OLE ORANGE BANG: TILL DEATH DO US PART

It saddens me everyday as I drive around Los Angeles, stuck in traffic surrounded by big metal things with four wheels. They are not cars, they are simply methods of transportation, also known as ‘mots.’

You don’t fall in love with a mot. You trade it in when it gets old, you smash it into things when you get bored. It’s a cookie cutter world and most people drive mots.

Speedhunters is about car culture and Ole Orange Bang is most definitely not a mot. It is a car, and it has become a living breathing part of my family. ‘Till death do us part.

On my wedding night instead of being ferried away in a fancy limousine, I drove my beautiful wife home in my 1970 SR20DET-powered Datsun 240z.

Since it had been sitting for a few weeks, I thought it was about time to take it out once again – not only so it could see the light of day, but also to do some much needed canyon carving.

Wedding burnouts really take a toll on the cleanliness of the car, so I wanted to make sure it looked its sunday best before I took it out for a stroll.

Nothing pains me more than seeing carbon fiber parts fade in the sun, so I always make sure to take extra care of my hood.

I am sure this is a familiar sight for you Speedhunters out there. It’s funny because my neighbors look at me weird and ask me why I don’t just take my car to a car wash. They just don’t understand because they drive mots.

Since my last post I haven’t done much to the car besides adding a new steering wheel. I really liked the wooden look of the stock wheel…

… but it was too large. That, and I’ve always wanted a premium steering wheel.

I left the Kazama shift knob alone because I actually really like the feel of it. It’s solid and quite heavy and as our fearless leader Rod Chong always says, one of the most important parts of the car are the surfaces that you touch when you’re using it.

Because I’m away from home for weeks at a time I end up having to jump start my car everytime I want to drive it. My wife took notice and bought me this trickle charger. You see why I married her?

I’ve made it a ritual now everytime I drive the thing. I have to unhook the battery charger…

… and I have to check all its fluids. As this is an old car, at one point or another everything has leaked.

The summers in Los Angeles get quite hot so I added some Red Line Water Wetter. I also figured I would put in some Fuel System Cleaner as the motor already has about 3000 miles on it now since it was built.

Just one last touch and I was ready to hit the road. This metal Speedhunters license plate surround will be available soon…

I’ve driven nice roads all over the world, but there is something special about a palm tree-lined road leading into the mountains.

With a full tank of fuel and the pre-flight check looking good, it was time to do some canyon carving.

I decided to hit up some local roads just a few miles away from my house. This road sign should actually read “Fun for the next 20 miles.”

The road is much less traveled as currently it does not go anywhere. You can check out the route (courtesy of Google Maps) here.

It’s located right next to the much more famous Glendora Mountain Road, also known as GMR.

On the way up you pass this beautiful recreation area. There are many places around here for camping and hiking, as well as one of the largest shooting ranges in the area, located in the mountains. This is America after all.

This area is also an off-road haven for the four wheelers and trail riders out there. You just have to pay a small fee.

Here are some of the trails that you can drive on. Just don’t get stuck.

It seemed like the ribbons of hot asphalt were never-ending on the lower portion of the road with many sweeping third and fourth gear turns. I always take it easy as there’s no way to tell what is going to be around the next bend.

As I was about to start climbing to around 7000 feet I left my AEM multi gauge on the water temperature setting just to keep an eye on it.

As I neared the top section of the road, the turns got tighter and tighter, which meant I was mostly using second and third gears.

In the winter time it actually does snow up here. It’s hard to believe you can walk on snow just a few miles outside of Los Angeles.

I’ve driven these roads before with snow banks lining the outside. It can be quite dangerous though, as they don’t use salt on them so black ice can form very quickly.

Since I’m covering events on the weekends the only time I get to take the Z-car out is during the week.

This road is practically empty with very little traffic during the weekdays. Sometimes I try riding my road bike up the same road, only to fail half way and turn back.

It was about 95 degrees fahrenheit down by my house, but up in the mountains it was a cool 65 degrees.

Many people come up here on the weekends to go fishing at Crystal Lake, and that’s pretty much the only traffic this road gets now.

This road used to connect to the other side of the mountain, but a few years back it rained very heavily and the road was damaged due to landslides.

Ever since then they closed the road to all traffic. It has created a sort of motoring heaven, as you don’t really have to worry about traffic.

