THE DEFINITION OF TRUE SUCCESS
HIS & HERS DSMS ADRIAN SEGURA’S
NOT GIVING UP EITHER
GEARHEAD PHOTOG DELIVERS
FWD TO AWD RALLY CAR SWAP
MONTERO + MIATA = WINNING PLUS
JAX GOAD: TREAT HER LIKE ANY OTHER GEARHEAD (WITH 497WHP) THE SOUL OF AN OLD MACHINE: CHOP, CUT, RECYCLE, REMAINS MEMORIAL DAY REVELATION: WHAT MADE THE GREAT WAR GREAT AND MORE! GEARHEADS WITHOUT BORDERS, PENMANSHIFT, PRETTY PICTURES!
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GBXM 1.05 | THE SEARCH FOR MEANING Looking back, this all started simply enough. Start a website to share quick Q&A interviews with people about their cars. Three years later, it’s evolved into something that gives me a sense of purpose. It’s become my life’s work; my legacy if you will. Life is a constant learning curve. Like Tyler Durden said in Fight Club, we thought we’d grow up to be movie stars and astronauts, and though we all truly have the capacity within us to realize those dreams, we’ve been institutionalized. The shit we’re going through today is a means to an end. That end is our sense of identity - our sense of who we are and why we exist.
The existential meltdown (read: midlife crisis?) comes when we realize we’ve been duped. We’ve been programmed to see our sense of self reduced in terms of stuff. Society is trying to sell us on the idea that we are defined by the cars we drive, the jobs we hold, the clothes we wear. The things we own are means to an end. That end is our sense of identity. And our consumption-driven society is constantly changing that end. Thus, GEARBOX MAGAZINE IS: the things we own end up owning us. • BRIAN DRIGGS, FOUNDER This magazine, this GBXM|united project, represents a journey. It’s stange to wake up one day and realize that • DENNIS DEJONG, PARTNER 99% of the media we - wait for it - consume revolves around superficial, consumerist crap. It’s all focused on • ADAM CAMPBELL what. We need more why and how. • YOU? JOIN US. (CLICK ME) WHY. HOW. WHAT.
What is data. Nothing more. What is a mod list, sales numbers, the latest recall “scandal,” It’s a draw bridge with a giant penis spray painted on it. How is hindsight. It’s the looking back at a bunch of what and seeing the pieces form a larger picture. Why is knowledge. And knowledge really is power. Why is seeing how all the what comes together and understanding why it matters - or doesn’t. That’s what I’ve come to discover will turn GBXM into a legacy. I look back at some of the earliest stories on Gearbox Magazine and I see all that what. What do you drive? What are your mods? What do you do with your vehicle? What do you want to do? This issue represents our turning the corner, leaving the smooth asphalt of the path of least resistance in order to follow our own compass in pursuit of meaning. To adapt that triangle we’ve all seen time and again - we can have anything we want in life: fast, right, easy. We can only pick two. Another angry Russian bus driver video or consumer grade car show report is fast and easy, but does that sort of stuff help us live better lives - or distract us from thinking about why we exist and how we’re going to make a difference? Who benefits from that shit? When we succeed with our automotive endeavors, we feel like we’ve done something that matters. When we help others succeed with theirs, it’s even moreso. This issue represents our efforts to give you more than what. It’s our way of showing you why you matter and how YOU are the reason we keep playing with cars. Let’s set a course for stuff that matters. Keep going fast with class & press on regardless,
bd we don’t do advertising|we prefer partners
Our goal is to help automotive enthusiasts build high performance machines & lives. If you’re a first class business which believes, like we do, that success comes from helping others achieve success for themselves, and are willing to work with us to empower our mutual customers, we’d like to tell you about how our Official Partners program can help your brand prove value, build trust, and grow. Nobody likes advertising & commercials. Let’s make a difference. Contact us today.
Gearbox Magazine. Of gearheads. By gearheads. For gearheads. united. 2 | GBXM
CONTENTS | what’s inside the effing cover | HIS & HERS DSMS
What started as a story about a couple with matching, second generation DSMs, turned into a look behind the curtain at a couple who cares deeply for others and invests heavily - I mean, HEAVILY - in their local community. In fact, I’ve never met anyone so devoted to helping others. When I tell you “true success means helping others achieve success for themselves,” this is what that looks like.
12 ADRIAN SEGURA | NOT GIVING UP, EITHER
He told me I definitely achieved my goal of inspiring a reader to have the “I’m not the only one!” experience. As Adrian Segura was reading “Walking Away (from rally)” in issue 1.03, it pretty much described what he had been through. This is the result of that connection. Did I mention he’s a rocket scientist? This is what can happen when we dig deep and keep it real.
18 CHRIS YUSHTA | GEARHEAD PHOTOG DELIVERS
Being a professional photographer means more than just having an expensive camera. Chris Yushta tells us how hard work and sacrifice, combined with passion, can lead to breakthroughs and success. How much do “playing with cars” and “playing with cameras” have in common? Let’s find out!
26 SIMON WRIGHT | FWD TO AWD RALLY CAR
Imagine running 50+ rallies in a front wheel drive Ford Focus, then selling that Focus and building an all wheel drive Subaru Impreza 2.5RS. How might your past experience impact your new efforts? What about your driving style? Simon Wright gives us an idea. Some good LFB content in this one!
32 RYAN YANTZER | MONTERO + MIATA = WINNING
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Ryan Yantzer has a turbocharged, Flyin’ Miata for corner carving, and a beefy, lifted Montero for rock crawling. One hauls ass, the other everything but! What’s it like to have a pair of uniquely specialized daily drivers at your disposal? 39 PENMANSHIFT D1 | PRINCIPLES OF JOURNALISM EXCELLENCE 40 JAX GOAD | WHY DON’T GIRLS TAKE THEIR CARS SERIOUSLY? 44 MEMORIAL DAY REVELATION | WHY IT MEANS SO MUCH TO REMEMBER THEM 48 THE FUTURE OF MODIFICATION | HOW ABOUT NEW CARS DESIGNED FOR MODIFICATION? 50 THE SOUL OF AN OLD MACHINE | HOW THEY MAKE US WHO WE ARE 54 JASON TANIN’S LI’L EVO | ARCHIVE EXCERPT: OUR 7th MOST POPULAR STORY EVER 56 WITHOUT BORDERS | ARCHIVE: WAYS GEARHEADS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
About GBXM|united Stories of real people doing things with vehicles they actually own matter more than thinly veiled, marketing propaganga spun as helping sheep select their next consumer-grade appliance. We believe our shared passion for all things automotive unites us on a global scale, and that the things we have in common as gearheads empower us to get the most from our differences.
WE ONLY MATTER BECAUSE YOU MATTER. HIGH PERFORMANCE MACHINES & LIVES!
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HIS & HERS
If true success is defined by helping others achieve success (it is), youâ€™re about to meet two of the most successful people in the Mitsubishi community. Ernie & Linz not only drive matching DSMs, they spend almost all their free time helping others in their community. This is their story. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES ERNIE & LINDESY PEREZ
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We’re trying to show the deeper side of gearheads here at Gearbox Magazine; less mod list - more meaning. We believe the skills we use to build high performance machines can be applied to building high performance lives, too. This is why, when I was advised to look up Ernie and Linz (as in “Lindsey”), I was blown away by just how much they give back.
agine, volunteering at local soup kitchens, teaching Krav Maga, riding modifi ed bikes, attending car shows, and helping young entrepreneurs prepare for the best chance of success. I’ve never met anyone so devoted to service. This is probably the longest story we’ve run to date, so I’ll leave the intro at that. Let’s get to it!
When they’re not organizing car shows to raise money [bd] Introductions: Who are you guys, where are you for children with disabilities, they’re participating in just guys, & what do you guys do for a living? about every charitable organization’s event you can im-
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year) one night talking that I mentioned I had always wanted a green convertible. It was then that Ernie informed me that “his car” came in a convertible version. The search began and we found our soon to be Spyder in town and just over 5 miles across the river. It pretty much sealed the deal when it was Monarch Green Pearl. We would have a [Ernie] I work at JP Morgan Chase and work in mortgage refinance. matching set. Even to someone like me that didn’t realize the gems we Linz is sandbagging in that she is also the current 93rd Jacksonville had, thought it was awesome to have matching cars. Jaycees President, and I am the Membership Vice President of the largest young professional group in the state of Florida. In short, the I began to ask questions and learn more about our DSMs. Having our Jaycees is the Junior Chamber of Commerce, and we are very well matching cars became something so special that we shared. I was known for all the community service projects, leadership develop- so excited when I helped paint and put back together my own brake ment, and networking among young professionals. Since you did not calipers by myself. May not seem much to everyone else but I felt acmention hobbies, I will leave it at that. Although I am an Assistant complished. Instructor in Krav Maga and also train 5 nights a week. [Ernie] Well, everything above is accurate. And yes, it took almost a [bd] Introductions: Tell us about your vehicles and how you use year before even getting her in a DSM. I figured, I would rather her them? Not so much mod lists (those are played). Looking for in- want a DSM, than try to make her want a DSM. We were still a year sights into how you roll; interesting purchase stories, how two peo- into our relationship. I had over 800 for my credit score, and she needple with the same color DSM found each other and fell in love, that ed to build credit somehow. I of course did everything I could to help acquire her the convertible car she’d always wanted by cosigning for sort of thing. her new Spyder. At the same time we satisfied the fact that we just [Linz] As a child I had always talked about getting a Jungle Green Con- bought a completely matching DSM. We never had any intentions on vertible with a tan top. This was a childhood fantasy that I didn’t realize her ever getting on the track whether it be autocrossing or the 1320. would ever come true. I didn’t grow up around modded cars and didn’t know much about them. And then I met Ernie. I was in college when With the car customizing genes I had, the car couldn’t stay stock, so I met Ernie and he picked me for our first date in his 1999 Eclipse. I I gave her my old suspension setup from my DSM, to lower her DSM along with my Volk Racing wheels that I felt matched her interior better thought it was a pretty cool car! than mine. More to come with her DSM evolving. It wasn’t until we were in my dorm room (after having dated almost a [Linz] My name is Lindsey and I am currently an Admissions Associate for a College in Jacksonville, Florida. Ernie and I own a house where we live with our DSMs, a Galant VR-4, an Outlander Sport, and our two cats.
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[bd] Let’s get right into the deep, serious stuff. Why are you guys gearheads and how do the DSMs play into that? (What I’m trying to touch on is that special something that develops over time with a truly great car. You bought it because you loved it, but looking back, that love has grown deeper and maybe you see a truly meaningful difference in your life as a result?) [Linz] I can definitely say that my love has grown over the years. The longer we have the cars, the better I understand them. It has made a significant difference in my life because it has been something that Ernie and I have shared over the past 5 years. [Ernie] Well, I have had my DSM since the showroom floor back in December 28,1998, so my Eclipse was pretty much complete and goals met by the time she got hers a decade later. It was easy to move focus from my car to hers, since hers had to catch up to the status of mine in my eyes. Long story short, we went to a Hot Import Nights show in Orlando, FL, and saw a busted 2G Spyder getting a ton of attention. I walked over and looked at it, and couldn’t figure out why people were so attracted to it. So we made a personal goal, that in one year, we would be back at Hot Import Nights with a His/Hers type display. One year later, we accomplished that goal, and even had a custom flyer made of our cars(you can see it in the DSMP ROTM article I sent you). That trip to Orlando, was the furthest she had ever driven by herself, which was 2.5 hours by herself(in a roadtrip). Two weeks after that, we travelled 6 hours to Spartanburg, SC for a DSM Mountain Meet. One
month after that, we made the ultimate DSM trip, and DROVE both DSM’s to Norwalk, OH for the Annual DSM Shootout. By far the longest drive for BOTH of us solo. Since then, we felt like we accomplished our goals, and I went back to autocrossing a few weekends out of a year, and continued to daily drive both DSM’s as it was our only mode of transportation(until a month ago where we purchased a new Outlander Sport and the GVR-4 has been in pieces for 3 years now so it never counted). She literally daily drives hers, and I daily drive mine. Both have been truly reliable, with the worst hiccup ever being a fan, or a radiator going bad, but have never been down for more than a week, or yet to be towed home. Her paint eventually faded(since the previous owner did not keep it garage kept), and we had aesthetics done with her shaved foglight holes, corner lights, as well as the custom Kalapana Black painted window frame, and mirrors to have the black top silhouette. This was the last major upgrade or customization she had done to hers since the DSM Shootout roadtrip. Even though we have our separate hobbies, this is one that we can say we have done together, and are known as a true His/Hers combination. Some of our friends we’ve known for years, are still realizing that we have two separate cars. We can be at a gas station, and people will comment, and even take pictures of our cars. Sometimes, cars speed up or slow down just to pace beside one of us when we’re following each other just to watch and compare. We get thumbs up’s, honk’s, stares, creepy leers, and kids... they love it for some reason.
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What’s bizarre, are old people who you wouldn’t think would notice, really do notice and tend to make a nice gesture. We haven’t showed our cars since that Hot Import Nights show except for charity events. We didn’t build them to have Hottest Mitsubishi. We didn’t build them to have Best Mitsubishi. We built them to make ourselves stand out and be happy with each other’s DSM’s genuinely. [bd] Tell us some more about your social involvement. It sounds like you’re very passionate about the Jaycees and, since i’m not very familiar with the organization (will be doing some Google-fu, of course), is it safe to say it has to do with entrepreneurship? How has that community fared, given the recent economic downturn (for those not on Wall Street). How do you personally give back through your involvement with these organizations? Helped anyone overcome a particularly nasty obstacle? [Linz] The Jaycees is a Local, National, and International Young Professional’s organization that focuses on connecting, serving, and leading. The Jacksonville Jaycees is also known as the Jacksonville Junior of Commerce. www.jacksonvillejayees.org We provide networking, community service, management training, and individual development opportunities. Much of our time is spent providing community service to our local community of Jacksonville. Ernie and I joined the Jaycees to have people to volunteer with (as if we didn’t have enough community service time between the two of us). The group has really given us such satisfaction not only because of all the volunteer opportunities, but has also provided all the wonderful friends we have made. Since we became members in 2011, Ernie has held the positions of Individual Development Vice President, Membership Vice President, and State Competition Chairman, while Lindsey has held the positions of Community Service Vice President and currently the President of the Jacksonville Jaycees. We don’t make any profits or get paid by even being officers, but in the community we are highly regarded by the ethics our young professionals group encompass. We can’t really say entrepreneurship or our group has any impact on economic downturns, as the Jaycees is not a political group. Last week, Ernie fed the homeless at the Salvation Army, and next month we will be volunteering to take part in building a home for the Habitat for Humanity. We are involved in charity walks, food drives, Relay for Life, Angel Tree, telethons, etc. Well last year, the Jaycees board members were approached by Wheelchairs 4 Kids. The challenge was to have a custom $550 wheelchair donated for a 3-year old child who had outgrown her stroller. The
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wheelchair had to be ready in 6 weeks from the time it was presented to the board. Ernie quickly used his past car show/judging/organizing/ competing experience, and convinced the board that he could chair a project of doing a car/truck/motorcycle show and shine to raise $550 out of donations with only $90 worth of printed flyers used to budget. Not only was the car show televised in the local news, from 11am to 3pm, the show raised $1600, in the worst, cold and rainy weather imaginable outside of hurricane season. It was 45 degrees, wind gusts of 20mph, and torrential downpour. What Ernie would say was a small turnout with 48 vehicles, enough money was raised in 4 hours to actually donate 3 wheelchair’s worth and still came under budget. Only with Ernie’s respect from the locals (and even the next state over), was he able to pull off a successful car show in the elements, impressing the Jaycees board who have absolutely no exposure to the car show world. The board became even more confident in Ernie’s leadership in how smooth and efficient the project was run. This was one of many community service projects that was done last year and won State recognition, but shows Ernie’s multi-talented skills of using his strengths and advantages to acquire goals and meet the wishes of the needy. [bd] It sounds like you’ve had a pretty exceptional ownership experience. Granted, Ernie, you haven’t had to deal with sketchy previous owners, but you’re still driving a 15 year old car at this point. Why do you think you and Linz have had so few problems with your DSMs? [Linz] Well, Ernie has mentioned that he has had his DSM since buying it new from the dealership on December 28,1998. Back then, you had to learn everything through magazines (Turbo Magazine and Sport Compact Car Magazine). The selection of aftermarket parts for the 4G63 was very limited. GReddy, A’PEX-i, and HKS were the only predominant manufacturers. This was an era without eBay, Craigslist, Myspace, Facebook, Youtube, internet, which meant NO Google, no forums, no smartphones, etc. You had no choice but to learn things from doing research or hit or miss. The other reason we’ve had such reliable DSMs, is that he believes in doing things right once the first time, and not turning back. I used to think he was crazy for buying Volk Racing wheels. After hitting human size craters and potholes, and learning what forged wheels meant in structure rigidity, it all makes sense. He doesn’t do anything halfass. He knows how to find great deals, but sometimes there won’t be a “good deal.” He’d rather bite the bullet, then pay for it in taking a chance in breaking later down the road. His garage is also ridiculously organized in that tools are in numerical order, with his workstation equipped with a laptop for research, and everything he needs to troubleshoot anything that can possibly go wrong with the DSMs.
