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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13th Oct2017

Joey Did a Thing

by Michael Chandler

I had Monday off, which meant I was hanging out in my sweatpants.  It was another mellow, relaxing day when Joey informed me that he did a thing.  I asked for clarification, and he elected to come show me his thing.  Preparing for anything, I put on real pants and grabbed all of my cameras.

And it is quite the thing, as you can see in the video.  But there were some things that didn’t make it into the video.  Awesome, fun things.  

If you remember his old LS400, then you know this thing is destined to get some neck pillows, knots hanging from the rear view mirror, and other VIP bits.  One thing this bad boy won’d need are curtains, because it has these shade dealies on the rear windows!  It also has one on the rear window, but the motor is a bit tired so it needed some help rising.

Those, along with those DVD headrests, will make his naps in the backseat much more enjoyable.  Anyway, here are some glory shots of his Q45 in a church parking lot!

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27th Jun2017

Here Are Some Photos of a Beat

by Michael Chandler

Last week Gavin asked if I could help him out on a shoot he was doing.  He needed a camera car, and corresponding driver, and I was free.  I had no idea what he was shooting, and I figured I’d be driving his Legacy.  Then I saw the Beat.

The Honda Beat is a Kei car with a 656cc, 3 cylinder motor. That little motor is stuck in the middle of the diminutive car, and spins the rear wheels. 

It doesn’t feature VTEC, or forced induction, but it has individual throttle bodies and the MTREC system.  MTREC standing for Multi Throttle Responsive Engine Control.

It was the last car approved by Sochiro Honda before he died in 1991. The body was designed by Pininfarina, you know the design house that designed a lot of Ferraris. They sold the design to Honda, and now we have the Beat.

BONUS: a picture of Gavin taking pictures in a gravel parking lot without shoes on.

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12th May2017

Garage Kyusha Spring Matsuri

by Michael Chandler

In the not too distant past, last Sunday A.D. to be exact, Garage Kyusha held their first official meet.  The club brought out their classic J Tin, along with some stuff that was cluttering up their garage and they’d be willing to part with, and took over a corner of one of the parking lots at Cottonwood Regional Park.  I found the park easily, having driven past it quite a bit and being caught in a sudden downpour one time.  Others not so much, despite numerous maps being posted in the Facebook event page.  I blame ALL KNOWING AND BENEVOLENT Google.  Most found it though, and good times were had!

In one corner of the meet, tucked between the cars JDM Legends brought out, the Lamely Group was selling some rare Hot Wheels and other collectables, along side Eric who was slinging some JDM Legends gear.

One of my favorites was this Z20 Soarer, which ironically parked next to an A70 Supra.  I love Soarers, and really wanted to cut the nose off of a Z20 and stick it on Ronda when I had her.  Ahh, what could have been…  Anyway, there was a lot to see, which is why there’s a big gallery attached to this post!  Enjoy it!  And while I’m here, I want to thank the Garage Kyusha guys for organizing a fun meet, that went pretty damn well for it being their first one.  Anyway, GALLERY:

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10th Nov2016

Hiroyuki Hasegawa, Co-Founder of HKS, Dead at 71

by Michael Chandler

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Hiroyuki Hasegawa, co-founder of legendary tuning company HKS, has passed away at age 71.  The company released a brief statement, which contained no specific details of his death.

Founded in 1973 by Hasegawa and Goichi Kitigawa, and with an investment from Sigma Automotive, HKS has been one of the premier tuners in the world.  Crafting everything from one of the fastest R35 GTRs in the world (pictured above), to outright drag racing monsters, top speed machines, and even developing a Formula 1 engine, HKS cemented itself in the lexicon of those who know about speed and craftsmanship.  

A former Yamaha engineer, Hasegawa worked tirelessly to develop and release his first aftermarket turbocharger kit in 1974.  From there his company developed many turbo kits and upgrade kits, eventually developing electronic devices that would become staples in the tuning world: boost controllers and turbo timers.  HKS has been involved in all levels of motorsport, from D1GP to JGTC, Formula 3 to drag racing.  Demand became so great that the company expanded into the United States, Europe and the United Kingdom, and Thailand.

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21st Sep2016

The New Classics: SaltCityTinners 2016

by Michael Chandler

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Every year the Utah Japanese Classic Car Community gathers to show off their projects, swap stories, provide support, and occasionally race Hot Wheels.  This year was no different.  Except that the meet had out grown it’s old location, and had to move to a bigger one.  One with a big hill leading to the parking lot…

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This year’s meet brought out a wide variety of classics, from the ever popular Datsun 240/60/80Zs…

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To the first of the modern Skyline GTR’s to be legal for import.

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The meet wasn’t limited to cars, there were a nice selection of off roaders, like this diesel powered Nissan Patrol.

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Best Of Show, Best Datsun, and People’s Choice was awarded to Hunter Heller for his orange S30, which he brought from Montana! It was a great meet, on a beautiful day, and the jackassery was kept to a minimum.  Can’t wait until next year!

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25th Jul2016

Another Classic for Y’all to Vibe With

by Michael Chandler

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We had a new challenger appear for the J Tin Cup!  Joining Nathan Rohner’s RX-7 was Troy Duffin in this Datsun 510.  You remember Troy: drove open wheel, got himself some championships, nice fellow.  Now he’s back, and in a classic.

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I know absolutely nothing about the car, but it’s a Datusn 510 and he won his class in it so it deserves a look.

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You can’t say no to this, unless you’re cruel and heartless.

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18th Jul2016

It’s Really Not a 240SX: Erik’s 180SX

by Michael Chandler

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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

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24th Jun2016

Weekend Wallpaper

by Michael Chandler

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Spice up your desktop with this photo of Erik Brooks’s 180SX!  Just right click and Save As, and show the rest of your co-workers or roommates who has style.

BUT while I have you here, we ARE going to be featuring this car.  Just not now.  We shot the car at the last Salt City Drift event, where Erik had some problems that ended his day early.  He was in good spirits, despite that.  I was stoked to finally be shooting the car, and unfortunately my stoke got in the way of me doing on critical thing:

Getting any useful information about the car.

I botched it, forgot to get a mod list; however, I did manage to get a few anecdotes that I will share with you now.

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Erik wanted to make this car as true to something you’d see at a matsuri in Japan as he could.  The hood vents, the sticker placement, even the super low wing help achieve that.  And I’d say he’s there.  I’m confident in making that statement, considering how hard I geek out on certain Instagram feeds and YouTube channels.

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His battery box is a real .50 cal ammo box.  Definitely different.  I was surprised to see it, and didn’t believe him when he told me.  But there it is.

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That windshield banner he has is limited edition.  Very limited edition.  As in one of ten.  I think his is #3.  Whens the last time you put something that rare on a car that could very easily be written off?

And there’s that: a wallpaper and a few anecdotes about the car that will be getting the full feature treatment.  And maybe a little bit more…

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08th Jun2016

Drifting in Black and White

by Michael Chandler

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Drifting is a very colorful thing, undertaken by very colorful people.  This is not going to be colorful, because I did some black and white edits of the photos I shot after sundown.  I call it…

ART

It’s a working title, but it’s strong.

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