Maybe in a couple of years they will fix this portion of the road, but until then I will continue to come here and enjoy the wonderful drive.

If you look over the cliff you can see the stretch of road leading up to the top.

The view from the top was breathtaking as always. You can see the smog in the distance creeping up the mountain, but the air quality was drastically cleaner up here.

Every now and then I could hear the note of a performance exhaust echoing off the face of the mountains, but it was quite rare.

As a tradition I always stop by the cafe located right next to the lake for a bite to eat.

They should probably just leave the needle on critical, as it always seems like Los Angeles is on fire in one part or another.

If you ever happen to drive this dream road make sure you spot by this little trading post – they make great tuna sandwiches. Everybody loves the tuna there.

My car is now 43 years old, much older that I am, but from the day I laid eyes on it I’ve taken good care of it. It has brought me so much joy and hopefully one day my children will be able to enjoy Ole Orange Bang…

What sort of dream roads do you guys drive your cars on?

 

Larry Chen

 

 

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source: speedhunters
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440WHP 13B TURBO MAZDA COUPE

When it comes to rotary tuning, the exploits of two countries at the bottom of the world need little introduction. For as long as I can remember the Australasian region has been home to some of the fastest, loudest, wildest and most innovative rotary-powered vehicles on the face of the planet, and there are no signs of the infatuation slowing up any time soon.

It’s not hard to see the rotary’s appeal, though. There’s that hypnotic pulse for a starters, not to mention an ability to rev to catastrophic heights with an unparalleled smoothness. But it’s the seemingly limitless performance potential of these engines that leads many down the rotary route, and for good reason too. Small in cubic capacity they may be, but at the same time capable of incomprehensibly big things.

It’s a fact that Steve Ellicott – the owner of this 1970 Mazda 1300 Coupé – knows only too well. The Coupé is number seven or eight (who’s counting!) in a long line of modified rotary-powered street cars that have passed through the New Zealander’s hands. From the look on his face when it fires into life, I can guarantee you that it won’t be his last.

Although the 1300 didn’t leave the Hiroshima production line in 1970 with a twin rotor motor between its front struts like its performance sibling the R100 (aka Familia Rotary Coupé) did, under Steve’s ownership there was never any doubt that it would one day wind up beating to the sound of a rotary drum. And a big drum at that.

In a previous life (after being exported from Australia to New Zealand back in 1972) the 1300 was owned by a little old lady for close to 30 years. Steve’s owned the car for four years now, and although it wasn’t in the same factory condition shown here by a framed photograph that’s been handed down from past owners, it was a perfect blank canvas.

Somewhere along the line the car had parted ways with its original four-cylinder running gear and had its rear end cut up to make way for a four-link suspension arrangement and wheel tubs. It was half way to becoming something pretty cool, and although there was a lot of work left to get it back on the road Steve had a vision to complete it, and good bunch of friends willing to lend their skills for the cause.

Although the rear-end c-notching and tin work had been completed, Steve opted to redo some of the modifications: swapping custom mild steel bars for chrome-moly, and designing a suspension system around QA1 adjustable coilovers. Inside, a drag-spec half cage with a harness and driver door bar was also fitted.

With custom front suspension built around coilover Bilstein dampers and featuring ToyShop Engineering adjustable camber plates and RCAs, the Coupé has a meaningful stance, helped no end by some serious tucking at the rear. It took two sets of three-piece Work wheels to create the custom-width Equips, but I think the finished outcome was worth it.

Of course, fitting big wheels on a car of this size can throw up all sorts of issues if you’re after a low-slung appearance, but the 1300 pulls it off nicely, and all the while retaining plenty of suspension travel and a full 80mm of clearance beneath the chassis. Although the front end of the car stays true to its 1300 roots right down to the grille badge, the R100 tail light treatment is a nice touch, don’t you think?

But it’s under the hood where things have really got exciting…

Although there were many different rotary engine configuration roads he could have travelled, Steve found what he was looking for in a tough two-rotor package that’s home to around 500 wild ponies. I probably don’t need to tell you that that’s a lot of power for what is essentially a very little car, let alone one that’s predominantly used on the street.

