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.

08th Jun2015

RallySport Direct Eat, Greet and Meet… Meet

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

What started as a humble swap meet, hosted by a humble online retailer, has grown into a sizable meet at the physical home of a porperly big online retailer.  Thankfully, RallySport Direct maintains the feel of a shop run by a bunch of your friends and they have dropped the whole swap thing from their annual meet.

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And thankfully their neighbors are ok with having the meet attendees borrow their parking lots.  I wound up in one of these parking lots, and after receiving some puzzled looks from some mark 4 Supra owners (I’ll have some thoughts on that in a later column), I grabbed my friends Bobby and Brad and we wandered through the meet.

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One of the first cars we came across was Alex Prasop’s Honda Del Sol.  He’s had this car forever, and he’s put hours and hours of work into this.  Some people may look down their nose at a humble little Honda, but a lot of those people are the kind of folk who will create a scenario to show off their friends’ high dollar cars and act offended when people call them a WASPy a**hole.

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While most people are content with bolting on overfenders or flares, Alex was not.  He made his own fenders, along with doing his own engine swap and shaving and wire tucking his engine bay.  If I were given the choice between this, a well worn Honda built by an owner who is very passionate about his car or a new AMG Merc built by someone with more money than taste, who only cares that his car is cost prohibitive to most enthusiasts, I’d take the Honda.

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That said, I wouldn’t say no to a 911 or a Gallardo.  A classic 911 or a loud, brash Lamborghini are always head turners, and seeing them come out to a meet and them being driven by cool people (especially the 911, thanks for holding up for some pictures!) makes them even better.

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RallySport made their name slinging Subaru parts, and if you’re in need of some I recommend pointing your internet their way.  That being said, most people lower their Subarus and do their best to keep them clean.  Not these guys.  They’ve lifted them, put on massive offroad tires, added offroad lights, and the Legacy even added a snorkel.  These cars aren’t parking lot queens, or track day terrors.  They’re ready to get dirty, and stay dirty.

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The Subarus weren’t the only ones in the dirt game.  They were accompanied by this 4WD Civic Wagovan!  Underneath all that glorious mud was some red paint, but it didn’t look bad covered in Earth tones.

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In the same lot as the dirt crew was this bagged Mustang GT.  Not something you see everyday, especially around here, but a lot of the new muscle cars look great when they’re on the ground.  Bagging these big pony cars is something that needs to be done more, and this guy needs to drop us a line because I want to know more.

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Over in the feature lot, or at least the lot closest to RallySport Direct itself, was this 4 door R32 Skyline sitting on a staggered set of Super Advans.  If you look closely, you’ll see that there isn’t an RB under the hood.  Nope! It’s an SR20!  Too many doors, not enough cylinders, and all sorts of awesome!  Sign me up, I’ll take two.

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Next to my new favorite Skyline (sorry Brody), was another SR20 powered oddity: JR Crosby’s Lotus Super7.  I’ve seen theis car a few times over the years, and I still can’t get over the looks of the Ur-kit car.

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As long as I’ve been aware of the car it’s always been orange, and it’s always had that SR.  The Shelby wheels are new, as are the Nankang tires (which is obvious just looking at them).  Despite being insanely easy to look into the cockpit, I’ve never done so.  So, I did.  The well worn Start button tells you that this car has seen its fair share of road time.  The gauges are laid out in a very sensible fashion, the tachometer and speedometer are right above the steering column, with oil pressure and temperature, water temperature in a row to the right of them.  Below that trio is the wideband and the boost gauge.  It’s sparse, but utilitarian, probably something Colin Chapman would approve of.

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Lyfe Motorsports brought out pretty much everything except the GTR they’re prepping for World Time Attack; which, if you follow them on Instagram or Facebook, is a bare shell that doesn’t have a roof.

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They did bring out their other GTR, the one that has been dominating Global Time Attack and will be racing to the clouds at Pike’s Peak later this month.  This 1000+ horsepower beast is all business, and, as you can clearly see, they associate with only the best of companies.

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And then there’s this yahoo…

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The Brett King Design livery looks good on his still full interior TT1 car.  Yeah, full interior.  Headliner and all.  He drives this thing to work in Wyoming, because why not?

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While people were fawning over the turbocharged V6 in the Lyfe GTR, the old guard of turbo V6s rolled through.  A pair of Buick Grand Nationals came through and turned all the heads.  Seeing one at an event like this (something import heavy) is awesome, a pair is mind blowing.

