Oct 23, 2014

Queensland Matsuri 2014

by Gabriela Bolitho

Nelson Mandela once said that there is no passion to be found in playing small. If there is one thing I discovered while exploring the Queensland Raceway for Matsuri, it was that no one was playing small. Our introduction to the day was a Silvia parked up near the entrance to the event showing signs of defeat and looking a little worse for wear; what we later found out was a casualty of the previous days antics.

As we walked through the gates and headed for the track, we happened across countless teams huddled in their spaces – some looking quizzically at their vehicles, some looking like they had no cares in the world and others laughing and joking with each other like the family they were.

Behind the row of cars and across the bitumen were all the people who had come to spectate the event. Beyond was the track filled with the people who make this event what it is.

As we continued to tour through, we came across more teams working together in the garage as well as a guy who was the only member of his team. We walked in awe of all the vehicles at the event and, even more, their drivers. We witnessed some malfunctions, namely a driver having a domestic with his bonnet on the track and were lucky enough to watch the owner of LoLux drift ute tear up the track as well.

"Ladies and gents, that is not all at all. I picked the pictures that best illustrated Ms. Bolitho's eloquent words, but she took so many photos. Starting tonight in Japan time, I will be posting several mini posts featuring the photos she took at the event. I just want to give the biggest shout out to Gabriela and her boyfriend Louis, which both made this series of articles possible! Thank you so much, guys!"

-Dustin Mankin

Oct 21, 2014


Drift and Grip Day in Oita, Japan

by Dustin Mankin

I shot this video earlier in the year, and just now decided to post it. We had a fun little track day at a Go-Kart circuit in Oita, Japan.

Some people were shaking down their setups, and some people were grip racers, but we got a little drifting in the mix, too. We got a nice JDM Civic Type R, a Subaru STi, an S14, S15, a brief appearance by an S13 180SX, an old Toyota Cresta and well.... that's it.

My GoPro suction cup totally broke off at the arm while I was waiting on the Green S14 to go slide.... Then got ran over! Those cameras are tough as hell! I'll never buy Chinese shit for my GoPro, again. I went out afterward and bought a real GoPro automotive mount.... it's solidly built.

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Oct 20, 2014

Project 180SX:

Front Wide Fenders, pt. 2

by Dustin Mankin

Alright, here we go...right on to part 2 and I'm listening to some Sweet Willie Brown on Youtube while I type this. Check out "Swag" it's a pretty nice track.

Anyway, when we left off, I had just sanded down the FRP Epoxy/Cocaine-Magic-Powder mix that I was using to fill some deep cracks and chips. If you are looking at the photo above, no I'm not throwing these fenders away, it's just that the garage is a little cluttered and there was nowhere to put this stuff. Pretty sure that water pump was for a 660CC Kei Truck, BTW.

After sanding all of that down, we added some aluminum putty to the arches to fix some areas and also to add strength. Not quite as hard as JB Weld, but this stuff gets ridiculously hard, almost like metal. Generally we have been using it when shaving holes, such as the rear window squirter and the radio antenna hole. It also works well in reinforcing busted FRP Fenders, obviously.

We put it on both fenders and gave it about 30-40 minutes to come to a good cure. As you can tell this fender was a little worse off than the other one, so it got a little bit more putty.

After letting them bake in the hot Japanese sun, it was time to start sanding them down.

Of course, these pictures make it look easy. Even with 60 grit on the DA, this stuff felt like it was NEVER gonna knock down. If you are using a DA, you better call off work for about a week, and get some Red Bull, it's going to be a while.

Once again, don't be scared by the low numbered grit on these papers, these are getting more work, and will also be getting sanded more later, before applying gel coat. Also don't forget that a DA's action causes the cut to be much more fine with the same grit than hand sanding would allow. I would imagine that a 60 grit paper on a DA will yielded results similar to 100-120 grit by hand. That's just a guess, but there are body work shops that talk about this in detail if you Google it.

And as you can tell, there is still plenty of sanding to do to these fenders. Part three by the end of the week, probably on Friday. I got a few more articles to get out this week, including the Matsuri 2014 event from Australia. I got a reader a press pass, and he delivered some solid pictures. I can't wait to share them with you.

Until then, hit me up with comments and criticisms on the build below.

