As the first round of Formula Drift becomes a memory in our minds, i wanted to take a look back at some of the cars not involved in the drifting. In the Paddock there were a few SEMA builds on display. The RWB’s decided to have a gathering at Offset Kings, where i got to spend a little one on one time with one of the newest RWB’s, Medusa. After the all the drifting was over i walked over to Offset Kings to see a lineup of ridiculous cars sitting in the back just waiting to be shot. So i walked over and made some new friends!
What’s up my fellow ricers!! I’d like to formally introduce myself to you guys. My name is Tim Durnak! I have joined the Mayday team this year to bring some coverage from the East Coast as well as Formula Drift coverage. This past weekend i was in Long Beach catching the action as we watched Fredric Aasbo take the podium in Round 1. That set the tone for what is going to be an exciting season of Formula Drift as Round 1 ended with minutes to spare before they had to reopen the streets of Long Beach.
Its been a while in the making and is now available to the public, our new manga series! Check out our new collaboration with Vicarous Gear aka. Princeton Wong! Follow the evolution of the Mayday Garage team as we battle the streets and evolve to “Total Tune!” Volume one, Highway Gambler features JohnP in his NSX versus Maydaydavid and his Pro Shop Fukoh FD3s and Booja aka Khiem in his 2jz swapped FD3s! The are all encountered by a cameo of our very own Chinese food truck, the Rice Box Truck!
So now you know about our brief adventures with 1013mm, QuickWorks Photo, our Ricer Wednesday and Coffee and Rice meets, and even our history with Japanese Tuner, Car Shop GLOW, so to finish off the Year in Review series, we wanted to end it with our return to specialized meets, specifically, our Japanese Nostalgic Car Meet and the WekFest TX PreMeet but due to the sheer amount of photos, we had to split this one into part 5a and 5b!
CLICK HERE FOR PART 5b!!
So 3 years prior, we had an idea that maybe we could gather all the really cool Japanese vintage cars from the southern region of the US to one location right here in Houston. With our friend Linhbergh Nguyen, we dubbed it, “Japanese Nostalgic Car Meet” or JNCM. We didn’t know what to expect from this open call, but it was one of the most fun meets I had ever attended. Cars from all over Texas showed up in their unique rides to enjoy a beer and a hotdog with other like minded vintage car enthusiasts.
Every year afterwards, we had people ask us when the next one would be. After much procrastination, it was time to make the public call for all owners of these JDM classic machines to gather once more. To prepare and give an idea of what exactly we were looking for, we had asked our good friends Peck and Bruce to let us photograph their very unique classic cars. One would represent the old, old school, and the other would represent the old school with a modern twist.
First was Peck’s ahhhhhhhmazing authentic JDM AE86 Levin hatchback. This thing oozed JDM race car from yesteryear, from the ITB’d 4AGE motor down to the N2 wide body fender flares swallowing the SSR reverse mesh mesh wheels. Peck has been a Mayday Garage supporter from the beginning, and his knowledge of old school Japanese tuning parts and cars is something that should be documented in a book as he is a huge parts collector/hoarder. The car hadn’t seen the streets in many years so it was such a cool thing to see in person as Khiem was taking epic photos of the car.
To show that we are not only into JDM everything, we asked for now-e-famous Bruce Lareto to let us capture his stunningly clean, bagged S130 Datsun 280zx. We’ve watched Bruce’s car evolve from just a bone stock 280 to what you see now. Bruce had big plans from the get-go and was able to realize his goals through hard work, trial and error, and never giving up on that vision. His car is ever evolving, and he currently is breaking in his new motor and will be test fitting a rear diffuser on his car, so that will be exciting to watch.
Now that we established what we were looking for, we anticipated a good showing for this meet where the weather wasn’t scorching hot, and it wasn’t cold outside. Located at the same place as 3 years prior, Moon Tower Inn in East Downtown Houston made much sense as the atmosphere is very relaxed and there was plenty of potential parking.
We also had to establish a few ground rules. 1- Vintage cars were to have priority parking because, you know, it’s a vintage car meet. 2- to be qualified as a vintage car, it had to be made in Japan, and have a model year before 1990.
The turnout was absolutely beautiful. There were so many cars that were vintage, that we ended up cramming a ton of them in the designated areas and the streets were soon filled with all makes and models as everyone had a thing for classic Japanese cars. We saw all kinds of people from all walks of life, aging from 1-92, it was truly a sight to see, and the general consensus tells us that we need to have more of these types of meets in the future.
Click on the next post to see part 5b!
-Team Mayday Garage-
And now, for part 4…
2014 was, without a doubt, one of Mayday Garage’s best years to date. It started with a business partnership with our comrades at Car Shop GLOW Japan. We worked very closely with our Japanese brothers to deliver a quality handmade bespoke product to help resurrect an old chassis that we hold dear to our hearts, the FD3S RX-7.