This is always a great event, it’s well run and they bring out a lot of representatives of the part manufacturers they sell, and they give away a lot of awesome stuff too.  We’re looking forward to next year, as we always are.

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

 

 

 

22nd Apr2015

Import Spring Showoff 2015

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

After years of evolution and months of planning, the 2015 iteration of the Import Spring Showoff opened up at the Maverick Center last Sunday.  And much like every year prior, this one saw massive growth.  Over 2000 cars and over 8000 people came to the show!  And in that mass of people and cars there were some seldom seen gems

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Gems like Corbin Lines’s 1986 Dodge Omni GLHT.  Not as highly sought after as the Omni GLHS’s, but still packing all the same goodness, Corbin’s weighs a scant 1980 lbs and makes over 500 horsepower to the wheels!  All that power with that lack of weight makes the car useless on the streets, but a monster on the track.

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There were plenty of FD RX-7s in attendance this year, but none quite as wild as this 2JZ swapped example.  Some call this blasphemous, but the big Toyota mill fits so well under the hood of the sleek Mazda.

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The matte purpley Scion is packing a nice sized Borg Warner turbocharger, a nice wrap (hence the color) and took home the Favorite Scion award.  The red car is well on its way to becoming a challenger for the award next year, sitting nicely on a set of Work Emotion XD-9s.

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Jon Truong’s custom widebody WRX made its debut.  The metal work on the fenders looked amazing, and allows the massive CCW wheels to tuck nicely into the wheel wells.

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Lyfe Motorsport brought out the big guns, and the biggest trailer at the show: their massive four car hauler.  Inside the hauler were the two Spec Z cars they prepped in 30 days (!), a 996 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, and their venerable R35 GTR with it’s new wrap from Envision.  In addition to the cars that had to be hauled to the show, Shawn Murphy drove his freshly wrapped STi down from Wyoming and parked it in the booth.

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A sea of people and cars filled the enormous parking lot, vendors lined an entire row, and plenty of deserving builds drove home with awards.  It was an impressive show on all fronts, and we can’t wait until next year.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
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.
08th Oct2014

ScrapeFest 2014

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

On September 28, in the parking lot of Sandy Station, Salt Scrapers held their first ever meet.  Having “Scrapers” in their name, they naturally decided to call it ScrapeFest.  It was a meet celebrating all things stanced, slammed, flush and otherwise low.  All the familiar faces were there: David Arellano, Nik Preusser, Taigon Rider (you know that deep blue Datsun 260Z 2+2 with the white wheels and oil cooler?  That’s his) and Jenny Lou who was acting as one of the hosts.  I was still waterlogged from the day before, so I showed up late.  Despite that, I did snag some photos and I did secure a feature with the previously mentioned Datsun.  So without further ado, here’s the gallery:

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
11th Sep2014

Boise Drift Day 2

by Michael Chandler

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Words and photos by Michael Chandler

When last we left our brave travelers they were scrambling for cover from the sudden and violent storm that had rolled upon Magic Valley Speedway.  Chance, Mikey, Brandon, Hector and myself chose to sleep in Brandon’s trailer, while Jordan and Riley elected to sleep in Jordan’s and Hector’s trucks respectively.  And now for the conclusion of our tale…

The sudden storm lasted through the night, but had mercifully ended by morning.  We awoke to a beautiful, albeit a little chilly, sunny morning.  Those of us who slept in the trailer had has decent of a night as one can while sleeping on the floor of a trailer.  Meanwhile Jordan and Riley had learned why you don’t sleep in your vehicle in the cold.  While at least Jordan came prepared for camping, Riley only brought his hoodie.  Suffice it to say they were both happy to see the sun creep over the mountains.

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All over the makeshift camp grounds people were working on various things.  Brandon was mounting tires for the day, and Mike had begun to cook breakfast for himself and his crew of jolly pirates.  Zack was still working on his wheel studs, while Jordan was looking at what appeared to be a bent left rear wheel.  Chance took Brandon’s truck into town, and left Mikey with us.  Chance returned with breakfast for himself, Brandon, Mikey and Jordan.  I had a Clif Bar, and Hector managed to score a parfait from Brandon.

Hector, having eaten, and Zack, having replaced his wheel studs, were the first two out on track, and were both giving ride alongs.  Chance and myself made our way over to the track and were chatting about something inconsequential to this story while watching the two of them make their way through the infield.  Hector took his usual line through the last two turns, and Zack took a wider line…

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The rear quarter panel hit then end of the barrier, and spun the front of the car into it with a great deal of force.  Zack and his passenger were ok, however his car was finally dead.

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The car hit so hard it snapped the lower control arm, bent the coilover on that corner, dented the wheel well so deeply that the clutch pedal couldn’t be pushed in, sent the fender into the windshield and generally tweaked everything.  As it sat the car couldn’t move or be dragged off the course without leaving more parts in its wake.  So the plan was hatched to bring the trailer down, and drag the car on to it using ratchet straps, a jack and man power.

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A crowd gathered to watch the lifeless S13 get dragged on to the trailer.  It took some effort on the parts of everyone in the infield, but the car was on the trailer and secured.

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Although he had the worst weekend on paper, he had the best weekend because he went out there and said fuck it.  Blow out both tires? Finish the lap on the bare rims and swap them out.  A wheel goes flying? Throw that thing on the hatch and get to work fixing the studs.  Destroy the car? Jump on that hood, throw your arms to the sky and declare that you won’t be defeated by conventional means! It had cost him $75 to drive, and he got his money’s worth.

After clearing what was left of Zack’s car, the rest of the drivers came out to play.

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Everyone was having a good time, just sending one after another after another.  Things were moving like clock work.

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Smile! This is going on the internet!

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And then Brad spun out and knocked one of his battery connections loose. This brief pause in the action allowed for some other drivers to fire up their chariots and make their way on to the track.

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Crowd favorites Mikey, Brandon, Worm and Dennis all were out.  Things progressed as they do: one driver led to pairs of drivers.  Those pairs linked up with the other pairs and suddenly we had gridlock in the grid.

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Thankfully this traffic jam passed, everyone was sliding, and I climbed atop a gigantic planter.

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This continued for a few laps, then people started peeling off to grab tires or to let their car cool down.  This left me standing on top of the planter, and Dane in his 1UZ swapped Celica Supra taking laps. After passing me he stopped, backed up and asked “Hey, do you want me to just hit this corner?”

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Yes, yes I do.  As so he did until the time came for him to grab new tires and take a break.  Which it seemed liked we all decided to do.  I took this time to wander about, change lenses, and eventually jam a GoPro on to Jordan’s car before he went out in a four car group.  All was looking good.

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Until a small fuel leak caused a fire in his car.  Thankfully the fire was extinguished quickly, but not before his wiring harness was toasted.  Fear not though, there were still three of our group still running!  Sort of…

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So the trio went out, with various passengers who had GoPros on sticks.  Since this was a grassroots, just for fun kind of thing nobody could communicate with the cars while they were on track.  And car to car communication was primitive.

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And occasionally crude… It was during these runs a few of noticed that Mikey was smokey.  Really smokey.

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Catastrophically smokey.  There was an oil leak somewhere, and it was bad enough to send Mikey back to the trailer.  He wasn’t done though, he would take a few runs in Brandon’s car.  However, Hector was entirely done.  He bent a tie rod on one run, did an epic burnout and headed back to his trailer.

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Our crew may have been decimated, but there were still some people who hadn’t broken their cars! Mike and Worm were still out taking cuts.

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And then the track cleared, and the Previa rolled down the bank, and began its runs.

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Behind every good man is a strong woman, and Dennis & Katie literally demonstrated this.  They mounted the rear bench seat of the Previa in the van backwards, she strapped in and went for a ride!

And it is on that note that we end our story.  It was an awesome weekend, spent with awesome people and doing awesome things.  If there was a better way to spend Labor Day Weekend, and close out the summer, I can’t think of one.  This wasn’t an isolated trip either.  While I can’t make it to the next event, I will make it to a few more next year.  Until then, thank you Idaho!  GOODNIGHT!

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

 

09th Sep2014

Boise Drift Day 1

by Michael Chandler

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 Words and photos by Michael Chandler

 

“Who’s going to the Boise Drift two day event?” It was a simple question that was posed to the Drift Utah Facebook group.  I saw photos from the last event, poked fun at everyone who had broken (i.e. everyone), but never gave much thought to actually going to one.  I would have to drive, I had no idea what their photos rules were, or even where I was going.  Plus my arm was still in a sling.  With all that in mind, I posted “If I can find a ride I can.” And that’s when this went from poorly thought out idea to a reality.

