16th Apr2015

Import Spring Showoff: The History

by Michael Chandler

ISS 2014 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (53 of 125)

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

This coming Sunday is the Import Spring Showoff, one of the largest shows/meets in the state.  This year it is going to be held at the Maverick Center, which is a physically larger venue than the Davis County Fairgrounds that have held it the past couple of years.  Every year this event keeps growing, and it’s amazing to think that this all started as a simple barbecue at Barnes Park.

Utah Acuras Spring 07 meet

Back in the days of MySpace and forums, the Teknik crew of northern Utah would gather at Barnes Park in Kaysville and celebrate spring.  It wasn’t a massive, sponsor laden affair.  It was the crew and some friends just hanging out.  Soon after these little meets is when I popped into the picture.  The little Teknik barbecue had become the Eliterides meet, and subsequently grew in size.  They still weren’t massive, but they were bigger. This was the way it was for a few years, but by 2007 some of the Teknik members founded Utah Acuras and turned the little barbecue into a decent sized meet.  The little parking lot on the west side of the park was too small for the needs of the meet, but the southwest parking lot was perfectly sized.  This was the home of the meet for many years, but when Utah Acuras evolved into Utah Hondas things began to change.

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2008 through 2010 saw a lot of growth, and plenty of non Hondas in attendance.  By 2010 the meet had outgrown the southwest lot, and attendees were lining 200 North.  The Spring Meet was going to be changing again, but it wasn’t going to be moving too far.

UH Spring Meet 2012-1

In 2011 the meet filled the northwest lot, and spilled into the surrounding parking lots.  There were sponsor booths, and raffles!  It was looking like the massive event that we know it as today.  The next year the meet grew even more, and the organizers ran into some problems.  Some BIG problems.  First, the parking lot was full 45 minutes before the event was scheduled to begin.  Secondly, and more importantly, Kaysville City PD shut the meet down early because the staff failed to get the proper permits and make the proper reservations.  According to Jeff Woodyatt “It was then that we realized (along with more non-Honda’s in attendance than Honda’s) that it was time to turn the spring meet into a legit event for all makes and models.”  2013 was the first official year of the Import Spring Showoff, and it was held at the Davis County Fairgrounds.  Permits and reservations were acquired, and the rest is history.

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As the meet evolved things were added and removed.  The most notable addition were the awards given by the attendees and staff.  Some have faded from our memories, but there’s one that some will never forget.  Yes, I’m talking about The Ghetto Award.  First given out to a Civic hatchback that was very slow and rather haggard, it was given to a Civic coupe with a bird drawn on its hood in primer the next year.  In 2007 Dave, yes our Dave, got a hold of a small steel wheel and got creative with a can of spray paint and a sharpie.

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The idea behind the award was to recognize the most haggard, beat up, and generally terrible car that came to the meet.  It was meant to motivate the recipient to make their car less offensive to everyone, and it usually happened.  That hatchback wound up making 500 horsepower, and the coupe got painted.  However, the winner of the 2007 award never actually received it.  In 2007, at the joint Utah Acuras and HondaTech meet, it rained.  It always rained at HondaTech meets, and this year was no different.  A lone, multicolored Eclipse rolled through the meet.  Everyone was in their cars, avoiding the rain and watching the harlequin DSM slowly roll through.  One man, a hero, could not let this car leave without a physical representation of the recognition he earned.  Dave lept out of his car, hoisted the award above his head and began chasing the Eclipse.  Not knowing what Dave wanted, and not eager to find out, the Eclipse quickly left the parking lot while Dave gave chase.  Tragically, that was the last time the award was given.  It’s probably for the best, as I doubt that anyone would A) be able to take it as the joke it is and B) fix up their hoopty.

Now that we know where we’ve been, and how a humble meet became the juggernaut that it is today, we need to take a look at how this meet happens every year.  In part two of this story, we’ll take a look behind the scenes so you can see everything that goes into making Import Spring Showoff happen every year.

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

 

04th Feb2015

Converted For Duty: RWD Subaru Forester

by Michael Chandler

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

Every kid in Utah at one point wanted an all wheel drive vehicle.  Back when I was in high school the choices were simple: Eclipse/Talon GSX, Lancer Evolution, WRX, or STi.  Those were the options if you wanted to boogie and didn’t want to blow the bank.  Now it’s different.  Now rear wheel drive is the go to form of propulsion, but with the more popular rwd chassis fetching stupid prices (thanks drift tax!) sometimes you have to get creative if you want to slide.  And that creativity is what brings us Jackson Brundage’s Forester.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag

This Forester used to be slightly different.  By that I mean it was stanced out, was automatic and had a basket affixed to the roof rack.  But hard parking can only satiate someone for so long.  Soon Jackson was reading up on RWD conversions, and having everyone on Drift Utah tell him to talk to Derrick Lopez or Nate Omana, two other rwd Subaru pilots.  Soon he had a plan.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-7

And that plan was fairly simple: use the fact that he works at Despain Automotive, and follow the blueprints laid out by many others before him.  The car rolled in powering all four wheels, and rolled out powering the right ones.  Voila!  RWD Subaru!  While things were being removed, the front swaybar was tossed on the pile, and the coilovers he had on the car were swapped out for a set of Stance Pro Comps.  The auto was thrown very, very far away in favor of a 5 speed manual box out of a 2002 WRX.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

There’s a welded R160 differential in the back, and Whiteline bushings are holding it securely.  The old control arm bushings have been replaced with fresh ones from Super Pro.

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A Miro 563 wheel sits on each corner, and they are all 18×9.5 +34.  The only difference is in the rubber front to rear: Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Specs.  Out back is whatever fits and is available.  The clutch has also been upgraded to an Exedy unit, which will take the repeated clutch kick abuse in stride.

