I hate that minivans have the stigma that they do. While they admittedly won’t win any awards around the track, they are the perfect vehicle for someone looking for serious utility without the drawbacks of larger SUVs. And one only has to look back to the 1970′s to see the awesome styling possibilities with these big wagons. Owner Donald James saw the potential in his 2005 Odyssey and went all out with a classic VIP build, blending traditional Japanese cues with a mostly untouched USDM platform. Read More
If there is one negative consequence of the stance movement, it has to be never ending stream of arguments about the balance of function versus form that has risen from man’s quest for lowness. What usually begins as an open picture thread of fitted cars quickly devolves into a mindless frenzy of insults, insinuations, and ill-formed facts about how a car’s function has been sacrificed for the sake of hard parking. The assumption seems to be that the owner of the car sat down one day, looked at his new car, and decided, “You know what, forgot about acceleration and handling, I’d rather this car be a freaking paperweight.” Unless the owner is a complete idiot, however, that’s not how it happened. Every project is going to be a balance of form and function; and if you know what you are doing, you’ll make them compliment each other. Anthony Hancock started with Honda’s S2000, a car that’s built from the classic sports car formula. His goal was to take the original idea, but take all the different aspects of the vehicle to a more aggressive level. For Anthony, the ultimate form that this blown and fitted S2000 took had to jive with the increased function. The two had to move synergetically, hand in hand. Form had to equal function.
The world of VIP is generally reserved for the more seasoned members of the import scene. Not only is the price of entry considerably higher, aftermarket pieces are priced with exclusivity in mind; this genre is the textbook example of the idiom “You’ve got to pay to play.” Rules, however, are meant to be broken, and usually are. Andre Pham started this VIP GS300 when he was 18, an age when most of us were trying to cut 15 year old Civic springs and morph Home Depot garden accessories into aero pieces. The youngest member of Liberty VIP, Andre is self-made man, building his Lexus with a combination of hard work, quality parts, and some generous help from the gents of Liberty. Read More
One of the great cliches of car modding culture is the idea that somewhere, your dream car sits alone rotting away in a forgotten garage or back lot, waiting to be rediscovered and transformed into a mind blowing car. Whether it’s an orange Supra that simply needs some overnight parts from Japan, or an old CRX you bought for $25 from the blue-hair down the street, everybody has a story about the time they tried to turn a pauper into a prince. Most of these stories, however, end in defeat. The project becomes too expensive, or takes too long, or the owner just loses interest in the build. James Craig’s story isn’t like that, though. After discovering this 1997 Nissan Silvia K’s Edition rotting away, he set out to transform it into a gorgeous OEM+ tribute to good taste and creativity. Read More
There are few relationships as strange as the one between a true car guy and his car. At some basic level, a car is nothing more than an assemblage of metal and plastic parts, designed and fabricated through engineering expertise. Rationally considered, an automobile possesses no more character than a washing machine or a refrigerator. Important to life? Absolutely; but certainly not an entity capable of stimulating deep human emotion. But that’s not how we see our cars, and that’s certainly not how Brian Bullock sees his time attack Civic. You see, Brian has been through some rough times here recently. Not the kind of troubles that the average Joe is used to either; we aren’t talking about broke wheels or loose women here. Brian has been hit over and over and over by the kind of tragedies that make one forget about suspension settings, fitment, racing, and cars in general. The average man would have undoubtedly abandoned the project, setting aside piles of metal and plastic until the storm blew over. But Brain isn’t average; he isn’t anywhere close. Despite his challenges – and perhaps because of them – Brian Bullock put together the amazing time attack Civic you see here during the scariest time of his life. This story is bigger than wheel selection, color, or stance; in fact, the car plays only a supporting role in a story that is filled with heroes. Our “car guy culture” may be founded on our cars, but the true raison d’être can be found in Brian’s garage, a place filled all at once with sorrow, defeat, persistence, and finally, rejoicing.
