OVER the past month, I have been very busy tuning cars. All of them in the 350 and above horsepower range. To me, as a performance enthusiast, it is a good thing for the car hobby in general. Majority of my clients were from out-of-town. Either they brought their cars here to Cebu or they flew me to their hometown. Anyways, conversing with my out-of-town clients was such a pleasure as they all knew their stuff , meaning they had the right parts and accessories in their cars — functional parts and accessories that improve performance. When performance is improved, the car always feels good. The sad part is that I feel the Cebu car community is getting left behind by our neighbors in the west and in the south. In, the late 80s up to the first five years of this century, Cebu was home to many cars that were upgraded to perform.
The Cebu car culture is changing and it is going to a direction that I do not really like. I have observed that the priority of a lot of newbies into the car culture and lifestyle in Cebu now is to make sure that their cars look good on Facebook and Instagram. It is more about the form, not the performance, function or detail of the car. Every now and then, there is a “car show” somewhere and this Facebook/Instagram-prepped cars are the first to join these shows so more pics can be taken of them for Facebook and Instagram. To make sure that a lot of pictures of their cars are taken, a sexy model is thrown into the mix.
During the good old days, insofar as Cebu is concerned, there was only one car show a year. The participants were informed/invited at least six months before the show and the cars that were on the show were built from the ground up. Each participant would completely strip off their cars to the last bolt, give it a great paint job and completely accessorize and upgrade anything that could be upgraded. There would be detail in every corner of the car, and everything was extraordinary — engine, paint job, wheels, body kits. The finished car is first seen on the car show itself and never re-entered into another car show after. In those days, ordinary cars were made into something special that a skimpy model in skimpy attire was not needed to attract a crowd.
The new car culture in the Cebu car community is mainly influenced by TV and the Internet. In this day and age, one can find anything out there about everything by just searching Google or going to some forums. The biggest problem here is that there are more amateurs and idiots who do post on the Internet than experts in their fields. An example would be this fad of using wide rims on narrower tires that are stretched so as to force fit the narrower tires to the wide rims. Any tire engineer would tell you that this is a very dangerous practice, but go online and some idiotic teenage kid will swear that he has been using stretched tires in his car without any issues. A lot of newbies in the car world find this practice cool, and when they get reprimanded for their dangerous and stupid practice, they immediately refer to the person giving the reprimand as a “hater.”
The way one makes a car look is a matter of taste. But when a person destroys his car by trying to achieve a certain look or stance, the ignorant say it is cool, as they judge a car completely on just the appearance and nothing else. But this comes with a consequence, which is that the car loses its roadworthiness. I already see quite a number of cars modded this way plying our streets, with overly stretched tires and way too much camber that the contact patch of the tires to the ground is narrower than that of a bicycle.
Let us not get too extreme, set-up the car to look good without going beyond the limits of the tolerances allowed by the car manufacturers and tire manufactures. In a lot of cases, extreme is not cool but a danger to the car, its occupants and all other things surrounding the car while it is running.