So it’s been a couple of weeks since I picked up that Infiniti. When I picked it up, I thought “OK, maybe I won’t do too much to this thing.” I mean after all, it’s a FWD luxury sedan with a terrible turning radius. What could possibly make me want to modify it? That didn’t last long.
I suppose what I didn’t expect was to start modifying things at all. I mean, this was supposed to be a car to get my to and from school. It wasn’t supposed to be another toy for me to be screwing around with. This is ridiculous! How did I get here to begin with? I suppose it started with exactly how I got started with modifying things to begin with. Once again, the stereo was lacking.
Back when I was just a kid, about fifteen years ago, my parents bought my brother his first car – a base base base baaaasse model Toyota Corolla. The only two things that came on the car were the driver’s airbag, and power steering/brakes. So naturally, the first thing that we did was throw in a banging stereo. And by banging, I mean stupid bass heavy. Things just went downhill from there. Let this be a lesson to you, parents. If you don’t get something that’s adequate for your kids, some way or another, they’ll make it adequate.
Same thing happened when I got my Corolla. Well, not exactly the same, but same enough. Whoever owned the car before me put in an old JVC tape deck – quite poorly as well, I might add. So the first thing I did was to track down a CD player. Now that I’ve become accustomed to having MP3s in my car, what do you suppose the first thing I decided when I saw the CD/Tape player in the Infiniti was? Yeah, that. Well, no… not quite. I’m just pulling parts of the system in the Corolla and reusing them. I did buy a integration harness though. I can’t afford another nice deck. (As a side note, the Kenwood MP*28 series of decks were pretty brilliant. Why doesn’t anything use displays like those anymore?)
This car has me taking a different approach than with my Corolla. Up until this point, my main focus was: how do I make this more fun, more exhilarating, more “hang on for dear life”ish? But this – this is something else entirely. I suppose that due to the limits of the car itself being so constrained, I’m not so focused on fun; I just can’t be. It’ll never bring the same type of joy to my face that the Corolla does. So somehow, I’ve moved from making it more fun, to making it more usable. Still, I was supposed to be ambivalent about this car. I wasn’t supposed to care.
That’s not to say that the car wasn’t perfectly usable when I got it, but when you are part of a group like Speed Hero here, there are certain things that you expect. For instance, I’m actually a surprisingly aggresive driver. That meant that the stupid Hydroedges that came on the car had to go. Those are terrible tires, by the way. They may have an interesting tread pattern, but they’re squishy ass tires and that much flex is intolerable.
Anyways, this shift in focus has opened me up to all sorts of things that were never possible with the Corolla. Major parts aren’t impossible to find, and they’re wonderfully cheap. I just picked up that set of 17s for less than $200. With the cost of repainting them, and getting lugnuts, I have just under $210 into them. For normal replacement parts, I don’t have to wait 6 months for them to come in either! I have noticed though, that the used parts market for the Infiniti G20 is pretty sub par though. On AE86 boards, I can go shopping for suspension parts all day long. Someone always has a set of springs or some other performance part for sale. On the G20 board, there’s far less choice in that regard. I’m not looking forward to it, but I have a feeling that when I head off to HK next, I’ll be coming home with more car parts than I bargained for. On the other hand, I can only imagine what would have happened had I gotten an Integra, like I was looking to.
All of this leaves me wondering though: Will I ever leave this mentality of screwing with things? After some consideration, I doubt it. I’m part of this blog because like some of the others here, I’m a dreamer. I’m one member of an entire generation built upon the golden age of Lego and the ‘Super Vehicle’ type television show. I can never look at a car and just leave it be. I see it as what I can make it become. It’s a blank canvas on which people like me can leave their mark. And sometimes I do screw up and make things worse. That’s part of the territory. Some might point to that and say “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” However, I think that Kriegel and Patler had it right. If it ain’t broke, break it.