Since there are, thankfully, some people unfamiliar with the word I will first go into a brief history of the term "rice" as used when mentioning automobiles. I believe the first use of the term was to slander import autos from Japan, calling them "rice burners" because they came from a region with people whose diet consisted mainly of rice. In fact this term was overused to even include import autos from Europe that the muscle car tuners didn't know weren't from Japan but weren't from the "good ol' U. S. of A." Over recent years it became a more specific term applied to cars that were made to look like fast cars but actually were not, generally imports from Japan thus the carry-over of the term. As of late is has even been used to include any car that has a lot of cosmetic work done to it in the form of body kits that really don't do anything to the aerodynamics of the car or stickers.
The rice car explosion has boomed as of late due to rising interest in the idea (which coincides with the ebbing of education and common sense in areas where this is popular). Most people I accuse of owning a rice car are those who put all sorts of flashy stickers on their car to show it off. This is usually the first step since stickers are cheap. They plaster almost every part of their car with these things, perhaps to cover up the rust in certain places. In fact that's the only good thing about these stickers is that they inhibit rust in those areas. Usually what I see are stickers for performance parts or automobile sponsors. Almost all of the folks I met who have these on their cars do not have the parts under the hood that the stickers represent. They surely do not have sponsors like those that are plastered on their 10 year old import. So why do they misrepresent their car that way? When asked it's because they "had that part but it's getting replaced by something better" or it makes the car look good. Remember that latter excuse, it becomes their largest facade to cover their lack of real explanation. Some tuners put stickers on their car that are simply for show, such as pinstriping and other graphics for general aesthetic appeal. These are somewhat understandable since many manufacturers do include pinstriping and limited amounts of graphics on cars for appeal to larger markets. I find it odd that truly legendary automobiles as the Italian makes and other European badges don't stoop to using graphics to make their cars more attractive. When a Ferrari F4 pulls up next to you at the light you can look over and think "THAT is a gorgeous car." Ricers may realize their cars are nowhere near as beautiful as these cars and feel the need to boost their cars esteem, if you will, to match that of those unmatched cars. Why such a pointless endeavor? I don't have the answers, and neither do the ricers themselves.
The other thing these people do to their cars is add body parts that don't do anything for the aerodynamics of their automobiles. Again this is for the appearance of their car and nothing else. Body kits such as these usually use extravagant spoilers and aggressive looks. Someone obviously didn't tell these people that real spoilers don't even do anything until you're going about 140mph which is about where most of these cars top out at, and usually only those with actual modifications under the hood. Perhaps they think that adding more levels to their spoiler lowers the speed at which the spoiler acts as a downforce. More levels to a spoiler usually means higher resistance at speed. I even saw a 3-level spoiler that looked like it would tear off at any speed above 90mph. The $400 spent on that spoiler would have been much better spent under the hood. Some utilize F1 type wings for their spoilers; again these won't do them any good until over 140mph but will draw even more attention to their car. But this is what they want, isn't it? Fiberglass body kits also add a lot of weight which further reduce the dynamics of the automobile.
The other thing used by many ricers is large exhaust tips. Can someone tell me the purpose of such devices on cars whose exhaust diameter is less than half that of the tip? It obviously won't help performance at all, and can, in fact, hinder performance since normally aspirated cars need a certain amount of back-pressure on their exhaust to perform correctly. Did anyone tell these kids about that? Of course that's not why they want such an extravagant device on their car. Laws of aural dynamics say that a sound sent through a narrow channel escaping out a larger opening will be amplified somewhat. Therefore the small diameter exhaust pipe coupled with a large tip will amplify the exhaust sound. You've heard them; the cars that sound like lawnmowers on steroids or very large bumblebees. Again this is to draw attention to their autos and nothing more.
There are a few rice cars that actually do have work done under the hood to reflect all the flashiness of their automobile. I still wonder why these people ruin the stealthiness of their car with things that draw attention to their car unnecessarily. I would be more impressed with a plain-looking car that beats up on better-looking cars rather than an overly-flashy car trouncing the competition. My reasoning for this is psychological. These kids that feel the need to dress up their cars is simply to get attention. Usually these ricers are men, boys really. They feel that dressing up their car will get them fame and women. According to Freud this means that dressing up their automobile is like enlarging their penis. They feel more secure about themselves by compensating for lack of size in their briefs by a more public statement: their cars. What they fail to understand is this life will likely end them up rather disappointed in their ways. In the end there are far more professional racers with far better cars and FAR better skills behind a wheel that will leave these boys in the dust. Being beat like that will only make them angry with themselves and thus the world and may lead them to criminal activity to strike back the world. I can accept defeat from a better machine or a better driver on the track without hesitation. I have respect for those who love the sport the way I do and who are good sportsmen. Good sportsmanship breeds friendship which further reduces the feeling of defeat by losing to one of those people who you call friends. You don't feel threatened by their presence because you know them and respect them. For more on this refer to my treatise on street racers found elsewhere on this website. For those ricers who read this: if you ever get the cash to come over to my land with your car or when I next take my wagon to the States let's see if your penis-car will smoke my wife's grocery-getter Audi. In case you're wondering it's a bone-stock-looking Audi RS4 that has seen 0-60mph times in the upper 3 seconds (best ~3.7 seconds). Don't feel threatened rice-boi, we're not even in the same league.
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