Encounter: Youthful Frenzy – Yoshi’s NojiReal built 86

Automotive, Encounter, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports



I first had the pleasure of meeting young Yoshinori-kun at Idlers in 2013 in Motegi (actually we first met at RWB, but that’s beside the point).  He had been helping the entire event by running fuel canisters back and forth from our garage to the fuel station; a task delegated to all teams, however, Yoshi was there to pick up the slack for those not adhering to their duties.  You could tell just being around the track and cars he was happy, regardless of what he was doing.  Prior to this event, he frequented Noji’s shop in Ibaraki to help with little tasks here and there, and of course to absorb Noji’s love of the 86.  When I left Japan that time, we kept in touch via a chatroom with a few friends in Japan, and when he announced that he had finally gotten an 86, we were all very happy.





Naturally, the car was a reclaimed one from NojiReal, and a chassis that had already been blessed by his masterful touch.  With the 4AG refreshed, and the exterior sprayed in a color that Yoshi picked in conjunction with Noji’s suggestions, Yoshi joyfully took ownership of the coupe.





This afternoon was the first time I had gotten to see it in person and it was nothing short of what I expected.





With it’s straight to the point interior matching the rest of Noji’s cars.  No mistaking this car for an amenity filled commuter, no.  It was built for one purpose; to race…and also to get Yoshi around town.  Which he doesn’t mind in the least.










A chilly, sunny afternoon spent in a wash of youthful exuberance left everyone with smiles.







I had jokingly asked Yoshi about competing in next year’s Idlers event, to which he replied, “No, no, no, it’s much too early!”  Although you could tell there was a hint of yearning in his eyes.







The fact that he finally got his dream car after personally having seen his enthusiasm at last year’s Idlers event warms my heart even more.  I’m sure he’ll use this new found ardency to continue learning as much as possible from Noji; and hopefully one day I’ll get to race alongside him as well.




Encounter: フライラット Levin – Steady Advance

Automotive, Encounter, Japan, JDM



I can’t remember what day it was but I do remember Alex, Park, Noogz, Matt and I ended up at Up Garage sometime during our last trip; big surprise there right?  Not really.

If you’ve follow this blog for the past, I don’t know, two years or so, you’d know that you’d be hard pressed to find a place in Japan I like to spend time at more than Up Garage (maybe Uniqlo).  You’d also know that the Up Garage in Machida is neighbors with the tuning and used car sale shop Fly Rat.  Specializing in older 80’s and 90’s cars, Fly Rat produces some really cool stuff, and if you’re lucky enough (not you per say, but someone in Japan), they’ll have it for sale in their lot as well.
Anyway, while Alex and the others looked around the store (I had been there just the other day buying wheels so wasn’t too interested), I meandered towards Fly Rat to see if I could find anything cool.




I saw this Corolla sitting in between a few Kei cars towards the garage.  It had a pretty cool, ‘homemade’ circuit feel to it that I really enjoyed.  It didn’t take long for the owner to notice a strange foreigner taking pictures of his car, and he made his way over to Park and I.




He was very nice and excited I was taking interest in his car; I’m sure he put a lot of time into it.  I asked him if he could open the hood and he gladly obliged.  I’d be lying if I had said I was surprised at what I saw under the bonnet, because I had an inclination there would be a built 4AGE underneath anyway.  I really liked the color of the ITB stacks though; kind of a light blue/faded teal color.




A closer look at the engine setup.




The interior was on a whole other level though.  Not my cup of tea, but the owner certainly took to personalizing it quite well.  flyrat9

The SSR Longchamps looked right at home on the older chassis, with sizing and offset to match the widened exterior.




Really liked what he did with the front fenders and sides.  I need to find a way to incorporate something like this into my car.  The tiny URAS decals were a nice addition.




Like most of my finds in Japan, this one was completely random.  Goes to show it pays to always keep your eyes open in Japan.





