Monday, December 22

The Truth about Wheel quality

***The below impression was taken from a car forums written by a member***
Enjoy one man's personal-perspective on 10 different wheel manufacturers:

1) Work (I am very impressed with their stuff)

Good quality wheel products but not the best. WORK uses FORGED centers on the REZAX II's, but CAST centers on th VS-XX's. The outer barrels (rim shells) for both are made from 6061-T6 aluminum alloy but they are 'spun' or 'rolled' NOT FORGED. (not really close to the same strength as a BBS forged wheel for example)

2) BBS (good stuff right?)

OH yea...the BEST stuff

3) Champion

Like BBS forged wheels, Champion only builds 8000 TON 6061-T6 wheels. (nothing but the best will do)

4) Techart

One piece gravity CAST wheel construction. (not very strong at all)

5) Neez

Again...8000 TON FORGED 6061-T6 wheels (nothing better)

6) HRE

Really, really, really, really, really good marketing...

7) DPE

Pretty good marketing...

8) Volk Racing

Excellent quality 6061 FORGED MONOBLOCK wheels. (not 8000 TON forged but still very good)

9) Axis wheels

Budget priced gravity CAST wheels that are of decent quality. (no too strong though)

10) Enkei

Very good quality wheel that uses FLOW-FORMED CASTING technology.(stronger than gravity cast wheel, but not as strong as forged wheel)

Note: BBS uses the same manufacturing process, but calls it "Spun Casting"

Monday, November 24

WALD Lexus IS-F (side)

Everybody should know by now, the Lexus IS-F is packing serious V-8 power. In fact it is a 5.0 liter 416 hp Yamaha engine shoved into the smallest chassis currently offered by Lexus. Those that are familiar with the car have noticed the wider front fenders and reworked front bumper. Everything else is pretty close to the regular ISx50 platforms. The hood like the BMW E92 M3 also have been given a major hump, in my opinion, I call it an afterthought. The bulge on the hood of the IS-F is especially prominent throwing off the lines of the car. If you look closely you will notice the extra step front he fender line that just looks thick and out of place. Yes I know it was design for clearance but surely we can redesign motor mounts to drop the motor 1-2" inches lower. The regular ISx50 hoods are sleeker and better fitting for the lines of the car.

Check out my rendering of what the IS-F should look like if outfitted with the total WALD aero. Flat black wheels are in. We saw plenty of flat black everywhere at SEMA this year. Clearly WALD has carried that look onto their project IS-F as well. I added a simple Time-Attack pin strip on the wheels just to give a break between the rim and the tire. Also the stances was improved as well. The "F' on the front fender was removed b/c proportionally a distorted square box does not go well with a sleek side marker.

This is way more aggressive.

WALD Lexus IS-F (rear)

So this is the rear of the WALD kit for the Lexus IS-F. Yes, I know.. what the hell where they thinking. Too much of everything and not enough thought. WALD styling has gone way too far in my opinion. Somebody tell their designers to take 2 steps back and you've got it!

To help this poor IS-F, I've came in with my own Photoshop skills to clean things up a bit.

First we got rid of the quad stacker exhaust tips for a pair of slighter rounder tips. The alien looking eye ball reflector lens look completed out of place. Not to mention the stair-stepper rear diffuser. So that too was deleted. I do not mind the CSL looking carbon wing but it would be better to be an entire trunk replacement. Also the taillights were cleared and smoked for the Euro look. All emblems were shaved except the "F" and the Lexus trunk emblem.
If I had an IS-F project, this would be the rear of the car.

What do you think?

Friday, November 14

ARC Ti GT-R Exhaust

ARC has developed their high performance titanium exhaust for the GT-R. Look a the craftsmanship on this work of art. The tips alone can make you run for cover. Entire exhaust only weights 6.8kg which is 14 pounds. Be prepared to pay a pretty price tag. At over $4,000 you can hang this on your wall as automotive art.

The highest quality is still in house Made In Japan.

