The Fast and The Furious Ways…

Dominic Gutierrez

Hey, what’s up everyone?

So last article I told you that I would speak of some relatively inexpensive ways to modify your car. Well, as I’m thinking of the ways right now, if you don’t already know this stuff, you shouldn’t call yourself a tuner.

Well right off the bat, you have the I/H/E setup. This consists of an intake (I), a header (H), and an exhaust (E). These are the most inexpensive and hassle free ways to make some sort of horsepower and torque increase. Although the gains from these products aren’t going to be anything huge, all of them will add up.

Now for the intake, you have many reputable brands at your disposal. KnN, have been around for a long time. However, unless you like American-muscle, this isn’t the brand for you. Specialized for imports, AEM, Injen, and ICEMAN stand out among the rest. They are all great brands, and I’ve heard different good/bad reviews for all of them.

But the main difference is that while AEM has a ‘carb-legal’ sticker, both Injen and ICEMAN do not. This means when you get pulled over for any number of reasons because your car looks like a tuner’s car, the intake you have is legal by police standards. Unless you want to run the risk of rolling with an illegal intake, I’d go with AEM. Aside from that, AEM has a fantastic reputation with all their intakes, from the short-ram to the cold-air. Now that is your next decision. “Do I run a short-ram or a cold-air?” Short-rams are good because they supposedly give nice high-rpm gains in horsepower and torque. Cold-airs are good because they extend all the way to the bottom of the car, to achieve the coldest air income possible. This is really good for a car’s engine because your engine is sucking in air to cool off itself. If it begins to suck in too much hot air, this can cause over-heating and will cause a decrease in overall performance. Hp and tq gains are going to be slightly higher than the short-ram. But in using a cold-air, you run the risk of sucking up water. Now where we live, that isn’t much of a problem. Unless your filter is completely submerged into water, you shouldn’t worry about it. But if you still insist, AEM offers a ‘bypass valve’. It does exactly what it says; it makes sure that only air is able to bypass the intake into the engine.

Headers. Everyone has their own idea of what header is good, and which header gives the most gains in hp. DC Sports, associated with AEM, makes headers for all different types of cars. I haven’t had experience with any of DC’s products, but word on the street is not to waste your money. Supposedly, the header is basically as good as your stock one was. A company that I have heard good reviews from is Kamikaze. Again, I haven’t had any first-hand experience with it, but all the reviews and everyone I have spoken to says they love it.

So on with the exhaust. Well there are really too many companies and styles to talk about. So I’ll just throw out some big name brands and call it a day. First one that comes to mind is Greddy. Greddy has an unbelievable record of providing quality parts in many different areas of the car. Exhausts are one of their specialties. For me, it’s my number one brand. Then you have HKS. They also have a solid following since their products are relatively cheap and provide a good bang for your buck. For all you American-car lovers, Borla should sound familiar. I believe a lot of expensive American sports cars come stock with a Borla exhaust system, like the Dodge Viper.

Anyway, say you don’t want to spend the $400-$900 on a cat-back exhaust system. Another alternative is custom piping. JHPUSA, a commonly used website among import tuners offers great selections of every kind of part you can imagine. But what brings them into this conversation is the ES Oval. The ES Oval is just a muffler that would attach to any custom piping done. I do have experience with this and can say this, it’s amazing, but it draws too much attention. It’s extremely loud if you don’t have a sufficient resonator, yet it’s pretty inexpensive. The only part that is going to cost you some bills is the custom piping.

But even then, it is still only half the price of name brand exhaust systems. So if you want people, or police… to notice you, go ahead and get it. It’s a solid upgrade and sounds great. For me though, I would like to stay as under the radar as possible.I think I’ve allowed you to get the just of the I/H/E setup if you didn’t already know, so now I’m going to move onto the impact that the Fast and the Furious movies have had on the import culture.

As in everything, trends occur, thrive on consumers and followers, and then eventually fade out. The “ricer-stage” is a prime example of this. People have argued and argued whether F&F did have a huge or minor impact in the import scene to its death. But there are a couple things that are certain the movie did and didn’t do. For one, the movie did spark interest into the young import tuners at the time. Regardless of all its glitter and glam, at one time, many of us enjoyed it and possibly began researching real way’s to improve a cars performance and stability.

Hell, looking around Saddlebacks parking lot sometimes… I can see that some still haven’t grown out of it. Hah!

Anyway people who say drifting was big because of F&F are not telling the truth, or do not know the real truth. Drifting had been around for ages in Japan. Drifting had been in the U.S. around 4-5 years before the movie came out. To be quite honest, I was sort of into drifting at one point, but now I can’t walk around too many places wearing my “Mountain Drift” shirt because I’ll get too many stares from people who don’t know what true drifting is. They just think it’s what they saw on the F&F movie.

But to be quite honest, I’m kind of stoked to see the new one that will be eventually coming out. I own all of them and can recite every line out of the first one. And yes, of course all of us real tuners get made fun of for those movies by people who think that is what the import world is… but so what?

Like I say, they don’t really know anything, so we shouldn’t care. I always like to see the new movies. What new thing they have come up with, and if any trend or parts that I am into right now, will be incorporated into the new one. When the movie came out, I was about 13 years old and had been into cars for a year or two before. It was cool for me to have a movie be put out on something like import cars that I was in to, that many weren’t before then. I think F&F gives us something to laugh at, something to quote sarcastically… it’s overall fun. I mean seriously, “ask any racer, any real racer. It doesn’t matter whether you win by an inch or a mile, winnings winning….” I mean come on, hilarious stuff. The only reason I got into the JDM scene is because as I grew older and matured, I learned about suspension techniques, and aerodynamics. I learned that an over-sized spoiler from APC isn’t going to do much for you. That, that giant front bumper doesn’t look as cool as it did a couple years ago and that the OEM SiR/ Type-R bumpers are to die for. The stock, yet clean look of it all makes me want to put them on a pedestal to show the world.

A lot of my friends, who don’t know much about cars, will sometimes make fun of me for driving a Honda, or the idea of drifting, or “thinking” that spending more money on my Honda will make it faster… but it doesn’t matter. Because I have a passion for these cars. I will defend them till I can and then when I can’t anymore, I’ll prove it to them at Qualcomm if need be. But I truly look forward to all the F&F movies and can’t wait for the Paul Walker/Vin Diesel remix!

Until next time, I’ll leave you with a quote from the great Keiichi Tsuchiya himself. “There’s tension on the track, now you see how hard it is. You may be fastest on the street, but unless you know the track, you’re not good enough to sit behind the wheel.”