Tuesday, September 30

Legendary Nissan GTR

Where do I start with the Nissan GTR.. I have been lucky enough to meet an owner of a GTR several months back in a Bed & Bath parking lot. Who knew we would have a chance to have lunch and chat further.

The fastest cars I have either driven or sat in were Supras, Porsches, Turbo Hondas, ISF, etc. Well, there is a new king in town. Although I was lucky enough to spend more time with this GTR, I was not so lucky to sit in the rear seats. Let me tell you, the rear seats are for insurance purposes only. I literally had to sit diagonally across to clear the roof. Inside the leather interior feels less of a Nissan and more like an Infinity. The seats are deep buckets that really hugs tightly. The dash is simple and all business. For me the steering wheel is abit clunky, the design could have been cleaner. The monitor that displays the Grand Tursimo looking read-outs is easy to operate by a knob and a dial on the left. It displays, Acceleration, Braking, Steering, Gear Position, Fuel Economy, Time Recorder, and Driver notes. Total you can have up to 4 customized screens. You can also save display layouts per driver. 

The climate control looks almost too simple. I personally would like to see a second monitor underneath for all the climate controls and radio activities with full touch screen ability. That can help eliminate many of the switches. Just underneath is the 3 switches you will play with most; Transmission, Suspension Dampening, and VDC traction mode. The GTR has a harsh suspension in normal mode. Once you activate the R-mode the ride becomes even more serious. Switching between the different modes on the fly can give you the realization of the technology and time spent to perfect this car. Something you may not know is you can actually hear the tranny shift between gears inside the cabin. It sounds like tiny gears clicking between each shift or change in driving characteristic.  In fact, Nissan makes every owner sign a wavier about the tranny. Basically not to worry without any defects.  The car is all business.

After lunch we took a simple joy ride around town. Cruising at 45 mph, we opened up the turbos and the tires broke loose. The car is so responsive it is absolutely scary. Nissan lists the car at 480 hp and I believe it is over 500.

From the outside, the GTR is a big car. Pictures do no justice with the GTR. Once you are humble next to this legendary car, you can start to examine and study why this car is capable to defeat almost everything on the road. Posting better lap times than the Porsche TT is a huge task.

The car is edgy and chiseled. The front nose aggressive and angry but sleek and elegant. The roof line is long like a 350Z but without a hatch. The rear of the GTR carries the same feel from the G35. Taillights are Ferrari inspired and the quad tips are 5" inches each. Can you imagine running 4 Apexi Dunk exhausts on your Civic..

Nissan chose Brembo for the braking department. 15" inches of rotor front and back with 6 piston calipers and 4 piston rear. These brakes bite hard. 

I will continue my research on the GTR. But one thing is for sure, I have seriously grown to like this car after each visit with this unbelievable automobile.

Nissan has truly built a supercar for anyone, to be driven anywhere and anytime.

More to come.

Legendary Nissan GTR

Solo impression continues:

The GTR hangs turns like nothing I have ever felt. Going into a turn hot at 65 mph without braking is not a pleasant thought. But the GTR hangs the turn with ease, no braking and excelerates out hitting 80 mph.

The turbos are very responsive. There are literally no lag with this car. What is surprising about the GTR is the power to weight/size ratio. Looking at the numbers the GTR is nothing close to a lightweight. But driving the car was like sitting in a goKart with percise steering prediction and instant response from the engine. Truly an amazing suspension setup. All this was capable by rear mounting the tranny directly to the rear dif. Nissan was able to achieve a 53/47 weight distribution when stopped, but under load, it balances to a perfect 50/50 . 

*Side Note: I'm still slowly gathering my thoughts from yesterdays experience.

More to come.

Friday, September 26

Vossen Wheels

 A good friend currently is the lead photographer for Vossen Wheels in Miami, FL. Actually, he use to work for HCI Magazine and 2 yrs ago, he came to Cali to shoot my Lexus. He is truly talented behind the lens, just look at these examples.

