Category: Feature

Feature: Thunder Drift IS400 – 2012 Build Progress

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For those of you who are regulars of NDF, this Lexus (…is that what this is?) will be a familiar site to you.  It belongs to Joe McGuigan and is in the process of quite the transformation.  If you’re not familiar with what Joe does, check this out.   If you aren’t familiar with what he does it with, check this out.  Last year, Joe ran Thunder Drift with the stock 2JZ; underpowered to say the least.  Well, as you can see, things have changed.  With the 2012 season approaching and new targets in his site, he’s decided to ditch the OEM power in favor of some V8 juice!  Check out more of the 1UZ swap progress past the break.

Feature: Playing in the rain – Kevin’s Fairlady Z

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I’ve always been a fan of the Z32; it’s shape is so iconic to the 90’s sports car.  It’s one of those cars that I love to look at, but would never have the patience to build.  So, with that said, I’ll leave it up to people like Kevin Hurst to build them for me to look at.  I met Kevin when he moved into my old apartment complex a few years ago.  I had noticed his Z in the parking area a few times, mainly due to the concave 5-Zigens and it being 1 inch off the ground, but I never saw a driver.  We eventually ran into each other when I was washing my car and instantly started talking cars.  I mentioned my blog and it was decided that I would eventually get to photograph his car.  A few months and mods later, we finally both had a break in our schedules to take some shots and grab some lunch.  Check out the results past the break.

Interview: The Wolves behind Wekfest – A Visit To Weksos Industries

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Every once in awhile, my life points me in the direction of some pretty great things.  I have a passion for this industry, and above all, I enjoy sharing it with the people who share my same sentiment – sharing and networking have always been the heart of my blog.  As a result of this, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some really amazing people.  Last year, if someone had told me I’d be having conversations with the pioneers of the industry all across the world, I would have laughed; or chuckled at least.  Well, it turns out it wasn’t such a funny concept.  Getting a chance to meet the people behind the brand, or the builders behind the cars is something not everyone gets to do.  A few days ago I had the chance to sit down with Kenneth Li and Adam Luong from Weksos Industries in San Jose, CA.  We chatted for a couple hours about the current state of the scene, where it came from, where it’s headed, a little about Japan, and a little about wolf fighting.  Click past the break to learn more about what Weksos is, and who is responsible for one of the greatest shows in the US – Wekfest.

Feature: The San Mateo Terror – TD Pro Am Lexus IS300

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The one thing that continues to amaze me in this industry is the amount of great, down to earth people there are.  No matter the discipline, whether you’re a driver, a spectator, a mechanic, or involved in media coverage, it just seems hard to come across a person you won’t get along with.  Case in point; Joe McGuigan.  Joe drifts in the Thunder Drift: Pro Am series here in Northern California.  The series basically serves as a gateway for amateur drivers looking to get into national series like Formula D.  As this season comes to an end, Joe is already looking to next year where, with an all new engine setup, will be shooting for his Formula D license.  Let’s take a closer look at his weapon of choice past the break.

Feature: Johnny’s 559 EK

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Elementary.  The basics.  Simplicity.  Classicality.  Yes, that last one is actually a word.  All these words can sum up the look of Johnny’s fresh hatchback.  It’s almost more about the things he chose not to do, then what he did do that makes this EK so clean.  It’s a nice change from the over adorned, gaudy looking masses that make up the majority of modified cars these days.  Johnny lives in my hometown, and we met through theJDM awhile ago.  This is his second build and I’ve been wanting to shoot it for some time now, so I caught up with him at Eibach.  It’s tough to get creative shots at a car show, so consider this a preview to a more worthy future write-up.  Enjoy the pics past the break.

Feature: Good Smile Racing Z4-GT

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Following up that pink Studie BMW post, I have an awesome feature on this unusual GT300 contender.  The Studie built  Hatsune Miku Good Smile Racing BMW Z4 (初音ミク グッドスマイル) is unique to say the least.  For starters, the team’s theme is based on a character that was originally created to market Crypton Future Media’s new ‘Vocaloid’ software, a synthetic singing application that can be used to add vocals to backing music – sounds like something from a science fiction movie.  Anyway, as you would imagine if you’ve been to Japan before, the character soon became overwhelmingly popular (Check this video out).  The second unique feature of this team, and probably the coolest, is that it gathers it’s racing funds from individual fan donations.  The individual sponsorships range between 3,000yen to 300,000yen, and allows the fans to get a chance to visit the team pit during a race, have their name on the car, get a special team sticker, and other perks.  Thanks again to JDM Clips for providing coverage and information.  Check out the feature past the break.

Feature: KoyoRad/D-MAX S15

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Sure, we all know Naoki’s purple/pink S13 coupe, but some aren’t as familiar with the S15 he was to drive in D1.  This purpose built drift machine was fully race spec, and just as crazy looking as the older coupe.  I wonder if he will be driving it in the new series,‘The Drift Muscle’?  Check out the pics.

Feature: Brothers in Arms

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This past weekend I ventured over to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana to attend the Speedventures open track day, and to check out Big Mike’s Hontune event.  This was the first Speedventures event I’ve been to, and although I didn’t track my car, I had a ton of fun walking around the facility shooting photos.  Despite the bone chilling wind and uncertain forecast, I’m glad I went because I ended up meeting some great people and getting to shoot their awesome cars.  Case in point; the two track ready S2000’s you see before you.  I saw this pair sitting unattended in the garage, so I ventured in for some pics; click past the break for more.

