Sunday, August 28, 2011

Medium Rare

In searching through some old photo files, I came across these shots of the Kaki Z33 on a rare set of polished TE37's...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011 JTran Studio Summer Meet, courtesy of Mayday Garage

Some photographic coverage of the 2011 JTran Studio Summer Meet 
(Image credit: Mayday Garage) 

My initial motivation for re-posting these images was to express my jealousy and envy of the following Z's sporting what appear to be Do-Luck body kits. There was a period, once upon a time, when balancing the federal budget would have been considered a manageable task juxtaposed with procuring this particular body kit. I know. There were less than a handful of Z's in the US with this kit. In my attempts to get my hands on this rare aero, I dealt with three different vendors and received the "run-around" from Do-Luck USA directly back in 2006 and 2007. Enduring an extremely frustrating and unpleasant experience for 18 months (!), I finally requested a refund and opted to outfit my Z33 with Amuse and INGS+1 components.

You can imagine my surprise when I saw these two Z's almost six years later present at the same meet, sporting the very kit that I tried so hard to get for over a year and a half. I do have doubts as to the authenticity of these kits, but nonetheless, the Do-Luck Z33 kit does remain among my favorite aero for the Z.

(If you look closely, you will notice a couple slight fitment issues.)

Just a cool shot of a Bride begging for an occupant...

Thanks again to the good guys at Mayday Garage for allowing me to use their images... 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bleeding with Apathy

"Congrats on the rims. I was just looking at those yesterday..."

"Nice wheels. Post pics once on the car."

"Those rims are looking goooood."

"+1. Can't wait to see the rims on the car."

"Nice man."

"I demand install pics now of the wheels."

"The rims look sick."

First off, do people still refer to wheels as "rims"? 

Secondly, replicas and knock-offs are going to continue their assault on the industry until a stand is taken. Make an effort. Make people aware. That starts, simply, by choosing not to praise those who cut corners. I know people love inflating their post count on the forums, but refusing to compliment someone on their fake, used, curbed wheels is a good thing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random Picture...

I dig the hardtops on these S2K's...

(Photo credit: Chester Ng)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Project G37S: Aero Inspiration

A couple shots from Japan. (I received these pictures a few months ago as I was deciding on aero components for my project...)

V36 with Zele front bumper

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Project G37S: Gearing Up

Little by little...

370Z HKS Racing Suction Reloaded Intakes
Tanabe Y-Pipe

I'd like to extend a big 'THANK YOU' to my friend, Brian, for coming through in the clutch with these parts. Loyal, reliable, and ethical from Day 1 of this project, Brian has certainly earned my trust and respect.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Lousy Sticker

I was having a conversation with my friend Ben (Bulletproof Automotive) a couple weeks ago. It was the day I received my Top Secret tow hook in the mail. We were discussing the allure that envelopes the procurement of those rare JDM parts; that unique compulsion that quite literally drives our automotive affinity. The aspect of modifying that goes beyond the actual parts...

The little things are an often overlooked and unappreciated element of this passion. Yet those little details aptly remind me why I love this stuff. Acknowledging the origin of the parts, the culture, the tradition, respecting all that is behind every quality part that eventually makes its way onto our vehicles, I shared with Ben that I have often been tempted to save the boxes in which my parts traveled. As with the tow hook - the envelope with the Top Secret address, the handwritten Japanese characters, or the stickers and distinct markings on the Bride, Rays, and Powerhouse Amuse boxes I have received, the packing slips and receipts from Project Mu and Tommy Kaira, and likely the trimmings that will accompany the parts I am expecting in the coming weeks... That is all part of it.

I shared a story of how, a few days after having my Amuse R-Titan exhaust installed, I wanted to truly gain a sense of the new exhaust note, so I took the G out for an aimless ride. No music playing. Windows down. I entered the onramp of the expressway and gradually increased my speed. As I approached the point of straightaway in the far right lane, I increased the pressure of my right foot on the gas pedal. As I began to fully absorb the abundance of auditory pleasure, I approached a speed considerably above the posted speed limit. At this time, I became aware of the plastic packaging and bubble wrap resting on the back seat that had been used to help pack and protect the exhaust on the journey from Japan to the States. The speed at which I was traveling did not leave much in the way of time to either, 1. secure the loud, flapping plastic packaging to the seat without taking my eyes off the road, or 2. get the windows up.

