Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas from JDMphasis...

Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season…

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Saturday, December 12, 2015

An aggressive red sled...

As seen at Tokyo Auto Salon 2014, this BenSopra Z33 would surely earn that jolly old elf some JDM street credibility…

(Capture Credit: Speedmagnet)

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Project Z33: VeilSide VIII Aero Mirrors

If someone had suggested that I would be considering any Version III aero components from VeilSide for my Z project, I do not think I would have taken them seriously. For those who may not know, the VIII aero is the aero used on the Tokyo Drift Nissan Z33 driven by DK. (Though it is not a route I would take with my own Z, I think I am one of the few who actually does not hate the aggressive VIII widebody when done correctly.) 

That said, I found myself looking for mirrors for this project. I love the Ganador mirrors, but learned that they have been discontinued. I searched and searched for a few months trying to track down a set, but I had no luck. I very seriously considered doing a set of Craft Square mirrors, but 1) I do not think they fit the theme I am going for with this project and 2) I feel like everyone has them. That is when I started looking around. ChargeSpeed makes a set for the Z33 that I considered, but they appeared too bulky for my tastes. Seen here:

Mine's also had a set of Z33 mirrors that I really liked, but, you guessed it, discontinued as well. I will admit that I did not spend a significant amount of time searching for a set of these. They really are very sharp-looking!

Another factor that I considered is that, though I like the look of the carbon and I will have other carbon fiber accents on the Z, I do not want carbon fiber mirrors. A little accenting, perhaps, but not full carbon. I want to paint the mirrors. So, I viewed paying for a set of full carbon fiber aero mirrors as, in some ways, a waste of money, as I knew I would be covering the majority of the carbon fiber. That is when I began looking into the VeilSide VIII mirrors. I very much like the small, sleek design. In an odd way, I feel as though they contradict the over-the-top style of the rest of the VeilSide VIII aero. Anyway, I believe they will go great with my vision for this car. I was able to track a set down and I am very happy with them. Though I am waiting on the rest of my aero to arrive before I do anything with the exterior of the Z, I cannot wait to get them installed!

Stay tuned for more Project Z33 updates…

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Monday, November 30, 2015

2 years later...

Not forgotten… Remembering Paul Walker.

(Capture Credit: Mine's)

Some of my words from 2013… Paul Walker: Passionately Prominent

Friday, November 27, 2015

Remember why you bought it.

Since buying another Z33 I have naturally started browsing the Z forums a bit more. Though I do not post particularly often, I have noticed a bit of a trend. There are more than a few comments, and even entire threads, dedicated to a resentment and offense to the reality that the Z is depreciating in value. There is an overwhelming impression of, well, disgust that I do not quite comprehend. It seems to be something borne from entitlement - an entitlement that is lost on me. I find myself scratching my head browsing the forum when people see a modification choice of which they do not approve and remark with something to the effect of, "This is what makes me want to sell my Z."


I understand that the overriding tone of statements like the one above is one of extreme hyperbole; that these owners likely do not actually want to sell their Z's because of the modification by another of which they do not approve. The reality, however, is that the 350Z is anywhere from 7 to 13 years old. Yes, teenagers and "burger flippers" are buying them nowadays. Because they can. The 350Z is no longer an expensive, relatively speaking, sports car. Depending on mileage, they can be had for less than the price of an R35 exhaust system.

With all the Plasti-Dipping, replica-buying, corner-cutting modifying that is seen on a daily basis on the Z forums, it could be rather easy to denounce not only the taste of the members, but the decreasing value of the vehicle itself ad nauseum. But that is not what should motivate an owner to ditch his car. There have always and will always be people who have poor taste or modify with cheap, shoddy parts. I am on my second Z. I sold my first Z33 before the value dropped to where they were attainable to teenagers. I do not reference teenagers as a negative, as there is little more impressive to me than seeing a 17 or 18 year-old kid who works hard to save up his money so he can afford a set of real Volk Racing or Work wheels or an authentic aero component. To me, that illustrates a real passion and sense of pride in his project. However, it is a sad reality that those enthusiasts are few and far between.

I can only use my own personal experience, frame of reference, and perspective to form an opinion on this discouraging trend. Of course there are those true Z enthusiasts who are still passionate, spirited, and fanatical about their project Z's, but, sadly, they are in the minority these days. I believe, to many, the Z is a place-keeper until they can move on up to something "better." There is nothing wrong with that, either, but I believe there are many Z owners missing something inherently special in owning a Z. 

It is different for every person. To me, the Z33 is the car that brought about my love for the tuning scene; it sparked my obsession with the Japanese Domestic Market. For that, the Z has always been a special car to me. Many of the readers of JDMphasis may know that I purchased a 2003 Touring about ten years ago. I did quite a bit of work to it, but ended up selling it hastily. I then went on to other projects, but always missed the Z. Last year, when I found my daily driver Volvo S60 approaching that cliff of endless repairs, I decided to sell it as well as my project RX-7 for a new daily - my current FJC. It was not very long before I missed having that tuning project. At that time I decided to track down another Z33. A few months later, I found my current Z in Pennsylvania, had it shipped up to me, and my project began.

My car is not a shiny new GT-R. It is not the new and fashionable flavor of the month. It is not even an older, coveted NSX or Toyota Supra. It is a ten year-old Nissan with nearly 100,000 miles that needs some work. But it is mine. It is a car that has some meaning to me. It is still a sharp-looking sports car with a lot of aftermarket support and endless potential. The Nissan Z is a car steeped in heritage. The Z33 is a car I fell in love with when I was a teenager that, 20 years later, I sought out as my current project. There will always be "ricers." No matter the vehicle, there will always be questionable choices in modification, but who cares? Your car is yours. Build it for you. Yes, it is true that there are fewer and fewer quality Z builds these days, but that should be a motivator; not a demoralizer. 

Remember why you bought it - because you love it.

A few shots of some of my favorite Stateside 'OG' Z33 builds…

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Volk Racing TE37V Mark-II

I know we are a little late to the party on this one, but we LOVE this new wheel from Volk Racing. Clean, classic, versatile, and just plain beautiful. Like the many other variations of the timeless TE37, this new wheel is a forged monoblock design, but it is now made to accommodate the ever-increasing various widebody applications - 5 different depths and 2 faces. As previously posted on JDMphasis, the TE37V is very likely my favorite wheel design of all time, so, needless to say, I cannot wait to see the way this wheel dominates the scene.

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I laughed at this job posting...

I just stumbled across a job posting on one of the forums of which I am a member. It is from, Surprise Surprise, a replica company. I understand my sense of humor is probably not in line with that of many others out there (and I do hope people catch the hyperbolic nature of this post), but below is a portion of the job posting. See if you can understand why I find this humorous. By "humorous" I mean exasperating/infuriating. (You need not look much further than the job title…)

We are an established automotive aftermarket company, hiring for the position of Marketing Coordinator. With over a decade in the industry, we are one of the largest in our field, due in large part to our young but energetic team. We are looking for a motivated professional with a passion for the automotive industry to join our team and help contribute to our continued success. 
Job Duties/Responsibilities:
- Maintain comprehensive files and documents relating to department projects
- Manage and maintain sponsorship programs and project vehicles
- Work with industry contacts on various projects to grow existing relationships and create new ones
- Coordinate the planning and execution of vendor booths at various automotive shows and events
- Manage marketing campaigns across various social media platforms
- Assist in the creation and implementation of new campaigns
- Report to the Marketing Manager on the status and progression of numerous projects

Marketing Coordinator? Oh…

Marketing Coordinator for a company that specializes primarily in the production and sale of replica parts; parts that are copies of parts from legitimate manufacturers. Marketing Coordinator that reports to the Marketing Manager. My questions: What kind of marketing is needed here? How many marketing positions does a replica company need? You have already ripped off the design of another company. You have taken zero risk and put nothing on the line. You are selling a knock-off a tried-and-true part. You need someone to coordinate in marketing these parts? The original company has already done all the work. The original companies have done all the marketing necessary. You know the parts are in-demand or you would not have copied them in the first place.

