Sep 18, 2014

Throw Back Thursday:

A Nice Light Tuned CR-X

by Dustin Mankin

Import Alliance Nashville 2011. Digging the Acura wheels. It's a nice touch on a budget build. Just like I said in the title, it's a light tune that would make a good little daily driver. I'd imagine driving it back an forth to work everyday.... or maybe loading the rack up with outdoor supplies and taking it for a camping trip in a national park.

Sep 14, 2014

Fukuoka Up Garage Part 3:

Up Garage

by Dustin Mankin

Today we are actually going inside Up Garage. I'll be honest and tell you that it's not what it was 7 years ago, when I came to Japan for the first time. Parts are drying up, and the scene is getting smaller here, just like it is in the States.

Really, kei cars and (sadly) Priuses (Priai?) have the most parts it seems like anymore, at least in the shops I've been to in Kyushu. This one is better than the one in Saga, and definitely better than the one in Oita, but there is one on the other side of Fukuoka that I've had better luck at. Next time I go, I'll try to get some pictures of that adventure.

But, we're here now...

Usually the first thing you see in any Up Garage is the wheels section. Usually it mostly this ghetto shit. This looks like the prop room for an early Fast and Furious movie. Come on... Every once in a while you find gold, or maybe in the photo below's case silver.

19 inch VIPs for 600 with tires.... not bad.

The seat section isn't a bad area if you want to find a deal on seats. Not always the best prices though, but if you buy a ripped up fiberglass bride for 150-200 you can get a reupholsetry kit for 150 with foam and everything. It's 3rd party and doesn't say Bride, but if you are actually after the performance of a Bride seat and not jus the name then.... who am I kidding this is the internet... of course you are after the name...

Strut bars on the cheap. I got my Cusco rear OS strut bar for 20 bucks, but it was haggard, with paint and scratches... but I planned on repainting the ends and painting the bar a different color anyway, so no need to buy a new one. By the way, the first part of that will come up one day on a Project 180 article.

Just in case you lose your perch wrenches.... but Asahi Tools and KTC make a little bit better ones for only a little bit more.

Taillights and Headlights. You can find really killer deals here, but very rarely do you actually find them for a car you really want. Been looking for S13 Silvia or S15 Silvia headlights for some time now.

$500 for a set of Brembo calipers off of the front of an STi.

Or $900 for a full set? Still cheaper then buying Brembo calipers straight from the factory.

Nissan GT-R R32 FMIC core for only $40. Not a bad way to do a budget upgrade on your turbo car. Just make some pipes and you're good to go.

And this is one of the things you would NEVER expect to find in an upgarage. Porsche FRP wide fenders, for the low price of $500. Oh and a factory S2000 hood for $20. How's that for variety?

EXAS TI exhaust for the GDB and GCB Imprezza, $400 bones. I think this part is new, but I can't see the kanji in the photo preview.

And lastly, S13 wide fenders for the Silvia for $63 not a bad price, but it says maker unknown, although, it looks like an Origin design. For the record, unless you are building a ziptied, 0-fucks-given drift car. Origin fenders fit like shit, and give you gaps wider than the ones in David Letterman's teeth.... just sayin.

Don't forget to hit up and give us a like. I'll be back in a few days with something new... until that time, stay safe and keep wrenching.

Sep 13, 2014

Up Garage Fukuoka Part 2:

Dat Van Doe, or.... So You Want to Change the Game?

by Dustin Mankin

It's not fast but it'll get you to where you're style. This was in the parking lot as well, and this thing is noice. If you watched my video from Fukuoka Custom Car show here, then you know what you can do to the inside of these things.

No evidence on if this thing is a love hotel inside or not, but the outside is turning me on. I want one of these things so bad. That's a true car guy. I'm not an American or Japanese or German car guy. I'm not only a sports car guy, nor am I just a stance guy, or a VIP guy. I like it all. I work primarily in the sports world, so I know the most about those type of cars, but to me cars are like Pokemon... I gotta catch em all, lame as that may be.

