Tag: Close-Up

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Close-Up: Takaya’s NDF Japan SPL 180SX V.2

At the very end of last year I had posted a few photos of the build progress of this car on the website.  Since then, aside from social media and the release of 80R, I haven’t really gone over this car in detail yet because I wanted to save the main reveal for the book.  Now that the last of the books that have the feature are slated to be dispatched next week, I figure now is a good time to release some previously unseen photos of the car right after it’s completion.

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Close-Up: The Power of K – ASLAN EF9

I’d wager that ASLAN, the Osaka based Honda outfit, is one of the leading shops in the development of K-series Honda swaps in Japan.  Following in the footsteps of America, it didn’t take long for them to capitalize on the benefits of the next generation motor.  Having no adherence to a traditional form of tuning like some shops abide by, Tani-san’s approach to building cars becomes very unique to say the least; giving each a very specific, what I can only surmise as an ‘Osaka flavor’ to them.

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Close-Up: Takaya’s NDF Japan SPL 180SX

You may remember Takaya’s 180 from our little FRS pop-up meet at Fuji last year.  At the beginning of the year he was involved in an accident at the track that resulted in a necessary rebuilding of his front end.  Instead of going the easy route and buy OTS parts once again to replace the ones he had, he decided he wanted to do something totally different.  A one off kit, hand crafted by his good friend Masao, that would be sure to get the attention of enthusiasts on a global scale.

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Close Up: The Forgotten Samurai – Autech’s Flagship GTR

It’s been 3 years since I had the privilege of seeing ATTKD’s GTR  take on the titans of Japanese time attack at Fuji Speedway.  Witnessing the somewhat lesser known car back then clock times within seconds of the fastest at the time was something that really impressed me.  I know it’s not intentional, but when cars like the Top Secret S2000RR and HKS R35 GT1000 take center stage, their opponents seem to get put on the back burner.  When the ATTKD GTR32 hits the track though, it’s performance alone will demand the attention back from everyone in attendance.

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Close-Up: Ready Go Next – 青木FD3S

Since things have been a bit slow during the off-season, I’ve been using the time to try and design a few new products for the site and make some progress on my own car as well.  It’s been a long time coming, but just a few more things to wrap up and it’ll be ready for it’s first startup.  Although the car won’t be completely done for another few months, I’m looking forward to the first shakedown with the new motor shortly after it’s tuned.  I was browsing some shots from earlier this year to gain some inspiration for my own car and came across some shots that Matt took of Aoki’s FD.

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Close-Up: Carbon Junkie – Takumi Hayashi’s AE86

To say that Takumi Hayashi has an affinity for the Toyota AE86 would be a rather dramatic understatement.  The peppy, 130ps 4A-GE motor combined with the car’s FR drivetrain became an instant hit with not only himself, but many other tuners in the mid-80’s for that matter.  It didn’t take long for the Corolla to be a favorite worldwide, and Japan was no doubt leading the pack in motor sport development of the chassis.

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Close-Up: Step-Up Fairlady CBA-Z33

I almost didn’t recognize the Step-Up Z33 without it’s massive rear diffuser and front splitter attached to it’s exterior.  The car in this state takes on an almost street car look, aside from the chassis mounted GT wing.  It wasn’t running in the Attack event, but was there supporting other drivers.  I would have liked to see how it performed around Suzuka in the wet compared to some of the other similarly powered RWD cars. I included a video of a hot lap around Suzuka below.

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Close-Up: Back to Basics – Juan’s K20A EM1

At the last VTEC Club event I attended (which admittedly due to time constraints was quite awhile ago), Kristian and I met Juan Rodriguez, the owner of this EM1.  It was the first time we’d seen the car at any event really, and as soon as I saw it towards the back of the paddock at Buttonwillow it immediately caught my eye; for a few reasons.

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Encounter: The Fuji Blues – Esprit’s New Look

The Kakimoto NSX wasn’t the only Honda at Fuji this month that’s received a facelift; Esprit was on hand with their NSX, now in special blue edition.  Like so many other competitors this day though, they were not to see any track time around the Speedway.  Inclement weather doesn’t bode well for fast track times, and certainly doesn’t allow opportunity for accurate testing.  So Esprit let their car rest in the paddock, devoid of canards and engine cover, while they waited for the weather to pass.  Sekinei strolled over to their garage to snap a few shots.

