Sunday, June 25, 2017

Amusing Photography...

My affinity for the parts of the Japanese Domestic Market is not based on a personal assessment of performance superiority. It is about design, quality, and attention to detail. Likely my biggest obsession of the industry, Power House Amuse is quite possibly the superlative of JDM parts. Hardly boring or run-of-the-mill, the products that come out of their facility in Chiba are not simply functional components to be admired momentarily pre-installation only to be forsaken shortly after brusque acknowledgment of any performance benefit or gain. Every Amuse part contains an all-too-real element of genuine automotive artistry.
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Justin's Z34 One-Off

Perhaps you have already seen this piece. It is making the rounds on the interwebz of late. This is Justin Ellwood's one-off Amuse exhaust system. There is no project more fitting for this piece of art to be featured than Justin's Z34. Enduring the long delays is one of the few downsides of buying Japanese parts, however, seeing the final product, one would assume that an 8-month wait for this system was surely worth it for Mr. Ellwood. A man who has not cut any corners with his build and refuses to adorn his pride and joy Z project with anything other than legitimate, authentic parts, this exhaust system will be right at home on the 800+ horsepower beast. Well done, sir. Keep up the good work!

 
'A' Body and 'B' Tails...





Gold Ring and R1 Titan logo on top...



Justin's Z will SING!

Attention to detail...


JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Caveat Emptor: My Review of Dallas Custom Steering Wheels

When I purchased my Jeep back in January, one of the very first things I noticed was the wear on the steering wheel. It is not falling apart or significantly distressed in any way, but it shows some signs of use, which is to be expected from a 9 year-old vehicle. So, early on, one of my plans was to have my steering wheel re-wrapped.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. 

I contacted Dallas Custom Steering Wheels to re-wrap/re-upholster my wheel. These guys have a solid reputation and I have seen some of their work. That was enough for me to consider them. So, I sent an email. I explained to them that I have a 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. I explained everything that I wanted in terms of leather type/color, stitching, padding, etc... They told me that they could do everything I wanted. I was concerned about the "down time" as I knew I would have to remove my steering wheel and ship it to them, so I would not have a vehicle to drive for a while. That is when they informed me that they actually had a Grand Cherokee steering wheel in stock that they could do all the work on and avoid the inconvenience of shipping my wheel out to them. Perfect! Or so I thought… 

I sent payment. They did all the work within a few days and sent me some pictures. The wheel came out great! 






This is what I had them do:

  • Black Leather
  • Black Carbon FIber Leather on Upper Portion of Wheel
  • Grey Stitching
  • Extra Padding for thicker wheel
  • Thumb Rests

As stated, the wheel looked great! I was happy.


They shipped it out to me. I had it within a few days and took the day off from work and made arrangements with my shop to have the new wheel installed. My mechanic removed my OEM steering wheel and found out that, although the "face" of the two steering wheels are the same, the bases are completely different.
2010 SRT8 Jeep Grand Cherokee

What I received from Dallas Custom Steering Wheels

Side-by-Side Comparison

After doing some research, I learned that the steering wheel I received from Dallas Custom Steering Wheels is made for a 2005-2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee; not the 2008-2010 steering wheel that I need. I contacted Dallas Custom Steering Wheels and explained the situation and asked if I could return the steering wheel and be refunded. I was told that I could return the steering wheel and be refunded, but that I would be charged a 30% restocking fee. 

30%? 

I expressed my displeasure at being charged a 30% restocking fee for what was their mistake. I had told them the make, model, and year of my vehicle when I initially inquired and I was told they had the steering wheel in stock that would fit. The gentleman I was emailing told me that because they had sent me pictures prior to purchasing that it is my fault. As mentioned above, there is no way to know that the bases of these two steering wheels are completely different if one has never removed the steering wheel before. I told them the vehicle I own. They told me they had a wheel in stock. When you have the words "steering wheel" in the name of your business, one assumes you actually know steering wheels. One assumes there is a level of expertise. One assumes that the company will not deflect the blame back on the customer.

I think having to pay 30% to return a product that I received and cannot use due to a mistake by the seller is a bit absurd. By this logic, Dallas Custom Steering Wheels could continually mislead buyers into buying products that do not fit their vehicles and, upon realizing it and asking for a refund, demand a 30% restocking fee, leaving the buyers without much recourse. Either way in this situation, I lose. 

Ultimately, I do not believe I am at fault here. I gave them the year, make, and model of my vehicle and they told me they had the product that would fit it in stock. They were wrong. That should be the end of it. Now I am stuck with a $600+ steering wheel that they sold me after telling me they had what I needed in stock. Of course, I never would have purchased this product if they did not tell me they had what I needed.

I realize there are many satisfied Dallas Custom Steering Wheel customers out there. I am just relating my story. Not only will I refuse to pay the 30% restocking fee, I will never give another dollar of my money to this company.


JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Monday, May 15, 2017

Spotted.

JDMphasis sticker on this Subie. Thank you for the support!