Thus, a brief second later, I was admiring in my rearview mirror the plastic floating serenely along the side of the empty expressway.

Aside from violating littering laws, this incident was not a calamity worthy of much disappointment. That is, until I discovered that, mixed in with the plastic packaging, was the sticker provided to me with the purchase of the only exhaust system in the United States of its kind for my application. Yes. A sticker. Although I may have never affixed this decal to anything, the idea of losing it really irked me. I actually debated circling back around to scour the side of the expressway for it, but my better judgment convinced me to simply chalk it up as a loss.

I do not often attach the decals and stickers I receive with the purchase of parts to anything on my vehicles for fear of "ruining" them. I like to keep them safe. Serving as a small symbol that I was finally part of the limited Amuse owners circle (let alone the only American V36 owner with an Amuse exhaust), this particular sticker was important to me. Yes, it was just a sticker. But, for a true JDMophile, this was a pretty cool sticker; a sticker on which not just anyone can get their hands.

The next day I received an e-mail from Ben with the subject line: Small present coming your way...

About a week after that, I came home from work to this in my mailbox...

I think it is safe to say that only someone who can relate to and appreciate the distress of losing a foolish sticker out the window of a speeding car would have thought to send me a replacement. After all, why would someone who unquestionably has many other more important things to tend to during the course of the day make the effort to send me a lousy sticker?

Because he gets it... 

Thanks again, Ben. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

More Vendor Hypocrisy?

Some of you who follow JDMphasis may remember I made a post a few months ago, where I questioned a forum vendor's response to a member ripping off their grounding kit. (Vendor Hypocrisy? Or just par for the course?)

I recently came across a vendor's introductory post on the G37 forum. It was followed by a few more threads. Instead of paraphrasing the content of the threads...

MyG37, we are back!! After a year of focusing on the growth of our business and getting our race program up to date we are excited to be carrying parts IN STOCK again for the G37. Most vendors on here just dropship, they never truly stock the parts or even install them. Import DPS is a full service, 12,000 Square Foot Facility that was just remodeled into a Loft Style Store. We prefer elegance, quality and speed over the online illusion most of these places have. Our customer service and attention to detail are what make us one of the best places to shop from.

Then a thread advertising the GReddy Spectrum Elite exhaust:
Greddy aka Trust has been around for many years. Without companies like Trust, half the market would of never existed. They are the true OG's for exhaust systems and have been making Nissan parts for a very long time. One of the reasons we push these types of products as opposed to the knockoff's!

Tein springs and coilovers:
Tein Suspensions have been around for years. They pretty much pioneered the knockoff movement so that is one of the main reasons here at Import DPS we believe in carrying only the companies who can produce a part. Tein has shown there ability to do so time and time again. With our great on hand stock and free shipping, you just can't beat our deals!

Fine. I believe you. You are superior to every other vendor out there. You hold yourself to a higher standard. You don't drop-ship. Those darn vendors who drop-ship could not possibly be as in-tune with the industry and tuning world as you. You only sell the good stuff, right? You take a stand against knock-offs, right?

This vendor, making a return to the forums after improving their business, boasts of their large facility by posting pretty pictures of the showroom:

Is that a set of Super Advans on the bottom shelf of that wheel rack?

Are those Advan RS's, Volk TE37's, Volk GTC's, Work Emotion CR-KAI's, and Nismo LMGT4's?

No. They're not. They're all fake, knock-off wheels. 

In navigating the website of this vendor, I can see that they sell ROTA, VIS Racing, and SEIBON. I realize there is little that I can do to prevent a vendor from putting a few dollars in their wallet by selling replica parts. However, I suppose I can use this blog to call them out on their hypocrisy and urge them to keep their insolent hubris in check. Please do not come on the forums and post as if you're the savior to the tuning industry, as well as all enthusiasts. Do not feign superiority to all the other vendors out there. Quite simply, do not pretend to be something you are not. You may have some of the naïve, uneducated members of the forums fooled, but any true enthusiast will be able to see vendors like this for what they really are; like the parts they sell - phony.

Monday, August 1, 2011