Nissan ZEOD RC – “World’s Fastest Electric Racing Car”

Nissan ZEOD RC uses the same battery technology used in the Nissan LEAF.  It’s speed exceeds 186mph or 300km/h

Nissan revealed the ZEOD RC – “the world’s fastest electric racing car”, according to Nissan, that is expected to achieve speeds of more than 186 mph.

Standing for “Zero Emission On Demand Racing Car”, the ZEOD RC employs the same lithium battery technology used in the Nissan LEAF.  It will make its testing debut in the late summer of this year and will make its first race appearance at the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hour.




source: japanesesportcar


I’ve been to more car shows in the last year than at any other time in my life. Between debuting my own car and coming on board with Speedhunters, I’ve been fortunate to hit major shows nearly every month – a petrolhead’s dream come true. An unexpected benefit of this recent and rapid exposure has been the opportunity to compare some very different events. Let’s be honest, nothing sucks more than attending shows that all feel the same – especially when the same cars show up over and over… and over.

I was excited to attend the Cruisin’ Nationals in Santa Maria because it’s known for having a strong contingency of my favorite genre: the traditional kustom.

Walking in the gate, Larry and I immediately had our socks knocked off by all the shimmering pearl electrified by direct sunlight. We both just walked off and started shooting the sun-charged masterpieces in their natural habitat, regrouping every so often before making our way to another set of cars.

Many of the major rod shows are indoors, a tradition that dates back over 60 years. It gives builders the chance to put their best foot forward, with a perfectly-polished and detailed car sitting in a display to complement it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the prestige of a national indoor show as much as the next guy, but the Cruisin’ Nationals reminded me of what you miss while your brain is being numbed by artificial lighting.

With the natural light enhancing every voluptuous vintage curve, we could truly appreciate the finest kustoms and rods on the west coast.

’49-’51 Mercurys are by far the most legendary of all kustoms – it’s just the go-to bodystyle for customizing – so this earlier ’48 model with canted Buick lights was particularly refreshing.

Being a kustom-centric show I thought we would see tons of chopped and dropped Mercs, so I was surprised by the overwhelming number of slammed Chevys.

This one had plenty of intricate paintwork on the roof – a theme we would see a lot more of throughout the show.

Here’s another with the mild custom treatment – slammed, shaved and flaked – but not chopped.

Plus a nicely detailed original straight six. I hope this one gets finished.

Traditional doesn’t always have to mean dumped though. I’m sure some would argue that this stock height Ford roadster is more traditional than any of the bagged and candied kustoms being built today.

I took Gene Winfield’s metalworking class with a few guys who are now making their mark on the scene, like the owner/builder of this car, Bear Metal Kustoms’ Jason Pall.

Jason showed us the trick four banger he built with an NOS Cyclone racing head.

It seemed like the nicest cars were always clustered together. This row started with a bagged, subtly flamed Chevy…

… next to a traditionally-styled Merc…

… next to yet another Merc from Celebrity Customs

… bookended by John D’Agostino’s latest creation: Sophia.

We first saw Sophia at the Grand National Roadster Show, but it just wasn’t the same as seeing her out in the daylight. We’ve just confirmed a full feature shoot on this car for next month, so stay tuned!

I watched the matte painted ’57 Ranchero in the background as it was built on the HAMB. Between this car and Keith Weesner’s renderings, a ’57 Ranchero is now on my short list of must-have cars. It’s always cool to see a car like this in the flesh for the first time.

The Loco Banditos CC were lined up front-and-center by the stage.

We’ve been trying to tee up features for these cars since we met the guys at March Meet. In the meantime, look for a Spotlight on the ’60 wagon very soon.

There were surprisingly few under-construction vehicles at the show, but this bare metal Chevy deserved to showcase its fine metalwork.

Who would have thought white could look so bold?

This ’40 Merc looked like it fell off a page of Rodder’s Journal.

Wide white bias plies are as traditional as it gets. Some guys cheat (myself included) and run radials on a full fendered car, but obviously this owner wanted to go all-in with his traditional build.

It’s funny how such an extreme build can start to look tame in a sea of candy colored customs.

Here’s a nice slammed Pontiac, with matte paint glowing under the bright sun.

The switchbox for the air ride is the only tell-tale that this picture was taken in 2013 and not 50 years earlier.

White, chrome and color-matched carpet makes for a fresh interior.

Two doors are generally favored, but these sedans loaded with factory accessories looked absolutely perfect with nothing more than a slammed stance.

I wouldn’t change a thing.

This ’54 Chevy came down from Canada and had a slightly different vibe…

…with a tame but nicely appointed six banger…

… plus full trim and wires, creating an upscale, sophisticated feel.

Here’s another Chevy that I would put in the sophisticated camp. The owner really restrained things, resulting in a very clean build.

This little pickup was quite the opposite.

Loud and in your face.

Another little hot rod in a sea of kustoms, this time a Modified on narrow bias plies with open headers.

I hope he wears those goggles when he drives.

This pair of Chevrolets was a good demonstration of two different styles. The matte blue Tri-5 had a mean ’60s street race vibe, while the earlier shoebox Chevy was more of a SoCal lowrider custom.

I spotted a period metalflake Mooneyes steering wheel inside the Tri-5 too. You’ll see why I had my eye out for these soon enough.

Guys used to showed off their hydro pumps behind acrylic, now it’s air compressors.

As Larry and I finished lunch I realized there was a whole field behind us that we hadn’t even seen yet.

I instantly spotted the Kaiser from across the grass. I looked for the owner but he wasn’t around, so I threw my card on his seat. You just don’t see chopped Kaisers very often.

Nor do you ever see a chopped Nash Metropolitan!

While I was checking out these custom oddities, Larry had slipped away again. I found him shooting this amazing scene – a patina’d two-door Chevy sitting alone in front of a barn.

It was an interesting layout at back of the show.

It seemed like people just parked anywhere, resulting in some unexpected backdrops.

Larry was having his own private shooting session with the cars and barns.

I know he wouldn’t let an opportunity pass without pointing his lens and making some poster-worthy images.

Before long the rumble of engines got our attention.

I dragged Larry away from his impromptu photoshoot so we could see what was left in the back field. We spotted this LaSalle grille’d ’40 Caddy.

I was glad we walked the field before everyone left because we caught two really nice bullet birds.

The ’61-’63 Thunderbird is another car at the top of my must-have list.

The factory customs don’t need much to be show stoppers.

I’m pretty sure this Willy’s was the only gasser at the show.

Check out the diversity of styles in this shot. The ’50s, ’60s and ’70s are all here and each representing a unique traditional genre.

As the cars rolled out we got one last reminder of why we were here.

After months of attending high-zoot indoor shows…

…we finally got to see some show-stopping kustoms where they belonged, under the California sun.


Nestled in the hills of Japan’s scenic Gunma Prefecture lies a car museum unlike any other I’ve ever seen. Actually, to even call this place a “car museum” is to understate just what you’ll find here. A visit to the M. Yokota Museum is like taking a trip back to a different era, and the exquisite selection of vintage Japanese cars is only one part of the experience.

I’d seen snippets about the place online over the years, but on my most recent Japan trip I was determined to see the museum for myself. Those images of Yokota’s race car collection alone were enough to put it high on my 2013 winter to-do list.

So one morning my wife and I hopped on a train at Tokyo’s Ueno station and made our way out of the city and toward the countryside of Gunma.

After a two-hour train journey and a short bus ride from the Shibukawa station, we arrived at the destination. The building’s architecture was interesting to say the least.

It’s certainly not something you expect to see on the side of a road in rural Japan.

But enough about the outside. It’s what’s inside that counts, right? Being a Speedhunter, it was of course the collection of vintage cars that brought me here – but the The Yokota Museum is so much more.

In fact, the official name of the place is the “Ikaho Toy, Doll, and Classic Car Museum” and even that doesn’t properly sum up the fascinating and sometimes strange world that’s found inside.

More than anything, the museum pays homage to post-war Japanese culture – the automobiles, toys and dolls are the artifacts used to bring the past back to life.

The entire place is full of items that call back to Japan of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.

From vintage movie posters…

…to photographic tributes to the country’s long line of pop singers and teen idols.

Along with so many other things that tell the story of Japan’s rise from post-war gloom to becoming the economic, technological, and cultural powerhouse it is today.

But how exactly did the Yokota Museum come to be? What’s the story behind this nostalgic wonderland in the hills of Gunma?

It’s all the work of Mr. Masahiro Yokota, a carpenter originally hailing from a poor working class background. After mastering his craft  he was able to have a very successful career as a house builder working during Japan’s massive economic boom of the 1980s.

And while he was able to achieve financial prosperity through his career, he never felt fully satisfied. The money was there, but he really wanted to do something that made people happy. After traveling the world and seeing how the economic landscape was shifting in the United States and Europe, he knew Japan’s bubble economy was going to burst.

So in 1994 Yokota-san decided to take a leap of faith. He left his building career behind and created this toy and doll museum.

During his years of tearing down old houses and building new ones, he started to amass a big collection of unwanted toys. He felt bad seeing them thrown away, and it was this collection that became the starting point for the museum. But more than just a display of old toys, he wanted the museum to speak of the era in which they were manufactured and used.

This was actually a bit of a risky proposition. At the time, there wasn’t a whole lot of nostalgia for the Showa period, so the idea of a “modern” museum with toys artifacts from the last couple of decades was unheard of.  Not to mention, Japan’s economic bubble had in fact collapsed, just as Yokota-san feared.

But it turns out there was a demand to travel back to this not-so-ancient period of Japanese history. Perhaps it was actually good timing. Maybe the tough economic times of the ’90s had people yearning to return to a simpler and more optimistic era?

Whatever the case, people from all over Japan were soon coming to Gunma to see Yokota-san’s new museum. He was soon on his way to paying off the massive bank loan he’d taken out to construct and run the museum. More importantly though, he had accomplished his goal of building something that put a smile on people’s faces.

Of course, for me it was automobiles the brought me here in the first place, but to be honest I found the toys and other bits of nostalgia just as interesting.

While I can appreciate an ancient temple or traditional Japanese garden as much anyone, it’s really Japan’s more recent contributions to history that led me to fall in love with the country. In that sense, the Yokota Museum is an absolutely fantastic place.

But what about the cars? Well, they actually enter the picture a bit later in the museum’s history. Yokota-san had always been a gearhead, and has owned hundreds of motorcycles. During the height of his business success he drove Ferraris, Porsches, and other high end import cars that were rampant on Tokyo’s streets during the boom years.

And while he loved these bikes and exotic imports, he’d never paid much attention to the automotive contributions in his own country.

But that all changed when he was in Yokohama one day and first laid eyes on the iconic Toyota 2000GT. He’d heard of the car as a young man, but it wasn’t until much later in life that he actually had the chance to see one in the flesh. It was love at first sight. A beautiful, timeless automobile designed and built in Japan.

