11th Jul2018

Porsche 964: That One Time I Met My Hero

by Gavin Pouquette

 

When I was 9 my father purchased a 1989 Porsche Carrera 4. It was Linen-on-Grey, and my family called her “Luna” due to the ever-changing color of the paint in different light. To little Gavin, nothing could be cooler. The car came with a bumper-installed radar detection system, It literally had lights popping out of the dash for the radar! It had an aftermarket exhaust that made the car roar, rather than howl as 911s normally sound. It’s safe to say that this car really made an impression on me as a child. My dad and I would drive it on boys trips down to Moab and play golf. He and my mom would go on dinner dates in the car, and he would kill time before dinner just going on a drive in the evening light of the summertime.

This 964 911 had such an influence in my life that, with a saved up allowance, I got myself a subscription to Car and Driver. I would bring the latest issues to school, read articles during my lunch just to learn as much as I could about new cars. This 964 would be the leading proponent in me falling in love with cars. We had the car for two years, but sold it to get my mom a new car: a 2005 Subaru Outback 2.5 XT.

They say never meet your heroes, but I got the chance to do meet mine.  Did it live up to the hype? Was it everything I ever hoped it’d be? I mean, 15 or so years of pent-up feelings can only fester and put the car on a fairly high podium. After having experienced all the cars I have over the last 5 years of filming and photographing them, then eventually getting into driving them….. Yes. The car was exactly what I was expecting.

A howling flat-6 that produces ~250hp that revs to 7,000 rpm and a suspension geometry that is quite frankly, rudimentary by today’s standards. The car is in no way groundbreaking or game-changing in the year 2018. However, after being handed the keys, and hopping into the driver’s seat, it made my inner 9-year old’s dreams finally come true. It felt like jumping into a time machine. It gave me the biggest shit-eating grin on my face that I am still wearing as I write this article.

The noteworthy features of the 964 are as follows: Increased engine size from 3.2 liters to 3.6 liters, the introduction of Anti-Lock Brakes, All-Wheel Drive, and the infamous automatic spoiler (ACTIVE AERO, YO!)

The powerband of the 964 is like any naturally aspirated 911. It’s a completely linear build in power that gives you exactly what you put into it. Very livable and predictable down low through the midrange, and then starts to really pull around 5,000 rpm. All three pedals are floor-hinged and fairly strange to operate if you aren’t accustomed to that sort of feel. On-center steering isn’t exactly tight, but once you load the car up in a corner you receive two fists full of communication with the road and the chassis. Primarily what the rear end is up to, strangely enough. I’m also not talking about hooning a car at 8/10 or 9/10. I’m talking a leisurely 5/10, and just going out for a nice drive. Having driven 996s, 997s and 991s, this car felt much more raw and visceral than its younger cousins. The gear throw isn’t too long or too short. Just the right amount of throw while still feeling nice and notchy.

Some brief history of the specific car that I drove. it was actually a former display car for Porsche of North America. Every time Porsche would debut a new 911, they display all the former cars in a line with the new car on the end. Of those cars that Porsche consistently used on display, this specific 911 would represent the 964 generation. It was used on display until the 997 generation and then was sold to a gentleman in Los Angeles. He daily drove it until Nathan (the current owner) purchased the car late last year. As of now, the car has over 180,000 miles. Which is an interesting coincidence because if you add an enthusiast’s amount of miles to the miles my dad had on his old car, then both cars would be at about the same amount of miles.

The great part of this whole endeavor was that the owner of the 964 also owns a 991.2 Carrera 2S with a Sport Exhaust and a 7-Speed manual gearbox. Being the incredibly gracious gentleman that he is, Nate offered me to drive that car as well. And good lord so much has changed in roughly 30 years of Porsche’s engineering. The 964, constantly wants the rear to come around and play like a puppy, whereas the 991 is so incredibly planted and grounded in the corners, despite being under power from the 3.0 turbo engine. Not to get too carried away here, but the point of this article is not necessarily to compare Porsche’s past and present, however it is worth noting that both cars provide interesting offerings in the company’s lineage. Upon its reveal for the 1989 model year, the 964 introduced legitimate safety features that previous cars never had, while the 991.2 introduces turbocharging for models in the lineup that are not known as the “Turbo”. Both cars push the envelope for the company in their moments in history and for that, I commend Porsche in continuing to push the envelope and look towards to future in improving their driving experience and being the best cars that money can buy.

Porsche. There is no substitute.

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13th Apr2018

A Most Aggressive Panda: Camaro ZL1 1LE

by Michael Chandler

Words by Michael Chandler.  Photos by Michael Chandler and Gavin Pouquette

As we’ve discussed, the upcoming 2019 Camaro looks like an Impala.  Thankfully Jay Steffey’s is not a 2019, it’s a 2018.  It’s also had one important box ticked: the 1LE package.

