Are Tuner Cars Cool Again? From What I Can Tell, YES!

I don’t know whether I’m early or late to the game but I’m seeing more tuner cars on my travels (Boise!) and lately in NYC. Something is up!

I’ve got a feeling it’s an emerging trend. Here’s why.
1. A New Tuner Car Show just launched at the LA Convention Center

It’s the first new car show specifically geared to tuners in years.

And thank you, Andrew Beckford of SuperStreetOnline for giving us the lowdown on this inaugural show (with tons of photos).

It was smallish and there were a few startup hiccups but the cars on display were excellent. The fact that there is also a new generation of influencers coming out of the tuner scene is significant. As is the fact that they have huge followings on YouTube and Instagram . SuperStreet itself has 3.3 million followers – a very cool account!

Scroll down for more evidence that this is a bona fide trend.

2. Influencers from the tuner car scene

TJ Hunt: A YouTuber (since 2009) with over 1.5MM followers.

TJ Hunt

Below, his latest video posted on October 6th with over 144K views to date. On Instagram, he has 586K followers.

At the Tuner Show in LA, TJ Hunt drew a huge crowd with fans waiting in line for selfies, autographs, and to check out the cars he brought to the show: an RX-7, RHD JDM Mark IV Supra, and his new A90 Mark V Supra sporting a set of HRE wheels.

Emelia Hartford: Actress, Driver and Automotive Industry Influencer

Yes, Emily is an actress but she is also well known in the Automotive industry for her Award Winning Driving capabilities and Social Media Influence. She hosts her own YouTube Channel with 340K subscribers and has 295K followers on Instagram.

She hosts Velocity’s SEMA: Battle Of The Builders and is featured in Season 2 of Netflix’s “Fastest Car.”

Hoonigan Industries: A lifestyle brand built around cars and motorsports.

Founded by professional rally driver and Long Beach native Ken Block (who also founded DC Shoes), the automotive lifestyle brand has exploded in popularity in recent years, with more than 3 million subscribers on YouTube and 2.8 million on Instagram. They also have a series on Amazon Prime called The Gymkhana Files.

3. TONS of buzz and media hype around tuner cars – especially on the new EV models

Digital Trends just ran a piece on Best Tuner Cars for 2019:

Toyota Supra

Rave reviews for the fifth-generation Toyota Supra model introduced at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. One of the most highly coveted models with prices skyrocketing.

Motor1 just ran a great piece on modifying the VW Lupo

Major coverage of the Porsche Taycan for being the first EV to be modified by Texas tuner Hennessey

Per Digital Trends:

The Taycan stands out as the first Porsche Hennessey has ever worked on, and it’s also the first electric car it has put its hands into. Company founder and CEO John Hennessey explained his team has wanted to modify electric cars for a while. The upgrades available from the Texas-based tuner will initially be limited to fairly basic parts like alloy wheels, stickier tires, and new-look interior components. Stylists also drew more muscular-looking front and rear bumpers for the sedan.

Bottom Line.

The more I dig into this, the more excited I get about the Tuner Car scene. And the more confident I am that this is indeed a bona fide trend. I’m definitely picking up a groundswell of interest in tuners.

I’d also keep an eye on the scene’s influencers. They are a great fit for many lifestyle and performance brands. Many influencer online accounts run advertising on their YouTube channels.

And finally, heads up Hollywood: It may be time to work up some new entertainment ideas beyond the Fast and the Furious franchise.

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