At the heart of the package is a 13B engine built around FD3S RX-7 rotors and housings, bridge-ported series five FC3S RX-7 plates, and a cross-drilled eccentric shaft. For reliability’s sake, unbreakable apex seals, three-window bearings and a stud kit were also used.

Although the 13B was originally run with a smaller turbo and more boost pressure, the current set-up revolves around a custom manifold-mounted GT42 blower, GFB EX50 wastegate and a PAC Performance intercooler destined for an RX-3, but modified to fit the smaller front-end proportions of the 1300 Coupé. On the fuel side of the equation there’s a custom 65 litre drop tank, three litre surge tank, and a Carter lift pump and Bosch 044 pump supplying pump gas via braided lines to 12A Turbo primary injectors and 1600cc secondary injectors. Four Bosch coils light the fire.

Only 15psi was used for rotary specialist Green Brothers Racing to realise 440whp on the dyno via the Mazda’s MicroTech LT10S engine management system. But even at that mild setting there’s easy low-to-mid ten second strip potential waiting to be exploited here. To date, Steve’s only ever run the Mazda down the quarter on street rubber, and not surprisingly all that’s resulted in was an excessive amount of wheelspin and a 12.5 second slip.

Steve’s alright with the wheelspin part though, because what the car currently lacks in 60 foot times and trap speed, it more than makes up for in its ability to skin a pair of rear tyres with relative ease. In the Coupé only third and fourth gears are required for that particular pastime, and it’s not only the pavement that bears the scars of a good old fashioned burnout. You can see and hear it in action here.

The interior space has been the subject of a complete, almost industrial, makeover with safety devices that allow it to run to 9.00ET should Steve ever get serious on straight lining. After chewing through four Toyota W-series gearboxes – two in one weekend alone – the driveline now benefits from a bulletproof Toyota R154 five-speed mated to the engine via a series five FC3S RX-7 bell-housing and a PAC Performance sourced adapter plate. Rounding out the heavy duty driveline is a Tilton twin-plate clutch, a Toyota Hilux (Tacoma) rear end upgrade and big axles to boot.

Looking back into the cabin you can see that it’s strictly a two seat affair these days, with the wheel tubs taking over much of what was originally the 1300′s diminutive rear seat space.

Although rowdy, the Mazda seems a lot more tractable at city speed limits than I thought it might be, and when opportunity knocks it puts the power down to the ground rather well, all things considered. According to Steve, it’s only when the car really starts to generate some serious speed that its wheelbase – or lack of – starts to become a factor in the way that it hangs on to the road.

I guess it’s all part of the driving experience afforded by a 40-something-year-old chassis when you stuff it with seven times the output that it was originally designed for…

… but guys like Steve wouldn’t have it any other way though. For the sake of unique rotary-powered creations like this one, and the Australasian rotary scene as a whole, that’s a good thing.

 

Brad Lord
brad@speedhunters.com

 

1970 Mazda 1300 Coupe

Numbers
440hp at wheels

Engine
Mazda 13B, full-cut bridgeport, RX-7 S5 plates, RX-7 S6 rotors and housings, three-window bearings, unbreakable apex seals, cross-drilled eccentric shaft, lightened and balanced, stud kit, three-inch exhaust system, AdrenalinR mufflers, custom turbo manifold, Masterpower GT42 turbocharger, GFB EX50 50mm external wastegate, dual blow-off valves, modified PAC Performance intercooler, custom intercooler pipes, aluminium radiator, PAC Performance oil cooler, 4x Bosch coils, MSD leads, Bosch Motorsport 044 fuel pump, Carter lift pump, three-litre surge tank, custom 65-litre fuel tank, electric water pump, braided fuel lines, XRP fittings, RX-7 12A turbo primary injectors, 1600cc secondary injectors, MicroTech LT10s engine management system

Driveline
Toyota R154 five-speed gearbox, Tilton twin-plate clutch, 10lb flywheel, RX-7 S5 bell-housing, PAC Performance gearbox adapter, Toyota Hilux rear end

Suspension/Brakes
Custom Bilstein coilovers, ToyShop Engineering adjustable camber plates and RCAs (front), custom four-link rear, c-notched chassis, QA1 coilovers (rear), RX-7 S6 calipers, RX-7 S5 discs (front), Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 calipers/discs (rear), hydraulic e-brake, Wilwood pedal box