Vossen Wheels is a fairly new company, but for the pass year they have been pushing hard in the Industry. When they first launched, their wheels were 2-piece welds. Today, a full line-up of 3-piece wheels are ready to launch at this years SEMA in alittle over a month. 

Keep an eye our for Vossen, I see a great future in coming years for the company.

"About Us" take from Vossen website:

Vossen Wheels boasts over 30 years of wheel industry experience. Our mission is to design and manufacture the highest quality one-piece staggered wheels in the market. Our wheels are designed for a wide range of luxury cars. Many of our wheels are specifically made to match manufacturer-specific fitments. All Vossen Wheels feature a stainless steel lip up to 4 inches deep that project the popular multi-piece look and are tire pressure sensor compatible. Staggered sizes ranging from 19" to 22" and width up to 11 inches and are backed with a two year manufacturer warranty.

Vossen Wheels are a perfect addition for customers looking to customize their luxury vehicles without compromising drivability. Our specific fitments ensure a safe and hassle free luxury car experience.

Vossen Wheels
2000 NW 96 Ave
Miami, FL 33172

Vossen Wheels

TF: 888-463-7778
T: 305-463-7778
F: 305-463-7779

Monday, September 22

VIP Autosalon

VIP AutoSalon has been around for less than 2 years. Last year the company landed a corporate deal with Lexus to build a SEMA project LS460. Little did the blue collars knew that VIP AS would take the build to an entire new level.

VIP AS is the sole US distributer of Amistad wheels and Admiration Aero kits. 

Check it out here: Amistad Japan | Admiration Japan

Be the first to rock the next most exclusive VIP wheel and aero kit from Japan. I know of 1 UCF30 with the aero kit in the entire nation. Infact he was featured here on "GoWithSolo.." not too long ago. Give VIP AutoSalon a call and tell them you heard the good news from "solo".

Lexus ISF Sponsorship for SEMA

There is an IMMEDIATE sponsorship opportunity for any Lexus IS-F going to SEMA in November 2008.

VIP Autosalon is proud to introduce the first Lexus IS-F lip and rear roof wing for all owners.

If your Lexus IS-F is going to SEMA, contact VIP Autosalon for details.


VIP Auto Salon, Inc.
19148 Van Ness Ave
Torrance, CA. 90501


Phone: (310) 618 - 8886
Fax: (213) 618 - 8848

VIPCAR Feature Car: UCF31

Going through VIPCAR magazine it is easy to see some of the many company built cars. Most are so complete with full interiors, BBKs, custom kits and the newest wheels in the market. Then there are a small select few that attend all the shows and builds excellent trend setting examples from their own budget.

This months VIPCAR magazine cover car is such an example. Over the pass 2 years I have seen this LS evolve throughout the stages. But always equipped with the same 3-piece step-lip WORK Meisters this car started out black. Today it is shot is a custom white frost with flat black headlights and black Ganador mirrors. What I appreciate about this car is the ability to mix parts originally not intended for such a flagship Luxury car. The WORK wheels in black blend so will with the black heads, grill, and mirrors. The stance on this car is just dialed-in perfect. Both front and rear lips are pinching the fender ever-so-slightly and that is what is call "Hellaflush".

Recent additions looks like full Big Brake Kit upgrade shot in anodized purple. From the pictures it could be Sessions BBK 6/4 setup. The interior got an entire make-over with custom fabric and plenty of gauges and ICE.

Funny to think how much harder it is to stand out from the flood of VIP cars in Japan than it is here is the US. Kudos to this private owner by pulling off an incredible build over the years.

photo courtesy of VIPCAR

JOB Design 3GEN GS updated face

JO from JOB Design Japan sent me these images over the weekend. The progress of the new Hybrid bumper on the 3rd Generation GS platform is coming nicely. Actually, the Hybrid bumper is my personal favorite from JO. 

