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7 most popular tuner cars for gear heads

Tuner cars find a resurgence
Tuner cars find a resurgence

When you put together a list of the seven most popular tuner cars, you are bound to get the question: What are tuners?

By the 1990s, the trend in Japan that had young, mostly male drivers customizing older Hondas, Nissans and Subarus with body kits, cold-air intakes, cat-back exhaust systems and other assorted parts found its way to Southern California. Thanks in no small part to the "Fast and Furious" movie franchise, the movement soon spread into every corner of the U.S. Those involved called themselves "tuners."

Although the bulk of cars that tuners loved to customize were Japanese brands, it wasn't long before Hyundai Tiburons, Dodge Neons, Chevy Cavaliers and others fell under the tuners' wrenches.

Much of the air went out of the tuner industry with the 2008 recession, but it didn't entirely evaporate. And, along with the automobile industry in general, tuning is enjoying a resurgence today.

Bankrate wondered which were most popular among today's crop of tuner cars. To find out, it turned to expert Jose Gonzalez, who served as a consultant for NOPI Street Performance Compact magazine and is a salesman for Miami-based National Auto Parts Warehouse, Florida's largest auto parts operation.

This is his list of the seven most popular tuner cars. Although tuners often trick out older models, prices and other information here are based on 2013 models.

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