The launch of a brand new automotive is a momentous occasion — an event the place years of planning, designing, and testing lastly culminate. Despite that, there are all the time those that can’t wait to tear that carefully-crafted sheet metallic and fine-tuned engine to bits.
With the appropriate sum of money, information, and endurance, you’ll be able to modify nearly any automotive. Some take higher to enhancements than others although, so we’ve cobbled collectively a few of the greatest tuner automobiles right here. Specifically, we’ve cataloged comparatively trendy automobiles which have carved out a distinct segment within the tuner scene for one cause or one other. You ought to in all probability begin gathering elements now.
Despite what Fast & Furious tells you, the Honda Civic has by no means been an unimaginable performer. It is, nevertheless, a reasonable, versatile, and dependable car that works simply in addition to a starter automotive because it does as a long-term day by day driver. There can also be a legion of aftermarket corporations that help the plucky compact, which suggests you possibly can construct any sort of Civic you want, whether or not it’s a drag racer, an autocrosser, or a showpiece.
Not all Civics are created equal, although. Pre-2000 fashions are most popular as a result of they deal with higher and their engines are simpler to tune, however the present, tenth-generation mannequin is the primary to function a turbocharged engine straight from the manufacturing unit. So whereas the Civic has been round for awhile, its tuning potential is simply starting.
Mazda MX-5 Miata
It might appear to be a toy, however the Mazda MX-5 Miata is about as good as a small sports activities automotive could be. It’s mild, it handles properly, it has rear-wheel drive, and it’s comparatively reasonably priced. It can be modified for any variety of makes use of, nevertheless almost all of them contain roll cages, crash helmets, and much and plenty of duct tape.
The Miata feels proper at residence whether or not it’s on a street course, at a drift occasion, or dodging the cones at an autocross. It’s comparatively easy to squeeze extra energy out of the inventory four-cylinder engine, however dropping a V8 into one in every of these infants isn’t remarkable, both. Considering the latest version is among the greatest Miatas ever, we’d say the MX-5’s future on the tuner scene is wanting particularly vibrant.
Toyota isn’t often related to automotive pleasure, however the efficiency automobiles it has remodeled the previous few many years have turned out smashingly. Case in level: The Supra.
Over the course of its first 4 generations, the Supra turned one of the iconic automobiles ever to put on a Toyota badge. That’s why the fifth-generation model launched on the 2019 Detroit Auto Show was so hotly anticipated. We haven’t found the brand new automotive’s full tuning potential but, however the older variants of the automotive are extremely coveted for their sensual styling and wild engines, which might be upgraded to supply mind-boggling quantities of energy.
While it’s not the one Japanese sports activities automotive prized by tuners, the Supra is considerably much less unique than its rivals, making it dependable and comparatively straightforward to switch. Act quick if you’d like one, nevertheless, as a result of Supra costs are skyrocketing.
The unique Volkswagen GTI’s mixture of efficiency and practicality stays as interesting in 2019 because it was in 1975.
The GTI helped launch a Euro-themed tuning subculture that’s as vibrant as any within the automotive world, and each the R32 and the Golf R cemented the mannequin’s place in historical past. The result’s a nameplate that — like most others listed right here — comes with an avalanche of obtainable aftermarket elements, in addition to an enormous nationwide community of lovers.
You can tune any era of the Golf, from the unique mannequin made within the 1970s to the present, seventh-generation automotive. Some begin with a GTI, whereas others want the simplicity, availability, and affordability of a primary, entry-level mannequin.
Few automobiles on the planet have a fanbase that’s as passionate because the Mazda RX-7’s. Why? One phrase: Rotary.
The Wankel-type 13B engine that powered the sports activities automotive all through its life is a flawed masterpiece, one which offsets unimaginable smoothness and eye-opening horsepower potential with mechanical quirks RX-7 house owners often check with as “charm.” You can acknowledge these drivers from the additional quarts of oil they carry on them always.
Because of its die-hard aftermarket help, you don’t should look onerous to seek out quad-rotor RX-7s with 800 hp or extra, however even from the manufacturing unit, the light-weight Wankel was a pleasure. We’re hoping the rotary-powered sports activities automotive makes a triumphant return quickly, although Mazda has made it clear that it has different priorities for the time being.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution
In the 1990s, Mitsubishi led the pack of high-tech Japanese efficiency automobiles with fashions just like the 3000GT, the Galant VR-Four, and its biggest creation, the Lancer Evolution. They’re all gone as we speak, sadly, however the Evo particularly left an extended, sideways skid mark within the automotive historical past books.