Wheels/Tyres
Work Equip 17×8.5-inch wheels, 185/35R17 tyres (front), Work Equip 17×9.5-inch wheels, 215/45R17 tyres (rear)

Exterior
Factory Mazda 1300 body work, Mazda R100 tailights, custom bare metal respray

Interior
NZDRA-spec half-cage, Racepro seats, RJS harness belts, Sportline steering wheel, custom dash and centre console, Auto Meter Pro-Comp Ultra-Lite 160mph speedometer, 10,000rpm tachometer, boost pressure gauge, oil pressure gauge, water temperature gauge, voltage gauge, fuel level gauge

 

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source: speedhunters

How A Coilover Works

Making your car handle better isn’t easy. Camber, caster, toe, roll centers, motion ratios-suddenly building a show car sounds like a pretty good idea. Aside from tires, your coilover shocks are the single most critical component to your car not handling like a turd. But if selecting the right coilovers were easy, show cars would be in short supply. Besides the more conventional type of coilover shocks that are standard equipment on most cars, there are also high-performance versions, slip-fit coilovers and full-bodied coilovers. The choices don’t end there, either: preload, material options, damping adjustability and the whole mono-tube versus twin-tube enigma is enough to make anyone care more about stuffed animals dangling from purple tow hooks than going fast.

More Than One Coilover Exists!

Coilovers Threaded Body Design

All adjustable coilovers feature a threaded body design that allows spring height and prel

Not all coilovers are created equal. In fact, there are three kinds: OEM-style spring-over-shock assemblies, slip-fit coilovers and full-bodied coilovers. OEM-style spring-over-shock assemblies are based off of a conventional shock, or strut assembly, that’s surrounded by its own coil spring. Such all-in-one coilovers are typically non-adjustable, feature fixed-length bodies and are precisely what you have no interest in reading about. Slip-fit coilovers are marginally more exciting and only slightly more complex. These consist of a hollow, threaded (usually aluminum) tube that slips over and sits on an existing shock’s perch and, with the help of a series of jam nuts, compresses or decompresses its spring to alter ride height. There’s virtually no performance gain to slip-fit coilovers, but they can be a quick and inexpensive way of dumping your car.

Full-bodied coilovers are what you’ve been thinking of since paragraph one. Full-bodied coilovers replace the entire factory spring and shock assembly and feature a threaded shock body for easy ride-height adjustments and, often times, adjustable damping. Similar to slip-fit coilovers, ride height adjustments are made through a series of jam nuts and by compressing or decompressing their springs. Higher-end coilovers also feature threaded lower bodies and lower mounts that can be screwed in and out for further ride height adjustments, essentially shortening the shock without altering spring compression. Another characteristic of higher-end, full-bodied coilovers is a shortened shock body, which allow for an even lower ride height without the risk of bottoming out.

Aside from the shock body, spring, jam nuts, and lower mount, the full-bodied coilover assembly may also include bump stops, dust boots and an upper mount assembly. Upper mount configurations vary depending on whether or not the suspension is based upon a double wishbone or MacPherson strut layout. Double wishbone layouts typically feature fixed upper mounts with rubber or polyurethane bushings while upper mounts designed for MacPherson setups typically include pillow-ball assemblies with camber and caster adjustability.

The Shock Body

Coilovers Full Body

Full-bodied coilovers typically feature two-way height adjustment by means of spring compr

At the heart of the full-bodied coilover is the shock. Like any shock, the coilover’s upper mount connects directly to the chassis while its lower mount connects to its lower A-arm in double wishbone layouts or the knuckle itself in MacPherson strut configurations.

Shocks control unwanted spring oscillations and reduce vibrations caused by the wheels and chassis. When you hit a bump, the suspension’s springs compress and decompress, absorb vibrations and transfer energy to the shocks through their upper mounts, into their pistons. As a result, the shocks dampen the vibrations, making that bump virtually unnoticeable. The degree to which all of this happens depends on the shock’s internals: stiffer shocks slow spring movement while softer shocks do the opposite.

Shocks do more than just reduce vibrations and control spring movement, though; they also eliminate rocking, pitching, dipping, wheel spinning and all sorts of other things that aren’t supposed to happen when turning or stepping on the gas or brake.