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After some back and forth with Hector Jurado and Jordan Collier, I decided to hitch a ride up with Hector.  He, and his friend Riley, were going to pick me up at 5:45AM on Saturday and then we’d head up to the Common Cents gas station in Roy to gas up, procure things and meet up with Jordan and Zack Penman.  We made good time, gassed up Hector’s new Ford F350 and his old S13 coupe and waited for everyone.  Zack and his crew rolled in, and while they gassed up we continued to wait for Jordan.  And wait we did.  Hector called him, left a voice mail, and we decided to leave him.

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The drive up was pretty uneventful, aside from Jordan calling us around 8am to say he slept in and that he’d be coming up with Mike Fulkerson (hereafter known as Mikey) so I’ll introduce you to Hector a little bit.  Before he got into drifting he was a Honda kid.  He owned three EG Civics before buying a his first 240SX off of someone on the internet.  He over payed for it, but it was his!  And it was low.  Worryingly low.  On the drive home the rear struts blew out, so he had to have it towed.  Upon further inspection some interesting things were discovered.  First: the car was said to have “coilovers” and it did.  It had two, and they were in the rear.  The front had compressed stock struts with the upper and lower spring perches bolted to each other.  No springs, just that ridiculousness.  Second: the car was said to have an SR20DET, and it had most of one.  It was pretty clearly an SR20DET at one point in time, but someone pulled the turbo off at some point and welded a “downpipe” to the exhaust manifold and then to the exhaust.  He got rid of that nightmare, and into a friend’s cleaner (and cheaper) 240.  And now he has the teal coupe you’ll be seeing a lot of.

Also of note: the day before we left for this event, Hector did something a decent chunk of American citizens can’t do.  He passed the citizenship test and was rewarded with a tiny American flag!  Also citizenship in this country, but that flag is nothing to sneeze at.

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After a pit stop at the Garden of Eden truck stop, we pulled into Magic Valley Speedway in Twin Falls and unloaded.  Zack and Hector brought a fair amount of tires, all mounted on different wheels for easy swapping between sessions.  We all made our way to the little shed that housed the almighty waiver sheet, exchanged money for wristbands and signed our lives away.  And then we had a driver’s meeting.  And then Hector and Zack went out.

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They gave ride alongs to whomever wanted one, and they were eventually joined on track by a fellow named Worm.  He proceeded to make some serious runs in his bone stock 350Z, while being chased by his friend in the camera car.  That camera car happened to be a turbo single cam Civic hatchback, and it kept up with everyone fairly well.  And well is how things were going, and then Zack’s problems began.

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In the course of the day his car decided to stop working entirely (top photo) and then shed a wheel.  Also along the way he managed to hurt his wrist, but he wasn’t too torn up about any of it.  His car started up again, and he got his wheel back on and went out to give more rides and play a fun little game with Hector.

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And that game was “Who can touch the wall on the front straight?” As we can see here, Hector was the victor.

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At this point you’ve seen Hector, Zack and Worm taking cuts.  They weren’t the only ones doing so! From the top down we have Jason in the multicolor Rustang, David (one of our gracious hosts) in his SR20DET swapped Corolla, Brad and the little Miata that tried, and Mike in his missiled out S13 coupe.  In a previous post I referred to Mike’s car as the “community” car because I saw many people who weren’t Mike drifting in it.  It’s not wrong, or weird.  Just pointing out Mike’s trust and generosity.

All was fun and well, and fairly normal for a drift event.  Then two fairly unique Toyotas appeared.

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First was Dennis Niedrich’s Previa.  It had a roll cage (sort of) and no doors aft of the front ones.  The bench seat was hanging around, and it was eventually mounted back in the van… Backwards.  If someone like myself (but obviously not me because I can’t be trusted to do so) were to give out awards, Dennis would get one because that looked like the most fun.  This is why I don’t give out awards anymore.