Thursday, November 13

SEMA GT-R continues

Among all the GT-Rs at SEMA, this had to be my favorite. Funny, this car actually belongs to a fellow name Jon from Norcal. The execution is flawless. This car sat in the Status booth all week and were the lesser of the GT-Rs to be acknowledged. Starting with the wheels, what can be better than a custom set of HREs finished in brushed lip and clear coated then a rough matte dark gray face. What got me was simple, this was the only GT-R with step lip and correct stance. Every other GT-R had huge bling wheels on. Rounding out the wheels, Jon went with ZELE International carbon lip kit, Top Secret coilovers, and one bad as Titanium exhaust. Congrats on making my top pick for Best GT-R at SEMA!

Nitto Tire booth had this ASR tuned GT-R again in white. The modifications were pretty extent with complete hard tubing and blow-off valves and even a center exit exhaust. I wonder what the numbers are?

iForged had a pretty clean GT-R outfitted with the best from Amuse. The wheels were a massive 22" inch 3-piece wheels that fill the fender arches perfectly.

HRE wheels had a very attractive booth with this 2-tone GT-R, matte on gloss black. The car even had smoke headlights and taillights with 2 different sets of wheels on either side. 

In the ENEOS booth, ZELE International Japan shipped over their highly anticipated company GT-R. The complete right-hand drive car was set to promote the companies newly developed carbon replacements parts. You will fine, grill, front lip, skirts, rear valance, side mirrors, fender vents hood vents and many more interior trims pieces all finished in carbon. Look for more from this company in the near future.

SEMA 2008 GT-R Galore

So as you may know now, the 2008 SEMA show at Las Vegas wrapped up a week ago and I'm just getting started to point out the highlights of the entire week. I work for Goodguys Rod and Custom and it is a privilege to work the event booth at SEMA every year.

What was the hit of the show? You guessed it, the King of all cars, Nissan GT-R. Many knew there would be plenty of highly modified GT-Rs at SEMA, but little could have estimated the shear number of GT-Rs gathered together at once.
Nearly 20 Nissan GT-Rs were displayed throughout the convention center right by the Hilton Hotel. Bulletproof Automotive looked to be the main provider for all the major GT-R builds. Mobile 1 and TOYO tires had the most extreme of GT-Rs of the week. Both were rocking BBS LM limited edition wheels with ENDLESS racing 6/4 calipers front and back. TOP SECRET, BRIDE, Takata, Amuse, Mines, all supported many of the cars in display. This deep purple GT-R was rumored to have cost an additional $80k to build on top of the $90k plus price for the car.
Axis wheels were present with their freshly painted GT-R with their latest in wheel design and plenty of carbon pieces from AP Racing. COBB were utilized to crack into the Nissan ECU for better performance. Check out the black top to match the CF goodies.

SEIBON had a huge booth this year rocking 7 heavily decked out demo cars. Here is their company owned demo GT-R with their latest dry carbon aero replacements. Those that do not know the process of dry carbon compared to wet carbon should do a bit of research to full understand the process and reasons why it is many times more expensive than regular carbon. In short, dry carbon is lighter and way stronger hence the price and availability. Their GT-R had a complete front bumper, hood, lip, skirts, rear valance, and trunk all made in dry carbon. I did find out the company out sources to China for all manufacturing. Better check the fitment first.

FALKEN tires had their own GT-R as well. The car belonged to a member of Team Hybrid and it carried some newer brands to hit the market. Notice the CF lip and canards. The GT carbon wing is also an aggressive addition to the black and white look. Seem like white GT-Rs on carbon were the look to have.

More later.

Monday, November 10

SEMA 2008 Day 1

Where do I start.. 6 days in Las Vegas, 4 days of PR, and 1 night of stomach flu, I am glad to be home. This year, my annual SEMA trip started Monday afternoon. After taking BART to the Oakland airport station and then jumping onto a shuttle that cost way too much, my flight was heavily delayed due to weather at Vegas. Instead of negative thoughts, I made a friend at the airport. His name was Jay and he works as a field tech support for global cellular tracking. He had some amazing gear and yes, if you use a cell phone through a carrier, you can be tracked within a few micro-seconds. No, it has nothing to do with GPS chips. Mainly using triangulating the signal through towers, this form of tracking is heavily used by the FBI. Anyways, boarded the plane and finally land in the desert around 6:30 PM.

A good friend picked me up and thanks to his patience I had a ride to the hotel and dinner. We ate at a very delicious and famous hole in the wall, apparently every known VIP enjoys the ramen and sushi at this joint. In fact, I was lucky enough to meet the president of CUSCO and J's Racing that night while sipping the best of the East.