“Hey Michael, what the hell does that mean?”  GLAD YOU ASKED!  First it means you opted to grab a ZL1, because 1: why wouldn’t you? and 2: it’s superior to the pedestrian SS because it is packing a supercharged V8.  It also has beefy Brembos, Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperCar rubber, and an eLSD that does some stuff with the traction control to make cornering better.

When you tick the 1LE box, you get some things that take the ZL1 from good to great.  You get diveplanes and a big spoiler for added downforce, and aggression.  Just looking at the car, you can tell it means business.  And that’s before we talk about the upgraded mechanical parts.  Tell me this doesn’t look like it’s going to burn your town to the ground for a laugh.  YOU CAN’T!  

The 20″ wheels get replaced with 19s, and you get a special set of Eagle F1 Supercar rubber that has been specially developed for the big Chevy.  The magnettic dampers are replaced by an upgraded set, made by Multimatic.  You can adjust the ride height in the front, and the camber because YOU GET CAMBER PLATES FROM THE FACTORY.  You can stiffen up the rear sway bar if you want to!  You still get that eLSD, but it’s packed with a 3.73 gear set.

Six piston and four piston Brembos, with this neat 1LE logo on them, haul this thing to a stop.

Now, you may have noticed that this thing is covered in NASA stickers.  That’s because Jay runs Time Trial in this thing.  Some of you may be chuckling, and saying something like he’d probably do better if he were in a GT350. You might be right, but let’s look at some numbers.  This Camaro weighs 3880 pounds and makes 650 horsepower, which means each horsepower has to move 5.97 pounds.  A Mustang GT350 weighs 3760 pounds but makes 526 horsepower, which results in 7.14 pounds for each horseypower.  So, going by that he would be doing worse in the Mustang.  But enough about this, let’s get back to the Camaro.

The interior is pretty swank.  You wrap your mitts around things covered in suede.  The steering wheel, which is also flat bottomed, and the shift knob are wrapped in suede.

You get to plant yourself in some nicely bolstered Recaros, and if you can get a ride in Jay’s you’ll get to secure yourself into those Recaros with these Safecraft harnesses.  

There’s a performance data recorder, and then there’s this!  “This” being the paddle that activates the rev match for the transmission.  Yes, the six speed manual in the ZL1 has rev match so you don’t royally screw up your shifts.  The system can’t help you if you can’t find 3rd.

If you’re curious, the paint is called Frost White, and if you go to build your own on Chevy’s website it’ll look gray.  It’s definitely not gray.  It’s very white, and the diveplanes and hood are very black, making this thing look like a panda.  A panda that’s been eating nothing but steroids for a year.  

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11th Dec2017

When Worlds Collide: Old Meets New

by Gavin Pouquette

After the leaves on the trees have changed color and fallen, some of my favorite canyon roads to drive in the summer shut down  due to the fact that they aren’t maintained in the winter. Thus, making the next 5-6 months, from late fall into late spring, a tad grim for those of us that consider canyon carving a favorite pastime. East Canyon, Guardsman’s Pass, Wolf Creek Pass, closed until the winter snow thaws out in May of next year. Kind of a bummer, I know. But this gives us true addicts an excuse and reason to get out of our bubble, and discover even more of this beautiful state that we call home.

The MK 7 Golf R isn’t exactly an old car, but with the release of the MK 7.5 facelift, and the fact that I have driven various renditions of MK6 and MK7 Golf Rs, makes this platform somewhat familiar. For those who don’t know me or my background, I work as a photographer and videographer at Integrated Engineering; a Volkswagen and Audi tuner shop in Salt Lake City. I tried to keep a level head and an unbiased opinion going into this project. But thinking about driving a fun and engaging road that is a 2 hour drive from home, I figured “What a better car to be in than a comfortable and luxurious car on the freeway, while still being fun and engaging in the twisties?”

Okay, so the road and the commute. UT-199 is a quick and twisty road that resides in the Stansbury Mountains overlooking Skull Valley. It sounds intimidating, but there’s really just not a lot out there. Lots of flat terrain with straight roads… Oh yea, and not a police officer, Sheriff, or Highway Patrolman for miles. The perfect place to pull over to the side of the road for an impromptu photo shoot, or to *potentially* test out the aerodynamic properties of the Strafe carbon fiber rear diffuser. The road in question is in a place that isn’t really well known for driving or any kind of recreation, seeing as it is so far from anything of real interest. It’s roughly a 2 hour drive each way going around the north side of the Oquirrh mountains, and then southbound to the end of the Stansbury mountains. Quite the trek I know, but worth the drive to experience something new. With a drive this long to a place so desolate, it’s always wise to bring a co-pilot. So, what better co-pilot to assign to this adventure than my gearhead girlfriend Brooke? She’s one of very few women I’ve met that actually likes me driving fast up canyon roads, and is also a sucker for new Volkswagens. Match made in heaven, amirite?

