28th Jan2016

Only Lightly Modified

by Michael Chandler

Clint Stoneham RBZ Test N Tune Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 10)

Listen, Clint Stoneham’s Z still had an inline six made by Nissan.  It just wasn’t necessarily what came in the car originally.  But that’s no longer a concern, because he’s throwing a turbo V8 into it.  Because why not keep the orange sled ridiculous?

02nd Sep2015

JDM Legends End of Summer Meet Up

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Last year, JDM Legends had their First Thursday series of meets at their shop.  It was cool to have Eric and the guys open up the shop to us: the lowly, unwashed masses.  This year the meets were absent, but last month the doors opened up, the cars were rolled out, and a meet was held!

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Plenty of S30s came out for the meet.  Seeing any number of these gorgeous coupes together in one place is always a welcomed sight.

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There were also some more modern classics in attendance.

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Inside the shop there were a couple of ongoing projects: a Hakosuka an a 240Z that looked eerily similar to a certain hero car.

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Outside was the car I’ve been dying to shoot photos of: the now legendary RX-7.  It was just hanging out, just chilling with its IMSA flares and Work wheels.

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We always love it when the doors go up and the cars come out at JDM Legends, because we always know something cool is going to roll out or we’ll see something awesome tucked away in a corner of the shop.

17th Mar2015

Utah Japanese Classic Car Spring Fling

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Spring is in the air and we, as gear heads, need to take to the streets and enjoy this.  On Sunday the Utah Japanese Classic Car group got together at Sugarhouse Park to ring in the season with what they called the Spring Fling Pot Luck.  If you’re in to classic J-tin then this group is for you, and if you were able to make it out to the park you got to see some treats.

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There were a pair of classic Celica GTs in attendance.  Both coupes were 5 speed models, and were rather bright.  You can see some American muscle influence in the noses of these vehicles, very reminiscent of early Camaros and Challengers; however, while the Americans were spry for being as massive as they were the Celicas were just spry.

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This beautiful, Datsun wagon made its way out.  More impressive than the wagon, and its cloth sunroof?  The fact that it made it out of the park.  That exit is gnarly!

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Who doesn’t need more RX7s in their life?  Everyone does, and there were examples of all three generations out, but this FB really caught my eye.  It’s not a concourse car, but it isn’t a wreck that that’s rotting away.  It’s a simple driver that’s hopefully spreading the good word of Reagan era rotaries to the masses.

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FC RX7s have been on the rise for a while, and for good reason.  Like all 80’s import FR coupes, they look amazing.  A few simple exterior modifications can transform a mundane runabout into a jaw dropper, and there were plenty of turbo models produced.  Nary a man alive can resist the Siren’s song that is a turbo 13B.

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This was, arguably, the most gorgeous car at the meet and is in the running for most gorgeous car to ever be produced.  The FD RX7 didn’t look like its contemporaries when it was new, and nothing has come along since to rival it.  This one is a bit different than the ones you see running around.  There isn’t a Mazda badge on the exterior, but it does have an “efini” badge on it.  This is because Mazda, like Toyota and Nissan, opened up a luxury division.  Their’s was called efini, but only operated from 1991-1997.  And unlike the Lexus and Infiniti brands, efini existed only in Japan.  That fact explains the most obvious feature of the car: it’s a right hand drive model.  You’re not going to be finding efini RX7s littering your supermarket parking lot, so seeing one in person is like finding a unicorn.

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Second generation MR2s were out in force.  These mid-engine runabouts have been turned into Ferrari F355 lookalikes by some idiots overly enthusiastic people, but thankfully the ones at the meet were clean examples that weren’t sporting prancing horse badges.

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IT”S A SUZUKI CARRY!  WE’VE HIT PEAK JDM!!!  This is as good a place as any to end this post.  There’s a gallery below, but I won’t blame you for spending your day basking in the glory that is the Suzuki Carry.

*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.
16th Oct2013

NASA Utah Round 6

by Michael Chandler

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Nationals were only a month behind them when the Miller locals returned to the west track for Round 6 of the NASA Utah season.  It was also three weeks before the season ending endurance race.  That led to some of your favorites taking the weekend off.  They still came out to instruct HPDE and hang out, but their chariots were still.

