Install: TOM’S LED Tail Lights

Another (more significant) part to cross off the never ending list for the FRS. I was pretty pumped for these tail lights (I mentioned before that I get excited over mirrors and lights) because the day I found out I was getting an FRS, I knew I wanted to get rid of the altezza-looking tail lights ASAP. I don’t know as a fact, but my personal opinion is that Subaru had some sort of hand in designing them based on their tail light ideas for the Impreza hatch… Or I’m just full of shit and bitter about lame looking tails lol.

The tail lights weren’t such a predicament for me to decide on because I’m a fan of all red and not a fan of the fancy designs of other manufacturers like Buddy Club – AKA Aventador tail lights. Valenti makes the second best looking tail lights IMO but still not for me. TOM’S tail lights are very subtle and have a nice layout for the LED’s so it’s not too gaudy but it does make the back end of the FRS look a lot nicer – especially black or white FRS’s.

I ordered them off of FT86speedfactory and got them within a week of ordering and with so many places selling TOM’S tail lights, or FRS parts in general, it’s super easy to just find some random site and to purchase something that doesn’t have the proper warranty, or it’s a replica, or it’s just not legit. Kind of lame but I guess that’s what happens when you want to mod a car with a huge aftermarket world to choose from…

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Anyway – I picked the tail lights up at UPS at lunch (Thanks Punit for holding them for me) and headed over to JC’s after work to install them quickly. It’s a fairly easy install but JC has been hounding me about getting TOM’S tail lights since I’ve been shopping the dealerships too so I thought he’d appreciate the install part too.

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Ta daaaa!!!

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Nicely packaged!

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An upclose. I plan on keeping the plastic on like a true Asian to prevent scratches.

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A shot of the holographic TOM’S sticker – to prove authenticity…

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JC working on moving the panels and liners aside.

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Up front, I took the under portion of the dash apart because you have to change out the relay to work with LED bulbs or else you’ll get intermittent or odd flashing patterns.

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Shot of the stock relay. Kind of a bitch to get out.

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Another shot of the cool sticker lol

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Some JDM instructions.

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Punit supervising like he always does…

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And then he got a hold of my camera and started snapping pics. I’m usually never on this side of the camera so even looking at this is weird for me. LOL

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Both tail lights in! They fit like a glove and perfectly as well. No gaps or anything.

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Trunk closed.

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I was just kidding about keeping the plastic on (for those of you that shook your head at me). LOOKS SO GOOD

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A bad shot but that’s with the lights turned on. My favourite part of the light are those LED “C’s”.

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Close up of the tail light.

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JC Instagramming and Punit looking for some app that we’ve never heard of. Now that I think about it, he still hasn’t told us what the app was or what it does and he searched for a good 10 minutes…

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Apologize for the dirty car since it rained yesterday but that’s not the point. The point is how much better the back end looks now that those clear lens tails are gone.

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Punit’s GS over there somewhere.

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A close up of  TOM’S etching underneath each of the tail lights.

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Felt bad that I snapped a pic of Punit’s car and not JC’s… So here you go.

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Got back home and took a few more shots in the garage. Another with the lights on.

I should also add that these are the USDM spec tail lights and not the JDM ones. Why the USDM over JDM, you ask? I chose it ONLY because the blinkers are red on the USDM version where as the JDM version blinkers are amber. The other difference (which didn’t matter to me anyway) is that the side portion that you see up top lights up in the USDM spec and it does not light up at all in the JDM spec. So really – I chose it because I like red more than amber lol.

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A couple more…

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And a shot with the blinker on. The red just matches everything better IMO…

Onto the next one… Soon, I hope!

Kraft(werks) Fed: Terence Wah’s Subaru BRZ

This shoot is a little more close to home for me – mainly because it’s pretty much the same platform, just badged differently and in a fancier suit and tie. Terence has actually gone through a decent array of cars since I’ve known him and I was surprised and excited when I found out he had a BRZ, and even more excited when I heard he had already supercharged it!  When I first met Terence back in 2009 – he was building an S2000 and at the time (keep in mind this was 5 years ago), this was – and still is – a very good set up for a car that was beaten around the track whenever Terence could get out there. He has always been function-oriented, using mods that worked and looked good. I believe a year later, he had a J’s Racing hood, J’s Racing Wing, he changed the wheel set up to Volk RE30’s in a more aggressive fitment and paired it with Spoon brakes for the track.

Shortly after that, he got his hands on every Honda fanboys dream car – the NSX and while the dream was achieved, he didn’t hold it for too long. It sat in the garage most of the time and as much as he wanted to enjoy the car like it should’ve been, things just never worked out – and so they ended their relationship.

