Wednesday, May 27

RSV Forged - Launch


My last entry was in 2013, back when Exotic Air launched and the Scion FR-S project was completed. I took time off to refocus in 2014, but in early Feb 2015 an opportunity presented itself when an old friend reached out for help to launch his wheel brand: RSV Forged.

What does RSV stand for? This was my very first question to him. Unfortunately, the lack of thought was quickly apparent and over the next 8 months, RSV ended up being: "Rick, Same Victor". These people do not exist, instead when asked for our email address, this was our response.

RSV was very different from many of the other popular and well known US wheel brands. Unlike others who relied heavily on oversea manufacturing or local machine shops to produce CAD drawings and production, RSV was foremost a CNC Machine shop that took on the challenge to design, engineer, and manufacture 3-pc forged wheels all in-house.

With so many wheel brands coming and going year after year. Why enter this industry to being with? I believe the passion and dedication of designing and creating trends in the wheel industry were the drive behind the core guys at RSV. It is easy to start a wheel brand, but pushing the design limits and collaborating with the industry's top leaders takes a different perspective: Integrity.

When I started, RSV lacked all aspects of a marketing game plan. No dealers, not even a functional website. So energy and resources were quickly poured into building the foundation of the marketing campaign. We took a trip and visited dealers throughout California and presented our brand and showcased our products. One shop that became a close friend was Mitch at Famous Autosport in Chatsworth, CA. Mitch was similar to RSV, small and up-and-coming.. no corporation here. Mitch is well known in the exotic world, but especially connected with Lamborghini USA. We understood each other's business plans and saw a similar coloration early on.

By Spring, our distribution covered: Japan, Australia, Belgium, UK, and Taiwan. A brand new website was strategically launched and gain momentum attracting builders that ranged from Muscle, Euro, to Exotic cars. Instagram was a vital online tool for us to show viewers of different manufacturing process and stages. This was vital in reaching an extremely wide range of demographic, education level, profession, and interest.

During my 8 months contract, RSV Forged quickly become the new forged wheel company that emphasized heavily on design first. We had our in-house engineers using the latest Solidworks applications for all design and testing stages. A good client, who also is has an eye for trends often submitted his own hand drawings for inspiration which were implemented into different Series.

By the end of summer, plans were made to debut at the largest automotive convention; SEMA in Las Vegas. Booths were design and printed, demo wheels finish and both demo cars were trailored into the desert. As a first time SEMA exhibitor, we were lucky to be offered an indoor floorplan next to BMW USA. After years of working SEMA with Goodguys and building the Scion FR-S for ENEOS Nippon Oil in 2012, SEMA show was relatively simple. Communicated clearly with Freeman, who are the union workers, plan the different stages of development, and have a large team to load and unload the trucks. Simple.

My goal was to successful launch RSV Forged into the wheel industry. Today, RSV is not just known for their US quality and craftsmanship, but has certainly made an impact and gained mutual respect with other wheels brands: Fifteen52, Rotiform, VIP Modular, plus more.

RSV Forged

Monday, March 4

Exotic Air SCION GT FRS visits Edge Motor Works

In the Bay Area, there are plenty of tuner shops that sells the usual parts and offer services for a wide range of cars. But how many actually build race cars for specific race classes and employ only race car drivers/builder?.. Let me introduce you to Edge Motor Works.

Edge has been racing for over 7 years in SCCA, NASA, Time Attack, 25 Hour Thunderhill, etc. They are particularly known in the BMW and Mini community for building track record cars in many different classes. With 2 facilities now, Gordon, the brains and the owner of the business along with his master tech, Tony, who holds several class records on different tracks with their E36/30 race cars can now take care of customers in Dublin and Mountain View.

Besides the usual 30/60/90k services, they shine especially for their chassis tuning experience.

This particular day, we visited their brand new 3 week old Mountain View facility and we were highly impressed with their knowledge and workmen ship just from a few example of cars in the shop

Our Exotic Air FRS gets its' first alignment after the SEMA build process and each corner was seriously off. Luckily we raised the rear another inch the night before to solve some of the rubbing issues.

Also in the last picture you can see the new modified rear wing is now completely supported with a horizontal and V-bar to triangulate and eliminate any side movements. I'll share that story in another post.

Edge Motor Works will be preparing their own Subaru BRZ for SCCA and NASA so look out for big things to come from Gordon and the good team over at Edge.

