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The History of Tuner Cars and Culture: How Tuner Cars and Culture Started

Tuner Cars Parked Vehicles

Tuner cars started before cars were even invented. Back then, the Roots Brothers needed a way to melt iron faster, so they created a way to introduce air induction to the fire via a blower. The theory didn’t really take off until the 1920s when Gottlieb Daimler used the Roots’ idea for air induction into an engine. The turbochargers were originally used in airplanes for better-performing engines.

Car Engine

Tuner Car Engines

In the early days, most “tuner cars” had modified engines. Many wanted a stronger engine, so they’d drop another engine into their cars. The most common practice was replacing an engine with a flathead Ford since it was one of the more powerful engines in its day. This method continues today. Whether you choose to rebuild an engine for more horsepower and torque, replace one engine with another – think putting a small-block Chevy in a Mustang or a Jaguar, or adjusting the timing and other functions via a computer in more modern cars.

Car Engine

Other ways to tune a car engine include changing the camshaft, adding turbochargers, blowers and nitrous, or even changing the exhaust manifolds and exhaust pipes to larger pipes with Flowmaster mufflers. Some just add a cold-air intake and make minor changes to increase horsepower.

Red parked vehicle

Tuner Car Bodies

In the 1960s and 1970s, changing bodies started gaining popularity. Whether someone “Frenched” in the headlights and door handles, tubbed or mini-tubbed a car for wider tires, or added spoilers, they considered these modifications as tuning a car.

Car Center

As with engines, you can make minor changes, or you can go all out. Slamming or raising a car by modifying the suspension and changing the tires and wheels is also a popular tune. Adding underbody lights, a unique paint job, or even adding hydraulics to create a lowrider are also variations of tuning a vehicle.

A row of vehicles

Modern Car Tuning

There are many different cultures within the tuner world. Some believe that modifying or changing the engine and making minor body changes, such as painting the vehicle, is the only way to tune a car. Others might consider going all out with body changes, such as Frenching, adding hydraulics, lifting, or slamming.

Car Show Booth

Yet others go the whole way and create their own hotrod by hyping up the engine with more horsepower and creating a unique look by changing the body, whether with paint or wraps, adding fiberglass parts such as spoilers, flaring the fenders, or even tubbing the vehicle.

Parked Car showing car rotors through wheel

When designing your tuned car, don’t forget about the parts. You can change the brakes or parts of the brake system with bigger brakes, multi-piston calipers, or even colored calipers to set off the look you want.

R1 Concepts Brake Parts

Visit us at R1 Concepts to find the brakes and brake parts for your vehicle, including vented rotors, four-piston calipers, and even colored forged brake parts to add to the color scheme.

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