Black Swan

I guess it’s no big secret – I’m obsessed with GT wings and if executed properly, they can look deadly. Every single car I’ve had (minus the LS – understandable so, I hope), has had a GT wing, and it’s always my favourite part on the car. Yes, I’m a huge ricer but I don’t give two shits and I do want to set the car up to see a few track days next year – I’ve been itching to drive the FRS hard – like it’s meant to be driven.

Anyway, Alan Hoang has been gracious enough to help me out all week in answering my questions about the new Voltex Type 7 Swan Neck GT Wing and since he’s probably the first in Calgary (and likely Canada that I’ve seen or know of) to have one, he was also kind enough to offer to let me do the ol’ try-before-you-buy deal. Alan’s Voltex wing was custom in the sense that Voltex made one-off brackets to fit his S14 since there is no application for it at the moment… Now there is.

Over the last week, we’ve been exchanging texts back and forth about how to obtain the oh-so-elusive Swan Neck wing and the best way to do so. This afternoon, Diana and I went over after work and made sure it was exactly what I wanted…

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We brought it up from Alan’s basement of rare JDM goodies (which I took a few pics of below) and brought it up.

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The wing is massive. Massive is an understatement and you’d have to see it in person to really understand. Alan and I are both in agreement that it’s probably the most aggressive GT wing on the market now. You’ll see why shortly…

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Here it is mocked up my car. I’m at 10mm on my lens so it exaggerates the proportions a bit – I assure you it doesn’t look THIS big… But it IS big, there’s no doubt about it.

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Here I am zoomed into 20mm – less wide angle distortion and it gives a better view but still not “to scale”. The wing itself is 1700mm which quite large for the FRS body in comparison to my 1650mm Voltex Type 5 on my STI and 1500mm J’s Racing that was on my Civic. The wing span does, however, reach the edges of the top part of the wheel well. It’s proportionate – this is good.

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Another shot – particularly of the Swan Neck stands. My favourite part… These are extremely aggressive at 275mm tall.

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From the front, the AOA (angle of attack) was particularly aggressive (maybe too much for the FRS) as you can see it is higher than the roofline. The AOA can be adjusted to meet the roofline though. Diana is in awe of the Swan Neck greatness…

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A shot from a little lower – again at 10mm which exaggerates the size greatly – shows the massive size of the air foil sitting at 355mm wide. One of the widest air foils for a Voltex wing today.

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One last shot of the risers.

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Down in Alan’s basement is the area of any JDM-lovers dreams. There is a plethora of rare and very sought after parts down here… In this particular shot – a Job Design VIP kit for Alan’s new Lexus GS F-sport.

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There’s a fairly good shot of the rear bumper – but the cherry on top, the creme de la creme, the best part of the Job Design kit – the front bumper, is still under wraps. Alan hadn’t even opened it yet… Not sure how he can hold back. I guess with a whole bunch of other parts, there’s plenty of excitement to go around. At the top of the pic you can see Alan also has a full Air Runner kit ready to go onto the GS…

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To the side a little bit are parts for his S14 – still waiting to go on as well. By this point, I’m wondering how the hell does this guy have all the patience to just leave this down here?!

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And right below my feet was one piece of the GS VIP puzzle – a Futura BBK.

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And back in the garage – the GS awaiting for its makeover. This will be – hands down – one of the best VIP builds in the city with literally no corner cut. With plans to add T-Demand suspension components to the mix, there’s nothing standing in it’s way from killing the game. Alan’s S14 is also a car that has really eluded the scene – I didn’t get a chance to see it, but when it finally comes out, I’ve already told Alan I got dibs on shooting it first.

Anyway – huge thanks to Alan for taking the time out of his day for letting us swing by and check out all his cool shit. All I can say is MBN…

PS – we’re leaving for Vancouver tomorrow so stay tuned for coverage when I get back!

Balance Auto Garage!

