My appreciation of Japanese cars lead me to more of an "owner's mentality" verse a "tuner mentality". So I appreciated these cars for what they were and not what they could be.
When I was a kid in the 80's, my dad bought a Honda civic CVCC hatchback that was very light tan. Even with how small it was, our family took many weekly short trips to Bremerton, Seattle, Tacoma... weekly.
When I was in high school, my dad traded the CVCC for a brand new 1993 Honda Civic DX hatchback. This was my (and my sister's) car throughout high school. Even after high school, I kept using the civic as I was at the local junior college and working in Renton.
This was around 1998-1999, when the internet started to become free, AOL chatrooms were lively and packed, and we could see the southern california import car scene. I remember seeing civics like mine with Ereubuni body kits or Wings West kits. Then look at Super Street and TMR'zine.
I then decided I wanted to build my civic. So I went through the intake/exhaust deal. Unpainted body kit (I was the first in my town to have a body kit!) and even during that time, a few high school buddies decided to start a club called Team Reaction.... which eventually became pretty big.
But also during this time, I started to look at yahoo Japan. See, people in Japan had their own webpages. I contacted many of them and made tons of friends in Japan, which lead to my travels in Japan in the early 2000s. With that said, I ended up deviating from the Hondas.
See at the time, Hondas had the huge aftermarket and this lead to many people building them. They were cheap, plentiful and people already had a Honda, so it just made more sense to build it. There were people who built other cars, but it was either you needed serious money (FD RX7, Supra, 300zx) or you were a REAL enthusiast. I say real because I knew guys that were into building specific cars way before some of these platforms got super recognition. I knew a guy who had a 2 Door 2.5 RS impreza (GC body style) and he was pretty much the only one pushing Subaru back then. I then started to grow an affinity for different cars outside of the Honda demographic. I soon picked up these following cars not to long after.
Anyways, back to the story, many of my Japanese friends were in "Owner's clubs" rather than racing teams.
I started to understand the car lifestyle from a different perspective. I corresponded with many Japanese friends often trading magazines and items through mail.
89 240sx fastback - $500 - blown head gasket
86 Mazda rx7 GXL - $300 - no rotary motor
85 Toyota mr2 - free - blown head gasket
90 Infiniti M30 - $100 - bad thermostat, flexplate and starter
91 Toyota Cressida - $400 - blown head gasket
92 Acura Vigor - $1500 - running car
Now this was before drifting hit the US pretty big. This goes back to when there was a National 240sx owners Convention. So finding these cars were easy and cheap! (NOT IN 2015!)
When I jumped on many forums, I started to see people that were Real Enthusiasts about cars.. these are the people who were almost purists and had the "owner's club" mentality.
I realized that these cars were cool and learned from many people. I started to blog about the variations and of cars and many cars in general, but my fortunecity page got killed before I could get the info and pictures I had. So I decided to now put it up again, but on blogger since I have other blogs going on too.