For Wallpaper Wednesday today, I have a few shots that I was able to grab of Ty’s VIP Lexus GS immediately following our First Class Fitment show several weeks ago. The sunset over the airstrip makes for an incredible location for post-show shoots. Our full coverage should be up tomorrow, so check back for tons of shots from our favorite photographers. Read More
Aftermarket automotive culture has never really been a place that catered to the fairer sex. From late nights spent in a dusty garage working with dirty tools while beer-swigging bros tell even dirtier jokes, to the meets and shows that cater to base masculine desires with scantily-clad models and greasy food. Read More
Acura’s third generation TL was admittedly a tough act to follow. Signaling the model’s first departure from a platform share with the JDM Honda Inspire, the 3.2 L V6 equipped four door quickly became the brand’s best selling sedan, edging out the popular TSX and more luxurious RL. And while the car made waves in the mid-size commuter segment, the model’s A-Spec package provided serious goods to brand enthusiasts. The 2007 model even offered the RL’s 286 hp V6 mated to a 6 speed manual transmission, making it the fastest Honda/Acura available with the death of the NSX in 2005. In 2008, however, enthusiasts first began to get wind of a newly re-designed TL. The numbers sounded good: a FWD model with 280hp, and a 305hp version featuring Acura’s SH-AWD system. The internet was hopeful and optimistic. And then, almost without warning, we were introduced to the beak.
My experience in the automotive community has taught me, if nothing else, that taste is both completely subjective and often deeply rooted in an owner’s psyche. Each of has our own favorite brand, and an idea of what are acceptable modifications within the confines of what we deem appropriate. While there are certainly those that jump ship on occasion, forsaking their last love for new opportunities in power or style, most people know what they love, and love what they know. And in that mindset, Mitchell Donat knew that when he purchased his car, he wanted to go the JDM route, and to build a car for speed. Obviously, things didn’t quite work out that way. Read More
The East Coast is a tough place to be for fans of vintage Japanese automobiles. While there are definitely pockets of enthusiasts throughout region (I’m thinking of Atlanta’s own Garage Zero), there just aren’t as many good original specimens to to be found. Most Northeastern cars have long since succumbed to rust, disappointing many junkyard pickers hoping to find that perfect chassis. And while there are still excellent examples to found down South, the prevalence of the pro-domestic, pro-muscle mentality following the post-war era meant that early examples of Japanese cars were largely treated as disposable economic appliances, and true contemporary enthusiasts were few and far between. So while I’ve certainly been exposed to my fair share of Nissan Z cars, the 80′s Toyota RWDs, and Mazda RX-7s, my experience with the more pedestrian models (not to mention modified examples) has largely been limited to a few random sightings. Read More
Deep in the city of Philadelphia, amongst the beat up taxi cabs, boring economy cars, and speeding limousines, there came a candy purple xB from New Jersey. Darren Balico’s little box attracted all sorts of attention in Center City. Everyone, from businessmen in tinted Town Cars to late night crowds looking for the next party, took notice of the gleaming purple box everywhere it went. Every person walking the streets seemed to have a compliment, some even stopped to ask if it was for sale.
It can be said that all design is rooted in the struggle of form and function. Each decision that a creator makes is a tug in one direction or the other. But good design never lies on linear scale. That is, success isn’t found in the ability to defeat one side or the other. Form at the expense of function is useless, an object d’art that can be discarded annually as the prevailing trends change. Function without the consideration of form, however, is nothing more than a tool or applicance. Good design, rather, is weaving these elements together in concert with one another, allowing each decision, regardless of purpose, to support one another. American architect Louis Sullivan writes, “Ornament and structure were integral; their subtle rhythm sustained a high emotional tension, yet produced a sense of serenity. But the building’s identity resided in the ornament. It was the spirit animating the mass and flowing from it, and it expressed the individuality of the building.” Form, therefore, becomes the eyes through which we are drawn into the function of the end result.
As popular as V8 swaps have become in Japanese imports these past few years, the benefit cars are usually purpose-built monsters destined for drift events or racetracks. Steve Richardson’s RX-7, however, could easily pass as a stock cruiser, intended more for preservation rather than devastation. The contrast of an OEM+ exterior with such an unconventional power plant is the classic recipe for a sleeper, but does the proverbial heresy of ditching the rotary engine leave you with a bitter taste? Personally, I love it. This is classiness and ingenuity together at their finest. Let us know what you think in the comments. Read More
In 2003, as a promotion for the release of the seventh generation Civic, Honda created a series of commercials celebrating the “Civic Nation”. Originally featuring 64 of Southern California’s most aggressively styled Civics, this video seemed to be a sign that Honda was finally ready to accept the massive subculture that had sprung from its humble pedestrian model. And while the days of neon, chrome, and loud body kits have since passed us by, that visual of dozens of Civics rolling deep was bold for the time. The release of the original The Fast and the Furious in 2001 had made tuner culture a nationwide phenomenon, but we didn’t see a mainstream manufacturer really embrace it until Toyota’s creation of the Scion brand in 2002. The Civic Nation commercials, however, connected a new product with the cars that were already on the street. The idea wasn’t so much that you had to go purchase the latest Civic to be hip–that is, it didn’t show a group of nineties-era hatches driving along only to have a fresh new EP Civic Si blow through the center with flaming tires. Rather, the point made was that if you did purchase a new Civic, you became a part of something much larger and much cooler than a frumpy-looking beige sedan would normally allow. Read More
The 300ZX sits in a rather peculiar place in Nissan’s historic sports car heritage. The model’s younger brothers, the 350Z and 370Z, have a massive following in the stance and performance communities, serving as both the poster boys for classic Japanese RWD antics, and at the same time showcasing some of the most impossibly low static setups we’ve seen. The ZX’s ancestors also are enjoying a revival in today’s retro JDM crave, with pristine 240Z and 260Z prices beginning to rise to well-deserved levels, edging near their American and European counterparts. Depending on who is asked and the model considered, the 300ZX (both the Z31 and Z32 models) however, were either sluggish coupes masquerading as sports cars, or capable machines with overly-complex turbo set-ups. There is no denying, however, that Thai Nguyen’s pristine 1991 Twin Turbo unit represents the beginnings of a golden age of Japanese performance in the 1990′s that included venerable models like the Supra, RX-7, NSX, and the JDM Skyline GT-R’s. Thai’s approach to his Z has been one of preservation rather than transformation, creating a perfect balanced example of one of Japan’s finest, yet under appreciated, performance models.