FINALLY I’m somewhat back. Sorry for the lack of posts lately – I’ve literally had nothing to post and no time to shoot. The past few DAYS have been go go go and honestly, the last thing I want to do lately is pick up my camera. In the past, all I wanted to do all summer is go out and take pictures of cars but being an “adult” means needing to do “adult” things and that gets in the way sometimes. We just finished the fence and now we have to do the lawn and all that other stuff so my weekends have been occupied a ton. We also recently got back from Mexico last week for Diana’s birthday so that was a write off as well. I’m hoping to have more content here soon though, since we are all leaving to go to Vancouver this weekend to just chill. I’m thinking there’s gonna be lots of pics and while we’re down there, I hope to get some pics of the BC talent too.

And just to further to that, there has been absolutely zero progress on my car. Nada, zilch, nothing. So there’s obviously nothing to update on and I’m sure you’d all get tired of just seeing pics of my car at different angles and no additions after a while so I’ve really just been chillin’. I have ordered part of my body kit for next year and I’m just shopping around a bit more for the rest of the pieces and I’ll be golden. Next year will be game time again so I’m super stoked – it’s scary that I’m saying this, but I’m looking forward to winter because that means it gets closer to getting all my parts onto the car. It’s a bittersweet thing, really…

Anyway, I promise to try to get on it after we get back from BC – I think everyone in general is just in a chill mood so it’s kept me really unmotivated. Thanks for those that have been commenting and sending me emails to get my shit together – I really do appreciate the support, even though it’s just little, old me doing this. I check up on the blog everyday and I wish I could magically post things but I’m coming up dry.

So to get this somewhat back in the game, I just wanted to share Jackie and his new shop – Balance Auto Garage – also getting back in the game. He left his origins (Zero Limit Automotive) a while ago and created a fresh start for himself again at a new location. This would be his third location and everywhere he goes, the rest of the scene up and follows him too. That’s the type of loyalty you get when you provide good service and quality work – it doesn’t matter where you are. I’m personally glad that he decided to move back north closer to me (I know – selfish :D), cause now I’ll have more of a reason to come and chill…
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Outside the shop. It’s no longer A-United Transmission and that will all be changed soon as he is not officially opened yet. He’s still doing small side work in the meantime, but his grand opening is August 8th.

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The shop front which is still under renovation since it was left in rough shape.

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The back of the shop up on top of the lounge area – which is super cool – looking down into the work space. Three openings, lots of space, it’s almost Fast and Furious-like…

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Right behind the balcony is a room that Jackie has been working on and painting, with plans to have TV’s and racing set ups in the near future… Which also mean me coming to play… Which may also lead to divorce. I don’t know yet.

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Outside the other entrance is another small balcony to look down onto the other side.

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And on the other side, couches to relax.

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Looking down – the car getting on Jackie’s hoist for the first time.

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The other side is a line up of some pretty cool cars. Some that you might recognize…

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Trung’s S2000 is probably familiar to lots of you, and of course, one of Alex’s 7 cars… Unless he acquired another 10 that I didn’t know about…

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Issac putting in work.

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The first time I’ve actually seen the car up on a hoist lol

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God, it’s so dirty. It’s been raining every other day the last few weeks so I’ve just given no f*cks.

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Another shot of Alex’s S2000

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Full frontal with Trung’s S2000

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Jackie’s 4Runner on Bronze TE37’s

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This is what I believe everyone refers to as – “JTONG Money”. Curbs all his TE’s while offroading and doesn’t give a shit. MBN.

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Liked this shot…

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God, I can’t wait until you look better. Starting to get tired of this lol

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Alex and Trung’s cars…

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And just to end it off, another one of Jackie’s collections – his Tundra – AKA work truck to do work shit in.

Remember, his shop is not officially open yet, but swing by after August 8th and check him out! He’s doing good things and if you care about your car like the rest of us do, you’ll do the right thing.

Be back soon everyone! I promise to have something up by the end of next week!

New Workstation!

Part of what we’ve been doing is just getting the house in order… It’s been a mess since the wedding last year and the room for my “office” or “workstation” has been full of junk and just crap laying all over the place. I’ve been wanting to fix it up because my PC has been sitting in the living room hooked up to the TV and while that’s great for streaming shows, it’s not so great when you have to do a bunch of editing. I’ve literally been sitting on the ground or like two pillows like some peasant on the TV station getting an aching back or losing the feeling in my legs. It’s not so great…

On Canada Day, Diana and I decided to hit up good ol’ Ikea to check it out and with our luck, there was a sale! We copped everything and got home and cleaned the room up and set up. It’s no fancy station, but it’s 100x better than what I used to be doing… At the same time, we hired some peeps to do our fence so that’s going up pretty quick. The developers dropped off some shrubs so now we have to get our green thumbs on and do some planting – far from my comfort zone of suspension installs and wrenching in general. Lastly, in about a week Diana and I are headed off to Maya Riviera for our annual vacation for her Birthday. As much as I want to get some content up here for you guys, it’s really the last thing I can (or even “want”) to be doing right now…

It’s far from car related but it’s something, right?! Anyway, just some quick snaps.