What started as an image of a certain root beer colored Time Attack FD3S taken in a parking garage by Narita Dog Fight, caught the attention of both David and Khiem, the two Mayday guys that also owned an FD RX-7 chassis. It was something they had to have. After some researching, it was revealed that Ken Suzuki of Car Shop GLOW had made a custom one off set of LED tails for his CEO/Boss, Yukimitsu Hara, owner and pilot of the now famous rotary wonder. Through the wonderful powers of social media, Ken was contacted about making a couple of sets for us and having the possibility of selling the lights on a more broader scale. Although Hara-san’s tails were one off, different ideas and designs were considered before the unanimous decision of sticking to the original design was made.
So after a couple of months early in 2014, we had the world’s first batch of handmade, Japanese LED tails in our hands. We were taken aback by the quality of the lights and knew that we would have to get these out to the market as soon as we could. The lights bring life back to the aging FD3S, which disappeared from our US shores over 20 years ago.
We debuted the lights the best way we knew how; we hit the streets and took photos. With the help of Hai Le, we were also able to make a short video showing the lights off on our cars. With the new lights, a new website was in much needed order, and the site was shortly thereafter revamped to what you see now. In a very short amount of time, we were backed up on CSG lights as we were trying to fulfill orders as fast as we could while trying to stay in contact with each and every customer.
Meanwhile, Hara San was absolutely tearing up the time attack circuits in his FD, and was able to use his popularity and close relationships to advertise the lights the best way CSG could, by putting them on Time Attack cars in Japan.
Of course, with every business, you should always keep moving ahead, and stay as relevant as you can, so not too long after the FD3S tails were introduced, a new tail light option emerged for another Japanese chassis, the Honda S2000.
The idea was originally brought up by Car Shop GLOW to develop a new design for the S2K because, quite frankly, there’s not really any options out there, much like for the FD3S. So designs were thrown back and forth between us and CSG before we decided on the design you see now. As we’ve stated in a previous post about these tail lights, there were MANY obstacles to overcome. One being cost. The cost of the lights was controversial, but we pushed through with a “Quality First” mentality. We knew that there were a handful of S2000 owners out there that would want the best of the best, and that’s who we were targeting.
Because no one at Mayday Garage owned an S2000, we needed to debut the lights in much the same way as our own FD’s, so we asked Tom Syhachack, a local, to help us sell the lights using his super clean AP2. We had Ken Suzuki of CSG fly from Japan, prototype lights in hand, visit us here in Houston and install them on to Tom’s S2K in time for the StanceNation show in Dallas, TX. Of course, we had to be there in the FD’s also to support both Tom and our Japanese brother, Ken.
The results speak for themselves. The lights are on some of the most prominent S2K builds out there in the world, including the WTACC Voltex/Top Fuel Racing S2000.
And now with less than one week away from Tokyo Auto Salon in Japan, we will be showing the world what Car Shop GLOW has been working on in the last few months by showing everyone different lights for different JDM chassis’. Look out for us next week as we will be blowing up your feed on social media!
Up next: The FINAL part 5 (we swear)
Happy New Years everybody!
Continuing on our Year in Review series…
Last post we talked about one of our weekly meets, Ricer Wednesday, which was a great weekly night meet to help The Rice Box, our food truck, but Coffee and Rice was kind of a coincidence. Everyone (except Khiem) at Mayday Garage LOVES coffee. If we could, we would install an espresso machine into each one of our trunks and enjoy a nice cup of coffee every damn day. Originally, the only day of the week that we could meet up was Sunday mornings, and the majority of us would make our way to one of our favorite coffee spots in Houston, Catalina. Catalina is located right outside of Downtown Houston on a strip called Washington Avenue. Washington Avenue kind of has a reputation for “douchey” bars and on any given Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, you’d understand as the bro levels are off the charts, but during the quieter mornings and afternoons, it’s relatively relaxed and peaceful. Also, the street was recently repaved which makes it super low car friendly.
As we started to drive our personal cars to Catalina, more and more people noticed the string of lowered cars on Washington Avenue and soon started joining us as we invited other groups like our friends at Proper Garage. By Summer time, the street was almost always lined with highly modified imports and we slowly started to outgrow the venue.
During the second half of the year, we were given word by our good friend David Buehrer of Blacksmith/Greenway Coffee that there would be a coffee spot on the opposite side of downtown by the girls at SWEET, a very successful cupcake/bakery from the west side of Houston, and they would be serving his coffee. David distributes awesome coffee at many shops but for whatever reason, these places typically have very unfriendly driveways/parking lots for low cars. The new place, called Tout Suite (pronounced ‘Too Sweet’) is located on the corner of 2001 Commerce St. and Chartres St. on very flat paved roads! Different than Catalina because they had a full service kitchen for those important breakfast and brunch meals as well as a juice bar, and enough seating for us so the decision to switch to Tout Suite was obvious. We think this will be a great location for all of our Coffee and Rice meets for the rest of 2015!
Hope you had fun looking through these millions of photos!
Until next post: Part 4, Mayday Garage x Car Shop GLOW