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The worst thing to happen to America was Autozone and Fast and Furious. Cheap aftermarket modifications to your car being sold to people with no knowledge of what they were doing but wanted it too look cool cause they saw it in the movie. Its led to years of teenagers with no training putting things on their cars that turn them into obnoxious spectacles on the road.

I know I sound like an old coot but frankly I'm glad my dad showed me how to install/aim headlights and along with explaining the benefits of a working unmodified exhaust system and how it should sound.




I guess I'm really old.

Before Fast and Furious, I lived through the slammed mini truck / monster car stereo (speakers, speakers, speakers) craze of the late 80s.

And before that there were many, many trends, like muscle cars, etc.

It's always been like this...


The Fast and Furious franchise is, not unlike the late 2pac, a reflection of the community. A percentage of America has always been modding their cars and an even larger percentage enjoys dreaming about modding cars - the films draw from that, not the other way around.


It's a mutual thing. The Fast and Furious franchise draws from the car culture in America, but the car culture in America also draws from the Fast and Furious franchise. If the director had chosen to highlight slightly different aspects or de-emphasize certain aspects, car culture in America would be different (though stray too far, and F&F is potentially no longer the same mega-hit).


In other words, it’s the age-old question: does art imitate life, or does life imitate art? The answer, of course, is “yes.”


The street races in San Jose looked pretty much just like F&F long before the movie came out.


How is Tupac relevant?


Artists being blamed for causing preexistent negative phenomena that served as the inspiration for their art. Tupac's lyrics were blamed for being a cause of violence while in reality they were a reflection of the violence that was already there.


ah good ol’ C. Delores Tucker (you’s a motherfucker)


...."got money for wars, but still can feed the poor"... #merica


How did 2pac get in the conversation about aftermarket car modifications?


That's the reason the Fast franchise is some 8+ films in and still doing $500M+ box offices.

It's also a good reason documentaries, classical and jazz music, and non-fiction books in all but self-help and cookbooks sell poor. I'd love to see a huge textbook covering pre-Calc through intros to harder topics like Real Analysis and Stochastics top the bestsellers for 22 weeks. But instead, people are buying the 5,431st political commentary about how we'll never recover from Trump unless we do everything the author says.


Don't forget the folks in the 40's taking those old trucks and turning them into hot-rods.

The car modification scene is only slightly younger than the car.


My uncle told me stories about living in rural Michigan, and how the first thing that people did when a road got paved in the area was set up a quarter mile marker.


For non mid west born ppl,

A dragstrip is a facility for conducting automobile and motorcycle acceleration events such as drag racing.

Although a quarter mile (1320 feet, 402 m) is the best known measure for a drag track, many tracks are eighth mile (201 m) tracks, and the premiere classes will run 1,000 foot (304.8m) races


US people and their weird measurements :P

But honestly, why these lengths specifically?


1/8th mile = 1 furlong.

Many short races, for feet or horses, that started way back when are some number of furlongs.


Now THAT is an interesting information, never heard of "furlongs" before!


It's a fantastic unit if you need to convert distances from metric to imperial, because 1 furlong = ~200 meters. So if you tell someone something is half a kilometer away and they ask what that is in imperial, you can quickly respond "2 1/2 furlongs".


A furlong, the approximate distance that an average draft horse can pull a single-bottom plow before needing a rest, is my favorite measurement because it sounds so grounded in reality. It's just how long the furrow is.

Right next to the parsec, but only because of the Star Wars references :-)


Snails are rated in furlongs per fortnight.


As much as we like to point fingers over the Atlantic, here in the UK our roads are mostly imperial except heights and widths which are in both feet and metres, because lorry drivers from the Continent kept crashing into bridges!


They are even (in our wierd measument system), and reasonable distances for different engines to run out of power/traction/other factor and thus not accelerate as much.


Important also to note that a quarter mile is the unit at which one quantize one's life.


Car culture in SE MI is truly a thing of beauty and wonder.


What struck me back then, was how Fast and Furious and Need for Speed influenced each other.


It makes sense, the game devs saw how well the FnF movies did and wanted a slice of the pie.

It worked out so well because it gave people a way to experience car modding and illegal street racing in their own living room. If people are getting their kicks from street racing games... maybe we should make more street racing movies.

I think the nost blatent was when Tokyo drift came out, the next NfS had drift races.


I remember some Underground or Underground 2 cutscene or run that was identical to a run in FnF; I always assumed that they did a collab.


I think it's great that it's relatively common to work on a complex piece of machinery that you use daily. You get the joys of understanding how a large system works and being able to tweak it according to your desires. It could easily go the other way, where every subsystem is DRM'd and only licensed professionals were allowed to touch it.

Letting anyone do whatever they want can obviously lead to problems, like headlights that blind people or parts that fall off and kill the person behind them. But overall, I think I like the world where people are free to experiment and create.


>every subsystem is DRM'd and only licensed professionals were allowed to touch it

Kind of like how smartphones are right now.


BMW is doing it right now - some of their US cars will come with features locked behind a subscription model. Want heated seats? They are $99 a year, you get a free 14 day trial to see if you like the feature. Same with adaptive cruise, with more advanced media features etc etc. Their argument is that vast majority of new BMWs in US are leased, so it's "better" for customers to lease a basic model for less, and then pay extra for features you want.

The obvious question here is - if you make these features work without paying(assuming you paid for the car outright), is that illegal? After all, you own the heated seats - you just installed an extra switch to put them on.


Because they're physical features already installed, it'll probably be okay. Will void your warranty, but nothing the MFG can do. Same way retuning your ECU to make more power works.

Versus something like hacking a subscription for satellite radio, where the feature in question is the content the service is providing, which is easier to frame as illegal.

