Browsing: Features

One glance at the Universal Technical Institute’s 2014 Ford Focus ST will spark a nostalgic feeling deep within any car enthusiast. That emotion which bridges the past with the present is exactly what the collaborators of this vehicle had in mind. UTI, Gulf Racing, Ford Motor Company and Tjin Edition all banded together to craft an unmistakable tribute to the legendary race past of Gulf Racing and to highlight the modern-day technology and unprecedented capabilities of today’s automotive industry. Text by Sami Sharaf // Photos by Gene Tjin and Universal Technical Institute Solid Foundation The onset of this project began…

Mash ups are inevitable. Fusion can be found in foods, fashion and lifestyle. So what happens when European automotive style gets blended with JDM? Well, you might end up with a build like Patrick Estudillo’s turbocharged, E46 M3 GTR. Text and Photos by Richard Fong Estudillo first fell in love with the E46 while in high school and later purchased his E46 brand new in September, 2006. As the final model year of the E46 chassis, it was the last hour to get his dream machine off the showroom floor before the new E92 M3 went into production. Straight from…

An invitation to race in the Pro Class of the World Time Attack Challenge (WTAC) is like qualifying for the Olympics. Only a handful of teams receive an invitation to represent their country, and this fiercely contested class features the quickest time-attack cars in the world. In the first two years of WTAC, Japan’s Cyber EVO and America’s Sierra-Sierra Enterprises dominated the Pro Class, with the Cyber EVO capturing hard-fought, back-to-back wins. But the retirement of the Cyber EVO and the Sierra-Sierra EVO opened the door to new competitors in the field. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Rob Shaw,…

Since their invention, video games have impacted the lives of millions around the world. These simulators allow players to hone their skills on virtual racetracks from around the world. For fanatics of driving games, winning races and earning racecar upgrades fuel the gaming addiction. Alex Robinson, a business owner from East Yorkshire, UK, has played every version of Sony’s Gran Turismo®, which he admits had a great impact on his interest in cars. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Chris Wallbank Going from virtual to real was a gradual progression for Robinson. He explained, “I started my tuning fetish…

Credibility and experience, especially in the world of racing, can take years to develop. In the case of SARD Co., Ltd., this heritage began in 1972, when it was known as Sigma Automotive Company. Within a year, Sigma Automotive began competing on an international level, becoming the first Japanese team to campaign a Japanese car in the 1973 24 Hours of Le Mans with its Sigma MC73 racecar (though it was forced out after 79 laps). Sigma Automotive went on to compete in the 1974 event with its Sigma MC74 which completed the race but failed to cover at least…

Specialists excel at what they do, and customers that know what they want are drawn to them. In the case of Naohisa Tazawa of Garage G-Force, he became a specialist by default. Tazawa recalled, “I worked on Galant VR-4 rally engines at my work, so I was already familiar with Mitsubishi engines. I decided to venture out on my own, by opening Garage G-Force as a non-specific tuning shop in snowy Aomori, Japan, in August 1996.” Six years later, Garage G-Force moved to its current facility in Yokohama. Text and Photos by Richard Fong At that time, focus shifted, and…

In the world of time attack in Japan, one of the most venerable tracks and benchmarked venues is Tsukuba Circuit. This famous racetrack could arguably be the birthplace of time attack competition. Although Tsukuba opened in the late 1960s, tuning shops didn’t start to actively compete in time attack-style venues until the Rev Speed Tsukuba Super Battles of the early 1990s. The Super Battles pitted together shop project cars and high-profile customer vehicles in competition for the quickest lap. At the first event, Tarzan Yamada piloted the Mine’s R32 GT-R to victory with a lap time of 1:00.85. While there…

Where one is good, wouldn’t two be better? This is sometimes true, and for Takayuki Maezuka, operator of a tuning shop in Chiba, Japan, called Car Making Revyou, it was an option to explore. Maezuka got his start in the industry, working at JUN AUTO for two years and at Top Secret for one year, before venturing off to start Car Making Revyou 15 years ago. His shop is a member of the RH9 Tuned Pro Shop group, which includes famed tuners like Top Secret, JUN Auto, Top Fuel and Phoenix Power. When just about every tuning shop jumped on…

To reach a goal, you’ve got to have a proper game plan. To achieve Record Holder 9 (RH9) status, that plan involves producing enough power to run a nine-second quarter-mile time on street-legal tires. As simple as it sounds, joining the RH9 club is no easy feat; however, with the right knowledge, achieving this goal is not only possible, but also very rewarding. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Scott Nelson of TPR Media FROM ROTARY TO RB Tessa Whyte has been a performance fanatic since she first learned to drive. Her first ride was a Mazda RX2 sedan…

“That’s a crazy idea. Nobody would do that. Why would you do that?” Despite the latest trend, car modification will always yield some unique results. From swapping domestic engines into imports to grafting Supra taillights onto a CRX, the automotive lifestyle embodies personalization. The choice of customization is an extension of the enthusiast. When enjoyed by the enthusiast, these modifications become a worthwhile effort. Text and Photos by Richard Fong MONEY MATTERS As a 19-year-old working a parttime job at $6.75 an hour, Jon Oregon had limited resources to work with when he started looking for a new car. Although…

Toyota’s JZA80 Supra Turbo was only available in the United States from 1993 through 1998, but to this day, it continues to be one of the most desired Japanese sportscars. Some fanatics waited for years to finally acquire one, while some waited even longer to get a second one. Unfortunately, some never get the chance. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Victor Benyi Photography LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE When owners let their cars go, their motivations for selling can be anything from financial hardship to getting a good market value to fund a new project. Some have to make hard…

The famous slogan, “In a world of compromise, some men don’t” is an apt maxim to describe the perseverance needed to attain one’s ambitions. Far too often, compromises and concessions force people off track from their ultimate goal. Whether it’s career aspirations or a car build, issues such as availability, money and opinsions get in the way for many people, preventing them from achieving their objectives. Text by Richard Fong // Photos by Michael Ferrara STICKLER FOR SPECIFICS Ashton Makenzie agrees with the motto above. “I always set my goals high for my project car builds,” he said. “For my…

Pony cars have been the benchmark to beat since the birth of the import performance industry nearly 30 years ago, and the Mustang continues to be a solid contender for domestic-car fans and a favrotire to side with whenever the domestic-versus-import argument arises. This battle between imports and domestics still rages to this day, especially amoung many American servicemen deployed on bases all over the world. Fortunately for import fans, there are always plenty of new challengers to give the Mustang a run for its money. Text and Photos by Richard Fong ZOOMING Z The argument for imports is compelling…

Missed opportunities can often be hard to forget, especially when shopping for a unique item. If a second opportunity were to come up, it would almost feel like hitting the jackpot. Just don’t fail to pull the trigger, lest you will discover the definition of “great disappointment.” Text and Photos by Richard Fong Lurking and Trolling While surfing the web and forums, Mark P. stumbled upon a build thread that captured his attention. The vehicle, a Datsun 510 with an SR20DET engine swap, ounded like a perfect streetcar. In his words, Mark felt that it was “the ultimate ‘not designed…

Racing is a rush for everyone, from the spectator in the stands to the driver and the team of technicians who feverishly prepare their vehicle for competition. For Ricky Silva, participation in drag racing started in the pits. He stated, “I worked for Bryan Jimenez and Marty Ladwig on the GM Racing Sport Compact teams from 2006-2008. In 2011, I worked on the Gardella Racing Formula Drift team. In my spare time, I help Fernando Cunha at CLM Motorsports.” Working with quick and competitive racing teams taught Silva valuable lessons that he would later on employ in his decision to…

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