Feature: Kawabata’s Magical RPS13

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I know you’re  thinking right now, “Two back to back featured car posts?!  I don’t believe it.”   Well, believe it.  That’s just how awesome we are.  All jokes aside, I’m not sure why it took me so long to post this car up, as it has massive popularity among drift fans.  D1-GP reverse-entry guru Masato Kawabata is the man responsible for piloting this ridiculously hot, 600 horsepower 180sx sideways through all the corners.  I spotted the S all alone, basking in the light at the Toyo Tires booth as we were getting ready to take off from the Auto Salon in search of another UP Garage.  So I decided to get up close and personal with it.  Sit back and enjoy the shots!

Feature: Eneos SC430 Super GT

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JDM Clips comes through again with some great media of the Eneos SC430 Endurance GT Racer.  We’ve all driven this car at one point in time…right?  Well, in Gran Turismo at least.  So you already know how awesome it is.  This car is unique in many ways, especially because of the rarity of the platform in racing.  You don’t often see SC430’s competing in organized motorsports.  I can only think of the other 4 which competed in GT500 also.  So, if you haven’t driven it, and don’t know how awesome it is, click past the break and I will tell you.

Feature: Nakamura’s S13

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I like Team Burst.  You probably like them too.  I’d even venture to say that out of all the organized drift ‘teams’ in Japan, that Team Burst is the most recognized.  This is largely due in part to Naoki Nakamura’s drift skill and media attention; whether it’s wanted or not.  I’m sure that you’ve heard by now all the recent news that has surrounded Naoki, but if you haven’t click here, and then here.  With that in mind, I thought it would be cool to do a little spotlight on the cars he drives in regularly, and for D1SL.  I shot these on the last day of TAS, and you can see that the D1 banners have been removed already.  Click past the break for the gallery.

Feature: Keihin Real Racing HSV-010 GT

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When Honda announced the end of the NSX’s participation in the Super GT  due to new regulations only allowing front-engine, rear-driven cars, fans around the world winced a little.  Little did we know what Honda had cooking in their chemistry lab of motorsport awesomeness.  They announced their new GT spec car towards the end of 2009 as a successor to the popular mid-engined NSX, that was to compete in the GT-500 class in 2010.  I believe there were four teams that utilized the HSV; Epson, Weider, Autobacs, and Keihin.  Of these teams, Keihin managed the best performance of the season.  You can watch the race at Sportsland Sugo here; the spectacular ending, and win for the Keihin team, was a highlight of this season.  This win helped them to acheive 3rd place in the championship.  If that’s not enough HSV-ness, click over to JDM Clips to see the Keihin HSV in action in Motegi.  Thanks to JDM Clips for some great shots.

Feature: Anthony’s Downforce NSX

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Of all the cars at the Cerritos Honda car show last weekend, I think I liked this NSX the most.  I spotted it early on and got to snap some shots before the crowds came.  It’s ridiculously clean, and although only has a handful of mods, they all flow together perfectly.  As I was wrapping my visit up, I was lucky enough to run into the owner; Anthony.  He’s a nice, laid back guy, and I’m glad I could talk to him for a short while.  I got some more info on the NSX, and he was kind enough to let me post up a little feature here.  Enjoy the shots!

FEATURE: Power House Amuse S2000 GT1

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The JDM Clips/NDF collaboration delivers the goods once again with this feature on the legendary Amuse S2000 GT1.  This car is one of the greatest tuning achievements of Mr. Hideki Tanabe’s lifetime, and for good reason.  It’s looks are not only unforgettable, but it’s mechanical prowess has been proven on both street and track.  The insanely wide body kit brings order to chaos and gives the car the aerodynamic performance close to that of a full race car.  Click past the break to check out the car in more detail.

Feature: Power House Amuse 370Z Vestito

Japanese mega tuner Power House Amuse was on site at Super Autobacs Yokohama recently to demo their new aero kit for the Z34; the Vestito.  Lucky for us, Taka was there as well to capture it all.  Amuse has long been producing unique and aggressive aero kits for a variety of chassis.  This is their latest offering for the Z platform; preceded by the Superleggera kit for the Z33 chassis.  I believe Amuse took a less domineering approach to this kit, and put more emphasis on flowing lines and function; and flat out on the track the Vestito proves that it does more than just look good.  Click past the break for more display shots.

Feature: IL4’s Time Attack EK


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Inline Four has been dedicated to Honda and Acura tuning for over a decade now.   I’ve been going to them since I moved to So-Cal in 2005; back when they were in the tiny office off the 22.  They have now moved to a better, larger facility in Garden Grove, but they’ve kept the same attitude about tuning and service.  It’s a great shop that continues to grow in many ways, including a new line of their own performance parts.  This year they have completed the build on their K-powered race car, and it’s already winning events.  I made a trip down to Inline Four last week with a friend to inquire about some cams for his EG, and so I could pick up some wheel spacers for my coupe.  Lucky for me the EK was parked out in front of the shop.  I had only seen the car once at Nisei and since I had my camera with me I asked Brandon if I could snap some pictures.

Feature: JCCS Celica GT

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Before I set sails across the Pacific, I thought I’d revisit a car from JCCS.  This 2-door, hardtop Celica GT coupe stole the show for me at JCCS.  This model of Celica was first made in the 1970’s and heavily influenced by the late 60’s, early 70’s Ford Mustang.  A cheaper alternative to Toyota’s sports car, the 2000GT, the Celica became massively popular.  This particular one was in great condition.

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