Inside the shock lies a hydraulic fluid-filled tube and piston. The piston pushes high-pressure fluid through the shock’s valves, controlling how it responds against the spring. Kinetic energy harnessed through suspension movement turns into heat energy that ultimately dissipates within the shock’s fluid. Valving is based upon small orifices perforated into the shock’s piston that allow hydraulic fluid to bleed through as the piston travels up and down.

Mono-Tube vs Twin-Tube

Modern coilover shocks are offered in two configurations: mono-tube and twin-tube. Mono-tube shocks feature a piston and rod assembly housed within the damping case where both compression and rebound duties occur.

Coilovers Bushings Nuts Collars

Full-bodied coilovers are made up of several components, including the shock body itself,

Twin-tube shocks feature two cylinders-the inner cylinder where the piston and shaft move up and down, and the outer cylinder, which serves as the hydraulic fluid reservoir. Twin-tube shocks allow for increased piston stroke, which can benefit ride quality and handling, but seldom overshadow the mono-tube design. Compared to twin-tube shocks, larger-diameter mono-tube shocks have the ability to displace more fluid, resulting in increased sensitivity to small suspension movements at low shaft speeds. The increased flow also allows for more consistent damping forces when compared to less expensive, twin-tube shocks. Most mono-tube shocks also run cooler than twin-tube designs because of their missing outer tubes.

Shock Travel

When selecting coilovers, making sure you’ve got enough shock travel is key and will help prevent bottoming out. In case you didn’t know: bottoming out is bad and defeats just about every single suspension modification you’ve made. The more travel, the better a shock can do its job. Spring choice also determines how much travel you’ll need. Stiffer springs require less travel since the shock won’t be able to compress as much.

Compression & Rebound

Full-bodied coilovers are available with three types of damping adjustability: manufacturer pre-set, single and double adjustable. Manufacturer pre-set coilovers are, not surprisingly, pre-set according to what the manufacturer thinks you need. Coilovers like these are typically valved for whatever springs they’re paired with.

Before looking at coilovers with adjustable damping, it’s important to understand what’s being adjusted: compression and rebound. Compression occurs when the shock’s piston moves into its body, compressing the hydraulic fluid in its chamber below. Rebound happens when it’s pulled away, again compressing its hydraulic fluid. Generally speaking, compression controls the motion of the car’s unsprung weight while rebound controls the motion of its sprung weight. In other words, compression controls how fast weight is applied toward the tire while rebound controls how fast weight moves away.

Coilovers Skunk2

A shock’s innter workings are fairly complicated and include a series of passages and valv

Shaft speed-the rate at which a shock’s valves perform-is also important. Low and medium speeds typically influence handling while higher speeds contribute to better performance when traveling over bumps. A good shock is designed with various speeds and situations accounted for.

Single-adjustable damping controls both compression and rebound strokes together while higher-end, double-adjustable, or split level control, systems manage compression and rebound independently. Depending on the manufacturer, adjustments can range from eight all the way up to 32 different user-set positions. Single-adjustable damping typically affects low-speed rebound and only slightly affects compression, if at all. Still, these changes can improve cornering provided the rest of the suspension wasn’t found on Craigslist. Adjustments are made with an externally mounted knob attached to a shaft that adjusts preload to a spring-loaded needle valve, which controls internal fluid flow. If you’re looking for dramatic changes, be sure to explore proper tires, shock and spring rates, and anti-roll bar options first. Damping adjustments are typically best left for fine tuning and specific chassis balance.

The Spring

It’s the springs that absorb bumps and control body roll, not the shocks. They do so by compressing and expanding to absorb individual wheel motion. It’s the springs’ job to prevent the chassis from bottoming out, control the tires when traveling over bumps, and manage body roll when cornering. They control squat while accelerating and reduce diving while braking. Springs also establish the car’s ride height and center of gravity, which directly affects handling. Spring rates should be selected carefully. If they’re too soft, the shocks will bottom out. If they’re too stiff, any given tire’s contact patch won’t be fully utilized when cornering.

Preload

Coilovers Inner Shock

A shock’s inner workings are fairly complicated and include a series of passages and valve

Preload is the amount of pressure applied to the springs based on how far they’re compressed. Generally, a given amount is required to achieve specific operating characteristics. Adding preload can help mechanical grip by improving tire contact when turning, but excessive amounts will hurt performance. The problem with slip-fit coilovers and full-bodied coilovers that don’t feature adjustable lower mounts is that ride height is adjusted dependent on preload. You can’t change one without the other. If your car is mainly driven on the street or sees the occasional track day, then this is likely an acceptable tradeoff.