Even these wheels are nice. WHY is no one buying a Toyota Previa as a budget option, or a newer Nissan Quest and do this shit. Everyone is always talking about "changing the game this year" or "this is MY year" or some lame shit like that, but what do they build? A Stanced S13 or EK Hatch or S2000.... wow.... way to change the game, dude.

Tomorrow.... We go inside Up Garage.

Project 180SX:

Bubble Knob

by Dustin Mankin

Not much to see here, it's just a shift knob. But the benefit of watching the video below is the free previews of the next three projects for the car! Next week, we start doing it big again!!! Oh and if you are in the states and want a Bubble Knob, I highly recommend It's Proper, which you can visit at

Sep 10, 2014

Sorry for the delay, I forgot to hit publish!

Could the tides be turning for Muto? It we've had some false starts before, but it really looks like Rumi's mom has finally gotten through to her.

Sep 9, 2014

Up Garage Fukuoka Part 1

Skyline R32

by Dustin Mankin

These pictures are actually kind of old. I found them the other day on a drive, and I was wondering.... when did I take these? I realized that they were in fact about a year and a half old, as I browsed the inventory of the store through photographs. Those pictures will be in part 3 or this three part series, but first: an R32 GT-R....

This one is actually pretty stock, and I'm not complaining. It's got some after market rollers, and I think I spy an aftermarket exhaust in the back. Now a lot of people just do wheels and exhaust (sometimes just axel-back) and stop there. There could be other stuff under the hood, but I can't tell. Even the ride height looks close to factory.

The reason I think that is ok, is that not every car needs to be built ready to take the fastest lap at Tsukuba. There is more than enough room in the car world for there to be really nice, stock or near stock vehicles. We need vehicles in this condition to pass the information on to the next generation.

But like I said, it may have more tuning under the hood, but if it was, I'd say it's not very much. The trend I've noticed in Japan with a lot of GT-R owners is that the body work usually stays pretty stock. And with the cost of tuning parts for the RB, I can see why. Another reason not to do much to the exterior is....does it really need it? These cars look beautiful as is.

Sound off in the comments below... What is ONE thing you would change on this car, from what you can see?

Sep 7, 2014

Shop Visit

Nest.Pit in Minami-Ku Fukuoka

by Dustin Mankin

"In 1992 a guy, Mitsuaki Kyuma, was seduced by an English sport cars and he opened his shop with only 500,000 yen. Word spread around, and he sold almost 60 Caterham7 by 1996. In 1997, he came across a Lotus Elise. He started to race his Lotus at circuits and achieved good results. In 200 he opened his own shop, the shop of his dreams, in Nagasaki.  By 2005, his reputation on the endurance circuit and the name "NESTPIT" was known nationwide. In 2010, the Fukuoka branch was opened. Life without cars and only working is boring. Let's enjoy our life with cars! This is the 18-year-history Mitsuaki Kyuma, the president of NESTPIT."

Looking at the pictures below you can see some nice examples of Lotus Elises and a Caterham7. And this is a car blog, but those words on that window mean much more than these pictures of the cars, so I want to focus on those.

At first glance, this is a nice shop that sells gaisha, or foreign cars, in Japan. But past that, this is the culmination of a man's dreams. Dreams that he chased for 18 years, up to this point. I don't know about you, but this is so inspirational.

I was talking to a close friend back in the states, and I told him I just wish I had started realizing what I want when I was in my 20s, and not waiting until I was 31 to chase my dream with such passion. It would have been nice to start drifting at 20 or 21, instead of waiting until 31 to really start. I told him I'm afraid I'm getting too old.

And that is really the lamest thing that has ever come out of my mouth. I'm so close to my dreams being realized...actually so many already have been:

I'm in Japan.

I'm building a drift car in Japan.

I have an amazing girlfriend that will soon be my wife. She doesn't necessarily like cars (not like we do at least), but she's trying her best to support me.

I've finally gotten the blog off the ground, and somewhat of a video channel going on at . This blog has been a dream of mine since 2007. It's not where I want it to be...but I won't give up. I'm just tweaking it a little bit at a time.

