Sunday, February 27, 2011

Random Picture...

I've seen hundreds of pictures of Gs over the past few years and I always seem to come back to this one as one of my favorites. This car has been through a few stages since this picture was taken a couple years ago. Featuring Formula Silver GT30's and the JP Vizage lip kit, this G37S belongs to MyG37 member, xlack.

Project G37S: Time for Tires

The new rollers waiting patiently in their boxes, tucked away in an alcove all their own at a little shop in Hyde Park, I am now faced with the challenge of choosing the right rubber. The first step: choosing the proper size tires for the new wheels. Increasing the sidewall is one of the objectives in going from a 20" wheel to a 19" wheel, so we decided on the following set-up:

* 275/35/19 Rear
* 255/40/19 Front

In doing some research, reading some reviews, and seeking some opinions, I have narrowed it down to two tires.

Hankook Ventus V12


I am using Yokohama S.drives on the 20" set-up I am running right now. I have no big complaints at this time, so maybe I will stick with something I know... However, the Hankooks have been recipient to some high praise and are a bit cheaper than the S.drives. The final decision will likely be made at some point this week...

Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Z33...

I have mentioned my 350Z a few times up to this point and I'm sure I will reference it again in future posts. Thus, I thought it might be appropriate to provide a few pictures of the car that brought me so much enjoyment...

Before the modifying began...

After some modding...

Authentic INGS+1 Sport Rear Half Spoiler & Fujitsubo Legalis-R Exhaust

Mercury Silver TE37's & StopTech 4-Wheel Big brake Kit

Authentic INGS+1 LX Sport Sideskirts

Authentic Powerhouse Amuse Front Bumper

Custom set of Recaro Speed 'S' Seats

JL Audio Amplifiers, Speakers, and Subwoofers

Thursday, February 24, 2011

THEFT, UNEQUIVOCALLY: The Authentic/Replica Debate...

I, loosely and reservedly, consider myself a "purist" when it comes to modifying. Hardly shy in admitting it, I am far from an advocate for replica and 'knock-off' parts. The capital of replica companies thrives on the ingenuity, innovation, and design of the originator. Simply out to make a dollar, they are not in the industry showcasing their devotion and passion to the culture by experimenting with new, never-before-seen prototypes and ground-breaking designs. They are not taking risks, as the true pioneers have. They are simply taking the proven, popular designs, then copying them, and selling them for less than the authentic parts, and, consequently, putting money in their pockets.

Over the years, I have been an active party to many debates on this topic. However strong my emotions and convictions, I am not so obtuse as to believe that we will ever be rid of these parts or their manufacturers. Realizing this controversial debate will likely never reach an agreeable resolution, my opinion is no more important than that of the next enthusiast out there. I am in no position to dictate to a consumer how to spend their money. Afterall, who am I to suggest what is right and what is wrong?  Realistically, replica parts and the companies that produce them are not going anywhere. They are here to stay.

That does not mean that I cannot stress my frustration and disapproval every time I see an AIT body kit owner claiming to have Top Secret parts. Nor does it mean I cannot shake my head or roll my eyes every time I see Varstolen or Rota wheels.

Authentic Volk CE28

'Knock-off' Varrstoen

With its overwhelming success over the years, Ray's Engineering and Volk made the TE37 a timeless mainstay in the industry. The replica wheel companies go to such lengths as to attempt to deceive. Even imitating the stamping of the authentic wheels, Varrstoen had such success with the TE37 replica, that they then moved on to the CE28. I have little respect for companies who steal designs from the true innovators of the aftermarket world. 

Additionally, it is no secret that I enjoy the JDM parts and culture. Part of the aura surrounding the JDM craze is not only the appeal of the parts aesthetically, performance-wise, or their quality, but it’s also the rarity and difficulty in procuring them that makes them so captivating and contributes to the “have-to-have” mentality. That, I would argue (and as foolish as it may sound), is part of what it means to "be" JDM. That JDM novelty diminishes when you are able to get a 'knock-off' version of that "rare" part for half the price from a vendor in California, as opposed to the real thing from Japan.

Authentic Top Secret Body Kit

 'Knock-off' AIT Body Kit

I can't tell people how to modify their cars and I wouldn't try to. I modify my car the way I want and they should do the same. As I have stressed on more than once occasion, I enjoy the diversity in 'modding' tastes. That doesn't mean I am not entitled to an opinion, however foolish or ridiculous some may believe it to be. I don't feel bad saying that a G with a real Top Secret body kit and the authentic Volk wheels would garner my respect far sooner than the G with the replica parts.

As long as I am able, I will continue to support the true innovators, trendsetters, and pioneers in the industry. Afterall, without those true innovators and pioneers, where exactly would Varstolen and AIT be?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Inspiring Photography...

I recently came across a bunch of images captured by young photographer, Casey Dhnaram, from his latest trip to Japan. These are just a few of my favorites. The whole set can be found on his blog. Enjoy...