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Quick shot. Pretty simple… I was able to keep my Recaro :)

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Did a bunch of wire tucks in the back.

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#lifewithjson in the corner… Of course Diana had to add her little touches – some girly pencil holder.

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Side note to all this – Diana has been talking about wanting to make some Terrarium stuff for a while now and we had some free time to go and do just that. Pretty cool if you ask me. First time I’ve ever really seen anything like it and it seems to be some sort of trend that’s catching on quick. You literally just go and buy rocks, dirt and mini plants that last basically forever and design them like so. Diana’s already convinced me to try my hand at it so when I do that, I’ll probably be posting it… It’s a nice little addition for the desk.

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Up close shot of the plant she chose. I don’t even know what it’s called but it’s cool as shit. Low maintenance. Aesthetics points. Hipster value.

Admittedly, she originally got this for the living room downstairs but once it was done, I convinced her to put it in my office where it will get more attention… This isn’t the last of Terrariums in our house…

#lifewithjson Hiatus

Sorry peeps – I actually have nothing going on right now. Summer time is an unusual time for me – it’s when all the cars come out to play and there’s cruises, meets, and opportunities for photoshoots left, right and center. At the same time, the nicer weather means I’m busy doing summer things – building a fence, BBQ’s, and just relaxing and enjoying the long days we have. Work has been crazy lately so by the time I get home I just want to chill on the couch and watch TV with Diana.

Lots of things coming up in the next few months though – first of all is the illmotion Sunday School Show & Shine which is always a winner. During the first week of August, we’ll all be cruising over to Vancouver to hang out and spend more time away from work. As far as photoshoots that are upcoming, I honestly have nothing planned yet and I barely have enough time to come online to check this to begin with.

I will admit though that almost everyday, I look forward to the end of summer because that’s when the big plans for the FRS start. I’m itching to order the parts and I can already envision it coming together… Only time will tell though. I hesitate to photoshop it and put it up here because I’ve been burned too many times. I’m not saying I’m trying to change the FRS world but it’s something I think will be unique enough to make me love it even more.

Anyway enough of my blabber – I thought I’d spend a few minutes to just give you guys an update on what’s going on. I do want to spend a quick second to thank Bill over at ThreeTwenty for making my decals for me (below). I’ve kind of been working on a design since Driven but haven’t had time to tweak it to be where it needs to be for the proper dimensions. It ended up turning out sick as hell and I love it! Just a little something for my blog!

I’ll try to have some content up soon or at least something cool to tide this over. Knowing me, I’ll probably end up scrambling near the end of summer to shoot as much as I can cause I slacked off the whole time. Don’t be strangers!

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Down N’ Out: Benji’s Bagged & Boosted TSX

The time has come!!

Finally getting around to having Benji’s TSX up and I’m pretty stoked on this mainly because I’ve been itching to shoot it since he came to Calgary for Driven a few weeks back. When JC had originally told me that a few guys from Winnipeg were coming and sent me a pic of Benji’s car, I scoffed at the idea in my head mainly because I didn’t believe anyone from Winnipeg would drive 12ish hours to come to Calgary for a car show. Lo and behold – they did, and they were crowd-pleasers at the show, without a doubt.

Benji’s car has an extensive amount of work done to it – inside and out and it’s show car quality, but it doesn’t come without it’s consequences, unfortunately. In Alberta, there are little things that we take for granted that doesn’t go over so well with the police out in Manitoba. To quickly run it down, anything modified from stock is not allowed – plain and simple. Things like HID’s, suspension and clearance, interior pieces missing, etc – all the things that all us racers love to change and remove will net you a ticket (or many of them) and another inspection to make sure you’ve complied.

