Most car guys don't go out of their way to compliment the guy driving the 1998 Civic with wheels worth more than the car and a two-tone plastidip job. The shiny aluminum rear diffuser modified to fit within the rear bumper doesn't seem to take the cake either, and while it may have been cool back in the days of the original F&F to paint something wild and crazy on the side of your car, such as flames or tear marks, that trend just doesn't seem to take the cake any more.
The fact of the matter is this though: Many people do exactly this.
For every post on the interwebs of a modified Civic, there are three posts that fail to explain the physics of downforce, claiming that wings on FWD cars are more inefficient than Italian public transit. While most modified Civics do look pretty atrocious, there are some really wonderful gems out there. Some of those are probably products of trial and error.
I'm not a fan of RICE, (race inspired cosmetic enhancements for those who have been bombarded with this acronym but never offered an explanation) but I don't think it is as bad as so many internet warriors make it out to be.
First, ricers have an interest in their cars. Some of them may make their cars substantially worse, but everyone starts somewhere. Eventually they will learn that style only goes so far.
Or they could become a part of Stancenation. Some of the cars on their are automotive eye candy.
Second, those that do take an interest in performance seemed to get slammed harder by real car guys than Honda S2000's on Craigslist. Take the "fart cannon" exhaust for example. Does it sound terrible? Absolutely. Does it also allow for more airflow; therefore, does it add more horsepower? You bet it does. These guys cannot catch a break. Cosmetic enhancements with no function and functional enhancements with cosmetic hindrances both result in pointless bickering.
Don't be the high school senior that torments the freshmen on the bus when you were in the same position just a short time ago. I'm looking at you. Yes, you. We all know that you were the person who used a garden edger as a front splitter on your 1970 Dodge Dart when you were 17.
Lastly, these guys and gals will not be driving Civics forever. They'll move on to bigger and better things. Those BBS wheels won't look so stupid any more because they'll be on an M3 or a Toyobaru. Their exhausts will blare a deep note to compliment the performance of the car, and the air vents near the intake will serve a legitimate purpose. Those are cars that we will all be complimenting in the future.
Not just any kid's dad has a Nissan Fairlady, a Mercedes S Class, or a Shelby. Today, most kids grow up with not much more than the Need for Speed games. The drive and passion to learn the skills necessary to properly customize a legendary machine starts for some with a modified econobox.
And you know what? That's okay.