His encounter with the 2000GT ignited a huge passion for Japanese kyusha, and soon his collection was growing to include a number of legendary domestic vehicles from the ’60s and ’70s.

Not only had he fallen in love with these vintage machines, but they served as perfect addition to the museum. A perfect complement to the assortment of Showa era nostalgia he’d already assembled.

So in 2004 the classic car section of the museum was officially opened with a group of 70 hand-picked and fully-restored vintage cars. Yokota-san had already found an enjoyable and rewarding way to share his passion for vintage for Japan with the public, and the process of collecting and restoring these cars made things that much better.

The cars in the collection have all been restored with painstaking authenticity. Everything from the original gauges to the period correct bias-ply tires have been accounted for.

While the majority of the cars in the museum are street models, a number of race cars feature in the mix, too.

There’s some mouth-watering machinery on display, but I’ll wait until the next post to dig into the cars in detail.

One thing that’s especially cool about the car displays is the way they’re accompanied by artifacts from the period they were built.

Sometimes it’s as simple as factory brochures and old model kits…

…or promotional items like this cool Toyota 2000GT-branded hand bag.

Some of the other displays are even more thorough – here’s a tire rack loaded up with vintage rubber for example.

And in another corner, a shelf packed with steering wheels, mirrors, hub caps, and many other cool old car parts.

Check out these S30 Fairlady Z coil springs from Race & Street Service Toyoshima. To quote the English motto written on the front of the box: “The most revolutionary advance since the invention of the suspension. It’s a power and balance experience. We have been producing inquiry suspension for new generation. Who could ask for anything more?”

Promotional models, diecast toys, old car magazines – it all makes for so much more than just a collection of old cars.

With the continued success of the museum over the years, the facility has expanded to include a teddy bear museum, as well as chocolate and wine museum…

…which includes this bartender of the future. Admission to all of the displays are part of the modest 1,050 yen (about $10) admission fee.

There’s even an outdoor area that includes a squirrel habitat. To use the old cliche, it’s fun for the whole family.

It also happens that the squirrel area sits directly across from Yokota-san’s Ferrari F40. A bit surreal, but it’s all part of the experience.

The Yokota Museum made me nostalgic for a time and place decades before and half a world away from my own youth – something I’d say speaks of its effectiveness.  Judging by the young and old faces I also saw enjoying the vintage atmosphere, it’s safe to say Masahiro Yokota’s dream has become a reality.

Next time I’ll return with a closer look at the machinery that calls the Yokota Museum home.

Mike Garrett


source: speedhunters


Following last week’s all-Roadster edition of #FeatureThis it’s back to a slightly more diverse selection of machines from the around the planet this Thursday. This week we have a strong selection of cars from Japan in particular, mixed with some other cool entries from across the globe.

Here they are!

(Above) Let’s begin with one of the less commonly seen generations of the Fairlady Z – the Z31. This choice example on RS Watanbes belongs to Masaya Yamamoto from Tottori-ken in Japan.

A fantastic shot of Ichizo Kubo’s R32 GT-2 prowling the the historic back streets of Tokyo. A timeless machine in a timeless setting.

Rob Andrew has owned this ST205 Celica GT-FOUR for seven years now and the car has become a potent track weapon as well a daily driver. Besides being a regular at track days, Rob has also taken the car to the dragstrip where it turned in a best ET of 12.808 seconds.

Meanwhile over on Instagram, @jeaves6 can be found modeling the new extra extra large Speedhunters decal on the window of his BMW E36.

We always love seeing homebuilt projects like this E30 BMW owned by Stuart Russell. With the help of his father, Russell swapped in a mildly built 306 cubic inch small block Ford V8 which makes for great fun considering the car weighs less than 2,500 lbs.

There’s something cool about this late night gas station shot submitted by Sunny Side Racing from Chiba, Japan. The title that was attached to the photo – “Tough Grip Night”.

We don’t see a whole lot of SAABs come through the #FeatureThis inbox, so it was pleasing to see Patrick Zielinski’s 2000 Viggen pop up. Even with little aftermarket support, Patrick’s car is making 455 horsewpower to the wheels through a variety of mostly self-fabricated modifications.

Instagram user @colinbolin caught this image of his friend’s Volvo 850 T5R grocery getter.

Kazuhiro Odachi from Hokkaido, Japan is the owner of this fresh looking JZX100 Mark II. It’s an interesting mix of street drift style with just a hint of USDM.

Another cool gas station shot from Japan, this one showing Kyotani-san’s two-door AE86 Trueno from Kobe. The car is light-tuned with things like a high compression 4AGE, a carbon hood, and of course a set of Volk TE37Vs.

A pair of fine English classics photographed by Instagram user @gasolinephoto.

A bumper-less Datsun 280Z on the streets of Olsztyn, Poland, as captured by Adrian Banach.

A panda MR2? Why not? This AW11 owned by Korey Hamm from Virgina has also been swapped with a 2ZZ-GE motor and six-speed transaxle for maximum high revving fun.

Got meat? @silvergt’s Mustang sure does.

The Evo might be the most well known of Mitsubishi’s performance cars, but we are quite liking this tuned CJ4A Mirage submitted by Kibo-san from Japan.

Following up the Mirage is another less common front wheel drive car from Japan. This Nissan Pulsar Pulsar Serie  VZ-R・N1 ver.Ⅱ is owned by Gooseke-san and he can be found enjoying the little Nissan around the famous corners of Suzuka Circuit.

Yuichiro Morikawa from Hokkaido sent us this image of his V36 Skyline and a Toyota Prius, both wearing Gramlights 57 Extreme wheels and supporting a local shop called Total Car Office “BREAK”.

Chris from Ontario, Canada has owned this first generation RX-7 since 2005. It now has a street-ported 13B and a bunch of other modifications like a set of 16″ BBS RS wheels.

A pretty mental looking Peugeot build under way at the hands of @pug106.

Finally, in a fitting closing shot we have Kotaro Matsumoto’s 180SX from Japan parked seaside at sunset.

Until next time!



source: speedhunters


Sweden. What comes to mind when it’s mentioned for you? Are there images of unspoiled nature and virgin forests dancing through your head? Or perhaps a glitzy disco song from Abba is playing? It could be that you think of the furniture mega-retailer IKEA, or the clothing giant H&M. You might have a more edgy view of this northern region, and associate it with Stieg Larsson’s Millenium series of books including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, or contemporary fashion brands such as ACNE, Nudie or COS.

But do you think of Sweden as a leader of car culture? The answer is probably not. Until recently, Sweden had two mainstream car companies operating within its borders: the aggressively practical Volvo and the slightly more left-field and now rather defunct Saab. Both of these companies could be directly associated with the stereotypical Swedish mindset: practical and cheerfully functional but not particularly evocative. They would be better described as transportation appliances than anything else.

However there is a flip side to the endless practicalities and perfectionism of the Swedish mindset. Some flickering remainder of the Viking warrior spirit still lurks in the background, and every so often rises from the depths to make itself known. This more primal instinct laughs in the face of conformity, wages war against boundaries and sees horizons as objects only to be reached and sailed past.

Think Koenigsegg, rather than Volvo.

I’ve been living in Sweden for two years now, but have yet to fully wrap my head around the local automotive scene.

I’ve jumped across the border to take in the anarchy of Norway’s Gatebil festival a few times now but until recently, had not yet been to a Swedish event.

Perhaps this has been a mistake though, as I am coming to realize that Swedish car builders have something pretty special going on.

Here, the same kind of crazy, smash-all-rules mentality rules shared by their Norwegian neighbours prevails, but there’s also a real focus on presentation and detailing too.

So without further ado I’d like to quickly showcase for you my first, and without a doubt not my last, completely crazy experience at a Swedish car event: the Bilsport Elmia Performance and Custom Show.

My main motivation for attending the Elmia Show was to discover new feature cars. More often than not, these are the most popular types of stories on Speedhunters. You know as well as I that the Gatebil events have been a great source of amazing car feature stories, so my aim was to find some fully mentalist Scandinavian builds, but with a Swedish twist.

Upon entering the event, the first car to catch my eye was Rasmus Alexandersson’s ultra clean 190E. It’s a fantastic street car – an interesting chassis to get a modern stance look. If this was my first taste of the Elmia Show then things were looking good!

A few cars down I found this tastefully styled Honda Civic Shuttle, care of Björn Enghed. Yes those fenders have been customized to fit around those deeply offset BBS rims.

The car’s spec sheet stated that Björn has the goal to reach 180hp with the build, so I can only assume that work has not started yet on the engine set-up. One to check back on then, once the build is fully realized.

Now I was really starting to get excited. Here we have a pretty wild Mercedes 190E build.

You can see that it’s not finished yet, but Alex Lindquist’s vehicle has the potential to be a truly great Speedhunters feature car. The shaved engine bay, full cage and a rear radiator set-up points towards a street-drift focus for the build. Wow.

Sitting next to the Mercedes was this incredible Mk1 Golf. More feature car fodder.

Rather than take the low and slow route we normally see with fully blown Mk1 builds, Patrik Höglund has gone down a different, more performance oriented route. Berg Cup style anyone?

Needless to say, I have made contact with Patrik to make friends and get a Feature Shoot organized.

The goodness keeps on coming… here we have an absolutely mental and utterly immaculate 1975 Volvo 242.

Inside a rather smooth and tidy engine bay beats a different sort of heart: the car is powered by a turbocharged BMW M50B25 powerplant.

I don’t think I need to ask if you want to see a feature shoot of this car. The builder, Patrik Lindgren, has done an amazing job with this car.

As for me, I was fast becoming a believer in Swedish car style. These machines are taking cues from the USDM-led stance scene, but the detailing and crazy specs are taking car builds into uncharted territory. Best of all, they’re not necessarily just show cars, as the owners all have plans to take them out to the Swedish Gatebil event this June.

You might have noticed by now the presence of a large, imposing display behind these cars. They were all part of the OijOij-Society display; a Swedish car forum community. I wasn’t familiar with the name previously, but they certainly are a group to pay careful attention to!

Also repping the OijOij-Society crew was this rather tasty 2JZ-swapped R34 drift build.

Yes, you’re seeing that correctly. It’s been converted over to LHD with the use of a Volvo dashboard. Apparently it’s a perfect fit to the Skyline’s cockpit dimensions.

We shall see how this build progresses to completion, but there’s definitely plenty of interesting details going on.

Leaving the OijOij Society area, I started to wander around the show and came across this amazing red AE86. It’s a car that was part of the Speedhunters Gatebil Rudskogen display last year, and sadly a machine that we didn’t manage to shoot. Mental note made to arrange feature photography session with the owner next time around!

