioned, 911.

In a color-way significantly more outspoken than the one they brought to the show last year, this Singer is of course built to the insane standard that one comes to expect of a car with Singer badging.

Trimmed in blue and red this car is visually loud in person, but at the same time restrained and mature.

The colors make the car stand out and draw the eye but it’s the finer details that keep you looking at this car.

The choice of interior materials plays of the exterior colors and those inserts in the Recaro seats would probably look out-of-place and tacky anywhere else.

Also featured in the Autoexotica room, where the Singer Porsche and AM-RB 00 sat, was all 1500 horse power of the Bugatti Chiron.

Boasting a top speed of 300 or so MPH and looks that could only be from Bugatti this is a car that I’ll likely never seen within the circles I travel, but a man can dream.

If you’re anything like myself looking at the photo above your eyes go to one car and one car only, despite the fact that it isn’t actually the most modern car in the line up nor is it the most expensive.

Top dollar honors go to the Ferrari 250LM below, a similar car to this one fetched a handsome sum of 17.6 million (USD at that) somewhat recently.

Of course all the race prestige in the world doesn’t replace the fact that the F40 was the car that damn near every kid from the 80s had on their wall next to a Countach.

Gushing over these cars every time I see one seems almost redundant at this point but I can’t help it, it is practically ingrained into my blood and this year’s Canadian International Autoshow features not one, but two F40s.

Now ‘s black F40 I have seen before, at ‘s Cars and Coffee, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive to see again and marks the Canadian International Autoshow the only place where I’ve ever seen two F40s within walking distance of each other.

Speaking of Engineered Automotive they brought this blown C10 to the show, which surprised me because I didn’t know blown, bagged trucks were in their wheel house.

The joke is of course on me because it looks like they are quite adept at building a stand out american classic.

Another standout classic at the show belonged to Peter Klautt of .

This L88 is his own personal car, and it wasn’t designed to just look the part of a race car, it’s raced, and raced hard at that.

Regularly driven at speeds in excess of 175 miles per hour this car is a monster and a full feature on it can be read

The Art and The Automobile exhibits at the Canadian International Autoshow are always pretty interesting, and for 2017 one of the most prominently featured cars was a concept I had never heard of namely the GM LaSabre.

Designed in an era where cars borrowed more than few design influences from planes, this luxury convertible was designed by Harley Earle who thought jets symbolized the very pinnacle of modern engineering.

Made of fiberglass, aluminum, and magnesium the car is fully functional, and was Harley’s personal car for two years after doing the song and dance on the show circuit.

The car was quite advanced for the time, but the only thing that GM really used from it was the LaSabre name plate which ended up falling under the Buick nameplate.

Buick surprised many at the show with this beautiful Avista sport coupe. An elegant car that debuted last year it is, sadly, one of those ‘design experiments’ that probably won’t ever hit the streets.

I’m not sure if Buick is thinking of going after a younger market, but if they are this car would certainly do it.

Another brand synonymous with ‘old people’ are Lincolns, and this Navigator concept pulled out all the stops showcasing what could be possible if production costs were truly no object.

Gullwing doors, a wardrobe out back, and the most elaborate steps I’ve ever seen fold out of a vehicle, this concept might hint at the general design and shape of the next generation Navigator I highly, highly, doubt many of the other features will make production.

That all said, it was pretty cool to look at. Though I imagine air ride and a body drop would be out because then how would those steps work?

Audi had a few debuts at the show; the  SQ5, new TTRS coupe, the R8 Spyder as well as an RS3 sedan.

I however spent most of my time in the Audi both staring down this R8, which was split in half ala Batman’s Two Face. The Split really shows just how different a race ready R8 is from its factory counterpart.

BMW also introduced a few new cars at the show, none of which were the M6 coupe above but that’s ok.

I really like this style of motorcycle and the R NineT is a pretty rad looking bike, I used to hate the look of BMW bikes growing up so it’s nice to see them release something as awesome looking as this.

I feel like it’s my duty as an aftermarket enthusiast website to mention the Civic TypeR  concept, but honestly I think it’s so far from the original Type R variants that caught everyone’s hearts previously that I don’t feel any major draw to the car.

Still though, hat tip to Honda for throwing us all a bone.

Wondering away from the OEMS Nextmod debuted their latest GTR, a Ben Spora kitted example, that true to their form is done to the 9s. Nice to see Peter with a new car, and hopefully he hands on to this one for a while.

