The Problem Of Parts-hunting
Click. Click. Click.

Startled, your attention is pulled from the monitor’s bluish glow by a strange noise outside your home.

While you check your surroundings, you notice it’s 3:45am. Damn it, you’ve got an early start tomorrow. Wait, perhaps the digital clock is broken? It has to be; you’re sure it was only 9:30pm when you sat down to do some online parts browsing.

Uh-oh, it’s happened again…

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If you’ve ever been serious enough about a project car to do your homework, this might sound like a familiar enough scenario, or worse, you’ve now begun to wonder how much time you’ve been sinking into shopping for your most recent build.

Is it wise to ask? Do you even want to know how many unchecked hours you’ve lost surfing the infinite sea of options for your next must-have purchase? Probably not.

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Personally, I blame how well technology works; it wasn’t always this easy. I’ll risk giving away my age by fondly recalling the good ol’ days when I’d ride my pet dinosaur to the newsagent before school to secure a copy of the local classified paper before everyone else got to it.

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Back then, car and parts shopping were restricted to approximately 20 poorly written words. Buying parts required imagination, petrol and lots of patience. Lots of patience. It was a far cry from the global databases of high resolution, NSFW full-colour pictorials powered by today’s e-commerce solutions.

As convenient as it is, our modern ease of access also works as a tremendous desensitizing agent, too. Oh wow, look at that; this is only the thirteenth T88 turbocharger up for sale that I’ve come across today.

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Extra options are a significant advantage to have as a buyer. But somewhere in the process of browsing, ‘excellence’ usually ends up becoming ‘the standard.’

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So what’s the best way to rebuild that sense of appreciation and to combat those dulled senses? A dose of reality, of course. There’s nothing like sampling the real McCoy.

Walk. Explore. Appreciate.

Fortunately for all of us, there are plenty of small details to take in as you make your way through the gigantic halls of the Tokyo Auto Salon. If this experience couldn’t reset my expectations, it would be time to hang up the camera, buy a boring car, and find a new hobby like knitting or crochet.

The experience is as close as possible to walking through a real-life parts catalog, or like strolling through Yahoo! Japan as if it were a brick and mortar market site. It was like virtual reality, minus the virtual.

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The sheer variety of what was on display regularly made it a difficult chore to press on through the show.

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Aside from the multitude of show cars boasting fresh parts and big ticket items, virtually any aspect of automotive culture that can be displayed, bought or sold was there on a stand, ready for a closer inspection.

As the weekend progressed, I found myself stopping more frequently, spending longer looking harder, and thinking more about what it was that I was looking at. The damage to my attention span caused by constantly clicking next may have already been on the mend.

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Occasionally, I’d even touch things. For no apparent reason at all. Without a digital screen, or a printed page to come between us, those smaller details were more accessible for examination.

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The only regret I left the Tokyo Auto Salon with was not coming equipped with more money to throw at vendors, or free hands to cart merch across Tokyo’s public transport networks back to my hotel.

Such Hypocracy

The level of irony of reading an entire article that preaches the merits of experiencing the scene in real life, on your digital device isn’t completely lost on me. Is it hypocritical?

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Perhaps, but it’s well-intentioned.

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My hope is that my tiny contribution to the infinitely expanding digital realm encourages each of you to step outside, spend some extra time at that next major event, or maybe even track down the nearest swap meet in your neighbourhood.

Don’t be satisfied with ‘Click. Click. Click.’ Instead, choose to ‘Walk. Explore. Appreciate.’

Matthew Everingham
Instagram: matthew_everingham
matt@mattheweveringham.com

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29 comments

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1

I know this exact feeling - albeit on a much smaller scale. Walking into my first Up-Garage on my first trip to Japan blew my mind. It was so cool browsing through all those shelves and seeing all that JDM goodness in the flesh instead of on FB marketplace or Gumtree (Fellow Aussie here!) I even picked up a titanium exhaust for my Honda, which I brought home inside a large golf bag! I got some funny looks at customs when I got back.

Looking forward to seeing any TAS purchases for the Evo!

Author2
Matthew Everingham

How much better is stuff on a shelf compared stuff on a screen? :D

3

So much better! Plus, no waiting times for shipping - its a win-win!

4

Yeah browsing Yahoo Auctions Japan can become a lengthy endeavour.

5

I didn't read much if the article just thumb threw quickly but I did stop for the final chapter. And I can agree and have done what you have stated. Get and take advantage of opportunities that can only be had I real life . I'm really into sema or Tas but what goes on around it or during that time frame. Is where you will find me. people gather to meet and create connections at night or offsite during the show. I can see the show here on speedhunters

6

Is that a Hino Contessa in the Endless booth? Interesting.

7

Check out Japanesenostalgiccar.com for some indepth pictures of that awesome restomod.

Author8
Matthew Everingham

Yes and it was mint too. Firat and best example I've seen. ;)

9

Lol scrolled down just to ask.. what NSFW pictorials are there out there? Clearly I've been shopping in the wrong sites lol.

10

I guess here it stands for Not Safe For Wealth... ;-)

Author11
Matthew Everingham

Haha. It didn't when I wrote it but it does now. Nice one!

12

Must be tough to pry yourself from the viewfinder to really take in what's going on around you personally. II know a camera does that to people lol.
As for the pictures; I really like that kit on the blue Evo. Also, those dart board wheels remind me of a car I saw once that had what looked like legit roulette wheels on the faces. So outrageous lol.

13

That's why I don't travel with a camera anymore. I appreciate fine photography - wouldn't be on this site otherwise - but these days I'd rather be *in* the experience rather than missing half of it because I'm focused on a viewfinder.

14
JBfromSiliconValley

But there weren't enough photos of parts in the article.

(Hope the irony wasnt lost with this joke)

15

I spent a good few hours in the stalls at WTAC. There's nothing like 20k of gleaming sequential on a stand to touch and feel.

I so badly wish that brick-and-mortar retailers were located actually near me.
Also that the only people who make BMW parts are on the other sides of the world

16

They had some good deals if you brought money and had the energy to lug the part around. My friend bought endless brake pads for his GTR there for $100 less than market brand new

17

I completely agree, I really can share what was express in this article. There is nothing better to be able to touch, discuss and tweak in real life...

Thanks!

18

What kit is on the blue EVO? It looks awesome!

19

Swap meets for the win! plus it adds to the build getting people to wonder how you got that part to work when it clearly isnt from the same manufacturer or model. New parts are all fine and dandy but the challenge of getting older parts to work in your build can be just as fun as looking for new parts.

20

Also: You should never add up the receipts for the parts you’ve been buying.

21

I've been doing that for my latest "to a budget" project.... still keeping receipts but stopped looking at them lol

22

hypocracy --> hypocrisy

23

What kind of coil overs are those with the orange and purple dials?

24
Richard Clayderman

B.C. Rich

25

I think you mean BC Racing.

BC Rich make pointy guitars.

26
Richard Clayderman

Yes that's absolutely correct BC Racing; you can clearly see the logo in the pictures. My mistake. What a buffoon I am.

27
Richard Clayderman

I like buying parts on the internet. No pants required.

28

I begun reading the article, then I swapped to pictures. I'm very pleased I did. Thank you - stunning.

29

That blue Evo is NSFW - Not safe from wife....

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