29th Sep2015

Three Musketeers

by Michael Chandler

JDM Trio shoot Group Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-3

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.

JDM Trio shoot Group Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-5

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.

JDM Trio shoot FC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-12

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.

JDM Trio shoot FC Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-7

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.

JDM Trio shoot SW20 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-15

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.

JDM Trio shoot SW20 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-17

 

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.

JDM Trio shoot SW20 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

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

JDM Trio shoot FD Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

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.

JDM Trio shoot FD Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-5 JDM Trio shoot FD Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-15

 

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.

JDM Trio shoot FD Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-25

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.
17th Mar2015

Utah Japanese Classic Car Spring Fling

by Michael Chandler

UtahJapaneseClassicCarsSpringFlingMichaelChandlerCAM-32

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.