The Set Up

Installing and properly setting up full-bodied coilovers to best take advantage of their benefits requires a bit more foresight than a simple shock and spring installation. Before placing them on the vehicle, each spring should be slightly and equally preloaded-just enough to keep them from bouncing around within their assemblies. Next, thread the lower shock mounts onto their bodies in equal amounts. Refer to your installation instructions, but you’ll typically want to make sure that the shock body threads into its lower mount at least one full inch. This is your maximum ride height. Install the coilovers, set the car on the ground, and assess its ride height. Reduce ride height as necessary using each shock’s lower mount. Avoid pre-loading the springs further to achieve an even lower ride height unless the lower mounts have completely maxed out.

Coilovers might seem mysterious, but keep in mind that all shocks try to accomplish the same thing. The major differences can be found in their design, materials, wear, reliability and rebuilding potential. No matter how much adjustability a given coilover offers, if they weren’t designed properly from the beginning, no amount of knob turning or spring compressing will help. In fact, a cruddy set of coilovers can bring out the worst in an otherwise good suspension. Unless you’ve studied suspension dynamics, you’re better off choosing a brand you trust and hope somebody there does know a thing or two about all of this…and doesn’t have a stuffed animal dangling from a purple tow hook.

source: superstreet

MFest VI Brings Heat to Las Vegas

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Whether you own a BMW or not, it’s really tough to not be blown away by the sheer number of high quality cars that made it to MFest VI in Las Vegas. Even though we didn’t even get an ounce of sleep the night before, the caravan, event, and parties were so fun that we had no problem going nonstop throughout the weekend!

MFest weekend started off with the epic, world record setting caravan up from Barstow CA and ended with an equally epic pool party at the Tao Beach Club in Las Vegas. MFest Chris and his team could not have been any more hospitable or welcoming – nor could the weekend have been more mind blowing. No wonder we have TONS of photos!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

The BMW 1 series M coupe is a seldom seen car on the streets due to its high demand and low availability so it was nice to see a good handful of them make it out to Vegas. The nice wide fenders and aggressive bumpers give the car a mean look when it’s rolling down the street. At almost $10,000 less than the BMW 335i, the 1 series M coupe is one hell of a good deal for the amount of car you’re getting.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

This slammed BMW Z4 looked suuuuper fresh, sitting right up front when we entered the event. This is one of the best looking Z4s we’ve seen in recent times. Very classy build.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Red is just such a classic, sporty color. It’s bright without being over the top. No wonder we absolutely loved this Eurosquad 335i. All class.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

It doesn’t even matter how old you are… everyone can appreciate a clean red BMW.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

One nice thing about MFest is the fact that there are actually LOTS of attractive females in attendance. Most car events are just filled with dudes, but MFest is a bit different. Females actually look forward to MFest because of the whole Spring Break-style party atmosphere all weekend, and who doesn’t like that?

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Many of the ladies that go to MFest dress pretty classy, too. It’s a bit different than the hoodrats* that you normally see at carshows. (*Scantily clad girls sitting on car hoods)

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Lots of girls were circulating around the car show area and the trackside pit area, checking out the cars… or maybe they were just looking for BMW ballers with the dopest cars? You tell me.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Nicole Reckers and Xena Kai were two of the models who came out to cheer on the MFest crowd. Somehow, I think many in the crowd were cheering for them!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Here’s Nicole again, but this time with Michelle Yee. For more photos of these ladies, Follow @MOTORMAVENS on Instagram.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

We always have fun hanging out with Eva Skye and Beckie Joon. Again, for more photos of these ladies, Follow @MOTORMAVENS on Instagram.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

The BMW M3 is one of the most iconic sports cars on the market and is often times used as the standard for comparison with other sports cars. The quad exhaust tips on the M3 serve as the best “quick glance” identifier of one of these beauties on the road.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

I’ll be honest. We are pretty sick of matte wraps and paint jobs… especially on BMWs. Living in Los Angeles, you see matte wrapped cars ALL THE TIME, especially with nondescript black wheels. It’s just soo played out.

