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Reviews

ITS A VIP THING

16th March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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Japan & the JDM craze is nothing new, its an influence on the lives of so many with their mindset and ways of life. Their car culture especially plays a huge part with so many automotive fans from around the globe. From every documentary we’ve seen on the subject they are totally trendsetters without even knowing it, what we deem to be cool is often just because it was the only way to do it to them and therefore it simply worked.

So it would seem that little thought is put into what others think… refreshing that 😉

In the western world this kind of attitude can bring on hate. The desire to be different is shot down and conforming to the masses is the standard by which you are judged. With all that being said, we wanted to bring you all a little slice of the Japanese mindset from way up North in Aberdeen. A Lexus GS300 Sport that would not look out of place cruising the streets of Tokyo. At its heart is a JDM 2JZGE, for people who don’t live their lives knowing engine codes, thats a straight 6 3.0 litre engine pushing out around 240bhp and bundles of useable torque, easily moving this VIP wagon through the streets.

Its owner, Fraser, has a solid spec list of modifications, not the all of which are the usual ones you’d expect, its an awesome mix of mostly driveway mods that work, again saluting that JDM culture of doing it yourself & doing whatever you want.

A fully fettled exhaust and intake allow it to be heard long before its seen. But its the presence in person that demands your attention. Its most striking party piece would have to be the D2 Air Suspension system, dropping it to a floor scraping height thanks to 2 air zenith OBD2 compressors hugging the Works Rezax 2’s perfectly and worthy of its street sweeper gang sticker.

To suit all these lows the outside is as purposefully unique as possible with a Vertex front bumper flowing nicely into matching side skirts and a half cut OEM rear bumper allowing a Top Secret style rear diffuser to poke through finishing it all off perfectly. Spoiler wise its got a choice, the Toms roof spoiler is a permanent addition but bonnet spoilers, well, they come and go. As of this shoot it had a 326 Power spoiler, however we’ve seen since that its gone full BGW, an awesome addition to the overall look.

The interior has two red Recaro seats perfectly suiting the driven styling of this build. Adorned with stickers of varying degrees of awesomeness collected from travels to J town, once inside you’d think you were there. In fact check you can check this out for yourself in all its glory thanks to the work of Alex McArthur who has produced this ace video on the car, we feel summing it up perfectly.

This build isn’t a ‘trying too hard’ JDM replica, this is built completely to their same standard. If it fits it works, if it doesn’t fit well you just make it fit, you don’t listen to what the masses say, you don’t adhere to their set rules & accepted mods, this right here is the perfect example of the Japanese car culture.

Reviews

Auf Wiedersehen Hoshiko

14th March 2017 — by Dan Fegent

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Clean, spotless, stunning, & all other words of this ilk are what comes to mind when describing Russell’s 1998 JDM import Subaru Legacy GTB. A Subaru Legacy is a pretty rare car these days on the UK roads & therefore this ‘stanced’ take on the Japanese estate behemoth stands out even more. Named ‘HOSHIKO’, ‘HOSH’ has been a pride & joy of Russell’s since 2008 & it shows. The idea behind the build has never been to stand out in the crowd, but he has managed to do that simply thanks to the attention to detail & subtlety of this project.

Now I don’t want to put a downer on this write up early on, but Russell was going to break it down for parts. The story hasn’t ended as sad as that, but as it is the car has now made the trip to Germany to be with its new owner. Highly unlikely we’ll see the likes of this at UK shows in the future. As Russell said to me “Seeing it leave the country and knowing I won’t see it at the local super market car park was the only way I could part ways with it.” I think any car enthusiast whose put time & effort into a unique build will understand that frame of mind.

So the car has gone, but Russell still kept hold of those stunning one off custom ‘WORKS’ alloys, the most impressive feature in my mind of this build. The wheels themselves really make the car standout. They are WORK Emotion XD9 with custom flip cadbury purple with diamond cut lips. Sizes are 18 x 10 et38 fitted with stretched Falken 452’s 215-40-18 (by our friends at Ruislip Tyres no doubt).

Custom STi 4Pot brake upgrade & zinc dipped multi grooved Performance disc’s & pads sit behind the stunning ‘WORKS’ wheels running -4 degrees of negative camber. All this is framed perfectly by the lowered stance provided by the BC Racing “BR”  “Extreme Low” 30 point adjustable damping height & camber top mount coilovers.

This car is no slouch in the corners and thanks to amazing support over the years from Whiteline it has an extremely solid feel to it, a very impressive car in the twisty’s despite its size.

The interior has also seen a lot of custom work in Russell’s ownership. A deep dish alcantara steering wheel mated to a works bell boss and Richbrook white ally gear-nob provide the control needed. Cloth interior was also soon removed & retrimmed with an old school pleated leather in the front and two custom cobra mini buckets and framework fitted to the rear.

The work he has put into the cars overall appearance is outstanding over the years, subtle modifications which bring it all together & give you the result shown. From colour coding bumpers, rolling & flaring the arches and even the cleaning up of the headlamps and the addition of HIDs all come together for the end result.

Its not all aesthetic as the 2ltr 280bhp boxer engine has been allowed to breath thanks to the Apexi Power Intake & lets everyone know its coming thanks to the stainless steel Kakimoto rear box & decat section. To sum it up, the license plate surround says it best & is a worthy nod to the USA based car movement, this Legacy is ‘Simply Clean’.

Video

Fueltopia Offline – Ace Cafe & Kebagel’s

14th March 2017 — by Mike Newland

The Fueltopia “Offline” meets are really starting to kick off at the Ace. With the daylight now lasting a little longer, and winters chill starting to die down. More and more people are coming to check out our awesome monthly meets.

