Friday, October 28, 2016

Thinking about selling the FJ… Thoughts?

I am not sure if I posted this at the time, but I leased my FJ two years ago. I leased it with the intention of buying it at the end of the lease period. I knew I wanted that truck. It was a conscious decision to give myself a lower monthly payment for two years. Knowing I was planning to buy the truck at the end of the lease, I had no hesitation in modifying it. Well, I have just recently finalized the financing work on the truck. This has got me thinking...

As I have posted in the past, I love this truck. It is the best daily driver I have ever owned. However, I have been contemplating selling it lately for a few reasons.

  1. I want to keep modifying it. There are so many things I want to do to this truck. I know I should hold back. It is my daily driver. It is meant to get me to and from work and out and about to do everyday things. I am not supposed to want to modify it like a toy. Right? Not only that, but every time I walk out of my building at work, which is located in a less-than-safe city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I find myself wondering if my spare tire (which happens to be mounted to a 18" Volk TE37) is still going to be mounted to the rear door. Not that working in an unsavory neighborhood should affect decisions such as this, but I just do not want to worry about things like this.
  2. I feel like I have neglected the Z because of this project. Yes, I have a bevy of nice Japanese parts piled up and ready to make their way onto the Z, but I could also be much further along if every penny I spent on the FJ went into the Z. That is not to say that I have regrets with the FJ. At all. I love it and I love what I have done to it, but I also have a completely stock Z that is not getting the love it deserves.
  3. When I leased the FJ, I got locked in to a buy-out price of what the truck was worth in 2014. As 2014 was the last year the FJ was produced, the demand for them is high. In short, looking at the book value of this truck with the current mileage, I could make a few dollars selling the FJ.
I am not sure what I should do. The extra money in my pocket would be nice. I could do a few responsible "adult" things with it and then I could put a few dollars aside for a down payment on a new daily that I would not be so tempted to modify. Then, of course, I could devote more of my attention to the Z. I am in no rush at this time, but I am very seriously considering what I should do with this truck. If I had millions of dollars, I know I would not even be considering selling this truck. Unfortunately, I am not a millionaire.

In case you may be interested (or know someone who may be), here are the details of the truck. I would be willing to sell as-is or possibly part it out. It all comes down to offers, money, and what a potential buyer is looking for in an FJ.

2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser
Mileage: ~28,000 miles

Pro-Comp 3" Lift Kit
18" Volk Racing TE37 Large PCD (5)
34" BF Goodrich T/A KO2
MBRP Cat-Back Exhaust System
Demello Offroad Single Hoop Aluminum Front Bumper
Bushwacker Extend-A-Fender Flares
N-Fab Nerf Bars
Trail Teams Edition Black-Out Grille
Trail Teams Edition Black-Out Door Handles
Schrockworks Washer Reservoir
Baja Designs 3.5" Squadron Sport Lights
Black Anodized Billet Fuel Door
LED Interior Lighting
LED Headlight Bulbs
Hella Sharptone Horns
Springtail Solutions Straddle Combo Packs

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hooray! MCR Replica Hood! Finally!

Arguably the most popular hood design for the Z33 platform perfected by Matchless Crowd Racing (MCR) has been ripped off by a company in Thailand. Corner-cutters rejoice. 

"Ballers won't be happy" is a statement I noticed in a forum post announcing this discovery. I would suggest that denouncing this product has very little to do with being a "baller." There is a difference between taking a certain pride in your project by supporting authenticity, originality, and innovation and then just cutting corners and faking the funk.

Tell me how great the fitment is. Tell me how the MCR product is not available in carbon fiber making this acceptable. Tell me that replica companies are good because they bring more options to the market for Z enthusiasts. Tell me how the wait times for the real thing are too tedious to bear. Tell me that people who dislike knock-off and replica parts are just haters who like spending money unnecessarily. I. Do. Not. Care. It is irrelevant. The design is stolen. The work and effort that has gone into the original has been undermined. Intellectual property theft is a real thing. The ultimate goal for these parasitic companies is not to be the savior to the aftermarket tuning community. It is to put money into their pockets. Easy money. Money made from a product they have not researched, created, or designed. Refuse to buy fake parts. Be the Funk. Don't Fake It.

Oh, and it appears as though there may be fake Garage Mak aero, as well… Delightful.