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The interior is… an eclectic mix of things.  The center console looks like a lumber jack that has been stabbed with a #2 Snap On screwdriver, which thankfully it isn’t but a Snap On #2 screwdriver serves as Jackson’s shift knob.  Hanging about that are some Hello Kitty fuzzy dice, because kawaii.  That glossy steering wheel is an NRG piece, with an NRG quick release sitting on a Sparco hub.

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Stage 6 Motoring makes the seats he and his passenger strap themselves into.  They’re the Chaser 1 Neo seat, which means sweet ass leopard print on the front and sparkly silver on the back!  Both seats are on Planted Technology bases, and while the passenger is stuck with the factory three point, Jackson has himself a Takata four point harness.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-5

Seeing this car from the back would reveal absolutely nothing about the conversion it has received.  It looks like any Forester that’s been lowered and fitted with after market wheels; however, approaching from the front tells a different tale.  Seeing the bash bar, which was fabricated by his friend Walter, instantly says “business”.

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In the end, Jackson will have hopefully drift missile’d this thing out: hit everything with it at every possible angle, straightened various things with tow straps, and used it and his misadventures in drifting as a foundation to build a prettier, more competition oriented car.

Either that, or he slides this thing around and keeps adding kanji stickers and Hello Kitty stuff to it and has the most kawaii car at all the local events.  Either or, so long as he watches those videos I told him to watch.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
26th Jan2015

Old Man Yellow

by Michael Chandler

Old Man Yellow Chevelle 300 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

In this era of instant gratification, where some measure their worth in the amounts of likes, shares, favorites and retweets, taking time and doing things right is lost.  A lot of people’s “builds” are nothing more than installing coilovers or airbags, and new wheels.  It seems that people have forgotten that the more time you put into something the better it can be.  This 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle 300 two door post sedan received a frame off restoration, something that takes year to accomplish in its own right.  Daniel Chillinski, the owner, has taken ten years to bring the car to this point.  It was worth the time.

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Daniel bought this car when he was 18, from the original owner.  A little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays, and to the store once a week.  Or something like that, because the math says the Chevelle did less than 5000 miles per year in its forty-seven year life span.  The car was still packing the 230 cubic inch straight six engine, and three speed transmission with a column shifter.  Most of the original things have changed about this car, except the color.  According to Daniel “the color was going to be much more radical burnt orange, and gunmetal grey but after so many years I couldn’t part with the original Butternut yellow.”  That Butternut yellow was dubbed “Old Man Yellow” by a friend of his who was in town, on leave from the Navy, was refreshed by Nocturnal Performance.  They also threw the color on the custom hood that’s sporting an L88 style hood scoop.  All the emblems were taken to Unknown Coatings to be powdercoated in black chrome.

Old Man Yellow Chevelle 300 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-3

In his decade of ownership, Daniel has made quite a few changes to this retiree.  The Johnson-era suspension is long gone, replaced by more modern equipment.  Up front he installed a set of Hotchkis tubular upper control arms and lowering springs.  To settle the motion of the front end there’s a set of QA-1 twelve way adjustable shocks, and to help keep it planted there’s a PST sway bar.  All the old suspension bushings have replaced with pieces sourced from PST as well.  Hauling this Nimitz-class carrier to a halt are BAER two piston calipers clamping onto 13.5″ rotors.

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The rear has also seen its fair share of upgrades.  It too has BAER brakes, just smaller: single piston calipers on 11.5″ rotors. There are more Hotchkis control arms in the back (upper and lower), but just like the front they’re tubular.  It’s lowered on Hotchkis lowering springs, and stiffened up by a Hotchkis rear sway bar.  The main attraction is the rear end: a Moser twelve bolt piece, with 3.55 gears and Positrac to boot.  Why does this classic need such a beefy rear end?

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Because it has 489 cubic inches of America under the hood!  The 489 (that’s 8 liters to those playing the modern version of the home game) started life as an equally massive 427 cubic inch (7 liter) tall deck big block, but then was bored .030″ over and stroked half an inch to come to the massive displacement it currently sits.  Seeing as how this whole build took ten years, you can be assured he didn’t just drop a big block in the cavernous engine bay and call it a day.  He did things to it.

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Things like put a big Howe Racing aluminum radiator in the nose, which he had covered with cardboard (the radiator, not the nose) because it was so cold on the day we shot.  Sanderson shorty headers mate to a Pypes three inch exhaust, and an MSD 6AL box and plug wires help get the ignition boogying.  Hanging off the front of the motor are some Billet Specialties V-Belt accessories. And then there’s the stuff on top of the massive motor…

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This artsy* photo has the Dart Pro 1 heads and intake manifold in it, along with the Barry Grant Mighty Demon 850 CFM carburetor.  This whole set up provides for a lot of forward propulsion.  Propulsion that the old three on the tree couldn’t handle… Probably.  In place of the three speed is a beefy Tremec TKO 600 five speed gear box, with a floor shifter.

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A Husrt shifter at that!  We’ve seen some cool shift knobs in our history here at CAM, and this one is right up there.  But that’s not the coolest thing about the interior.

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“During the initial build of the car when I started dating my wife I actually told here that the car was more important than her and she ended up sewing the interior for the car.”  She did a killer job.  That is the seat she sewed up in black leatherette with orange inserts, and she did not pull a Marge Simpson and knit some seatbelts.  Daniel grabbed a set of Corbeau four point harnesses.  He also has an Art Morrison four point roll cage in there for that extra little bit of protection.