Moving on to the Club JDM display we were greeted by this minty fresh R34 GT-R. I am resisting the urge to overuse the word clean as this seems to be a given with Swedish car builds.

We inspected the Club JDM machines but the thing that really impressed me…

… was the design of the booth itself. It was more akin to a trendy clothing boutique than a temporary car club display. Club JDM were proudly touting their collaboration with Downforce Clothing, who I understand designed the set-up. Note the Speedhunters Volume One book on the shelf there.

I took a moment to take in this fully built-out Supra adorned with a Top Secret outer layer. It was looking pretty interesting, but I had to get away from all the pounding bass bin cars.

Now here we go again… more Scandinavian mentalism.

Yes this car once was a Volvo P1800. It’s now been rather thoroughly reinvented for the purpose of drag racing though.

There’s no V8 swap here ladies and gentlemen. The powerplant is a still an all-Volvo affair… but it’s now forcefed with a 76mm Schwtizer turbo. Power is claimed to be 850hp from the 1.8L unit.

And yes I got the owner’s phone number. Must. Shoot. Car.

Now what’s going on here? We have a 2006 Mitsubishi Evo 9 sporting a rear radiator set-up.

Walking the around the car it was obvious to see this is a full-on build. So is this a time attack machine…?

No it isn’t, not by any means. This is a drift car. A Lexus V8-powered drift car. With a turbo. Madness.

By this stage my brain was starting to hurt from all the craziness on display at Elmia. But there was no let up in sight though as evidenced by this white MkII. A look at the Audi engine cover and wheels gives the first hints as to what you’re witnessing.

Yes this Golf has a full Audi Quattro drivetrain conversion. Crazy. This is definitely car feature material here.

Close by I spotted a former Speedhunters feature car on display. This is Börje Hanssen’s Quattro, a subject of Sean Klingelhoefer’s lens last month. I took a moment to take in the details of the car but already my attention was being pulled across the hall…

… to what must be the hottest new build on the planet right now.

I showed shots of this car on the Speedhunters Instagram Feed last week, to a rather enthusiastic response. Since then, the car has quite literally blown up across the interwebs.

Several international magazines have already contacted the owner Viktor Mårtensson to arrange shoots. Speedhunters will definitely be right in the mix too with a plans for a full feature production coming together very quickly.

There’s a lot going on here with a 1JZ engine shoehorned into a venerable VW Caddy chassis. Rather than talk too much about details now, I’d prefer for us to wait for a full feature shoot with this ‘Mad Hatter’ Caddy.

I walked past this car a few times at the show without taking much notice. I just assumed that Olsbergs had taken possession of one of Ken Block’s Fiesta chassis but this turned out not to be the case.

This is, in fact, a hand-built Ken Block replica car.

It’s a faithful reproduction of the original, complete with AWD conversion, but with one major (and rather apt considering our location) difference: that’s a Volvo engine you are looking at right there.

My poor brain…

I remember experiencing this same feeling of overwhelmingness at the Gatebil festival last year. Scandinavian car builders are completely mental!

Moving onto the subject of what a Nordic Pro Touring build should look like, this full-on second generation Camaro track car was a perfect example.

The website shows that this car is from Norway… another to add to the ever-growing list that we must track down.

So where to next? How about the hot rod themed hall?

Heading in there you could instantly recognise that this was an entirely different type of automotive tribe.

It’s interesting to note here that the lifestyle element was pretty strong in Elmia compared to other scenes I have dipped into on my travels over the years. For many of the show’s attendees you could see that people’s personal style was as important an element as the cars themselves.

It’s also worth noting that a huge amount of thought was put into many of the car displays themselves, especially when it came to the clubs and crews.

Repping the Flying Grinders crew, this 1930 Model A pickup was my favourite of the traditionally styled rods from Elmia.

Another future feature car methinks!

I also had to take a moment to admire the purity of Metallica guitarist James Hetfield’s Lincoln Zephr. It was dubbed as one of the stars of the show, having been shipped in from the US especially for the occasion.

While I’m not sure if we could source this car for a feature shoot (what do you say Keith Charvonia?), I have to say that this is one of the most beautiful customs I’ve ever seen in the flesh.

Just look at those lines! Even if you aren’t a custom car fan, I’m sure you can appreciate this display of design mastery.

I was also digging this Bellflower-style Olds Cutlass. This is one of those builds which bridges the gap between lowrider and custom; a style that feels quite ‘now’. I’ll see if I can’t get in contact with the owner of this car for a feature.

A hot rod with a bit of dish? Hell yes. I took a moment to check out this very cool rat-styled machine, but I soon found myself distracted again as I was drawn to the other side of the Larsson Customs booth…

… to oogle this monstrosity. It’s a Volvo Amazon that’s been transformed into something between a Gasser, Altered and a Rat Fink cartoon.

Look at the size of that engine! In chatting to the builder, Henrik Larsson, the build started out with the purchase of a complete 1950s vintage drag Hemi.

The rest of the build was simply created around it for maximum dramatic effect.

There are details aplenty here, including obvious metal decay, but presented without any sign of oxidization. That’s a new way to show ‘ratness’ without resorting to rusted surfaces.

Never fear – a shoot has been booked and plans are being made to feature this car as soon as possible. :)

So that’s it for me, with this quick, and definitely unhinged, toe-in-the-water dip into Swedish car culture. It’s been great to see that my local car scene is not only healthy but also exploring new ground, just like the country’s reputation for international creativity and design. We’ll definitely extend our coverage of the show for 2014, but at the very least we now have a bulging collection of wild feature cars to track down. Now I need to go for a lie-down.

Talk soon,

:Rod Chong



source: speedhunters


There are certain projects that are best left for a while before exploring, and the HKS 86 Racing Performer is one of them. Much like every 86/BRZ/FR-S/GT86 demo car around the world, it has all been put together in an impressively short space of time if you consider that the ZN6 and its Subaru counterpart has only been officially on sale in Japan for a year. HKS are always at the forefront of JDM tuning and parts development and when it came to the most anticipated car the industry has seen in the last decade, they certainly didn’t hold back.

So when I had the chance to cover their time attack attempt, organized in collaboration with Yokohama Tire, I took advantage of the opportunity and featured their rather special 86.

After all it’s not every day you are given full access to such a cool car, not to mention Tsukuba and its challenging layout.

The way HKS have approached this project is pretty smart; the car is not only their D1 Grand Prix pro drift machine but we have seen it double up as the occasional time attack car too. This is because it also serves the purpose of test mule/ development car, testing out a bunch of prototype parts in the harshest of conditions.

This helps guarantee reliability once specific upgrades get signed off and put into production, giving both HKS and its customers peace of mind. But before we get to all the interesting oily bits, let’s take a quick look at the exterior of the vehicle; one that makes it stand out among the hundreds of other 86/BRZ demo cars in Japan.

Having the ability to create their own dry carbon parts in-house allows HKS to really make performance car owners extremely jealous. Was there really a need to make a dry carbon front bumper and integrated diffuser section? Carbon front fenders? Probably not, but hey, if you have the means… right? Of course it’s not all for show. While being extremely nice to look at in their satin unpainted state, these bits also help shave precious weight up front. And in case you’re wondering, yes the front fenders are moulded off the Rocket Bunny/6666 Customs bolt-on items. HKS have collaborated with TRA Kyoto on the aero but had to do things a little differently to stand out.

Tow straps are a must in Japan these days!

The rear gets the regular Rocket Bunny/6666 Customs overfenders, screwed down with exposed screws.

It would be great to see this 86 in the bare without any graphics or sponsors…

… just to appreciate its simple yet functional exterior. Certainly looks like no other ZN6 out there, especially when blasting around the track with Nob at the wheel.

You won’t find any wild engine swaps under the stock aluminum hood because HKS have preferred to apply their know-how on the base FA20 flat four motor. Having received a couple of pre-production cars even before the 86 went on sale early last year allowed them to start work on the engine before most of their competitors. Knowing that forced induction would be the only way to get the 200hp lump to develop decent power, they worked on a bottom end capable of taking the abuse of serious boost levels. The 2.2L stroker kit that the FA now runs is made up of slightly oversized 87 mm forged aluminum pistons, H-section connecting rods and a counterbalanced crankshaft with an increased (89 mm) stroke.

So with that taken care of the bolt-on bits followed. First up the HKS GT7040L supercharger, a pretty large unit that has been set up to deliver 1.6 kg/cm2 of boost right across the rev range. It has been positioned slightly offset from the center of the engine, mounted on its own bracket…

… and plumbed into place with custom aluminum piping. An HKS sponge filter makes sure the blower doesn’t suck up unwanted debris while the HKS front-mounted intercooler cools the intake charge before it passes through the throttle.

To keep the GT supercharger cool a dry carbon NACA duct has been worked into the stock hood, the latter probably getting replaced with a one piece carbon item in the near future.

While the 2.2L FA20 is technically force-induced, what differentiates it from turbocharged versions is its sound. Thanks to a more flowing stainless steel four-into-one exhaust manifold the HKS 86 screams with an NA-like throaty growl, as there’s no turbo in the way to muffle it all up.

This makes it one of the most unique-sounding 86s out there…

… and no matter where you position yourself around Tsukuba Circuit you can hear it as it blasts all the way around the 2km (1.2 mile) track.

The engine makes about 520 HP in its forced induced state, an HKS F-Con V Pro taking care of engine management including the fuelling which is kept at pressure through two externally mounted Bosh fuel pumps and a set of 700 cc/min injectors.

Giving another additional punch of power is the Nitrous Express nitrous oxide system, which delivers 50+hp when Nob needs it. With close to 400hp over the stock power the driveline needed some serious attention, with most of the factory components being relegated to the trash. The transmission was replaced with an SR-base HKS five speed sequential unit, fitted onto the motor along with a prototype triple plate clutch. Transferring drive to the TRD LSD housed inside the Toyota eight-inch rear end is a Skyline GT-R propeller shaft; all beefed-up components needed for reliability in competition. It’s all completed with thicker driveshafts from a Toyota Mark II.

More prototype parts follow in the suspension department with custom adjustable suspension arms and knuckles as well as a modified steering rack. These are then joined by HKS Hiper Max IV GT adjustable coilovers, specially set up and developed with input from Nob and a year’s worth of testing and competing in D1.

For the time attack session in Tsukuba the 86 was running 18-inch Yokohama RZ-DF shod in 265/35R18 Neova AD08R all round for ultimate grip.

Braking is handled by some of the best brakes currently available from a Japanese maker: the Endless monobloc six-pot kit. These front anchors have no problem scrubbing speed off quickly and effectively – and seeing the contained curb weight of 1,150kg – are almost completely fade-proof. The rear is stabilized with regular Endless six-pot calipers, which are directly linked to the hydraulic e-brake.

The open wheel wells allow copious amounts of air to flow towards the brakes, helping to keep things nice and cool.