(Capture Credit: ELH Photography)


JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Monday, May 1, 2017

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How about a few shots of the CSG FD?

Are there many/any rivals to the RE-Amemiya clad FD by Car Shop Glow?






(Capture Credit: Dino Dalle Carbonare, Speedhunters)



(Capture Credit: Aaron Mai Media)



JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Do-Luck R35

I apologize that this page has been DEAD lately. I am not a good blogger. Life sometimes gets in the way… How about a couple shots of a sick R35 by Do-Luck? I love this thing…




(Capture Credit: Bulletproof Automotive)


(Capture Credit: HardStyle Photography)

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Monday, March 27, 2017

Amusing Photography...

My affinity for the parts of the Japanese Domestic Market is not based on a personal assessment of performance superiority. It is about design, quality, and attention to detail. Likely my biggest obsession of the industry, Power House Amuse is quite possibly the superlative of JDM parts. Hardly boring or run-of-the-mill, the products that come out of their facility in Chiba are not simply functional components to be admired momentarily pre-installation only to be forsaken shortly after brusque acknowledgment of any performance benefit or gain. Every Amuse part contains an all-too-real element of genuine automotive artistry.

'A' Tail Rolled Tips

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Oh my...

Is there much worse than this? Fake wheels and fake brakes…



Be the Funk. Don't Fake It.

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Monday, February 20, 2017

White Hott!

I love the monoblock Volk Racing wheels. And more, acknowledging they are not everyone's cup of tea, I love white wheels. So, needless to say, I think these wheels are killer. Especially the TE37RTs


JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Project Z33: Craft Square

I received a package this past week and could not, for the life of me, think of what I had ordered. When I sliced open the tape of the brown cardboard box to reveal a slightly smaller white box from Craft Square, I was pretty stoked. It has been months since I placed the order, so I was not at all sure when I would actually see them. After tearing through the multiple layers of plastic, bubble wrap, and styrofoam, I was floored with the detail and beauty of these mirrors. Stunning. My Z needs a lot of work to justify putting these on it.


Yes, I put them on a fleece blanket...

Japan.


JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

i carry your heart with me


i carry your heart with me
e.e. Cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                                  i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you



here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart


i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)



I acknowledge that I have posted this before, but it is my favorite poem and there is no better time to post it on a blog typically devoted to automotive content than on Valentine's Day. Enjoy the now 6 year-old video (Yikes!) from Format67.


Happy Valentine's Day from JDMphasis!


JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Monday, February 13, 2017

It is what it is... Authentic!

When did it become the norm to qualify a For Sale post with the word "authentic"? 

Visit just about any automotive forum for any platform and browse the classified section. Look on the marketplace pages on the various social media platforms devoted to selling automotive parts. You will not see, for example, "FS: Top Secret Rear Diffuser for 350Z." You will likely see: "FS: Authentic Top Secret Rear Diffuser for 350Z." That one word irks me.

In the hypothetical that I stumble upon a post advertising a replica part for sale and the word "replica" is not included in the title or, at the very least, the description of the item being sold, I would feel as though the seller is attempting to deceive potential buyers by advertising the part as something it is not. However, simply listing an authentic part for sale by stating exactly what it is does not seem to be enough these days. We almost always see the word "authentic" somewhere in the advertisement.

Am I the only person who thinks this is sad?

Perhaps I am nit-picking. Nonetheless, the default is to now stress the authenticity of a part. This is in no way a criticism or indictment of the sellers of these items. I am guilty of this as much as the next guy. It is more a commentary on the state of the tuning industry. It has become absolutely necessary for sellers to emphasize the fact that the part they are selling is authentic due, in large part, to the fact that there is an overabundance of replica and knock-off parts flooding the marketplace. It should not be this way. I should be able to post "Top Secret Carbon Fiber Rear Diffuser - 350Z/Z33" without worrying that someone may just assume it is a Shine or Outcast Garage or Flavor of the Month Replica Aero Company part.

Again, maybe I am bothered by something relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but when one cannot visit a classified section of a forum without seeing sponsor after sponsor slinging fake parts or look through a marketplace page and scroll down page after page without seeing the name of one legitimate Japanese manufacturer without a hyphen and the word "style" after it (Ex. Amuse-style), there is something wrong. The money-hungry replica parts manufacturers are not going anywhere. They will always be here to steal designs and profit from someone else's hard work. So, I believe it all starts with the so-called enthusiasts. Have some pride in your project. Refuse to cut corners. Refuse to reward intellectual property theft. Accept that a worthwhile build is not going to happen overnight. E-fame and Insta LIKEs is nothing compared to the satisfaction of building a project you can say, unequivocally, you built the right way.


The picture posted below is a few years old at this point and I believe I originally saw it when my friends at Bulletproof Automotive posted it (and I have likely posted it on here before), but I think it is a good visual into exactly what I have stated above. A sad look into the state of the tuning industry and the rampant replicas.


Be the Funk. Don't Fake It.


JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation