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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*Article, Photos, Videos, and Audio clips are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

10th Nov2015

A Tale of Two Civics Part 1

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

It takes a lot to grab my attention at the track.  There are some ridiculous cars out there, as you’ve seen here many times, but then I laid eyes on KC Russell’s EF Civic.  He was pulling off track after an HPDE session, and I saw the full glory of the livery on his hatchback.

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Naturally, I followed him back to the day garage he was sharing with Zack Serna.  Zack drives a Civic hatchback himself, one similar to KC’s but rather different at the same time.  I chatted them up, and they agreed to let me shoot both of their cars.  Since I saw his first, let’s talk about KC’s.

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Firstly, let’s talk about the livery.  The graphics package from stickymy.com are 103% JDM.  Go look at some of the Kanjo Civics and tell me that this thing wouldn’t fit right in.  The VIS carbon fiber hood has seen better days, but it being beat up adds to the feel of the car.  So does the replica J’s Racing front lip.  Rounding out the styling mods are a set of side skirts for an EK.

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For a while, every track day Civic was on a set of 949 Racing wheels.  Thankfully those days have passed (I dig the 949s, don’t get me wrong.  Just got sick of seeing them on every Miata and Civic), and KC threw on some 15×7 Kosei K1 TS’s.  Because it’s a track day hatch, he threw on a set of 205/50 Falken Azenis.

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Front brake calipers and rotors donated from an Integra ,along with a master cylinder from a Civic EX and a set of Hawk DTC60 pads help reel in the rather light Civic.  Helping with the lateral transitions and keeping the rubber on the tarmac are a set of KYB AGX struts and Ground Control coilover sleeves, a truly OG combination, and an Innovative traction bar.

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Keeping the dreadlocked driver, or whoever is behind the wheel, and a passenger secured are a pair of Crobeau seats.  Steering inputs are entered via the sweet, old school MOMO steering wheel.  Just look at that thing!

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KC picked up the car in May for $1500, with one big mod already done: the single cam motor was ditched in favor of the venerable B16A.  1.6 liters, twin cam and electronically controlled variable valve timing (hella mad vtaks yo), the B16A powered some of Honda’s best FWD, including the JDM EF chassis Si.  Basically KC bought himself one of those.  While a bone stock B16 swap is good, one with some mods is even better.  He cracked open the ECU and installed a Mugen chip, and threw a Toda replica header on the cylinder head. That exits into a Greddy exhaust.  Hiding under the gold foil wrap is a K&N Intake.

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A lot of aftermarket radiators for Civics are half size.  Think of a big cereal box, that’s about the size of one of those radiators.  They do a fine job, but a full size radiator is… well it’s bigger.  And this one says Racing Series on it, so that’s something.  The radiator is big, but the battery is diminutive.  The Odyssey battery provides plenty of juice for a day at the track, and weighs a lot less than your average battery.  All of this adds up to a very potent track day car.  It has plenty of power, but there are far more powerful swaps one can shove under the hood of a Civic.

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We’ll talk about that tomorrow.

BONUS IMAGES

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 *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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
27th Jun2011

Chevrolet Advance Design Truck

by Michael Chandler

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In 1947 Chevrolet released the Advance Design series of trucks, their first major redesign since the end World War II. They were produced and sold from ’47 through ’55 and were the #1 selling truck in the United States for those 8 years. Sixty-four years after their release, Joe Garcia bought three trucks and made them into the 3100 you’ll see after the jump (more…)