Eddie is also aware of brand preference and believes in them. Before we met, he was sponsored by Pioneer/Premier Electronics and his first DSM was sponsored by the famous audio company. To this day, all our Mitsubishis carry only Pioneer navigations/DVD Players, remote, component speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers. That’s just a small example in that everything is consistent in our DSMs. Ernie’s favorite saying is, “Buy once, don’t look back, and continue moving forward.” With my Spyder, we found it with 49,000 miles and a brand new convertible top. He used all his resources (which would make Carfax cry) finding out the port of entry, and detailed descriptions of the two previous owners before purchasing the car. Ernie went as far as taking the car to a car wash to pressure wash water over the convertible top to test for leaks, and functionality during the test drive. I’ve never even seen anyone check the inside of a gas lid to see if a used car had been taken care of or not. He used his theory with mine by keeping it clean, reliable, realistic in goals, and was very fortunate the previous owner wasn’t into building a car from the Fast and Furious. The hardest part was trying to make the Spyder stand out and clean just like his hardtop, without copying it exactly to lose it’s originality. Ernie is always keeping up with the regular upkeep and maintenance of our DSMs. He keeps an electric board(kind of like a dry erase board) on oil and spark plug changes. If something doesn’t sound or look right, Ernie immediately looks into it one way or another. We also have some pretty great friends that help out and a close knit DSM community! [bd]With all your hobbies and intellectual pursuits, how do you find time to “play with cars?” Do you consider your vehicles “done?” If not, what’s next and how will you get there? If so, are you considering new automotive projects? Do you think you would be as passionate with a non-DSM? [Ernie] It’s funny you ask that, because other than oil changes and tires, the last time I purchased anything over $50 for Kylie was well over 6 years ago. I can say it’s “done.” My goal was 350whp, and reached exactly 350.0whp years ago, with the same tune that averages over 400 miles to a tank of gas. My greatest claim of fame is the year we drove to the Shootout, I only stopped to get gas twice. Started off in Jacksonville and drove to Charlotte, NC in one tank at 441 miles. Finished the second leg to Cleveland, OH(drove further than Wakeman) at 486 miles on the next tank. That’s two tanks of gas in a modified DSM with A/C on the entire way from Florida to the Great Lakes. Driving to work everyday, I average
about 425 miles on a tank of gas. Caryn, which is Linz’s Spyder, in a previous story was customized in one year to meet the goals of being done before Hot Import Nights, the SC DSM Mountain Meet, and DSM Shootout. Since that year, the only investment was shaving the fog light holes, corner lights, and painting the window frame and mirrors Kalapana Black to give it a black top silhouette with the convertible top up. Absolutely nothing has been done to the DSM in years other than regular maintenance. The Galant VR-4 (924/2000) was bought over 3 years ago, and is sloooooooooooowly being pieced together. Of course this one is my first and real 4G63 project. The DSMs were practically unmolested, so the engine obviously ran, the interior were practically new, etc. It was easy to add on upgrades. Well, this one is being rebuilt the way I want it from the ground up. The entire subframe has brand new Prothane bushings, components, etc. Complete interior (dash, seats, headliner, carpeting)is in one of the guest rooms to be wrapped in two-tone suede with double red stitching, embossing and even heated elements(for heated seats). The stock transmission is in Orlando, FL in the hands of Jose Clavijo who has completely overhauled the transmission with taller gears so I could ride out on the highway with the RPM’s at a similar level as the FWD’s. The engine is in a box truck ready to get plenty of powder coating done. The motor has 29,000 miles with the exact same set up that Kylie has with the exception of going with FP2 cams versus the Brian Crower cams. The ported FP EVOIII Big 16G, FP Manifold, etc. My setup in Kylie has been tried and proven to autocross during 10 to 12 weekends out of the year, and still reliable enough to take a roadtrip to Walt Disney World. So the body is what’s left. It’s in the hands of Modern Automotive Dynamics, which has the AMG sideskirts, JDM front and rear bumpers with the body lines shaved. As a matter of fact, ALL the door handles are shaved, ALL the keyholes are shaved, and the radio antenna is shaved (we listen to XM radio in our cars). With the motor out of the car, the Summit White color will be covered and painted to match the DSM’s to be Monarch Green Pearl. Because my time is so busy with martial arts(Krav Maga is my #1 hobby), the Jaycees, work, planning for the wedding in November, urban cycling (my 29er is full of custom carbon fiber and is also Monarch Green Pearl... literally), indoor rock climbing, etc., there’s no time to even complete this sentence. Hell, my 29er mountain bike has more mods than some DSMs. It even has hydraulic brakes! The lights I have on it, are brighter than my 6000K HID’s. Complete Ridiculousness. So long story short, between me driving a minimum of 52 miles a day,
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and Linz driving no less than 90 miles a day for work, we considered buying this 1G AWD for $3000 for a beater. It was actually very clean with 70,000 miles, non smoker, grandma owned (literally), but the owner did not want to give it up. Shortly after “the thought of buying a beater,” Linz got stuck behind a dump truck on the interstate with rocks falling from the bed, completely pelting the front of her custom bumper. In the same week, an old man in a full size Chevy rammed the back of her at a red light. After $1100 of repair in the rear, and $1700 worth of damage repair on the front bumper, both fenders, hood, and even windshield...it was time to start looking. With Linz working for the American Cancer Society - she was responsible for Relay for Life events, which are 18 hour charity walks - she was responsible in bringing a minimum of 4 easy-up tents, bins upon bins, signs, banners, etc.. One easy up was not going to fit in the Spyder, and it damn sure wasn’t going to fit in my jungle gym of bars back seat. We asked ourselves, do we “need” a new car, or “want” a new car. It was clearly a “need” and in less than a week of test driving other cars, and researching all over the southeast, we bought our 4th Mitsubishi. A month ago [April ~bd], we bought a Laguna Blue 2012 Outlander Sport SE with the panoramic glass roof. It had just over 10,000 miles and is all manufacturer’s warranty is still covered carried over with the difference of what’s left of the 7-year 70,000 powertrain, etc. In the first week, I debadged only the “Mitsubishi” emblem, had a 3M premium brand clear bra installed because we know how cheap the paint is on the newer Mitsubishis, and tinted the windows 5% all the way around, with the ENTIRE front windshield at 15%. With black interior, and even with the glass top open in broad daylight, you can’t see inside the car. Last week, I had remote start installed. Every car I’ve owned since 1997 has had remote start, so yes, I’m a gadget freak. The custom tag has been ordered. Kylie’s says LUNARFX on the State of the Arts Florida tag. Caryn’s says SPYDR-QT on the Florida state flower Florida tag. Aiden (the Galant) is far from being registered, but the new Outlander Sport is awaiting KCK ROX on the Aquaculture Florida tag (It has Nemo fish on a blue water background). Yup, that’s “kick rocks,” one of my favorite sayings to people who annoy me. Hahaha! The second option was, “OH SNP” I may put that on the GVR-4 if it’s still available or 5PMBYOB, which is ironic since I don’t drink. Anyhow, the Outlander Sport (haven’t thought of a name for it yet), the only five things I have to do to it before calling IT done, is taking off the cheesy door moldings and hopefully reselling it, since it goes for over $150 on eBay. Second, swap out the Rockford Fosgate radio to none other than a Pioneer navigation unit. Third, 3000K HID’s in the foglight housing. Fourth, 20x9 and 20x10 staggered: Volk Racing G25 wheels, Rohana RC10 wheels, or Vossen CV1 wheels. I will accept it not having a set of Volk Racing wheels because it’s the only one of the four that doesn’t have a 4G63 either. We’ll see. Fifth are air ride suspension. H&R springs has a 1.5” drop which is a joke to me, and no one can confirm if the OEM Lancer springs will work (some guy in India has some from an EX, but I need more validation). The last two are in the thousands of dollars range, but I can honestly say, that’ll be it. I don’t have any intentions on making a 148hp small SUV go faster. I can honestly say, I can finish this car project, when it’s truly finished. One day the GVR-4 will be done. Maybe next year, when we won’t be
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as involved with the Jacksonville Jaycees since I will not run for another board position and Lindsey has reached her goal of being president. [bd] Last question (I think): Where can people find and connect with you two? What type of people would you most like to meet? What are they into and how would you like to collaborate? [Linz] Ernie is not on Facebook. Probably the only person in the world who isn’t on it. Then again, he’s probably the only person in the world who has a busy schedule like his. He LOVES INSTAGRAM, and LinkedIn is his professional networking media source. I am on Facebook and am at networking events all over the city. Ernie says, I’m his Facebook rep. People who want to invite him, would normally invite us together, so they just reach out to us; although we plan our schedules months in advance. Right now, just about every weekend is planned or booked until the middle of August. No joke. November, all the way through the second week of January 2014 are also completely booked. Ernie and I are always up for meeting any type of people new and old. We literally have no boundaries. We welcome people to our home with open arms and have had soooooo many car enthusiasts and friends pass through that we have called our house EL Hotel, “EL” standing for Ernie/Lindsey, or in French LE Hotele. We have every type of friend you can associate with. Redneck friends, gangsta friends, custom car friends, DSM/EVO friends, party friends, hipster friends, shopping friends, Happy Hour friends, Jaycees friends, but most importantly professional friends that have direction, career, and successful in their lives are who we mostly associate with. We started off with over 1000 friends to break down to 246 for the wedding. He has 9 groomsmen, all in the top of their game in the respective car type and hobby they’re involved in. Ernie’s always wanted to meet Ellen Degeneres because she’s hilarious, always giving, and whole hearted. [bd] If you had just a moment (haha), I would be curious WHY you are so involved in Jaycees. Linz provided a lot of detail on what you do and how you do it, but <devil’s advocate> it sounds like a lot of work. Why would you spend so much time helping others? I mean, you’re trying to get me to join - for life - why would I want to spend my weekend organizing committees, attending meetings, and fundraising to buy wheelchairs for little girls ? Know what I mean? [Ernie] The involvement with the Jaycees... you literally got the jist of our normal work week. The committee meetings actually mostly happen DURING the week as well, with a lot of events happening both during the week and weekend. I mean, tonight (last night) was our Membership Appreciation Event at the Jacksonville Suns baseball game. Next Tuesday night is a fun social event with our Individual Development side of the Jacksonville Jaycees! We are doing bar bingo at Mellow Mushrooms! (Not sure if you have one in your area, but it’s just great times with friends!) We’ve done Trivia Night at the local Irish Pub, and have just dominated so much, that with our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winnings, we normally just use them to buy appetizers for members for the following months when we return. We normally have to break our group up to three teams because, with over 30 friends coming out, you can only share the answers with at most 10 people sitting all around you in a loud environment like an Irish pub. So we end up winning in
“Sometimes, cars speed up or slow down just to pace beside one of us when we’re following each other just to watch and compare.” GBXM | 11
the Top 3 on a regular basis. The part that sucks is, since I’ve been so involved with the Jaycees throughout the week, that I have gone from a full-time Krav Maga instructor, to an Assistant Instructor. I tend to at least get to train/instruct a minimum of 4 days a week for a minimum of 2 hours a day/ night. It’s been quite a hit on my #1 hobby, only because I’ve just been doing martial arts for 17 years (long before UFC came to America). DSMs only come in #2 in my hobby list, only because I got my first DSM the following year I started martial arts again 16 years ago. So back to the Jaycees, surprisingly not a lot of friends or acquaintances have ever really asked why we do so much out of the kindness of our hearts with no pay, compensation, or reward (maybe a ton of plaques, funny trophies, nice glassy stuff, and high recognition). I mean we literally put in so much time with the Jaycees, that we really NEED to get paid. Thank GOD there IS a budget for the events we run and host. Still none of us get paid. The only Jaycees that really get paid are the International officers. This story might explain things better... long since I was little, I grew up in a poor family that came over from the Philippines. Moved to Jacksonville, FL, when I was 4 years old in 1980. I was an only child and my dad got a job with the Jacksonville Urban League. My mom was a seamstress by trade, so as a Filipino tradition, we’re normally very passive and giving. I mean, the Jacksonville Urban League is a non-profit organization that helps out minorities in the community. On a side note, my dad retired last month from the Jacksonville Urban League. (Yes, he worked there for 33 years, the only job he has ever had in America). In time, my parents started buying property and renting them out on the side. We have 17 houses now, and my parents rent them out to people who really need a home that make limited income. Sometime when I was a teenager I got involved with helping out with the American Red Cross through a Field Day ham radio event. Being in a state that’s known for taking direct hits from hurricanes, the importance of helping people out just grew into my blood. Before I knew it, I was doing volunteer work at the local homeless shelter AKA the Salvation Army. Well, my parents wanted to go to our mountain house in North Carolina during Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t wanting to miss work that following weekend, nor did I really like going up to the mountains. I am an only child. So the Thanksgiving when I was 16 years old, I decided to volunteer at a Soup Kitchen and serve food to the homeless for Thanksgiving. After leaving there, I went to the beach at night (after dinner), and passed out food to the homeless people living in cardboard boxes, and makeshift tents. I ended up at a Krystal and had my Thanksgiving meal since it was the only place open at the time. Hung out with some car peeps after that, and eventually went home that day. I think that’s when I really realized that I just really like to help the unfortunate. Years of that went by, with myself working, organizing, volunteering and doing charity walks. Name it, I supported it. MDA, Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy, Cystic Fibrosis, Spina Bifida Association, Special Olympics events, I can’t even remember it all. I donate blood to the Blood Alliance on a normal basis like changing oil in our 4G63s. Hell, I even started doing the Breast Cancer Awareness walks, Susan G Komen Race for the Cure, and was even
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part of the crew for an Extreme Makeover Home Edition. I had organized charity car shows for friends who have passed away. I’ve done Fallen Rider motorcycle poker runs. This was many many years before I even met Linz. One particular walk was the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk, that I was setting a group of friends to do. (I had all kinds of cliques.) So a local car club president wanted to join my crew on the walk, to give her car club some experience in charity, and reached out to me to join together and walk as a whole. Linz was a tag-along in that group of car peeps. She wasn’t even into cars, but her roommate was, that had brought her out for the walk. We met that night, and she came to realize, she had to really keep up with my fast pace lifestyle. I had events planned on my PDA for months in advance. So eventually we became a couple 6.5 years ago, and started doing walks and voluntary projects. One day, I found a bike ride (pub crawl) through a local bike blog, being held in Riverside, which is a historic part of Jacksonville. I decided to ride out with my new 29er, and met this group of people. I didn’t know people knew one another, nor did I know the bike ride was a Jaycees event. Well, just about every person I met was whole-hearted, and told me all the fun stuff they did with social events, community service work, etc.. At the time, I was setting up a Carnival Cruise trip of 24 of my crazy ass friends to the Eastern Caribbean that weekend, and doing two weddings on back to back weekends (I also do “Day-of Wedding Coordinating” on the side. I’ve done 28 weddings in the last 14 years). Even with all that going on, I immediately wanted to join the Jaycees. I came home telling Linz about the awesome bike ride and told her we had to make it to the next monthly membership meeting. At first she was not impressed of the meeting, but before I knew it, she loved all the new people she met! 3 years later, she is the 93rd President, and I’ve held two Vice President positions as well as a Director position. We’re getting married on November 23rd after being together for 7 years. This weekend is the one-year anniversary of me proposing to her. Next year when everything dies down, I REALLY want to focus on the GVR4 if it’s not done by then, and just be a good ol’ member and not hold office. I mean, I’d love to be done with all our cars before I turn 40 years old!! All the mini stories should answer your question about my background and the Jaycees. It sucks the life out of you, but it’s the life I live and really have a passion in giving back. You’d probably trip out if I ever told you the story of when I went to prison for 5 years. But that’s another story. Night B! [bd] Goodnight indeed, Ernie! Thank you for sharing so much of your story with us. We’ll have to discuss that nickel next time. For now, I hope we’ve inspired someone out there to actively seek out their dreams and achieve success through helping others achieve it for themselves. Pay it forward, my friend. Pay it forward.
“You’d probably trip out if I ever told you the story of when I went to prison for 5 years. But that’s another story.”
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NOT GIVING UP
He told me I definitely achieved my goal of inspiring a reader to have the “...I’m not the only one!” experience. As Adrian Segura was reading “Walking Away (from rally)” in issue 1.03, it pretty much described what he had been through. This is the result of that connection. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES ADRIAN SEGURA
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When I shared my frustration and close call with the foreclosure of a dream in the last issue, I really didn’t expect much in the way of feedback. After all, if there’s one thing I’ve learned about the internet in the three-plus years I’ve been doing this, we’re not exactly a magnet for comments. Feedback is always very positive, if only on the back channel.
and consume some cool pictures. This magazine is for the other 10%, the 1% willing to dig deep and share what they think it means to be a gearhead with the rest of us, and the 9% who believe in what we’re all doing - together - to help us spread the word.
