When me and JohnP set out to fly to Atlanta, GA and cover Formula D, our main goal was to give our readers a view of what goes on, seeing that Formula D hasn’t been to Texas since forever. In our travels, we meet some really cool people, and really cool cars all with the same passion. Some people are into Drag, some Drift, some AutoX, and some just like to look good, so variety is definitely out there. Enthusiasts nowadays have different weapons at their disposal, whether it be AWD Mitsu’s, FF Hondas or RWD GenCoupes, there’s plenty of cars to choose from.
But after a while, you start to see the same things no matter how cool it is. That WRX with the ZeroSports front bumper kinda starts looking the same as the other Subarus after some time. Call it being jaded, I don’t know.
So as me and JohnP scoped out the parked cars lined around the Road Atlanta track, we both pointed in awe at a green wagon parked off to the side by himself. I looked at the chrome GarageZero.com graphic on the side of the car and took note. Fast forward a few hours, and this old school wagon was now surrounded by a half dozen or so classic Japanese cars ranging from a Datsun 510 to a couple of 1st generation RX-7’s! Being a lover of old Japanese cars, this was something I have never seen and at a drift event, no less!
They were all obviously part of a crew, the GarageZero gang, with a common theme. We didn’t get a chance to speak with them that day, but on the next morning, our buddy Antonio from MotorMavens gave us a heads up that there would be a local drift event in Atlanta on the day that we were to fly back to Houston.
Of course we went to check this out. Low and behold the GarageZero guys were actually there to support some of their fellow drift compadres! Myself and JohnP seized the chance to speak with this unique group and find out more about them. Very cool cats. I contacted Kelly Bagwell, and she gave me the complete lowdown.
Words by Kelly Bagwell:
GarageZero has humble roots, having got its start in a Junkyard in extreme North Georgia, where Dave Wilson and John Lewis spent many all nighters building vintage Japanese street fighters. Dave’s well honed paint and body artistry combined with John’s mechanical genius set the stage for the start of what has become Atlanta’s premier Vintage Japanese performance shop. While Dave Wilson chose not to make the move to Atlanta with Garage Zero, John Lewis teamed up with Eddie “Puregroove” Untachantr, a local amateur Drifter, and took Garage Zero on a road trip that landed them in a 6000 square foot shop in Dunwoody, Ga, minutes away from downtown Atlanta.
When you pull into the lot of Garage Zero, you are reminded of their junkyard roots. The lot is stacked with future projects and donor cars in various stripped down stages of donation. There is a 1979 Toyota Corona Wagon, A Toyota Starlet, an 80’s Corona Mark II, a 1974 Datsun 620 truck, at least one representation of each rx7 generation, this collection alone is enough to get any Japanese gear head intrigued but not excited. It is when the roll up door comes open that the excitement begins. You immediately see Eddie’s AE86 Coupe that tears up the pavement at local Southeast Drift Competitions, A purple 70’s Toyota Celica alongside a Datsun 210 with its street ported 13B Rotary motor exposed. There is a first generation rx7, and a TE72 coupe. Your next breath is stopped by the 1969 Toyota Crown and the 1973 Datsun 240Z that grace the center of a line of customer and Garage Zero cars that end in the corner with a right hand drive Nissan Skyline R32 GTR!
Garage Zero, with its eclectic collection of powerful Japanese street fighters, and its open door policy to car lovers is a little taste of car heaven on earth and the shop of choice in Atlanta for bad ass swaps and competition conversions.
You know the shop is all business when you see the posted sign:
“Garage Zero is not responsible for death, dismemberment or jail time resulting from engine swaps”.