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Parked next to Dennis in the paddock was this black Celica Supra.  Seeing one out and about, and ready to shred tires is a hoot in and of itself; however, this one became the biggest hoot when I saw the 1UZ-FE sitting under the hood.  Dane, the fellow who built this, barely finished it in time to come down from Boise to Twin Falls.  He said that that drive was basically the big shakedown run.  The drive served its purpose, because (from what I could see) the car ran flawlessly.  Speaking of 1UZs…

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (80 of 84)

Guess who finally showed up. The trio of Jordan, Mikey and Brandon Wicknick (America’s Favorite Drifting Ginger! TM.  In your face Forsberg!) pulled in around 5pm, and were mostly unloaded by 5:30.  I say mostly because Jordan’s transmission got caught on the trailer as he was backing off of it, and the car kept dying.  Eventually he got off the trailer, and along with Mikey and Brandon, put on a show:

Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 1) Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (62 of 84) Boise Drift Labor Day Two Day event Day 1 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (69 of 84)

The mere sight of Brandon’s Formula D car drew a small crowd, even before it was fired up.  It drew a massive one when he hit the track.  He even took me for a ride in it! I learned a few things while riding with him:

  • How fast a pro level drift car moves and changes direction is mind boggling.  His car is the fastest car I’ve been in.
  • His passenger seat is clearly designer for a child, or a very slim human being.  I barely managed to wedge myself in there.
  • I have no idea how to work a five point harness, let alone do it with one good arm.

After a while we (Mikey, Brandon, Jordan, Chance Behunin, Hector, Riley and myself) piled into Brandon’s truck and went into town for dinner.  Since Brandon was driving, we were going to a La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant where the give you chips and salsa.  The chips and salsa was a big selling point for Brandon.  After dinner, we filled up some gas cans, trolled the local populace and returned to the track just in time for the weather to take a dramatic turn.  Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of what the wind did, but I can tell you it blew people’s tents over and almost away and it threw a pop up canopy over 75 feet into a crowd of people huddled around a fire pit.

The decision was made to sleep in Brandon’s 45′ enclosed trailer.  Only problem is the people sized door on the side doesn’t open from inside the trailer.  To ensure we’d be able to get out of the trailer without kicking a hole in the side of it, Brandon attached a bungie cord to the door, and then to a conduit inside the trailer.  Bundled in our sleeping bags, Brandon then turned off the lights, and we slept.

Did we survive the night? Does Brandon’s trailer have a new “door”? If Train A, traveling at 70mph, leaves Westford heading towards Eastford, 260 miles away.  At the same time Train B, traveling at 60mph, leaves Eastford heading towards Westford.  When do the two trains meet? How far from each city do they meet? Find out the answers to those burning questions in tomorrow’s dramatic conclusion!

 

 *Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
04th Sep2014

Boise Drift Teasers

by Michael Chandler
Boise Drift Labor Day Weekend Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (2 of 2)

1UZ powered Celica Supra!

Over Labor Day Weekend I made the trip to Twin Falls for a Boise Dirft two day event.  It was quite the trip, and I’m still working on the photos and video and story itself.  In the meantime, here are some photos I do have done to tide you over until I finish.

Boise Drift Labor Day Weekend Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 2)

Worm in his stock 350Z

Boise Drift Labor Day Weekend Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 2)

Hector and Zach

Boise Drift Labor Day Weekend Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 2)

Mike and his “community” S13

A lot of things happened over the course of two days, so stick around to see exactly what happened in Magic Valley!

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
06th Aug2014

Happy 8/6 Day!

by Michael Chandler
corolla

Courtesy of Toyota

 

Ah, August 6.  A day that means nothing to most people, but holds a special place in our hearts.  Why? Because today we celebrate the most fun 106hp and a solid axle could provide: the AE86 chassis Corollas!

Drift Utah 6 Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-40

Yes, the lowly mighty Corolla.  Formerly cheap, still rear wheel drive, a delightful drift car and road racer.  Able to swallow any motor, from a hopped up stock four cylinder all the way up to a NASCAR V8, these are the little cars that said “Mash the throttle pedal, ignore the brake and kick that clutch like it owes you money.  We’re gonna have some fun”

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So far you’ve just seen photos of them drifting, or emitting horses from under the hood, but they road race.  They road race hard.  In Japan they had the N2 Series, which was nothing but hopped up Corollas battling other hopped up Corollas in a blur of bright colors and box flares.  It was epic.  But it only lasted two years… in the mid 80’s.  But people kept on building the Corollas to the defunct N2 specifications.  In 1988 TRD caught wind of this, and decided to hold an annual N2 race on the legendary Tsukuba Circuit.

