This is what it is all about
I’ve been with Fueltopia for around 5 years now and I can safely say that this is feature is the sole reason I do this. It has all the markings of a good story, travel, cool cars, great locations and meeting inspiring people. It sure will be a hard one to top. Sometimes the owner’s story steals the spotlight from the car. That is definitely the case with Reuben Dover. My favourite person from Gatebil.
Now I am going to preface this blog with an apology, I am going to jump around a lot. I will inevitably miss some information but there is a lot to cover here.
A bit of back story first, this July will be my fourth year attending Gatebil at Rudskogen and my 3rd year shooting with Gatebil Magazine a long side bringing content to Fueltopia. The event is riddled with cool builds and perfect light all within walking distance of the picturesque race circuit. Finding Reuben’s Laurel was like stepping on an inspiration land mine. Why? Was it the location? The light? The car? Nah – well I mean, yeah they were all great but it was the man himself that blew me away.
A guy from Waterford City in Ireland had spent what can only be described as the bare minimum amount of time getting his car ready for this event with the help of his family and friends. All in the pursuit of realising a dream.
In 2013 whilst standing on the pit wall of Rudskogen, inspiration slapped him hard around the face. Or more accurately the turbulent air from Frederic Aasbø’s car initiating. The seed was planted, the bug had bitten, it was time to do more than spectate.
Fast forward to July 2016, Reuben is in Japan, soaking in the JDM goodness, brimming his inspiration cup when he comes across a Nissan C33 Laurel. What was an original RB25DE non-turbo with an automatic had been converted locally to a RB25DET with a manual gear box. Being such a good price, he bought it with the intention of selling it when he got back Ireland.
Well that didn’t happen.
this was everything
The car is now registered and is Reuben’s daily (lucky git) which he drives to and from his job as a bus mechanic. It’s April 2017 now and whilst drinking beers with his mate Teejay, they decide to build their cars to take to Gatebil. A daunting prospect, with cars regularly topping out well 1,000bhp, the 250bhp Laurel would have some stiff competition. Did it stop him? Did it f*ck!
Nothing motivates you more than a deadline, once the 5,000km road trip had been planned out, they had 2 months before they had to be on the road to get to the event in time. I am sure Reuben won’t mind me saying this but he isn’t a man of wealth, he had to put everything he had into this build. Finishing work and being in the garage from 1700 to 0500 before going back to work at 0800, he did this every day to make his dream become a reality. He poured every cent he had, every spare Euro was spent making this happen. If something broke, he would fix it, there was no budget for spares or repairs. THIS WAS EVERYTHING.
The looming deadline helped focus him, the closer it got to July, the harder he worked. Even when he ran out of money, his friends helped it happen. Savings had to be made, the side skirts are made from guttering, cut to fit. The Advan livery had been designed by Neil (JuiceBox) and Reuben themselves! They even laid it onto the car whilst the last of the mechanical gremlins were dealt with. I should mention that they had not designed one before nor had they ever put one onto a car. 3 hours before they had to have the car loaded up, they had finished. Celebratory doughnuts completed it was time to stand back and take a breath.
I wasn’t there for this but I like to think they all stood back, covered in grease and grime and just stood their in silence. Maybe looking to each other with tyre sized bags under their eyes and smiled. I can only imagine the relief and excitement of actually finishing and getting to pursue your dream.
gatebil is my test day
Hundreds of kilometers driven, running on nothing but adrenaline they arrived into Rudskogen, they’d made it. With no drifting scheduled for Reuben over the next two days, it was time to relax with a hard earned beer.
Friday morning came around, nerves building alongside excitement, Reuben is sat in the pit queue waiting for his time. One final thought crosses his mind. “I haven’t tested the car, I haven’t done a drift day in 3 years!” “GATEBIL IS MY TEST DAY”. No pressure then Reuben.