Another note about UT-199: this is the place where Tim Stevens of CNET drove the 2017 Ford GT supercar for on road testing, to show how the car rides on surfaces that aren’t a perfectly smooth racetrack, such as Utah Motorsports Campus. Packed with tight sweepers, S-curves, and canted corners, it’s unlike many other roads that we have access to here in Utah. The only other place I’ve experienced such a combination is in the hills of Malibu where it is almost impossible to go wrong on picking a fun canyon road. I was enjoying myself in a 320 hp Golf, I can only imagine what that road would be like in a 600 hp, mid-engined supercar, purpose built to handle such corners.

Let’s talk about the car. 2017 Volkswagen Golf R with a Cobb AccessPort V3, and Whiteline lowering springs that are (at this point of me writing this article) still a prototype product. The Accessport is simply running a Stage 1 Tune, putting it at 320 hp and 340 lb ft torque at the wheels. With a boost gauge as one of the many features of the Accessport, the highest number for boost that I saw was roughly 24 psi, which is about par for the course for the power output in cars such as this. That power is put to the ground via 6 speed manual gearbox, and a trick Haldex All-Wheel Drive system. For those that are unfamiliar, the system used in the Golf R is Front-Wheel Drive for 100% of the time under normal driving conditions. When the system detects loss of traction, or any potential for understeer, the rear wheels are engaged via clutch pack to help rotate the rear end of the car. The steering inputs feel electronic, but is still weighted nicely for a premium feel. Not necessarily a bad thing for daily use, or commuting to and from work, but I would have definitely appreciated more information from the front wheels while flying through corners on UT-199.

So, how did the car do on the UT-199? With swooping esses, and smooth pavement with no traffic, it felt like my own personal race course. With the sheer fact that the road is so desolate, it’s imperative to keep the sticky side down and to stay in the lane. I have to admit, I only kept to the former. With open curves and the ability to see around corners two or 3 corners ahead, cutting over the line and hitting apexes is only inevitable. The Golf R does what most Front-Wheel Drive based VW products do best. Super fun and engaging in the high speed kinks, but easily shoves if you enter a sharp hairpin on the quicker side of fast. Considering I had never driven this road before, and being in a car that isn’t mine, I felt fairly comfortable pushing the envelope more and more. I almost got a little carried away and Brooke had to tell me to reel it back a little (which never happens). The car always felt planted and secure; even hitting S-Curves nearing triple digit speeds.

With Brooke being a fan of all things Volkswagen, she is an absolute fan of the car. She loved the layout of the interior controls, she said that everything was laid out in a very coherent manner, and that the car has a very luxurious feel to it. Gathering from her giggles and her laughter, I can tell that she also loved the way the car delivers power and takes corners.

I only have two legitimate issues with the Golf R. I’m in no way a fan of the clutch and the shifter feel of the manual gearbox, and I also don’t care for how the car rotates around corners. As far as driving dynamics go the shift linkage is rubbery and vague, and the clutch is equally uninformative. The “catch point” of the clutch is vague, and not as defined as I would like. These can easily be fixed in the aftermarket with a different clutch, pressure plate, and a short throw shift kit. When it comes to vehicle rotation, I understand that the platform is based on Front-Wheel Drive architecture with a transversely mounted motor and transmission so I have to take that into account. But objectively regarding handling dynamics, the sheer fact that the Focus RS exists somewhat kills the appreciation of the Golf R for me. On the RS, the rear end just wants to pop in for a little visit. Ya know… Just a little meet and greet. Maybe have a spot of tea, and then carry on its merry way. The rear end on the Golf R just stays in its room and looks at memes all day, while the front dives and digs into the road, clinging on to any and all grip it can find. I mean, it doesn’t understeer like a Subaru at least… But it sure as hell doesn’t rotate like I want a canyon carver to.

Everything else about the car I appreciate. The sculpted exterior, the exquisitely refined interior, the way the engine produces power, the value per dollar on the aftermarket for bolt-ons. It’s all there. The car just needs a little more coaxing in the dynamics department, and then it’s quite the perfect car. Spacious, comfortable, reasonably quick, engaging, and also practical with having a hatchback and All-Wheel Drive. And for a mini road trip with the person you love, I feel that’s all you really need.

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14th Nov2017

Coca-Rolla: A New Formula!

by Michael Chandler

You remember Ian, right?  Has that S130 we featured a while ago, and I swung by his house earlier this year to see what he was up to?  Any of that ringing a bell?  If you remember that last one, then this car shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see.  It’s the SR5 coupe he was working on when I was over there.  What you might not know is what he was doing to it.

He got the car with a BEAMS 3S-GE under the hood.  An amazing engine, that all the Toyota guys love and would love to swap into a Corolla, or an old Celica, or whatever RWD Toyota they can get their hands on.  That amazing engine rod knocked on Ian at the first event he took the car to.  Instead of shelling out for another BEAMS, or dealing with a 4A-GE and its associated costs, he went with something he knew.  Something that filled his cold, dead heart with warmth and life: a goddamn KA24DE.