Honda S2000

A shot I took way back in 2009 of his S2000 in its early stages. This was when I was still fairly new to shooting and practicing my skills and one of the rollers I took during this shoot made it into Import Tuner’s back page snapshots which became my first shot to ever be in print (as small as it was).

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Enter Terence’s Subaru BRZ with a Kraftwerks Supercharger right beside the heart of the Boxer. Again, nothing much has changed in terms of Terence’s vision of building cars – functional and simple – and sometimes that’s all you need to have a car that you can just enjoy and not worry about e-fame or status.

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One of the things you’ll notice is that he’s got the STI-style lip kit on to give the stock body a little more aggressiveness.

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The BRZ headlights was one of the first things I fell in love with when I was in the market for a BRZ. This, along with push start button were the only two things that I liked on the BRZ over the FRS. Even though I would have changed it all out for something else anyway…

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Nice little gurney flap on his wing.

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Terence’s BRZ sits on KW V3’s – a perfect choice for the FRS/BRZ platform.

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The shoes are BBS CH-R’s

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The obligatory mirror shot – and JC’s mirrors are clean for once. (Have they ever been clean?)

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Got into a nice alleyway and it worked nicely with the white. Reminded me slightly of my photoshoot with my old STI way back when…

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Random rear shot and I would’ve put more effort into this if JC wasn’t in the way…

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So I decided to take a quick shot of his car even though it was in the way just to be nice before rolling out.

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Oops one more with the lights on :)

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This shot makes me excited for some reason. I think it’s because I can’t wait to start modding the FRS and seeing something come together so simply with good quality parts makes me happy. The FRS/BRZ platform is so popular that it’s difficult to differentiate your car from everyone else – I usually compare the FRS/BRZ to the shadow of an S2000 – it is significantly cheaper brand new, it’s RWD, it’s essentially a 2-seater and it has parts for days from some of the best manufacturers out there to the cheapest ones. The combinations are endless and I often find myself shopping for one part for a week straight because there’s just so many.

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Stopped by a gas station to feed the beast.

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Here’s a good shot of the front end with the intercooler sitting behind the grill…

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Reminds me of a Panda theme. I dig it.

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Under that hood sits the main attraction…

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Kraftwerks Supercharger – installed by Compact Tuning Lab, pushes about 270WHP according to Kraftwerks. He has yet to dyno it for true numbers but Terence said he’ll be getting to it soon as there is a race track slated to open up in Drumheller next year (we hope) and I’m sure you’ll see this there.

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Still weird for me to see Toyota and Subaru under the same hood. It’s cool and all but still kind of weird.

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An overhead shot of his engine bay – very clean and simple.

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One more of the Kraftwerks power plant.

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And the last one to close off. This shoot made me order parts…

JDM GT86 Rear View Mirror

Yes – this is worth a post because it nets me JDM points, and the more I have, the better.

First off – thanks to Arif over at Country Hills Toyota for snagging this piece for me! Even before I had possession of the FRS, I was shopping for parts all day and if you’re building an FRS, chances are you’ve got a few or many JDM pieces on your shopping list. It might not be that high on the list, but it’s on there nonetheless and I was stoked when Arif texted me to come by after work to come grab it. It’s a post-wedding gift and I know Diana is just excited as I am about it (that’s a lie, but I don’t care).

I posted it on IG, and I joked that Arif and JC sponsored my car because they’re still the only ones that have ever got me parts for my car LOL!

Just some quick pics for you to see the differences for those of you saying “wtf it’s just a rear view mirror”. Well, mirrors and lights get me excited so get used to it.

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The stock piece. Nothing is wrong with it, but if something better is available, then you’ll hate the original part LOL

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A shot of the JDM mirror. ooooo ahhhh

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A shot of the edge of the mirror

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It was as simple as turning the mirror clockwise off, and taking off that metal clip.

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Comparison of the two mirrors. They are slightly different in size – the JDM one is slightly wider and has a better shape with less rounded edges.

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A comparison of the OEM clip on the left and the JDM clip on the right. Don’t be fooled by how I’m holding them – they are exactly the same size. Why did I even bother switching it out? Because now I can say I have a JDM clip behind the JDM mirror… More cool points!!!!

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Voila! It already looks better

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Another shot of the edge.

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And one last shot further out.

You might ask why anyone would care about a frameless mirror? Well I ask why are you such a neg?! Anyways, JDM points ftw. Thanks again, Arif!