EDGE Motor Works - Easy Bay
6443 Golden Gate Dr  Dublin, CA 94568
(925) 479-0797

EDGE Motor Works - Peninsula
2235 Old Middlefield Way Mountain View, CA 94043
(650) 318-5093

Thursday, January 31

Exotic Air - SCION FR-S GT-SPEC - True Story

Building a car is never an easy quest. Building three cars in four months to be delivered on the largest automotive stage is, what I have learned.. insane. With this kind of pressure came many challenges as you can imagine. So, come hear the story.

With the hype of the FRS/BRZ being hailed as the true affordable tuner car to jump-start the aftermarket market, I have been following the progress since Toyota dropped a seed about Project 86. Like many when the car was finally for sale, I called in a favor to acquire this early in July. San Francisco SCION decided to host an enthusiast event where owners can enjoy an early morning drive in the hills of Half Moon Bay. At this event is where I ran into Norman, owner of N1 Concepts, a JDM purest known primary in the early 2000's as the source for all motor swaps, RHD conversions, and a J's Racing S2000 in their race program. Norman had purchased a FRS as-well with the hopes to steer his business in a new direction. Over the years of selling used oem parts, the hungry for fresh air was in need at N1. We ended up discussing ideas and allowing our creativity to wander.

Early on, there was a Japanese aero kit that caught the Internet by storm. It was known as the Rocket Bunny FT86, which was actually a combination of parts from Greddy and Kei Muria San. It consisted of a front lip, lip skirts, rear diffuser, fender flares and a GT style wing. I had to have this kit, but Norman insisted that we could do better and he had all the cards ready to go. 

He had an x-employee that had some knowledge with a sketch pen, so they went through a few rounds and presented to me their concept. It was very aggressive. These were HONDA guys, that have followed many JDM tuners that have designed wide body GT style S2000s; J's Racing, ASM, Mugen, and Amuse. Clearly, it's just a drawing, but could they actually execute with the given time frame.

Shortly after that cruise to Half Moon Bay, N1 spared little time and started their STi swap. They had previously imported a JDM spec STi motor with the intent to swap into the FRS chassis due to the same boxer motor mounting locations. Their guys worked fast and within one night the FA20 motor was out siting on a few tires on the ground and the STi motor was mated with the FRS tranny and everything bolted back into the engine bay. The FRS transmission tunnel was incredibly narrow and there was no way the big brother STi tranny would fit without serious sheet metal cutting. It was exciting to see such a brand new car with a turbocharged JDM spec motor swap so early in the scene, we were all smiles for a bit.

Then it was time to hand over my keys so development on the aero kit can start. I will be honest, it was the hardest challenge in the entire project. Andrew was the artist and the designer. He was confident he had the correct knowledge and this process would be swift. Well, two weeks in we started to hit a serious bump which cost hundreds of dollars of material cost. My gut feeling told me we had to ask for other opinions and solutions. It turned out we had to start over, so we lost 2 weeks and a lot of material cost. Like all things, the second time around was much faster and efficient. Overall shape of each fender was cut into wood and we used high density foam to fill the gap in-between. From there, Andrew started to design and shave the foam to the desired shapes. Driver side fenders were completed and work started on the passenger side. Things were looking good.. so I thought.

Norman and I agreed this was a joint collaboration for SEMA and I was happy to be the front man to discuss partnership with all companies that would support our FRS builds. Norman would take care of the back shop duties and I focus on PR/Marketing. I designed a 20+ page detail proposal and started to reach out to many different companies whom we wanted to collaborate with. For me, this was my favorite part because I enjoy working with intelligent people for a common goal. Presenting a game plan that outlines investors return, build process, media coverage is very natural for me. Luckily, I had some old relationships from my 2010 SEMA projects and one of them was Vince at Forgestar wheels. 

I still remember it clearly. It was Friday afternoon, Vince and I were in a meeting and he agreed to use the Exotic Air FRS in his Forgestar booth for SEMA. Good, one goal achieved, onto the next. Come Monday, I get a message from Vince stating he walked in to a Scion dealership and bought a FRS over the weekend for his SEMA booth. That was unprofessional and he felt the same. So, luckily Vince is very plugged-in with all the companies in the automotive industry. He said to give him a few days and we will find a booth for the EA car. Surely, two days go by and the FRS will be displayed in the ENEOS Nippon Oil booth. I was thrilled. 