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The dashboard received the custom touch.  A set of Autometer Cobalt gauges relay important information to Daniel.

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On the day we were shooting he didn’t need to keep cool, but on days he does there’s a Vintage Air air conditioning system to blow conditioned air throughout the cabin.  Below the “I can’t believe that’s not an OEM a/c control panel” sits a Pioneer DEH-800PRS head unit, an upgrade from the old AM radio.  It sends signals and sounds to an MB Quart Q Series amp and mono amp, and 6.5″ component speakers.  There’s also a trio of RE Audio 8″ subwoofers in individual ported boxes.

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This car took ten years.  In those ten years Daniel dated a girl who became his wife, graduated college, and moved a couple of times.  During the restoration, which he did in his two car garage, the car took up more space in their house than they did: doors were in the office, drive shaft was in the guest bedroom, etc.  His wife really got to see his passion for cars, and is seeing it again.  He’s building a four door Integra for the LeMons race at Miller Motorsports Park coming up in October.  But that’s not his only Honda project.

S2000 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag

Daniel used to daily drive an Integra LS, which is a fun little car in its own right.  But then it his 210,000 miles, and that’s a lot of miles.  He needed something different, and up popped this AP1 S2000.  He picked it up in November of 2013 and it’s been pretty mild since, only receiving a K&N FIPK intake and JDP carbon fiber duck tail spoiler.  This level of modification shall not last, as he plans install a set of KW Variant 2 coilovers, and more aggressive wheels and tires.

S2000 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-2

It has taken ten years to transform the Old Man Yellow Chevelle from lightly driven, straight six powered cruiser into a 489 powered boulevard bruiser.  Could he have thrown in a 350 and called it a day years ago?  Definitely, but it wouldn’t be as impressive as it is today.  This Chevelle, and the S2000 down the road, rolls as a testament to taking time to get the ultimate build: one that will stand the test of time, and THAT is the ultimate gratification.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

*Not terribly artsy, but it’s still pretty cool

 

 

Off
07th Jan2015

A Better Alternative

by Michael Chandler

Makes & Models shop feature-6

I feel safe in assuming that you do most of your maintenance yourself if you read this site with any regularity.  There’s a garage full of tools, a family or significant other who understands why you do these things, and a host of manuals in the garage and websites bookmarked to help you keep your vehicle road worthy.  But what if you encounter a problem with your vehicle that you can’t handle yourself?  It’s not a catastrophic failure, but it’s not as simple as fetching the correct size socket out of the drawer and adjusting.  What do you do?  Go to the dealer and  get it coming and going?  Trust your pride and joy to a “specialist” shop that specializes in 47 different makes?  Oh if only there was a dealer alternative!

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We’ve featured some good shops in the past, and we still highly recommend them.  But say you’re cruising around in your GTi and it does a VW thing and stops working properly.  It still works, albeit in limp mode, and you can’t figure out what happened.  The internet has no useful answers and your friends are stumped.  What do you do?  Dealer?  Viking funeral?  Hope it goes away on its own?  No.  You limp that thing up to Layton and get it to Makes & Models.  Why? Because you’re getting factory trained techs and service without having to go to the dealership and pay those ridiculous prices.

Makes & Models shop feature

Their bread and butter is the VAG makes: Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, but they also service Mercedes-Benz and BMW vehicles.  And if you’re thinking about joining the uber-affluent set by getting a Lamborghini or Ferrari, then you’re in luck!  They already service some bulls and horseys, and they’re working on becoming a full blown Lamborghini service center.  Doing that requires acquiring all sorts of specialized tools and sending the techs off to get the necessary deutschetalian training.  However, if you prefer your mid-engine supercar to sport rings on the nose instead of livestock, you’re set.

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Not only do many a R8 come in for service, but members of the staff own them and even race an R8 LMS in NASA Utah region competition!  Technically TW Racing campaigns the R8, but if you wander in to the shop you might be able to see it tucked away in a corner of the show room.  You might even get to meet on of the drivers!  But back to your non-functional Golf for a moment.  You get it there, and the techs work their magic and voila! IT LIVES!  And for cheaper than what you budgeted for.  The more sensible amongst us would pocket the money and go about their day, but not us.  No no no, we see the massive list of companies they’re authorized dealers and installers for and suddenly that extra money is gone.  Who is on the list?

  • Akrapovic
  • 034 Motorsports
  • Global Motorsports Group
  • Integrated Engineering
  • APR
  • AWE Tuning
  • VF Engineering
  • and more

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But what if they told you that the car was toast?  OH GOD WHY???  Well you’re in luck!  They are also a dealership!  Yes, you can buy a car from them, have them service it, AND have them modify it!  It’s a one stop shop for all of your Euro needs!

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Thankfully there is an alternative to dropping your baby off at the dealership, and waiting to see how many 80 hour weeks you will need to work to pay off the bill.  It’s up in Layton, and they have a racecar hanging out in the showroom.

