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.

 

14th Apr2016

Be Bold, B Mini

by Michael Chandler

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No, that title doesn’t contain a typo.  There was a Mini sporting a Honda B series engine.  And then some kids said that it was made of plastic, and I wanted to die.  But this sin’t about them.  This is about the tiny car, with the small motor, and an abundance of moxy!

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The adorable little motor has four tiny velocity stacks protruding from four individual (probably fun sized!) throttle bodies.

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Inside there’s… what is that on the left?  Is that a leg?!?

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As you can see, the nose pops off for ease of access to the entirety of pretty much everything ahead of the firewall.  The fore section of the car can be placed at the rear of the car so as to create a nice photo opportunity.  We salute you, whoever you are!  And your diminutive pocket rocket too.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
29th Sep2015

Three Musketeers

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Somethings happen because someone works hard, long hours, for days and weeks on end.  Somethings, like this shoot, happen because of pure circumstance.  If, on the day I saw two of the cars featured here, I decided to make a left turn instead of a right this might not have happened.  Thankfully, I made that right, and got the ball rolling on this shoot.

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The two cars I saw were the Black FD and the purple SW20.  Seeing either of the cars would be awesome, but seeing both, cruising around together brought up all sorts of images of Daikoku Futo.  I put the word out on Facebook, and almost immediately someone responded.

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Brad, the owner of the red FC RX-7, said they were friends of his.  He acted as go between, and helped set up the shoot.  Oh, and he drives a red FC.  A red coupe with pop-up headlights?  Let’s look further at this child of the 80’s.

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Captain Coolpants might not have some cool things (like a turbo, or torque) but he does have some sweet ass S5 taillights.  That’s gotta count for something.

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And the 17″ Racing Harts, courtesy of a Mazda Protoge5, fit nicely.  And the gold looks great with the red.  Enough of the opener, let’s get to the feature and headliner.

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Mid-engined sports cars hold a special place in the hearts and minds of us enthusiasts.  Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, even Acura made their top tier sports cars mid-engined.  And so did Toyota*.  It’s fitting that Tayler’s MR2 wears purple, it is after all the color of royalty.

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Wedged in the middle of the MR2 is the venerable 3S-GTE, a two liter, turbocharged four cylinder that also powered the all wheel drive Celicas that eventually got Toyota in deep trouble with the FIA.  Thankfully, there isn’t any sort of trickery going on in this particular motor, but it is making all sorts of glorious noises.

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A modern classic like this needs modern classic wheels, and the 5zigen FN01R-C fits that bill perfectly.

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Those same wheels, albeit in a different color, set off the classic lines of Kaiden’s FD.  Like its contemporaries, the Supra and 300ZX, the FD RX-7 ditched the angular lines that defined the previous generation and became more rounded and smooth.  While it came with pop-up headlights from the factory, Kaiden’s has been fitted with a set of flush mounted lights.  Despite the omnipresent lights, the shape is still instantly recognizable.

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The front bumper, fenders and hood have all been replaced with pieces that shed weight and help with air flow.  Air flow, especially through the engine bay, is key when you’re dealing with an engine the size of a basketball, but weighs as much as an LS1.

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But what an engine it is.  Despite the publicized “short comings” (they’re not the torqueiest motors, but they can make plenty of power without eating apex seals every other day), the 13B is a legendary motor.  It has powered some blisteringly fast cars, and if you can shove one into a Miata, you’ll have yourself one hell of a roadster.

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I’ve noticed something with the youths.  It seems that they’re gaining an appreciation for some of these modern classics.  It could be because they’ve realized that the more mechanical cars have a feel that the current cars don’t have, or they might be dropping into their price range.  I doubt that last part to be true, but then again, when I was in high school my budget for transportation was enough to grab a new shop deck for my skateboard every now and again, so my views may be skewed.  Either way, seeing more of these cars in the hands of young enthusiasts is a good sign for the future of us, the enthusiast.

BONUS GALLERY

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
10th Jun2015

The People’s Champ: Scion FRS

by Michael Chandler
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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

This matte metallic blue Scion FRS has a small pedigree.  Well, not really small: it won the Favorite Scion award at the last import Spring Showoff meet which is impressive considering how prolific the FRS has become.  If you hadn’t seen the car before then, it’s ok.  I had only seen it once before the show.  Seemingly out of nowhere, we have a new champion of the people.

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JJ, the fella who owns this, bought it new in May of 2013 with all of 11 miles on the odometer.  Like any good, sensible person, he began modifying it.  Like most people, he decided it needed more power.  The usual power adders were thrown on,  but naturally aspirated just wasn’t cutting it.  He needed more.  He needed a turbo.