Adrian Segura is among that rare 1%. As he read about how my wife and I were miserable and ready to walk away That’s part of the reasoning behind our shift to subscrib- from rally altogether at High Desert Trails last month, he er-only, monthly issues. Gearbox Magazine isn’t for the had that elusive, this-is-what-GBXM-is-all-about-from90% of internet dwellers who just drop in for a quick skim now-on, “I’m not the only one!” experience. And he told
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me so. I wanted to discuss it further. This is that conversation.
the freeway, second is relegated to “back there.”
Adrian lives in Montrose, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. He’s a documentation specialist and AS9100 lead auditor for the NASA/ Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory. I’m gonna go ahead and call him a “rocket scientist” because, well, because he works at JPL and because it makes me feel that much better knowing a guy involved with friggin’ rocket design has felt the same way about the rally dream as I have.
Of course, the other person is usually just waiting to get on the freeway to get on with their day, but to me, we are dueling with each other and the clock. At least there was a battle had, albeit, purely in my mind. That’s the thing about autosports, it just kind of gets into your psyche.
You ready? Let’s go! [bd] Introductions: What do you drive, how do you drive, & why do you drive it? [as] During the week, I’m shuttled to and from work in a 2010 Mazda3 or a basic shuttle bus. During the weekend, I’m in my 2013 Subaru WRX STI. That car spends its time on Angeles Crest Highway, Cerro Noroeste Road or Highway 39 in Azusa Canyon. My previous vehicles include a BMW E46 and that 2010 Mazda 3. My driving style in the Subie has yet to be determined. I’m still getting used to her; she’s my first manual. All my previous cars were sub220BHP and naturally aspirated. RWD or FWD. So clearly this car represents a lot of firsts for me. This car has helped me find joy in the on-ramp traffic control lights. Before they were a red-yellow-green nuisance; a delay. Now they represent a time control: I pull up and wait for green. And it’s even better when I’m wheel-to-wheel with someone else. First out the chute gets
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[bd]Let’s get right into the nitty-gritty. One of the things you said in your comment on my G+ post was “I discovered my love of cars later than most, even though I’ve loved rally for even longer.” I can understand this, but seeing as my love for cars lead me to find rally, I’m curious how you would explain the phenomena. If not cars, what was it about rally that you loved? How did it lead you to that sweet, sweet, machine love? [as] Rally became a love back in the Group B days. I forget how old I was, but I remember sitting down with my dad and catching an episode of Wide World of Sports (I believe that’s where I saw it). They were broadcasting some World Rally Championship highlights and there were cars with crazy aerodynamic packages, getting their front ends skyward and people standing in the road as these ridiculous cars flew at them. Keep in mind, the only autosports I was exposed to at that age was NASCAR and drag racing. Neither took hold in my household, neither were awe inspiring to the young me. Rally was a foreign automotive spectacle where there were no “tracks,” in the traditional sense. And there were two people in the car. “Two people?! What’s the other guy doing?! Honking the horn? Provide
first aid to people the car hits?”
a slightly intelligible “no.”
It was about that same time that I read an article about Ivan Stewart and his adventures with trophy trucks and in the Baja 1000. I was convinced that racing cars HAD to happen in the dirt as much as possible and driving in an oval was dull (no offense intended to those who do or enjoy that very thing).
He turned to walk away and said over his shoulder, “You will.”
Since this was during the pre-internet (seems like the Dark Ages) days, I wasn’t able to lock-in on rally information or communities. So I would go to the local liquor store and look through the car mags, hoping there would be a write up on a WRC event. Then I’d look through the Autotrader classifieds for off-road vehicles for sale. I wasn’t the least bit lucky. Rally’s attraction for me, was it’s freshness as a little American kid. It seemed like a sport for outlaws, in my young mind. “The cars there do wheelies and jump! And they fly off jumps and almost kill people! And they drive EVERYWHERE!” It wasn’t the mechanics or the engineering of the cars involved that got me, it was the spectacle. It seemed like an adventure, as if Indiana Jones would be escaping the Nazis in a Lancia Delta S4. It was right around that stage of my live that I had a neighbor named Mark Tuttle ask me something poignant. He wrote some popular sitcoms (Beverly Hillbillies and Three’s Company) and was a massive gear head, collecting and restoring old Rolls Royce as a hobby. He essentially acted as a bellwether one afternoon. He asked if I liked cars and I told him something immature and garbled that amounted to
The man was a sage. [bd] Once you discovered rally wasn’t just something on the telly an hour after you should have gone to bed on a work/school night, how did you first experience it here in the States? Personally, I heard the announcer on Speedvision say, “We’ll see you next month from Prescott, Arizona,” took a couple days off my just-got-it job, and drove all over the woods up near Flagstaff looking for rally, only to have a lady in a bait shop call someone who clarified that the TV coverage of Prescott was that weekend - the actual rally had run weeks prior! It would be about five years before a friend in SoCal asked me if I could help his friends service a Dodge Neon at Prescott. I’ve been back every year since. What’s your story? [as] “Brian Driggs and the Search for Rally.” That would make for a great book. There was a gap of nearly 18 years between loving rally on television and then learning there were national rally promotions. The idea of running a car myself didn’t really come to me until a couple of years ago. I had been watching the Word Rally Championship as it bounced around networks in the United States and wondered about the privateering experience in that promotion. It was just a curiosity; I’m notorious grabbing hold of a subject I’m not well versed in and driving it to ground.
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I learned that the WRC was quickly becoming a death trap for privateers, with FIA regulations strongly favoring the factory teams. There’s a healthy conversation to be had about how privateers are being forced out of various autosports, even though it was the privateers that laid the foundation for said autosports. But to the point, I started to wonder if rally was accessible to people like me. It was then I “discovered” Ken Block. I’m sure people will groan a bit at the mention of Ken Block, as he’s a polarizing figure in rally. It seems like you either love him or hate him. I find him interesting: he didn’t start rallying until his thirties, he’s a promotional monster (or Monster) and he’s down to earth. If you look beyond the marketing machine and brand loyalties, Ken Block is just a guy who does what many of us wish we could do. I was in attendance during his Gymkhana event in Los Angeles a couple of years ago. I believe he was in his second year with his Ford Fiesta and was throwing his Fiesta Gymkhana/RallyX “hybrid” around tires in an unused parking lot of Dodger Stadium. There was an autograph session at the event, which I wasn’t interested in (Los Angeles is lousy with celebrities) initially. My girlfriend, in all her wisdom, said “When are you going to get a chance to ask him about rally?” She didn’t wait for me to answer and jumped into the line. When we made it to the head of the line, the security personnel told me that I wasn’t to ask any questions because the line was long. Now that I was motivated, any limit on my time with a subject matter expert was going to be promptly ignored. I walked up to Ken’s table, where he was seated wearing his DC/Monster/Ford gear. I wondered if he ever tired of wearing that stuff. I handed him my poster and then began to pick his brain. “Thanks for helping expose rally to the States, it’s an amazing sport. If you didn’t have the financial support you have now, how would you start your rally career? What about rally school? What’s the most important aspect of your training to remember when driving?” Ken could have easily said, “Look, there’s a lot of people in line, maybe you should ask someone on a rally forum?” He took his time and thought out responses to my questions. He wasn’t vapid in the least. He was honest and encouraging, which made it very hard to dislike him. Then came Bill Caswell. He became a racing sensation after his ral-
lying at WRC Mexico in a car he bought for $500 on Craigslist hit the web. His story solidified my belief that “I could do this rally thing.” I sought him out and after some messages via Facebook, I began to compose a game plan. [bd] “A sport for outlaws.” Once we actually get involved, we quickly learn that rally isn’t quite the fly-by-the-seat-of-the-pants, noholds-barred adventure we thought. (I mean, it still is, but you know what I mean.) How did that knowledge impact your interest? Was there any cognitive dissonance? What would this do to your dream of piloting your own machine down those flowing, dusty trails at ridiculous speed? (You mentioned creeping doubt.) [as] After reading through the RA and NASA regulations, my view of rally didn’t change too much. The real knowledge came from interacting with rally teams across the nation. The first action on my game plan was to obtain as much knowledge as possible. “Drinking from a fire hose” is how I can best describe it. Rally forums, guidebooks, endless e-mail, Youtube video after Youtube video, and so on. As I worked through a plan, I had to identify strengths and weaknesses. “I know nothing.” That was the first weakness I noted. My knowledge of the mechanics/engineering of cars was elementary at best. I wouldn’t know how to build a car if someone decided to just drop one in my lap. The very definition of extreme learning curve. I then began to reach out. I’m lucky to have a brother who is a mechanic by trade. I decided early on to recruit him as a knowledge resource and crew member. He’s been a pretty steady source of information, enthusiasm and comedy. We’re separated by several thousand miles, but connected nonetheless. “Man, we’ll get a 2WD, gut it, lean and mean! Can we put nitrous on it? CAN WE?!” From my brother, I began pinging rally teams starting with those that appeared in the top portion of the results section of the California Rally Series website. Kris and Christine Marciniak were the first I approached. I fired them an e-mail, with a list of actions that comprised my game plan, to see what they thought. I didn’t hear back from them (I figured they were busy and I couldn’t be the only one bothering them) and expanded my search to include East Coast teams. That’s when John Cassidy of Last Ditch Racing responded. John shared a wealth of information about the sport and, like any rallyist, plenty of stories (adventures in Canada!). The morale of his stories was that rally will present you with obstacles and you have to learn how to move around them quickly. John and I collaborated on some writing projects together and became friends. Rally people are an interesting breed. Based upon the advice given to me by Ken Block, Bill Caswell and John Cassidy, I decided to volunteer at a rally. If you’re new to the sport and ask for guidance, the common suggestion is “volunteer!” For good reason. I volunteered at the Gorman Ridge Rally (CRS event) and the experience was very rewarding. It was at Gorman Ridge, I had the pleasure of meeting Kris and Christine Marciniak, some of the kindest and friendliest people one could encounter. Again, rally people are an interesting breed.
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[bd] What sort of setbacks have you encountered in pursuit of this dream? Anything particularly frustrating you wish were different? How so? [as] Setbacks? Well, initially it was the learning curve. There isn’t a real gold source for “How to Start in Rally,” in my experience. The information is spread out across the web and the globe, in the minds of those who have experienced the sport, first hand. I quickly identified that issue as an opportunity for improvement. One of my side projects is to pull all this information, with the help of subject matter experts (particularly, John Cassidy), together and put a book of sorts out. We can’t all fill up Anders Green’s inbox with our “Do I really need a spare tire when we race?” questions. The most significant obstacle is money. I think the first line of the “Beginner’s Guide” I spoke about earlier, should read: “This sport is expensive.” That should be made very clear from the start. Included with that warning would be real data: how much certain teams spend, starting from the factory teams that rally in the states to the “one or two rallies” a year teams.
[bd] Faced with the structure of regulation when it comes to legitimate motorsport, many enthusiasts shy away. We just want to drive, so the costs associated with building to rule books can seem an obstacle. I gotta think there’s a synergy there, though. Why do you think it’s more meaningful to play (cars) by the rules? [as] You’re posing a question about rules to a guy who has made rules his career. The answer is probably predictable: rules provide a common baseline for everyone competing to start with. The idea being that with all things being equal, human error/accuracy will determine the winner(s). It’s logical. Whether it works out that way or not, debatable. I think there’s a definitely a impediment that the rally regulations don’t necessarily address for privateers: spending. I’m not sure how you address the budgets that factory teams have versus what privateers have, on hand, but for me, there’s an issue. That’s why 24 Hour of Lemons is just a fantastic event: busted cars, small budget and lots of racing. In Europe, they have similar events, but in wheel-to-wheel rallycross formats and those races look incredibly fun.
How do you solve the money issue? There’s always the Power Ball or designing a skating shoe/clothing line that includes flat bill hats. That kind of “lightning in a bottle” is just that. What’s the solution for the common rallyist?
It all seems to fall back on the idea of access.
I’m thinking the solution is bringing rally hopefuls together or placing them on teams in need of team members. Share goal, shared resources.
[as] A [person] is not old until regrets take the place of dreams. Keep working hard towards your dreams and find people with common goals. You’ll be forever young.
[bd] It’s much, much easier to build a ratty car however you damn well please and go play in the desert. Why do you press on regardless?
I can be found on Google+, a blog, and Twitter: @mrsegura. I’m happy to chat about rally and other sports, photography and tech. And if anyone needs a freelance writer, have pen, will travel!
[as] Pressing on is in my blood. I’ve had dreams and goals that people have said were out of reach and unrealistic. I’ve taken the questions and the doubt and used it to fuel my progress. That’s the spirit of rally: road conditions will change, the car will fail, but what determines success is one’s will to move forward.
“It’s easier to quit. Easy isn’t for me.”
[bd] Any closing thoughts? Where can people find and connect with you online?
It’s easier to quit. Easy isn’t for me. Now I just save money, learn and wait for an opportunity. [bd] Mark Tuttle said “You will.” How has your interest in rally lead you to love cars? [as] It was a pretty natural transition - as you discover what a rally car is meant to do, you begin to look at cars in a whole different way. You’ll also evaluate a vehicle’s worth, as you see one on the highway, based upon its ability to be converted to a rally car or its success in rally. When I was in the market for a new car, I immediately gravitated towards a vehicle that had a rally pedigree. It may be an illness. Los Angeles is a car town. You’ll see Ferraris and Lamboghinis in certain parts of town on a regular basis. What turns my head now are Golf MKIIs and aging WRXs. I don’t know what I would do if I saw a Escort RS1800 in the wild, I’d probably drool and forget how to speak.
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Sometimes, following the dream requires sacrifice. Chris Yushta is a gearhead like us, daily driving a 96 Z28 workhorse. It’s stock, economical, and when it’s seen its last mile, he’ll probably get another one. Or that MkI Golf. He’s also the guy who hooked us up with all the images for two stories in the last two issues. We talk photography with one of our own. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES CHRIS YUSHTA, FOTOMOTIVESD.COM
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For most of us working class stiffs, one passion is often all we can handle at a time. We have to make sacrifi ces, ya know? Our ability to fi x our own vehicles comes at the opportunity cost of having to invest time and energy into them, leaving us that much less for other things. And “playing with cars” isn’t cheap! Sure, it’s cheaper than paying others to do the work for us, but precious few of us pay for our automotive hobby WITH our automotive hobby. My wife is a photographer. She’s got the big Nikon, a cou-
ple lenses, a couple fl ashes, and so on. Altogether, her setup cost more than my last three daily drivers combined. That said, the dozen or so weddings she shoots every year have more than paid for her equipment. They’ve also bought our plane tickets to Europe twice, now. Still, she doesn’t make her living as a photographer. For all the times I’ve chided Vanessa about how much I wish my hobby could pay the bills (SUBSCRIBE! SUBSCRIBE! SUBSCRIBE! TELL YOUR FRIENDS! I WANNA DO THIS FOR A LIVING!), I’ve seen how truly labor intensive
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ABOVE: Road to Nowhere. Another infrared shot, but shot with my DSLR and an infrared filter. Another one of my favorite images, everything about the scene was perfect, clouds, composition, the road, the tracks. There was definitely an element of luck. We always joke about it too. The railroad tracks you see in the image actually run down the border of North and South Dakota, so the image title works really well as road to nowhere because you are looking into North Dakota.
photography can be. For every hour you see a professional photographer snapping off pictures at a wedding or special event, there are another 2-3 hours spend behind the scenes, polishing those images to get them just right.
that I didn’t have to modify. It had a 130k on the clock when I bought it - so it wasn’t exactly fresh - but it was in pretty good shape. After I had been driving it for some time, I realized there were other perks about it I really enjoyed.
Which is why Chris Yushta’s story is so interesting to me. Photography is his passion. It is his art and his muse, as well the way he makes his living. But he’s also a gearhead, living in Spearfish, South Dakota, busting his hump and living vicariously through those of us who make our machines our primary investments. When he’s out on assignment - shooting someone’s project or special event - he’s soaking up ideas, biding his time and doing everything he can to pursue his dream.
6th gear, for instance, is so long that cruising 65mph down the road is barely over idle and, because of that, it gets fabulous fuel mileage for a 5.7L V8. Another perk about the 4th generation Camaro is, if you put the rear seats down, it has a ton of room! I once put a twin mattress in my car and was still able to shut the rear hatch. So, as silly as it sounds, I had stumbled upon a moderately economical, practical sports car.