ENEOS is the largest oil company in Japan. They are the Jiffy Lube of Japan. Over the years ENEOS had made huge presences at SEMA with outrageous booth displays in the performance hall, usually nearby the HONDA booth. Oddly, they decided to take a break from SEMA when it came time to lock down their booth location and gave up their seniority. By the time Vince had asked ENEOS to display a booth at SEMA, all the booth space was sold out except for a spot in the Truck hall on the upstairs of the wheel/tire hall. They had no other option, so that 20x30 was quickly purchased and locked-down. That did not bother me.. I was just happy to be working with ENEOS and to build a display car for them at SEMA was very exciting!

Back to the build, progress continues on the GT aero development and other challenges started to slow us down. Andrew was a full time student so scheduling was not consistent. So, I started to help Andrew with the design. The front bumper, like the fenders were built twice due to design issues. Other people started to give their opinions and that forced more changes to happen which took more time to redo. Egos and attitudes were another challenge in this group, which I will not go into detail but I can say it did hurt the relationships and we continue to precious loose time. But what can you expect from a group off guys that have never worked together before and with such strong personalities. Disagreements are bound to happen..

Other local body shops were called-in to help at night to speed up the bondo and sanding stages. Although Norman insisted he had body guys ready, when it was time to execute, no one was there to help. Hundreds of dollars spent each time we needed material, quickly added up to thousands invested.

Designing the rear bumper pushed us all to the limits. It just did not look right, so Andrew continued to try new ideas, but sometimes as artists, you just need to leave it alone and come back to it down the road. We focused back on the front bumper and continued to explore different ideas to create down force from many of the Time Attack race cars. 

Let's sway form the story and focus on companies that partnered with us:

Forgestar was debuting their all new Super Deep Concave F14 wheels at SEMA. I asked Vince for the widest set with the lowest offset offered and it came out to be 19x10 -25et & 19x11 -6et. The only problem was, the wheels were not scheduled to arrive until 1 week before SEMA. Which meant we had no idea what the fitment would be like with the tire choices under the extreme arches. Of course, the FRS chassis was brand new and the 5x100 bolt pattern surely did not allow us enough options for testing wheels, so we had to hope our calculations were close enough. Well, when the wheels did finally come, it needed spacers: an inch in the front and two in the rear. Luckily, Auto R&D stepped up to bat and got us 6x sets of 1" inch spacers (yes, we double stacked in the rear).

TOYO Tires were very generous and sent us two sets of their very high performance R888 track tires in 265/35 and 295/30 sizes. These tires are truly amazing, ultra sticky compound, and hard sidewalls.

AIRAID, a performance intake company reached out to me on the FT86 forum and ended up sending us two of their intake systems. High quality plastic piping and enclosed filter that uses stock air opening was very well designed and installation was spot on.

CKS suspension is good friend. John were more than happy to support the project. He built a custom one-off shock with different valving, higher viscosity fluids and shorter shock length to match the Swift Springs: ultimately to accommodate track duties. I was very pleased with CKS and the outcome. Their system comes with adjustable sway bar end links, pillow ball top hat and full camber adjustment plate. Product is high quality with precise machining and fitment. Dampers are 24 way adjustments. They will have 2-way adjustable shocks in 2013, so I am looking forward to test that.

Odyssey batteries sent their small and lightweight racing cells for all the cars. Odyssey were a partner back in 2010 with the 5 Lexus builds and it was a no-brainer to collaborate again, especially after gaining knowledge about Optima pushing very hard this year at SEMA, I wanted to help their brand and identity. Easy to work with and extremely professional.

ARK Performance is a Korean manufacturer of high performance parts, but really known for their exhaust systems. Similar to Airaid, a representative from ARK reached out on the forum and from there I sent in the proposal and we agreed to work together. Only problem was, their exhaust system was still a prototype and will not be ready until 1 week before SEMA. At the end, they came through with their exhaust system. It utilizes twin mufflers with twin resonators, beautiful machine welds and proper fitment. Not too loud but aggressive when the pedal is floored. We were pleased with the outcome.