Since drifting also requires a good amount of downforce, HKS have slapped a big dry carbon wing onto the carbon trunk…

… but it’s actually the Valenti rear taillights that really finish off the back end superbly. For you keen-eyed readers you may have noticed that the headlights also got some attention with LED DLRs and BMW-like angel eyes around the main HID projectors.

For what is a fully-fledged pro drift and time attack car, the interior has remained quite sedate. The door cards and most of the dashboard have been left untouched, only cut out where they would have otherwise interfered with the roll cage.

Oil and water temperatures are monitored via the HKS DB meters while the HKS A/F knock amp constantly checks engine performance and warns of excessive pinging. Aside from the Endless hydraulic e-brake lever and HKS sequential selector…

… Nob also has a button on the steering wheel to play with.

This actuates the nitrous oxide system for an instant boost in power when a bit of extra speed is needed down a straight, or as a little boost when the engine is out of its power band.

What really impresses about the HKS 86 and 86s/BRZs in general, is the sheer pace of evolution that has occurred in only a year. The JDM aftermarket world has never seen anything like this…

… and to think we’re still only at the beginning truly boggles the mind. What more can we expect for this platform? Or better still, what would you, the enthusiast, like to see developed and pursued? No matter how it will all progress however, you can bet HKS will continue to be right there spearheading it all.






Max Power – 580hp / Max Torque: 549 Nm (405lb/ft) / Max Boost: 1.6 kg/cm2


HKS ø87 mm forged pistons, HKS connecting rods, HKS full counter-balanced crankshaft (89 mm stroke), 2.2L capacity, HKS four-into-one stainless steel exhaust manifold, HKS one-off exhaust system, HKS GT7040L supercharger, HKS filter, HKS intercooler, HKS piping, HKS blow off valve, HKS oil cooler, HKS oil filter, oil catch tank, one-off surge tank, Bosh fuel pumps x2, HKS 700 cc/min injectors, Nitrous Express nitrous oxide system, one-off oil catch tank, F-Con V Pro ECU


HKS triple plate clutch, lightweight flywheel, HKS five-speed sequential transmission, Skyline GT-R propeller shaft, Toyota eight-inch rear end, TRD LSD, Toyota Mark II drive shafts


HKS Hipermax Max IV GT adjustable coilovers, HKS one-off adjustable arms, HKS one-off knuckles, modified steering rack, Endless monobloc six-pot front brake kit, rear Endless six-pot calipers, Endless two piece slotted rotors front and rear, hydraulic e-brake


Yokohama RZ 10Jx18″ front and rear, Yokohama Advan Neova AD08R 265/35R18 front and rear


HKS dry carbon front bumper, HKS dry carbon splitter/diffuser, HKS dry carbon front wide fenders, Craft Square carbon mirrors, Rocker Bunny 6666 Customs rear overfenders, HKS dry carbon rear GT-wing, Valenti taillights


Nardi steering wheel, Bride Zeta III bucket seats, DB meters RS, HKS Knock Amp Meter, HKS OB-Link, NX nitrous pressure gauge, roll cage


Dino Dalle Carbonare





Aside from the spectacular environment it’s built around and the atmosphere abuzz within it, the beauty of the Leadfoot Festival lies with the machinery. I’ve been to a lot of car shows and motorsport events during my lifetime thus far, but when you’re talking sheer diversity, nothing has come close to the event created by Rod Millen.

I’m going to wrap up my coverage with look at just a few of the automotive gems that made this year’s Leadfoot Festival the spectacle it was.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t begin with some the cars from the Millen stable. Aside from Rod’s unfathomably quick Celica which beat out the competition for the third year running, his recently completed RX-3 is right up there in the drool stakes. Built as a modern day interpretation of the car that took him to three consecutive wins of the New Zealand Rally Championship in ’75, ’76 and ’77, the Mazda has an amazing build quality.

It’s also super-quick, with an injected 13B peripheral port engine backed up by a six-speed sequential gearbox. With lashings of carbon fibre and lots of high-end race car technology it might be a far cry from his original car, but all sign-written up in retro livery I think it still perfectly captures its spirit.

With Rod’s son Rhys at the controls, the MillenWorks Tundra made full use of the Ranch’s new off-road detour almost every time it headed out, and why not! The ex-Championship Off-Road Racing (CORR) machine was fully designed in CAD and runs a custom designed and built 4WD driveline behind its TRD-built V8 engine.

Filling in for his younger brother Ryan who was unable to attend, Rhys also got behind the wheel of Rod’s SCCA Mazda RX-7 from the ’80s. As the sticker on the driver’s door window proudly announces, this car utilizes a custom 4WD system too.

Rhys had his own car there too: the ex-works Group B Mazda RX-7 that I took a closer look at in this feature last year.

For road legal racers:  in this case a Kiwi-built Fraser Clubman S…

…To rally cars…

…to purpose-built hill climb machines. Steve Murphy’s V8-powered, four-wheel-drive Mitsubishi Cordia is a bit of a local legend having won New Zealand’s famed Ashley Forest Rallysprint three times.

Easily one of the most valuable cars at the event was a 1986 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Zagato. Only 50 of these machines were ever built, and this particular car (chassis #5) is one only of two ever set up for racing.

The road-going Zagato was powered by a 5.3L quad cam V8 good for 440hp and a top speed of 300km/h. With the help of factory-approved RS Martin/Aston Martin 7.0L engine upgrade this one outputs 525hp. I wouldn’t like to guess what the car is worth today, but back in 1989 it changed hands for £450,000 (USD$685,000)…

A little less exotic, but impressive in its own right is the E&H Motors ’09 Subaru Impreza WRX STI back for another Leadfoot Festival with owner/builder Carl Ruiterman behind the wheel. With close to 600whp at the ready and a KAPS sequential gearbox acting as the trigger, it’s a weapon.

The prize for the car most outside of its realm probably needed to go to the #23 DuPont Chevy Monte Carlo. This particular car was raced in the 1998 Winston Cup Series by none other than Jeff Gordon.

This creation parked up in the infield was attracting a whole lot of attention all weekend long, and for good reason. It’s a Bolwell Nagari of which only 118 we factory-built between in the early ’70s ex-Lotus engineer based in Australia.

Borrowing design traits from the Lotus Europa and Elan and Lamborghini’s Miura, the cars were originally powered by 230hp 302ci Windsor V8 engines. This car’s had a bit more work and was re-engineered with a tube frame chassis in the ’80s, and more recently was fitted with stroked 347ci Windsor with  MoTeC-controlled fuel injection.  Considering 430hp finds its way to the rear wheels and the car weighs around 920kg (2030lb), I’m going to hazard a guess here and say that it’s fast…

On the subject of fast, this Ford Escort RS1800 in Group 4 specification and sporting Rothmans livery from the Ari Vatanen era, wasn’t hanging about…

…And the same goes for that rapid little Mini Cooper S I showed you in the first Leadfoot post.

Also quick – in fact quick enough to take home third place overall in the final Top 10 Shoot-Out – was Joe McAndrew driving his 2002 Jedi. ‘Smokin’ Joe is better known in New Zealand for his former exploits in an ex-Prodrive 555 Subaru Legacy rally car, but he drove the pants off the 300kg/180hp single seater for a 52.71-second run up the driveway.

Others didn’t quite make it to the top.

In my mind one of the coolest cars at the event was 1936 Chevy being run by NASCAR crew chief royalty, Ray Evernham. A throwback to the NASCAR modified series of the late ’60s the Chev runs an injected 350ci V8 backed up by four-speed gearbox and a quick-change rear end.

Not the quickest way up the hill, but plenty of points for style were earned here!

Speaking of style, Billy F. Gibbons’ SO-CAL Speed Shop creation, ‘Mexican Blackbird’, absolutely oozes the stuff don’t you think?

Anything painted this shade of orange with the words ‘McLaren Cars’ on its sides commands respect. This one’s a ’72 M22 Formula 5000 machine.

1978 450SL anyone? Chevy V8-powered I believe this Mercedes-Benz was the winner of the ’85 Australian Sports Sedan championship. It definitely looks like it means business!

This ’71 Dodge Daytona is recent build fitted with a genuine genuine 358ci Mopar NASCAR engine. That  goes a long way to explaining why it sounded so sweet!

Another car making all the right noises was this very cool replica of Dale Earnhardt Senior’s short track #8 Chevy Nova driven by former high-ranked American off-road racer Erin Crocker.

Top local driver Emma Gilmour back in the driver’s seat of a very special machine. Built by the late, great Kiwi rally icon Possum Bourne from the Prodrive-built 1998 World Rally Car he once had a works-drive in, the Impreza was de-restricted and modified for hill climb duties in the early ’00s.

Although the power’s been turned down from its ultimate specification, it still had plenty of grunt as Emma proved with one of the quickest times up the driveway during the weekend.

You can’t beat the sound of a BDA engine tuned to perfection, and this new and immaculately presented Escort Mk1 from Neil Allport Motorsport was singing a sweet song whenever it took to the course.

Strangely enough, so was this Renault Dauphine which was most definitely not powered by its original rear-mounted 32hp, 845cc engine..

Opening the side door revealed something just a  little more powerful – namely a 350ci (5.7L) Chevy V8 engine borrowed from a Corvette and mounted in a rear-mid position. That’s more like it!

I have a lot of love for this ex-Trans Am Series (USA) ’69 Camaro Z/28, especially when it’s doing this.

And don’t get me started on Mike Delmont’s ’75 BMW 2002 Turbo which has been in a constant state of development for more than a decade. The last I heard it was throwing down well over 500hp.

A collective gasp came over over the crowd gathered at the second hairpin when Peter Sundberg’s Ferrari F40 ran a little wide on the exit. It was a close one!

It’s hard to believe the F40 design is more than a quarter of a century old – but it is. Like the rest of the car, the 471hp, 2.9L twin turbocharged V8 ‘Tipo F120A’ engine is a thing of beauty.

An F40 and a 458 Challenge – nothing to see here…

This Mk1 Ford Escort RS2000 is a regular at classic race meets, and thanks to a 2.4L build it’s got plenty of power and pace.

It’s pretty cool to think that two genuine Cologne Capris live in New Zealand – this car: an RS2600 version – and a box-flared RS3100 version, which co-incidently is owned by the guy driving the Ferrari 308 GT4/LM in my first Leadfoot post. Like the 3.1L, the 2.6L gets driven the way Ford Germany’s skunkwork motorsport division of the ’70s intended!

Clark Proctor was doing double-duty at Leadfoot behind the wheels of both his Nissan 3.0L twin turbo powered Ford Escort Mk1, and his March 73A Formula 5000 car. The latter took him to second place overall with a 51.60-second best in the Shoot-Out.