When we talk about high performance machines and lives here at GBXM|united, we’re often referring to vehicles. When we invest in our gear, it’s in the form of go-fast bits, tuning, and handling improvements. As a photographer, Chris invests in gear too. And you might be surprised how similar the two passions are when placed side by side. The things we have in common empower us to realize the full potential in our differences. Would you like to know more? [bd] Introductions: What do you drive, why do you drive it, & how do you use it? [cy] My current ride is an all stock 1996 Z28 Camaro, it is my workhorse. I first bought it because I wanted something with some power
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Today, it mostly hauls around all of my photography equipment, and some tools on occasion since it’s still my only vehicle, plus you can’t beat the T-tops on a nice day. Not only does it substitute as my work truck, but a couple times a year I get to run it down the drag strip and catch a local drift event, which always proves to be a ton of fun. I have run four or five drift events to date. Today the ol’ Camaro is just over the 190k mark on the odometer and the LT1 still runs like a champ. [bd] How did you get started in automotive photography? [cy] Cars came before photography, plain and simple. My parents have a video of me when I was about three years old, pulling hot wheels out of my toy box and explaining to the camera what both a Porsche 911
ABOVE: There isn’t much to say about the water fall image. I live in the beautiful Black Hills and I would be a fool not to take advantage of the scenery here. Spearfish Falls in Spearfish Canyon. CAMARO SHOT , PP. 18-19: The roller was one of the first rolling shots I ever did. Since it is my car, it was (and still is) the test subject for new equipment and locations. That roller was cool because it’s actually like a 6 second exposure and still remarkably sharp.
and Chevy Z28 were. So I always knew I wanted to do something with cars. It just took me many years to figure out what.
salary with it, right? What did you have to go through to get to the point where it started paying the bills?
It wasn’t until about five years ago, when someone suggested I take a basic photography class while I was at university because they thought I might have an eye for it. It wasn’t even a full two weeks before I realized that was the direction I wanted to go. The rest is history; my passion for all things automotive was bound to cross my passion for photography at some point in time.
[cy] This is a dream I am taking a chance on.
The pivotal point in my automotive photography career, however, is when my good friend Jeremiah Lewis (Miah) and I had started to talk about building an automotive [camera] rig. We started to experiment with different things using the rig - I am very technical with a camera and Miah is equally technical in Photoshop - so it was only natural that we put our skills together to create FOTOmotive. Since we started FOTOmotive just a couple years ago, every shoot we do, we get better. I see us get better as a team by the day. We are pretty excited to see what this summer is going to bring us. [bd] Did you do something else for a living before photography? We all know skilled photographers can command top dollar for their work, but it’s a feast-or-famine industry. We’ll get into everyonehas-a-DSLR-and-thinks-they’re-a-photographer in a bit, but I’m curious if you’ve always been a photog or if this was a dream you took a chance on. Not like you buy a camera and automatically made a
Most of the jobs I have had in the past have pretty much just been jobs to put me through school. And there have been many. [laughs] I was a campus safety officer. I was a direct support professional for adults with disabilities for many years and cook at a steakhouse. I took a semester off one year and worked for 10 months as a ranch hand, and probably one of the more recent ones, I was a construction worker/carpenter, working on remodels and home improvement and repairs. All of which have taught me valuable things that have made me a better professional. I am still at a point where photography is barely paying the bills, but I am relatively new in the game. I graduated with Bachelors in Mass Communications with an emphasis on photography just a year and a half ago, and I don’t think I have even owned my own DSLR for much over 3 years, so I’m still making a name for myself in an area that is highly saturated in photographers. I have always been artistic - never good enough to the point of thinking it would take me someplace - but in 2008 my boss (at that construction job) suggested I take a photography class at school. I was a Geology major at the time. She had been a professional photographer for
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ABOVE: The famous 1FLYSTI chase shot. This is the shot that put FOTOmotive on anybodys radar, I think. A lot of people worldwide recognize this shot. Pretty cool feeling.
a time and she thought the stuff I had done with my point and shoot deserved some attention. Turns out she was right. By the end of the basic, all black and white photography class, I was a photo major and was pretty humbled by what I could do with a Pentax k1000, a 50mm prime and roll of Kodak 400 black and white. I wouldn’t be able to take this chance if it wasn’t for the great people in my life; the bosses who suggested I take the photo class (they are married) supplied me with the equipment to get me started as well as constant, firm critique of my skill. The early development of my skill I owe all to them. I’ll always think of them as the ones the nudged me in this direction, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to repay them the favor. Currently though, my wife supports what I am doing and I absolutely couldn’t do this without her. She’s an artist herself and is probably my harshest critic, [laughs] so trying to keep ahead of her tough critique keeps me refined and constantly pushing forward. Now that I have totally gone off track, on to the next questions! [bd] Back to everyone’s-DSLR, what are your thoughts on the current state of professional photography? Consumer-grade equipment has, in a way, leveled the technological playing field. Would you recommend professional photography to anyone as a way to make a comfortable living? Whom, and why or why not?
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[cy] In my opinion, I don’t think it is any harder to make a living at it today then it probably was 20, or even 30, years ago. It is probably much easier to learn today, as you don’t have to deal with a dark room and chemicals and, with digital, everything is instant, but you still have to learn it. I have lost a couple of weddings to “Uncle Bob,” but whenever I see the aftermath of those wedding images, I have to laugh, and I don’t feel so bad because, in photography - more often than not - you get what you pay for. I don’t recommend it. It’s a cut throat industry and someone that does something newer and better is always right on your heels. You have to constantly learn new things and stay ahead of the technology curve or you will get buried. You have to be driven and very passionate about it. If you aren’t 120% sure on both of those things, it isn’t going to end well. [bd] Okay, we know you’re a dyed-in-the-wool gearhead like the rest of us. Why do you spend your money on photography gear versus your vehicle? Does one enable the other? [cy] I hope one day that I’ll be a successful enough photographer to dump money into my cars. But that is a long term goal, right now in this stage of my life I am just trying to make a living doing what I love. The Camaro is a little in the same boat at the moment, with 190,000 miles I am just trying to keep it running good, and maybe someday it’ll turn into a project car.
ABOVE: This is probably one of my favorite Senior photos, and I have to say it was quite the hit with the seniors too. Even though Brady is out of focus in the back ground, the image says a lot about the kid, everyone that knows him knows his connection to the hat and glasses, and of course every high schooler has the vehicle that they love and will have forever lol.
[bd] To that end, as a gearhead, do you ever find yourself wishing you did more with your Camaro? If not the Camaro, is there some other automotive project back in the corners of your mind that you know you’d love to do one day, but the time and budget would have to be just right before you could even entertain the thought?
[bd] The world of Stance is certainly artistic! I can see how a stanced MkI would parallel nicely with your dream. I also appreciate your in-depth answers. That’s just the sort of deep, thoughtful stuff I’m after. You’d be surprised how often I get single sentence responses.
[cy] Yes. I have a buddy with a Camaro a year older than mine that’s making 550hp+ on the bottle, so I’ll probably be following him around to various events this summer, wishing mine were more awesome while I am shooting his. But the Camaro makes such a good DD [daily driver ~bd] that somedays I just want to keep it as is. In fact, when this one goes, I’d like to just get another one.
[cy] [laughs] That doesn’t surprise me.
My current wish list though, is a Mk1 Rabbit. I have been pretty hot on the idea for quite awhile now, and a project car like that is (still) pretty attainable for little money. So hopefully soon! I’ve owned about everything growing up. We always had Jettas, I had an OZ Rally Lancer for a while, and I have had a couple of Camaros, so my loyalties don’t lie with anything in particular, but growing up with Jettas, I have to admit my heart probably belongs to VW. My plan with the Rabbit when I get it is to hopefully have it stanced. I really dig the look on certain cars and the old Rabbits look particularly good in my opinion. If time and money aren’t an issue, someday I’d like to attempt to make an old rabbit RWD. I’ve seen YouTube videos of one in Europe that had been converted to RWD, with a turbocharged Hyabusa engine. I think something like that would be pretty radical.
[bd] “You get what you pay for.” Exactly right. When it comes to cars, we know all too well the pitfalls of picking cheap and fast over “right.” At the same time, even the hobbyist who just wants more than a point-and-shoot can easily be overwhelmed when shopping for a mid-level DSLR. I mean, my last three daily drivers *combined* cost less than a new EOS-1D or D3X body. I wonder, are there parallels to be made between the two areas of expertise? [cy] Oh, I’m sure, if everyone was patient and worked diligently without spending money, they could have the camera or car that they wanted, no problem, and have all of those things; something that was fun and reliable. But the same can be said about running the equipment, both in the car and camera aspect. If you’re a guy with a cheap camera that knows how to use it, you are always going to beat out the guy that has never had a camera, and just went and dropped $3500 on a brand new unit because he thought it was going to make him awesome. I’ve only had the camera I have now for a couple of years - and it’s a great camera but
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ABOVE: Lithograph tree image.I took that shot on my first trip to San Diego, at La Jolla beach. I shot it with 35mm color film, scanned the negative, edited it to make it look like it was infrared, reprinted it as a digital negative, and then printed it as a lith print in the dark room. Lol, so it went through quite the process. The lith process gives it that old vintage sepia look, and the IR processing on the computer makes the sky dark like that. I really like alternative printing processes and this image just is good example of what can be done.
far from the best -, but I had my old base consumer level DSLR for a couple years before that and was able to do some pretty incredible work with it. Knowing what you are doing can take you so much further than having the best equipment, but quality gear sure does help. [bd] We’re taking GBXM in a deeper, more meaningful direction; to break down barriers, get people to open up, and forge stronger connections. We’re hoping at least a couple people who read each article will have that Ah-ha moment where they see more in common with the person on the page than just a shared interest in cars. I know it sounds cheesy as hell, but I want a gear head photog out there - aspiring or otherwise - to read this interview and feel better about the world because “somebody else feels the same way.” [cy] I realize this isn’t a question, but I have to say I agree. I get as much enjoyment out of helping others learn photography or any way I can. I would like someday to get my masters and teach photography. It’s my passion, and teaching others about is how I know best to show it.
probably leave me. [laughs] But I live it, breathe it, use it. My camera is basically just another extremity. It is always with me. When I graduated about a year and a half ago, I thought for sure I would be able to land, like, a marketing photographer job, or an assistant studio job, or something along those lines. But those jobs just don’t exist around here. I hadn’t planned on being just a freelance photographer, but it’s what I have been doing since then, basically. I am still holding out for that more career-oriented job, though. I think someday we’d like to try our luck in a little bit bigger area, away from the Dakotas, but for now our home in the Black Hills is just right. [bd] What’s the next step for you in your professional photography career, Chris? How will you know you’ve “leveled-up?” And what role will gearheads play in that evolution?
[bd] You’ve just told us photography is a challenging, highly competitive business. There’s a difference between a job, a career, and a living. Why do you want to be a photographer for a living?
[cy] I suppose my very next step is a level up in equipment. I have pushed my current camera to the brink of its abilities, and it is time to go full frame. I’ve wanted to go full frame for some time, but just in the last year or so, full frame cameras have made such awesome improvements and cuts in cost that they are much more obtainable. So hopefully soon!
[cy] That is probably the hardest question yet. I think I want to do it for a living because I am so passionate about it. If I wasn’t doing it full time, I would be doing it in all of my spare time, and I’m sure my wife would
Otherwise, I bet I learn something new from every single shoot I am on. I actually gave a talk last night to the Black Hills Photo Club on automotive photography. I told them that I learn something new on every
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ABOVE: I struggled on which Milky way shot to use, but this was my first successful one, and Devils Tower is such a highly recognized natural monument, I felt like it had to be this one. This is the shot that took me to the next level a few weeks ago. I am still having a hard time grasping the fact that I took it. I had it printed on metallic paper, and WOW it looks good!
single shoot. It’s not always photography-related, either. One time I learned you shouldn’t leave your cell phone on top of your car before you drive to the shooting location. I actually made a huge breakthrough in my photography, probably since starting this interview. Last year, a buddy of mine and I went out to photograph the Milky Way about a half a dozen times or so and had almost no success. I went out, actually the first week of May, to Devils Tower to give it another attempt. It was wildly successful, and I went out again over the weekend and had even more success. Making a huge breakthrough like that is super exciting. It’s how we grow as photographers and artists. What I’ll do with my newfound success, I’m not sure yet, as I am still in the wow phase. They are such incredible shots that I am still having a hard time grasping that they came out of my camera. I suppose once I get the hang of it a bit better I’ll try and work some of my automotive/portraiture photography into using the Milky Way as a backdrop. May as well make use of these wonderful South Dakota night skies while I am here. [bd] Final question: Where can people find you and connect? [cy] Heck, track me down on Facebook. I am super friendly, chilled-out dude and I’ll talk to anyone. I keep my automotive photography separate from my portrait/fine art, but to check out my automotive stuff, either search for FOTOmotive on Facebook or go check out the website
at www.fotomotivesd.com. The website’s a little nicer for just going to check out pictures, as Facebook’s kind of scattered. My other page is CJj Yushta Photography and my website’s: www.yushta.photoshelter. com. [bd] Hard work, paying your dues, and never giving up. That’s the path to breakthroughs and greatness. I really enjoyed learning about your journey, Chris. We at Gearbox Magazine wish you nothing short of success, and look forward to seeing more of your work in future issues.
“I wouldn’t be able to take this chance if it wasn’t for the great people in my life; the bosses who suggested I take the photo class, supplied me with equipment to get started and constant, firm critique of my skill. And I absolutely couldn’t do this without the support of my wife.” GBXM | 27
FWD TO AWD
With a formidable 35-40 record finishing events in their Rally Spec Focus, Simon and Kieran Wright of USUK (as in U.S. & U.K.) sold their FWD Ford Focus to build an AWD Subaru 2.5RS for Open Light rally competition. How did their FWD experience impact their AWD approach? Letâ€™s find out! WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES VARIOUS IMAGE (THIS PAGE): ROBERT MLYNARSKI
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When you reach out to people you’ve not spoken to in a couple years, you never know what might have changed in their lives. This is proving to be one of the best ideas yet for Gearbox Magazine. If someone has achieved success, setbacks, or even status quo, it gives us a unique opportunity to refl ect on why their lives have turned out the way they have and hopefully gives the rest of us a sense of how we might follow in their footsteps, avoid the same mistakes, or even keep on truckin’.
do a double take on the name of the team he and son Kieran run - USUK. I know, I know. You can’t help but read it that way, but think US-UK. Simon told us, back when we interviewed him 2010, that he’s a Brit living in North Carolina, his youngest son, Kieran, was born in the United States, so they combined US (United States) and UK (United Kingdom) for their team name. Certainly catchy! I reached out to see what’s new since 2010.
If you’ve never heard of Simon Wright before, you might
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ABOVE: Simon & Kieran breaking in the new car at ESPR. IMAGE: Douglas Bolduc, DaggerSLADE media.
[bd] It’s been a while since last we spoke. Noticed you’ve had the Focus up for sale for some time, and your website hasn’t been updated much in a while. One of the big reasons for following up is to show our readers that everyone faces setbacks and changes of priority - success is a function of never giving up. Even if you’ve not been competing, I’d be interested in sharing the story why. [sw] Good to hear from you. In fact we’ve been very busy. Alas, the web site is a victim of success rather than a symptom of failure. We sold the Focus to Futoshi Murase (2009 Japan 2WD champion) and he ran it at 100AW (100 Acre Wood) this year with Kieran co-driving for him. Over the winter we have been building our new rally car. It’s an Open Light 2005 Subaru 2.5RS hiding inside a 1995 Subaru Impreza LX shell. Our first outing was Sandblast Rally this year where we managed 2nd place in class despite holding back a bit due to new car and borrowed suspension. [bd] You sold the Focus and built an Impreza. Why? What was the biggest reason? (And why Open Light vs. Open?) [sw] We were very fond of the Focus and had it set up very well. Our last event in it was Black River Stages 2012 and we were already planning for the winter. Partly it was to seek new challenges and since budget was tight for a new build we needed the income from the sale to help fund the new car. If we’d simply run the Focus until it fell apart it would have been harder to find a new owner and it would not have generated the desired income. Not that we got anything near the amount that
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was poured into it over the years - you never do and that was expected. We were comfortable in the Focus and I think we needed to get out of that comfort stage. Kieran and I enjoyed building the Focus and were looking forward to another build challenge. Open Light vs Open is easy: we’ve seen far too many Open class cars (typically turbo-charged and expensive) have endless trouble with equipment, often passing them broken down on stage or transit. And it seems the pre- and post-rally insertion of money is much higher with Open class cars than Open Light. We prefer the tight and twisty stages anyway and on those an Open class car does not have that big of an advantage. Also, there is a good selection of competition in Open Light. [bd] Now that you’ve got a couple events under your belts with the new AWD platform, how does it compare to FWD in the Focus? How have you had to change your driving style? [sw] Unfortunately the two rallies we have completed in the new car, Sandblast and Empire State Performance Rally, are not typical of most of the rallies we run. They are on soft sand and tarmac, respectively. And I think the AWD will really come into play on true gravel roads. We are planning on STPR, Rally West Virginia and Black River Stages all of which have great roads. So I’m still exploring the advantages of AWD and trying to unlearn 5 years of FWD driving. I often caught myself approaching turns and setting up for how a FWD would handle it. I seriously need to find myself a decent, legal practice road. At Sandblast the AWD proved its mettle on some sections of the deep soft sand
ABOVE: New car, new suits, new adventure. IMAGE: Chris Killby
stages where the Focus would be struggling to escape its clutches. [bd] 2nd at Sandblast, “holding back a bit due to new car and on borrowed suspension.” First, were you comfortable pushing the new car at ESPR? And how does one borrow suspension?” [sw] I dislike using this word again but, unfortunately, we were suffering from a brake fluid leak in the line leading to the rear wheels and braking performance was considerably reduced. Trouble was, since this was our first outing with the car in anger on tarmac, where braking is super-critical, I wasn’t as aware as I should have been that the brakes were underperforming. So I think I would have been able to push a lot harder at ESPR if I’d had full confidence in the brakes. That issue has since been addressed. One 18 mile stage that we ran several times had ten chicanes! Chicanes are usually placed on the fastest sections of the stage and are typically the tightest obstacles around which to maneuver. That’s a lot of work to demand of weak brakes. Borrowed suspension? Good friends. I can finally use the other word: fortunately Sandblast and ESPR are gentle enough that reasonably decent street suspension will suffice. My good friend Kevin Allen, who has been rallycrossing for many years had a spare set of 04 STi struts with WRX springs that would fit our car while we’re holding out for some custom struts using the new Bilstein 46mm dampers. The usual borrow rule applied however: you break them, you buy them. They held up well at Sandblast and I ended up buying them from Kevin anyway before ESPR. They will become our spares when we install our new gravel setup.
