Nostalgic Wednesday: 3 Kings

 Few years ago, David posted about the colorful JACCS accord for Nostalgic Wednesday. I must say, the functional style of these cars never get old. One of the reasons why I <3 Hondas were the JTCC Accords. These Accords stood out compared to the other cars on the track. The JACCS, Castrol Mugen, and the PIAA; I personally dubbed them the “3 Kings”. I loved the high-revving symphony from the naturally aspirated F20Bs, the tucked uni-lug 17 inch OZ wheels, and the unforgettable liveries on each car.

Nowadays, Honda head are drawn more towards the Civics, S2000s, and NSXs; attention to the accords are declining especially towards the CD6 sedans. Continue reading

Nostalgic Wednesday: Autozam AZ-1

With the prices of gas fluctuating, the trend has pushed automakers to produce cars and trucks that can squeeze the best gas mileage. Options such as Hybrid, bio-diesel, EVs, and natural gas are becoming more  prevalent. Other than “green” tech rolling out the production line, we notice more smaller cars on the streets; Scion iQ, Nissan cube, Smart fourtwo, Fiat 500, and just the other day, I saw a Mitsubishi “i”. Are Kei-cars invading the US market? Honestly, these small economical “green” cars may be cheap, reliable and can be a mileage-meister, but they sure are ghastly.

One thing I admire about the Japanese car culture is they work with what they have. No matter what car they drove, they made/mod it their own; without an exception of the Kei-car culture. From VIPstyle, deko, Boso and race inspired, kei-cars were modified to fit one’s taste.

Continue reading

Nostalgic Wednesdays: Traveling without Moving

Cars and music, an inseparable combo like burgers and fries.  From rockabilly music associated to hot-rods and hip-hop music to cadillac grills, the type of music you listen to sometimes gives a hint on what type of gear you grind. Before MP3s and Pandora, we had our mix-tapes and binders of CDs in our cars. We had specific music designated for every type of driving style; may it be race playlist, cruise playlist, impressing a chick playlist, etc. Then came the MTV generation, remember when MTV used to air just music videos and Bevis and Butthead? Some music became likable  because of the videos they had. Now, if you are a fan of the British Top Gear, you probably know who Jay Kay is. He is not just the lead singer to Jamiroquai but he is also a car enthusiast who always include high-end cars in their music videos. I actually bought the album “Traveling Without Moving” and one reason I bought it is because of the album cover (which resembled the Ferrari badge). One of my favorite tracks form that album was “Cosmic Girl”. Not only it’s a classic track to cruise with but they created a kick-ass music video for it as well, an F40, 355 and a Diablo, an all-star cast! Definitely one of my favorite music videos. Check out Kavinsky- Protovision as well.

Music will always be a part of the automotive culture, a car will always have a radio no matter what generation or style.

-Mark

 

Nostalgic Wednesdays: Streets

As the saying goes, “Old habits die hard”; watching this video by XCar about a grown man and his passion for noisy Hondas made me remember the times I snuck out and street raced. Though I’m turning 30 this year, I sometimes have that urge to attack corners with lines, stage on a traffic light and weave traffic when running late; can’t deny I still have an inner ricer. I don’t condone the reckless driving behavior and it’s definitely something I outgrew.  Yes, my first car was a Honda Civic and modifications were funded by saving lunch money and working part-time at the food joint. Life was simple, all I did was hung-out with friends and worked on cars. My wife still doesn’t believe me that I never had a serious girlfriend till I was 20, because my car was my girlfriend. I spent money on car parts than flowers and movies. As Initial D calls it, “lonely driver”; I wasn’t really lonely, I was contented. Looking back, I can say those were the fun days that I would cherish forever.

Someday, I would like to find me another Honda (preferably a 91′ Civic Si Hatchback) just to reminisce and mess with or when I feel like taking a “lonely driver” cruise at night. There’s definitely something about a classic, squash smelling Momo Monte Carlo, RS-R muffler, 1.5 inch lowered, Mugen RNR wrapped in Azenis RT-615, FF Honda Civic hatch that always puts a smile on my face.

PS: Wish they showed more of the older “Kanjo style” Civics they had than the “flush” EK.  

-Mark-
mark@maydaygarage.com

Nostalgic Wednesdays: Ultimate Dream Ferrari

With the release of the recent supercar concepts; Ferrari LaFerrari, Lamborghini Veneno and the McLaren P1, I wondered, if I had money to burn right now… would I buy one? I dont think so. Well, I would not buy the LaFerrari because it looks like a photoshop rendering of every recent Ferrari model, I would not buy the Lambo because i dont want to ride a $4M bull named poison, and I would not purchase the P1 because the McLaren F1 is the only TRUE McLaren (IMO). So what would I get with such demented amount of Benjamins? The 1992 Ferrari F40 LM Competition Berlinetta. Why? because it’s a classic F40 on extacy.