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But that doesn’t mean the track was empty.  Cole Powelson was out in RaceCo’s new Porsche, Todd Ainsworth was out in his STi in ST2, George Smith hustled his flying banana C5 Corvette to a win in the Super Unlimited class and first place overall in the race, and Park got a few runs in in his Vette as well.

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Oh, and Jason Smith raced Roger Miller’s World Challenge Mustang.  More on this humbling experience in a later post…

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STR1 went to Bob Evans in the Snickers, EA Sports Ford Fusion.  He battled with Jason for a good chunk of the race, but he left him behind when they encountered traffic.  Passing Jason got him into second overall.

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Again the Spec Miata/GTS guys were out with the bigger, faster guys.  While Jason and Bob had a good battle going, there was a dog fight happening at the front of the herd of Miatas.

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Todd Green and Mike Ferrara were never out of the other’s sight the whole race!  They might as well have tied their cars together, thats how close they were.  After an epic battle, Mike emerged the victor.  They might not be as fast as the open wheel or ST cars, but they fight just as hard if not harder than those other classes.

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Speaking of open wheel, the shorter track kept them closer than usual.  There weren’t any dirt drops or wheel touching, a la the Japanese GP, but the closeness brought action.

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This is Dave Wann.  He ran a 1:49.75, and did the best pirouette of the day.  Kudos to you Dave, kudos.

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I see you race a Z32.  I too like to live dangerously.  And if I remember right this either placed or won TTC.  You don’t see a lot of Z32 300ZX’s out on track days, which is a shame because, as our friend here is demonstrating, they can do some serious work.  They’re also such handsome vehicles.

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You don’t see too many Z cars out in general, at least out on our little ribbon of tarmac.  370z’s are pricey, and S30s are gorgeous and more people would rather do them up and then take them to shows instead of the track.  Hopefully seeing that Datsun go will bring a few more out.

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Here are some random photos from the HPDE session.  Nothing too crazy to report, just some guys getting in some supervised laps.  Anyway, thats what happened in a rather light day.  We’ll be out there for the season ending endurance race on the 26th, and we’ll do a photo dump ahead of that.  We’ll see you there!

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Words and Photos by Michael Chandler.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
03rd Oct2013

JDM Legends First Thursday Meet

by Michael Chandler

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On the first Thursday of the good weather months, JDM Legends opens their doors for a little open house.  It’s a chance to chat up fellow enthusiasts, make terrible offers to Eric (that Silvia has a CA, it’s totally worth the next to nothing I could come up with!) and gawk at the tons of awesome that roll in to and out of the shop.  Last month Joey and myself hopped in the Subaru and made the trip over.

 

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Lots of Skylines were on display, from a four door GTR (#102 built and lovingly maintained Nissan in Japan) to the Kenmeri that buzzes around and even an R31 GTS with its awesome little electronic chin spoiler.  Brody brought down his R32 GTR and his DR30 GTS.  He left the R32 GTS-T at home.  Let’s all take a moment to be jealous of his stable…  Done?  Ok, moving on.

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Early S13’s are available for importation.  You can be the first kid on your block to roll in a legitimate Silvia, complete with a CA18DET!  You can take your JZx and LS swaps and punt them, and ditch all that KA-T stuff.  THIS is awesome.  Here’s proof.  This might be the best $12k you can spend on an S13.

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This lovely Celica GTV has since moved on to a new home, but she got to enjoy one last moment being fawned over at the shop.

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Some of the cars that are driven to the meet are just as good as the fare JDM Legends has up for sale.  An immaculate second generation Celica Supra, looking as clean as it did when it rolled off the showroom floor.  A KA24DE swapped S12 200SX.  The swap was so clean three of us had to check the vin plate to make sure it was in fact swapped.  A gorgeous, red S30 was at the edge of the parking lot, but still managed to draw a crowd.  And the Datsun 620 pickup has always been an awesome little truck.  They don’t need a lot to look cool.

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This little orange Bluebird was pretty awesome, sitting properly on a set of Panasports, but then I noticed the mirrors are a set of GT Napoleon pieces!  These are getting harder to find, so seeing a set on something was a real treat.

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Keep checking the JDM Legends Facebook page for updates on these little shindigs, and to see photos of the Prince Skyline GTB they took to the Japanese Classic Car Show this past weekend!

Words and Photos by Michael Chandler

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