Damn son.

Original Gangster Rice: Peck’s Track Equipped AE86 Levin.

Some have called us, Mayday Garage, the unofficial preservers of 90’s Japanese tuning, and while we love the way that title sounds, we can’t take that credit. It is not just our close group of ricers that glorifies this golden era of tuning, but individuals such as Peck Panichapong from Houston, TX that help educate newcomers to the import scene to appreciate this style.

rear quarter final-2 logo

Peck Panichapong moved to Houston about 12 years ago, and quickly began his search for a RWD project car. He found it in a SR5 model which also carried out his daily duties. Much like a certain famous tofu delivery driver with a similar car, Peck found himself driving the little Corolla 100-plus miles everyday for work through the streets of Houston. The more he drove the car, the more he fell in love with each mile clocked into the odometer. He soon began collecting different AE86 Corollas, and thus began his addiction.



This bay may not be "clean" but it's super functional

This bay may not be “clean” but it’s super functional

Peck isn’t alone in his addictions. Like all AE86 car enthusiasts, he turned to many Japanese DVD’s such as Hot Version N2 races and he just knew that he would want a track 86 for himself one day. Unfortunately, the reality of building a custom track inspired AE86 Corolla, a car that is well over 30 years old, comes at a cost, and more importantly, time. Time and money is always a constant uphill struggle when you add an expecting child into the mix. Even still, Panichapong began to slowly collect rare track parts for his beloved chassis, with the hopes of one day completing his dream car.

The Reverse Mesh life.

The Reverse Mesh life.

Showing the N2 rear flare, exhaust, TRD wing, CWest GT wing and Miracle X bar all in one shot

Showing the N2 rear flare, exhaust, TRD wing, CWest GT wing and Miracle X bar all in one shot

As luck would have it, two years ago, Peck found an online listing in sunny California from an importer who had already imported the car you see before you through the 25 years and older exemption law. With only a few photos and a promise that the car ran and drove (barely), Panichapong took a major gamble on the Toyota and purchased it. The 86 needed some work, and Peck methodically planned out what parts he would need to make it perform like it once had on the Japanese circuit tracks. To restore this once great track star to it’s former glory, Peck had to fund it by selling most of his rare parts that he had collected over the past decade, a sacrifice that was needed to get it to where he wanted it.

Pecx's all business interior

Pecx’s all business interior

All dem bars!

All dem bars!

It's a miracle.

It’s a miracle.

Some people will probably point out that the car has “dated” technology and may even find that some of the modifications are hokey, but as Peck states, “I believe this car has been built for its purpose and all parts have been carefully picked by the Japanese builder.” He goes on to tell me that he is trying to only restore the Corolla to what it once was, and wants to keep the 86 ‘Period correct’. We absolutely love how period correct Peck’s AE86 is, and are super stoked to see something that we have only seen on dated DVD’s come to life before our very eyes in it’s 80’s/90’s glory.

Damn son.

Damn son.

Photos by Khiem Pham

Peck Panichapong’s Official Mod List:


N2 Flare kit
CF hood + FRP Hatch
C-west GTwing


Tokico HTS/TRD Springs
Nagisa Auto Traction Bracket
Front and rear TRD sway bars
Cusco LSD
Mazda FC calipers+Adapters
Car Care Office master cylinder reinforcing bracket
SSR mesh 14×8
Beatrush Under Panel
AIBA Works Front strut bar
Nagisa Auto Shakitto plate
Nagisa Auto Gacchiri Fender brace
Jubiride rear seat bar
Jubiride center bar
Next Miracle X-Bar
FET Sports rear strut bar
Cusco Safety 21 6point cage
Crossmember spacers


OMP Rally Steering Wheel
Nagisa seat rail
Prodrive WRC seat
Bride old school bucket set
Bride seat rail
TRW/Sabelt harness
TRD shift knob + short shifter
Omoni oil pressure/temp gauge
Tomei A/F meter
Omoni Tachometer