Makes & Models

1620 W Hill Field Road

Layton, Utah

(801) 546-2277

Makes & Models.com

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th Nov2014

Welcome To The Internet: Datsun 280ZX

by Michael Chandler

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-1

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Ahh the internet, home of all things wonderful, weird, horrifying and amazing.  It’s also where Ian Perri’s 280ZX has found recognition, and dare I say fame.  We first met Ian and his shakotan S130 last year at the In N Out Subie Invasion meet.  The car was a lot like it sits before you, but it’s also undergone some changes.  Changes we’ve been able to see through Facebook and Instagram posts.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-3

It’s also on Facebook and Instagram that we stumbled across other things that Ian likes.  He’s a big Nicolas Cage fan, and also enjoys King Of The Hill.  He runs around with the Slamburglars and Outsid3rs guys, and he got his hands on a Toyota Cressida.  He leads a well rounded life, or so says the internet.  Enough about him, let’s talk about the S130.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-8

First thing you notice about the car is how you almost trip over it.  (Well, that and what’s left of the Kaminari body kit)  This thing is insanely low.  On the drive over to the shoot we saw it shooting sparks while driving over a flat road!  The stance is achieved with custom coilovers with sectioned struts up front and S13 240sx coilovers in the rear with shortened struts.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-2

Ian drifts this car.  Not “occasionally spin donuts in a parking lot” drifting, he goes out to Vegas ProAM events, pays his entry fee and gets loose.  He even drove this car, as it sits, to California to drift.  To help with that, drifting not driving to California, he’s modified the steering knuckles and inner tie rods.  Tein tension rods for an S13 have been adapted for use as front lower control arms, and they’ve also been clearanced to clear the steering knuckles.  While he was in there, he added some negative camber roll center adjusters.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-9

There are no sway bars at either end, this S130 is a sway bar free zone.  There is 5-6 degrees of camber correction in the rear using heim ends in the rear lower control arms, and a slotted rear crossmember.  Between the rear wheels is a differential out of an S12 200SX.  The R180 diff has a 4.11 gear and the carrier has been swapped to accept stock axles.  It’s also been welded.

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While we’re at the back, let’s check out the JDM 280ZX-R hatch and spoiler.  That’s some sweet, sweet JDM goodness.  There’s also the twin tail pipes sticking out from the bumper.  Those are the end of a custom exhaust featuring MSA twice pipe muffler.

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That exhaust starts here, under the hood.  It come off of a MSA header that’s been modified for better ground clearance.  The header hangs off of the L28, which is topped off with a shaved and polished valve cover.  Bringing the spark to the party is an MSD Ignition, and keeping everything cool is a Koyo radiator with the OEM shroud modified to fit the new radiator.  The big things here are the triple 45mm OER carburetors.  And the custom fuel rail with AN fittings, but mostly the carbs.  Carburetors are black magic and voodoo to get working right, getting three to work right AND together means Ian is some kind of wizard.  Backing the magical OHC mill is a transmission out of a kouki 280ZX.

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The interior is a show quality, concourse perfect… No, no it isn’t  It’s a well worn interior, one you’d expect in a car built and used like this.  A Sparco Sprint bucket seat is showing it’s age, but still holds Ian securely in place.  The red button on the Nardi Gara wheel doesn’t do anything except honk the horn.  And the shifter is something I know very well.  It’s out of an old Celica Supra, which is the same place the shifter in my Supra came from.

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When we were first introduced to this car it was on a set of Centerlines.  He still has those, and a set of Enkei 92s, but the red slippers this thing wears will make any fanboi jealous.  Starting life as 14×6 all around, the Advan A3As have been widened by Wheelflip.  The custom made lips have been polished and bring the specs to 14×9.5 -35 in the front and 14×10 -41 in the rear.  The barrels and faces were refinished by Ian himself, and he took it upon himself to reassemble the wheels.

The internet loves this car.  Maybe because it stands in contrast to the uber-clean, yet hardly driven Stance and “race” cars we see.  Perhaps deep down inside we all want a shakotan car.  Or maybe because it’s a really honest example of something built by a guy who wants to build something for himself to go do stupid things with his friends in.  Whatever the reason, it’s getting some of that sweet internet fame.  Sweet, delicious internet fame it deserves

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

 

12th Nov2014

The Custom Touch: Time Attack Integra GSR

by Michael Chandler

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What you see here is something we can all get behind.  Literally and figuratively.  This is an Integra GSR that has, to say the least, a lot of work done.  To say the most it’s had the custom touch applied to almost everything.

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We met Rhett at Miller Motorsports Park at a NASA event about a year ago.  He was there campaigning his GSR in  Time Trial.  We really dug the car, and Rhett.  He’s a humble, down to Earth guy.  We chatted with him for a little bit, then he loaded up the car and disappeared back to Idaho.  For a while.  We honestly thought he had disappeared  and was gone forever.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case, and he and the car reappeared .

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In his absence from the track he did some work.  Some very custom work to the front end especially.   He didn’t really like any of the aftermarket bumpers on the market, but he liked some aspects of them.  So, he bought one and cut it apart.  He liked the Voltex bumper for the Lancer Evolution, so he grabbed some cans of spray foam and got to spraying.  He cut and trimmed, and shaped and formed, and he had a mold for a bumper.  But then he decided he didn’t like it, and started looking at cars closer to his Integra.  Specifically the Honda S2000, because both are long hood vehicles, as opposed to the stubby hooded Evo.  Out came the knife and the spray foam and, after filling the garage with foam shavings, he had the foam cored Carbon Fiber bumper you see before you.  It’s so strong you can stand on the inlet and only have to worry about scratching the finish. The canards are are also one off pieces, made by vacuum infusing utilizing carbon fiber with foam cores.

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Continuing the one off theme, the hood is also something Rhett and company fabricated.  No, he didn’t just cut a hole in the hood and slap on a set of DMax vents.  It’s vacuum infused carbon fiber with a foam core.  The fenders have been heavily modified with a mix of carbon fiber and fiberglass around foam cores.  The roof is also vacuum infused carbon fiber around a foam core.  Even the APR GTC 200 wing sits atop custom chassis mounted stands.  The only exterior parts that aren’t custom are the Pro Car Innovations side skirts, rear bumper and doors.