Take Pride in Your Ride.

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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.

All in the details… Just BEAUTIFUL.

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Friday, October 14, 2016

Stop looking at me, Swan!

Just a random shot. I love the Voltex Swan Neck (Type 7) on the Aimgain R35…

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Monday, October 10, 2016

Indecent Exposure.

A few scantily-clad GT-Rs…

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Friday, October 7, 2016

Project Z33: PowerHouse Amuse R1 Black Titan Superleggera Custom

It is wordy, but that is what the man Matsui-San dubbed the custom exhaust that PowerHouse Amuse built for me. Yeah. I am okay with that. I received word earlier in the week that my exhaust was Stateside.

As I mentioned in an earlier post (Project Z33: Amuse Exhaust Update) describing the conceptualizing, design, and construction of this exhaust, my desire was a custom system that was not quite as flashy as my previous custom quad set-up for the G, but something that worked well with my Type E aero and still had that Amuse flare. This system looks to be something that will look rather subtle from afar, but really pop up close. To someone who knows no better, they may not look twice at it. However, for someone who knows anything about Amuse, I think this exhaust will have that "WOW factor" and be recognized as something a bit more than an "off-the-shelf" Amuse system. Needless to say, I am looking forward to seeing it up close and personal.

Here is a little blurb from my friend Bo of Bulletproof Automotive, the man responsible for helping me procure this piece of automotive art.

Throughout the years here at Bulletproof Automotive, we encounter a few special people looking to do a very special build. They come to us requesting some super awesome, rare, one of a kind, JDM parts to really set their build apart. They know the value of premium, quality, authentic JDM parts and realize those are the only parts worthy of their builds.
This exhaust is definitely one of those incredible pieces that we receive from time to time and we were absolutely blown away when we saw it.
Our longtime good friend and client contacted us asking for a one of a kind exhaust for his amazing Z33 350Z build. Being a longtime Amuse super-fan, Bill asked us to have Amuse make him a special, custom exhaust system that would suit his upcoming build. We went directly to the owner of Amuse and gave him the specs of what our client wanted and he went to work.
I introduce to you the PowerHouse Amuse R1 Black Titan Superleggera Custom. Specially customized by the president of Amuse with his own two hands. This exhaust not only has the special Limited Edition Black Titan finished tips, our client and longtime friend requested to have the ultra rare R1 Titan logo to be laser etched horizontally to the tips. Having an etched logo is rare to begin with but to have the special placement of that logo on the top of the exhaust tip is something really special and took quite a bit longer to accomplish. Luckily our friend is incredibly patient.

All that out of the way, enjoy some of the quick snaps I received of the exhaust.

Stay tuned for more Project Z33 build updates…

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation

Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Car Show Post. [Import Evolution - Boston]

I apologize for the lack of posts lately. I have not really had a chance to blog much lately.

It is safe to say that I am not a huge car show guy. I enjoy them to an extent, but I am certainly not a diehard. I have been to a handful of car shows in the past 15 years. About 2 weeks ago, however, my friends at Pro-Spec Autosport reached out to me and asked if they could use the FJ in their booth at the Import Evolution show that weekend. Though I wish I had a little more notice as I would have liked to do a few things to the truck beforehand (and I tried), I was happy to lend it to them for the show. I left the truck with my good friend Brian on Wednesday evening so they could clean it up in time for roll-in on Friday morning and I picked it up the following Tuesday.

I took a ride in to the city on Saturday afternoon to check out the show. As I mentioned, it has been a while since I have attended a show of this nature, but, in some ways, it felt as though I had not missed a beat and stepped back into the 90's when I entered the World Trade Center in the Seaport of Boston. There were some very nice projects on display, but I venture to say that there were far more cars to which I could only internally face-palm.

Though not my ambition in a build, I can certainly respect the work that a true "show car build" demands. I can appreciate the time, work, money, and dedication devoted to a quality build. There were a few of those this weekend. What I cannot and will not ever fully understand is corner-cutting. There was quite a bit of that.