4AGE 16v
Toda Camgears + Camshafts
Toda ECU with Apexi Super AF-C
OER SK Sport Injection body ITB kit
OER fuel rails
Sard Fuel regulator
Silk Road Section Header
Kakimoto Exhaust system
1G-GE starter adapter
Omori Meter Oil Filter Relocation Kit

Tomorrow is 8/6/14, aka 8-6 day throughout the world. We, the unofficial ambassadors of rice, will be having a special AE86 gathering at our Ricer Wednesday event at our food truck, The Rice Box, located at 1638 Westheimer Road, Houston, TX 77006 (Westheimer and Dunlavy) tomorrow night from 7p-11p to celebrate the Toyota Corolla AE86, and invite everyone to come check out this N2 Levin hatchback as well as a few other AE86 machines over a nice hot serving of General Tso’s chicken!
We’ll see you there!

Keep Tuning,
Ricer X

Nostalgic Wednesdays: 1984-1989 Toyota MR2

The first generation MR2 (AW10/AW11) would be my favorite out of the 3 generations.It was Toyota’s experimental project with the Lotus corporation in its prototype phase of the M90 concept. It’s name ment “Midship Runabout 2-seater” also dubbed as the “poor man’s Ferrari” or “mini-Ferrari” by some, it was something that you wouldn’t expect from Toyota.

it's official when its on Watanabes.

Toyota, well known for producing economical and practical family cars; created a non-practical 2 seater, light weight, mid-engined compact that wasn’t even really born to be a sports car, but was just a fun enjoyable cruiser.  The MR2 was the first japanese car to use the MR layout. Enjoyable cruiser? Definitely! Strategically bolt in the legendary 16V 4AG-E, later on supercharging it making a 4AG-ZE, then loading it with Momo commissioned steering wheel and shift knob. The slapping in some Recaro Seats and branding it “Super Edition”..lightweight high reving roadsters; now THAT’s classic DNA of a sport compact car!

Traces of Toyota are still visible in a Lotus. As of today, it is still rumored that Lotus is still in subtle contact with Toyota ; visible in the Esprit’s, the Trueno tail lights, and the Elise and Exige using the Matrix XRS’ VVTL-i 1.4 motor.

Sadly, the succeeding generations of the MR2 died slowly in my book. Toyota needs to bring some Midship goodness back!




Santa’s New Ride: David Ho’s Porsche 993 Carrera Cabriolet

It was Saturday, December 4th, 7:00am, and Mayday Mikey was banging at my door at the crack of dawn. I opened my eyes to quite possibly one of the worst hangovers ever after an epic night of beer pong and ol’ fashioned whiskey cocktails. Why was he waking me up? Simple, Cars and Coffee, and the December 4th event would end up being worth every hangover moment because little did I know that we would be encountering a gem that day..

Nothing wrong with starting from behind.

Nothing wrong with starting from behind.

Arriving to that day’s Cars and Coffee was quite overbearing as the number of cars was easily 700 plus of all varieties. As we started moving about like hawks on a mission looking for a diamond in the rough, there it was. David Ho’s pearl white Porsche Carrera with red leather Recaro Buckets, slammed on RUF racing wheels. It literally made jaws drop as it sat there hammered, subtlety adding to the scenery. The search was on for the owner and luckily enough we caught Mr. Ho as he was about to leave. We exchanged information and the story began…

A Diamond in the rough.

A Diamond in the rough.

Rewind < < A few weeks prior to the December 4th Cars and Coffee the Mayday Crew was sitting at a café where we were attempting to mastermind what our Christmas shoot theme would be for 2010. It took a bit, but Mayday David threw it out, Santa and his Sleigh. Now being that we are from Houston Texas there are few things that we never really encounter, one being snow, which is obvious because as I write this feature it is currently 80 degrees outside, and the other is reindeer. So up came the creativity. A convertible car would be the sleigh and horses as reindeer…but where the hell were we going to get someone to loan us horses to pull a Porsche as a sleigh? [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="672" caption="Santa lost weight?"]Santa lost weight?[/caption]