The Evo slowly however certainly gained its fame all through the 1990s by profitable races within the World Rally Championship (WRC), however PlayStation video games and an introduction on the American market in 2003 turned it into a real efficiency phenomenon. Featuring refined all-wheel drive techniques and endlessly tunable turbocharged engines, these diamond-star warriors are nonetheless favorites amongst individuals who spend their off hours on the monitor.
Subaru Impreza WRX STI
Like the Mitsubishi Evo, Subaru’s WRX and WRX STI are strange compact automobiles which were was rally machines. With a turbocharged, flat-four engine and all-wheel drive packed right into a sedan (and typically hatchback) physique, the sensible but enjoyable WRX has all the time been among the best efficiency automobiles for individuals who, you already know, have lives. You can take the WRX to Ikea on a Saturday, channel your internal Vettel on a monitor the next day, and use it to commute to and from work through the week. What extra are you able to ask of a scorching hatch?
Subaru has all the time made the WRX and the WRX STI spectacular proper off the meeting line, however many lovers view them as a clean canvas on which to supply really superior trendy scorching rods. Parts from quite a few aftermarket distributors will help you construct a flat-four whose output approaches supercar ranges of horsepower. Make positive you improve the brakes, too.
Ever since Ford commissioned racer and engineer Carroll Shelby to construct the very first GT350 in 1965, the Mustang has been one of many go-to platforms for velocity junkies trying to make critical efficiency upgrades with out breaking the financial institution. The 1979 introduction of the Fox-body ‘Stang and subsequent many years of improvement proved that this muscle automotive might survive within the period of digital gasoline injection and ever-tighter emissions laws, whereas nonetheless remaining engaging to hot-rodders.
That’s nonetheless the case immediately. It is probably not your father’s Mustang, however does look (and transfer) prefer it, and a brand new vary of turbocharged, four-cylinder engines plus track-focused Shelby fashions are growing the Mustang’s attraction much more. If it’s extra energy you’re after, you possibly can both ship your automotive to an aftermarket tuner like Shelby, or go on a buying spree to construct your personal.
Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ
In a world obsessive about horsepower and prime speeds, automobiles just like the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ are breaths of recent air. Much just like the Mazda MX-5, the 86 prioritizes dealing with over brute drive, and the result’s an extremely targeted machine constructed for again roads.
Put merely, the FR-S is a return to type for Japanese sports activities automobiles. Its compact measurement, low weight, and rear-wheel drive character will fill Toyota Celica, Nissan 240SX, and Honda S2000 followers with nostalgia, and the automotive is just getting higher and simpler to switch because it ages. Some house owners merely make suspension tweaks, whereas others have gone so far as becoming a Ferrari-sourced V8 engine underneath the hood; significantly, we’ve seen it.
The Scion model just lately folded, so for the 2017 mannequin yr, the FR-S turned the Toyota 86, a transparent homage to the drift-loving AE86 Corolla of the 1980s. Subaru’s model has all the time worn the BRZ nameplate. All three are primarily similar underneath the sheet metallic. Regardless of which route you’re taking, you’ll be placing some of the tuner-friendly coupes of the 21st century in your storage.
Honda’s S2000 was a convertible-only sports activities automotive designed to rejoice the model’s 50th anniversary. Production spanned 10 years, from 1999 to 2009, and through that point the automotive constructed a cult following for its exact dealing with, mild chassis, and high-revving engine (its redline was eight,800 rpm for the primary few mannequin years). Honda doesn’t appear all for giving the mannequin a successor, so the S2000 is properly on its option to turning into a contemporary basic. It’s the final of a breed, in a method.
Along with Mazda’s Mx-5 Miata, the S2000 is among the greatest entry factors for these trying to conquer monitor days. Some of the perfect mods you can also make to an S2000 embrace becoming greater entrance and rear sway bars, extra aggressive brake pads, and wider wheels to accommodate beefier tires. And, earlier than you think about including energy, attempt lightening the automotive for a greater power-to-weight ratio.