I love the F40 because it was sound, basic, has an awesome twin-turbo engine, and straight to the point aerodynamics concentrating mainly on downforce and stability. There was no ABS, no traction control, no electro-hydraulic paddle shifting, and no stability control which made the car primitively basic, which I love. The F40 was originally built to commemorate the company’s 40 years celebration. But then, it was “drafted” out of the stable to battle in the Italian Super GT for 2 consecutive years; and it took home the bacon on its second year.

So if I had pockets that run deep, instead of buying the recently released supercars, I’d stay classic, and would hunt down an F40 LM; it will always be my all time weapon of choice Italian. Now if you ask what Japanese?…that’s a different NosWednesday topic.

-Mark-

Nostalgic Wednesdays: Porsche 930 Gemballa Avalanche

Got to love the 80′s. If there are words to describe the 80′s modified super-car scene; it’d be the massive side strakes, super-wide body kits, and BBS or Ronal mesh wheels. While I was transferring some of my car pictures from my laptop to my external HD, I found an interesting “slant nose” Porsche  930 modified by Gemballa. The 930 Gemballa Avalanche had a the wide-body, side strakes and crazy deep BBS meshies; just by the looks, you can definitely say this car was from the 80′s.

Even though the car was mainly built for looks, the engine was tuned by Alois RUF giving it an extra boost bumping base 300hp to 375hp. There are many interesting details about this Avalanche that are worth sharing. The door handles are shaved, and relocated under the door bulge. Every Avalanche built are not alike, either it had a different front end, interior  or upgraded sound system.

There were 2 generations of the 930 Avalanche; one had a regular side-view mirror, and the second had the rear-view side cameras, making it one of the first production cars to use this technology.

Being a ricer that I am, I love massive rear spoilers (when done right lol); LTW E36 M3, Subaru WRX STI, Lancer EVO, Porsche GT3, Mugen Civic and this Gemballa Avalanche is one. Notice the quality of work and time put into designing this extra piece of gargantuan aero; Love it.

These cars are very rare now. Only 13 were built in a span of 8 years which would probably found hidden around the world by now. Finding one in pristine condition would most probably range from $500k- $1M+. Ever wondered if there were a couple imported to the US?

YES.

Back in early-mid 80′s, a pearl white 930 Gemballa Avalanche complete with the rear view cameras was imported to the US. Brand new, the car was priced around $250,000 without the rear-view camera option so it was pretty pricey unless you were an NBA Player or a pop-singer. The Specially RUF tuned twin-turbo Gemballa Avalanche was delivered to a guy named Robert Matthew Van Winkle also known as “Vanilla Ice”; and of course immortalized in his music…

“Get loose as I boost the juice
Once more for the people who wanted it
And didn’t know what’s in store, I’ve got another big hit
Of course a Vanilla rides the groove like a Gemballa Porsche

“Get Loose” -Vanilla Ice

LOL! YES, the 80′s.

Mark
-mark@maydaygarage-

Nostalgic Wednesday: Toyota MR2 (SW20)

It’s been a while, so here I am; wondering what Japanese nostalgic car I can write about. Writing Nostalgic Wednesday religiously is like a pastor preparing his Sunday sermon. First is I have to have good memory, so I won’t repost topics that I’ve already covered. Second is that I have to be somewhat credible. Even though most of what I write are based on my opinions and little knowledge, I have to be careful on what I post. Lastly, and I think is the hardest, is that I have to think of a car to talk about that has not really been covered in any other blogs. With that said, today’s post will be something awesome, something that not everyone really knows about. Today’s Nostalgic Wednesday will be about the Toyota SW20 MR2.

(troll face)

Ah yes, The SW20 chasis was dubbed the “poor man’s Ferrari”, because of it’s resemblance to the F355. What makes the SW20 chasis so special? Everyone and their mamas know someone who drives one and It was in Initial D and F&F. But this is not your typical MR2; this humble sport-compact was modified by Sigma Advanced Research Development, popularly known as SARD, and it was called the MC8-R.

The MC8-R is an MR2 with a longer mono-steel frame and kevlar body, it was fitted with a twin-turbo V8 1UZ-FE (found in the Celsior/LS400)  producing 600hp @ 7k rpm. It was built to compete in the 24 LeMans GT1 series. It was quick but competition was quicker.