But no one beat Rod who made it look effortless in his legendary Pikes Peak Toyota Celica. 50.92 is the time to beat in 2014…

…But I get the feeling that this man isn’t going to give up his title without a fight. If you’re in New Zealand in late March next year, do yourself a favor and get to this event.






Global Time Attack & Shift S3ctor Pro Am

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

If you saw our previously published story on the R’s Tuning Ben Sopra GTR from the Fast & Furious 6 movie, then you already know we were out at Buttonwillow Raceway this past weekend for the Global Time Attack Pro Am with Shift S3ctor. The event wasn’t intended to be one of the larger GTA events; it was planned as a Pro/Amateur track day for the guys to shake down their cars at Buttonwillow. The types of cars at the event varied pretty wildly, from expensively modified AMG Benzes to homegrown builds, like Honda Civics and Mazda RX7s.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

In the Buttonwillow paddock closest to the East Loop, the AE Performance crew set up a pretty impressive pit area, which included this white S15 Silvia and a grouping of Boss 302 Mustangs.

Paul Walker Fast & Furious Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Turns out that the driver of the AE Performance 370Z was none other than Paul Walker, of Fast & Furious fame.

Paul Walker Fast & Furious Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

While he was driving the track, his crew was on hand with tons of cameras pointed towards him. Someone told me they were filming some extra footage that might be used as a bonus feature for a Fast & Furious DVD, or possibly some other project…

Paul Walker Fast & Furious Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Either way, there was certainly a noticeable difference in the type of trailers the AE crew was working with. When most racers roll to the track with brand new Toyota Tundras or Ford F250s and fully enclosed trailers with graphics, people think they’re ballin! Well, look at Paul Walker’s setup here, with the deluxe motorhome and everything! They even had a separate trailer that was used as a bathroom… separate from the trailer that pulled the 370Z, not to mention the other cars! (Man, and I thought Chris Rado’s track presence was ballin! Paul’s on another level it seems. Those NBC Universal paychecks must have a lot of zeros on them! Unfortunately, when I used to work at Universal, most of the zeros on my paycheck were to the right of the decimal point…)

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

If you look past the stylishly vinyled AE 370Z, you’ll see their baller rig. Damn son! I was looking for the Star Waggons stickers on the side, like all the other rigs parked at the Universal Studios backlot. Anyway, enough rambling about that. I love how this 370 looks! It’s proof that functional track cars and LOOK good too.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

I think this orange BMW M5 was from the AE Performance camp too. At least it was parked next to their pit area. Either way, it looked awesome out on the track!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Ballers and their vehicles aside, I thought it was great to see grassroots racing enthusiasts at many different levels participating in the GTA event. A bunch of friends teamed up to work on this matte black RSX – awesome. I love it when cars bring friends together like this!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Oh wow, check out the brakes on the RSX! And the front lip, canards and JDMZipties sticker?! Nice!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

If you don’t know the driver of this E46 BMW M3, you better remember his name – Don Pastor. Some race teams are proud to have fast cars, but cars are only as fast as the driver behind the wheel. Don Pastor is a fast driver. With a bone stock motor and some really minor mods in his E46 M3, Don managed to pull off a 1:52.232 at Buttonwillow. This was the FASTEST recorded time of the day. Yes, even faster than the Fast & Furious Ben Sopra R35 GTR. If you owned a car as expensive as that Ben Sopra GTR, wouldn’t you be mad that Don’s old E46 was even faster (and quite possibly more furious) than your R35? I think I probably would.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Don’s M3 doesn’t even have a race car livery for crying out loud – just some stickers on the side. However, his driving skills still pushed him all the way to the top! RESPECT.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Check out this Evo from Static Nine Garage! It was rounding the corners so quickly, the inner tires were lifting up! Sick.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

This gorgeous yellow FD looked so clean all day! I loved the little RX7 placard on the front bumper (although I prefer just a plain bumper with no plates), because it made me think of Japanese RX7 minicars from brands like Tomica and Ebbro.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Ooohhh. A new M3 with Swift springs and other mods? Sign me up! I wanna test drive it! The tires were lifting up as it rounded the “Grapevine” on Buttonwillow’s East Loop!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

As it sped from the Grapevine to Club Corner, it was cool to see the rear of the M3 squatting down under hard acceleration!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

This BMW E30 looked HILARIOUS as it rounded the track! The sway bars must have been completely disconnected, cause it had RIDICULOUS amounts of body roll! It was pretty funny actually, it looked cartoonish as it navigated the corners!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Speaking of hilarious, things weren’t going so well over at Global Time Attack mission control. Amanda from GTA somehow managed to drain the battery of the Toyota Sienna cargo hauler they drove up to Buttonwillow. Luckily, someone had jumper cables and a car capable of jumping the Sienna!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Back on the track, this Mitsubishi Lancer Evo looked pretty aggressive with its super low aero. I wonder what kind of times this thing was putting down! Either way, it’s great to see full aero cars like this one out on the track!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Some GTA cars had a minimalist approach to aerodynamics. This Honda Civic looked pretty normal at first glance. It was lowered with wider wheels, canards on the front bumper to direct airflow. Low sideskirts were attached to the car to further aerodynamic direction, and there were big slots cut into the rear bumper so that air wouldn’t get caught inside the rear bumper, creating drag for the car. I wonder how much of an issue drag is for Honda Civics such as this one…? I never really looked into it, cause my own car isn’t fast enough to make me worry about such things.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Check out the louvered hood on this Scion FRS from Road Race Motorsports! Or is it Robispec? I don’t know. Either way, this FRS looks like it would be super fun to drive at the track, given its functional performance mods. I’m not the hugest fan of those carbon F1 style mirrors though. It reminds me of… (sorry, Paul Walker) Fast & Furious cars and the horrific “show cars” at Hot Import Nights when they were still around.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Blue tape graphics! This S2000 was being driven by my friend John from Maxxis Tires! Great to see some industry heads out at the track!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

The one thing you need to know about the Shift S3ctor crew is that they like to go fast. Really fast. These guys do top speed airstrip attacks with their cars for crying out loud! Obviously the vehicles in their stable would be fast, with a lot of torque like this black Corvette…

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Or this R35 GTR. It’s crazy to see how much of a visual difference there is between this stock bodied GTR and the full aero Ben Sopra R35 GTR from R’s Tuning, which was also running the track that day. Apparently the GTR has some Whiteline Suspension components on it? At least, that’s what the license plate frame suggests…

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Check out the lineup of Shift S3ctor cars parked on the paddock. These are all pretty much big boy vehicles.

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Check out this Fiat 500 Abarth. I know that Fiat 500s were the rage in Europe, but when I first began seeing the new Fiat 500 on the street, I dismissed it as another small, “cute looking” car like the Smart or Mini Cooper. I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of such cars. However! The Fiat 500 Abarth is a completely different animal!

I was recently given the opportunity to test drive a friend’s Fiat 500 Abarth, and I had an AWESOME time with it. The 500 Abarth may be small, but it is FAST, and it just SOUNDS so cool – I love hearing turbo noises as I drive around town!

This particular Abarth was equipped with awesome rally-inspired wheels, and I’m pretty sure it was pretty well built. Why do I think that? Well, because it looked and sounded super fast! I’d absolutely LOVE to rip around a track like Buttonwillow or Horse Thief Mile with an Abarth!!!

Global Time Attack Shift S3ctor Sector Buttonwillow

Here’s the Fiat 500 Abarth again, hot on the tail of an S2000 as the checkered flag waves! I had a great time at this GTA/Shift S3ctor event. Maybe we should attend time attack events more often?

:: Antonio Alvendia





In yesterday’s post I gave you guys a broad view of the Goodguys All-American Get Together in Northern California, and today I’d like to narrow in and focus on some of the specific cars that caught my interest at the show. As I mentioned in the first post, there was huge variety of cars that came out – and I think this selection of six vehicles conveys that pretty well.

Let’s begin with one of those most unique,and also one of the coolest cars I found all day – a 1961 Chevy Corvair Lakewood wagon lowrider. Now just seeing any Corvair wagon is quite rare in itself, but to see one dumped to the ground on wire wheels is something completely unexpected.

With the rear wheels cambered well into the fenders, it gives the car a slightly European or Japanese vibe. It’s fitting, considering how much different the Corvair was from any other American car of the era.

Elsewhere, the car was very subtle. The body (with the exception of some mild shaving) and interior were largely original – and in pristine condition.

It’s always great to see people think outside the box, and that is exactly what the builder of this unique cruiser did. Well done!

From a slammed compact wagon to a high riding bruiser. Another car that caught my eye was this badass Plymouth GTX Gasser. While ’66 and ’67 Plymouths have always been popular among racers and restorers, I can’t recall ever seeing one built quite like this.

All the correct Gasser elements were checked off the list. Straight axle conversion up front with fenderwell headers, and a fitting combination of skinny Cragars up front and big steelies in the rear.

Let’s not forget the equally important set of velocity stacks popping proudly through the center of the hood…

A peek inside the car reveals a cockpit that is much more street car than it is racing machine. That’s just one of the many things that I love about 1960s era drag cars.

If there was one negative, it was the fact that the car looked slightly out of place sitting on the grass at a car show. You can just sense this thing is waiting to be unleashed at the drag strip.

Representing the custom world, we have a stunning ’62 Chrysler 300 created by well known builder Richard Zocchi of nearby Walnut Creek. Known as “Cool 300″, this the latest in a long line of Zocchi’s custom creations.

While the body of the Chrysler has been heavily massaged, the angled headlights are a factory feature that was left intact. An example of some of the bold styling features seen on American cars of the early ’60s.

It’s hard to think of a more fitting wheel and tire combo for this car than wires with knockoffs and wide whites. It just fits with the high end custom style so well.

Glancing through the heavily chopped roofline, you can see an interior that’s been done in the same “sherbert” color scheme.

To show just how well this car has been received, it was selected as the winner of the George Barris Kustom D’Elegance Award at this year’s Grand National Roadster Show.

The Chevy Nova/Chevy II is an extremely common car at shows like this, and it can be very hard to build one that stands out. This ’66 from the city of Rocklin has managed to do just that.

You might be asking why, because the exterior looks pretty standard. Indeed it does. With modestly sized rallye wheels at each corner, it looks like your typical cruise night special.

The same goes for the basic looking, bench-seat equipped interior. It’s all very nice and tidy, but nothing out of the ordinary.

But then you look in the engine bay and see this – a 6.0 liter LSX motor with a massive turbocharger affixed to it.

It’s not rare to see old cars with big power LSX swaps and forced induction, but they are usually accompanied by giant wheels and tires, racing seats, and other overt modifications. This one on the other hand is a wrapped in a very unassuming package. One of the coolest sleepers I’ve seen in a while.

History is one thing that can make a car very cool, and this ’51 Chevy has plenty of that. It was originally a mild custom in Southern California and in the early ’60s it was converted into a drag car.

