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.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of my trips to Road Atlanta is the opportunity to see other enthusiasts’ cars that otherwise would never fall into my circle of interest. There is almost always some vintage European car to discover, adorned with decals or medallions of historical significance, or a luxury SUV that has broken free of its usual suburban entrapment, having been outfitted with huge mud tires, a wench, and snorkel (and there’s almost nothing cooler than an off-the-lot GX460 with a snorkel, I assure you). The reminder that the automotive scene is so much larger than yourself, and what your friends think is important is both humbling and refreshing. And so, when I caught a glance of Vinh Le’s Firebird driving past the stands to find a parking spot amongst the sea of Nissans and RWD Toyotas, I knew I had an opportunity for a great story. Read More
May 25, 2012
Photography By: Yuya Yamashita, Key Mamiya
Words By: Andy Carter
When Mick Jagger sang “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” in 1969, he was certainly on to something pivotal in regards to the frustrations we as enthusiasts experience in our daily lives with our cars. Interestingly, however, it is the converse of that lyric that has created and fed various scenes around the world; that is, “you always want what you can’t get”. That idea reverberates throughout our culture everyday, from the diehard Toyota fans begging for the return of the Supra, to FF Honda’s fans begging for a legitimate Type-R. Luckily for the scene, few of us stop there. Many JDM and Euro enthusiasts go to great lengths procuring models, parts, and merchandise from our markets of choice. Whether it’s a JDM coin tray or an R34 Skyline, there’s a certain feeling of owning something that was never intended for our shores. Not surprisingly, this feeling isn’t limited to American gearheads. For the ninth year in a row, thousands of USDM enthusiasts gathered in the Mie Prefecture to check out the best of what the American car scene has to offer, as interpreted by Japanese enthusiasts.
Many of you will remember Brendan Hinds’ Audi S5 that we featured a few weeks ago. He originally purchased the car with the intention to keep it stock, but we all know how that story ends. Here’s Load It Production’s take on that gorgeous S5 and the perfectly fitted Vossen wheels.
Last weekend, Road Atlanta once again hosted the Formula Drift “Road to the Championship” for the ninth year in a row. A favorite track for many of the drivers, the course offers both high speeds and close, technical areas, making for an awesome show for the record-setting audience. Fueled in part by the recent attempt by Atlanta city council’s ban on drifting within the city limits, the atmosphere was one of excitement, passion, and camaraderie. With the scent of tire smoke and BBQ filling the air, Atlanta natives enjoyed a solid two days of professional drifting, Pro-Am up-and-comers, time attack, and Formula 2000 races. It was, without a doubt, the best place to be south of the Mason-Dixon last weekend. Read More
May 3, 2012
Words By: Andy Carter
For those of you that really love this scene, who always have cars on the brain, I ask you to remember what made you fall in love with this culture. For many of you, it was a family member; you recall spending your childhood helping your father turn wrenches, polish wheels, and prepare his car or truck for whatever show or race was next on the calendar. While my father and grandfathers had a healthy appreciation of automobiles, I don’t think I can necessarily tie my enthusiasm to them though. For me, I remember sitting in high school, bored to tears, thumbing through an issue of Sport Compact Car my friend had just finished. I had a bone stock 1991 Honda Civic sedan at the time and can recall being amazed at the transformations of cars just like mine that unfolded in the pages of that magazine. The synergy of quality photography and design, engaging articles, and most importantly, the cars themselves, sparked something inside of me that has continued to burn for the past ten years.
With the Import Alliance spring meet last Sunday, our friends at Southrnfresh hosted an event at Mainstream Performance on Saturday in an effort to welcome all of the guests to the city. While much smaller than the main IA event, the SF pre-meet is always a perfect time to chill with friends in a much more relaxed atmosphere, while getting an advance look at who the superstars will be at the main event the next day. As always, the meet was a success, pulling in a wide variety of cars from all over the Southeast. Read More
I was browsing Facebook yesterday when the solo image of this bike showed up on my wall, from some of my non-car related friends. I was blown away. I’m by no means a bike enthusiast, but the sleekness of this old Honda CL350 just pushed all the right buttons. Read More
One of the coolest aspects of writing for Canibeat is the chance to feature incredible builds of brand-new, high-end cars. To a lowly nine-to-fiver like myself, the chance to talk with individuals that can go all-out with boutique wheels and aero, kept safe by a full custom air-suspension is appreciated. While one can be tempted to play the envy game, the smaller companies need these people pouring their hard-earned cash into the scene to stay alive. Nevertheless, that song and dance is somewhat daunting and tiresome to the average enthusiast. When every car featured is a $50,000 two-week build, what’s the point in saving pennies for a shift knob? None of us are strangers to the “life’s not fair” mantra, but the constant reminder of our own need for compromise squashes our passion. Dan Hong is a self-admitted everyman. He knows what it’s like to fight the daily battle against a world dead-set on destroying your pride and joy, with a finite budget. Read More