NRG, we asked for 4x carbon bucket seats, rails, 2x steering tilt systems, 2x concave steering wheels, hubs, lug nuts, carbon canards, etc. NRG responded and said to come pick up parts. This is the first time working with NRG and I was extremely pleased with their professional manner. I was more thrilled when I saw their full carbon fiber bucket seats. Each seat weights less than 12 pounds, the fabric does not feel thin and it's actually a very comfortable seat. I am 6'1" and it fits me well.

Wilwood offered their 6/4 setup. Everything looked great until we tried to install the rear rotors.. apparently they sent two different hub diameters, so Wilwood had to overnight the correct hub to use that final week before SEMA. Overall, their system is more than complete with extremely lightweight calipers and 2-piece rotors. Thrilled to be working with them.

An old friend who use to run HIN now works for Whiteline. They are known as the bushing and sway bar guru in the road racing world. Front and rear sway bars, shifter link and subframe bushings all came just in time. All in their signature yellow theme, it actually matched the N1RR suspension bars quite well.

Seibon offered us 2x carbon fiber hoods, 1x carbon trunk, 1x carbon lip wing, and 1x pair of carbon fender vents. Over the years I have seen Seibon continue to improve their quality and it definitely shows. Their hoods and trunks fit like oem with beautiful finished clear coat over the carbon fiber fabric. All I need is the dry carbon roof.

Lighting Technik Jonny came and equipped the car with their latest LED and HID technology bulbs throughout the car.

Local guy Dave, owner of offered to paint the headlight housing JDM flat black. Although it was his first time working on FRS headlights, Dave worked his magic and sealed everything back like it came from the factory. Honestly, some of the N1 workers were skeptic about separating the headlights but Dave proved them all wrong with his wit and years of headlight painting knowledge. It turned out fantastic!

We had to order large ENEOS decals for the doors and hood. So we contacted Shref at SS Customs for their vinyl printer services. All small decals were handled by a good friend Carlin at Impact Performance in SF who helped with the Wilwood install as-well.

Okay, back to the build.. 

So with the aero kit development coming together, it was time to call the shop that will make the mould. In a nut shell, Norman's "mould" people came, freaked out, said they do not have knowledge to build this size and complex shapes and ran out the door. I was not having a good day. What to do.. we have burned 2 months developing this aero kit and we need to build moulds. Norman franticly searches the White Pages looking for custom bath tub makers.. when I heard the news, it was time to call in a huge favor.

John at CKS is a good friend, so naturally, when he felt my concern he recommended ASUKA Design in SoCal. Asuka has two owners, Brad and Lawrence. Together they own a composite design/manufacturing business in Socal. With over 25 yrs of industry knowledge they have built a serious of SEMA cars for top clients as well as their own projects used in the media over the years. You wouldn't believe the response I got from Brad after I sent our progress photos of the plug. He said, it cannot be done.. not enough time. I assured him, the plug will be finished in a week. We were fortunate, b/c Asuka just completed a big job for another client and were able to help, but I was asking them to build 8 moulds and pop out 16 parts in 20 days. The pressure was seriously on at that point.

Asuka agreed to come help us and together for the next 20 days, we all worked day and night to make all the moulds and parts come out the best we can given our situation. The process is very time consuming. Plugs had to be at least 1000 grit finish, we were at 250 when they arrived at the shop. Everything had to be flanged, mounting points needed to be determined.. honestly, we had no idea how much was involved until Asuka came and taught us step by step. On top of that, they also donated 2x GT wings for our cars. No brackets, just the carbon wing, which was fine since were were planning to design our own brackets.

With parts popped out in fiberglass, we started to trim and test the fitment back on the car. It was looking better with a bit of hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Surely, premature celebrations lead to more issues.

The body shops that agreed to paint the cars could not accommodate us when we needed. Perhaps it was a lesson learned when asking for cheap labor or after hour deals. We needed a solution.

Norman has a friend that works at a domestic shop using CAD and Solidworks. He was called to help us design the rear brackets of the wing. Andrew had made some out of wood as a rough to somewhat get the idea across. From there, it was translated into Solidworks, tweaked and tested using simulations until we felt it was accurate. I sourced a local water jet cutting shop in Oakland and our file was emailed to get the process started. Those that have seen our GT wing would agree, it's pretty crazy. But a car with such an aggressive  GT looking aero kit requires a wing this extreme. Infact, I actually wanted a wider wing with larger end plates.