With a straight axle conversion, it ran in gas class competition at places like Irwindale and Lions Drag strip before it was put into storage in 1967. In 2006 it underwent a complete frame-off restoration where modern running gear was added to match its period looks.

While the interior looks straight out of the ’60s, that shifter is actually mated to a T56 six-speed transmisison. The motor is a 383 stroker with nitrous, making over 600 horsepower on pump gas.

Gotta love the big cheater slicks sitting under fenders that were originally radiused back in the early ’60s.

It’s fast, cool, and has a ton of history. What more do you need?

Lastly, we have a rather interesting 1970 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia. Wait a minute. What’s the deal? What’s so American about a VW?

Well, this is no normal Karmann Ghia, but a fairly mental build out of Lewiston, Idaho. It’s got a custom-fabricated chassis and wasn’t built just for show but for open track events.

It’s powered not by an aircooled Volkswagen motor buy by a fully built 331 cubic inch Ford small block that’s somehow been wedged into the front cargo compartment.

While the Ghia is clean enough to be a show car, a peek inside the interior further reveals its athletic intentions. There are full bucket seats, a custom transmission tunnel and of course a roll bar.

And just to make things that much better, the big Wilwood brakes are covered by a set of Work Emotion XD9 wheels. A German car with an American engine and Japanese wheels. Why not?

So there you have it. Just a little slice of the automotive extremes from the Goodguys All American Get-Together.






My name is Peter Kelly and I’m the editor of New Zealand Performance Car magazine. With Speedhunters’ America theme happening, I was asked by the team to write a guest post, no doubt due to my perceived conflict of occupation – running a staunchly import-only magazine, and choice of vehicle – a 1967 Fastback Chevrolet Impala.

My life has always revolved around Japanese performance vehicles, right from when I bought my first turbocharged vehicle at sixteen. In the many years since, I’ve owned and modified a range of interesting Japanese cars, including a JZX90 Toyota Mark II featured on Speedhunters many moons ago, and have been working as a journalist within the import industry for the last decade. For a good percentage of the years since getting my first car, I had an active dislike for all things American automotive – I’ve always dismissed the American vehicle for, arguably, everything it stands for. Compared to the light, high-tech and exceptionally clever JDM vehicles that I loved, lived and breathed every day, these behemoths seemed to me like lumbering, inefficient land yachts – the epitome of stereotypical American excess. While that view hasn’t really changed, it’s those same attributes I used to hate, that I now love, thanks to a chance sighting of a stock standard 1967 Impala Coupe near my home in Auckland about five years ago. I was struck by it’s overt, gaudy but at the same time strikingly beautiful appearance and although I didn’t go straight out and buy one, I did from that day on, have a new appreciation and love for classic American cars. I also promised myself that when the time was right, I’d own a 67 Impala Fastback Coupe – in my eyes, the prettiest American car ever made (though I’m sure readers will have their own opinions on this).

After first dipping my toes into GM ownership with a 1967 Cadillac Coupe De Ville a few years back, I quickly figured out that there was little point in pouring money into a car that was never really the dream, so I sold up for a tidy profit (another benefit I was far from accustomed to coming from JDM cars), and eventually found a beat-up numbers-matching Impala fresh out of Arizona.

The next year was spent restoring the car with help from friends, a few of whom didn’t really get it, but were there nonetheless. New chrome, a full panel and paint, carpets and plenty of rust removal began to cut into the wallet pretty deep.

Despite some internet chatter, the odd email and awkward hostile conversation from people who thought that it was wrong someone in my position should be building a car like this, I persevered and the end result is exactly how I’d imagined it would be.

The paint, applied by Grant at Auckland’s GT Refinishers, is a modified Jaguar gold from PPG. Coming from Japanese cars, I never actually thought about how much more paint you’ll need to purchase to cover a car like this, but at 5.4 metres long and a little over 2-metres wide, the budget blew out pretty quickly, especially when factoring in the extra labour involved in getting those massive panels perfect.

The car sits very low on 14-inch reverse offset (around -10) wires by way of static suspension, which I think goes a great way towards enhancing its soft, flowing lines. People always ask my why I’ve never installed hydraulics or bags in the Impala – simply put, though I appreciate juice and air, it’s just not me and I didn’t want to ruin the originality of the car.

To me, of all the Impala generations, the 67/68 is the most beautiful. It’s massive hips, more pronounced than the similar 65/66, flow effortlessly towards the rear of the car, meeting up with the 67/68’s unique fastback roofline at the simple, clean taillights.

This is the easiest way to tell the two fastback years apart – the 67 uses three-pane rectangular lights above the bumper as pictured, whereas GM changed to six big round lights recessed into the bumper itself the year after.

Interior-wise, the factory gold-vinyl interior remains because, well, it’s just so incredibly ugly that it does a full circle and once again becomes strangely appealing.

Until this car came to New Zealand, it was owned by one family since new, with ownership going from father, to mother and then to son as the years rolled on. This would explain the very tidy condition of the gaudy gold covering the entire living space of the car. The glove box still contains the original dealership papers, service history and a 1995 Blockbuster receipt for Sister Act II on VHS.

The Impala runs the factory-fitted 327ci small block V8, which I’ve kept as original as possible. It’s not going to propel the car to a 10-second quarter mile, but that was never the point – this car never had to be fast.

With six seats (eight in a pinch), a good sound system and a strong, reliable driveline, the Impala has improved my life considerably over the three years since it’s been on the road. No doubt, it’ll probably be the summers spent cruising New Zealand’s beach towns and car festivals that I’ll remember fondly in my old age. I’m not sure I could say that about any other car I’ve owned…

Though I will always love Japanese cars and will continue to own and modify them for the rest of my life, in terms of pure aesthetics and impact, to me, there are few JDM machines that can match the beauty and pure presence of this “coke bottle” era in American motoring. I’ll admit that I used to be very one-eyed when it came to cars, but owning, driving and maintaining this Chev has helped me to become what I now think of as a true car enthusiast – someone with a completely open mind to all types of vehicles.

While I’m sure not everyone will share or even understand my unbridled love for my Impala, for all its flaws, to me it’s quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s a car that makes me fight a smile every time the garage door rolls up, and the day I stop feeling like a giddy child when I pump the accelerator a few times and turn the key on first start up, is the day I know it’s time to move on. Realistically, I’m not sure I can ever see that happening… #joyofmachine

-Peter Kelly




Jackson Racing’s Honda CR-Z Supercharger

The grunts and collective groans from Honda loyalists haven’t quieted one bit since the introduction of Honda’s CR-Z hybrid last year. Power starved and all but cursed with an aggressive look that, no matter how you chop it up, harkens back to much more exciting times. A time that included the release of the beloved CRX, a car that would change a soon to be overpopulated hot hatch landscape. But why live in the past, reliving glory days while comparing them to rather dreary current times? It’s because looking toward the past can actually produce some answers for today’s most nagging issues.

Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Jacking Racing Supercharger Kit

Someone who knows more than most of the population when it comes to making power, both then and now, is Oscar Jackson Sr. He’s had his hands in tuning Hondas since well before most of our readers were even born. He’s been doubted more times than he can possibly remember, and somehow he’s always managed to rise above, and convert naysayers into avid believers.

These days he’s once again back in the driver’s seat of Jackson Racing with his son, Oscar Jr., riding shotgun as the two embark on a whole new challenge. No stranger to engine swaps, the Jacksons set out to offer a unique alternative to the complex and often pricey K-series swap in the form of a Rotrex-based supercharger kit. Before you assume the mighty K series’ power output will trample that of a low-boost supercharger kit, you may want to take a look at the results. With the factory catalytic converters (both of them) still intact, and the original Honda exhaust system, the Jackson Racing kit pounds out an additional 50 horsepower, and 45 lb-ft of torque. And rather than having to rev to the moon to find that power, almost all of that torque is realized in the midrange, where the majority of driving takes place.

To find the 40 percent increase in power from the tiny 1.5L, a Rotrex C30-74 unit was utilized. Unlike many other superchargers, the “whine” is nonexistent, as the patented traction drive system in the Rotrex keeps a lid on the noise factor. Oil isn’t borrowed from the engine, instead the supercharger relies on its own dedicated, self-contained oiling system, keeping things neat and simple.

  • Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Jdpengineering Carbon Fiber Lip
  • Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Nitto Invo Tire
  • Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Rotrex C30 74 Unit

If you’re an avid power-hungry enthusiast, gas mileage is probably the last thing on your mind. However, the CR-Z crowd is a bit different, in that they most likely pulled the trigger on the two-seater in hopes of saving some cash at the pump. Adding forced induction isn’t typically conducive to maintaining high miles per gallon, but it’s something that the Jacksons factored into the design of their kit. At cruise speeds, a bypass valve regulates the amount of boost the engine experiences, in turn allowing for factory-like mileage numbers. To add to that, the ability to rely upon the Econ, Normal, and Sport driving modes the CR-Z was originally sold with are still fully functional. This is due in part to the masterminds at Hondata who developed their FlashPro system to open the doors to tuning the CR-Z.

Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Volk Racing CE28 Wheel

The supercharged test vehicle pictured has been through quite a bit during its short life span. Over 20,000 miles of real-world testing, countless dyno sessions, a new Hybrid Class record at Super Lap Battle, and some of the most intense emissions testing known to man. You see, while the performance of the kit is undeniable, the Jacksons spent over eight months trying to acquire emissions certification to make the kit a street-legal affair. The hard work and admittedly frustrating process finally paid off with the kit passing all emissions lab tests and currently awaiting approval from the California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.).

Oscar Sr. has seen it all and done it all, but just about everyone doubted he could pull any usable power out of the CR-Z while remaining within the tight limitations of the government’s emissions requirements. Here’s to proving them wrong…all over again.

Bolts & Washers

Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Jackson Racing Supercharger Kit

Jackson Racing Supercharger kit with Rotrex C30-74 unit
Hondata FlashPro
KW Variant 1 coilovers
Volk Racing CE28 17×8 +33
Nitto Invo 225/45-17
JDPengineering carbon-fiber lip
JDPengineering carbon-fiber wing

The Test Vehicle And Editor’s Impression

Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Jdpengineering Carbon Fiber Lip

The bright red 2011 CR-Z you see pictured was fitted with a JDPengineering front lip and rear wing—you might remember the same carbon-fiber pieces being used on the Honda Tuning Magazine CR-Z project early on. The excellent fitment and a clean, functional appearance make JDP an easy choice for this chassis. To help harness the power, specifically through the turns, a set of KW Variant 1 coilovers were chosen, and a tasteful, functional ride height was set. In dire need of wider wheels and better rubber, a set of 17-inch Volk CE28s wrapped in Nitto Invo tires improve the look, feel, and of course the handling of the CR-Z.