Yes, he ripped out a trashed BEAMS and threw in a truck motor.  BLASPHEMY! I can hear you crying.  Why would anyone do that??? The BEAMS and 4A-GE are made by God himself! First, no to that whole second sentence.  Secondly, why not swap in something that is 1. familiar 2. proven and 3. cheap compared to building a 4A-GE or buying another BEAMS?  Argue for purity, and I’ll come back with practicality.  And this thing gets down, but we’ll get there in a minute.  First we’ve gotta talk about this car.

It’s an internally stock KA that sits in an engine bay that’s been completely stitch welded.  It does have a Greddy header meant for an NA S14, albeit modified to fit in the Corolla.  That connects to a Buddy Club Spec II exhaust, meant for a Corolla.  There’s a S14 Koyo radiator with a 16 inch SPAL fan to keep the whole deal cool enough.

Fueling is provided via a bevy of Aeromotive products! And by “bevy”, I mean 2: a 340lph fuel pump, and a fuel pressure regulator.  This whole thing is run via a MegaSquirt plug and play stand alone set up.  There’s a Painless switch panel, and absolutely no OEM wiring left in the car.  Ian rewired the whole thing to his liking.  Oh, and the battery is in the trunk.

That power (at least as much as that KA is producing) is sent through a one piece driveshaft to a solid rear axle.  No, not the stick that came in the Corolla, but a solid rear axle out of a Chevrolet S10.  Turns out it’s actually narrower than the Corolla axle.  Oh, and it’s been re-drilled for four lug.  AND the stock e-brake cables have been modified to work with the giant drums that are now out back.  They grab REAL good.  

Before we go on about the technical aspects of the car, let’s talk about that livery.  If it looks familiar, congratulations!  You’re either old, or a fan of vintage sports cars.  This livery is inspired by a livery on both the Porsche 962 and 935.  Both cars have sported many iconic liveries.  When I visited him earlier this year, he had the KA mounted, and then showed me a bunch of pictures of the Porsches while saying “that’s what I’m doing”.   He then grabbed a cutoff wheel, and got to cutting down the old grill.  It was an interesting evening.

I did not doubt him, in fact, we wondered why nobody else has done this before.  Seriously!  There are so many awesome liveries out there, everybody knows someone who works with vinyl, the pieces are there!  Make it happen, nerds.  Back to what he did.  The attention to detail is amazing!  It’s not just the big, swoopy Coca-Cola logo, it’s all of the little sponsor logos too.  Domino’s, 7 Eleven…

Even Jolly Rancher is on there!  With the period correct logo!  And the Advan logo, because it’s Ian.  Advan logo, despite the fact that he’s running 14×7 and 14×7.5 SSR Mk3’s.  Also period correct, and very awesome.

Speaking of awesome: you know what’s awesome?  Keeping things simple.  The suspension on the car is pretty damn simple: Megan links, T3 tension rods, and Stance coilovers.  The only big swap, aside from the KA, is an AW11 steering rack, which is a pretty standard thing.  No Wisefab, no craziness.  Just stuff you can buy, and that’s probably on the Corolla of your local AE86 guy.  

Inside is pretty spartan.  Again, no craziness.  Just a Nardi Gara steering wheel, and a Bride seat that’s mounted on some Buddy Club seat rails, straight from Japan.  And a cracked dashboard.

And a bunch of Auto Gage gauges, and an Innovative wideband.  

And that Painless switch panel.

The car is running what Ian describes as a “Duraflex runfree knockoff” body kit.  Could’ve fooled me, but then again I have no idea what I’d be looking for in the original.  I’m a lover, not an expert.

Remember how I said that this thing get’s down?  Well, Ian showed us how well it does.  There was a concrete slab, like what’s under your local strip mall, right by where we were shooting.  Dave guided him up, onto the slab, and then Ian did Ian things.  The car will boogie, and it will boogie without bash bars, or as Ian calls them “confidence bars”.  

Will people start slapping KA’s into Corollas?  Probably not.  Corollas are only getting more expensive, so you’d either have to have one fall in your lap, or start off with one.  And then you’d have to make everything work, either make the Nissan mill play nice with the Toyota wiring, or go full Ian and just rewire the damn thing.  And then there’s also the other Nissan motor that people shove into Corollas: the SR20DET.  Why stuff the truck motor in there when the JDM hotness has been done enough that it’s not weird?  

Much like New Coke, I don’t think Ian’s formula is really going to take off.  However, it is a welcome change to something that hasn’t seen many updates.  It’s different, it’s interesting, and it definitely brought a smile to our faces.

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18th Sep2017

The Driving Experience: Omar’s NSX

by Gavin Pouquette

The new NSX is a marvel of modern technology: hybrid power, advanced manufacturing techniques, an ECU that’s smarter than you.  But what about the old one?  On this episode of The Driving Experience, Mike and I hop in Omar Vargas’s NSX and see what a world changing super car was like in 1991.

Music by Mathusaworm

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02nd Jun2017

Face/Off R32 GT-R

by Michael Chandler

Like many of us, Skitch Bryant fell in love with the Skyline GT-R’s whilst playing Gran Turismo.  Unlike many of us, he imported one.  One that’s a bit different than most of the R32’s you’ll see roaming around.