Ten days before SEMA, with both cars still looking hopeless, I schedule N1 to drive their trailer down to Socal to pick-up everything. It was a 3 day trip and 6 total stops. They brought back: 8x wheels, Wald FRS kit, 2x hoods, 1x trunk, 1x trunk lip, 4x seats, exhaust system, and a bunch of little parts. Came Sunday, we got tires mounted and work continue to progress.

Besides the two GT Spec FRS builds, we took on a third FRS project when Jonari needed a demo car for their Wald aero kit. N1 concept employee also had a FRS and we quickly had the body shop paint and install the kit, followed by AP Racing brakes Airaid intake and TE37SL wheels borrowed from Speed Element.

A good friend, Brad from Performance Auto came to help us Thursday thru Saturday. Actually, he was a huge asset for the final push before loading up the cars and leaving for Las Vegas. He helped install the exhaust and almost all the suspension arms and braces from N1RR.. a sister brand under N1 Concept. Brad even ran to Tap Plastic to order the GT wing end plates to fit onto the ASUKA GT carbon wing they donated.

We needed a solution for paint, but at that point we were clearly out of time. The decision was made to purchase Plasi Dip in matte red since the car is red, I figure it would be easy to keep the color similar.. so I thought.

That final week was a blur. Everything was coming together and yet felt so far from the finish line. People coming and going, sleeping on Recaro seats in the showroom and eating so many McDouble and McChicken sandwiches to a point just the thought makes me want to vomit onto my laptop.. It was insane. Spacers were ordered and came on Thursday, Vinyl were cut on Tuesday, we were missing NRG steering hubs, so that was rushed ordered and arrived on Wednesday, but we all knew it was the Plasi Dip that we were all very nervous about and could no longer ignore.

Friday night we prepped the car to be sprayed Saturday morning. We all worked until we couldn't and crashed on Recaro seats. Morning came and we started shooting the car with the Plasi Dip kit in matte red. Layer after Layer.. by 1pm.. we ran into another problem. The matte red on the aero kit was not matching OEM red. Ten coats of matte red Plasi Dip and still fiberglass resin was not completely covered. 

If I didn't mention, Saturday was when we were to leave for LV.

What to do at this point..??? Plasi Dip the entire car matte black. 

I rush off to the local Home Depot and bought every can of matte black they had.. 45 cans total and almost $500 dollars later, I get back to the shop and each one of us all took a can and started to spray. It was insane. We finished spraying around 5pm and started to wait for the rubber to cure. 

In the meantime, the wing was being installed and a couple of friends came to install the seats. Somehow they stripped one of the bolt heads and were only able to install one NRG carbon seat before loading both cars that night.

By Midnight, we were all zombies and barely functional. Finally at 4AM we load both cars onto the enclosed trailer and start our drive down to Las Vegas. I remember going home to pack, b/c I haven't been home since living at N1 for a week. I drove with a friend in his Lexus IS350 convertible following the trailer. Nine hours later we arrived just in time to roll in Sunday for the Wald FRS and N1 Concepts GT FRS. 

Monday was roll in for the Exotic Air FRS at the ENEOS booth. All the ENEOS representatives were watching as we rolled in our batrmobile. Honestly, their initial impression was not the greatest since the car was still missing decals, missing one seat, and part of the bumper was scrapped from inside the trailer. But, we worked our magic that afternoon in the booth and finished the car. 

The car was so well received at SEMA as being one of the most aggressive FRS builds, we even won a people's choice award. For me, this was a exercise to continue to push the limit of building one off cars with an under budget starting point. We focused on American made companies. Since this GT kit was designed and made completely here locally, we continued that same mentality throughout the car; supporting the local American companies. Continual and creating new business relationships is the key to a success, at the end it is all about people.

The Exotic Air SCION FRS GT-Spec turned out to be so much better than what I had envisioned. It was blood sweat and tears.. but, if given the chance, I would do it all again.


Tuesday, October 16

Exotic Air Partners with Wilwood Brakes

Exotic Air is proud to announce our newest partnership with Wilwood brakes on our SEMA SCION FR-S. This is our first time working with Wilwood but I have been personally keeping a close eye on their products and their involvement in the industry. We were lucky to have contact Wilwood early enough to lock down a deal on 1 of 3 FR-S kits preleased before SEMA.

Full 2-piece floating rotors, 6 piston fronts and 4 piston rears. Comes with more hardware than what I remember from other BBK companies. We are very excited to test these out on the track come 2013.

