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Event

 Old Town

30th May 2017 — by Dave Cox

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Armed with a beer and a camera, the air thick with the smell of booze, fuel and barbecue I felt the wave of childish excitement washing over me.

I write this through the eyes of a beer-fuelled tourist shuffling excitedly around the streets and bars of Old Town in Kissimee, Florida. It had been around 20 years since I last visited and I wanted to see if recollection of this petrol head nirvana was accurate. Fair warning, this will be a somewhat chaotic blog post, I hadn’t intended on doing event coverage, I just turned up looking to relax and drink some beer. I had no agenda, no features lined up, I was just there to take it all in. It wasn’t till I got home that I realised just how many pictures I had taken.

Before the dulcet tones of burbling V8’s filled the air, the sound track of the evening was people having fun in the fairground and surrounding bars. Picking up my first beer, I started walking from the bottom of Trophy Row, the staging ground for the cruiser cars, to get a closer look at the evening’s offerings. The night I visited was the Saturday Nite Classic Car Cruise which is hosted every Saturday with the main cruise starting at 8:30pm.

Reviews

Feature: Das Galag TG3

2nd January 2017 — by Dave Cox

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This thing is pure pantomime. It is a comically wide, hilariously loud chrome disco ball.  It is as subtle as farting in bed after a night of curry and beer, you’re bound to notice.

Now I will be the first to admit that I don’t know a huge amount about Mercedes. To my mind they are the type of car that is driven by taxi drivers and your Dad and often beige in colour. However they do have a way of clawing back some of that reputation by popping down to Halfords and sticking some chrome letters on the back. That, and shoehorning a thumping great V8 in the front of them. Even still, I failed to see their appeal.

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I even drove an E63 AMG Estate at Mercedes World in Woking, sure it was entertaining, loud and at the same time comfortable, I just never could shake off the thought of men in tweed transporting themselves to and from the golf club. To me they were rich boys toys, over styled, over weight and, dare I say it, vulgar. But what do I know? The sheer volume of them on the roads proves that I may be alone in this thinking.

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However, in late 2015 Mercedes announced the AMG GT and GTs. Everything I knew about the three pointed star had been changed, and I was very happy.

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The proportions of this GT cruiser are so well considered, that long bonnet, the swept back windscreen, the short cabin and curves that seem to never end. Who wouldn’t want to go mile munching in a thing that looks this pretty. Well that is exactly what the guys at Team Galag thought when they commissioned Xquisite Productions to build them a car for the Gumball 3000.

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What Xquisite did was not just bolt a body kit, because you can’t really call it as such. It is more of a complete reshell. It is said that there are a further six inches added to the width of this car already very wide car taking it well past the two meter mark. They managed this without disrupting the flow of Mark Fetherston’s original vision.

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Just look at how the body extends well past the rear taillights, normally the standard body would follow the contours of the lights. Not any more. In case the reshell was too subtle a rather large (read bloody huge) carbon fibre wing was added. In fact it had to be cut down so that it didn’t extend past the cars width.


Up front we have a front splitter the size of a tea tray, canards that resemble Jaw’s fins and fender vents that looks like, well, fender vents. Round back with that large wing we spoke of but also a functioning rear diffuser. If it is all still too subtle for you, you could just remove the mufflers and wrap the whole thing in chrome. Oh…ok. Well it is Gumball after all. And as such you want your car to look like a race car but would you really want to do 3000miles in a race car?

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Didn’t think so. So the interior was left as stock and to be honest, it is a great place to sit, everything works save for the sports exhaust button. The reason for that is they have removed the rear mufflers so it is on all the time. Naughty. There are exhaust flaps up front which get opened when you but the car in race mode.

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The seats are supple and supportive with AMG details on the back rest, the driving position is comfortable with great visibility. Heated seats, cruise control, air conditioning, satnav, RACE BUTTON, it has it all. I love the red stitching details and the  Edition 1 AMG alcantara steering wheel. I’d love to jump in and chew through some miles across Europe.