However, this matte gray E46 M3 from Las Vegas-based Eurosquad really pulled off the matte look well. It actually restored our faith in matte cars, because this E46 looks AWESOME. Love it. We just posted this photo on the @MOTORMAVENS Instagram feed, and instantly, it got hundreds of Likes. No doubt!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

The track fun at MFest was being organized by Speed Ventures, so there were more than just Bimmers on the track. There were also other makes and models on the track running the time attack – like this R35 Nissan GTR, for example. This Hard-Driving Motorsports liveried GT-R was making minced meat of some of the other drivers!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Here’s a shot of the Hard-Driving GT-R and the Hybrid-themed Porsche 911 GT3 R. The livery on this Porsche was one of my favorite themes of the GT3 class race cars.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

I spotted Chris from MFest driving this BMW M3 E46 which was rocking some red wheels and matching side mirrors. The black, red and yellow theme of the MFest logo was completely coordinated with the accents on this car. Co-Ord-In-Ate!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

When the car show awards were being given out, we were given a nice surprise from the MFest Crew. This mirror finished MFest Trophy is going to make a nice show piece for the MotorMavens Crew!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Although BMWs are the main focus of the MFest weekend, Lexus and Cadillac also came out to show their support! This FiveAxis designed Lexus GS350 was one of the best looking cars out out there, without question. We even spotted Victor from Emergency Hookers towing it up from SoCal during the caravan on Friday morning.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Normally, when you see a DTM inspired massive wide body conversion on a street car, it’s usually for show purposes. However, it was nice seeing this BMW M3 E92 making full use of its wide body conversion on the track. It was definitely a pleasant surprise – you don’t see cars like THIS hitting the track every day.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

One of the main sponsors of MFest is Solar Transmission Management or STM. Their E92 was a hard car to shoot on the caravan up from Barstow, because our chase car just could not keep up!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

In my opinion, gold and black color schemes have always looked great on any car. Ever since the John Player Special Lotus driven by Ayrton Senna in Formula 1 racing hit the pavement, this scheme has always been a classic. Although this 1 series coupe wasn’t fully JPS-themed, it was close enough to make the car look great!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Chris’ BMW M5 E60 was one hell of a beast on the drive up to Vegas. The twin-supercharged V10 is no joke when it comes to putting down power! I was trying to snap a rolling shot on the freeway but Terry Pham‘s Lexus IS just could not keep up.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Las Vegas natives, Melinda and Tony Ibraheem, brought out their Euro Squad E92 M3 for the track day. The car definitely was hauling ass down the straight where I was standing. This particular shade of orange usually evokes images of Lamborghini – probably one of the reasons this E92 stood out from the crowd when I spotted it on the track.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

There were a few instructor-led runs on the track where they went over a few different driving techniques such as passing and proper cornering.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

This Porsche 996 911 Turbo must have been a blast to drive around the circuit. I was truly surprised to see so many Porsches represented at a BMW meet – pleasantly, of course.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

And here’s another beauty from the wizards at Porsche – this time showcasing our friends at PASMAG. This car is soooooo SICK.

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

This BMW M3 E36 yellow 1 series M coupe is a native of SoCal and definitely had the best rear in the shot. Be on the look out for more of this car very soon!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

When it comes to FAST track cars the Horse Power Freaks/Renner Motorsports M3 E46 was the one to watch. It easily overtook the Savini Wheels Lamboghini Murcielago in the first few laps of the sponsor race. This E46, from what I was told, is a 900+ hp track car!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

This E39 with BMW M-Parallel wheels kept on catching our boy Terry Pham’s eye at the track. He kept on saying, “Damn, that paint job is sooo shinyyyyy…”

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

Here’s a spy shot of Terry hard at work, shooting photos for the MotorMavens MFest Gallery!

Mfest VI 6 Las Vegas caravan track event carshow las vegas motor speedway

MFest VI 2012 was surely one of the most fun car shows and events I have been to in a long time. The great venue, amazing selection of cars and especially the people involved made the whole trip worthwhile. I cannot wait to go to MFest VII next year! On behalf of the entire MotorMavens Crew, I would like to extend a special thanks to Chris and his crew for the invite and all the hospitality in Las Vegas!

DO NOT MISS THE NEXT MFEST EVENT!!!