But that is a lot to accomplish in 2 years, and with a little help from my friend I don't intend to give up, in the same way that Mr. Kyuma never gave up.

So my friend tells me, you're never too old, unless you say you are. Go out and do with your life what you want to accomplish.

And then I see the pictures here for this article, and the first thing that pops out is that text on the window. Mr. Kyuma never gave up. And neither will I. Never enough.

Follow your dreams, friends. No matter how big or how small.... find a pursuit and follow that dream to the gates of hell... and NEVER EVER GIVE UP.

Mankin. Out.

Sep 5, 2014

Project 180SX

Rear Half-Spoiler

by Dustin Mankin

Man, the surprises keep rolling in! I just got a gift from Kenji, who owns the Red S13 with C-West aero that I was telling you about.

It seems that he gave me an old half spoiler from his car. Not a C-West one, but still...

Actually, no one seems to know who made it, or what style it's even based on. If you've been following the build up until, now, you know the plan was originally Type-X aero all around, but with the budget cramping at the moment, this will save me 100 dollars for something else. I've got Shaken (JCI for the mil guys), which is the mandatory 2 year road inspection. That shit is around 700$. Next time you complain about an inspection in that states.... try that chunk of change on. That's a set of coilovers, down the drain.

This month is also the month for car taxes, so that's another $425 gone to the government. Car $1,000... government fees $1,125.... sounds about right.

Want to rant about government bullshit that is heaped upon car owners? Let it out below, I'm in the mood to read.

Project 180SX

Headlight and Turn Signal Surrounds

by Dustin Mankin

The other post today isn't much, but it's something!. Just cleaned up the headlight surrounds, but they were super dirty, with over spray from the previous owner with 10 years worth of dirt over top of that. We just decided to give it a light wet 400 grit sand. After that we degreased and hit it with some plastic parts primer, to get it ready for paint.

The paint is a single stage paint, that we put a little bit of flattening agent in. I think the sheen came out pretty nice. It's a satin look. They aren't 100% perfect, but all of the parts that weren't perfect will actually be hidden, even when the lights are up.

We decided that we couldn't leave the turn signal surrounds alone, so while we were at it, I sanded them down, and then did the same process with them. Unlike the headlight surrounds, these came out great! It couldn't have been any better.

Sorry the updates on the project have been kind of small lately. I'm just trying to document as much of this build as I can, big and small.

What do you think so far?

Sep 4, 2014

Opposites Attract:

Two Nice S2000s

by Dustin Mankin

Today's Throw Back Thursday is actually two cars, although they are both S2000's. The first one is inspired by the stance movement, obviously. I am struggling to find words to describe this car. It's not plain, but it's not highly modified. It's not stock, but it's not.... ugh. I hate to throw the word clean out there, because it's just used to much, but that is the first word that came to mind, so let's roll with it. CLEAN... there, I said it...again.

It is sitting on  what I think are Work Equips. This was back before I started taking detail pics of sizes and what not, and from that distance, several of your basic 5-spoke rims look eerily similar. The rear fender has a slight pull so we know there is some meat hiding under there.

The next two shots, so off the other distinguishing aspect of this ride, which is the Mugen (or replica) lip kit. Every aero company makes a knock off of this lip set, so without looking for tags, it's kind of hard to tell. Either way, this car is nicely executed, and would be a perfect daily for someone who wants to set their car apart without looking like a car from Hot Version, which...

...exactly what the car next to it did, although I'm not afraid to say that I really like it. It's rocking what is either a GP Sports kit, or a replica of said kit. The hood looks like a carbon version of the Mugen hood, although I'm having a tough time seeing if that's the Mugen bump in front of the passenger side vents, or just a reflection.

The second car is more my style, as I am self admittedly a performance look type off guy, and I spent my formative car styling year watching Hot Version, Option, and BMI. So that's always the style I aspired to.

What do you guys think? I have a couple more S2000s on the way from this show. By the way, the next months' of TBT articles are going to be from this show, since I just raided an old drive and came across this group of pictures. It was only a few years back, but I can already see huge progressions in the scene from now.

Until next time...
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