Oscar Jr. handed over the keys to their CR-Z and told me to take the car on the road for some spirited driving. The first thing I noticed is the initial startup is identical to stock. No hesitation, no rough idle; in fact, because of the factory cat and exhaust system, it even sounded like it was stock. I pulled away in Normal mode and, driving conservatively, the car showed zero signs of hiccups or stutters. Switching to Sport mode, I stepped into the gas further and the Rotrex did its job of bringing the car up to “above posted speed limit” in rather short order. The torque seemed to pour on effortlessly, and the added midrange power is exactly what the CR-Z is missing from the factory. While the OEM CR-Z begins to fall on its face around 4,500 rpm, the Jackson Racing version is just getting started. The defined pull through third gear, inching close to 7,000 rpm is a sharp reminder of yesteryear, when VTEC B- and H-series motors left you begging to stomp the gas pedal for another zip to redline. While the factory 1.5 struggles to maintain its momentum up hills and around traffic, the Rotrex-equipped version allows you to avoid stirring the gears, and rather “point and shoot” your way through traffic.

  • Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Jdpengineering Carbon Fiber Wing
  • Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger
  • Jackson Racing Honda CR Z Supercharger Hondata Flashpro

The comparison of the Jackson Racing supercharger kit to a K-series swap will undoubtedly come up the moment this article hits newsstands. Though I didn’t have a K-powered CR-Z on hand to test back to back, there are a few things that really stand out to me. The first being the pricing—even the “bells and whistles” version of the Jackson kit is at least half the cost of a K swap. Read that again, because there’s certainly a misconception about the price of a K-series motor swap, complete and ready to roll. As you’re adding it up in your head, don’t forget axles, management, mounts, custom exhaust, etc. The other is the ease of installation and use. There’s no cutting, welding, splicing, or customizing to fit the Jackson Racing supercharger kit—it’s a strictly bolt-on affair and fits like a factory piece. Mileage, power, and OEM fit and finish? This might be the future of tuning.

source :

COVERAGE> It’s JDM Yo! Anniversary In Cerritos

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos Infinit Wheels

Over a year ago, when you heard the phrase ‘It’s JDM Yo!’ you would just think of a bunch of Japanese cars with parts from Japan following a trend.  Now, as soon as you hear it, the first thing that comes to mind are the hot models and Tony ‘It’s JDM Yo’ Lee with his posse at every major car show representing.  The meet turned out more like a car show but with free entrance and in and out privileges for both people and cars.  With vendors, food trucks, free NOS Energy Drinks to quench your thirst, and lots of eye candy the day went by without a hitch.  A raffle, emceed by Tony and Miss Natalia Marie from NOS, was held and proceeds went to help fund Big Abe‘s daughter Sophie’s funeral cost (if you don’t know who Big Abe is, he’s the guy with the big ass rim hanging from his neck).  I have to give a big shout out to Big Abe for showing up to the meet after going through what he and his family had to endure.

A familiar sight at any major meet or event in the SoCal area, Anthony Do and the Infinit crew rolled deep with 10+ cars.  So many that I couldn’t get all of them in a single shot!  Each of the cars in team Infinit rock sick JDM wheels from new school to old school and they all have crazy stance and offset, even on the front wheel drive cars!

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Infinit Wheels Abraham Ceja EG6 Civic Hatchback

Abraham Ceja aka Infinit Abe has one of the cleanest and sickest EG hatchbacks I’ve seen.  With some low offset staggered SSR mesh wheels and an individual throttle bodied B series the car is always a show stopper when it comes to Hondas at the meet.

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos Bisi Ezerioha Bisimoto CR-Z Turbonetics

Bisi Ezerioha from Bisimoto brought out his fully built Turbonetics/AEM powered Honda CR-Z to the meet.  As I arrived to the show, I was expecting to see his design matched trailer and his Escalade pickup, but he told me that he DROVE the car there from his shop.  We then discussed what the point of having a car is if you never drive it!  Not to mention the car is a hybrid so it is smog exempt.

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Arnel Phase 2 EG Honda Civic Sedan VIP Air Ride BBS Wheels

Arnel Ortiz from Phaze 2 brought out his VIP styled EG Civic sedan with BBS RS mesh wheels with gold plated hardware and a Universal Air ride system to match.

It's JDM Yo 1st Yea Anniversary Meet Cerritos Terry Pham Infinit Mazda Miata Limited Edition Panasport Work Goocar

After arriving to the show with my homie Terry Pham, I quickly got out of the car to take this snap of his immaculate 1993 Mazda Miata Limited Edition.  I then helped him get the other two Work Goocar wheels off of the car to put his 15×10 Panasport race wheels on the rear.  I was with Terry when he originally purchased the car and was stunned at how clean the car was.  With an all red interior and OEM hard top/paint job, the only things he changed were the tail lights, now Garage Vary tail lights, wheels and an aftermarket trunk spoiler.

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos Chumpot Mazda RX-7 FC SSR Type-C

Chumpot Chansonthi from Infinit brought his clean white Mazda FC RX-7 rocking some SSR Type-C wheels.  His car definitely is one of the cleanest FC’s I’ve seen at meets and shows. Not only does he have a really clean paint job, Chumpot also went as far as replacing all of the moldings, weather seals and plastic bits to give it a showroom finish.

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos Mikey Cristi XB Radius Fender CCW

Mikey Cristi rolled in a bit later with his all metal flared “VIP*BOX” Scion xB with his CCW wheels.

It's JDM Yo Anniversary Meet Cerritos Mango Corolla Phase 2

This Phaze 2 1971 Toyota Corolla Mango Peanut was one of the few Japanese classic cars at the show.  I’m really digging the fender mirrors, how about you?

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos TRD Widebody MR2 SW20

This clean red SW20 MR-2 Turbo with a TRD styled widebody kit showed up later in the day.  His wheels were a nice complement to the widebody on this now seldom seen car.

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos Mazda Mazdaspeed 3 Hellaflush Fitment RoyalOrigin

While just cruising through the parking lot I spotted this royalorigin Mazdaspeed 3 with one of the craziest stances of any FWD car.

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos Honda Civic EK Hatchback Chameleon Engine Bay Paint Sprint Hart CPR RoyalOrigin Las Vegas

I normally don’t like bright Lamborghini-esque colored cars but this Civic, owned by Chivas Sotelo, definitely got my attention.  Sitting on some dope Sprint Hart CP-R wheels and a chameleon colored engine bay, Chivas drove down from Las Vegas for this weekend of events.  His car reminded me of how show car style and JDM can be fused together successfully.

It's JDM Yo Anniversary Meet Cerritos Civic Si JDM Type R Tail Light Conversion

Since this meet was about ‘JDM’ style, this 2007+ Civic Si Sedan was not lacking any.  The FD2 Civic Type R rear end conversion is no cheap modification.  Usually costing over $1000, this rare mod definitely sets the car apart from other Civics.

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet NOS Energy Models

Natalia Marie and her friend (I somehow forgot her name) were making sure they looked good for the day ahead of them.

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos NOS Umbrella Girls

Speaking of eye-candy, the NOS Energy Drink Girls were out giving free energy drinks to the thirsty people.  And I’m sure plenty of people were very thirsty at one point during the day.  Maybe even a few times thirsty?

It's JDM Yo 1st Year Anniversary Meet Cerritos Slammed Civic SI Sedan

There were a few cars not in the meet which had pretty cool setups.  This 2007/2008 Civic Si sedan had some awesome stance driving through to the parking area.

The day ended without any hitches and I would have to say one of the most successful “car meets” that I’ve seen in a long time without any drama.

:: Mike Kim




Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 – Bloodred Livery

Woe unto thee, the youth of Japan. It’s a known revelation that the Generation Z of Japan has little or no interest in automobile tuning, let alone feel the slightest need to acquire a driver license these days. This is coming from the country that endowed upon the world the almightiest Japanese renaissance supercar, the iconic Nissan Skyline GT-R. In current times, the last model of the Skyline GT-R series—the BNR34—is becoming increasingly affordable to the average consumer, particularly in the land of its origin. For us, it is also a cruel reality that none of the Skyline GT-Rs were ever made available as a North American production model vehicle. Sure, a handful of these sought after machines managed to skip the Pacific to the American soil, but the importation methods that were utilized remain ever so questionable. Both lawfully and illegitimately, a few entities have challenged this overseas importation through various means but have inadvertently managed to create this seminal of controversy involving the DOT, EPA, and the Feds.

Regardless of the situation in the United States, the Japanese unquestionably have it easy when it comes to owning one of these automobiles. All they have to do is simply purchase and register—without any hassles like going through loads of paperwork, searching for regulatory loopholes, or buying one for close to $100K. But what about the R35? This one finally became available for purchase at any local Nissan dealer in the United States but failed to continue the RB26DETT legacy. In the realm of the enthusiast mindset, R34 and R35 are two completely different vehicles. In fact, the R35 lost its hierarchical inheritance when it was stripped of its Skyline badge and loaded with overcomplicated electronic gadgetry and chain-driven camshafts. The great R34 GT-R was known to excel in all forms of driving, even grocery getting whilst spitting out that distinct enraged sound that only a force-fed, cast-iron inline-six engine can produce.

