Built NOT bought: The sticker that has more hype than substance | The Daily Star
04:56 PM, May 22, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:32 AM, May 27, 2015

Car culture

Built NOT bought: The sticker that has more hype than substance

On the subject of standing out, it is in the inherent nature of us humans to go to farfetched lengths. During the Stone Age, men stomped around bare footed. Imagine the attraction from opposite sex that befell on the one who decided to tie up a shred of bark under his feet and walked around- chest high and an aura of pride all over him. Some applauded the unique sole protection strategy whereas some obviously found it utterly ridiculous. Similarly, picture the smugness of the first man who tamed a mustang and galloped away.
Evolution took over. Modernization has left us doing strange things to keep ourselves contended. Many of us studied in Marketing that a product’s or a brand’s success lie within the uniqueness of the features and/ or attributes associated with it; Not always. Car makers go to great lengths to outcompete each other in terms of efficiency, performance, styling and comfort. Yet, factory products are not ‘cool’ enough for the enthusiasts, and upon purchasing, some will install a whole lot of parts totally not required or worth it. Often, old battered cars need restoring and the OEM parts are scanty. Owners then let their wild imagination free on the sketchbook of a car they are about to restore (in a bizarre manner). Some would modify their cars to such extent that you would NOT be questioning UFO’s existence any longer. But we are not going to rant about that today.


What we want to talk about is the bewildering concept of ‘Built NOT Bought’ amongst the tuning culture. Standard cars are ripped off their OEM power plants and steroid injected with power and torque juice by performance enthusiasts. The clever ones get handling and braking upgrades too so that too much right foot power does not throw them off the intended trajectory of motion. Some of these enthusiasts slap on a ‘Built NOT Bought’ decal on their cars boasting the fact that their cars have been built (or rather perfected) by them as opposed to being bought in the current modified condition.


The degree of modification or parts installed does not play a part in justifying this ‘Built NOT Bought’ craze. There are high school kids who have these loud stickers on their self proclaimed modified family vehicles on which all they have are loud mufflers and rear-end vibrating sub woofers. More importantly, they also come with steelies (the Bangladeshi steel welded rod bumpers). Tuners, however, yearn for speed and stability and go for all the parts that will suffice the ‘go-fast’ goal regardless of the brand name or the originality of the parts installed. This ideology is forced within for two reasons we can think of- one, financing a project car can sometimes be heavy on the wallet, and two, sourcing original/ rare parts is a grueling, time consuming task requiring heavy boost in the patience gauge. Arguments with purists often sprout out, but cases are dismissed when their ‘built’ cars are occasionally (surprisingly) faster than the purists. However, the level of elaborate detailing the purists go through is often mind boggling. The pace at which this class of automotive restoration and modification is increasing is even more astounding. Having branded products shipped from Japan, Germany, USA and other countries is gaining popularity in this burgeoning scene.  To demonstrate this on-going brand obsession in Bangladesh, we can set out a list of upgrades examples- HKS intake, Blitz or Borla exhaust systems, GReddy gauges, AEM on-board computers and accessories, Turbonetics and ApexI forced induction systems, Forged Racing cooling equipments, MSD ignitions, APP and Wilwood braking power, Ultra Racing and Cusco chassis enhancements, Vossen rims, Rocket Bunny body bulging parts and many more eccentric and rare to find items. The list is so overwhelming we tend to forget the objective of this discussion. Even the purists with plentiful genuine parts in their attractive shiny cars have the ‘Built NOT Bought’ decal stuck on. But does having abundant pricey performance enhancing parts and ego altering fast motors gain them the right to have this sticker on?


It does not matter which direction this debate goes, but what is more concerning is the boost in superiority complex amongst this sticker bearing vehicle owners. Yes, their cars are unique and they definitely stand out- almost reminiscent of the bare-chested cave man with the one of a kind sole protection.  True, building a car to one’s own spec (be it for road, track (!), drag or just showing off) is a matter of intense satisfaction. It is a test of patience, dedication and passion put together with know-how and finance. Fantastic project cars are popping up in Bangladesh- some for GO and some for GO and SHOW. Others with the loud end boxes with the undeserving Built NOT Bought decal are just pitiful.
Just a question aimed at the decal though. If it is REALLY built and not bought, then how do you source the parts?

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