It is a sad state of affairs when one can log onto forums nowadays and there are "enthusiasts" who legitimately do not know that certain parts are replicas. They do not know the original innovators. They do not know that the parts they covet are actually stolen designs. 

Buy authentic. Support originality and innovation. Support the true talent of the industry.

Be Real. Buy Real.

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

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.

                          RS-Silent System with 'A' body and tails

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Manziel in the doghouse again?

I suppose it's old news at this point, but who cares? 

The headline-hunting quarterback of the Cleveland Browns found his way back into the news this past week and, surprisingly, not because of any on-field accomplishments. After a day of drinking, Manziel was questioned by police following the call of a witness to police after observing Manziel's white Nissan driving recklessly on I-90 in Cleveland. It was reported that Manziel and his girlfriend were involved in a "domestic argument." No charges were filed. 

Normally JDMphasis would not post a story/non-story of this nature. However, I learned that, in what is most certainly an attempt to smooth things over with the girlfriend, Mr. Manziel introduced a puppy into the tumultuous equation. A puppy is the answer to everything. Right?

Cute pup.

But that steering wheel…

And the rest of that "White Nissan" from the news story…

After seeing that picture of the pup on his lap, I do recall reading about Manziel picking up a GT-R last year. It is apparent to, well, the entire world that Johnny Manziel's problems extend far beyond the confines of a football field, yet he seems to have two things figured out: 1) One can never go wrong introducing a dog into your life. Period. End of story. No debate. Dogs are wonderful (even if purchased to assuage a significant other…) 2) Driving like an idiot notwithstanding, a 540+ HP R35 is a pretty nice choice for a daily driver. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

A new parasite surfaces...

I logged in to the Z forum a few days ago to be greeted with a fresh thread by a new avant-garde, cutting-edge enterprise: American Plastic Tech. And, yes, their products are as creative as their name. They sell… Surprise Surprise… replica parts!

Fakes on fakes on fakes...

I did a bit of research and found out that this company is actually the spawn of another company that claims to have been around for 40 years, copying the designs of Japanese companies such as Nismo and INGS+1.
For over 40 years, KBD and American Plastic Technologies have been fulfilling customers needs by supplying the highest quality polyurethane parts at the lowest prices. Over the years, our parts catalog has grown to offer the sought after body kits, bumpers, wings and more for almost every vehicle. We are expanding our polyurethane product line on a daily basis, so make sure to check our applications regularly! If you are looking for a certain application and would like us to make it, please feel free to contact us.
Not an uncommon tactic, it seems as though this company would love the consumer to believe they are their savior. A particular phrase in the above extract from the company's website really sums up the essence of what it is to be a replica company.

"...our parts catalog has grown to offer the sought after body kits, bumpers, and wings…"

Translation: We take no risks. There is zero creativity, innovation, or originality in what we do. We do not design our own parts. We sit back and wait to see the next big thing; what the true talent of the aftermarket industry comes up with. If their designs are a hit and become popular and desired, we simply copy them and cash in.


Replica companies are not going anywhere. They are here to stay. They will continue to be successful as long as "enthusiasts" continue to support them by cutting corners with their builds. I am simply hoping to convince some readers out there to save their money for just a bit longer and buy authentic.

Be the funk. Don't fake it.

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Amuse R35

Just a random snap of this beastly R35 of Powerhouse Amuse…
(Representing my friends at Bulletproof Automotive with the sticker on the skirt…)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Project Z33… SL Stickers.