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-7

The interior hasn’t received nearly as many custom touches as the exterior, but it does have some nice touches like the carbon fiber panel with Carlyle rocker switches.  Cobra Sebring Pro seats replace the factory chairs, with Crow five point harnesses holding the occupants in place.  A Tuner View II display has been custom mounted, and JDM arm rest and airbag deletes installed.  Gear changes are initiated with a Hybrid Racing adjustable shifter, and directional changes are made with a 330mm MOMO steering wheel on an NRG quick release.  And since he runs in NASA sanctioned events, and not some fly by night series, he has a 6 point certified roll cage.

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Rhett campaigns the Unlimited class, where his competition includes an R35 GTR and an Audi R8 LMS.  He couldn’t just roll out there with crazy aero and nothing more than an exhaust, so he got to work on making the B18C1 mill ready to handle the stout competition.  The block itself is stock and retains the OEM 81mm bore, but the pistons and rods have been tossed in favor of Wiseco Race shaped and prepped pistons atop Eagle rods.  ACL race bearings keep things spinning in an orderly manner.  The cylinder head has received plenty of love as well.  It’s been ported, polished and bowl matched and lovingly stuffed with GSC T1 camshafts and Supertech HD valve springs and retainers.

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Up top there’s a Skunk2 Pro Series intake manifold with a 70mm Pro Series throttle body bringing in the air.  A Skunk2 composite fuel rail sends fuel to a quartet (…four) Injector Dynamics ID1000 injectors.  A 6 port B&R breather box keeps the air out of the oil, before sending it through the custom thermostatic oil cooler setup.  The cooler itself is almost the size of a stock Civic radiator! The 1.8 liter VTEC mill is held in place with Hasport billet mounts with 94a durometer inserts, and Avid billet torque mounts

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All of that oil cooling is necessary because there is a Turbo By Garrett GT3071 turbocharger hanging off of a LoveFab Mini EQ manifold. The manifold has been wrapped and the turbo itself sits under a blanket, both are from DEI. That hairdryer gets it’s fresh air from a custom, carbon fiber ram air air box and massive four inch piping.   Since this isn’t some old turbo Colt, there’s an intercooler.  A big one.  A big, custom dual back door piece.  The excess pressurized air is releived via a Synapse blow off valve.  Because of the increased thermal load, there has to be a big, custom radiator.  The spent air, after exiting the turbo, leaves the car through a custom three inch V-Band exhaust with a five inch, round, Magnaflow muffler.  Other custom parts include a custom electric power steering, and water pump system.  There’s also a custom transmission cooler and pump set up.

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-8

Which is good, because there’s an Elite/Gear X Transmission straight-cut 1-5 dog box that needs to be kept cool.  Shoved in that transmission is an OS Giken 1 way plate differential, which sends power to Drive Shaft Shop 3.9 axles and hubs.  Massive StopTech four piston calipers clamp down on 12.9 inch rotors.  There are bronze and spherical bearings all over the car from Password:JDM, Pro Car Innovations and Special Motorsports Projects.

Time Attack Acura Integra feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-16

Password:JDM also provided the rear camber and lower control arms, and Hard Race provides front camber A arms.  There are Eibach Multi Pro R2 coilovers at all four corners, because adjust-ability is crucial when you’re chasing fractions of a second.  An ASR subframe brace  and Integra Type-R rear sway bar are, well, in the rear. Rhett has two sets of wheels for the car, and three sets of tires.  Variety is the spice of life, and being well prepared for most situations is pretty awesome.  Depending on the day the car is either on a set of 17×9 Rota Grids, or 17×9.75 XXR 527s.  His choices for rubber are 235/40 Toyo R888s, 225/40 Hoosier R6s, and finally 255/40 Hankook RS3s.

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As we were shooting the photos, Rhett told me his car was invited to compete in the Optima Ultimate Street Car Invitational and also have a spot in the SEMA show.  This was an awesome thing to hear, and really cool to see his car at the show and roll out.  How did Rhett do? Well, much like the day we shot the car he was having issues.  The fuel pump went out, so a stock one had to be used.  This meant 30% throttle, no more than 6500rpm, and no VTEC.  Suddenly becoming the lowest horsepower vehicle sounds like it would have been a disaster, but Rhett managed to finish twenty-eighth out of  ninety-two competitors.  Not too bad for something built in a garage in Idaho.

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

 

 

30th Oct2014

2 + 2 = 260: A Rare S30 Variant Gets The Spotlight

by Michael Chandler

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

The S30 chassis Datsuns are some of the most gorgeous cars to ever be shipped off of the islands of Japan.  The curves and swoops of the coupes will forever remain a pinnacle of automotive design.  But something you might not know is that all S30s aren’t coupes.  Between 1974 and 1978  they built 2+2’s: longer 260zs (163 inch length and 90.6 in wheel base for the coupes vs. 175 and 102.5 for the 2+2s) with room for two more passengers!

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-8

And they’re rare too, while Nissan built them between 1974 and 1978, they were only available in the US as 1974 models.  Of the 49,671 260Zs sent to America, only 9,499 were the 2+2 variant.  And only one of those 9.499 belong to one Mr. Taigon J. Rider.

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-12 Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-13

The 260Zs had larger engines than the previous 240Z, but didn’t make that much more power due to restrictive emissions equipment and retarded timing.  So Taigon stripped all of those pesky emissions things off of the L26, and set the timing to an appropriate mark.  While he was stripping things, he was also adding things: like an entirely straight piped exhaust and a wrapped header.  On the other side, the intake side, he traded up to a pair of SU Roundtop carburetors topped off by MSA air trumpets.   He also addressed the forty year old ignition system.  He installed a Crane Cams Fireball XR700 electronic ignition, along with an MSD Blaster 2 ignition coil and a sextet of NGK spark plugs.  Most of the afore mentioned modifications aren’t visible unless the hood is up, but one thing is: the Hayden Cooling Systems oil cooler.  That oil cooler is a convenient segue to the exterior of the car.