Look for the Exotic Air SCION FR-S at SEMA 2012 in the ENEOS Nippon Oil booth!


Wednesday, October 10

Exotic Air Partners with Tjin Edition - Ford Fusion @ SEMA 2012

Exotic Air is thrilled to be working with Tjin Edition at the 2012 SEMA show. The first car is the all new redesigned 2013 FORD Fusion fully equipped with our Exotic Air lifter suspension. The car will be on display on the FORD Stage throughout SEMA week at Las Vegas.

Check out the rendering:

Exotic Air  |  Tjin Edition  |  FORD  |  Pedders Coilovers

Friday, September 28

FR-S SEMA Build - Airaid Intake

Keith @ Airaid reached out on FT86-club and offered their intake systems for our FR-S SEMA build. Although our cars are destined for boost and swaps, they were still more than happy to offer their latest intake systems to us for use in the meantime.

Initial reaction is similar to Whiteline products, great packaging, fast shipping and fantastic customer service. Keith and the Airaid team sure put together an awesome product for all BRZ and FR-S customers.

Check them out: Airaid

Thursday, September 20

SCION FR-S SEMA Project - Whiteline


Our SCION FR-S SEMA project has been in the works for a few months now. The majority of the work being concentrated on the GT-Inspired aero kit being build in-house. In the meantime, a good friend from the HIN days now work as head of marketing for WHITELINE Performance Suspension. He sent us a care package and we are grateful for our new partnership.

The package consist of sway bars front and rear, subframe mounts, and tranny bushing. I was very impressed with their packaging and attention to detail on every literature made. It shows true knowledge in their products and dedication in the suspension market.

Look for WHITELINE at SEMA with their own booth (24723) and their own demo BRZ.

Tuesday, September 18

JDM Nissan R35 GTR

How should this be built?.. Drag, time attack, Texas mile?..

What power range?.. 600, 800, 1500hp?..


Wednesday, September 5

Exotic Air Official SEMA Press Release

This year Exotic Air and N1 Concepts is working together to debut our own, "GT-Influenced" SCION FR-S at the SEMA autoshow 2012.

Initially, plans were to acquire the very popular, Rocket Bunny aero kit. Although the Kei Miura designed aero kit is very attractive, we wanted to step away from a subtle street build and closer to a true GT/Time Attack car.. which gave life to what you see here. Designed by a very talented artist, Andrew Zhou, and fully built at N1 Concepts here in Norcal.. look for this very special FR-S at SEMA this year.

To our partners and sponsors, we are most thrilled to be working together on this project!


Friday, August 10



After finding out the number of Rocket Bunny builds for SEMA, we decided to go a different route.

Monday, May 7

Exotic Air - A closer look

Exotic Air really spent their time putting out a great product. Check out their packaging.. Unlike others in the market that only care to turn a quick buck with a rather unfinished product, EA have outdone the competition with quality, functionality, lifestyle & culture, and buying experience as their company mission.

Whether you prefer track, grip, drift or just enjoy a proper set of coilovers, EA lifter systems can be adapted to allow up to 3" inches of suspension travel with a push of a button to clear those steep driveways or speed bumps.

You're probably thinking air bags have been in the suspension industry for some time now and could allow more than 3" inches of travel. But air bags are not spring rate and will never function anywhere like a coil spring. Which means air bag equipped cars does not drive properly on any road conditions.

Exotic Air was developed to assist coilover equipped vehicles where owners enjoy a lower ride height for better handling purposes and yet have the ability to raise the vehicle up to 3" inches for clearance when needed.

What lies inside of this custom made wood box is a pair of carefully packaged EA lifters.

Sonic MS in Mountain View, CA is their main distributor. Look for a launch special to come very soon!

Wednesday, March 21

SP Engineering Special Nissan R35

SP Engineering built this R35 with lots of rare JDM parts. Tommy Kaira carbon aero, HKS power supply, Advan wheels just to name a few.. not to mention Top Secret Gold paint.  (sourced from Night Import)

Arios Okuyama Auto Sports FD3S

This all track-purpose built FD is quite impressive. It ran a 58.818 at Tsukuba Circuit. Looks just a tad wider than stock.. (sourced from DogFight)

Tuesday, March 20

Jaeger-LeCoultre - Series Watch

Jaeger-LeCoultre Amvox3 Tourbillon GMT - $85,000

Limited edition of 300 pieces

New Amvox for 2008.