Yes, despite what the car looks like from the A pillars forward, this is an R32 GTR.  It just has front end conversion, similar to the Bee R 324R.  Unlike the Bee R kit, this one has some R34 Z Tune fenders grafted on to it.  It also has a rear windshield wiper, which is a nice touch.

Under the hood is…

*sips soda*

An RB26DETT that’s been given a lot of NISMO upgrades: N1 turbos and oil pump, bigger intercooler, and other stuff we’ll file under “etc”.  It also has…

A BUNCHA SHINY-ASS HARD PIPES!  And a shiny Top Secret catch can.

All of those pipes, along with the downpipe, exhaust, oil cooler, and oil filter relocation setup are GReddy/Trust pieces.  There are also Spitfire coil packs, and a Cusco strut bar in there, but since it’s an RB26, people will focus on the power adders.  Which is a shame, because this thing has seen some upgrades in the handling department as well.

Behind the NISMO branded Enkei wheels are the OEM brakes and rotors.  And behind them are a set of Cusco Street Zero coilovers, and NISMO stainless steel brake lines and sway bars.  

The interior has been given the NISMO touch as well, in the form of seats, floor mats,…

And 320 kph gauge cluster.  

That orange, blurry thing in the last photo is a MOMO steering wheel, because it can’t be all NISMO all the time.  While we’re here, can we take a minute and appreciate the late 80’s goofy awesomeness that are buttons and switches on the cowl of the gauge cluster?  Man, makes me miss my Legend and its radio controls on the cowl.

Skitch picked up the Bayside Blue Skyline from a seller in Japan.  He did all the paperwork, and flew to Long Beach to drive the car back.  And that drive was interesting, because everyone was snapping photos of the car.  Especially in California.  From the email he sent me (because I forgot some of the details when he told me the story during the shoot):

I stopped at a Walmart along the way in Cali to grab some snacks and supplies for the road trip.  I was literally inside for only about 10-15 minutes and come out to an entire Nissan club with their cars parked next to mine, taking pictures and geeking out over the Skyline.  I asked them how they got here so fast and they told me that one of their members was following me and phoning everyone in the club to come out before the car disappears.  They were super cool and we hung out for a little bit before I had to move on.

Stalkers can be fun sometimes!

People love it at car shows, especially kids.  I love it when the little kids run up to it and recognize that they’ve played the car in a video game or that it’s their favorite color.  Although I wasn’t expecting anyone else to really pay much attention or freak out over the car, it’s fun to know that it’s so well received and love in the community.  After all, I bought this for me and because I love the platform and heritage of the car.  It’s nice to know that others know of the car as well in some form or another

I can attest to the kids freaking out when they see it at a show.  I was the guy shooting the roll in photos at ISS, and when Skitch and the Skyline rolled past, the crowd behind me lost their minds.  

I’m glad that we can finally, legally, have R32s of all varieties.  Especially ones like Skitch’s: super unique, and driven frequently.  Now let’s see some crazy time attack builds!

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05th May2017

Shakotan Spooky: Austin’s Widebody AE86

by Michael Chandler

What you’re looking at is a car that is as old as I am; and much like myself, this car has gotten wider as the years have gone by.  Unlike myself, however, Austin intended for the car to be wide.  I did not want to be wide.  Let’s talk more about Austin Fenn’s Corolla.

We’ll get to the flares in a minute, so settle down.  Austin plucked this car from a perpetual project state, and built it into what you see here.  And he did a fair amount of that work in his garage.  He’s touched every aspect of this car, like the suspension.  Megan Racing supplies a set of Track series coilovers, roll center adjusters, and their adjustable four links.  Up front  is an MR2 steering rack (because it fits and is also manual), extended lower control arms, and T3 modified steering knuckles. 

 The shock and coil perches in the rear have been modified to allow for additional droppage, and there are hand made traction brackets as well.  There’s also a T3 panhard bar for good measure.  There is Motul 600 brake fluid coursing through braided brake lines on all four corners.  The OEM calipers grab onto slotted rotors.  All of that is tucked behind a set of Basset steel wheels, 14×8 in the front, and 15×10 (-52 offset!) in the rear.  The front wheels are currently wearing a pair of Yokohama S.drive tires, and the rears are sporting Falkens.

The rear bumper has been ditched, and a pair of boso pipes are sticking out the back.  The US spec front bumper has been cut up and tucked, and the body (underneath the custom livery that Austin designed, and Hero Prints turned into printable files) is some satin black paint and Chrysler Crystal Metallic Graphite.  

He’s fitted a set of Jblood sideskirts, and popped on some sideskirt extensions he snagged off of eBay.  Now let’s get to the thing you’ve been waiting for:

The flares are truly one-offs.  They aren’t some super rare Yahoo Japan finds, or something he found at a swap meet.  No, these are flares that he designed, AND MADE HIMSELF.  You won’t be able to get a set of them unless you A) rip them off Austin’s car, a move which is highly un-advisable for a litany of reasons or B) beg him to make a set for you, which will probably result in an answer in the negative.  They’re N2 inspired, but all Austin’s design.