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And that’s exactly what he got!  The Borg Warner 6258 EFR turbocharger came in a kit from Treadstone Performance, which also included an intercooler, hot and cold pipes, the exhaust manifold and up pipe (both of which he had ceramic coated), and a 265lph in tank fuel pump.  Because you can’t just cram additional air into the engine without adding more fuel, JJ threw in a set of 770cc Deatschwerks fuel injectors.  He also grabbed a billet diverter valve from Treadstone, to relieve excess boost pressure.  Additional cooling, specifically for the oil, is provided by a Mishimoto oil cooler.  The whole affair is run by an EcuTek reflashed ECU, which had the wick turned up by Jesse at FNP.  The kit was installed, and all the maintenance is done at Paradise Performance by JD Youngblood and Matt En.

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When you add over 100 horsepower to any car, you should probably address the clutch.  JJ wisely did so, and had JD and Matt throw in a stage 3 segmented ceramic clutch from Competition Clutch.

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Rounding out the power and usability adders, and providing a nice segue to start talking about the other aspects of the car, is a 3″ straight piped exhaust from Simple Performance.  As you can see, the exhaust sticks out a bit.  Not an insane amount, but enough to be noticeable.  And it’s also got a bit of carbon fiber wrap on it.  An odd place for carbon fiber, but it’s not the only carbon fiber on the car.

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The side skirt extensions are carbon fiber, and they’re custom.

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As is the Metallic Blue wrap.  JJ dropped the car off at Justin’s Tint, where the man himself wrapped the car.  The freshly wrapped Scion was taken to Luxe Auto Spa where it was coated with CQuartz FINEST ceramic surface protection, and also had the brake calipers color matched to the wheels and the hats and hubs blacked out.

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Before the wrap, JJ had a ChargeSpeed front lip and rear spats installed.  Not as loud as the Rocket Bunny kits, the ChargeSpeed pieces accent the car without becoming the focus of the car.

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The 18×9.5 Enkei RS05RR wheels also provide a nice, yet not overly distracting touch to the car.  Wrapped in 265/30 BF Goodrich Comp 2 tires, they fill the wheel wells nicely.  The TEIN Monoflex coilovers reduce the wheel gap, while also being great coilovers that make an already stellar handling car handle better.

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JJ has more plans for the car, the most visible is a big APR spoiler that will match the curve of the rear of the car.  Until then, we’ll have to be content with the car that the voting public loves

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
28th May2015

When the Flame Dies Out

by Michael Chandler

Dallin Evo X Revisited CAMautoMag-15

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Nothing lasts forever.  Memories fade, seasons change, and projects run their course.  Such is the case with La Flama Blanca, Dallion Felton’s Evo X street car/RallySport Direct’s project car.  After two years and 80,000 miles, it was time to say goodbye.  So I made Dallin, and his little doge Hiroshi, drive to an office park so I could say goodbye to the car.  And also to play with his dog, but mostly to say goodbye to the car.

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The car looks mostly the same, sans all the vinyl decals.

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It still has the APR splitter, vortex generators and GTC 300 wing.  It sits on the same red 18×10.5 Volk TE37RTs, and it still has the Ohlins coilovers.  To be honest, this thing is pretty much the exact same as it was back in February.  That’s not a bad thing at all.  Back then it put down a healthy 293 horsepower and 289 lb/ft of torque, which is pretty good considering what power adders were installed.

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Fairly simple straight forward things: Tomei Titanium cat-back, test pipe, Big Mouth downpipe, and upper intercooler pipe.  A Mishimoto intercooler, oil cooler, and radiator are things you would find on a lot of street driven Evo Xs, as are the AEM intake and TurboSmart blow off valve.  The biggest changes are ones you can’t see.

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Those big changes?  A set of 1300cc fuel injectors from Injector Dynamics, a Cosworth high volume fuel rail, a TurboSmart fuel pressure regulator, and an AEM E85 capable 320lph fuel pump cradled in a Cobb Tuning fuel pump holder.  Oh, and a Cavalli Stage 2 Turbo.  The ball bearing, single scroll turbo has a 58mm inducer and 56mm exducer, and fits like the OEM turbo.  Despite fitting like the stock turbo, it makes more power than the stock turbo.  How much more?  With a fresh tune on 91 octane the car put down 330 horsepower and 277 lb/ft of torque.  On a  tune optimized for E70 (ethanol, corn fuel, stuff you can’t get at a pump in Salt Lake County as far as I know) it made 408 horsepower and 345 lb/ft of torque!

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Those are respectable numbers for a street car!  And there’s more room for the next owner to turn up the heat.  The turbo can move enough air for 600 horsepower.  And yes, I said next owner.  By now the car, and many of its parts have found new homes with other Evo Xs.  Fear not, Dallin is on to bigger and better things.

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And he still has his dog.

BONUS GALLERY!!!

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