Sandblast Rally was Kevin Allen and Liz Cordara’s first performance rally. They did an excellent job taking first in Open Light class! Rinse and repeat for ESPR! Watch out for them at Rally West Virginia. [bd] You mentioned catching yourself setting the Subaru up for corners like you would the FWD Focus. How so? Assuming you came into a corner in “FWD mode,” would the AWD Subie have been able to come out clean on the other side or was there risk of binning the car? I suspect setting up a FWD car for a corner the way an AWD might take it could be disastrous, but what do I know! [sw] Well, I’m still trying to figure that all out. I’m no degreed engineer or physics professor, so much of this is visceral. Or, in layman’s terms, by the seat of your pants. In FWD, especially on tarmac, having the rear end stepping out (or oversteering) is something to be managed carefully. Not necessarily avoided; there are times that it’s desirable. On loose surfaces, pretty much the only tool at your disposal to keep the rear end under control is the accelerator. Acceleration transfers “weight” to the rear, increasing grip back there (and reducing grip at the front). There’s a tendency to instinctively lift or brake when something goes wrong which, in the case of oversteer, just exacerbates the problem. For several years I’ve been left-foot-braking but it was only during rally school at Tim O’Niel did I realize that I’d only taught myself to slow down by braking with my left foot. Still a good skill to develop but not really what LFB can really do for you when used properly. LFB is somewhat poorly named. Perhaps it should be LFWT (left-footweight-transfer) but that’s a bit of a mouthful. Imagine you’ve set your
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car up at the perfect speed for a given turn (assume constant radius for now). You have your foot on the gas and are maintaining a constant speed (or possibly pushing your luck looking for a bit more) around the turn. However, grip varies for many reasons, more so on loose surfaces. You may find the car understeering or pushing, wanting to go straight rather than turn. Or the car may oversteer, wanting to turn too sharply to the inside and possibly spin. In the former case applying a little brake can increase the amount of grip on the front wheels and improve the turn. In the latter case applying a little more gas shifts the weight toward the back, increasing rear grip and reducing the effectiveness of the front wheels’ turning ability. You can do all that with one foot if you want, shifting it between the accelerator and the brake but response time is slow. By keeping the right foot on the gas and the left foot over the brake pedal you can respond more quickly to those changing conditions. OK, back to the question: how is AWD different? I think I was forgetting that the rear wheels are contributing to the forward acceleration of the car when on the gas. I’m not quite sure what I should do differently but I suspect the sweet spot, the angle one can hold in a turn for optimum grip, is different. From observing other AWD cars in turns I see wildly different approaches. From conservative lines to nearly 90° sideways in the turn with all four wheels shooting rooster-tails. I’m of the opinion that any energy spent flinging gravel into the sky is somewhat wasted. I’m looking forward to our next event, Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally at the end of May, as an opportunity to put some of this theory into practice. [bd] Speaking of ways the Focus has made an impression on you, how did it influence the preparation of the new car? Were you able to apply any lessons learned? What did you do exactly the same (because it just worked every time) versus what you changed (because it didn’t)? [sw] We didn’t really know what we wanted in the Focus when we first built it. The goal then was to make a safe car and get on stage and start learning. We didn’t do any performance modifications to the motor, for instance, until the second year. Being neophytes, we were fortunate when we built the Focus since the Rally Spec Focus class was established that year with a definitive list of requirements, removing many decisions from our hands. Six years later and we’ve learned a lot and have established a network of fellow racers and experts to whom we can turn for advice when our own knowledge is lacking. Which is still often. We followed the same process with the new car’s cage as we did on the Focus: read, read, read the rules, sketch out a design, refine the design based on feedback from the sanctioning bodies’ inspectors, and only then start cutting, bending and welding. Even now we do not trust our skills that much and took the car, our design, and the rules to a reputable cage builder. In our case that was Competition Cages in Hillsborough. Bonus: he was less than an hour away. We also didn’t seam weld or otherwise reinforce the Focus initially. We paid for that decision in a couple of incidents but the logic made sense at the time. A virgin team, starting a build with our eyes wide open, we realized that there was a high probability of our first car coming to an early end. We bucked the statistical trend by running the Focus in over 40 events and completing 35 of them. A pretty astonishing achievement. As we progressed and started pushing harder we started break-
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ing things. At first it was mostly stuff that bolted on but then we started breaking parts of the car requiring serious welding skills. In any case, despite the ongoing maintenance required, we feel we certainly got our money’s worth from the Focus. With the Impreza we had learned to do some passable welding and added welds to the body we we could. I also asked Chris at Competition Cages to add reinforcing plates to the strut towers during the cage build (rather than afterwards as in the Focus). I think the biggest lesson we learned is not to go it alone. There are many people in the rally community who will generously share their knowledge, skill and even time, to help bring a new car into the sport. [bd] What does the remainder of 2013 hold for USUK Racing? Will you strictly run rally? Which events? [sw] As mentioned above our next event is STPR in Wellsboro, PA on May 31/June 1. It’s one of our favorite events despite the very challenging Waste Management stages on day 1. I recall someone telling me back in 2007, before running STPR for the first time, that we’d need several attempts to complete the rally since it was so challenging. Well, we finished that event and I’ve taken it as a challenge to finish it every time since. This year will be our seventh running of STPR. Let’s hope we can keep our finishing streak going. Primarily this year we are competing the NASA Rally Sport Atlantic Rally Cup. We’ve already run Sandblast Rally and Empire State Performance Rally. The remaining ARC events for us are Hyperfest Rally Sprint at Summit Point, WV in June, Rally West Virginia based at Snowshoe, WV in July and Black River Stages in upstate New York in September. NASA Rally Sport has an interesting NASA National Rally Championship structure this year that grants a team a chance to compete for the national championship in Prescott Rally (in Arizona) if they take a podium position at any NRS event or win a specially designated Power Stage at those events as well as the more traditional championship points accumulation from consistent placing. There are a couple of hillclimbs in Joyce Kilmer National Park near Robbinsville, NC named Chasing the Dragon. They have classes especially for rally cars so we might compete there if our car is in suitable condition. [bd] Thanks for bringing us up to speed, Simon! Hopefully we’ll see you and Kieran on the stages here in Arizona later this year. “I think the biggest lesson we learned is not to go it alone. There are many people in the rally community who will generously share their knowledge, skill and even time, to help bring a new car into the sport.”Hicatur? Qui aut que parchicimi, qui nobis dolorem alitatur aut hic tem ea quatibus illaborit, odi occust, se ium harchic aborit estiur sime volorro con plabor magnis molorionet adipsant molenim oluptur? Seditium eaqui conseque enit as aut aut autem quidesti comniss eniscia exceaquam rae rescitati ut omnimporis dolupta et mi, core cone paruptatem aut mo milibus atessim enecae cus est, con ea volut explab is re liquaerum ea sum excest quam ipid magnatur? Ferisquatur? Et, nus eaquuntius, serspient, consece percimi nimpero ribus, te nus re magnihitate nes et fuga. Lore dis volor sunt, conesto tatiumque re-
Yellow really is the fastest color. IMAGE: Lori Lass
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MONTY + MIATA
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Ryan Yantzer has a turbocharged, Flyin’ Miata for corner carving, and a beefy, lifted Montero for rock crawling. One hauls ass, the other everything but! What’s it like to have a pair of uniquely specialized daily drivers at your disposal? WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES RYAN YANTZER (& FRIENDS)
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Back in December, I needed to borrow a G54B valve cover so I could spend a couple days cleaning and painting the one on my “new” Pajero. I posted up on 4x4wire.com, asking if anyone could help me out. That’s how I met Ryan.
try to return borrowed tools and such in better condition than I got them, so even though I could have just taken it back over to Ryan, I kinda sat on it while The IRL (The InReal-Life) took its toll.
A “couple days” turned into a good six months, as I pretty much lost the engine in said Pajero - which was/is my daily driver. Cleaning and re-polishing Ryan’s loaner had to take a backseat. Fortunately, he wouldn’t be re-assembling the engine it came off for a few months, so I got pretty lucky. Still, I felt bad about it taking so long. I always
Ryan was very cool about it, too. Never so much saying a word about it. Finally, my guilt got the better of me and I dropped him an email to apologize and explain my situation. Ryan advised he still didn’t need it for a couple weeks, so no worries. When I asked when I might bring it by, he said the following:
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[ry] My schedule varies every week - I usually travel for work 2-3 days a week but it’s not on any sort of regular schedule. This week I’ll be out in East Mesa tomorrow, home on Tuesday, flying to San Diego Tuesday evening, returning Wednesday evening, home Thursday, and flying to New Orleans on Friday morning. Next week will be completely different. If you want to drop it off on Tuesday or Thursday afternoon let me know and I’ll make sure I’m home. [bd]Wow. Can I ask what you do for a living? I know the grass is always greener, but the travel sounds interesting, ya know? Come to think of it, you seem like the perfect kind of person for an interview in Gearbox Magazine. You’ve got a Montero. You’ve also got a wicked Miata. And you’ve got what I suspect is an interesting job that takes you all over the country every week. You up for it? Email-based, as your time permits, of course. [ry] I’m an Architectural Site Surveyor - I measure and document the existing conditions within tenant spaces in malls, then draw up the space in AutoCad so the new tenant that will be going into the space has accurate information about everything within the space. Our company works for numerous different clients, sometimes for the architect, sometimes for the tenant themselves. I love the travel aspect - I’ve been to all 50 states as a result of my job which gets easier when you’ve done it for a while. I work from my home
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when I’m not traveling which gives me a certain amount of flexibility in my schedule, but it also means that I’m never truly done with work - unlike a 9-5 job, I can work at any time of day or night and I almost always have something work-related that I should be doing. It makes for a todo list that I never seem to make much headway on. [bd] Introductions. I know who you are, where you live, and - now what you do for a living. Let’s talk “cars.” Introduce the wheels? [ry] 1995 Montero SR 3.5 - Old Man Emu shocks and 3/4” lift rear springs, cranked front torsion bars, 315/75R16 BFG Mud-Terrain KM2 tires on chrome Eagle alloys, 4.90 axle gears, factory air-locking rear axle, “Aussie Locker” front locking differential, manual locking hubs, Roger Brown Rock Sliderz, 2” body lift with urethane body mounts, 3” gas tank lift by “Toasty”, custom 2 1/2” exhaust with Magnaflow muffler, original worn leather seats replaced with brown cloth seats. 1990 Miata 1.6 - A/C, PS, CC, PW, Flying Miata FMII turbo system, T28 turbo @ 12 PSI, Link FM ECU, Link knock sensor, RC Engineering 440cc injectors, updated FM downpipe assy., updated FM intercooler & intercooler piping, Jet-Hot coated exhaust manifold, compressor housing, and turbo outlet, FM turbo dual exhaust, FM aluminum race radiator, FM Stage II cooling fan assy., coolant reroute, external oil cooler, relocated oil filter, FM lightweight flywheel, FM heavy duty clutch, 1.8l Torsen differential & halfshafts, Cannon rear subframe brace, FM frame rails and butterfly brace, FM shock tower brace, Wiz
front subframe brace, HardDog Hard Core dual diagonal roll bar, 1.8l brakes, stainless steel brake lines, FM adjustable sway bars, Racing Beat adjustable endlinks, V-Maxx XXtreme adjustable coilovers, NB shock conversion kit, 15x7 Panasport wheels, 205/50R15 Yokohama S-Drive tires, Factory-style front airdam, Talbot-style outside mirrors, Hella H4 Euro headlamps, Momo Monte Carlo steering wheel, Sparco Evo2 racing seat, Voodoo polished shift knob, 3 AutoMeter gauges in custom dash-top gauge pod, AutoMeter boost and AFR gauges integrated into OEM instrument cluster, Alpine CD with IPod cable in console, Alpine 2-channel amplifier, Kicker component door speakers [bd] A lifted Montero and a lowered turbocharged Miata. It’s hard to think of a pair more uniquely juxtaposed, short of maybe a Veyron and a Mighty Max. Why these two? How did you come to buy/ build them? And what do you do with them? [ry] My daughters have always enjoyed the contrast between my vehicles - both of them are toys, but built for completely different purposes. The Montero handles like the Titanic, and the Miata responds telepathically to steering inputs - so much so that I’ve had people drive it that have almost hit curbs on the inside of corners because it changes direction so instantaneously. The 95 Montero SR was purchased in October 2004 as a replacement for my (now ex-) wife’s 95 Dodge Grand Caravan - we needed something that could carry us and our 2 daughters, be able to tow our tent
trailer, and be more reliable than the Caravan. I wasn’t specifically looking for a Montero - we had actually considered several Isuzu Troopers as well, but found this Montero with the right equipment and for the right price. It was completely stock at the time with slightly less than 130K miles and a slight bit of blue smoke appearing from the tailpipe when accelerating from a stop. Being a sports car enthusiast and regularly autocrossing my 240sx at the time meant that I wasn’t really into 4-wheeling and didn’t have any plans but my subsequent research into the vehicle had revealed it’s substantial off-road capabilities, so when the worn out OEM adjustable shocks were replaced 6 months later it was with the Old Man Emu shock and rear spring package which gave it a slight lift and far better composure on dirt roads. Being that the vehicle was my 5’-2” wife’s daily driver I couldn’t make it too difficult for her to be able to get in and out of, so the new tires that it got a few months later were off-road tires but only 32” tall. The Montero saw some decent trail action while wheeling with my wife’s cousins from San Diego that both owned Jeeps (that would break suspension and drivetrain parts far too often), but the dual limitations of insufficient ground clearance and body damage prevention kept me from challenging any serious obstacles on the trails. I added the Rock Sliderz the next year to help prevent damage to the rocker panels on my infrequent 4-wheeling trips, but mostly just maintained it until June of 2007 when we bought a 2004 G35 sedan as a new daily
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driver for my wife. Now I had my 240sx autocross toy as a daily driver and the Montero to use for 4-wheeling, as long as I maintained it’s ability to tow our tent trailer and get us through the snow to our cabin in the mountains South of Prescott. A few months later I installed the body lift and 35” tires and improved it’s off-road capabilities tremendously. The remaining modifications were done slowly over the next several years, with the installation of the 4.90 gears and Aussie Locker being the most recently completed. The Miata purchase came as a replacement for my 240SX. I have always been into sports cars and have owned quite the assortment over the years: 1965 VW Bug - first car, stripped the interior, built a 2110cc engine for it and turned a 14.1 second 1/4 mile with it at Bug-o-Rama 3 at Firebird Raceway 1973 Datsun 240Z - fender flares and triple Webers! 1972 Honda 600 Coupe - slow like a classic Mini, but 10” Yokohama A008s made it corner on 3 wheels, 40 mph felt like 70. 1973 Opel GT - the one car I most wish I had never sold 1985 Toyota MR2 1985 Toyota Supra - first autocross car, built a 6MGE and dusted Mustang 5.0s regularly 1985 Camaro IROC-Z - bought to flip, gorgeous car that sounded amazing but was the biggest POS I’ve ever owned 1993 Nissan 240SX SE Coupe - Stock class autocrossing limited mods until much later when I didn’t have time to autocross In August 2010 I had dropped my youngest daughter off at choir camp in Prescott and decided to take Hwy 89 South down through the twisties to give the car some exercise and get a little more familiar with the coilover suspension that I had recently installed but hadn’t had the time to get aligned yet. I went too deep into a decreasing radius right hand corner, locked up my inside front wheel, and went straight off the road, over the edge of the cliff and down into the canyon. I landed on the steep downhill slope and came to a stop in the brush right side up and unhurt. The car was badly wounded - even though it
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would still start and run there was more undercarriage and suspension damage than I was willing to fix, so it was sold to some wanna-be drifters for parts. So I needed another sports car. I’m not sure what made me start looking at turbo Miatas - although Miatas had always been on my radar, I had never even really considered a stock Miata as an option - just too slow - but there were plenty of turbo’d Miatas out there that eliminated slow from the equation. After a few months of finding a lot of questionably-constructed piecedtogether cars I found what I was looking for on Ebay in Colorado. The smurf-blue Miata had been owned and raced by Ken Hill, famed Miata tuner and engineer at Flyin’ Miata. More importantly, it had been built and tuned by him primarily while he was working at Flyin’ Miata, where he had access to the latest technology and the ability to test and choose from the best parts the Miata aftermarket had to offer. The car had been through several owners in the 10+ years since Ken had sold it in December 2001, including two owners in Phoenix, but strangely had ended up back in Denver. I won the auction in July 2011, made arrangements to have new tires installed on it, then flew my girlfriend and I to Denver to drive it home. The information file that was still with the car included receipts and a log book documenting all the work that Ken had done to the car while he owned it, as well as a few neat tidbits like corner weight measurements from when Ken had raced it at Road Atlanta. We drove it across the Rockies to Grand Junction and paid a visit to Flyin’ Miata, the car’s spiritual home, for a quick once-over that included a new set of plug wires and a few tuning adjustments, including a rev-limiter adjustment to 7200rpm from the 6000rpm that it had been set at. Ken no longer worked there, having moved to Pennsylvania years earlier for personal reasons, but both he and his car were fondly remembered by the owners of Flyin’ Miata. They had actually worked on the car for several of it’s successive owners from Denver, including replacing the engine after an unfortunate drain plug incident at a quick-lube shop. I was disappointed to find out that at some point one of the intercooler mounting brackets had broken and the intercooler had been zip-tied to the A/C condenser where it eventually wore a hole, meaning that we had no A/C for the otherwise uneventful drive back to Phoenix. In July. Since then I’ve been working at bringing the car back to its original condition, both mechanically and cosmetically, as well as upgrading and