Turning our attention under the hood, we find a 20 valve 4AGE!  And no A/C or power steering!  He has a newer xB, which has at least one of those things.  There’s a big Mishimoto radiator, and matching fans, along with a Setrab oil cooler and a thermostatic oil plate.  

The 20v inhales through a set of individual throttle bodies, topped with 75mm T3 velocity stacks.  It exhales through a very good looking header that I can’t remember the name of, nor the reason that he chose this header.  But damn is it good looking.  If there’s a bad looking, aftermarket header for the 4AGE, I haven’t seen it.  And I don’t want to.  Oh, and the head has been ported and polished.  And the whole shebang is being orchestrated by a Sprint 500 standalone ECU.

There is no carpet inside Austin’s Corolla, only custom floor mats.  The rear of the car doesn’t even get the luxury of floor mats, it just has the relocated battery, sitting inside of a stainless steel box.  There’s a Veilside OG fixed back seat, which necessitated the recovering of the OEM passenger seat and door cards.  You know, so they match the Veilside bucket.  The steering wheel is a Vertex (by Vertex) wheel, and doesn’t have a horn button.  It is very colorful though.  Oh, and that stuff sitting on the driver’s seat?

A sweet pair of Shirts Tucked In driving gloves.

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18th Jul2016

It’s Really Not a 240SX: Erik’s 180SX

by Michael Chandler

180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-2

In a world full of real and fake, mislabeled things, and people trying to fake the funk, it’s rare we find someone with a real, correctly labeled, funky ass thing on their hands.  Sometimes it’s a guy with a rad, rare camera.  Other times it’s somebody with a copy of that movie you loved as a kid, but could never find in adulthood.  In this case, it’s Erik with a legitimate 180SX.  Right hand drive and all.

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Can we acknowledge the clear timing belt cover?

You can’t really see it, but the ID plate lists this car as a 180SX that came with an SR20DET.  And this car ran an SR for a very long time, then Erik got an itch, and BH Motorsports got crafty, and it has an RB25DET Neo under the hood.  It’s not crazily built, the only internal modifications are a set of Tomei Pon cams.  Everything else is a bolt on.  On the intake side is a Freddy intake manifold (Fake Greddy, keep up) with a set of R35 GTR fuel injectors and a Tomei fuel pressure regulator.

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On the fun side is a Garrett 3076r snail, bolted to a CX Racing manifold.  Cooling the compressed air before it gets to the Freddy manifold is a PBM intercooler.  Watching over this whole ordeal is a Haltech Platinum Pro Series ECU, which gets and sends information via a Wiring Specialties harness.  Tuning services were provided by D-Wreck.

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Or else what?

Getting that power to the driven wheels is an RB20 transmission, loving stuffed with an ACT 6 puck unsprung clutch.  In the back, between the driven wheels, is a NISMO two way limited slip differential.

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Doing the stopping is a set of S14 brake calipers up front, and the stock calipers in the rear.  Both have Project Mu pads in them, which seem to be doing the job.

Helping Erik get that sweet, sweet steering angle (which, as I’m told, translates to sweet, sweet street cred) is a whole mess of stuff that my feeble brain barely has a grasp of: PBM knuckles front and rear, lengthened and boxed lower control arms, Driftworks offset and bent tension rods, an GK Tech offset steering rack spacers.

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Helping to maximize grip, something a drift car actually needs) are a set of Gecko street coilovers.  Strut tower bars provided by JIC  (front) and Cusco (rear), and a Godspeed full rear suspension arm kit in the back help keep things planted.  Also some Stance subframe risers raise a subframe… Not sure which, but one of them is raised!

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The front and rear wheels and tires are different, for reasons.  Up front the 18×9 Rota G Forces are wrapped in 205/40 Federal 595s, and out back the 18×10.5 Vordovens turn 265/35 Achilles ATR Sports into white smoke.

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Ok, now that we’ve covered what makes this car go, we can get on to the miles of style this thing has.  In the back it has a set of JDM kouki tail lights, over which is a custom drag wing made by Team Orange.  Who is Team Orange?  They’re the drift team that ran RWD Evos and WRXs in D1GP.

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The car sports a replica Vertex body kit, and a real D Max hood vent.  It also has a one of ten Godai Elements: Earth windshield banner from Super Wow Factory.  The gray and deceptively purple two tone was done by Brandon over at D-Spare.

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Inside, on the driver’s side, is a Bride Vios Low Maxx 3 seat, on Planted seat rails.  The limited edition Jimmy Up steering wheel is mounted on a Works Bell quick release, and a NISMO shift knob tops the shifter.  180SX feature Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

On the passenger side is a Bride Zeta seat, also on Planted rails, and a set of Defi gauges mounted in the dash.  No such thing as too much information.

