Low-profile tires (or "low-pros") look pretty cool, because you get more wheel and less tire, and shiny chrome looks cooler than dull rubber.
Having bigger wheels means it's easier for people to see your awesome brakes. And of course you have awesome brakes, since one of the main functional benefits of low-profile tires (and big wheels) is to allow for bigger, more powerful brakes. They also tend to have better handling (on smooth, dry roads), and reduce weight where it counts the most (cars most want to lose weight below the suspension -- their wheels are like our asses, I guess).
So why is it that when I bought my Civic Si, it was saddled with a set of 18-inch wheels (Si standard is 17 inches) with low-profile tires that had apparently been passed from car to car by the dealer for four years because buyers hated them and wanted them subbed out?
Because I'm easily conned!
In a word: FUCKING POTHOLES (that's a prefix that's required to be attached to the word "potholes" whenever it's used because fuck potholes). Somehow they talked me into taking the car with the wheels no one wanted (it was the last one in dark gray) and boy was I stupid to do so. They were already cracking around the sidewalls probably due to sitting out in the sun or whatever for four years, and the first pothole I hit cracked the front right tire right open.
One day I will have my revenge.
You'd have to be a Tire Jesus to repair that, so I ended up getting two brand new front tires, which they rotated to the back for me, moving the two remaining old ones to the front, where, over this last Christmas vacation, they hit another God damned pothole. Now I have four brand new tires after over a year of owning this car. Did I mention low-pros are expensive and hard to find?
Sure, lots of people tell me how nice my wheels look, but compliments don't pay $1,000 in tire replacement bills do they.
And not to beat a dead horse, but how aerodynamic do you suppose that fancy cage is?
The other thing you can do to fake people into believing your car is awesome on the inside is to put a sticker on claiming it's "turbo" or on such-and-such "racing team." It's really important to know what your lying sticker means before you stick it on your shitty car, however.
One big target for copycats was the "Type R" decal on Honda Civics and Acura Integras (both made by Honda), which referred to a very specific top performance line of Civics and Integras:
They only imported about 500 a year or something, just enough to make the other ricers envious.
Apparently a great deal of people don't actually know what "Type R" means outside of "goes fast." So they put it on their, like, van or something:
Now obviously that person's not trying very hard. Here's someone who doesn't go halfway, using not only the "Type R" sticker but an actual Acura symbol and other mods to turn their Geo Storm (Slogan: "It'll get you to work") into an Acura Integra Type R:If you look really closely, you can see someone actually wrote "TYPE R" in the dust on the bumper.
Granted, not everyone can be expected to know what a Type R is. But this next person has no excuse. The side decal down on the metal fairing there says "Powered by HONDA," (next to the classy fireball) letting you know that this Honda vehicle contains a Honda engine, which is a little Captain Obvious there, but technically accurate.
In light of that, I have absolutely no explanation for the "Toyota Racing Development" windshield decal. Do all our cars look alike too? Racist.
As you can see, I'm still comfortably behind the pack in terms of completely ricing out my car, which means I still have some dignity to spend. I'm planning to spend it on a front windshield decal that says "FRONT WINDSHIELD," in Japanese.
Be sure to learn how to trick out our new book by purchasing it (tricking out directions are hidden inside). And be sure to read more from Christina in 7 Things From America That Are Insanely Popular Overseas.