For Sun Line Racing in Okayama Japan, the R34 represents the philosophy that an affordable and extremely capable machine doesn’t have to be high maintenance or a dust-covered garage queen. But every vehicle Sun Line touches doesn’t really turn to gold; instead, a definitive bloodred color that serves as the livery of the company’s tuning aptitude. With the only exception being the full dry carbon R34 that was built recently, this blood red is a trademark warning sign to the other vehicle tuners out there to get out of the way and make room.
Since this Nissan Skyline E-BNR34 is Sun Line’s staple representation of a street vehicle, the key factor when tuning the engine was efficiency, reliability, and comfort. Large turbochargers require a lot of maintenance and the higher the power output, the more chance that things will breakdown thermodynamically. Therefore the factory turbochargers were kept in tact, with emphasis on small but vital surrounding components such as Tomei valvesprings, 1.2mm head gasket, and NISMO motor mounts. The target goal for this machine was an estimated 500 “streetable” horses, which is plenty for an all-wheel-drive GT-R to handle in terms of laying the power to the ground without getting all squiggly like an FR-configured vehicle. Furthermore, since the factory turbochargers are forced into pumping more air into the engine than its stock specification, fuel must be compensated to avoid detonation. Sun Line chose to go with the tried-and-true combination of using a Tomei high-volume fuel pump, NISMO fuel pressure regulator, and Sard 700cc injectors. The HKS Type R intercooler handles the cooling department along with the Trust oil cooler and a custom radiator keeps the air, water, and oil temperatures down efficiently.
The transmission was kept stock. Although not entirely factual, the word Getrag is synonymous with the word bulletproof to many enthusiasts. Getrag is a German transmission manufacturer that builds and provides superior gearboxes to vehicle manufacturers typically for high-end sports cars. The only other vehicle that was worthy enough to receive this brawny Type 233 six-speed gearbox from the factory was the MK4 Toyota Supra. With an upgraded clutch, it is known to withhold some serious torque well above and beyond the intended factory numbers. Sun Line had chosen to go with an Exedy twin-plate carbon clutch and flywheel, solely because of carbon fiber’s immense grappling characteristic under high inertia load.
Tein plays a vast role in the vehicle’s suspension makeup. The vehicle was going to be used primarily on the streets but Sun Line needed a suspension system that could also be used competitively on the racetracks. The Tein Circuit Master Type N1 coilover system was the textbook verdict. Yes, this unit is made strictly for the track, but don’t forget that it features a wide compression and rebound parameter that can be set precisely to almost every kind of situation. Besides, an external reservoir suspension always looks so menacing in the wheelwell! Other accompanying components include NISMO front and lower arms, with Sun Line’s own front and rear camber adjustable arm setup.
A full-fledged tuning shop must consider the affect one modification has to another no matter how trivial or unrelated they may seem. A perfect example is that once a car is modified to accelerate quicker, it must be counteracted with an approach to make the car decelerate equivalently—unless it’s a drag machine packing a chute in the rear. The factory Brembo brakes are an outstanding package but Sun Line decided that a circuit vehicle required more precise braking control so the Endless brake calipers, rotors, lines, fluid, and pads were chosen. The massive front six-pot and rear four-pot calipers are dimensionally harmonic with the oversized rotors as well as the MA22 brake pad compound for maximum initial bite, braking control, and longevity. A couple drawbacks to this modification are the hardened ceramic metal blend pads, which make a lot of squealing noise and are designed to work optimally with R-compound tires.
The interior of the vehicle remains very much like how a street car should be—no jungle gym rollcages or various gauge clusters littered about. The only indications from the interior that this is a tuned machine are a Blitz SBC DC sequential boost controller, Bride GIAS reclinable bucket seats, and a Nardi Classic steering wheel.

The R34’s full NISMO Z-Tune body kit was shot with Sun Line’s trademark red paint and topped off with a Sun Line 3D GT Wing Type II and cooling hood. Be careful staring at the exterior, you may experience arc eye symptoms from the contrast emitted off the gold SSR Type F 18×11 wheels and the popping red paint. Yokohama Advan AD08 compounds were selected because of its Micro Silica + Hyper Density Carbon composite properties, which provide great traction on wet and dry surfaces.

To have an automobile of this caliber that’s readily available for purchase with its price dropping every year should be considered a blessing. Plenty of aftermarket go-fast parts are available on the market, still far from becoming discontinued. For us, Americans, it first starts with envy, then irrepressible jealousy, followed by uncontrollable rage, since the Skyline GT-R is our forbidden fruit of the automobile world. We, the people, who inhabit this great nation of the United States recognize this cycle of emotions whenever gazing upon one of Nissan’s greatest creations. As long as vehicle manufacturers keep producing four-wheel machines, tuning companies like Sun Line Racing will continue making them faster than no other.

Behind the Build

Sun Line Racing

Okayama, Japan

Tuning Shop, Parts Manufacturer

Nissan Skyline GT-R R34

490 ps at 7,000 rpm

Engine RB26DETT, Tomei 87mm bore 1.2mm head gasket, fuel pump; NGK Racing spark plugs; HKS Racing suction air intake; NISMO fuel pressure regulator, catalytic converter; Sard 700cc injectors; HKS Type R intercooler; Sun Line Racing titanium front pipe, GT-spec EX 90RS titanium exhaust, radiator; Trust oil cooler; SAMCO hoses; Plasma Racing coolant

Drivetrain Getrag transmission; Exedy twin-disc carbon clutch

Engine Management HKS F-Con V Pro ECU tuned by Sun Line Racing

Footwork & Chassis Tein Circuit Master Type N1 (18kg springs); NISMO lower arms; Sun Line Racing camber control arms

Brakes Endless Racing six-pot caliper (front), four-pot (rear), MA22 racing brake pads, brake lines, brake fluid

Wheels/Tires SSR Type F 18×11 +22, lug nuts; Yokohama Advan AD08 265/35-18

Exterior NISMO Z-Tune aero package; Sun Line Racing 3D GT Wing Type II, GT cooling hood

Interior Bride GIAS reclining bucket seats; Takata racing harness; Nardi Classic steering wheel; Works Bell steering hub; Blitz dual SBC-ID boost controller; NISMO cluster


2013 Mitsubishi 311RS Evo X

By and large, Mitsubishi isn’t the first automaker you think of when you’re thinking of a high-powered sports car. But they do have one model that’s almost always in the discussion: the Lancer Evolution.

Now on its 10th iteration – or “X,” as the Japanese automaker prefers to call it – the Evo has always been one of the most popular models in Mitsubishi’s lineup, so much so that circuit racer, Ryan Gates, decided to build an ultra-limited edition model of the Evo X.

He calls it the 311RS and it has a load of aftermarket goodies in it, something Evo X fans will come to appreciate.

Gates only has 11 models of the 311RS at his disposal with one already headed to the White Bear Mitsubishi dealership in White Bear Lake, MN. Should you be interested in taking a good look at the car, you can also go to the 2013 Minneapolis Auto Show where the car will be prominently displayed.


The Mitsubishi 311RS Evo X doesn’t look too different from the “standard” Evo X, which is a good thing because the Evo X looks pretty sweet in its own right. Having said that, there are some add-ons installed, including a JDP front lip that not only makes for a cleaner-looking body, but also provides aerodynamic enhancements to the car. Additionally, a carbon-fiber Voltex rear wing was also installed, replacing the OEM version and provides the kind of aero balance that the 311RS needs to keep itself coordinated.

The 311RS also gets a new livery, one designed by Jon Sibal, with a simplicity that’s been designed to keep the focus on the car’s performance. Rounding out the exterior modifications is a set of 18-inch Volk CE28 wheels wrapped in Nitto NT05 tires.



Not a whole lot of modifications on this end, except for the use of Etnies E-suede, which is supposedly three times more durable than traditional suede.


For the seeming lack of overwhelming upgrades done on the Evo X’s exterior and interior, Ryan Gates did do some wonders on the car’s performance credentials, thanks to a number of AMS components, including a new intake that increases air flow to the turbocharger for increased horsepower. The program also has lightweight, polished-aluminum intercooler piping that provides less turbulent and freer-flowing air flow for maximum efficiency.

A new intercooler, a wide-mouth downpipe, a new cat pipe, and a new racing series cat-back exhaust system were also installed.

Finally, an engine tune was also made to the Evo X, increasing the output of the car to 353 horsepower and 359 pound-feet of torque.


With an engine tune as extensive as the one done on the 311RS Evo X, Gates also took up the task of improving the car’s suspension and he certainly spared no expense putting in the best components. One of the items is the RS1 suspension from JRZ, whose valving was designed to be adjusted from street comfort to racing damping characteristics in seconds. In addition, the kit also comes with customized spring rates and adjustment range. Aircraft aluminum suspension top mounts from – again – JRZ were also used to transmit suspension loads directly to the chassis, giving unparalleled response and driver feel.

Likewise, Gates also went about the business of improving the braking dynamics of the Evo X, doing so by replacing the OEM models with Girodisc two-piece rotors that not only reduce unsprung and overall vehicle weight but also increases the ventilation and cooling capacity of the brake discs, while retaining its original dimensions. Stainless lines, heat shield and new brake pads were also installed, rounding out the dynamic braking package befitting a car of the Evo X’s stature.


Reportedly, only 11 models of the 311RS Evo X will go on sale, each costing $49,000.


The ultra-limited status of the 311RS Evo X makes it a must-have for any fan of Mitsubishi’s rowdy sports car. But in the event that you’re in the market for options, Subaru’s Impreza WRX STI is a pretty good alternative. Performance numbers certainly point to the side of the 311RS Evo X but the good thing about the Impreza WRX STI is that it’s completely aftermarket worthy. What that means is that even if you do get a stock Impreza, there are plenty of options moving forward on how you can exceed the technical upgrades done on the 311RS Evo X.



source :

Tuned Toyota Starlet KP61

Edward Jai Feliciano’s Tuned Toyota Starlet KP61

While many of us cut our teeth playing with Matchbox cars or racing our buddies on the PlayStation, ten-year-old Edward Jai Feliciano learned the ropes building this cool KP61 Starlet with his Dad and Grandpa.And while they may have left the seam-moulded bodykit to the experts, lil’ Eddie was involved in the whole build, which started with the motor. Of course, he had a little help along the way.“I wanted to go Toyota all the way,” says his Pops, Bruno. “I didn’t want to go 4AG ‘cause everyone does that and I didn’t want to use a 20V turbo cause that’s gonna be my next project. So, we went with the Second Gen 3SG (MR2 motor) that I had sitting in my garage. Besides I didn’t want it too fast as it’s for my son you know!”With the myriad modifications such as the custom exhaust and TEC3 ECU the 2-litre motor puts out around 225bhp. It looks the part as well with the ITBs and intake.Next they took the car to renowned LA panel beater, PJ Bonaficio. He moulded in the widebody kit that was inspired by the Toyota racecars of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Of course the JDM mirrors had to be fitted to see what he’s just passed.With the body sorted it was time to teach young Feliciano about the suspension. Bruno and the family did the rest of the build in his garage amongst his collection of Toyotas, including a Levin, and a Cressida; Filipinos really do love their Toyotas. The stance of this one is achieved with front and rear coilovers, and custom KP camber plates.

The interior is about as spartan as you get with a gutted interior, race seats, harnesses a JDM wheel and of course a 10-gallon fuel cell.

Toyota Starlet KP61

The interior is about as spartan as you get with a gutted interior, race seats, harnesses a JDM wheel and of course a 10-gallon fuel cell.

Toyota Starlet KP61

As we mentioned lil’ Eddie had his hands in much of the build but so did his Grandpa, his Dad’s cousin and of course, his Pops making this flat green wide-body Starlet a truly stunning family affair.


3SG 2nd Gen 2-litre (225bhp); custom made valve cover by Mon Revera; custom tranny mount; custom bell housing with 5-speed W Series transmission; custom exhaust, ITBs and intake; TEC3 ECU; FS racing fuel cell, custom filters, fuel pump and fuel lines; fuel pressure regulator; racing clutch and flywheel.

Panasport 3-piece wheels 10.5×15-inch (f), 11.5×15-inch (r) with 225/45×15 tyres front and rear; custom coilovers; GTS rear end with TRD LSD, KP camber plates; custom front bar; Tilton racing billet aluminium brake pedals; custom brakes and braided lines.

TRD Racing seats and steering wheel.

PJ Bonifacio front spoiler, sideskirts; rear diffuser; JDM bonnet; JDM mirrors.



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