Browsing: Features

Art or function, aesthetics or aerodynamics. When it comes to swapping out your vehicle’s bumpers, fenders, skirts or wing, you are likely to run into some critics. Some may question your decision, while others will support your choice. When you change these parts for a reason other than just for “looks,” you are likely to gain supporters and performance from your decision. Choosing an aerodynamic kit that allows a wider wheel-and-tire combination and that delivers additional downforce will garner much more appeal than a show-only body kit that makes your Accord look like a Skyline. While many body-kit manufacturers have…

Real track killers look fast because they are fast. In speed contests of any type, function ends up dictating fashion, never the other way around. Varis Corporation, based out of Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture, has made a name for itself by creating functional aerodynamic solutions created from and informed by research and experience in Super GT and Super Endurance racing series. These trials by fire led to the creation of the Kamikaze-R aero kit for the venerable Nissan R35 GT-R. With this direct-from-racing heritage, constant data acquisition necessitates constant revision; the Kamikaze-R Version 2 is the latest iteration of their top-line…

“Ricer”. Is it a slur, a racial put down, a term meant to put down a vehicle for looking the part, but not having the goods to back it up? In Rochester, New York, “Ricer” takes on a new meaning. “Ricer” is the nickname given to STM’s 9- second street and strip EVO. While the ignorant often label all types of Japanese performance vehicles “Ricers,” STM figured there’s no better revenge than to build a “Ricer” capable of decimating just about anything found on the street. Considering that this EVO has already run a 9.27, we’re pretty confident that one…

If you’ve been to a professional motorsport event, you have definitely noticed that there are many people involved aside from just the drivers. Large groups of people are behind the scenes making sure everything gets done on race day. From race officials to team transport drivers, everyone has a job to ensure that the race weekend goes smoothly. Many of these people participate for their love of the sport, while others end up finding their love for the sport as they work the race events. Text by Austin Cabot  //  Photos by Chris Sullivan and Austin Cabot For Savanna Little,…

It all started $100,000 ago when Jose Gonzalez was in search of a project car. The hunt for the project wasn’t an issue; however, the budget was. Gonzalez had crunched down his options to three vehicles: Datsun 510, Toyota Celica, and Nissan Hakosuka. Fortunately for Jose, a friend of his introduced him to Eric of JDM Legends; the man that made it all happen. Text by Bassem Girgis // Photos by Kayla Ringle A Change of Luck With a long line of people ahead of Jose looking for the same car, which he had narrowed down to the Japanese legend…

Everyone needs a good getaway car. What you’re getting away from is up to you. For some, it’s the need to eliminate a vehicle’s shortcomings; for others, it’s to escape the fleet of also-rans in a saturated playing field. In still others, it’s simply an escape from the banality of showroom-stock cars. For Filippo Meli, however, it was a case of “all of the above” that prompted him to suit up and step up with his 2016 Subaru STI. Text by Arnold Eugenio // Photos by Daean Chase and Michal Kubik THE PLAN COMES TOGETHER After joining the regional Subaru enthusiast…

Insane Speed builds insane cars. It has produced numerous high-powered vehicles from 1,000+ horsepower EVOs and Supras to twin-turbocharged Lamborghinis. Building insane horsepower is the company mantra, and the challenge of doing so just to prove that it’s possible motivates shop owner Todd Allen. This “can-do” attitude prompted Allen to go to the trouble of building a high-horsepower single cam D16. It makes less than normal financial sense to the typical enthusiast but was just the sort of challenge that Allen thrives on. He acquired this Civic Coupe EX as partial payment from a customer who didn’t need it anymore.…

Too many enthusiasts choose to spend money and throw parts at their car until something good comes out of it, without doing their research and without a goal in mind. The ones who do it right, however, know where they want the car to end up and can therefore map out the plan to get there. Yoshihiro Kikkawa and the highly-acclaimed shop Advance laid out the objectives for Kikkawa’s BNR34 Nissan GT-R early on, aiming to race the clock at Fuji Speedway. With this end goal in mind, the team analyzed the R34’s strengths and weaknesses, and set out to…

You’d be hard pressed to find any motorsport that pushes its drivers and cars harder than rally. Drivers, co-drivers (navigators) and their cars must drive for hours on end over the course of a weekend, navigating their way through off-road beaten trails, thick gravel paths, and stretches of tarmac. The mix of road surfaces, jumps, and unpredictable obstacles makes rally the ultimate proving ground for a driver’s skill and a car’s strength. In the interest of proving the performance and reliability of its parts, paired with a love for rally racing, Cusco assembled a 2014 VAB Subaru WRX STI to…

Good looks, turbocharged power, low weight, excellent handling, and a distinct sound, Mazda’s FD RX-7 of the 1990s had it all. The car’s unique power plant and timeless looks turned it into an iconic representation of the rise of import performance, making it a highly sought after platform among all of the automotive community. Fujita Yoshiharu and his Fujita Engineering FEED Racing Program team have long appreciated the importance and performance potential of the FD platform, so they decided to search for an example to call their own. This build would turn into the team’s testing platform for new engineering…

Few car design concepts divide an audience more than the wagon. Some see wagons as nothing more than family cars and grocery getters, while others consider them a uniquely sporty aesthetic. More recently, wagons and hatchbacks have evolved into a somewhat popular design for a niche audience, but there are still plenty who refuse to call anything with added cargo volume a performance car. Either way, the sight of an R34 front end on a station wagon at the drag strip is enough for anyone to have to double-take. Text by Cameron Parsons // Photos by Rob Shaw Little more…

Inspired by high horsepower rally machines of the 1980s and early 1990s, the battle between the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru WRX STI carried on for over a full decade. Both platforms kicked off in the early 1990s, sporting turbocharged four-cylinder engines sending nearly 300 horsepower through an AWD drivetrain. When one model raised the performance bar, the other would bite back with another round of updates. The battle raged on through the cars’ introductions to the United States until 2015, when Mitsubishi was forced to pull the plug on the EVO brand. Although the EVO name came to its…

Although we as enthusiasts appreciate and enjoy the power capabilities of the acclaimed 2JZ-GTE platform, we also can’t deny that high horsepower JZA80 Supras are a dime a dozen. Pristine builds don’t seem to turn heads anymore unless the car cranks out more than 1,200whp. Even then, few make the effort to turn that power into anything but a quarter-mile burnout. Ken Miyazaki of Japan took a different approach with his 1998 Toyota Supra Turbo. Instead of aspiring to the many dyno queens in existence, he outfitted his JZA80 to turn fast laps on a road course. Text by Cameron…

There are few examples of the States getting a better version of a vehicle platform than the rest of the world. However, the first-generation (1G) and second-generation (2G) DSMs are an exception to the rule. While only FWD versions were available in Japan, AWD versions were available in the States. A cooperative effort between Chrysler and Mitsubishi produced the Eagle Talon TSi AWD, the Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX and Plymouth Laser RS Turbo AWDs. These legendary DSMs would not only introduce the States to the capabilities of turbocharged four-cylinders, but also to the extreme merits and challenges of an all-wheel-drive configuration.…

If you haven’t heard of HKS, Daigo Saito and Nobuteru “NOB” Taniguchi, then you must be very new to the import performance scene. HKS has been Japan’s premiere full-line performance parts manufacturer since the 1970s. Today, HKS has reestablished a US presence and we expect big things in the coming years. Daigo Saito is the D1GP and Formula D championship driver that we followed in our DSPORT Full Lock video series the season that he took the championship. He’s well known for his aggressive driving style and big-power drift machines. He is also the proprietor of Fat Five Racing, a…

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