Parked near the GTR was the new ML24 FRS wearing the first production version of their V2 kit which drops the rivets of their frist kit going for a much smoother overall look and feel.

Sitting on ISS forged wheels this car struck a pretty fair balance between function and form and really looked sharp. All the cabs looked great and I didn’t really have any criticisms for the kit as a whole.

It will be interesting to see how many people end up rocking this kit next year and in the years to follow. Nice to see something designed here in Canada, and expect to see a lot more of this car as the year goes on.

I’m going to close out this post with a few other photos from the show, from various areas.


The show runs from now through to the 26th so you’ve got one more week to check it out!

WTF Friday: A Purists Nightmare

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The Porsche brand is in a funny state right now,  it’s exceedingly popular, but at the same time perhaps the most loosely .

What I mean is now, possibly more than ever before, people are not scared to cut into Porsche’s of any vintage to create something custom. Singer, RWB, Magnus Walker, and more can all likely be attributed to tearing down some of the mystique around the porch brand.

Should a forgotten forlorn Porsche be restored to its former Factory glory and drive peacefully into the sunset, or, should more people take the lesser traveled path like and use the Porsche shell to mimic a genre where the Porsche badge is never seen?


That question is of course rhetorical, and the answer will differ from person to person. From where I am sitting, I like the idea, and I like the fact that , Danton executed their Porsche hot rod through to completion.

However, I’m not sure the Porsche body style lends its self to the hot rod treatment all that well, espeically compared to its second cousin the Beetle.

After scroling though it looks like Danton did an exceptional job pulling it all together and I’m very interested to see this one get more coverage.

Any Stance Is Everyting Fans out in France willing to go seek this car out out in person and give us a rundown?

Le Bueller?

Theme Tuesdays: Valentine’s Day

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If you’re anything like myself you woke up yesterday and thought ‘oh crap it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow’, and if you’re a bit worse than me this post that reminded you Valentine’s Day is today.

Hopefully you don’t fall in the later category because if you do you probably should be out getting a gift instead of procrastinating on the computer or phone.

But since you’re already here you might as well enjoy these cars that feature (mostly) traditional Valentine’s Day colors from the SIE archives.

Purple on pink is a bold choice but can’t argue that it doesn’t work here
This beauty Kustom was at the short-lived Megaspeed show

This jazz themed van is a love shack on the inside
Jazzy ensembles and mood lighting set the tone
And there just might be love potion on the crushed velvet seat
Adam and Eve, still a better love story than twilight
Who’s going to argue with a fella in a large pink truck?
A Street Concepts Model looking dangerous in Pink from Importfest 2012
Neal, of TBA, is actually at the early stages of rebuilding this car. You can follow the build here
This is a bit of a blast from the past in the local scene
Pink really brings out the polish on those wheel lips….
Purple, lace and wires, Los Boulevardos in full effect
The Bloody Mary…
and the Bloody Mary II are both exceptional Impalas
Mark at Wheels Are Everything has done a number of renders like this. Take original catalog art drop it on Astros and thin whites and you’ve got a winner
Rob Crane’s Laurentien might not be Pink but I wanted to post it again.
I’m not sure if he ended up selling it, but if he did the new owner got a fine-looking car
The car is a near spitting image of Mark’s render

Short and sweet this week, hopefully you all have a good Valentine’s Day and or car parts purchasing day.

Or both.

Lost Boy

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The stretch between January first and The Canadian International Auto Show is that hardest time of the year to get original content here on the site. Everything has more or less ground to a halt as people’s cars are in perhaps their most disassembled state with the closest event being weeks, or months away.

The weather just throws another wrench in even the best laid plans, in short it sucks and I complain about it to some degree every year.

In an effort to dig up something original I remembered some photos I took while on vacation in South Hampton Ontario late summer.

The city puts on a weekly cruise in every week in the summer and though the week I was there it was on the smaller side I did spot this drag  strip ready Ddoge hanging down a side street.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not the most versed in all Mopars but I think this is a Dodge dart of mid sixties vintage. There was no model badging aside for Dodge on the car however so that is just a guess based on the headlights, tail lights, and subtle trunk fins.

Clearly a purpose-built car — with lexan windows, a full cage, and a mighty hood scoop– I’d imagine if I hung around a few of the race tracks in the area long enough I would come across this car and the its driver’s from the Lost Boys Race Team.

Mopar enthusiasts among us, any speculations regarding the power plant?