improving it. I’ve repaired the A/C system, upgraded the intercooler and downpipe to the newer FM designs, replaced the worn out shocks with coilovers, upgraded to FM Stage II cooling fans, installed a coolant reroute, and installed the FM frame rails and butterfly brace. I pulled the entire interior out to add additional heat and sound insulation and replace the carpet, removed the dash to install the custom dash-top gauge pod, and spent numerous hours removing abandoned alarm and accessory wiring from the car. Near future plans include corner weighting and tuning the suspension, upgrading to a newer FM cold air intake, engine tuning (Ken Hill has volunteered to help me - I just need to send him datalogs), a new stereo head unit, and a full repaint. I’m hoping to return to autocrossing once the suspension has been properly set up and I get a few more projects crossed off my to-do list to free up some weekends. I haven’t done any serious 4-wheeling for a couple years now and am really anxious to get back out on a trail and conquer some obstacles with my new gears and front locker. [bd] Have your AutoCad skills come into play in any way on either of these machines? How so? What was the need? [ry] The only thing I’ve ever used AutoCad for that related to vehicles was to design the subwoofer enclosure/amplifier rack that I built and installed in my 240sx (now living in my oldest daughter’s Infinity G20t). It worked very well for maximizing the enclosure volume while optimizing the available trunk space in the car. [bd] I love where this is going, though, so here’s the next questions. Having two vehicles so distinctively different, yet so similar in their being built for specific purposes, do you ever find yourself unable to choose which to drive? I mean, a weekend trip to Vegas sounds like the perfect trip for that Miata, until you consider one might make the drive entirely on dirt and camp along the way! Is there ever a time when neither seems to shine? [ry] They both have their strengths and weaknesses for road trips. The Montero is roomy, comfortable, and obviously the only choice for me if I’m bringing more than one additional person (other than taking my girlfriend’s Mazdaspeed 3, but that’s not within the scope of this question), but the loud 35” off-road tires and less than precise road manners don’t make it ideal for driving long distances on the highway, not to mention the poor gas mileage (14-15mpg). The Miata is perfect for weekend road trips, but with 2 people, anything longer than 4 days can be difficult to pack for with the Miata’s limited
trunk space. I’ve got a pair of Miata-fitted bags that really optimize the trunk space and make packing the trunk far easier, but it still requires some careful thought about what to bring and what to leave behind. We just recently took the Miata up to Jerome and Flagstaff for a long weekend - driving up Oak Creek Canyon with the top down was an experience that the Montero just couldn’t hope to duplicate. Our fairly regular trips to Rocky Point are always taken with the Montero due to the road conditions in Mexico - the Miata would be much more fun to drive down there but I’d end up having bent wheels from all the potholes. [bd] It also strikes me as worth asking how frustrating it is to have a pair of vehicles so close to being ready for action, yet not really SEEING any action for some time. What’s held you up most and how have you dealt with said obstacle? [ry] The most frustrating issue isn’t anything to do with my vehicles, it’s my lack of free time. I generally work 50-60 hours a week and am usually traveling for 2-3 days every week, so when I’m home my free time gets divided between family and friends before housework, yardwork, and vehicles get any attention. I really prefer to work on my vehicles myself whenever possible, so the long to-do list on both vehicles is a self-imposed limitation. I do understand that I could get more done on my vehicles if I were to have someone else do the work, but with few exceptions, I don’t think that I need to have anything done so urgently that it can’t wait until I have the time available to do it myself. I don’t consider either vehicle to be a project that I’ll ever truly complete, I just continue to improve them, maintain them, fix anything that breaks on them, and strive in whatever I’m doing to them to bring them somewhat closer to what I visualize them to be when they are finished. [bd] If you could spend an evening talking shop with any gearhead past, present, or future, who would that be and why? What would you want to know? [ry] Wow, could you narrow it down a little bit? There are so many figures in the automotive world, both known and unknown to me, that have made major contributions to the industry and would be fascinating to talk to, that I’m not sure that I could narrow it down to just one. I once found myself traveling next to a Ford suspension engineer - we spent the entire flight talking about the IRS on the Mustang Cobra, the inherent problems with it’s design, and why the Mustang would never be sold with anything other than a solid rear axle. He was someone
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that only had influence in a teeny, tiny, little piece of the automotive world - I could talk for days with someone like Henry Ford, Carroll Shelby, Enzo Ferrari, Ferry Porsche, Colin Chapman or Zora Arkus-Duntov, people who have changed the automotive landscape as we know it. That being said, Jay Leno strikes me as being one of the most approachable and knowledgeable car guys of the current era, with a true respect for all vehicles and the history that has made modern cars what they are today. He is the embodiment of what most car guys dream about being - successful enough to be able to own or build essentially whatever he wants to, with an enviable collection of vehicles that are driven regularly instead of being statically displayed like museum pieces. I would love to spend some time with him, admiring his collection and discussing his general love of vehicles. [bd] Last question: Where can people find you and connect? [ry] I’m not quite sure what info to include here: I’m pretty active on the 4x4 Wire Mitsubishi tech forum where I’m RyanY, and I’m usually on Miata.net several times a week where I’ve got the same username. I limit my Facebook page to family and friends and haven’t taken the time to get into Twitter yet. [bd] Thanks Ryan! Looking forward to getting out on the trail and seeing what the Montero can do firsthand this summer. (Maybe I’ll get my Galant put back together and see that Miata in action as well!” HOW ABOUT YOU, DEAR READER? DO YOU HAVE A PAIR OF SPECIALIZED VEHICLES TO PLAY WITH? WE’D LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT THEM! DROP US A LINE VIA EMAIL, OR ON OUR GOOGLE+ OR FACEBOOK PAGES.
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Most automotive media these days is shallow, forgettable crap of little use beyond keeping you distracted and in front of advertising. And since so much of the media is built around ad revenue, we decided to develop a 3-month online program to teach people who want to write about cars how to do it better than anyone else. We shelved the project after the beta test, but the ideas are good enough, we wanted to share them with you here from time to time. This is the first of it! WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS
When I started looking into what made for REAL JOURNALISM, I quickly became a firm believer in it. We gearheads are all but starved for quality automotive journalism; covering stories that matter, building a foundation of deeper, meaningful content - pageviews be damned. Penmanshift was borne out of that revelation. We had 15+ modules, covering a wide variety of topics, with an eye on preparing “graduates” for success in automotive media. Each module had an objective. Upon completing the first module you would be able to speak to principles of automotive journalism excellence. This is how Penmanshift begins; with a discussion about journalism excellence. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) is located at Journalism.org. Participants would visit the Journalism Resources tab and read through the Principles of Journalism. Here, the PEJ explains the purpose of these nine principles, detailing how they represent the theory behind journalism. 1. Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth. 2. Its first loyalty is to its citizens. 3. Its essence is a discipline of verification. 4. Its practitioners must be independent from those they cover. 5. It must serve as an independent monitor of power. 6. It must provide a forum for public criticism and compromise. 7. It must strive to make the significant interesting and relevant. 8. It must keep the news comprehensive and proportional. 9. Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise personal conscience. As you read through these principles, pause to consider how each might apply to what you consider news/journalism today, or your current efforts in the automotive industry. You might find it easier to frame your thoughts around these principles in terms of what stands to happen were they not followed, for example, consider the second principle – [Journalism’s] first loyalty is to citizens. What if journalism’s first loyalty was to its financial backers (advertisers)? I hope you see how we at Gearbox Magazine are trying to adhere to
these principles! The simple truth is that stories of people who actually bought their vehicles will always be more important than those who were given new appliances models for a couple days to share their opinions. Our first loyalty is to YOU, the gearheads of the world, who we believe deserve more than paraphrased press releases and gratuitous sensationalism to keep you in front of ads. We are always open to being corrected - that’s how we learn! We are independent from the industry, beholden to no marketing department for access to the people we interview. You get the idea. It’s not easy to achieve all of these, and since this is still mostly a one-man show, it’s a little bit hard to expand into being an independent monitor of power, but damnit - we’re independent! Oh yeah, and our conscience DEMANDS we make the significant - THAT’S YOU - interesting and relevant. Because you ARE interesting and relevant! If writing about cars - or anything you truly care about for that matter is something you’d like to one day do for a living, get in touch through our contact page, ask us anything on Google+ or Facebook. We believe true success requires helping others achieve success. We will not be successful unless we help you build high performance machines and lives. This first Penmanshift module (which originally existed on a private forum), closed with some questions for program participants. Specifically: Which of these principles do you feel are most lacking in automotive journalism today? Are you getting the truth? Are the producers independent from those they cover? Two weeks from now, having spent a couple weeks thinking about journalism, which do you think will immediately come to mind and why? (Which are most important to you, personally?) How will your sticking to these principles benefit your readers? The industry? Society?
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Every year, 38% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce because a man has spent too much time and/or money on a vehicle. Also, 72% of all statistics are made up on the spot! What I’m trying to say, here - without coming across as a complete choad - is that women are just as passionate and capable gearheads as anyone else, and the world would be a better place if there were more female gearheads. GBXM|united is all about discovering what we all, as gearheads, have in common. No matter what. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES JUSTDAMNMAGNIFICENT.COM Jacqueline Goad - aka: Jax - lives in Jacksonville, Florida, where she wears many hats. She’s a writer for Fearless904 Magazine, a sales associate at Tire Kingdom, and an assistant at Icon Wrapz. When I popped into DSMpurity for the first time in years (haven’t had much time to BE on forums since starting this magazine, sadly), it was pointed out to me that I really needed to look up Ernie - on the effing cover, if you hadn’t noticed - and Jax. Anyone in the automotive scene - who isn’t a complete idiot - will tell you, there are precious few women invovled in the hobby. I don’t think anyone has hard numbers, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something like 10:1. I really wanted to get Jax’s take on things and asked for the interview. [jg] Yea, being a girl in the car scene definitely has its challenges, but I’ve never regretted a day of it :) I would most definitely be up for an interview, I’m honored that I would even be considered for one. Getting recognition for something I love to do is just icing on the cake for me.
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[bd] Introductions: What do you drive, how do you drive it, & why do you drive it? [jg] I daily drive a 1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST with the speed and fearlessness of an old lady getting hot flashes, haha. And I drive it because I like being able to say my race car gets me to work every day. [bd] Since a lot of our readers are already thinking, “Whoa! A girl who plays with cars!” Let’s get right into it. What’s it like being a gearhead girl? And is there a way to refer to gearhead girls in general that shows how much we guys appreciate you, without sounding like some misogynist a-holes? [jg] What its like being a gearhead girl? Well, its a lot like being a gearhead guy, except I wear a bra and have to put my hair in a ponytail when I’m under the hood of my car. Other than that, I swear and throw tools when my car makes me mad, have at least one oil or grease stain on every piece of clothing I own, and my hands are rough and dry from the excessive use of Gojo just like every other car guy I know. A certain way to refer to us? I can only speak for myself when I say
this, but treat me like any other gearhead. I appreciate it most when someone talks to me like anyone else that has a passion for motorsports. Ask me about my car, its parts, and why I chose them. Talk about what kind of racing I’d like to do or power level I’d like to make. My anatomy has no effect whatsoever on those answers. [bd] I hope I didn’t come across the wrong way asking that! [jg] No, you didn’t come around wrong at all, haha. I’m used to people assuming that since I’m a female, we want to be treated differently. Hell, there are so many feminists, I don’t blame most people for the assumption, lol. But no, I’m just like every other gearhead. [bd] What are some of the challenges you face being a girl in the car scene? [jg] Being a “gearhead girl” definitely has its challenges. So many girls are in this scene for the attention, its hard to find a woman who takes it seriously. At events, people first assume that I’m just someone’s girlfriend who tagged along for the day. When they find out I brought my own car, then they start to think I either bought it that way or a man built it for me. Respect is a lot harder to earn in this community because you’re constantly having to prove yourself or else you become just another nameless chick that couldn’t hang with the boys.
just passed our 1 year anniversary. We haven’t gotten to the point of printed issues yet, but we’re hoping its in the near future. I write most of the car/driver features and some of the event coverage. We do have a decent sized team, but its hard to get everyone on the same page so we aren’t progressing at the rate we’d like. I definitely enjoy the work, though. I always wanted to write about cars. [bd] In your profile over on Fearless 604, you mention building the GST for multiple uses. You’ve just told me your race car gets you to work. Tell us a little bit about why you want to race in such diverse events? What are your specific goals for each use? [jg] I think the goal of wanting to compete in multiple kinds of racing makes things a little more challenging. Anyone can completely strip a car and go fast in a straight line or build a dyno queen that sits in a garage. I want my car to perform well in the quarter mile, auto-x and road racing, all while making a respectable number on the dyno. Oh, and get me to work every day and pick up groceries. Sure, there will always be someone who runs a faster time or makes more power, but what fun is that if you only take it to the track once or twice a month? Reliability is just as important to me as power and track times.
[bd] And what’s this about Fearless904? Can’t say I’ve heard of them before now. Are they new?
[bd] Rather than share your complete mod list, can you speak to how your various goals for the car have impacted a couple of the major mechanical investments you’ve made?
[jg] Yea, Fearless904 (fearless904.com) is still kind of new, I think we
[jg] I’ve always had the same goal for my GST, and I established that
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goal long before I purchased it. Before I buy a part, ANY part, I ask myself “Will this still be on my car when she’s done?” If the answer is no, I move on and replace it with something that I know will be a part of my completed build. That kind of thinking has been a major money saver in the long run, but it also goes hand-in-hand with “Do it right, do it once.”
its a great way to teach you about life and prepare you for other things that don’t come as easy as you’d hope.
One of these major mechanical investments has been my Southbend clutch. My GST was an automatic for the first two years of her life with me and when it came to doing my 5-speed swap, I knew picking out a clutch was going to take a toll on my inner shopping skills. I wanted something that wouldn’t kill my leg muscles every day, but still hold the 500 horsepower I planned to achieve. After consulting with Tim Zimmer and explaining my goals, he pointed me in the direction of the clutch I have been in love with for the past year.
[jg] When you have a problem, think simple and don’t forget the basics. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve wasted researching and diagnosing issues because I thought they were more complex than a disconnected sensor or a single number being off on a tune. I wish someone would have told me this at the beginning and saved me from pulling my hair out on more then one occasion, haha.