Nissan 240′s are everywhere nowadays. While the car has always been popular for its bang-for-your-buck performance potential, the rise of drifting and drifting culture has rocketed the quaint RWD coupe to its ubiquitous state. Though its JDM Silvia cousin spans 7 generations, the 240sx largely owes its American popularity to the S13, S14, and S15 chassis. These cars have been slammed, swapped, slid, and saved in every way imaginable; to the point that even the wildest 240 can suffer from anonymity. What each individual car lacks in sui generis however, it makes up for with a large and dedicated community. Owners have drawn from each others experience and ideas, and have elevated their cars into the perfect breed of drift machine. But Brian Waggoner’s drift 240sx is more than talk. He has transformed his 1993 240sx into a competitive drift car, allowing him to compete all around the US in the Midwest Drift Union Series.
Anyone that has owned a SAAB can attest that there is some x-factor that draws you to the brand. They certainly aren’t the fastest, or the prettiest, or the most luxurious, or even the quirkiest. In fact, ever since the mid-90′s, SAAB has largely been a GM afterthought; never really amounting to more than a gussied up Chevrolet with a turbo and center ignition. If you have been paying attention to the SAAB drama since their departure from General Motors, however, you would have noticed that the brand did not go quietly into the night. Owners staged protests, held huge meets, and did all they could to keep the brand alive. Brian Arthus is one of these crazy SAAB fans. This isn’t his first 9-2x. His first SAABaru, a name given to the 9-2x as an allusion to the model’s WRX roots, was totaled in a random traffic accident. But the story didn’t end there: Brian is back with his new 9-2x, and it’s better than ever.
Daniel Rosen is a self-admitted Porsche man. His previous project, a Fatlace featured 997 slammed on Forged wheels, was a great example of what’s possible within the “stance” world with enough vision, hard work, and liquid capital. Seeing a true performance machine with the imposing presence that 12″ wide concave wheels command brings out a kind of childish glee, harkening back to the early days of fantasy hot wheels and book fair posters with a robot unicorn driving a Countach in some epic lightning storm. Nevertheless, as you would imagine, stancing supercars isn’t cheap. Daniel Rosen admits, “… I have been driving Porsches for the last few years and decided to spend my money more wisely (bought a house) so I picked up the GS, and the build snowballed from there . . . it is still is a huge savings over my last cars.” This Lexus GS350 AWD is Daniel’s budget car; his budget beater. Read More
The VIP designation gets thrown around pretty loosely nowadays. From the JDM kei cars and vans, to the rising popularity of Thai Accord’s and Camry’s, VIP fashion seems to have spread to any car that can get low enough and sport a set of curtains. To further confuse the matter, many of the more traditional platform builds in Japan are starting to sport brighter colors and wilder body kits, deviating from the defining style the gives them their inspiration. While that diversity is important and healthy for the scene in general, it’s rewarding to see a big black sedan in classic bippu style. The great twist, however, is that Jame’s Wald LS460 doesn’t come from Japan or southern California, but the desert state of Nevada. Read More
The internet has completely reinvented the way we as auto enthusiasts approach modified cars. Whereas there were previously maybe a dozen or so national magazines that showcased maybe 8-10 cars a month, it’s entirely possible to be exposed to that many full features in a single day now. And that’s not even including the builds that one can follow on the forums, or the random shots dumped on Tumblr, Flickr, and Facebook. Cars rise to popularity in a matter of hours, and often are forgotten with the click of a mouse. Trends that once may have lasted years phase out in a matter of months. Everything is moving faster; changing and evolving right before our eyes. Cars are bought, wheels are mounted, photos are taken, car is sold: whatever it takes for 15 minutes of e-fame. Full builds are almost a relic of the past; a dusty old practice from a time when exposure was a rare commodity, and only the best of the best got big attention. After all, if all it takes to get a feature is a drop and a rare set of wheels, why spend tens of thousands of dollars customizing your car? Mark Naylor can tell you why.