Its round ceramic case is the first ever made in this material by Jaeger-LeCoultre. It houses the automatic Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988 tourbillon movement, driving two time-zone displays and a date making a larger jump between the 31st day and the 1st day of each month so as not to obstruct the full view of the tourbillon mechanism. The extraordinary open-worked dial enables one to admire the ruthenium-coated bridges and baseplate, as well as the blackened central bridge of the AP/PM indicator.

As befits such supreme exclusivity, the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT will be produced in a limited edition reflecting that of Aston Martin cars, also issued in small series so as to remain a luxury reserved for a privileged few.

A mixture of zirconium and yttrium oxides is heated at high pressure to a temperature of over 2000 degrees so as to combine the two components into strongly cohesive blocks. To avoid any risk of porosity, the homogeneity of the material is also subjected to radioscopic scrutiny. This material is then ground in order to shape the case. This stage is performed with five-axle CNC equipment in order to specifically work on each facet and each contour of the complex AMVOX case. This final stage calls for the use of special tools coated in diamond crystals as well as diamond powders for polishing. The type of ceramics used by Jaeger-LeCoultre features peerless resistance and stability, for a material that is barely harder than titanium, as well as far lighter and twice as hard as steel.

The AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT houses a high-performance movement that enjoys the privilege of incorporating the patented oscillating weight of Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988C, the movement powering the Master Compressor Extreme LAB. This 21st century automatic movement is distinguished by the presence of a new oscillating weight featuring redesigned geometrical shape and affording a considerable improvement in winding performances. Its weight is 28% lower than classic rotors, since it is made from an alloy of platinum and iridium, the densest non-toxic physical body currently machinable. The use of avant-garde materials also serves to slim down the construction and achieve a far thinner result. Its arms are made from carbon fibers so as to make them lighter and more rigid. Friction is further reduced by mounting the oscillating weight on tiny ceramic ball-bearings. The design of the parts and the nature of the materials used in making them further enhance their shock-resistance and their durability.

The black hue of the case, the numerals and the dial echoing the characteristic structure of car radiator grids, makes a striking contrast with the 18-carat pink gold of the polished crown, the back bezel and the double folding clasp, as well as with the gilded accents of the luminescent broad pointers including a delicately open-worked minute hand.

Since the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT is intended for devotees of mechanical engineering, whether dedicated to automobiles or to precision timekeeping, it naturally sought to provide an ample view of the exceptional capacities of its revolutionary mechanism - starting at 6 o'clock, with a clear vision of the fascinating motion of the tourbillon. Its grade 5 titanium carriage features ruthenium-coated bevelled, drawn and polished edges and weighs no less than 280 mg. The 4N gold-plated upper bridge features a splendid open-worked design vividly evoking of the finest hours of automobile sports. The tourbillon is equipped with a variable-inertia balance oscillating at a cadence of 28,800 vibrations per hour.

The indispensable dual time-zone display is indicated by an additional hour hand and complemented by the ever useful AM/PM indication at 12 o'clock.

The main hour hand is adjustable in one-hour backward or forward increments by rotating the crown. The slender date hand pointing to the monthly calendar inscribed around the inner dial ring, performs a jump between the 31st day and the 1st day: an exceptional accomplishment for which a patent has been registered.

Further revealing the feats achieved by Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 988, the central dial opening affords fascinating glimpses of the ruthenium-coated bridges and baseplate, as well as of the central AM/PM indicator blackened with a PVD coating.

Jaeger-LeCoultre's designers have fitted the case of the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT with a sapphire crystal case-back.

Its appearance echoes that of the Aston Martin world through its avant-garde movement, its generous black ceramic case measuring 44 mm in diameter - a cutting-edge achievement in its own right - and aesthetic reminders relating to the signature codes of prestige automobiles, such as the driver's strap in perforated black calfskin with white overstitching and the winged Aston Martin logo appearing at 6 o'clock on the dial and admirably matching the brand's emblematic J and L capital letters at 12 o'clock.

Issued in a limited, numbered series of 300, the AMVOX3 Tourbillon GMT combines admirable strength and elegance, entirely dedicated to the masters of speed and of time.

Thursday, March 15

Exotic Air Porsche 997

More on this car later..