A quick trip to Lucky's and I checked in at the Hilton and feel asleep early around 11. I needed enough sleep to start Day 1 of one crazy SEMA ride. Also, Tuesday was election day and everybody in the area had election fever. For the first time, I too was glued to the news like a dirty politician scamming their own state.

More tomorrow.

BTW, this picture is of the best damn car at SEMA 2008, the humble TETSU GTR.

Friday, October 31

JOB Design SEMA IS250 at Mishimoto Booth

Powertrain/Drivetrain Type and Modifications: Tanabe Madallon exhaust; Fujita intake; Mishimoto aluminum radiator
Chassis Type and Modifications: Brembo six-piston mono block big brake kit with 14-inch rotors; Tanabe coilovers; Hyper ground kit; Klassen 20-inch wheels; Toyo 245/30-20 and 285/25-20 tires
Exterior Modifications: House of Kolor Wild Cherry candy paint; Job Design body kit, foglights and spoiler
Interior Modifications: Custom two-tone leather interior; Eclipse in-dash DVD and navigation; Rockford Fosgate audio; Diamonds 7-inch and 15-inch monitors

Exhibitor Booth Number: 10453

2008 Lexus IS350
Project Exhibited By: Mishimoto Automotive
Phone: 302/762-4501

Jih Shyh 2002 Lexus LS430 SEMA LS430

Powertrain/Drivetrain Type and Modifications: 32-valve 4.3L V8 engine; double overhead cam; five-speed automatic transmission; custom Magnaflow exhaust
Chassis Type and Modifications: UCF30 chassis; STD R5 suspension and big brake kit (forged six-piston front calipers, 380x35mm front rotor, forged four-piston rear calipers, 355x35mm rear rotors); Platinum VIP Phantom kit and VIP Modular 20x9.5 front and 20x11.5 wheels; Toyo T1R 245/35/20 front and 285/30/20 rear tires
Exterior Modifications: L-Sportline front and rear bumpers; Lexus Japan OEM aero side skirts; custom lightly smoked LED taillights; custom clear corner headlights; 2008 Audi S8 Ice Silver paint; color-matched badgeless grille; upgraded 6500K HID head and foglight bulbs; Platinum VIP LED puddle lights
Interior Modifications: Platinum VIP curtains
Exhibitor Booth Number: 20648

2002 Lexus LS430
Project Exhibited By: Jih Shyh
International Co. Ltd.
Phone: +886-4-2496-0505
Fax: +886-4-2493-2293

Nissan 370Z leak

Nissan Press Release have not been shy to educate and promote the next generation Z. What you see here is the official photos from Nissan of what the 370Z will look like. With already a solid platform, the design focuses on softer lines and smoother curves. Each fender has a more aggressive flare especially there rear. The headlights and taillights have adapted the NIKE swosh appeal. Overall, this Z is a blend of old Datsun 280Z and a Porsche. The hatchback seems to loose even more visibility while the rear bumper is shorter, rounder and designed by a late-Porsche employee. Brembos surround each corner of the car while RAYS engineering has once again stepped in for their lightest forged wheels in 19" inches of rollers. Changes are the 370Z borrows the motor currently offered in the luxury big-brother, G37. Let's wait and see how fast the aftermarket industry flows with add-on goodies for this next NISSAN Sport Car. Toyota? Where are you?

Toyota in NASCAR

Several years back when TRD USA was asked to build the motor that would be used in NASCAR, many had their doubts. But within a few short months, Toyota engineers were able to produce a very high-end NA motor simplified for NASCAR American use. What you see here is a 358 cc V8 that produces 650 hp. Pistons, valves are all made of forged material while the cylinder heads are equipped with computer control cooling system. TRD also provided the exhaust side. 

If the valve covers did not read TRD, others could have easily guess Chevy small block. Side note, Toyota engineers actually had to "dump-it-down" a bit to make this all American built engine for an American racing program. Even so, Toyota has made their mark in NASCAR racing forever. Even Goodguys events have had 3 full blown trailers with several many race and demo cars. This just shows you Toyota is not just a Japanese brand, it is a company that just celebrated 50 years of growth and domination. While the big 3 continue to struggle and ask for "bail-out" or merger possibilities, Toyota hasn't looked back.