Then there's the case of hacking hour Tesla to enable autopilot. The hardware is there (like the seats) but the functionality is continually updated via subscription.

I look forward to the lawsuits, with the hope that the consumer prevails.


> if you make these features work without paying(assuming you paid for the car outright), is that illegal? After all, you own the heated seats - you just installed an extra switch to put them on.

If you try and hack through the DRM on the controller, they might try and get you for copyright infringement on the software on the controller. But if you just write your own controller, things might be different.


Having features like heated seats tied to a subscription crosses the line. It's one thing to install them in all cars as an additional feature that can be enabled, but charging a subscription for it is ludicrous.

I don't mind soft-locked features too much since it can be cheaper for the manufacturer to just install it on everything than to build two separate models; plus it can be nice as a consumer to still have those additional features available if you change your mind later.


Well, Tesla has started some time ago - the most basic model 3(the one you can only order over the phone and in their centres) comes with heated seats disabled by software and you can pay Tesla to unlock it for a fee. But at least once you did they stayed unlocked forever*

*Well, there's been one case where a second hand Tesla lost all the extra features that were paid for by the previous owner and Tesla argued that the new owner had to pay again, but I think after media complained they backed off and reenabled it


> But overall, I think I like the world where people are free to experiment and create.

Then get a guitar or a paint brush.


> I know I sound like an old coot but frankly I'm glad my dad showed me how to install/aim headlights and along with explaining the benefits of a working unmodified exhaust system and how it should sound.

Reminds me of the hotrodding chapter of John Muirs[0] venerable How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive [...] for the Compleat Idiot[1] that starts describing the interplay between various systems and how just throwing a hot cam into an engine and calling it a day is a bad idea. Basically - How to hotrod your engine:

1) don’t

2) if you must here’s what you really need to know

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Muir_(engineer)

[1] https://www.amazon.ca/dp/1566913101


This is much more down to improper enforcement. If having illegal headlights meant losing your license, people would think twice about it.


This so much!

It al boils down to how much money police can get out of fines and how many licenses they can suspend, AND how easy they can do that.

If they lack measuring equipment, the fine is too low, police won't bother enforcing a law.


> but frankly I'm glad my dad showed me how to install/aim headlights and along with explaining the benefits of a working unmodified exhaust system and how it should sound

In Germany, headlight aim is checked at the 2-yea mandatory inspection, dito for exhaust stuff. Is that not a part of US checks?


The joke is that in the US, vehicle registration is handled by the states, and while some states have strict inspection requirements, many states have none whatsoever, or only check emissions. You can still get ticketed for unsafe equipment, though.


Most states do not have the equivalent to TÜV or MOT.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle_inspection_in_the_Unit...


I think it is more or less the same in all EU:

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/ALL/?uri=CELEX%3A...

Here (Italy) you have the first check/inspection after 4 years (for a new car) and from then on every 2 years.


Here in South Africa, inspection happens when you buy a vehicle. After that, it's not inspected again unless you sell it to someone else who will have to take it to roadworthy inspection. The test is pretty good and covers everything from suspension to oil leaks. It does however not cover emissions, as far as I know.


Depends on what state you live in. In my state there's absolutely no routine inspections whatsoever on automobiles, where I grew up there was yearly comprehensive safety inspections required - that being said, you only get a ticket if you fail to get an already registered car inspected.


I've never had my car checked when I did registration. Other states have done it. For a while the next city over did some emissions testing, but it was well known that it was hard to fail and they eventually got rid of it. Rumor is the company making the equipment made out well...


The really cheap and blatantly illegal headlight craze took off with Amazon and Ebay. Brick and mortars like Autozone have to abide by some standards.


> Its led to years of teenagers with no training putting things on their cars

Untrained people fiddling with their cars didn't start with The Fast and the Furious! If anything, this era marked the beginning of the end of all that.


In the UK we were doing Jap-style and had Max Power long before F&F. Fast and the Furious might be responsible for widening the pool of people though. Although in my experience, the modding scene didn't actually massively increase in size from what I saw.

The old timers "aged out" and into better, stock cars, and the young kids coming in could actually only do less with the available cars (modding anything reasonably recent is a frustrating and expensive task, and so were limited to things like headlights and exhausts).

When I wanted to put a small new lip spoiler on my car I got an insurance quote for 4x because of it. Suffice to say I left it stock.


Pep Boys was a thing for like 20yr before the first Fast and Furious movie came out.


Wasn’t there a whole 1950’s musical about this?


Here in the UK Top Gear has a lot to answer for in promoting an utterly moronic car culture (and I like cars).


How so?


The almost wholesale shift of obnoxious drivers moving from BMW M cars across to Audi's RS line after Top Gear started mocking the former and talking up the latter was a fast, pronounced change.

Apart from that, not sure. Top Gear was always pretty good when it came to car culture, it's just a lot of surface level "car fans" just follow their word and end up being the face of the trend.


Where I live we have countless boy racers with farty exhausts obnoxiously informing everyone at all hours of their amazingly unique and original ideas about how to modify cars. I pin the blame in no small part on Top Gear for spreading a dumbed down car culture to the masses. That's not to say I didn't enjoy watching it. I just don't enjoy what it contributed to bringing about.


That's nothing to do with TG. They've been doing that for decades. Top Gear's mods were stupid, and no teenager uses it as the motivation for modding their car.

If anything, they get their inspiration from across the pond. TG is an older man's comedy show.


The worse thing that happened to driving was we were convinced it should be fun. Sharing public space with big, heavy, dangerous boxes of metal should never have been been spun as fun.


And yet, it continues to be fun.




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