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Following the car through town to our shoot location was both hilarious and gob-smacking. The noises it makes in race mode are filthy. It is a dirty, filthy, brutal bark punctuated by pops and bangs. It’s like a heavily congested, snoring elephant rolling around on bubble wrap during a firework display. It was great to school kids gather and point as it set off from traffic lights, gawping motorists as went past and the cackling from myself and Phil as struggled to keep up with it. I love this thing.


The speed side of things is due to the fact that this AMG now how has a much smaller twin turbo V8 only 4.0L versus the old 6.2L n/a of 5.5L twin turbos but it makes more power, and is more driveable AND it has better fuel economy. The noise, well, as we mentioned, it doesn’t have any mufflers out back.

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Now when Phil and I first saw this at the Ace Cafe which you can see in this blog here it was dark and hard to see all the little details. But getting up close and personal to it during this shoot allows you to appreciate some of the differences this TG3 (Team Galag 3) has to the GT3 variant. I for one prefer the standard front grill versus the bar version. the original cooling ducts for the brakes remain too as well as the standard headlights. I’m not going to pretend it is understated but the redesign does a nice job of sitting between the standard and the race version of this car.

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With light rapidly falling away it was time to wrap up and head home. I really didn’t want to leave this silly, obnoxious, brilliant car behind. So on the way back I spent some time hanging out of the passengers window of Phil’s BMW catching some rolling shots. I’m lying really, I was just trying to get a better listen of it one last time. Now, if only I could find a spare £100k…

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I want to pay a special thanks to Kay at Xquisite Productions and his team for allowing the opportunity to shoot it. I really do appreciate it, any time you have something else cool to shoot, don’t hesitate in asking us to pop down.

Words & Pictures: Dave Cox (Shooting Dave)
Additional Pictures: Phil “Paps” McCusker

Spec list:
4.0L Twin Turbo V8
Mid/Front Engine, Rear Wheel Drive
503bhp @ 6250 rpm
479 lb-ft Torque @ 1750 rpm
7 Speed AMG SpeedShift Dual Clutch transmission
1674kg curb weight
0-60mph – 3.8 Seconds
top speed – 193mph

Reviews

The Drako a car that demands respect

13th November 2016 — by JimmyDrama

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You can tell a lot by what a person drives. Just sit back and look and you’ll soon be able to build up a character of the person by the automobile they drive. So, what type of person builds a car that at any given crank of it’s mechanical beating heart wants to kill you? Dimitriy Illyuk is no normal person and he gave birth to one of the World’s most vicious drift cars, The Drako.
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The chassis is a master of illusion, they say that fear comes in many guises, this time the Nissan S14 has been over-hauled with the Rocket Bunny Boss kit. The end result is Japanese car that looks more like a US born Charger, that’s been jacked on an intensive steroid make over. Dark and moody in looks the beating heart of the re-worked V8 Nissan engine is where the business really gets interesting.

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Over 1100hp is produced by the 2012 Nissan VK56DETT, the engine keeps true to the Drako’s JDM heritage, but is far from stock. Mahle Motorsport pistons, paired with Carillo rods replace the standard items. The block and head are forced together under restraint from ARP’s head and main studs and it’s thanks to BC’s uprated valve springs this engine barks like one of Satan’s hounds.

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Fire spits from the external screamer pipes that poke through the bonnet like a pair of horns. The boost is triggered by a meaty pair of Garrett GTX3071R turbochargers.

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While producing an engine with insane HP numbers is no easy feat, getting that to the wheels is also an alchemy art. OS Giken R4c clutch mated with a Drenth MPG gearbox, fully customised and with reinforced internals was the only option for the Ukrainian driver. After all he wasn’t building a street car to impress the locals – this build was summoning demons from another dimension.

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After all this being a drift car, it needed insane lock. Wisefab front and rear Nissan S14 kit dons the car and works well with the Feal Suspension coilover kit.

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This car is pure aggression, Illyuk, a driver that is close to taming the Drako, but when this car goes it’s always got a wild streak that can never be truly domesticated. Tyres last a matter of milliseconds when all the power from the good foot is engaged, but we Dmitiriy beams from ear-to-ear every time he drives it, could he be the gate-keeper to combustion’s hades?

