Jason Smith’s 2017 Ford Focus RS     //     Text by Wooley     //     Photos by Jaron Cole


We’re coming around on what could potentially be a pretty radical automotive-aftermarket landscape here in the next few years. Here’s what’s stirring:

The generation that put import tuning on the map is now well into their 30s. Too old to be a ricer?? Think again! These were the original ricers. It’s in their DNA, locked away somewhere.

Because when these guys were in their mid-20’s, adulthood kicked them square in the eyebrow ring. The kitted-out cars they built in their younger 20s began to crack, and require too much maintenance for commuting. Simultaneously, their careers began to kick in, as did relationships, marriage, and children. Their peer-groups changed… they started hanging with ‘grown ups’, neighbors, and co-workers. They started bringing wine & finger-food to the parties… instead of kegs & funnels. The clothing went sleeved, mall-bought, and monochromatic. And the rice-burner cars were sold down the river for more socially acceptable choices. With a few exceptions, the ‘import scene’ fell into a decade-long slump.

But now… 10-15 years later in 2018… the stage is being set for a major industry comeback.

America has been building high-profile, BALLSY muscle cars again. The lines between ‘import & domestic’ have crossed. Ford is in the turbo game. The RS & Type-R are on American shores. The R32 Skyline is 25-years-old. There’s chatter of a Supra comeback. Motor swaps have become plug-&-play.

…And his is all happening precisely when the original tuner generation is about to hit their mid-life crisis.

It’s the perfect storm.

These guys have gotten into their careers a little bit, and they’ve had some career success. They’ve survived historically rough times – economically. Their confidence is up. They’re getting used to the flow of child-rearing. They’ve settled down a bit, they’re owning instead of renting… and they’re not moving every year.

On top of that, there is a billionaire in the White House. Love him or hate him, just be rational for a second, and realize that people with money to invest… TEND to approve of the financial climate.

In short – the 30/40-somethings have a little extra money to throw down. And money makes the world go ‘round. ESPECIALLY the auto-aftermarket world.

When these guys come back to the car game, it’s going to be heavy. In most cases, it’s going to be NEW cars with NEW parts. Or – nostalgic cars… with NEW parts.

To put it bluntly, they’re not going to have time for the opinions of internet nerds and/or ‘influencers’. These guys are going to go straight to experienced professionals – the shop owners, the tuners, and the record-breakers.

And that is going to put an influx of revenue & innovation back into the automotive industry & aftermarket… like we haven’t seen in 15+ years. Wait for it.


Cobb Tuning – Accessport

JST Performance custom dyno tune – using Cobb Accessport (@Brian Tyson)

Scorpion HFC downpipe

Milltek non-resonated exhaust with titanium tips

ETS front mount intercooler

Mountune intake pipe & charge pipe

Turbosmart BOV, internal wastegate actuator

Velossa Tech bigmouth ram air intake

Mountune breather plate, rear motor mount, short arm shifter

Stoptech rotors

Goodridge stainless steel brake lines

Massive front/rear end links, toe arms, rear camber arms

Eibach lowering springs

TB Performance Products – rear RDU 4-point brace

Pierce motorsports – 4-point traction bar

Steeda rear swaybar

SRP Racing pedals

Anarchy Motive shift knob

Wrap by Sirwraps

Vossen LC-104 forged wheels – 19X8.5 +35

Michelin Pilot Super Sport – 255/30/19

Anderson Composites aero kit