“The last time I drive the car in the street… I had 250hp…. Now the car was almost 500hp. I was excited and nervous. But after only 2 laps I settled in. Drifting in 5 and 6 car trains all day. Melting tyres off. The car felt amazing to drive. It did not let me down. IT WAS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE. I was so happy.. I was proud. Together with all my Irish and Scandinavian friends we had a great time that night.”
it was all worth it
Reuben must of been still pumped up with adrenaline when I met him. I have never seen someone so ecstatic about having their car featured before. By this point I didn’t know any of the story I had just told you. I didn’t know him or anything about him. To me, it was just another cool car to feature for the magazine. This extract from the Norwegian article makes me smile.
“After a hard day drifting I met Dave in pitlane under the Wurth sign. Black and red & Black and red. Standing there remembering the time in 2013 when Gatebil blew my mind…. Now I was standing here in 2017 after an amazing day drifting. In a car I love so much…. In my favourite place in the world. AMAZING. Wow wow. All the nights with no sleep. No money in my pocket. The stress. Everything. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT. I DID IT.”
You see, when I feature cars I tend to be so involved in what is going on with the car, where shall I place it, should I light it? What location should I use? What lens? All these things are constantly running around my head that I don’t often get a chance to sit down and listen to the owner’s story. That is normally done through emails or messenger after the shoot. Sad really, maybe I am just bad at my job.
For me seeing Reuben’s enthusiasm, his passion and listening to how much all this meant to him made this shoot all the more special for me. I feel proud, honoured and happy to have done this for him. To help put that little cherry on top of his dream. I didn’t do much, all I did was take some photos but for him I helped cement memories that he built with his friends. To me that is truly something to be proud of.
The rest of the weekend was spent doing Gatebil things, drifting door to door with Aasbø, entering the world powerslide competition whilst his friends drank beer in the afternoon sun. I am envious of Reuben’s achievements but also inspired to just put the work in and get it done. Well done man!
Car – 1992 Nissan laurel
Engine – Rb25det unopened engine. Standard internals and head gasket
Walbro 255l fuel pump
Sard 550cc injectors
TRUST AIRNIX air filter
HKS front mount intercooler
Apexi power fc engine ECU
Garrett GT3071r turbo.
Garrett 0.82 turbine housing modified for wastegate
TIAL MVR 46MM wastegate
Full custom exhaust wit 2 silencers (to get the car down
to gatebil noise regulations.) This exhaust was built just
for gatebil noise regs
NISMO Engine and gearbox mounts
Custom intercooler piping kit
Greddy alluminium radiator
NISMO SLAVE CYLINDER
BRAIDED CLUTCH HOSE
KAAZ 2 WAY L.S.D
TRUST 13 ROW OIL COOLER
DMAX D1 SPEC COILOVERS
DRIFTWORKS GEOMASTER 2 FRONT race hub knuckles
DRIFTWORKS GEOMASTER TENSION RODS
FRONT CROSSMEMBER MODIFIED SO STEERING RACK
SITS 25MM FORWARDS
SUPERPRO STEERING RACK BUSHES
DRIFTWORKs geomaster inner tie rods.
URAS non-offset rack spacers.
Solid steering bush
Driftworks rear camber arms
SiOlid.rear subframe bushes
FULL R32 GTR SKYLINE BRAKE CONVERSION
ENDLESS CCX FRONT PADS
PROJECT MU r32gtr front discs
Project mu ns400 rear pads
Project mu d1 spec rear inner shoes ( I don’t run
HEL front and rear braided brake lines
Rear seats removed.
Cusco roll cage
Greddy oil temp. Water.temp. boost and oil pressure
R32 GTR PASSENGER SEAT
RECARO SP.G DRIVER SEAT.
Kenwood cd and mini disc player
Kenwood door speakers
Self designed advan livery.
Sideskirts are 2 pieces of drain gutter
Rolled arches all round.
Okuto FRP front lip
SSR mesh 16x8j +12 fronts
Ssr mesh 16x8j +0 rear
Tyres – Advan ad08r 205 50 16