Bee*R R34 up on jacks.


There's just something about these images that makes me want to go out for a cruise...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Project G37S: Hurry Up and Wait

Patience is a virtue.

As with anything worthwhile, modifying one's cherished car can induce daily feelings of angst, stress, and uneasy anticipation. The popular idiom 'hurry up and wait' then becomes the begrudgingly accepted maxim of an enthusiast. One can scrupulously plan out the modifications, frugally hoard the necessary funds, and then, finally, place the orders for the coveted parts. At that point, however, the wait is hardly over. Still left with the order processing downtime, shipping delays (which can be several weeks for those rare JDM parts), and coordinating shop time, the consummation - installed parts - is surely not something that can be thrown together overnight.

Wheels presumably stacked nicely in an unused nook or corner at JT Motoring, test pipes tightly wound in bubble wrap in the trunk of the G, Y-pipe and exhaust order in Japanese process or shipment any day now, I find myself attempting to calculate the incalculable number of days before I will be relishing the new modifications. Perhaps a bit hyperbolic, this process can be considered by some to be a modest variation of self-torture. Torture that will undoubtedly be worth all the unnecessary dolor and distress when all is said-and-done...

Thus, I wait...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Changing Times...

A few weeks ago, a co-worker inquired of me, "Why a Japanese car? What's wrong with an American car?" I have been asked questions of this nature on more than one occasion. My own father never quite understood my fascination with the Japanese tuning scene.

"Are you sure you don't want to look at a Mustang or a Camaro?"

I was reminded of this a few days ago when I received, from my father, an e-mail that included the link posted below. Although a bit lengthy, I found myself entertained watching it. Moreover, as I sat next to my father as he viewed it for what I'm sure was the second or third time, I saw the emotional, reminiscent expression of nostalgia on his face, as he likely recalled some fond memories of his younger days.


What We Drove in the 50s & 60s

It makes me wonder how I will look back upon the tuning scene of today in thirty or forty years...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Hellaflush Pwns Joo

I have been subscribed to the 'Aggressive Wheels and Stretched Tires' thread on MY350Z for years now. I actually really like many of those set-ups. Then, of course, there are some that are a bit over-the-top for me, bordering on downright ridiculous. Without delving into the debate of form over function as it relates to offset and stance, I found myself laughing at this short cartoon movie perpetuating (and exaggerating) the stereotypes of the typical HellaFlush fanboi. Enjoy...

That out of the way, here are a few stanced 350Z's that have garnered my respect.
MY350Z member, Evil350Zdriver, on ST-10
MY350Z member, Toby-22, on Volk TE37
MY350Z member, PikeZ_350, on Work Meister S1

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Volk G12

I recently came across a picture of Rays Engineering's newest Volk, the G12. Similar in design to the SA55M by Wedssport, the Volk sports the new Rays emblem and 'side-cut' technology. Although I do like the look of the SA55M, I prefer the new Volk wheel...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Project G37S: Particular Planning & Progression

The importance of planning a project cannot be overstated. An enthusiast modifying a car should consider his goals and objectives of the build before making big decisions. This is often easier said than done. I speak from experience... I, myself, have much to learn. However, I am attempting to do that presently, as I plan the next stage of this build. For instance, I am about to spend a considerable amount of money on a new exhaust system. An exhaust system alone is not going to grant significant horsepower gains on the G37. Aesthetics, sound, rarity, and repute are all factors in my decisions. I know I am not going to gain 30 horsepower with the installation of this system. I am well aware of the road down which I am traveling. I am installing a rare and expensive exhaust that not only enhances the melodious note of the G's exhaust, but contributes to the explicit theme of this project.

Brian and I are also examining fabrication of an intake system for the G. Again, an endeavor that will not likely be inexpensive. However, in evaluating the plans and goals for this vehicle, I believe this is an option I want to explore. I can already hear a critic remarking upon how, with the addition of the pricey new full exhaust system as well as the custom intakes, that I could have been well on my way to a VQ36 outfitted with a supercharger or twin turbo set-up.

My response to those comments will be, simply, that I thoroughly enjoy the naturally aspirated VQ engine. Although there are faster cars than the G on the road, 330+ horsepower is no slacker. I enjoy mashing my foot on the gas pedal and ripping through the gears without having to worry about losing the rear end or spinning the rear tires enough to lose control. I enjoy the crisp wide open throttle exhaust note. That is not to say that I would not enjoy the added thrill of a ~450 horsepower supercharged G - I know I would. In weighing the pros and cons of forced induction, however, I believe it is in my best interest to remain naturally aspirated. How often would I really be able to utilize all the power granted me by way of a twin turbo or supercharger set-up anyway?

Moreover, the last thing I need is more attention from law enforcement.

As mentioned above, my mind is always changing in regards to the direction of this project. I cannot say with complete certainty that I will never supercharge the G, but I can say that, as of this moment, I am rather enthused about the modification plan being discussed presently.