JO is old-skool. No fancy C.A.D. machine or computer 3D plotters here. All of his designs come from the mind of JO. As you can tell in the lower picture, this is JO at his best working with his hands. Just like FOOSE and MOAL, all the master designers actually get their hands dirty.

Good Job JO! This kit has evolved very well. See you at SEMA!

More Info: JOB Design

Saturday, September 20


INGS Japan is now offering their line of Big Brakes for many applications. It seems like more and more VIP companies are pushing towards a complete car build under one brand. Junction Produce, Fabulous, WALD were many of the first companies to do so back in the early days. Today we see companies like JOB Design, Admiration and LX SPORT starting to take over the same traditions.

LX SPORT is the luxury line-up under INGS Japan. They have a very strong line of lip-kits for VIP platforms. Their latest product is their Big Brake Kit. Often times you just do not know who actually makes the BBK for these companies. Are they cheap Taiwan products? Not this time.

INGS were smart and cut a deal with the best of best ENDLESS to create their new BBK. What you see here are 8 piston 380mm rotors and 6 piston 355mm rotors for the LS460 Lexus. Endless BBK's are not cheap to begin with. But you are getting what you pay for. For calipers with LX Sport stamped on it, prepare to pay a bit extra. Actually a lot more. This front and rear setup retails for $13,000 MSRP. But if you are rolling with a $80k car, that's a drop-in-a-bucket for you anyways.
Check out LX SPORT

Monday, September 15

Vertex 16 Aristo Conversion: First in the US

If you have been in the Import industry long enough, then the name Vertex should be no surprise to you. The company makes some of the nicest and best fitting body kits for your Drift or VIP car. They even promote others to "Stop the Copy" of authentic aero kits. With that said, you can image the company's philosophy and deep respect it demands from others.

What you are looking at is truly amazing. PandaGS430 has been a member on ClubLexus for sometime now. Even in the early days, Panda always experimented with rare JDM parts. It has been awhile now since we all have heard of Panda. Until now. The opportunity to be the first in the US to have the new Vertex conversion front end for 2nd gen Aristo was offered to him. Money was sent to Japan and parts came by air freight. Vertex debuted this conversion at this years Tokyo Auto Salon on their white Aristo.

I remember having mixed feelings about the kit initially, but all concerns are gone. This conversion is a full replacement of the front fenders, hood, bumper, headlights, grill, and fogs. Not to mention all the brackets to make this work. Actually it is not really a true conversion. To me a full conversion would mean taking off the "Stock" 3GS parts and bolting it on a 2GS chassis. That would be a true conversion. But, Vertex didn't set out to do that. Vertex spent the R&D time to do a updated front-end to an aging car. The outcome could not have come out any cleaner. Notice how the lines on the hood even match the 3GS grill. The details are just so cleanly executed. Hence, why people say Vertex kits just fit hella nice.

So for all you 2GS owners bored at looking at the old and out-of-date front end, take some notes here and give Vertex USA a call. PandaGS430 is back ready to attack and show-off his new "botox" ready 2/3G Aristo.

Come see PandaGS430's Vertex Aristo on Sept. 21, 2008 at the Steven's Creek Lexus dealer End of Summer event sponsored by Club Lexus and LGW Norcal. Click here

SRT intake w/Race ECU

Full Vertex 2GS/3GS Conversion Kit
2008 Authentic GS450 Headlights and Chrome Bezel with Washer Nozzle deleted (working auto-level w/no swiveling)
2008 Authentic GS450 Grille and Chrome Bezel
2008 Authentic GS450 Foglights
2008 Authentic JDM IS350 Fender Marker lights
Vertex Rear Badge
UGO Roof Spoiler
Veilside Executive Sports rear wing
2001 Toyota Crown Chrome Door Handles
WIN LED Side Mirror lights / molded in
LED Snow Flake taillights
JDM Chrome Trunk Bar
JDM CF License Plate Garnish
JDM CF B/C Pillar Garnish
JDM Wind/Rain Gaurds
5-Zigen Fireball Mega Exhaust

UAS Airbags on L-Tuned Struts / Digital Auto Pilot - Easystreet

20inch WORK Equip in SuperChrome w/ polished barrels all the way through (I had the black pearl taken off because I missed the chrome ) Wrapped in Yokohamas

New Leather Skins two tone.