:: Mike Kim

 

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source: motormavens

PASSION & PRECISION: TAMIYA HEAVEN IN TOKYO

For those that love cars, it’s hard to think of a more exciting place to visit in Japan. The events are fantastic, the shops will blow your mind, and even just being out on the street watching cars can be an amazing experience. While the country’s love for the automobile is quite well known, the Japanese have an equally strong passion for their smaller scale hobbies.Whether it’s those strange anime figurines, old video games, comic books, or anything else – Japan just might be the most hobby-obsessed nation in the world. Often this passion for hobbies crosses over with the love for automobiles and the result is one of the world’s greatest diecast, model, and RC scenes. Many of these Japanese-branded products are known and loved by hobbyists throughout the world.So for many hobbyists, visiting Japan is stepping on to the home turf of their favorite brands. Of these brands, few are more well known or more respected than Tamiya. The company has been around since 1946 and its familiar twin star logo is known by model builders and radio control fans across the planet.That brings me to the Tamiya Plamodel Factory, located in the Shinbashi district of Tokyo. It opened up a couple years ago, and I had the chance to visit for the first time last month.While Tokyo is full of amazing hobby shops, the Plamodel Factory is unique in that it’s an actual retail store that offers the entire line of Tamiya products. Spread among the Plamodel Factory’s three floors you’ll find over 4,000 different Tamiya items for sale.Upon walking in the front door, the first thing I noticed was just how large the place was. Unlike a lot of stores in Japan that can be rather cramped, there was plenty of space here to relax and get a good look at everything. I was also surprised at how nicely everything was presented. Some of this can be attributed to the newness I’m sure, but it had to be the most fashionable hobby shop I’ve ever seen.The first floor of the store is dedicated to plastic models – not just cars but motorcycles, aircraft and ships as well.This isn’t Planehunters , but I think I speak for many Speedhunters readers when I say have a strong interest in aircraft and military history. I’m sure this comes from the same place in my brain as the passion for automobiles.There’s definitley something cool about seeing highly detailed Warbird replicas sitting right alongside the cars we know and love. It’s almost like a miniature version of Goodwood!Ah yes, but back to the cars now…As I said a moment ago, the shelves are well stocked here. If it’s a car and currently produced by Tamiya, you’ll find it at the Plamodel Factory.If you are a model builder or have an interest in Japanese cars, you’ve probably had an experience with a Tamiya kit sometime in your life. Seeing these older models displayed brought back a lot of memories for me.

It’s cool, for example, to see a model of the original Zenki Nissan 180SX – a kit which I believe came out at the same time the actual car did back in the late ’80s.

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source : speedhunters.com

PROJECT CROWN: INSPIRATIONS LARGE & SMALL

When I last left off with my ’69 Toyota Crown Wagon project, I had gotten the car titled, got it rolling, washed, and had begun to ready it for the next stages of the build. Today I’d like to share a couple more small updates on the project and also touch on some of the Crown-related inspiration (and souvenirs) I found during my recent time in Japan.

Let’s begin by traveling back to January for the JCCA New Year Meeting. Among the large sea of amazing cars I saw that day was this Tokyo-based 50-series Crown Custom Wagon not unlike my own. Interestingly, I couldn’t recall ever seeing this particular car before – either in person or in a magazine. That was surprising, given how nicely done this thing was.

While I was ecstatic to come across such a nicely done wagon, it was a slightly bittersweet to see a car that was about 10,000 times nicer than mine. This was like the car that people will put in their classified ad to show “what it COULD look like” rather than a picture of the rusty heap they are actually selling.

Not only was the car in beautiful shape, but it also had been modified in very Those are 14″ Fortran Drag-Is – an extremely rare vintage wheel – especially in a five lug pattern. With five spokes it almost looks like a Magnum 500 rallye wheel, but with a giant lip and small center. Also, check out the center caps with the Crown logo. Nice details all around.good taste. The ride height was turned down nice and low and the wheel selection was perfect.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find the owner to learn more about the car and see the engine bay, but I came away very inspired regardless. While I doubt my car will ever be this nice, the vibe was spot-on.While I was in Japan, I also had the chance to do some browsing around for Crown-related collectables to add to add my collection. I thought it would be fun to share my findings with you guys.

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source:  speedhunter.com