March’s meet saw a vast array of different cars from lots of backgrounds, From crazy sound off cars to full on competition drift cars. Variety is something that makes these meets extra special. I went along last night with my video camera, to try and get you guys an insight into Fueltopia at the Ace.

How can you be apart of it i hear you ask? Easy. Follow the Fueltopia page on face book https://www.facebook.com/fueltopia.co.uk. From there you will see when we post up the next monthly meet, all details will be in the event post.

Video by Mike Newland

News

The New McLaren 720S

10th March 2017 — by Dave Cox

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Good vehicle design challenges your predisposition.

Car manufactures over the last decade or two have been doing this for a while with each incremental update. BMW comes to mind here when they released the last of the E series cars. I remember seeing the 5 series and thinking “Hmm, not sure I like that” but within a couple of days I had totally come round the new design language. And I think it is important that manufactures keep on challenging our ideals. For if they follow the same styling cars will quickly date.

Sure, sometimes it doesn’t work out so well, consider the FIAT Multipla, that remains as ugly now as it did the day it was dreamt up. The same could be said about the Nissan Juke. Ahead of the Geneva motorshow, I saw a few blurry and low res pictures of the new McLaren 720S and I couldn’t really work out what was going on.

Come Wednesday morning my feed was full of pictures of the 720S, more importantly, they were clear and I could finally see what McLaren had been up to. My initial thoughts were that of confusion. I love McLaren, I always have, in my eyes, they can do no wrong. But now I wasn’t sure, is it ugly? Can I even say that?

The first point of contention for me was the “eye sockets” that now adorn the front of the car. From anything other than a dead front they appeared almost garish, like a set of poorly chosen sunglasses. For me it really disrupted the flow of the car. It was an odd choice as I have always thought that McLaren’s headlights have been cleverly integrated into the flow of the design.

Secondly the seemingly continuous change in surfaces across the bodies skin was a bit busy for my liking. From a side profile, it made it difficult to read. Things weren’t looking good, this was not the McLaren I had known and loved.

To be honest, these feelings lasted all of about 24 hours. I watched a few videos on the car, listened to McLaren talk about the innovations they had made and looked at really impressive imagery by Dean Smith and I could finally appreciate the way it looked. It is all in the details with this car, the “eye sockets” are not only there to house the improved headlights but also low temperature radiators. When you think about it, that is quite a clever way of designing the front end, no more large open grilles at the front of the car.

The “fussy” sculpted side is all about funnelling air to the intakes and holding turbulent are closer to the car all in the aid of improving down force. Speaking of which, this car actually produces 50% more down force than the 675LT before it! That is enormous! Not to mention that this car will also do 212mph!!!

McLaren have also developed “Carbon Tub II” for this project. A lighter stiffer tub which improves weight, torsional rigidity and allow for much better visibility. Having had a ride in a few McLaren’s I can say that being able to see out of these cars was never their weak point. To improve it must make it a joy to drive. I am thinking more along the lines a fighter jet canopy. The speedometer folds away neatly when the car turns off and also when you engage sport mode. I turns into a race car inspired rev-counter. Now that is just cool!

What do you think? Are you still struggling with the way it looks? Or have you come round to the new look of McLaren?

Words: Dave Cox (ShootingDave)
Pictures: McLaren – NetCarShow.com

News

The New Honda Civic Type R

8th March 2017 — by Dave Cox

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The all new Honda Civic Type R, what you saying?!

This is a car I have been waiting to talk about for a while. I have known about it for some time now as my day job is creating CGI imagery for Honda (UK, EU and US). So I am keen to hear what you think? How do you like it the new look?

For me, this is the Civic Type R they meant to build last time round. It seems more of a complete package, purposely designed body panels and aggressive looks. The 2015 version was an impressive car but the panels felt like they were just stuck on, like it was a body kit you could buy off the shelf. The vents were there purely for aesthetics rather than being functional. I was also slightly disappointed that it didn’t stay closer to the concept. It is still impressive too look at but if you were to approach from the rear or side and squint your eyes a lot of that aggressiveness went away.

That is where the 2018 model comes into it’s own, who would of thought that it would be pretty much remain so true to the original concept? Well done Honda!

The widened fenders are single pieces now, the bonnet has a very Subaru-esque scoop on it (not a bad thing if you ask me). A feature on the standard Civic 5 door was the large “vents” underneath the headlights. For me they didn’t really have a place, on the Type R, they seem far more justified.

The rear has some new features too. Most notably the 3 exhaust pipes. I am told by the chaps at Honda that the centre exhaust is an external wastegate from the turbo. I could be proven wrong but lets hope I am not. The rear wing is bigger, more aggressive and chunkier. It seem to be in parity with the updated tail-lights which I personally think are a big improvement over the ’15 version.

So that is the exterior covered, I know you all want to know about power, is it more powerful? Yes, well, a bit. A new exhaust system and an updated ECU see’s power pushed a further 10bhp totalling 316bhp and 295ftlb of torque. Nothing insane but from what I hear, the 2.0l 4-pot was pretty good anyway. They have been playing with the ride quality as well. The ’15 version was criticised for being too harsh so Honda have now given differing driving modes; Standard, R+ and Comfort. no ability to customise throttle response with damper settings but Honda isn’t interested in letting you do that. They feel they have set the car up to be the best it can be.

The interior is typically “Type R” with nicely bolstered seats and lots of red trim, shorter gear stick and machined metal gear knob. Small tactile changes to lift the car above the standard version.

So what are your thoughts? I think it is a big step in the right direction, I wish it was four wheel drive like the Focus RS but I won’t let that sully my opinion of it. I just can’t wait to get to drive one.

Words: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)
Pictures: Honda UK – Richard Pardon – sourced from NetCarShow.com