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Which is utterly striking.  The deep, rich blue paint accentuates the curves inherent to all of the S30s.  The blue is contrasted by the white custom front grille and Roberk fender mirrors.  Below the grill is a Xenon urethane air dam to accentuate the car’s strong jaw line.  And the flares!  The massive MSA flares on each fender not only add to the aura of the Datsun, but are also necessary.  Underneath them sit massive 15×10 -40 American Racing Eagle Alloy 028 wheels, with 195/60 Falken Ziex ZE612 tires stretched over their massive width.

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-17 Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-16

Inside the different cabin are a pair of racing seats: a Corbeau TRS seat for the passenger and a mystery seat for Taigon.  No matter the seat, the occupant is held securely in place by Takata harnesses.  The driver grips a MOMO Competition steering wheel for most things, and a OEM “Z” shift knob to change gears.

Datsun 260Z 2+2 feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-9

A rare variant of a classic chassis has been turned into something more unique, by a man with a unique name and Instagram handle: @taigonrider

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
26th Sep2014

It’s Spelled With An “E”: 2013 Jetta SportWagen

by Michael Chandler

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (6 of 10)

 

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

Remember Nik?  You know, he had the slammed xB we featured years ago, did some questionably legal things in Japan in his Skyline?  Writes for StanceNation?  If you remember him, and wondered what he’s been up to car-wise, here it is.  If you don’t then let me introduce you to Nik Preusser: he writes for StanceNation, is in the Air Force, is a family man, and owns this very nice 2013 Jetta SportWagen.

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (1 of 10)

Before we talk about the wheels or the suspension, let’s talk about how the JSW came to be in his possession.  It was a Mother’s Day surprise for his wife, and that took some doing.  After she pointed out the JSW as a viable option to their current Subaru Forester, he began researching the People’s Car and liked what he found: Mk6 body on a Mk5 chassis, plentiful aftermarket support, and one of the most reliable VW motors on the market (the 2.5L I5).  He was sold.  She was very eager to trade in the Fozzy, but he told her they needed to wait until it was paid off.  Little did she know that he had already started the paperwork to trade the Subaru in for the Jetta.  Problem is he had to wait for the car, because gray 2.5L manual wagens aren’t the most plentiful things on VW dealer’s lots.  The car arrived and Nik cooked up a solid enough story to get her to the dealership.  “I made up some bs story about how we were going to buy a Radio Flyer Wagon for our son from a guy who worked at the VW dealer.” It worked, because she walked into the showroom and saw the wagen with a giant bow on it and a humongous card that read “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (2 of 10)

And then he started piling on the parts.  Most notably in the suspension, where bags replaced the usual coil springs and OEM struts.  A healthy combination of Accuair and AirLift parts adorn the wagon now.  Accuair comes in with their E-Level Air Management components, including: their ECU and updated ride height sensors.  Also from Accuair is their VU4 manifold and iLevel iPhone controller setup, which he enjoys and will show to people who ask nicely.  A pair of 444C compressors fill the AirLift five gallon tank.  It’s AirLift on all four corners, with steel braided leader lines, Performance series struts up front and SLAM series in the back.  Also in the rear is a double bellow setup and shortened sway bar end-links, both from AirLift, and Innovative Design & Fabrication rear upper control arms.  All of that can be boiled down to “It’s on bags, he can control it with his phone, and it gets stupid low”, but hypothetically if you wanted to replicate similar lows you now have an idea of what to use.

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (7 of 10)

Underneath the hatch sits his polished up tank, upon which he displays his love for his BFAMs in 20801.  The tank was actually buried underneath all the stuff a dad with a wagon has shoved back there: stroller, bags, toys, various car care materials (he’s had a series of slammed cars, it would be weird if there wasn’t a bottle of tire shine somewhere in the car).

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (8 of 10)

Providing some noise other than the compressors… compressing, and a modest power gain, is an AWE Tuning Track Edition performance exhaust.  He does plan on adding some other go fast parts, but those will come at a later date and we will definitely be telling you about them.  Why? Because it’s exciting!

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (3 of 10)

As you can tell, this is a pretty light article, which is why I sent him a few random questions along with my request for a modification list.  Here are a few of the more choice questions and answers:

How has air made a difference in your life? Have your kidneys sent you a thank you note?

Yes, and yes. I don’t miss the days of driving a static xB with a 1/4” frame clearance at all. Static fanbois–you can keep them, I’ll be a daily bag-rider for the rest of my life.

If you could, how many kei cars would you import? Be honest

All of them.

Seriously though, give me a newer turbo Suzuki WagonR on bags and a turbo Suzuki Alto Works set up for canyon runs, and I’d be happy with that pair.

Would you ever import something period?

I have run it by the wife a few times, and it’s a future plan of mine. I’d like to import something like a Suzuki Alto Works or even eventually a Toyota JZX90 or JZX100 Chaser.

Why a Jetta Sport Wagen and not something bigger, or up market (Audi, or whatever)?

I wanted something that would look good slammed and could fit the family… SUVs are nice, but tend to look awkward laid out on bags. Also, Price point was important with the wife coming home to stay home with the kids for a few years, and still having the bagged xB at the time. I would love a newer Audi wagon, but… I’m in the military, and it doesn’t pay THAT well.. they cost twice what I paid for the JSW. I wanted something with cheaper payments so I could afford to mod it properly and still have money for my other expensive hobbies (photography, snowboarding, and burning $100 bills).