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Spec

1999 nissan 200sx s14a

Engine: 2012 Nissan vk56dett 1100hp Mahle motorsport pistons,Carillo rods, arp head and main studs, bc valve springs. 2x garrett gtx3071r turbochargers, 2x turbosmart powergate 60mm, 2x turbosmart raceport Bov’s, turbosmart fpr 2000, id2000 injectors , ais 3000 direct port water meth injection, ati race pulley.

Drivetrain: Os giken r4c clutch Tilton magnesium release bearing. Drenth MPG gearbox custom ordered reinforced internals. R230 differential with gtr shafts

Electronics: Vipec i88 Motec pdm16 Motec keypad Motec e888 can expander Link dash 2 pro Mil spec wiring and ecu maping and can programing by @afterfix

Suspension: Wisefab front and rear nissan kits Feal suspension coilovers

Exterior: Rocket Bunny Boss 2 kit

Interior: Rollcage by motorsportinheart S15lhd dash

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Reviews

I heart V8ters

20th April 2016 — by Fueltopia

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Over the past two years, Steve’s all-black Nissan S-Body has been the feather-weight amongst the heavy-weights in an all out Royale Rumble of drift. The team of Abbey Motorsport/SB Motorsport had taken all their know-how to make the SR engined Japanese whip compete with Goliaths of Europe, often cars with double power figures being served a warming dish of door-bang by the old four cylinder engine.

Now there is a new block in place and it’s about to take the car to the next level, the SR has been wrenched from the engine bay and been replaced with a healthy serving of good ol’ fashioned American muscle, with GM’s LS3.

Not since Pearl Harbour, has there been such an explosive partnership of East and West – the engine is far from stock, while the base block is an LS the good people at Chris Jeanneret Racing have splurged their skills into good use. The heads been CNC ported and the stock valves have been upgraded to some slick titanium numbers, combined with high pressure double valve springs and titanium retainers – It’s enough to give the Terminator a chubby.

The CJR spec camshaft add a lumpy chug to that already distinguished sound of the hearty V8 thanks to its 239/242 duration.

The sparks and shocks of the electrical system are all controlled by AEM management, while a 150hp shot of Nitrous Express’s giggle juice just gives that engine the ability to deal out another serving of ka-pow when required!

While spinning on the rollers the dyno had a hard time to even give over the figures, but the print out had this beast pinned at a respectable 700hp and 750lb/ft of torque. In a car that is lighter than Jack Black’s rice cake collection, it’s going to be an unreal ride and a car that while looking the same, dishes out a whole new world of punishment.

Reviews

Tagged and Bagged – Carlos’ e46

25th March 2016 — by Fueltopia

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Words & Pictures: Dave Cox

Purists, it’s time to send your children to bed, close the blinds and prepare to hide behind that pillow, you’re not going to like this…

I want to talk to you about BMW’s. As a child of the ’80s the e30 M3 has always had a special place in my heart. My appreciation of the e36 with the right wheels and a drop has also grown.

To me the 3 series always struck a cord with me but I do feel that after the e46, they sort of lost their identity. Modern variants seem to be a costume of their former selves. Sure they are faster, safer, more fuel efficient but there is something missing.

Last year I visited LA and happened upon an e46 where Carlos (the owner) had clearly thought the same as me. The e46 M3 is an old car now and can be picked up relatively cheaply but it order to bring it up par with today’s trends, what do you do?

Carlos took three simple steps, kit, air and V8. Throw in some Rotiform wheels and you’re onto a make over which transforms the way the car looks. The subtle German lines and chrome faced wheels look positively pedestrian and ordinary by comparison.

The kit adds presence, the air lift provides attitude, the supercharged LSX V8 announces its arrival and the wheels set it all off. Oh and you can’t miss it, it’s bright green!

Built for SEMA, there is clear evidence or workmanship everywhere you look. The interior has remained largely stock with the addition of some cobra seats and Tuerck gear shifter. Sadly I didn’t get to hear this thing running as is the case with many show cars, the engine was still work in progress.

Once done, I am sure you’ll agree that this will surely snap necks. Purest may wretch at the thought of putting the beloved e46 M3 under so much surgery but personally I feel there’s more to that. The Internet is awash with modern super cars and high end coupes all getting modified, it’s nice to see that the old girl can still stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of them.