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Close-Up: オートソニックFC3S – The Circuit Samurai

‘Motobei’ jokes that, back when he bought this RX-7 in December of 2007, he did so with the intent of using it as a daily commuting car.  Like so many of us have experienced, our intentions get brushed aside real quick when we start modifying our daily drivers.  As was the case with the Super Now/Auto Sonic FC3S.  A car that, ironically enough, can no longer be legally used on the street.  With a personal record at TC2000 of 56.495, motives aside, there’s no doubt that the path that the samurai has taken with this car has paid off – big time.

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Close-Up: Smoke and Fire – VTEC Club Spotlight

Before I get to processing and writing about the coverage of this past weekends VTEC Club season opener, I thought I’d try out a new idea for these events.  Covering VTEC Club when I could last year was a lot of fun for me.  The committee that puts these events together happen to be not only great people, but good friends of mine as well.  Come to think of it, photographing these events combines almost everything I enjoy in life into one location; perhaps that’s why it feels nothing like work.  Maybe that’s the feeling people get when they do what they love for a career.  Anyway, I’m getting way off topic here.

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Close-Up: Atsushi Shimaya’s Endless FD3S

Out of the thousands of cars at TAS, it’s always exciting to see, in person, a car you’ve followed online for years.  Every once in awhile a build will snowball into something so involved that it makes you wonder if the end result was ever really envisioned.  A perfect example of this is Atsushi Shimaya’s FD3S.

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Close-Up: A Labor Of Love – Kou Lor’s RE Amemiya FC3S

When I had first decided that I would be attending Final Bout, to be honest, it wasn’t the event that I was actually looking forward to; it was seeing this particular car.  Don’t get me wrong, I was excited for the event, but getting to see in person, and more so getting to meet the builder, of what I perceive to be the most well executed FC in the country would become the highlight of my trip.

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Close-Up: The Father of Time – Philip Robles’ EG6

There’s something to say about the people around us who promote self-efficacy.

The capacity to unknowingly emanate a trait such as this is rare, and when you come across it you can’t help but be positively influenced.  Even a simple exchange of dialogue can have a major effect on the goals and beliefs you’re currently pursuing.  This is exactly the type of feeling I had when I had the opportunity to meet Philip Robles this past weekend.

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Close-Up: What’s Up With Yoo? – Justin’s TA S2000

Justin has been a good friend of mine for a few years now.  Towards the end of last year, he approached me with some new plans for his S2000 build.  We discussed the goals he was wanting to achieve in both the build and participation.  Wanting to get more serious in competing in events like the Redline Time Attack series, Justin expressed interest in the venture of garnering sponsors.  Much like our other team driver Kristian Wong, we agreed to partner with Justin and provide on-site media coverage of his progress.  Much of our updates come in the form of Instagram posts (@naritadogfight), which has easily surpassed Facebook in terms of social interaction.  If you don’t currently follow us, feel free to do so!  In the coming weeks, you’ll see a few updates regarding our team drivers and you’ll learn that they all share one common trait; they’re fast.

 

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Close-Up: The Circuit Scalpel – Esprit’s NSX

On many occasions, probably due to lack of my creativity, I’ve written excerpts on this site comparing certain managerial techniques to a variety of car builds.  That may or may not have something to do with my education and work background in the business sector, but I feel it’s something I can comfortably relate to.  These topics, at surface level, I would imagine to be somewhat obscure on an automotive website.  The truth of the matter is, in almost all regards, the processes discussed are very much applicable to time attack builds.  The practice of Continual Improvement is one such business practice, and in the realm of time attack, not many shops demonstrate this practice better than Esprit in the ongoing development of their NSX.

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Close-Up: The Nagano Rush – Team Garage Mak Z33

 

I wonder if it’s acceptable, in the off chance one falls victim to writer’s block, to type freely their thoughts?  I mean, this is a blog after all, and blogs are typically written in an informal or conversational style.  It would be difficult to keep it informational to the topic however, if I were to just start spouting off about a random thought.  In the case of the Garage Mak Z33, I could start typing about Nagano; the hometown of the shop.  Or perhaps about the Miyagawa brothers, the two creative powerhouses behind the brand.  I could always fall back to uncreatively (is that not a word?) listing off the modifications to the Z33.  To be honest though, I’m pretty sure I’ve covered all that basic stuff in prior articles – it seems redundant to keep typing it.  I could talk about how I was naked in a public bath again…does anyone even read this?