Do it right the first time.
Remember that, write it down, email it to yourself. If you’ve ever asked one of the greats, that is, someone who’s car has been featured in a magazine a number of times, or anyone who competitively races day in and day out, you’ll hear these words of wisdom more than once. It doesn’t matter if you come from a Honda or Ford background, if you want less stress on yourself, just do it right the first friggin’ time. That’s rule number one.
These words are all too familiar with Mike Ramani, owner of this exquisitely clean and tasteful STi. From the get-go, Mike has hand selected each and every part that resides in or around his Subaru, and the product of his passion has resulted in him becoming digitally immortalized on our pages here.
When I planned this trip to New Orleans with Mikey, we originally hand picked five of the cleanest and or meanest rides we thought our readers would enjoy. No doubt you’ve already salivated over the fabulous five already, but this shoot was completely and literally last minute. When the Mayday guys met up Nick and Jonathan of Gorilla RE one early Sunday morning to shoot Nick’s black beauty, Jonathan had mentioned that one more Gorilla RE car would be coming out to watch us work and meet with us. He had described the car to me earlier, but the sleep deprivation set in, and I really think I just didn’t hear him as he tried to tell me that it was “a super clean and meticulous STi with some pretty cool parts”. As Danh, Danny and Newton started to set up a few shots with Nick’s car at the Port of New Orleans, I spied Mike’s STi as if it were Moby Dick, but instead of grabbing a harpoon, I grabbed my camera.
I kept staring.
Jonathan introduced Mike to us, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the STi. I kept staring at the S2000, the STi, the sun, the S2000, the STi and the sun once more. The thing is- as a photographer, you have what is called “the golden hour”, or the best time where natural sunlight is the most optimal. With Khiem still at home in Houston, and Danh shooting the S2000, I kept thinking to myself, “should we shoot this car?”. For anyone else, the answer is super clear and almost no question at all. Of course you should shoot it, but in my mind, the car was just too nice, and who else would shoot it? I’ve never really considered myself to be a “good” photographer, and I did NOT want Mike’s STi to look bad, but this was a last minute decision and as John looked at me with a “what do you want to do” look. I bit the bullet and said, “fuck it, i’m shooting it. We cannot let this car go”.
I asked Mike if it were okay if we shot his STi, and he seemed more than ecstatic about the idea. Turns out Mike has been following MaydayGarage since our humble beginnings years ago, and if you look through our Facebook page, he was one of the first people to post a picture on our wall. He’s also kept up with both me and JohnP personally on a car forum that is purely unique, Jspek.com. If you’re old school, then you know of Jesse Walker’s site/forum. Jspek is an old school car forum that caters to Japanese tuner cars where JDM parts reign supreme. It is this mentality that has inspired Mike’s STi through the years, and I’ll tell you personally, it looks great.
As I grabbed Danh’s 5D and two lenses, I passed my D700 to John and we jumped in Mike’s car with Jonathan and found a nice empty road where big rig trucks drove through, but thankfully, that early sunday morning, there were no trucks to be found. The sun was quickly rising, and this gave me about a good thirty minute window to click as many photos from as many different angles as I could. As I kept adjusting my settings and moving around the car like a fly to dog feces, I kept thinking about how I didn’t want to mess this up. After all, I have no problems doing event coverage, but for some reason, I don’t want the responsibility of letting someone else down by shooting crappy photos. This is where I sucked it up and actually began to believe in my skills as a photographer.
By the time I got around to shooting the small details of the car, I was sweating massive bullets. The Louisiana humidity, combined with the 200mm f/2 gargantuan lens and pressure of not effing up the photos all contributed to me losing an extra three pounds through my sweat glands. Mike graciously turned on his A/C in the STi for me to cool off, and that’s when I noticed a huge screen staring right back at me in the form of an iPad which, I have to admit, was pretty ridiculously cool. It sat right underneath the Defi gauges and provided not only the jams by Common to his stereo, but also was connected to the internet so he could browse his favorite porn/car sites such as www.maydaygarage.com (shameless plug).