WTF Friday: Well That’s Peculiar

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Apologies for the somewhat tame, and brief, WTF Friday this week but I have been a bit under the weather which has made sitting in front of the computer the last place I’ve wanted to be.

However the show indeed must go on as best it can so this week I’ve got an interesting Porsche 928 I discovered on Kijiji.

928s are a bit of an odd duck in the Porsche flock, though there are some diehard fans of this model, most of us simply overlooked it as a blip on the Porsche radar.

Dubbed a fancy Volkswagen by some the boxy wedge design is a bit of an acquired taste especially with the headlights up.

Lights on and coated in black and yellow this car reminds me of the bumble-bee that served as the mascot for my elementary school.

Further proving that beauty is in the eye of the beholder this car is yellow on green leather.

Color choices withstanding  what makes this particular car worth a WTF Friday post is the peculiar approach to the advertised ‘wide body’.

Instead of being molded, or riveted on it appears that the stock rear quarterpanels have been well, pushed out, to accommodate a wheel and tire set up that doesn’t look drastically wider than stock equipment.

Ever versatile chicken mesh fills the gap between the quarter and the bumper but doesn’t cover up the fact that the whole thing looks unfinished at a 3/4 angle.

All that said it could probably make a great chump car for any of you interested. Though the ‘ask for price’ makes me wonder if the owner wants far too much for it.

Try our luck .

If I Don’t Like It I Don’t Like It, That Don’t Mean That I’m Hatin’

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When Common rapped “if I don’t like it I don’t like it that don’t mean that I’m hatin” he wasn’t talking about the car community, but with enthusiasts being branded as ‘haters’ for simply expressing an opinion that differs from the majority, he easily could have been.

Today it’s not all that uncommon for someone, who for sake of illustration we will call Person A, to post their car (usually modified to the upper extremes of their style choice) online and have it shared on a social media outlet where Person B says “that looks awesome” , person C concurs, and person D says “With modifications one, two and three, I think four through five are not really necessary and take away from the car’s overall look”.

At this point Person A replies with something to the effect of “whatever haters motivate me”, B and C quickly add he didn’t build it for you, and people E through F come out of the woodwork asking “if you don’t like style xyz why are you following Xyz Society?”, before ending with “no one asked for your opinion anyway, hater”.

This alphabet soup example might seem contrived, and depending on what areas of the internet you frequent unrealistic, but trust me it happens with alarming regularity. Calling people “haters” and then completely disregarding what they have to say, no matter how valid or eloquently stated, has become the adult equivalent of covering one’s ears and saying “lalalala I can’t hear you”.

To be honest considering how thin the skin of many enthusiasts appears to be I’m surprised they’ve managed to wield a wrench without it coming through the other side of their hand. Heaven forbid someone try to offer up constructive criticism of any kind and not just an opinion, that might just cause all out anarchy.

Do you think car modification icons like George Barris, Boyd Coddington, and Ed Roth (if for whatever reason those names seem unfamiliar how about Nakai San, Wataru Kato, or Magnus Walker) expected everyone to like what they did and no one to speak up otherwise?

Their styles are all heavily studied, debated, and criticized but, but at the end of the day they all own their aesthetic choices and stand behind them, not behind a sticker that claims they didn’t build it for your approval.

If you want to build a car that represents your taste and personality by all means go for it, but don’t expect everyone to like it and the notion that if you’ve got nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all, is far better suited for the kindergarten classroom than it is in a community made up primarily of adults.

Differences of opinion, especially in a hobby as subjective as car building, is a good thing, and criticism isn’t often meant to insult.

Using myself as an example, just because I don’t like a particular feature of a car, or a particular style of modification, doesn’t mean I don’t respect the build, the builder, or style.

There have been several times where I have lobbied a criticism or query about a modification, or stylistic choice, and received a very detailed valid justification for its execution. That bit of perspective often leaves me respecting the build that much more.

Sure I still might not like it but, if these individuals truly built their car for themselves, and not me, that shouldn’t matter.

Continuing to chastise and drive out those who think differently, or challenge what is currently in fashion, simply encourages more of the same lather rinse repeat, brighter, wider, lower, louder, formula that people are already beginning to tire of.

To sum thing sup as succinctly as I can, I am not proposing a community based on negativity, but rather one where constructive criticism is both effectively given and received without resulting in fierce stand offs and open minds. Sure it might be an idealistic goal, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one we should all strive for.

Until we get there however just remember If I don’t like it, I don’t like it that doesn’t mean that I’m hatin’.

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