RWB & Illest SEMA 2011

Our good friends over at Illest have been busy with many SEMA projects. The big news was launching RWB (renown Japanese tuner for Porsche) in the US. The callabo included 3 complete RWB examples at SEMA 2011. Would you prefer matte white or green?

Gangsta Lexus LS600h

This is a very aggressive example of VIP tuning in Japan. If these big cars can handle and drive as good as they look parked.. then it's a win, win game! I'm a fan for big cars.. getting them to perform on a track is another story.

Tuesday, March 13

K&N, HPI, Vaughn Gittin Jr. Promo

Fun & Fresh.

East Bay Muscle Cars - '71 Camaro

There's only a handful of builders in the Norcal area that has the knowledge and experience to call themselves a custom shop. There's Brizio's, Moal, and a few others. But there's a new shop getting lots of hype in the Muscle Car world, East Bay Muscle Cars (EBMC) here in Brentwood.

Steve Keefer is not a newbie to cars. He worked as a tech for BMW for 10 yrs before taking that big step and starting his own shop to build beautiful and custom cars for his customers. What started out as his first '70 Mustang would land him numberous Goodguys awards, magazine feature articles, and invitation's to major track events. That car paved the way to what is EBMC today.

Many of Steve's customers come from near and far. 90% of them can tell you their horror stories of which shops to stay away from. EMBC is known to be the final stop for all these cars to finally get their cars completed and finished correctly.

EMBC keeps up with all things related to cars from Hotrods to Hybrids. Steve is a modern visionary that combines technology and trends into old school platforms. The end result is nothing shy of hip and classic mixed into one cool ride. The '71 Camaro you see here is a great example. The customer wanted to keep the 20 yr old paint but just needed the car to handle better. Wilwood BBK was installed with a 6/4 piston setup on 2-piece floating disc. Rushforth wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich add the grip on all 4 corners. The suspension was updated to handle the lower stance with QA1 coilovers and a complete free-flow exhaust give the old muscle car that desired sound.

What else can Steve and EBMC handle..? Well, you just wait. There's 2 pro touring projects being built currently. A twin turbo '67 Camaro in the works and a '69 Camaro with an impeccable amount of custom work will debut very soon. Look for a full feature this summer as the '69 will travel to Columbus and compete for the Goodguys Muscle Car of the Year award.

Stay Tuned.

East Bay Muscle Cars

Friday, December 30

Exotic Air Cup Suspension

Coming in 2012, there is a new player in the cup suspension market: EXOTIC AIR. Insider news are circulating that their designs have been in BETA testing secretly for the pass few years. Fully CAD designed and billet cut in T6061 alloy, their products are rigorously over-engineered. With 2 different sizes to hit the market, this will be a company to look into. The rumors are over 3-4" inches of suspension lift (depending on coilover stroke), lightweight designed that does not add much to unsprung weight, and packaging unlike anything else in the automotive market. They look like the Opus One of air cup suspension.. more news to come in 2012 !!!

Exotic Air

Monday, September 19

JOB Design New Series

What's in the works?.. A new series from JOB Design soon to be available for many VIP platforms. This new style will integrate many of the newer Euro styles and a sportier fog light assemble. Just like the Hybrid series, this will be the next big hit for our friend JO and JOB Design Japan.

JOB Design

Tuesday, August 23

What is a theme?

Every build has a theme. This example of a 40's Ford Pickup has a 2-tone effect where the body-line easily allows the truck to be split in the middle. I appreciate the gloss black grill which connects with the hood and into the roof. If only the wheels were black and had better offset.. almost there.

Nonetheless, a fine example of modern on classic.

Hellafresh CAMARO

If anybody knows more info on this build, please post it up. Cheers!

"Blastro" Chevy Astro Drag-Van

Spotted at this years Goodguys Nationals in Columbus, this Chevy Astro was putting on a show at the drag strip with a full top fuel motor. With a induction taller than the roof-line, this chopped and complete tube-chassis drag-van is all show and go.

Swagger wagons, the next scene to be revived.

Thursday, July 21

Not so mellow-yellow Honda FIT

Since the first generation of the Honda FIT, I've been a huge fan of the littel Kei-car. Check out this incredible build from the Philippines. The JDM spec sheet sounds something like this; Mugen widebody kit, Volk Racing TE37 wheels, Endless bbk, HKS turbo kit, Bride buckets, and much more.

This is one of my top 3 Honda FITS of all time.