Wednesday, October 29

Lexus ready for another SEMA 08

Once again Lexus is headed to the 2008 SEMA with guns packing. This year the focus continues to be the Lexus IS-F. Four lucky tuners were chosen mid summer by Lexus corporate to build and improve the already scary IS-F platform. What I can tell you is each four companies built incredible examples of what could be done under a budget and some homework. Companies that stepped in to help with the build include RAYS Engineering that donated several sets of the latest and great from the Volk Racing garage.

Tein, Bride, Greddy, Seibon and many others came in huge to help along the build. One of the ISF has a custom Greddy supercharger bolted to run 8 psi. Others include aero parts from Troy at 5 axis.

Overall, I am most impressed with what the aftermarket industry is beginning to offer this chassis. Since the IS-F is already the top of the line 2nd gen IS platform, one would think there could be little to do to this already powerful 400+ hp car.

Good job tuners for hitting your deadline and finishing your Lexus Corporate projects.

Those that will not make it to SEMA, here is a sneak peek.

**Notice the 5th car in this list. That is the F Sport offered direct through any Lexus dealership or parts department. Notice the change in rear taillights and the final released F Sport Aero kit. HOT!

Lexus is making a statement and surely, BMW and Mercedes has been caught off guard.

All photos by the talented Scott Dukes

Risky Devil: chiTown

Risky Devil out of Chicago have been making hella noise in the drifting scene. They built sick ass cars, true to their JDM heritage but most importantly, their offsets are correct. Here are a couple of shots from their awesome photographer. If you stop by the midwest, be sure to swing by and check out Risky Devil attack the drift course at one of the events for '09.

Now I have to plan a trip back to chiTown.

Twin Red S2K

I have never seen a S2K rock such an aggressive offset of ol'skool SSR wheels. Damn, that is hot! Most s2k owners go all out with 1-piece forged wheels. Respect to this owner for thinking outside the box with this hellaflush crazy Honda 2000.

The second roadster is more your typical S2000 found with Work Emotion wheels but one thing that caught my attention was the drop. No there's no air sus here. This owner literally drives at that height daily..! That is an inch off the ground. Cars are built to be driven, not a trophy in your living room.

SR20DET powered Altezza

If there was one thing I wanted to do if I still had my Altezza would be to drop in a SR20det. Actually, the idea hit me many years ago when the drifting scene started to take off here in the states. While showing with Team Hokori, the killer thought came to mind when everyone else were shoving turbo kits or the 2JZ-gte in their bays.

This picture is from UK found on one of the UK forums. The motor sits very nicely flat against the firewall leaving the front with enough room for a V-mount Intercooler setup. Plus better balance weight ratio. Notice the Vertex S-Type bumper, Cwest sides, and Advan wheels. Hot little car.

Top Down S14: DEAR Motorsports

This got to be one of the nicest convertible S14's around. Not to mention, not many peeps even play with the drop-top. Perhaps its the subtle color and ease of graphics compaired to some of the loud drift cars we all know. The only thing that bugs me is the set of chromies that lacks characters and lands in the DUB world. Everything else is spot on.

Sick-A$$ fitment: 7-series

Take some notes here if you plan to build a BMW 7-series. This car is from UK somewhere found on one of the UK forums. Check out this perfect flush fitment. Not to mention the ultra cool step-lip wheels. My guess 18's on the ground.

NO need to rock 20's or 22's. It's all about how ill it rolls.

Drift Ready Mini Trucks

More trucks are showing up in the industry fully prepped chassis and motor swapped ready for sliding. Keep an eye out for the first truck drift series to hit the States.

Tuesday, October 28

Branew Nissan GT-R

Branew is a company in Japan that just completed their Carbon Lip kit for the new GT-R. This is the first GT-R I have seen with 23" inch wheels. Branew mainly builds luxury high-end aero kits including Lexus and SUV applications. Looking closely at this kit, you will notice the white carbon fiber used throughout the car. Even the front fender vents have a custom chrome luxury accent. Going to the rear of the kit, you will notice the most different styling design with the use of 3 center exit exhaust tips. The rear lip borrows much from the Ferrari F355 design. Some angles, this kit actually has possibilities. The front lip is good. Overall the car is elegant and nothing like what the GT-R was design to do.

More at: Branew Japan

A guess what.. This GT-R is coming to SEMA!