Oct 19, 2014

White Knight:

A Nice R34 VSPEC II in Fukuoka

by Dustin Mankin

I looked out the window of my girlfriend's house, and my eyes fell upon this. At first, I didn't know if it was real, or if my eyes were playing tricks on me. I always look in the parking lot accross from her house, and at times I have found a few things that are pretty cool... but like most import car enthusiasts.... I am so in love with Skylines. They make my heart melt. Like Indian Jones and the Last Crusade drinking-out-of-the-wrong-holy-grail melt.

It is rocking the NISMO Z-Tune Aero Kit, with damn near every bit, except, sadly, the fenders. I love those fenders.

Front a side winkers are matching smoked clear units, and then we see a set of aero mirros, making the package a little big more sleek for whipping down the Fukuoka Urban Expressway on those night time runs.

It still has the stock steering wheel but, check out the nice bracing inside. It's obviously not a roll cage, but a tension cage will shore up the sides of this beast, keeping it stiff looping around the never ending expressway. $6.00 race all you want! Just avoid the undercovers and the speed cameras that are EVERYWHERE!

A little Z-Tune Wingage.

And of course it's no surprise to you, but when I saw this VSPEC II Badge on the back, I about shit. It was like that car kept getting better and better!

And the last two pics proudly show off the sexy Work Meister S1 Wheels. Nice color Combo, as well as a really nice lip. It's definitely a performance car, and not a park it at a hipster meet and greet type of car, so it doesn't need 7 inches of lip.

This car is fine the way it is!

If any car is deserving of your comments that I've posted so far, this is the one! Hit that shit up,below!

Oct 18, 2014

Quick Snap:

A Cherry S14 in Fukudomae

by Dustin Mankin

I found this Kouki S14 in Fukudomae in Fukuoka. I can't tell if it was a K's or Q's from the engine, but the alloy rims are optional, and I have seen them as an option for Q's models. At any rate, it is definitely nice to know that there are still unmolested Silvias in the wild. That's rare in Japan, America, Australia, everywhere. Maybe one day I can molest this thing, like an uncle in the third bedroom at a family get together.

Oct 17, 2014

Project 180SX:

Front Wide Fenders, pt. 1

by Dustin Mankin

About a month or so ago, I posted up that I was given some wide fenders as a gift. While also looking like they were pulled right out of papa Smurf's ass, color-wise, they were as broken as a battered housewife after a cold dinner.

The first thing to do was to knock that horrible Smurf paint down. It's not so hard to do with a DA, and if I remember correctly, I used 180 Grit on an air powered DA. With the amount of work needed, it's fine if it's a little bit rough. The extra scratches will help the body filler, fiberglass, and gel coat adhere.
In the back is the rear lip that I was gifted. I began sanding that down, too, but as of now, it's still not finished, and I don't know when it will be.Being completely honest... I'm just not thrilled about this lip. It won't perfectly flow with the Type-X sides and front lip, so I'd almost rather go with no lip at all. I'm still thinking about this one. Back to the fenders!

If you look in the picture above you can see the big section of paint missing from the fender above. That is this crack in the fender, making it wobblier than an 80-year-old-man's..... walk... yes... walk. Get it out of the gutter!

The spots like this, I used a belt sander to knock down the paint, gel, coat, and some of the fiberglass. This will make a really good dip in which to add some FRP or Epoxy Resin.

In this corner it was more of the same situation.

And here is the belt sander in action, working on the underside of the fender.

We planned on reinforcing several rear areas of the fender with more layers of fiberglass mat. To prepare for this we belt sanded the areas down, as mentioned above. This also gives more texture to the area, so that the mat and resin can better adhere.

The epoxy we used is a combination of Fiberglass Resin and a white powder, with a consistency of baking soda. You mix it until it looks and feels about like Elmer's school glue, and then it's ready to go on. I'm told that it's almost the strength of fiberglass mat, but more sculptable and moldable, much like bondo. Slap 'er on thick, boys.

Here it is, drying in the sun.

After curing ( I don't remember how long, maybe 2 hours or so), to full strength, we began to sand it down. Not a lot is left on, but it does a good job of filling in cracks and holes. So those nasty cracks we had are almost fixed, from the front at least.

And here it is, waiting for the next day I can work on it. I decided that instead of doing mega-posts of 30 pictures once a week, you might like to see smaller posts with less pictures, but more frequently. What do you think? This would make it easier to get more content to you! Hit me with a comment below, and tell me if it's cool.
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