On the exterior, the first thing that caught my attention was the bling that this thing was rolling on. Before you dismiss them as Lexani’s or some other cheap chrome wheels, you’ll notice that these are in fact SBC, or Super Black Chrome Super ADVAN V2’s, a classic JDM wheel. I used to have some older Super ADVAN’s on my RX-7, so I definitely could appreciate Mike’s selection. I was also really digging the carbon fiber accents such as the Voltex rear diffuser and ARC reverse hood scoop, all choice parts. Mike’s take on selecting his aero enhancements was “do it right the first time”, a theme that continues to the engine bay. Don’t be fooled into thinking this STi is just a looker, because this cat has claws too, namely in the form of a Blouch Dominator 3.0r Turbo. Combined with other supporting mods, the car hauls JDM ass.
As I wrapped up getting my last shot of Mike’s Subaru at the Port of New Orleans, I kept apologizing to him that I couldn’t get one of our pro photographers to shoot his car and that I had to make due, but he assured me that he wasn’t even trying to be featured and that he was just grateful that I would even want to shoot his car. Mike’s a pretty humble guy that’s for sure, and I’m glad he didn’t mind my amateur ass pretending to be a pro photog. Personally speaking, I felt that after shooting this car that I needed to brush up on my photo taking skills and to take it a little more seriously. I’ve been practicing by shooting on my beater car and maybe one day I’ll be as good as our protographers, Khiem and Danh, and who knows, maybe i’ll even take good photos of my own personal ride which has taken me 2+ years to complete. Why has it taken so long? Ask Mike, and he’ll tell you just like any person who knows the first rule.
Mike Ramani’s official mod list:
2005 Subaru Impreza WRX STi
Subaru JDM Spec C Duracon Shift Knob
iPad Dash Mod
Focal 165VRS Components
Boston 5.25” Coaxials
Defi Link Meter BF Amber Gauges & Defi Triple Gauge Pod (Boost/EGT/Oil Press.)
AEM X-WiFi Wideband
Subaru JDM V-Limited Front Lip
Subaru JDM Aeroguards
Subaru JDM Foglights
Subaru Impreza RS Trunk
Voltex Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser
ARC Carbon Fiber Reverse Scoop
Varis Carbon Fiber Exhaust Heat Shield
Cobb Accessport V2 Protuned @ MZM Performance- Austin, TX
Blouch Dominator 3.0r Turbo
Deatschwerks 850cc Injectors
Walbro GSS340 FP
APS DR525 Front Mount Intercooler
APS 70mm Big MAF CAI
APS Twin Vent BOV
APS 3” Turbo Inlet
JDM TGV Deletes
Aeromotive Fuel Rails
Aeromotive Fuel Pressure Regulator
Gorilla RE Exhaust
Cusco Turbo Heatshield
Grimmspeed V-Band Uppipe
Tial 44mm External Wastegate
Hallman Pro RX MBC
Beatrush Alternator Cover
Beatrush Radiator Cooling Panel
STi Radiator Cap
HKS Oil Cap
Tein Hood Dampers
Super Advan V2 18×8.5 SBC – 245x35x18 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx
Project Mu Pro SCR Front Rotors
Ferrodo 2500 Pads
Tanabe GF210 Springs
Cusco Front/Rear Sways
Cusco Front Titanium Strut Bar
Cusco Rear Type OS Strut Bar
Perrin Rear Endlinks
Beatrush Forged Pitch Stop Mount
STi Group-N Engine/Transmission Mounts
Words by Mukul “Mike” Ramani:
“Thanks to Tim Eberts, Eric Hunn, Barry Barth, Gorilla RE, & MZM Performance for all their help getting my STi to where it is today… also big ups to the MaydayGarage Crew for helping put Louisiana back on the map!”
Hope you guys enjoyed our feature cars from the great state of Louisiana!