How many people have seriously called your Works fake?

They have never been called the word “fake”, but I have had a good number of people call them “BBS LM replicas”. Replica wheels are all fine and dandy, I used to rock them… but when you spend the money on a set of real wheels, you don’t want to be understated like that. I’m kind of a wheel snob now, Sweet baby Jesus came down from the heavens and told me that replica wheels make him cry, so I’m not going to argue with him!

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (9 of 10)

Yup, those are real Work VS-XXs.  No eBay “BBS LM replicas”, the real McCoy.  He’s running a staggered setup with 18×8+38 in the front and 18×9 +40 in the rear, with Achilles Radial ATR covering all four of them.  The rubber measures in at 205/35 in the front and 215/35 in the rear.  His winter wheels are a bit more pedestrian, if you think his current setup is too bourgeoisie: 18″ Mercedes-Benz S550 wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Blizzak tires

Jetta Sport Wagen CAMautoMag Michael Chandler 2014 (4 of 10)

Usually I’d use this space to wrap up the story I have crafted for the article.  But I haven’t created a story for this article… Well, I’ll let Nik thank some people and we’ll call it an article:

Anyone you’d like to thank/shout out/mention?

I’d like to thank my wife for her ever-growing patience for me and my car habit & for having impeccable taste in cars and wheels. I’d like to shout out to my BFAM (brothers from another mother) in the Lowered Elite (and 20801). I would also like to thank all of my sponsors… oh wait, I don’t have any.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
28th Aug2014

Gumball WRS: A Study In Cool

by Michael Chandler

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (2 of 25)

What makes a cool car?  I heard someone say that “the scene” considers a car cool if it’s lowered and has wheels on it.  Others think cool is a full on race build, with street legality and budgets thrown in the trash with the stock struts.  And others think if it isn’t adorned with the rarest of the rare it’s a waste of time.  And it has to be daily driven, or else why build it? David Arellano’s 2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS is low, and on a rare set of wheels.  It has the heart of a WRX, and enough power to embarrass some people’s dedicated track day toy.  And it sees regular street duty.  If this isn’t cool, then I don’t know what is anymore.

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (7 of 25)

The search for his “Gumball” began three years ago.  While biting into a sandwich, he was bitten by the urge to spend a large amount of money on a car.  After mulling over such reliable, and easily modified chassis such as FD RX-7s and twin turbo 300ZXs, David finally settled on the mildly rare 2.5RS coupe.  After looking at two other coupes he finally found the 2000 coupe you see here sitting in the corner of a shop.  The shop was in the process of building the car, and swapping in a 2.0L WRX motor.  With the promise of “prototype” coilovers, David was sold.  After some hemming and hawing by the shop, they finally dropped it off in David’s driveway.  No coilovers, but some blown struts and what would turn out to be a mismatched transmission and rear differential were in the car (which eventually failed), but so was that lovely WRX motor.  Soon after arriving in his driveway, David got to work making this car his own.

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 25)

First things to go were the US spec lights.  David made a call to Japan and had some OEM clear corner markers and red/clear tail lights sent over, along with some Chargespeed clear bumper markers and clear signal lenses.  With the scourge that is amber lighting removed and banished to the land of wind and ghosts, it was time to address some other visual cues.  After running through a Bugeye WRX lip, and a Bakemono replica of a JDM V5/6 STi lip, David finally settled on something that is no longer in production: Orciari 1 piece front lip.  Sitting above the Italian made lip, are his OEM fog lights which were hiding behind the OEM fog light covers.  Out back there’s a purple Rallytech tow hook, and a set of Honda Accord spats.  According to David they were easier to install than his OEM JDM spats, and they look better.  He’s also sporting rolled and pulled fenders, because low car problems (the tires were munching the fenders before the rolling and the pulling) and also because wheel whore.

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (21 of 25)

I use that last term lightly.  Having a garage full of Rotas and other OEM whatever make you drive wheels, makes you a wheel street walking hooker.  Having the stuff David has had makes you a wheel high class escort.  The streets aren’t littered with Volk CE28Ns or Work Emotion 11Rs, and coming across a set of Volk C-Ultras isn’t as easy as walking to the store.  He’s had the CE28Ns and the Works, and the C-Ultras are being repaired (they were in pretty rough shape) and custom center caps are being designed.  Enough about the past and the future, let’s talk about the present.  Specifically these 17×9 +38 Desmond Regamaster Marquis Promadas.  An exceedingly rare, Russian made wheel.  Normally you see Regamasters on Hondas, and while that’s not terribly unusual (but still cool, so if you’re doing that keep doing that) seeing them on a Subaru is VERY different.  Wrapped around the wheels are a set of Achillies ATR Sport tires, measuring in at 205/40.  Also of note, he’s running some adapters to make the wheels work.  They’re 15mm 5×100-5×114, and they’re made by a local company called Grapple Parts.

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 25)

To achieve his stance David had to not only throw on coilovers, but things that allow him to make suspension adjustments.  The coilovers are BC Racing BR series coilovers with camber plates fore and aft.  For more camber adjustment, he is employing OEM camber bolts up front, and Eibach’s in the rear.  Joining the OEM camber bolts in the front is an OEM WRX swaybar, while an STi sway bar joins the party in the rear.  Also back there are some Cobb end links.  Back to the front, and in the engine bay, is a Cusco Type ST strut tower bar.  And speaking of the engine bay…

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (19 of 25)

Here it is, in all its glory!  There is the afore mentioned WRX swap, which came from a 2004 WRX.  No longer is the wrong transmission behind the motor, a 2006 WRX transmission has taken its rightful place on the back end of the motor.  Between the motor and transmission rests an Exedy light weight fly wheel, and stage 1 clutch.  For enhanced shifting pleasure there are Kartboy shifter bushings, and a stainless steel clutch cable has been installed.  Holding the transmission is a STi Group N mount.  Rigged Performance performed an internal stub axle conversion and a 2001 2.5RS 4.11 final drive conversion to pair with the 2001 2.5RS viscous limited slip differential.  Bracing that rear differential is a Laile Beatrush rear differential brace.