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And in the back, opposite the Sard surge tank, is a .50 caliber ammo box.  Inside that box is not ammunition, but his battery.

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This isn’t a 240SX with 180SX tail lights and center section.  This is the real deal.  It also hasn’t been dipped and deep fried in America either.  This is about as JDM as you’re gonna get until you hit the home islands.  It’s really authentic, and really a 180SX

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
20th Apr2016

There’s A Storm Coming: Makes & Models ST Huracan

by Michael Chandler

Makes & Models Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-7

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

It wasn’t that long ago that the big dogs running at Utah Motorsports Campus were the Porsche 911 Cup cars coming from the Tatum, Air Power, Snow, and Magnus garages.  They would be battling it out with a few Corvettes, but the Porsches didn’t have much competition.  Then some guys from a shop in Layton got an opportunity to do something to shake up the order.

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They bought an Audi R8 LMS from a Pirelli World Challenge team.  They took it to Envision to have it wrapped in their livery, and started learning the limits of the car.  Then they started winning.  Of course I’m talking about the Makes & Models R8.  That changed things up quite a bit.  Suddenly the dominance of the Porsches wasn’t so overwhelming.  Eventually other ex-PWC cars came, and the old V8 LMS wasn’t the dominant car it once was.  Seeing as how they changed the game once, why not change it again?

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Well, another opportunity came up.  A privateer who was running in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo series was looking to unload their Huracan.  Derek Wolthoff of Makes & Models made some calls, and soon enough there was a car under a big, Lamborghini branded sheet sitting in their showroom.  What was under that sheet?

Makes & Models Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-3

Obviously.  Well what exactly is a Super Trofeo spec Lamborghini Huracan?  Well, it has a complete aero package that is very different from the street car.  Also different from most of the road going Huracans is the lack of all wheel drive.  This bad boy is rear wheel drive, and has a Marelli six speed sequential gear box.  There’s no ESP, but there’s ABS which has 12 levels of ABS-ness.

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Sitting at all four corners are 18 inch wheels, with Pirelli P Zero tires, and Brembo brakes.  Up front the wheels are 18 x 11, draped in 305/660-18 slicks, with 380mm x 35mm slotted rotors with monstrous 6 pot monoblock calipers.  The rear wheels aren’t much wider than the fronts, they measure in at 18 x 12.  The tires, coincidentally… not really at all, are 315’s.  The rear brakes are smaller than the fronts, but still massive: 355mm x 32mm, with 4 pot monoblock calipers.

Makes & Models Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

The engine is still a V10, but a little different.  Gone is the multi-point injection for the fuel, and in has come an intake by BMC.  Out is the master and slave ECU setup, and in is a M182 MoTEC system with 9 positions of traction control.  The Super Trofeo series still does have gentlemen racers, gotta give them a little bit of a security blanket.

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There’s also the other race car stuff like a cage, seat and harness, cat flaps instead of windows, stuff make the car a great tool for racing, but awful for using as a car in the real world.

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So what’s next for the car and team?  Well, they’re going to feel out the car and it’s quirks.  They’ve got one race under their belt, but things are looking pretty good.  When asked about the future of the car, Derek gave me this:

“We would like to make changes to the car that will benefit the series (NASA GTS), based on the spec for ST”

So basically make the car more at home, while still keeping it a Super Trofeo car.  This is good, especially considering that fellow GTSU competitors DXDT Racing recently announced their Super Trofeo program.  Will we see some Lamborghini battles at UMC this season?  Who knows!

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We here at CAM can’t predict the future (at least not with any accuracy, but we were right about the F1 qualifying!), but we do know that, with all this new metal running around the track, there’s a storm brewing on the horizon.

GRAB AN UMBRELLA, CAUSE IT’S RAININ’ BONUS IMAGES!

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

25th Mar2016

Make It Yourself: Widebody Voltex WRX

by Michael Chandler

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-4

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Since that fateful SEMA, all those years ago, making your car wide has become a lot easier.  There are rivet on fender flares for all of the popular chassis: FRS/BRZ, 350Z, 240SX, E36, I even saw that there’s a Pandem kit for EG Civics!  If you have a Porsche, you can have Nakai-san fly to you and make your 964 or 993 chassis 911 insanely wide.  This is great and all, but seeing a hand made wide body kit, where the fenders were cut and shaped and re-welded and repainted is a rare sight.  Hardly anybody is doing that.  Jon Truong is no stranger to making something work on his bug-eye WRX.  For a while this thing was known for sporting some Voltex pieces, pieces that weren’t made for the 02-03 WRX’s.  How do you improve on that little project?  Well let’s talk about that.

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A pair of bright red Bride Low Max seats with 5-point Takata harnesses brighten up the interior.  An Auto Power roll cage provides some extra security in case things get a little wild, which hopefully they don’t.  Jon lays his hands on a gorgeous, limited edition Sparco Champion steering wheel, which is attached to an NRG quick release hub.  Between the steering wheel and the gauge cluster are an AEM UEGO wideband gauge, and one of his Defi gauges.  Atop the dash, dead center, are the rest of his Defi gauges.  They monitor oil temperature and pressure, exhaust gas temperature, and boost.  The shift boot has been replace with a JPM Coachworks Alcantara piece.  All those gauges and that cage would be ridiculous if the engine was stock, but thankfully that is not the case.