Encounter: テクノ・プロ・スピリッツ – Techno Pro Spirit N2 Corolla

Action, Automotive, Encounter, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports


A couple shots of the Techno Pro Spirit Corolla that were taken at Tsukuba during the Hot Version N2 Race last year.  By no means the craziest build at the race, but definitely one of my favorite.  The overall look of the car is very balanced, and you know the feel matches as TPS has been in the tuning game for longer than you’ve been alive.


If you get a chance, there are some great videos on JDM Clips of the car in action.  This car has some great history in these races.  Head on over to the wallpaper section for a hi-res shot of this car in the paddocks at Tsukuba.


Encounter – Sunday Afternoon With Late Night Mischief

Automotive, Drifting, Encounter, Motor Sports



This past weekend I flew up to the Bay area to photograph Dino’s Corolla.  We were strapped for time on Saturday evening, so we agreed to meet up again to finish up some interior and engine bay shots the next day.  Dino and I are friends, so it’s not like there was much ‘etiquette’ involved, or whatever you want to call it, during the shoot, so I was pretty excited to see that some of his friends came along to hang out.  As you’d expect, you get a group of street drifters together, and eventually, well, you start drifting.




Kit getting close to 3 wheeling it on his entry to the dock.  To be honest, if I didn’t have a flight to catch I could have stayed here all night…that is if the cars didn’t break before sundown.




His Impul/Advan wheel combo is really cool.




Bryant’s IS


Dino’s fresh SR20 swapped 86…




…was having some obvious issues with his rear-end.








The first time out with the new setup, you’re bound to run into problems…





Kit actually ended up losing his blow off valve during one of the runs.




Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, don’t you think?





Event: Colab Drift Day at Balcony

Automotive, Drifting, Event, JDM, Motor Sports


So, last weekend I rode up with a couple of friends to Willow Springs Raceway for a drift event at Balcony that was put on by Colab.  Whew, that sentence is way longer than it seemed when I started typing it.  Now I’m wondering if I should even start this post off with it…whatever.  If you don’t know what Balcony is; it’s a spot at the top of WSIR that is used for various things, but it’s probably most known for it’s use as a makeshift drift course.  It’s actually a decent spot to practice and I’m sure organizing events there is much cheaper than HTM.  I had nothing planned for the weekend when the guys told me about the event, so I figured it would be worth going along to get some practice shooting drift events; I really have never shot drifting before.  Also, I’ve been wanting to shoot Kem’s 240 for awhile, and still want to do a decent shoot with it, but it was fun getting some shots of it sideways.  That’s his car with the R33 intercooler – it’s a little crooked, but who cares this car is rad.  Charlie brought out his RB25 240 as well, and there were a couple other cars out that day as well.  This will mostly be random pictures with no story line or commentary because that’s basically what the day was.  Pretty much every car broke anyway.  Click past the break for more.

Event: Hot Version Live Shooting at Tsukuba v.2

Action, Automotive, Event, Japan, JDM, Motor Sports


Continuing on with the coverage of Hot Version’s filming at Tsukuba Circuit, we’ll take a look at more of what the garages held, and also get a preview of some of the on-track action.  For video of the event, be sure to check out the JDM Clips channel.  So far we’ve seen a ton of RX-7’s, the majority of which were competing in Advan’s Amateur Tournament.  However, the main attraction over the weekend was without a doubt Hot Version’s N2 Race.  AE86 tuners from all over the country travel to compete in this annual event.  Check this one out getting a little sideways on track.  Click past the break to see more!

Event: Nisei Showoff 2011 v.1

Automotive, Event, JDM


C-h-e-c-k.  Check.  OK, my keyboard still works.  Holy shit I’m tired.  Two nights before Nisei I was stuck at work for 23 hours straight.  Yeah that’s right, 23.  I never fully recovered, so on the morning of the show I was hating my life.  I remember a fairly large line when gates opened last year, so this year I showed up pretty early and to my surprise come 11 o’clock, there was only about 15 people behind me.  I guess it must have picked up throughout the day though because people were saying the turnout was good.  I had stuff to do in Westwood a little past 1 o’clock so I figured I had around 2 hours to take care of business; Wakayama Ramen lunch included.  Click past the break for part one of however many Nisei posts I feel like making out of the 400 pictures I took.