Nostalgic Wednesday: The Chevy-Toyota J-Body Cavalier

Yup that’s right, it is not a typo, the title says Toyota Cavalier. I figured I would throw this up today because of a funny story that happened to me the other day. I was at a mall on the south side of Houston when I saw a pretty riced (not in a good way) out Chevy Cavalier. The owner however the owner was super proud of his accomplishments with his car so I went up to him and started some rice talk for shits and giggles. Turns out that this guy was pretty damn knowledgeable about the ricer industry and the way he built his car was just his taste, bad taste IMO, but to each their own. He did however continue to refer to his beast as a Toyota Cavalier, which I found strange because although I am familiar with the “J-Body” Cavalier from the 90’s I knew that all of them were manufactured in the USA. So, that leads us to this Nostalgic Wednesday, the Toyota Cavalier.

Toyota Cavalier, J-Style

Toyota Cavalier, J-Style

Source Toyota Cavalier Guy.

“The Toyota Cavalier first appeared in Toyota dealerships throughout Japan on January 20, 1996. They were built at the Lordstown Assembly Plant, in Lordstown, Ohio, on the same assembly line as the Chevrolet Cavalier and Pontiac Sunfire. The most obvious difference, of course, being that they were all right-hand drive! The Toyota Cavaliers were shipped by rail and ship to Japan. Toyota Cavaliers were available in both coupe and sedan form. GM states that the Toyota Cavalier was “tailored specifically for the Japanese consumer” and sure enough, there were some features on the Toyota brand that were not even options on the Chevy models, including leather options, a carpeted trunk lid, folding side mirrors and more.

Yup, that's the 90s alright

Yup, that's the 90s alright

Toyota Cavaliers had a single standard drivetrain: the 2.4L “Twin Cam” (LD9) engine mated to a four-speed Hydramatic 4T40-E automatic transmission, with overdrive. The Isuzu (96-99) & Getrag (2000) 5-speed manual transmissions found in North America were not available on the Toyota Cavalier.

Many features were standard on the Toyota Cavalier:

Air conditioning
Tilt steering
Dual air bags
Anti-lock braking system
Power windows
Power door locks
Leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and emergency brake handle
Rear seat with integrated centre armrest
Side markers
Wider-flared fenders to cover front tires

There were many other differences on the Toyota Cavalier, including:

Cruise control was not available
The fuel door was flat, with an inside release handle
The radio antenna was integrated into the front windshield
Manual folding mirrors were added mid-1996, and power folding mirrors were standard for 1997

Toyota had aimed to sell 20,000 of the vehicles annually, or about 1,700 per month. The cars were released on January 20, 1996 and by February 19 Toyota had received orders for about 950 sedans and 850 coupes. Unfortunately, strong initial interest died off and by July 1996 sales had totalled only 6,700 vehicles. In an effort to perk up sales, Toyota’s Technocraft subsidiary introduced upgraded models featuring automatic folding side mirrors, rear spoilers and emblems. The 2.4 TRD coupes, equipped with an 11-piece TRD designed body kit, retailed in Japan for 2.29 million yen, up 240,000 yen from the standard issue Cavalier coupe, which sold for 2.05 million yen.

TRD continued with additional aftermarket support, producing a set of lowering springs. Bomex also offered aftermarket support for the Toyota Cavalier, developing body kits, a spoiler, and sleek side view mirrors. The Toyota Cavalier was available from 1996 through the 2000 model year, until finally discontinued due to poor sales.”

I think with some aggressive TE37s and a big ass front mount, this could work.

I think with some aggressive TE37s and a big ass front mount, this could work.

“In 1997 and 1998, the All Japan GT Championship (JGTC, GT-300 class) saw the #60 Kraft Toyota Cavalier driven by a variety of drivers: Kumi Satou, Minoru Tanaka, Masaoki Nagashima, Junko Mihara and Akira Watanabe. Unfortunately, this Toyota Cavalier’s best finish was 18th place in two of it’s races. ”

I'd hit.

I'd hit.

So, if before today you were unfamiliar with this epic 90’s collaboration of GALACTIC proportions, you now know when that guy at a local meet is spouting some jibberish about his Chevy Cavalier being a Toyota Cavalier, he isn’t completely crazy.

— JohnP