The night before the shoot, we were talking about getting ready for the shoot – time, place, etc. Late that night, around 10 or 11PM, JC got a text from Benji saying he got pulled over and was getting a bunch of tickets for his modified vehicle. Once this happens, you technically shouldn’t be driving it until you’ve gotten your inspection because you’re risking being pulled over again. Benji decided to take the risk and let me shoot it – which I’m thankful for because I doubt I’d have the same opportunity again. As I was shooting, I asked Benji about the tickets and he mentioned that the funny thing about the tickets and the law is that it says you can’t modify anything from stock, but the cops don’t know what “stock” is to begin with. One of Benji’s tickets ended up being “HID’s”… Well, we all know HID’s come stock on a TSX… How that battle will pan out is unknown to me…

Anyway, we did the shoot with no issues and then rushed off to the wedding to all get drunk together!

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We were having lunch at Moxie’s while Benji and Dan came a little later and waited for us. We rolled out shortly after…

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On the way to the Forks I tried my best to get as many rolling shots as I could but the streets were busy and there wasn’t much room. There are a few more below.

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Benji and JC lined up with us in the Van. We were ready to punch it and smoke him…

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A cool shot of one of the buildings at the Forks.

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The first location reminded me of Eau Claire back in Calgary. It was super bright out that day and not to mention, busy as hell.

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The first thing you’ll probably notice is the awesome colour – Porsche GT3RS grey. Looking real good on his TSX

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Up front is a massive Kraftwerks intercooler which hints at something pretty obvious under the hood as well.

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My favourite part (if you know me) is the Voltex wing fitted out back. It really carries the aggressiveness through to the back.

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Tucked all around are a set of matte black Advan RS-D’s.

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One more shot as we were leaving…

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One shot that we had to get quickly was on the suspension bridge.

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One more with the Forks building in the back.

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The next location was at the Investors Group Field – the new football stadium that opened in 2013. A nice spot to hide away from all that sun. But it’s a good shot of all that tuck he’s got going on.

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A closer shot of the ProjectMu BBK behind the RS-D’s. The ProjectMu teal really makes the car pop in combination with the GT3RS grey and subtle black tones. You may have noticed that Benji carries that teal colour combo all throughout the car as well.

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A few other details that I loved were the little titanium pieces Benji has added. I loved these titanium bolts that hold the endplates to the wing… I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same…

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Also replaced the bolts holding the wing stands down to the trunk with titanium.

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If you can’t read that – it says “Dannie Riel”. During Driven, Dannie was with the beyond.ca booth and she came over to our end and Benji got her to sign his trunk. Nice little momento – given that they are both from Winnipeg.

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Mugen visors – you can never go wrong.

IMG_0972 copyThere is no lack of attention to detail on the inside either – a pair of leather Recaro Sportster CS’s and Takata harnesses dominate the cockpit.

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Inside is his IG handle. Also a good look at how the interior carries the ProjectMu teal colour like I mentioned earlier – the two tone is money.

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Looks like Benji also got Dannie to bend over and sign the inside floor of his car too… (clean thoughts).

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A side profile shot – very aggressive.

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As you might have guessed, Benji is also on air – he’s got his tank and dual compressor set up mounted to the underside of the rear seat decks.

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A custom LED third brake light.

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Benji cleaning up the engine bay for some shots – he hadn’t cleaned it since he made the long drive back from Calgary and there were lots of dead bugs lol.

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Another titanium bolt.

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Inside, Benji brought some Spoon into the mix…

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A shot at the Kraftwerks set up… The colours used all throughout the car work surprisingly well when put together.

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Another shot of the Recaros and the gutted interior.

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One thing that you might have noticed is that he’s rocking a Spoon bumper up front – which is my favourite bumper for the TSX with the J’s Racing bumper following closely behind that. It fits nicely with his build and you don’t see too many Spoon-fitted TSX’s around…

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A closer shot out back with the Voltex Type 5 wing… And Dannie’s signature of course.

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And to end it off – a nice shot of the Winnipeg duo together.

The week has been crazy busy so I haven’t had time to shoot much more lately, but hopefully I’ll have something up soon! PS – if you’re looking for a shoot, let me know and we can book something! My camera is at your disposal :)

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