Attending and participating in car shows is an effort. It is a hobby that requires dedication and a substantial amount of time and I am not even talking about the car itself. I am talking about the traveling - many people attend shows from different states, taking time off from work and planning to travel for a day or more just to reach the destination of the event. Many people stay in hotels and plan their weeks or weekends around car shows. Then there is the show itself. Roll-in is usually the day or night before. Then the day or two or three days of the show. Hours upon hours of walking around or sitting around during the show. Needless to say, it takes a devoted person. I suppose it just does not seem logical to me, if one's aspiration is to participate in car shows or display their project, their pride and joy, and undertake and endure these efforts and these sacrifices to expose their projects to the general public, to willingly open it up to discerning eyes (and criticism), that one would then cut corners.

I was actually talking to my buddy about it the day of the show. We stepped outside of the blaring music and flashing lights for a few minutes and walked up to the top of the building where he smoked a cigarette and I admired the Boston skyline. He knows how I feel about authentic parts and cutting corners. I think, though he does not necessarily agree with me 100% of the time, that he respects my viewpoint. I expressed for the 100th time my mentality of "saving for a little longer" that the readers of this blog are all too familiar with, to which he responded with his form of acquiescence. (Or maybe he just did not want to hear me gripe any further.) Either way, it is funny. As we stood there, away from the loud music and bright lights, I told him about a message I had received a few days before from a follower of the blog. The gentleman wanted some stickers for his car. A portion of the message read something along the lines of, "I love this blog. Not many like it." I remember laughing when I read it. There are many people who hate this blog because they believe I am an elitist or a "mod snob." Or their feelings are hurt. Or whatever… Believe me, I get that. I certainly do not aim to please everyone. At the same time, I do not strive to make enemies. If encouraging people to support the pioneers of the industry and save a bit longer to buy authentic over replicas and knock-offs makes me elitist, then I guess, yes, I am elitist. (A little while later, while walking around the show, my buddy introduced me to someone as "the guy who runs the JDMphasis blog." I turned to him after and told him that he was likely not doing me any favors.)

If you are reading this post, you are probably looking for some pictures from the show. My approach to the show was to walk around once and not take any pictures and then a second time and snap a couple shots with my phone. Fake wheels and fake aero galore. So much funk faked. I do not like to feature cars on this blog that I know are rocking fake parts. I believe that is the reason I am not just posting my mediocre coverage of this event and instead am sharing my thoughts on car shows in general - because, sadly, I would have roughly four pictures to share if I stuck with authentic-only builds. This show got me thinking and, thus, I suppose, inspired this post.

I know people use the budget logic as an excuse for corner-cutting. "Not everyone can afford real wheels or real aero," as well as the "I build my car for me. I don't care what you think" rationale. Frankly, I do not buy it. The amount of money devoted to showing cars and enjoying this hobby and building something you call your pride and joy, why not hold off on those Rotas, Varrstoens, or Shine or Outcast Garage or No-Name body kit for a few more weeks and support the originator? Despite what you would like people to believe, it is possible. As for not caring what anyone thinks because you build your car for you… Keep telling us that while you plaster pictures of it all over the internet and display it at shows.

Call me a hater. Unlike the page because you do not like my tone or your feelings are hurt. Bluntly, I was just a bit underwhelmed with what I saw. I expected more. Do not get me wrong, there were some great builds there, but there were far more cringe-worthy cars on display. As I mentioned, fake wheels and aero all over the place. Fake Bride seats. There were a couple cars with decals displaying brands of parts that were nowhere to be found on the car! No joke. At one point I walked by a widebody FRS with a swan neck Voltex wing (real thing seen here on Jason Hoang's of LifewithJson FRS) and I remarked to my buddy who has some knowledge about this particular car as he has done some work on it, "I like the Voltex wing," to which he turned and whispered to me, "It's not real."

It is what it is. I know my disapproval and ranting is not going to change many minds or convince many people to forego their corner-cutting tendencies and build a legitimate car with authentic, original parts, but why not give it a shot?

Be the Funk. Don't Fake It.

A few shots from the show...


Clean NSX on Meisters…

Again, not necessarily my cup of tea, but the work of this interior was legit! 

Andddd… The "Voltex" wing.

Liberty Walk G37 sedan...

Love the matte white of this Liberty Walk R35...

Black Fleet by Rays Engineering...

Wish I could say the aero is authentic...


LOVE these Works...

And the one and only shot I took of the FJ...

JDMphasis… Innovation over Imitation