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (16 of 25)

The motor has been hepped up on goof balls accentuated by digging through the massive Subaru parts bin, and picking up quality aftermarket pieces.  The OEM supplied parts are a VF39 turbocharger, top mount intercooler, and 565CC fuel injectors all from an STi.  The aftermarket bits are a K&N Typhoon intake, a no name one piece header and up pipe, an Invidia Bellmouth downpipe, and a Cobb cat back exhaust.  There’s also a Hallman Pro manual boost controller, which helped Jason Cleverly of Cleverly Tuned tune the car to make 286 horsepower and 240lb/ft of torque at 18psi of boost. Prettying up the bay are a Cusco turbo heat shield, Rallytech fuse box cover and radiator shroud, and a Beatrush alternator shroud.  The engine bay has been semi-wire tucked, and the battery is now in the trunk.  The coolant reservoir is now hiding in the fender and the A/C has been ditched all together.

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (15 of 25)

The interior has also received its share of JDM goodies.  JDM STi pedals and Type-RA front seats have been installed, along with a Nardi Torino steering wheel, Splash steering wheel hub and Omori boost gauge.  The Beatrush Duracon shift knob sits on a stock length shifter, which has a Zealous Interiors blue suede shift boot with cherry blossom red stitching.  The shift boot matches the emergency brake boot.  Black WRX carpet and STi floor mats have come to rest at the bottom of the passenger cabin, and the door panels have been recovered in blue suede.  All the lighting is LED, and tunes come courtesy of an Alpine deck, which has an ipod cable weaving out of sight through the center console.

Gumball Impreza Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (24 of 25)

Former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart is famously quoted as saying “I know it when I see it” in regard to hardcore pornography.  Cool is definitely subjective, but when you see it, you definitely know it.  Will there be a unanimous consensus on what is cool in the automotive world?  Probably not, but if there is ever an argument to be made for it, I shall submit David’s Impreza as my exhibit A.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

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

 

14th Aug2014

Grocery Getter

by Michael Chandler

Grocery Getter Subaru Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (10 of 12)

“Bags Are For Groceries” read a sticker on a 2.5RS I saw at a meet once. That particular Impreza was lowered on coilovers, which for the uninitiated means he was static.  And while the debate of bags versus coilovers will most certainly rage on for a while, the sticker’s sentiment isn’t entirely true. Bags aren’t just for groceries, they’re for grocery getters too. Grocery getters like Jenny Nielson’s Forester XT.

Grocery Getter Subaru Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 12)

This isn’t her first foray into the wonderful world of Subaru modification. She used to own a hawkeye WRX, which wasn’t too shabby. And it wasn’t her boyfriend’s car, which is often the case whenever a woman gets out of any nice or modified vehicle. The hawkeye was hers, as is the Fozzy. And this thing has come a ways.

Grocery Getter Subaru Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (5 of 12)

As we’ve all seen, Foresters are tall. Tall enough to be classified as SUVs for insurance and marketing purposes. This is a problem for a gal who has a license plate surround that says “Stance Will Make Him Dance”. So it had to go lower. A lot lower. First came some Raceland coilovers, which for the purposes of dumping something are pretty fantastic; however, those were not to last. Nor were the wheels. First were a set of XXRs. Then those gave way to a set of Rotiform Nues. Finally she has settled on a set of STRs. The current setup measures 18×10 with a +25 offset all around. That’s a bit of wheel.

Grocery Getter Subaru Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (9 of 12)
Back to the suspension. And the whole “bag” thing. If you haven’t figured it out yet, she bagged her once static Forester. Airlift was contacted and suddenly eventually the car was sporting Autopilot V2 digital bags. Stance achieved, right? Technically yes, but she wasn’t quite done.

Grocery Getter Subaru Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (11 of 12)

Before the Rotiforms, and after the Racelands she got to work adding a little bit of power and noise to the car.  Breathing is helped by an SPT intake, an Invidia catless downpipe, and a Blitz Nur Spec exhaust. A Go Fast Bits blow off valve relieves excess intake pressure, while making fun noises.  And because it’s a turbocharged Subaru it’s totally got an Accessport and a Stage 2 tune.  It’s just a rule of life.

Grocery Getter Subaru Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 12)

The Regal Blue Pearl (a factory color by the way) looks lovely on any Forester. It looks more lovely one this one because she’s spruced it up a bit. There’s the factory spoiler which wasn’t there when she picked up the car. There are the 04/05 taillights which have been fitted. And most noticeably, there is the 2008 sport bumper and lip on the front of the car which help separate it from the pack.
Then there are the little details, like the headlights. The housings have been painted black, and the amber reflectors have been removed. The lights themselves were replaced with 8000K HIDs, and all of the windows are sporting 20% tint.

Grocery Getter Subaru Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (12 of 12)

Also, there’s a child’s seat in the back seat.  This is for two reasons: #1 she has a kid (it would be weird if she didn’t have a kid, but still had the seat) and #2 this is her daily driver.  She takes it to all the fun places! The gym, work, the gym, and finally the store.  Where she gets groceries, and puts them in her grocery getter.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

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