Minor update…

I finally found some time today to attach the custom TE37SL stickers. I was very meticulous with the placement of each sticker and, of course, I made sure to use the same spoke on each wheel. I feel like these pictures make the stickers look a bit more red than they actually are. I am very happy with the orange. Stay tuned for more Project Z33 posts…

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Friday, September 25, 2015

Rocket Bunny Z33

My buddy Brian just sent me a quick snap of this Z he just finished… I'm really not a huge fan of the Rocket Bunny style, but, I must admit, this looks pretty sharp.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thursday, September 17, 2015

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.

           Clean and Simple. R1-Titan Black on G Sedan

(Source: Carview Japan)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Past Blast: C-West Z33

To me, this look is classic and timeless. I love the uber-aggressive Super Taikyu/JGTC look of this Z33 with the long nose bumper, canards, and GT wing. I just thought I should share…

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Be Real. Buy Real.

Save your money for just a bit longer and buy the real deal… You'll be happier in the long run.

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Monday, September 7, 2015

Gotham Zity

Garage Mak, Endless, Volk Racing, and GReddy are but just a few of the parts companies featured on these mean Z's
(Photo Credit: Andrew Linga)

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Braking Bad...

Legit set-up.
Endless stoppers caged in by a set of Volk G25 rollers...

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Project Z33: Slowly but Surely...

The wheels are in and back from the powdercoater, of course. Other than that, I have not shared too much about the progress of this project. The main reason for that is because nothing has been done yet. I am basically stockpiling parts at this juncture.

Given that the Z is ten years old and the odometer is a trip to the gas station away from hitting the century mark, the interior is showing some signs of wear. A few spots of heavy traffic are the door finishers (plastic pieces where the window buttons are located) and the center console finisher (area where the shift boot is located). I have in my possession new OEM pieces from Nissan to replace these worn and distressed panels. These pieces are not incredibly exciting, so I did not bother to snap any pictures. This boringness, however, is something that I desire. I dislike too much effort as it pertains to interior panels. I do not want to wrap anything in fake carbon fiber or do anything that takes attention away from the rest of the interior. I see the interiors of some vehicles that leave me with the impression that the owner was, quite simply, just looking for "something else" to do, thus causing nothing more than a distraction. Not my thing. I am happy with keeping the interior panels that are meant to be plain, well, plain.

Anyway… My biggest purchase for this project up to this point is not yet in my possession, but I am pretty excited for the arrival. I believe it will be a few months until I receive that package, but I have a feeling it will be worth the wait. Other than that, I have a few smaller items occupying space. A few snaps:

Kics Project Shell Type Lock and Nut Set (Duralumin Shell, Chromoly Lock)

These are two-piece nuts. The black portion is the locking part. The blue "sleeve" basically screws onto the nut, making it virtually impossibly to scratch or damage the lug. I think this is pretty awesome, considering every time I have ever removed a wheel, I have been terrified of damaging the nut. These appear to be a great new product from Kics! I opted for the open-ended version in the blue, of course. I was nervous ordering the blue as I was not sure if it would match the Daytona Blue of the Z. I have to say, it is a VERY close match. Relieved.

Works Bell Rapfix II Quick Release and Hub

As seen with the custom TE37SL spoke decals we had done, we are going full orange here. As I said in my previous post, blue and orange will not meet the approval of everyone, but it is the theme I upon which I have decided and, bluntly, I am pretty amped up for it. That said, I was able to track down the orange Works Bell unit.

Vertex 330MM 10-Star Deep Dish Steering Wheel

This is a thing of beauty. I love this steering wheel. The attention to detail is second-to-none. The size is perfect and, though I have not driven the car with the wheel installed yet, I think I will really like the deep dish. Super stoked about this piece!

I do have a few other parts waiting patiently to find their home on this car, but I will hold off on posting them for now. Stay tuned...

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Varis Z4

A little JDM-Euro flavor.  I would love to spend some time behind the wheel of this thing…