The MC8-R was against the Porsche 911 GT1, McLaren F1, Dodge Viper, and Merc CLK-GTR. Even it didn’t touch the podium, nor finished a race, I personally think it’s one of the sexiest entries by Toyota. Later on the MC8-R was replaced by the Toyota GT-One.

One of the GT1 rules is that the competing car has to have a homologation special, Inorder for the MC8 to comply, SARD built 1(ONE!) road version. There are rumors that it was sold to a private colector here in the US. Is it in a collectors warehouse? a forgotten barn? It’s a cold case that needs to be revived. Does anyone know the where this rare Japanese racing artifact is?

Here’s a picture of the unicorn; If you do have information about the whereabouts of this car, please do let us know; the MR2 family misses her.

-Mark-
mark@maydaygarage.com

Nostalgic Wednesdays: 91-96 Toyota Scepter

Wait, what? a Camry? Yes, in Japan, this generation Camry was called the Toyota Scepter, In the US its “The best selling car in North America”. For today’s NosWeds, I am not going to talk about why it is the best selling car, I am not answering why every Toyota Camry that you see is champagne gold; but instead, i will share a little bit of racing history specially for the 91-96 generation(XV10).

Typically, people don’t associate the Camry with racing. The Camry is known and popular to older folks because of it’s size, cost of maintenance, fuel economy and reliability. If you were an asian kid growing up in the US, no doubt your parents probably owned one and all you ever dreamed was them handing you the keys; just because they upgraded to a champagne gold Lexus ES. Who knew these cars had potential? Yeah the Camry is an FF  with a heavy chasis; but going back into the late 90′s, the 91-96 (XV10) was a contender in the US, South African and Australian Super Touring Championships.

The Camry was against super FR Germans Audi, BMW and other euro cars, Volvo, AlfaRomeo etc; and it gave a good fight finishing 5th and 6th in the BOC Gases Super Touring Championships. Compared to your Civics, Silvias and Corollas, yes, there is a Camry cult lurking around the webz and they have the same passion as the other platform cars mentioned.

That was back in the late 90′s, fast forward to today’s racing scene, the Camry is back but in NASCAR. So far, those are the only generations (XV10, XV30+) that I know that was/is involved in professional circuit racing.

serious family car

What is more nostalgic than hand-me-down cars from our parents? So if you owned or still drive one of these big bodied 90′s sedan, be proud because compared to the other Camrys, this generation is definitely down in racing history books.

-mark-
mark@maydaygarage.com

Nostalgic Wednesdays: BMW E36 M3 Lightweight (LTW)

It’s been a while since our last Nostalgic Wednesday, I’ve been busy lately with work, family and everything on the sidelines. With all this work going on, I rarely have time going out and enjoy myself with car meets,  shows and other related activities. I needed a breather, I needed to lighten my load and relax. Well to start off, today’s NosWeds is something low-carb and still tasty, which our Master PhotoG DPhan and good friend Tyler H. would recognize; it’s the BMW E36 M3 Lightweight..aka LTW M3.

If you’re a BBC Top Gear fan, you’ve probably seen J.Clarkson praising the e46 M3 CSL roaring through the Isle of Man. Clarkson adored it’s power to weight ratio, carbon fibre panels and of course it’s razor sharp handling. Unfortunately, the e46 CSL as well as the e36 M3 GT nor the e92 M3 GTS were not introduced to the North American Market. Luckily, and thank the piston gods we were blessed with the E36 Lightweight (LTW).

Introduced to the US market in 1995, BMW produced only 120 of these special M3s. What sets the LTW apart from its regular siblings is it’s weight reduced structure for track purposes. I loved that the LTW was only available in Alpine White with the M flag decals. The regular M3 was stripped; it had no AC, radio, sunroof, toolkit, sound-deadening materials, insulations, spare tire, and leather seats Even with all the comfort gone, it was still road-worthy. The E36 LTW had aluminum doors, special carpeting, larger strut bar, CF trim, higher gear ratio for faster acceleration, sport suspension, and of course, LTW 17-inch wheels and the famous LTW aero Wing.  Total weight saved you ask? 200-300lbs over the regular m3. An interesting fact about these special M3s is that the ECU was modified to eliminate the top speed limit. Another interesting fact is that the M50 B30 3.0 engine was hand picked by BMW performance engineers, and only the engines that performed best were bolted into to the cars.

Considered rare since they were only available in 95. LTWs are hard to find  in factory mint condition. Most of the 120 built LTWs are already converted to full-blown racetrack warriors, either already wrecked or sitting in one’s garage collecting rat poo. The LTW M3, even with all its comfort taken away, will still be one of the best M3′s ever buit; it was raw, built for race, built for fun.

-Mark-
mark@maydaygarage.com