[bd] Tell me about an obstacle you’ve had to overcome with the car and how you did so. [jg] It seemed like getting tuned for the first time took WAY too much effort, and I am grateful to this day for the patience of Freddie from Spec-Ops Motorsports. The first time we went out, my balance shaft belt snapped and took out my crank position sensor after the first pull. After I fixed that and planned to tune again, I wanted to wait until after I bought a set of Kelford cams during a Christmas sale. Then I had the opportunity to do my 5-speed swap, so it was postponed again. Fast forward to switching turbos, manifolds, conquering an overheating issue and trying to figure out Ceddy mods [an open source, programmable ECU setup for DSMs ~bd], she was finally in a place where I could turn the boost up and enjoy some power without worrying about something breaking. [bd] Why is being a gearhead so important? Why do you invest so much of your time, energy, and money into “playing with cars?” It’s more than a hobby. It’s a way of life. But why is that? [jg] It is most definitely a way of life. Being so involved in cars has introduced me to some of the greatest friends I’ve ever met. It has taken me on vacations as far south as Key West and all the way up to Ohio. Its something that not only makes me happy, but it makes me feel accomplished. Every time I look at my car, I’m reminded of this great machine that I’ve built. The struggles I’ve overcome to make a power goal, the times where I didn’t crack under pressure when something had to be fixed or replaced in a certain time frame. I’d hate to make it sound cliché, but
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[bd] What’s one thing you know now that you wish someone would have told you or helped you figure out when you were getting started? Why? How might things have turned out differently?
[bd] If you could ask any gearhead - dead or alive or not even born yet - one question, what would that question be and who would you ask? Why? [jg] With the availability of information over the internet, its really hard to think of something to ask someone that hasn’t already been asked. I guess for my own inquiry, I would have to ask the Stig if he would take me for a ride in his choice of automobile, haha. I’ve gone skydiving and ridden rollercoasters, but I’d really like to know if riding passenger to someone with his level of skill really is just as much of a thrill as I imagine. [bd] Where do you expect to be in a year - with the car, with your career, with your life? How are your automotive experiences supporting those goals? [jg] In a year I’m hoping to be done with my DSM and beginning the build on a 10 second Evo. While most people say that building a car is a never ending journey, I do have a stopping point when she hits 500 horsepower. I’m nearly there at 492, but I just want to enjoy the car after that. Races, meets, shows and any other events it may lead me to. As for my career, I thoroughly enjoy working with Fearless904. I’ve always wanted to turn my passion of writing about cars into a job, and it has definitely been a great way to get started. Maybe one day I’ll have the opportunity to share my passion with other magazines and make it a full time gig. They always say that if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. What about my personal life? Well, I got married about 6 months ago, and I’m excited to continue through this journey with my husband as a
team. He shares my passion not only for cars, but also for 4g63s, and I’m grateful to have someone to share this way of life with. We’re currently in the process of building his Evo to meet his goal of 750 horsepower, and we’re also looking to relocate to the northwest at the beginning of next year and expand our circle of friends across the United States. Maybe even put a Recaro baby seat in the back of the Evos and pass on the love of cars onto another generation. [bd] Where can people find and connect with you? Who would you most like to meet? Why? [jg] I’m very active online. Facebook along with a couple dozen forums like DSMTuners, DSMPurity, and Mitsu-Media. I’m also in the middle of creating a website, www.Jaxness.com, to kind of tie my whole world together. Instead of making a mess of build threads in multiple places, I think putting up my own site would be a lot easier on myself as well as anyone else who is interested on what my car has been through. While attending the DSM/EVO Shootout for the first time last year was a great opportunity to make new friends, I still have a list of people I’d like to meet face to face. People that have helped me in my build over the past several years, or just been there to offer words of encouragement when things seemed to dead end. A lot of people tell me that I look intimidating or they were too shy to introduced themselves whenever they saw me at car events because I was always surrounded by a group of people. I cannot tell you how much I love meeting new people, and putting faces to screennames. I’m very laid back and enjoy talking to everyone, no matter if you’re brand new to the scene or a seasoned veteran. Come up and say hi!
[bd] Any closing thoughts? [jg] It would be a lie to say that I am the one and only builder of my car. I’ve had a lot of help along the way, and I can’t thank these people enough. My husband, first of all, for being quiet and handing me tools to let me figure out how to do something the hard way without interfering. David “Chicken” Aguado, who not only tuned my car, but was there for every waking moment of troubleshooting when there was a problem. Jus, who dealt with my inability to make up my mind on what turbo I wanted and then surprising me with a pink one, haha. Kyle Smith, for leaving last minute parts in your mailbox for me because I was too impatient to wait until the next morning to do something. But most of all, the entire DSM community deserves a big “thank you.” Whenever I had a question, no matter how small, I had dozens of people giving up their time to help me out. I sincerely appreciate all of you, you guys make this way of life worth living. “TREAT ME LIKE ANY OTHER GEARHEAD.” Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? As gearheads, we respect those who turn their own wrenches. Gearbox Magazine is about celebrating those who so and who help others do likewise. This story reminds me how much we all have in common and how easy it is to let superficial labels and nagging, institutionalized stereotypes interfere with what is really important - going fast with class and pressing on regardless. You’re high class, Jax, and we’d love to run pretty much anything you might want to write for us here at Gearbox Magazine. Thank you!
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Memorial Day is supposed to be about more than selling cheap beer, junk food, and “freedom.” It’s supposed to be a day we honor the memory of those who fell in service to their country. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES VARIOUS With the endless news updates surrounding “The War on This” or “The War on That,” you’d be forgiven if you didn’t know the last person to serve in WWI died in 2012. Memorial Day is a national holiday in the United States wherein we remember the men and women who died in service to their country.
military service. World Wars I & II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom (Iraq/Afghanistan, the mainstream media hasn’t really pointed that out much).
Growing up in the military, I’ve always felt the men and women in uniform were my extended family. There’s an unspoken understanding among those in a community who know those they hold most dear may be called to the front lines on any given day. Though my dad retired back in 1995, there have been many times since where I’ve felt like a bastard for not enlisting and doing my part as my brother’s keeper.
One of the greatest benefits to living in a “free” country is being able to speak openly and freely in support of - and in protest against - war. And though I’ve gotten into some pretty nasty arguments with friends about the honor in serving in a conflict that goes against one’s beliefs because one has sworn an oath to serve the country versus the honor in accepting the consequences of breaking that oath due to those same beliefs, I have to respect those who march into conflict because it is their job to do so.
This Memorial Day, I wanted to honor those who have fallen - and who may fall. In my eye, they deserve more than the thinly veiled opportunism sold as a celebration of freedom. There is no way we civilians can ever truly know what they endure in the name of freedom. I hope what I’m about to share somehow enlightens you to something you hadn’t considered. (It was certainly a revelation for me.)
This piece isn’t so much about whether you and I agree on current combat operations, why they persist, how they proceed, and what they’re really about. It’s my attempt at sharing something interesting I heard recently that fundamentally changed my perspective about war, the media, culture change, and the people in uniform this holiday is meant to memorialize.
BEFORE YOU READ ANY FURTHER
Originally to heal our collective wounds after the Civil War, by the 20th century, the scope was widened to include all Americans who died in
Pause for just a moment. Think about what Memorial Day means to you. I wonder if, like me, the thoughts cross your mind in this order:
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3-day weekend, summer vacation, soldiers. Today, I wonder if this deeply meaningful day of reflection hasn’t been reduced to a 3-day weekend marking the beginning of the summer vacation season; hijacked - like so many other holidays - as a celebration of what it means to be an American - drinking shit beer, eating shit food, and buying disposable shit we don’t really need. NOTE: You’re going to see some big numbers in here. As my intent is to illustrate an idea that enlightens you to something you might not have previously considered that I believe will give you a deeper appreciation for your neighbors in uniform, I’m not vetting or citing the source of every number I use. I don’t want anyone to get distracted with sources or political beliefs. This isn’t a term paper (much to my inner journo’s chagrin). The numbers are so big, a 10, 20, 30% margin of error isn’t going to affect my point. Just wanted to get that out before we went any further. THE LAST WWI SURVIVORS According to Wikipedia, the last living veteran of World War I, Florence Green, a British citizen who served in the Allied forces, died at the ripe old age of 110 in February 2012. A year before, the last surviving combat veteran, Claude Choules, who served in the British and Australian navies, also died at 110. In 2009, Harry Patch, the last living soldier to have fought in the infamous trenches of WWI, passed on at 111. 65,038,810 PARTICIPATED IN WWI. 9,750,103 DIED DURING THE CONFLICT.
INCONCEIVABLE NUMBERS It’s been estimated that 60-170 MILLION people died in just the two World Wars alone. That’s more people than live in any city anywhere in the world today. That’s probably more people than you can even imagine together in any single place. Seriously. Think about it. Here. To help with a frame of reference, here’s recent population figures of some of biggest cities in the world: TOKYO: 37 million SHANGHAI: 20 million NEW YORK CITY: 20 million If you can imagine EVERYONE in ALL THREE going off to war and DYING, you’ve got a pretty good idea of the scale, here. Personally. I can’t imagine that. I can’t imagine anyone, anywhere signing marching orders if they could picture that kind of carnage in their mind’s eye. There is no amount of land, resources, power, or even religious belief worth that price. I know the numbers just shared aren’t just Americans and that Memorial Day is an American holiday. I share them to illustrate how so many soldiers have died in combat, it’s all but impossible for us to really remember them as much more than a generic ideal, an altruistic stereotype if you will. WAR, MEDIA, & CULTURE: THEN World War I was called “The Great War.” From an American perspec-
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tive, we were all involved. Natural resources and production capacity were realigned to support the war effort. General Motors was building tanks, anti-aircraft guns, and ammunition. Americans went without meat on “Meatless Mondays” and without bread on “Wheatless Wednesdays” to ensure these staples were available to keep the troops nourished. We even bought War Bonds, going above and beyond to personally fund the war effort. I don’t have the cold, hard facts, but a couple quick Googles suggest more than 4 million Americans served in WWI. At that time, the total population of the United States was approximately 100 million. That means 1 in 4 Americans was directly involved in the war. The other three were probably building tanks and ammo, buying war bonds, or adjusting their diets in support. Imagine that! Millions of your friends, neighbors, and countrymen are halfway around the world with you, individuals fighting for liberty and justice for all. And back home, EVERYONE was doing EVERYTHING they could to support you and get you home safe. WAR, MEDIA, & CULTURE: DESERT STORM One morning in 1990, as we changed classes at Heidelberg Middle School on Patrick Henry Village (PHV), the small military installation where I did 7th and 8th grade in Germany, a staff member rolled a TV cart into our classroom, turned on Headline News, and told us we would be in that room for the remainder of the day. It was the first day of the Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. There was no goofy, middle school jocularity. We sat there, mouths wide open, listening for anything which might suggest our parents would be called to war. The next morning, our locally contracted, blue and white Mercedes O305 would roll up to our bus stop in Nussloch, off-base, out on “the economy” as we called it (think suburbs) with a new rider - a soldier in full combat gear, M-16 on his back, pack in the first seat, asking to see both our bus passes and Department of Defense ID cards. When we reached the edge of PHV, which was just a break in a chain link fence where an open 4-lane road entered the facility, there were now a good 20 soldiers on duty. Overnight, they’d set up countless concrete barriers reducing traffic to just two lanes snaking through one of the most secure checkpoints I’ve ever seen. The dawn’s early light was lost in thousands of watts of flood lighting illuminating the checkpoint as our soldier confirmed everyone on the bus was legit and two others scanned the undercarriage for explosives, with a pair of bombsniffing German Shepherds at their sides. We were 6th, 7th, and 8th graders and we were silent for the next five minutes as the bus made its way the last couple blocks to the big circular drive past the front of our school. There were a few hushed whispers at the sight of a dozen armed soldiers positioned on the roof of our school (which was on the edge of the facility, by the way). We pulled up to the curb and exited, instructed to go directly inside to our first class without stopping. I don’t remember much about that day. Just that, for a good week, going to school meant going where we were going to be safe while our parents were at work (I can only imagine what those days were like for them) and watching coverage of burning oil wells, SCUD missile impacts in night vision, and a lot of sand. I’ll never forget the picture of the armed soldier waving from the roof of the school in our yearbook that
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year. As I write this, I’m literally choking back tears at the realization I never knew the names of the soldiers who were there on a moment’s notice to protect us - to protect me - while I sat in a classroom watching TV, worried about what it would mean if my dad had to go to Iraq. This would become the new normal. Checkpoints like these were a fact of life. Went through them to buy clothes, CDs, and groceries. Combat-ready soldiers were positioned everywhere. As Germany is connected to the middle east by land, attacks on Allied targets were theoretically possible. There was only one TV channel over there back then, and it was pretty much a Headline News feed for weeks. These were not inconveniences. They were not symbols of an oppressive government. Didn’t matter if we were in Iraw for oil or to liberate the people of Kuwait from a despot who would eventually be reduced to a goofy internet meme - these were our friends, our neighbors, our countrymen - suiting up, ready, willing, and able to lay down their lives in the protection of ours - school children. I will never forget that. WAR, MEDIA, & CULTURE: NOW Fast forward to the war(s) in Iraq and Afghanistan. More Google-fu, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Association (IAVA- iava.org) says at least 2.5 million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s half (or less, depending on the source), than served in WWI. Current US population is over 300 million according to Google. Where 1 in 4 Americans served in WWI - almost 25% of the population today it’s more like 1 in 1,000 - less than 1% - involved in Operation Enduring Freedom. This piece has gone on long enough, so I’ll spare you the 9/11, Saddam Hussein, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), Osama bin Ladin, Al Quaeda story we’ve all heard a thousand times by now, suffice to say this conflict has been reduced to fodder for criticism of this political party or that. The point here is to compare not only the numbers of soldiers involved in WWI versus Iraq/Afghanistan, but what those number mean something to those of who haven’t served and are being institutionally insulated from conflict, placated with the allure of summer vacation, cheap beer, BBQ, frivolity, and blind consumerism. THE POINT WWI was caused by a small group of malcontents making a power grab and imposing their beliefs on others who weren’t strong enough to defend themselves. American soldiers in WWI knew millions of their countrymen were physically there on the front lines with them and that pretty much everyone back home was doing what they could to support them. America - all of it - was deeply involved in the conflict. They faced unspeakable horror knowing everyone back home cared about them. Operation Enduring Freedom, while nowhere near the scale of WWI, is still about a small group of malcontents making a power grab and imposing their beliefs on others unable to defend themselves. Even if the War Pigs have rendered it more an economy-boosting profit center, there are still regular people - people just like you and I - suiting up everyday knowing there’s a very real chance they or one of their closest friends will die. Today’s combat veteran doesn’t represent 25% of the population. He represents less than 1%. Today’s soldier doesn’t have the sim-
Navy file photo of Navy SEALs operating in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. From left to right, Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Matthew G. Axelson, of Cupertino, Calif; Senior Chief Information Systems Technician Daniel R. Healy, of Exeter, N.H.; Quartermaster 2nd Class James Suh, of Deerfield Beach, Fla.; Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell; Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Eric S. Patton, of Boulder City, Nev.; and Lt. Michael P. Murphy, of Patchogue, N.Y. With the exception of Luttrell, all were killed June 28, 2005, by enemy forces while supporting Operation Red Wing. U.S. Navy photo
ple comfort of knowing everyone back home is thinking about her and cheering her on. They don’t have every major industry retooling to ensure the full faith and credit of the United States is behind them. They face unspeakable horror knowing the average American these days neither knows nor cares what they’re doing. THAT BLEW MY MIND How could anyone do that? How could anyone face another day in some shitty, middle eastern backwood, facing unknown enemy combatants knowing most people back home don’t even care? Why would anyone put everything on the line like that with so little genuine support back home? As someone who’s never served and can’t possibly understand, I have think it’s because they believe in what they’re doing. I have to think they ARE their brother’s keepers. I have to think they see themselves making a difference in the lives of people nobody else in the modern world gives two shits about. I see them as knowing they are the last line of defense against tyranny and the things that go bump in the night.
All the yellow ribbons on tailgates and “support our troops” shares on Facebook are signs of hearts still in the right place, but pale in comparison to the realization that we, as a society, despite being more (technologically) connected than ever before, care less and less for these people. They’re being reduced to pawns in a bi-partisan political circus. And they deserve better than that. EACH SOLDIER IS A PERSON JUST LIKE YOU That’s what I want you to think about on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day, any day you see a soldier in uniform. They represent the citizen who has sworn to protect his or her country from those who would seize any opportunity to indiscriminately do us harm - whether they agree with the validity of the threat or not - knowing full well the vast majority of said country doesn’t even care. Forget the politics. Forget the war. Remember the person - the individual - who, like you, just wants to make a difference in the world, come home safe to friends and family, and maybe be recognized for the effort. Be the friend, the neighbor, the countryman who gives a shit.