Thursday, September 11

VIP Status Lexus GS

Recently, VIP Auto Salon has merged with Status and recently at Nisei they debuted their newest GS. The company is now called VIP Status.

I'm sure the brains at VIP Status will be a major player in the luxury tuning industry. Look out for more to come including a one-off private project by the owners themselves likely to be unveiled at SEMA in a few months.

Artisan & Fox SEMA IS-F

A very good friend always have the inside scoop to all things Toyota/Lexus. The latest news is this IS-F SEMA project car built by Artisan & Fox media.

Actually, what you see here is a "solo" tweaked version. The stance was corrected, quad-exhaust tips were subtracted to two, emblems were shaved, and taillights in all red.

Looking at the rear, I say, the dual exhaust is much better represented than the quad-stacking joke.

Lexus, take a look at what the IS-F should look like for 2009.

Wednesday, September 10

Top Celsior Tuners

Enjoy these random images of some of the best examples of Celsior projects from Japan currently right now. The amount of custom work is incredible and executed very well. Radius fenders, custom grills, wider fenders and off the wall interiors are just out of this world.

Crimson produced Club Linea Series

Crimson has been making wheels in Japan for quite some time now. It wasn't until recent that they relaunched a whole new line-up of wheels dedicated to the ever-fast and growing wheel market.

Just like people here in US, crazy for JDM styling and parts, the Japan tuners crave for ours. The biggest shift of wheel designs in Japan has been headed towards the DUB look. I personally were very disappointed to see this movement, but Crimson has helped with the pain.

Crimson produces Club Linea and many other wheels for other companies. I have always been a fan of the Club Linea Barletta wheel, so to see the company revamped and reinvent themselves were pretty exciting.

Like many high-end US wheel companies, the shift recently is Forged wheels and that is exactly what Club Linea has commissioned Crimson to do. Their first Forged series hit the market with the highest quality of what Japan can offer. At nearly $2,000 dollars US a wheel, it is near HRE territory. Their styling is fresh and clean with both East and West clashing with flavor. I personally would rock a set of L566 with a brush face and flat-black painted lips. HOT!

Look out for Club Linea to hit the US market hard in the next year. For now check out their website here: CRIMSON

Admiration, SSR, Project Mu = Winning Combo

Lately, I have been researching the UCF30 platform like a mad man. Flipping through all the VIP CAR magazines and translating Japanese articles to English has helped gain some knowledge on the car and its potentials.

This rendering you see here has the best of both worlds. Sporty set of wheels with full BBK on a large low & wide VIP platform. Just like NOB driving the red HKS red Aristo in the D1 has caused much excitement with Silvia fans.

Being able to successfully mix styling from different cars is what it's at. If I were to build a UCF30, this is exactly how it would look.

Thursday, September 4

Radius Fenders on Racingstyle LS430

This car belongs to a Racinstylez on Clublexus.com and vipstylecars.com. It is an incredible build. In my book this LS comes as close to the real deal in Japan but build entirely in Texas.

To start off, this car has an awesome stance. But you will notice the wheels do not tuck even at this extreme drop. Radius Fenders.

Again, by reworking the fender to have a higher fender radius, this "perfect-fitment" look can be achieved. This is the reverse thinking to achieve the hella flush look. First, go get a set of wheels with the craziest offset you can handle. Then take it to a trustworthy shop to make the wheels fit the car. Radius the fender, pull and stretch abit and you can have yourself a great looking car like this.

The wheels are Weds Kranes with a negative offset in the rear. The aero kit is Admiration from Japan and the air system is UAS. Keep representing VIP in Texas buddy.. God knows they need it.