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Definitely not stock.  Far, far from it.  Very few OEM pieces remain.  The crankcase is the on that came with the car, but that has been filled with some shiny new bits.  The block received a set of Darton sleeves, a crankshaft from a 2008 STI, KillerB pickup tube and baffle, King bearings, Rallispec connecting rods, and Cosworth pistons.  ARP headstuds hold the ported and polished two liter heads to the block, with Tomei headgaskets in between, and those heads are like a pinata: filled with goodies!  BC 1mm oversized valves, titanium valve springs and retainers, and 272 degree camshafts.  Supertech valve guides let those big valves move smoothly.  NGK spark plugs, one step colder than stock, supply the bang for the Otto cycle.  Samco radiator hoses, a Grimmspeed thermostat and a Koyorad radiator keep the engine cool, and a Tomei timing belt connects the new crank to the lumpy cams.  Hiding the alternator (hey, that’s stock!) is a gorgeous Abbey Road Company, more commonly known as ARC, alternator cover.

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Sitting atop an Agency Power manifold and TurboXS rotated up-pipe is a massive Garrett GT3582R turbo, featuring a TiAL hotside.  That’s quite the hair dryer!  That beast requires a bit of fuel, which is provided by a Walbro 255lph fuel pump, Agency Power fuel rails and Injector Dynamics 1000cc fuel injectors.  An Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator makes sure the flow is consistent, which is an important thing when you’re dealing with any larger-than-stock turbo setup.  Keeping the boost in check are a wonder trio of bits: a TiAL 44mm wastegate and Q blow off valve, and a Hallman boost controller.  Jon is running an AEM 3.5 BAR MAP sensor, because reasons and there’s no place for a MAF sensor.  The brains of the operation aren’t behind Jon’s bespectacled eyes, but in the COBB Tuning Accessport.  Keeping everything lubricated is oil, and sending that oil to the places it needs to go is a Cosworth high volume and pressure oil pump.  At the end of this whole thing is an Invidia G200 catback.  Ok, while all of that is awesome, it’s not what makes this car special.  While beauty in people is on the inside, the opposite is true for this car.

Now, all of the power needs to go through some stuff so it becomes what they call “usable”.  As you know, or not, Subaru transmissions are known for having 2nd gears made of glass.  Thankfully an upgrade to a six speed trans out of a JDM 2007 model should have that situation remedied.  Holding that new transmission in place is a Perrin transmission mount, and connecting that to the rear differential is a PST carbon driveshaft.  Helping with the gear shifts are a Kartboy short shifter and a Goodrich stainless steel clutch line.  With great power comes great necessity for a clutch that can handle that.  A Carbontec carbon clutch is up to the task, and an ACT Streetlite flywheel helps with engine response.

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Actually putting the power to the ground are a set of Yokohama Advan AD08Rs, which are mounted on a massive set of CCW Classics.  They come in at a staggering 18×11!  Behind the gargantuan wheels (11″ wide!  On all four corners!  ON A STREET CAR!!!) are Brembo calipers harvested from an STI, which clamp Hawk HPS pads upon DBA T3 slotted rotors.  All hail the magical kangaroo paw.  Feeding brake fluid to the calipers are some Stoptech stainless steel brake lines.  The suspension is fairly simple, a set of Zeal Function coilovers bring the car down and make the lateral transitions sharper.

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They say beauty is on the inside, and while the insides of this car are very pretty, the outside is much prettier.  You can clearly see that the license plate say VOLTEX.  This is for good reason.  Jon was bold enough to graft Voltex parts not meant for his chassis on to it.  For the longest time this was just the Voltex Bugeye, and that was good.  The rear diffuser, sidesteps and GT wing, and Greddy lip proved to be starting points, because things just went from there.  In the rear we have 04-05 tail lights, and a rear bumper and fender arches from yet another STI.  Oh, and there’s also the widebody setup back there too.  But why throw a widebody on the rear, and not the front?

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Before we get to that, let’s talk about some of the other stuff on this car.  There’s a wide assortment of JDM goodies on this: STI V7 hood scoop, grill and headlights; Spec-C roof vent; side markers, and ion fog lights.  There’s a roof vane behind the roof vent, and the corner markers have been plugged with carbon fiber.

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As you can see, there are no rivets on the exterior of this car.  And the wide fenders on the front didn’t arrive at Solid Autoworks in a box.  Those are handmade in metal.  Seeing someone with legitimate wide metal front fenders is a rarity, in an age where you can order FRP over fenders and slap them on.  A lot of craftsmanship went into this bugeye, proving that sometimes the only way to have the best is to make it yourself.

GALLERY:

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
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