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THE FUTURE OF
Every year, 38% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce because a man has spent too much time and/or money on a vehicle. Also, 72% of all statistics are made up on the spot! What I’m trying to say, here - without coming across as a complete choad - is that women are just as passionate and capable gearheads as anyone else, and the world would be a better place if there were more female gearheads. GBXM|united is all about discovering what we all, as gearheads, have in common. No matter what. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES DIESELSTATION.COM Here’s something to think about. Imagine if you could take your old, paid-off Ford F-150 to the local dealership and get the latest directinjected, EcoBoost V6 professionally installed with a basic warranty. What if the next vehicle you bought was designed with future upgrades in mind instead of obsolescence and replacement. Okay. So you can already have the dealer install a brand new crate engine. Of course, dealer markup and labor rates make this cost prohibitive for 99% of the enthusiasts out there. This is one of the reasons why there is an entire aftermarket devoted to providing upgraded components for the engines which came in our vehicles off the assembly line. CNET: Tesla’s Path to the Upgradeable Car (Reading print? Google it!) THE FUTURE OF MODIFICATION That idea up there about the old Ford getting the latest Ford technology? Tesla is building something similar into the Model S. They design the chassis with all the hardware they expect to need, keeping modu-
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larity in mind. When they want to implement a new feature – like the trip planner mentioned in the CNET article – it’s an OTA (over the air) upgrade. The car simply upgrades itself. Pretty cool, right? The more I learn about EVs, the more I think they’re the future of motoring. And, given how much they seem to have in common with the electric RC cars many of us have played with, I can’t help but think we’ll one day be able to swap out battery packs, motors, and such to take advantage of the latest technology just like we can with them. Anyone running a brushless motor and LiPos in an old RC-10 should see the connection. Wouldn’t it be nice to buy a car and know you could keep it forever, enjoying most of the benefits of advancing technology? How might older vehicles – generally smaller and lighter than their modern counterparts – perform with modern engines and gearboxes in them? Like I said, something to think about. BUT WAIT, IT’S ALREADY AT RISK! Hat tip to Kris Marciniak for sharing this one with me. Take an irrespon-
MODIFICATION sible population increasingly disinterested in actually driving and give them more and more electronic nannies – rearview cameras, blind spot alarms, and park assist, falsely encouraging their incompetence. Further isolate them from the machine by replacing throttle cables and steering columns with digital servos. Then show them how autonomous vehicles are already roaming the streets among us. What do you get?
down freedoms we don’t even have yet in the name of “safety” makes me a littler nervous, but I gotta figure, if we can root our phones and change operating systems on our computers, everything’s going to be okay. The future of modification looks bright. What technology are YOU most interested in seeing applied to our vehicles?
Detroit News: Feds Aim to Foil Traffic Hacking (Reading print? Google it!) You get a bunch of fear-mongering cronies in Washington, D.C., looking to lock down and control what they don’t even remotely understand. (Don’t worry. Corporate lobbyists are happy to “inform” them.) How do you think government oversight might impact this sort of technological advance? Mandatory McAfee anti-virus subscriptions on all new vehicles? Mandatory master remote kill switch so they can disable your vehicle if it’s out of control or you’re a day late paying your registration? THE GLASS IS HALF FULL This sort of news gives me hope. Though I grew up with – and still prefer (mostly due to cost and availability of aftermarket support) – internal combustion, I love the idea of being able to upgrade the performance of my vehicle wirelessly or to swap between motors and battery packs depending on how I want to use the car. Knowing clueless politicians – who can’t seem to do anything for anyone who isn’t on Wall Street these days – are already looking to lock
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AN OLD SOUL
Adventure. That first sweet taste of automotive freedom. Back when we didn’t really know what we were doing and did it anyway. In many ways, this is an obituary, but it’s mostly a reminder of how the machines become a part of us. WORDS ADAM CAMPBELL | IMAGES AZ CRAWLERS NOTE: This is Adam’s first contribution to Gearbox Magazine. Deeply involved in the 4x4 community, he wants to share stories of homemade, 4-wheel drive projects that mean the world to people all over the world. We’d love to hear what you think of this story! We all have a machine that transformed us into gearheads. Maybe it was your first car or maybe a motoring experience that stuck in your mind forever. For my childhood friends and I, it was this 1988 Montero with a tired 2.6L gas motor. Three of us owned it at different times and anyone who ever rode in it went on to buy their own. It opened up doors to the real back country of Arizona and there are probably still pieces of it out there that fell off along the way. This all started when my friend bought it back in 2001. It had 5 different tires on it and it got roughly 8 miles to the gallon. As fearless teenagers with no money and no responsibilities, we took it everywhere - not knowing if it would make it or how to fix it if it didn’t. As time went on, it got new tires, some maintenance, and I learned how to drive a little bit. Soon, in addition to “getting the wheeling fever,” we were ready to MODIFY! Nothing but the best fabrication and highest performance modifications for this truck, we cut the roof off and kind of welded on some old sewer pipes under the rocker panels to protect the doors.
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With the custom fabrication complete and tested over thousands of offroad miles, it was time for a motor swap and the motor of choice was a nice, running 2.3L turbo-diesel with a cracked head. Once we realized this kind of motor swap was over our heads, my friend bought a remanufactured 2.6 to get it back on the road. With the rig running better than ever, he decided to sell it to our other pal to finance a new/ old ‘89 V6 Montero. His mother kicked him out of the nest for this irresponsible move. Damn kids. The Monty, now under new ownership, gets a little love in the form of a rattle can blue paintjob followed by a serious amount of abuse. No stranger to body damage, the old truck soon was absent of any straight body panel and one of it’s sewer pipes had fallen off somewhere. The first two owners took the rig out on the Sierra Nevada Challenge where it broke tie rods, axles, and inhaled dirt, then drove home under its own power. This machine was a glutton for punishment. It survived everything. You couldn’t even drown it. After the cylinders were polished with dirt and the water had finally burned off inside the transmission, it was time for another motor. Still being the same fearless teeagers we were when we started, the decision was made to attempt a more complicated motor swap and we failed.
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The truck went dormant for a couple years. Its tires went flat, its paint faded, and parts were taken off to keep other trucks on the road. It had a short-lived revival attempt in the form of a less complicated motor swap that also failed. A couple more years rolled by and it sat, a shadow of its former self. The one thing it couldn’t survive was neglect or the lack of abuse, I’m not sure which. My friend was ready to part with the old truck and I jumped at the opportunity. This was the truck I learned to drive in, had countless adventures in and it had a good motor in it from the last attempted motor swap. I wanted to get the truck on the road again, but it was too late. It had dirt in its braking system and needed all new everything - it had died. I needed to dispose of the corpse. Much like this all began, there I was at 3AM sawing pieces of its body off. Three truck loads and three trips to different grocery store dumpsters later, I help on to few remains.
“The three of us still have pieces of this truck on our new machines, the good memories and the severed remains are the soul of the old machine.” 54 | GBXM
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LI’L EVO GEARBOX ARCHIVES
In May of 2011, Jason Tanin told us a little bit about “LIL EVO,” his turbocharged, all-wheel drive Mitsubishi Mirage. It’s the classic story of small car + big horsepower = shenanigans. It’s also the 7th most popular story of all time on the site. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES JASON TANIN
[bd] What do you do for a living and where do you live?
rage sedan. I also created several tutorial DVDs for 1989-1992 Mirage, Colt, and Summits. One is a walk through DVD of the AWD installation, the second is a wiring swap tutorial of how to integrate the 4G63 wiring harness into the Mirage, the third is how to install properly functioning air conditioning in any 89-92 Mirage with the 4G63.
[jt] Currently a student studying criminal justice. I live in South Eastern Wisconsin.
[bd] What’s your build philosophy/goals for your Mitsubishi? How do you use it?
[bd] What Mitsubishi(s) do you drive? How long have you had it/ them? [We had a specialized Mitsubishi Gearbox Magazine back in those days.]
[jt] My goal is to strive to use OEM parts and tried and true quality components. I want my cars to be as clean as possible while retaining excellent daily driveability (power steering, AC, full interior). I focus on making sure there are no rattles, thumps, and the cars drive as smooth and straight as possible. It’s hard not to do this now while having a Lexus as a daily driver.
[bd]What’s your real name? (What’s your screen name?) [jt] Jason Tanin, LILEVO.
[jt] 1995 Mitsubishi Mirage sedan with a full, OEM EVO3 body kit. I’ve had this car since early 2009. 1993 Dodge Stealth RT/TT. It has twin 13T turbos (WRX Turbo in the Mitsu housing) and BPUs. I’ve had this car since early 2009. 1990 Mitsubishi Mirage SE sedan, 4G63T, AWD. I’ve had this car since early 2006. [bd] You’ve done something fairly unheard of with your Mitsubishi? Care to share? [jt] I custom installed a 1G AWD drivetrain into a 1990 Mitsubishi Mi-
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[bd] What originally attracted you to the Mitsubishi? What keeps you going today? [jt] Cheap, available, and fast. My first car ironically was a 1989 Mirage sedan, the original “LIL EVO”. I was working with what I had at the time. I know Mitsubishis so well today that I keep coming back to them. I learn something new almost every day with these cars whether it’s tuning or locating new parts such as JDM body parts for the 89-92
Mirage. I don’t ever see other Mirages or Stealths on the road today so I think it’s great that I have such great and clean examples of these cars. [bd] What are your goals for your Mitsubishi and how close are you to achieving them? [jt] At the end of the 2010 season I ran an 11.3 @ 134mph at 35psi and street tires. I am looking for a good set of slicks for the 2011 season to hopefully run some low- to mid-10s. My ultimate goal would be to run high 9s and still have a great daily driver. [bd] What was your favorite modification and why? [jt] The AWD of course! The traction and stability is unbeatable. Although installing the A/C and cruising in the summer with icy 38 degree air coming out of the vents is a close second. [bd] Tell us about something really exciting you’ve done with other Mitsubishi owners. [jt] The DSM Shootout in Norwalk, Ohio, is about the most exciting event any Mitsubishi owner can attend. We fill up all of the hotels, drink, tell stories, and fix cars in the hotel parking lots until the sun comes up. Then we go racing! [bd] Tell us about a time something broke and what it took to fix it. [jt] DSM Shootout 2004. I just spent the past two weeks converting
the car to AWD. I tried starting the car to leave and it wouldn’t start. Turns out the AEM EMS failed overnight. I drove 30 miles to a friends house and borrowed his AEM EMS for the weekend. The car started right up. We headed out and the car developed a severe vibration about 80 miles away from home rolling through Chicago. The front seal on the rear diff failed and all of the fluid leaked out. I looked under the car and the rear diff was smoking! We drove on the side of the freeway at about 10mph to the nearest parts store and stocked up on 80/140 transmission fluid and rubber seal magic. No more than 50 miles later, the car started to pull to the left along with a nasty grinding noise. The driver side hub blew up and we were stranded. . Three of us hopped in a buddies 97 Talon along with all of our gear and drove the remaining 250 miles to the shootout. The next morning, my friend and I borrowed the Talon and drove to no less than 8 salvage yards in a 100 mile radius of Norwalk. Finally, at the last salvage yard, I scored a hub for $30. We drove the Talon 260 miles back to the stranded Mirage, replaced the hub and axle, then drove 250 miles back to Norwalk. Every 50 miles I stopped, drained out the black rear end fluid, and filled it with fresh 80/140. I collapsed in the hotel parking lot with an alcoholic beverage in hand. We bought a spare rear end at the swap meet, installed the new rear end in the hotel parking lot and drove home trouble free. YOU CAN READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW (INCLUDING A MODIFICATIONS LIST) ON GEARBOXMAGAZINE.COM. SEARCH FOR “LIL EVO” OR JASON TANIN!
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A difference. The only thing worth making. What if there was a way for gearheads to make a mark on society, to make a difference? Back in 2011, “Gearheads Without Borders” was just such an idea. I talked to Ryan Scott about it. WORDS BRIAN DRIGGS | IMAGES BRIAN DRIGGS I spent an hour or so on the phone with next level gearhead Ryan Scott, of Rally Team for Dreams. As part of my continued efforts to develop the idea of a gearhead charity-type thing, I reached out to Ryan to get his thoughts. You see, Ryan recently raised a nice chunk of money for Camp Sunrise, which serves kids with HIV/AIDS, as part of his efforts to get a Ford Focus down to Leon, Mexico, where he and buddy Andrew Frick, earned top honors at Corona Rally Mexico (WRC) and got a taste of celebrity.
project; this would all take money, which would likely come from gearheads’ pockets, impacting their personal projects. Now, this isn’t to say the gearheads of the world aren’t among the most generous folks out there, or that any of us would necessarily view our automotive projects as being more important than people in true need, but many of us already struggle to make what little progress we do on things, so it would be a major sacrifice, making the decision a bit more difficult. And really, should helping others be a hard decision?
What did Ryan think of the “Gearheads Without Borders” idea?
The conversation turned to into Art of Manliness meets Fight Club on race gas. We got to talking about local/regional car clubs, meets, and mentors. Gearheads are already getting together on a semi-regular basis, so what if we could come up with some kind of national/international club status where we took our skills to the next level? If you’ve reached the point where the thought of things breaking on the machine is more annoying than scary, if you know you can fix pretty much anything that might break – but just don’t want to – then this idea is for you.We’re thinking smaller groups, maybe 4-5 core members, and what follows are some ideas for what they would be doing.
“At the core I see the goal being to design/build a program where gearheads/auto enthusiasts/car junkies/do-gooders w/ mechanical aptitude can use their collective skills, interests, and experiences to pass on valuable and worthwhile lessons and knowledge to those hungry for such an opportunity. The whole ‘teach them to fish, rather than hand them a Filet-O-Fish’ idea – far more sustainable, and hopefully resulting in fostering a ‘pass it on’ mentality. Such a program would provide numerous benefits to the receiving individual/ community, from gaining an employable skill(s), a sense of accomplishment and pride in their new found ability, to helping an impoverished community advance into our current age through the use of transportation, or even just engines in their day-to-day lives (think how back in the day people used to use their tractor engines to drive everything).” But Ryan pointed out one of the toughest nuts to crack on such a
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Finding mentors. Let’s learn more about other things of interest. Advanced auto skills like chassis fabrication, welding, or electrical came to mind, as did others you might not immediately associate with gearheads like carpentry, sharpshooting, fishing, or grilling. The idea being we look beyond our cliques and find opportunities to get some hands-on ex-
perience in new areas. We can fix our own cars, but can we build our own houses? Can we confidently protect them? Can we find our own food and make it taste good? For some, the answer is yes to all the above, but there are more areas than just these, and wouldn’t it be cool to learn something new that helped us (or our brothers) become a little more self-sufficient? Becoming mentors. Let’s help each other learn more about everything. Let’s find automotive rookies and show them the ropes. Yeah, this is already kind of going on, but we’re thinking something a bit more structured. Think of all the hard lessons we’ve learned over the years, and not just the ones where things went wrong, but the truly meaningful ones where we realized how things could have gone better. Being a mentor is about helping others understandhow and why so they can make better decisions regarding what, when, and where. And let’s be the ones who teach each other about advanced chassis prep, carpentry, sharpshooting, fishing, grilling, et al.. Serving our communities. Let’s challenge ourselves right here at home. Here’s a question: When people donate non-running cars to charities, some are scrapped, sure, but who fixes the ones that get re-sold? This is where we start getting back into the “Gearheads Without Borders” angle. It all has to start at home. That’s how we make it easier to get involved. Up for a challenge? Could we get our local crew together and spend a day volunteering at a local charity fixing cars or helping part them out to maximize their returns? Could we put a little cash together, buy a non-runner off Craigslist, get it running, and sell it to someone in
need? Could we cruise the highways around town in the summer with a toolbox and a cooler of water looking for stranded motorists in need of a little help? Gearheads Without Borders. Let’s take this idea worldwide. Organizing an international charitytype service project is a major undertaking. It’s hard enough getting our projects off the jackstands (or getting comments to our stories, here, hint-hint), but if we can take what we’re already doing – getting together semi-regularly to talk cars – and evolve that into something even better, we stand to have the kind of manpower to really organize around bigger automotive adventures. This idea is entirely scalable. We all got to where we are today with our cars/trucks/bikes by getting together to share what we know about cars/trucks/bikes. Think about what might be possible if we got together to share what we know about other things. In the end, gearhead clubs like these would be all about getting things done; getting our machines out into the world to do what we bought them to do, but also making sure automotive culture grows, showing our local communities – and the world – that being a gearhead means something. It’s like Ryan said, “The time for being passive is over, get some grease under your fingernails and tear up some knuckles already. Something I try to live by is the thought of when I’m 80 years old, am I going to wish I had sat behind the computer more or will I have wished I spent more time actually living. Pretty easy to answer that one.”
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WE’re looking for gearheads who’ve overcome adversity, traveled outside their region or country to meet other gearheads, made a difference in the lives of others, gone on new adventures, built fresh new projects, have big dreams and bold ideas. we’re looking for high performance machines and lives. could it be you?
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we’re also looking for gearheads who would one day like to make a living helping us unite the gearheads. we’ll give anyone a chance. the person who cares enough to show up every day and do the work when there’s no money is the person we’ll share all the money with once start making it. will it be you?
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going somewhere? Make a difference. find meaning.
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