 

And so here we are today, discussing the long legacy of a car that has gained fame as a road racing car, drift machine, and tofu delivery vehicle.  Do you have any fun AE86 stories?  Pictures, video?  If you do, share them!  Sharing is caring, especially on this unofficial holiday.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler.

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMAutoMag.Com and their respective owners.
22nd May2014

Rhonda Gets Low

by Michael Chandler

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (1 of 12)

When last we left off with Rhonda, our MA70 Supra project car, she had proven that a late 80’s GT car can be surprisingly practical. We also rifled off a list of issues that had arisen. Well sir, we got around to addressing some of those issues and found some others.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (2 of 12)

If you recall the old girl was damn near doubling up on the boost, hitting 15psi instead of the factory set 8. It sounds cool, but hitting fuel cut in every gear except first isn’t. All the vacuum lines were intact so obviously it was something a bit more intensive than that to fix. There were a few options, including pulling the turbo off and looking at the wastegate; however, we’re on a budget with this so a plan was hatched to find a throw on a boost controller. The guys at Ziptie Dynowerks recommended the Hallman Pro RX Manual Boost Controller.

The big feature of the Pro RX is the ceramic ball it employs instead of the standard 316 stainless steel ball found in other manual boost controllers. The ceramic ball is lighter, which allows it to act quicker than its stainless steel counterpart. The lightweight ball allows for very fine control of how much boost you want to run. It came with a light and a heavy spring, the heavier spring allowing for more boost. Since we didn’t want to go that crazy just yet, we left in light spring in. After a few runs up and down the street (the dyno was occupied by someone who booked some time and was paying  to use it), the boost was set at 10psi and that was that. Next up was a trip to Innovative Garage to adjust the attitude by changing the altitude.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (3 of 12)

Choosing the right  set of coilovers is somewhat tricky. There are hardcore, remote reservoir 1632 way adjustable sets out there that cost more than this car did. There are dirt cheap, a step above cutting your springs sets that are just barely that. Then there’s the boat we found ourselves in.  There’s not a lot out there for the MA70, and those that are out there are either a middle of the road as far as stiffness and adjustablity are concerned or crazy track series coilovers. Eventually we landed on the Megan Racing EZ Street coilovers.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (4 of 12)

They’re a basic monotube design and are 15 way adjustable. The spring rates are 14kg/mm in the front and 8kg/mm in the rear. They’re also shiny and blue, which is a lot better than the beat up black the stock springs and struts are. Unfortunately they didn’t have provisions for the adjustment motors that were atop the stock bits. Yeah, she had adjustable suspension from the factory back in 1987. Oh well, it’s not like that’s gonna be the end of the world or the mere existence of said motors would make the install any more difficult than it should be.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (8 of 12)

While Tyler was on the horn with Megan Racing, I inquired about a radiator. Megan makes one, and so it was tacked on to my order and went in with the coilovers. It’s a three row, all aluminum piece that came with a 1.1 BAR radiator cap. It also didn’t have some of the nasty crap that flowed out of the old one, so that’s a bonus.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (10 of 12)

The front went together fine…ish. Aside from a gigantic bolt holding the upper control arms in, everything went smoothly. The rear on the other hand required some trimming of some interior trim just to get those stupid motors off the top of the struts. And even then we barely got them out!  And then there was the issue of mounting the bottoms of the struts. What should’ve been a straight forward, slide em and bolt em in affair became a date with the bench grinder.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (11 of 12)

After a light show they were slim enough to squeeze in. And then came the alignment and ride height setting. The former is still an ongoing process (26 years of life on the road means that somethings that were once separate are now one) but the ride height was pretty bang on out of the box.

Supra Update Michael Chandler CAMautoMag (12 of 12)

Here’s how she sits currently, a much more welcomed stance than her previous set up. The Megan’s feel great, borderline stock feel. I haven’t had much time with them aside from blasts to and from Innovative because while we were pulling the wheels off the front we found a bubble in the sidewall of one of the tires. Pair that with the gash that extends from the outer tread block down into the sidewall and we’ve got a sketchy situation. So next up are some new shoes of the 17 inch variety, and rubber that doesn’t look like it’s going to blow out and kill me!

SOURCES:

Innovative Garage

Ziptie Dynowerks

Megan Racing

Hallman Boost Controllers

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

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

 

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