Close-Up: Auto Gallery Yokohama – GT-R R32 Heart Attack!

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A few years ago, if you were to have asked someone stateside if they knew what Auto Gallery Yokohama was, you’d probably get a blank stare.  Or perhaps someone would say that it’s an automotive museum in Yokohama; which, per se, wouldn’t be a bad guess.  Bottom line is that no one would know who they were or what they did.  Actually, around 3 years ago, even I wouldn’t have known much about them.  My first exposure to their now iconic battle-spec R32 was in an Option magazine a few years back.  It was a panning shot of the Skyline blazing down the straight of Fuji Speedway.  Since then, the just about every part of the car has gone through a massive amount of changes.  The bottom line remains the same though; to be the fastest.  And in many ways AG-Y has succeeded in doing so.  The car constantly breaks records at Fuji and holds respectable times around Tsukuba.  For a private company, there is no doubt it holds it’s own in a fight against the big dogs (see what I did there? – NDF!).  I recently stopped by Auto Gallery Yokohama’s garage to see for myself the car that I’ve been dreaming about for years and get an up close and personal look at it’s heart.  Click past the break for more.

Close-Up: FEEL’S FD2 Type-R

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It’s no secret that the Japanese tuning philosophy is to achieve the maximum with the minimum.  While we can see this practiced throughout all the major tuners, I wouldn’t be too far off in saying we witness it most in the Honda field.  The majority of Honda tuners in Japan are so specific to not disturb the chassis by overpowering, and work closely with what the manufacturer has already offered.  While, typically, FEEL’S would fall into that category just nicely, their FD2 Type R you see pictured above may be pushing the boundaries of that philosophy just a bit.  Aesthetically, the minimalism has vanished; the use of aftermarket aero abundant.  I would argue though, that although a bit extreme on the exterior, the car is a shining example of perfect balance.  Let’s take a closer look at this build at my first stop on my all Japan mega tuning adventure; Honda Twincam.  Click past the break for more.

Close-Up: TRD Tuned FT-86

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I wrote an initial draft up about 3 weeks ago for this close-up, but for some reason never got around to publishing it.  For that, I apologize, because this is one hell of a car.  One great day, at Tsukuba Circuit, an amazing event was held.  At this event, Toyota decided to show it’s variant of the FT-86.  Ever since the FT-86, BRZ, or FR-S has made it’s debut in it’s geographically appropriate location, the tuning world has been abuzz with excitement.  Now, with the Super GT BRZ, and the D1 FT-86, we’re all dying to see what’s next.  Well, it seems that TRD has our answer.  With the FT-86 being officially on sale in Japan for about half a month now, it’s unlikely we’ll see any personally owned ones tuned any time soon.  Toyota has done an excellent job in marketing their newest offering, and the TRD tuned FT-86 is the icing on the cake.  Click past the break to see more.

Feature: A Red Letter Day – Jon Principe’s Amuse S2000

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It appears my elusive internet connection has abandoned me once again, and in doing so, has prevented me from sharing with you this beautiful car in a timely manner.  So as I sit here in Starbucks, sipping my coffee, looking like Ko-Teng from ‘You Are The Apple of My Eye’ typing on his laptop in Taxi Coffee (obligatory Chinese movie reference – [long story]),  it has become my mission to introduce you to the creation you see above.  Jon Principe attended the Slammed Society show in Long Beach at the beginning of the month and I just happened to have the good fortune to make his acquaintance.  As I was admiring the Amuse wide-body dressed in the reddest of paint, Jon approached me and asked who I was shooting for.  When I told him NDF, I received the response I usually get; “Who?”  Perks of naming your blog something so strange I suppose.  Eager to practice more car photography, I inquired if he’d be interested in a photoshoot.  We exchanged info and planned to get together some time in the coming weeks.  Turns out Jon ended up winning first place in the Time Attack category at the show, and I ended up winning a couple hours of alone time with his S2000; a true red letter day. Click past the break for the feature.


Event: Formula D – Drifts Cars In Static

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As I type this I’m watching the qualifying of the F1 Chinese Grand Prix, and Vettel just got pipped in Q2.  He’ll start the race in 11th place; It’ll be interesting to see how he can pull himself through the pack.  On a semi-related note, I get to watch Rubens Barichello race his Indy car around the streets of Long Beach tomorrow afternoon;  I couldn’t be more excited about that.  Lastly, on a note more related than the first, here is some more coverage from Formula D in Long Beach this past weekend.  I mentioned before that I didn’t have a media pass, so I apologize for not having action shots, but hopefully you’ll enjoy this look at some of the drift cars in the pits and at the show.  Click past the break for more.

Event: Slammed Society x Fatlace Car Show – Long Beach v.1

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Like I had said in my previous post, I hadn’t planned on going to Formula D, and I really didn’t plan on inquiring about a media pass (although from the looks of it I probably should have!).  So, to say I was lucky I got in would be an understatement.  I didn’t get many great shots of the actual tandem runs because the track was pretty well fenced off and the parts that you could have possibly shot through had huge banners covering it.  That, and my zoom lens is a piece of shit.  Seriously, worst lens ever.  I don’t even know why I bother lugging it around.  It’s OK though because I have another new prime on the way – a must for the Super GT & Taikyu races I’ll be shooting soon.  Anyway, there was some serious down-time in between rounds so I had some good opportunities to snap the show that was going on in the parking lot.  Every year Slammed Society and Fatlace put on a car show concurrent with the Formula D event.  I never really bothered with it all the other times I went to Formula D here, but since there was nothing else to do I decided to check it out.  There was the usual mix of awesome and not so awesome cars.  I did get a chance to meet up with a few people, and make friends with some new faces which was great.  Take a closer look at the show past the break.