Original vs Replica – Where do you stand?

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My first modification was a simple gear knob. I was seventeen at that time, and didn’t exactly have a high paying job. My initiation into the wonderful and expensive world of modification began with a Greddy gear knob for my EM1 Civic.

As the years passed, I moved on from car to car and each of them had progressively greater modifications. By the time I had my Evo, I was irredeemable changing the wheels, exhaust, suspension, sway bars, intake, injectors and stereo among other things. As for carbon fiber, let me just sat that the evil dark weave had me hooked from the first time I picked up a piece.

Talk to any one that has modified their car, and you’ll almost always hear some fresh perspective on why they did it. However on the topic of buying genuine versus replica, I find that people are split into two well defined camps, neither accepting the others way, and always ready for some verbal sparring.

Given my scientific and engineering background, I have always approached modifications from an analytical perspective. I try to understand why they designed a front bumper a certain way, and what aerodynamic advantages it has over others. I am interested in how the weight and rotating mass of a certain wheel will affect my car’s drive-ability. You can call me a nerd, and let me assure you it’s not the first time I’ve been called that. It goes without saying that function is key for me, but not without some form thrown in for good measure.

I have a lot of respect for companies that pour thousands of man hours, and millions of dollars, into research and development for developing a product. for the most part, I always buy genuine, or keep it stock. And by genuine, I am not talking about the origin of a product. With me it has never been a JDM versus the world argument. I like to look at each manufacturer, to see what they are all about, and I go from there.

I remember seeing a copied version of the famous TE37s on a shelf at a local tyre store. Looking more closely, I saw the sticker’s font had been cleverly reshaped to say “VORK WHEELS”, reading “VOLK” from far away. It made me laugh. As I continued looking, I started to see its other flaws. The weight and the paint finish were not like the original. The more I looked, the less I wanted to as I was lucky at one point, to run my dream wheels (CE28Ns) on my Evo and I knew them well. But I must admit, I was extremely tempted to get them. One Thousand dollars for all four compared to Three Thousand for the Volks. I could buy new wheels and tires, and still have enough money to go on a holiday. Or, I could buy genuine.

Looking back on all my modifications, from that Greddy gear knob onwards, I struggle to remember a time that I bought something that was a replica. I don’t know why I have this attraction towards the genuine stuff. It’s not like I am wealthy and I have always had a lot of financial and other responsibilities from a young age. I’ve never spent every paycheck on my car like some of my friends did. And yes, just like back when I saw the “VORK Wheels”, I am now and then tempted to give in and buy a replica body-kit, some wheels, some cheap suspension, and save myself thousands and thousands of dollars. But when push comes to shove, I can’t bring myself to do it. Does that mean I never will? To be honest, I don’t know.

Does it make you angry when you see someone with a replica of your wheels, when you paid three times as much? Or, are you happy to buy a replica body-kit because you can’t justify the expenditure, while understanding and appreciating the effort put in by the original manufacturer? Where do you stand on this topic?

Based on an original write up by Akuma

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