Ketchup & Mustard: Bill & Mario’s Performance Ford Magazine Photoshoot

I’m stoked because I finally get to post these!

A few weeks back, Bill had approached me to shoot his car along with Mario’s for Performance Ford Magazine – it’s a magazine that is more prominent and known in the UK – but still a great opportunity. Being able to shoot and support print is a great thing. Reading it online is one thing, but there’s just something different about print that is significantly more gratifying and worth purchasing… Especially if it’s your own car or your photographs.

However, one of the pains for shooting for a magazine is the fact that you actually have to wait for it to go to print. It’s like waiting for Christmas – you get anxious, excited, antsy – all of the things you feel when you’re waiting for something you just know is going to be good. Along with that comes the second pain of me having to wait before I can showcase the photos online – we’re lucky because it went to print probably a month or two later so the wait time was minimal.

Anyway, I wanted to make sure that the photos were extra super-duper superb for the magazine and wanted something a little different from the downtown, urban scene or the warehouse-look. We decided to take on nature and I’m glad we did – the combination of the greenery, blue skies, and vibrant red and yellow cars made for awesome looking photos that really just looked good on their own without much work.

A little more about Bill and Mario – I originally met Bill when he had his Grand Prix, which he babied like no tomorrow, and while it was not a typical choice for someone like you (who may be reading this blog), Bill proudly brought it to each meet and just wanted to hang with a group of people that shared the same interests: cars. It’s as simple as that, and when you really just get over the fact that some people are not necessarily going to be driving what you like or modding things the way you think they should be modded – we can all get along. Bill loved everything from Domestics to the crazy riced out Japanese GT-winged Batmobiles and I say it all the time, but we need more appreciation for everything and less opinions on what isn’t ideal. I’ve known about Mario a few years ago when he had his GE8 Fit and his S2000. He moved onto the new Ford Focus ST – which was a totally different direction from the Japanese cars he used to be in and he quickly made it quite an eye-catcher in a really short amount of time. Together, the both of them helped each other build their cars into what you see today.

Congratulations to the both of you guys for making it into Performance Ford Magazine, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to shoot your cars for the feature. Can’t wait to see the print copy!

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JC and I of course, tag-teamed this shoot (and killed it btw). We’re rolling out to the location…

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On the way there, we only had two lanes and three cars so for about a KM or so, JC pulled off into the shoulder while we got both of the cars together to get a roller.

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We ended up finding an absolutely perfect location for the shoot that gave us everything we needed, so we didn’t need to go anywhere else. The location was pretty much dead and the scenery worked so well.

The red just pops.

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Another shot of the winding road and Mario’s ST.

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A dual shot of them together was a must. For those of you that have seen the digital copy or are going to pick it up, this is the shot they used on the front cover.

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White wheels always have a spot in my heart.

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One thing that you might have noticed is that Bill’s front is in-fact off of an ST – one of the few (or only) that have the ST front end conversion – and in my opinion, looks 100x better. Much more aggressive looking especially with his added “winglets” and custom lip.

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Another shot of Bill’s car. Noticeably more different than the last time I shot it and for all the right reasons.

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One thing I noticed about Bill is that he likes to incorporate Japanese influence in his builds here and there – a more noticeable one is the blue Spoon Sports banner with his ThreeTwenty brand on it.

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A little attention to detail shows a Mario-inspired ST badge.

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Side note: I also had the opportunity to shoot with new glass that day which was perfect – the Canon 35mm F1.4L – which gave birth to these awesome shots with very shallow depth of field. Only camera nerds will know what I mean, but I love the shots that came of it.

Peep that fitment.

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Mario’s carbon-wrapped roof.

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A close up…

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New lug nuts that he just put on before the shoot…

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Can’t forget about JC’s car – the chase car, the utility car, you name it and he’s there. #killingit

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Moving onto Bill’s car. His headlights have actually changed since this shoot with a retrofit and blacked out housing.

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A shot of Bill’s fitment on coilovers – again, a lot lower than when I had originally shot it…

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Some front end shots of the two…

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Another shot of Mario’s fitment

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Engine bay shots.

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The interior of Bill’s SE

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Mario’s Accuair controller – sorry, forgot to mention it’s on air.

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JC instagrammed a photo while I was shooting and when we got back into the car, I went to check it out and liked it. The reason I posted this was because Diana liked it before me and only the two of us showed up. It’s funny because she was in Mexico during this shoot for her Stagette – when she should be partying, she’s on IG liking shit.

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Some solo rollers to end the shoot.

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And that’s a wrap!

Once again – thanks to Bill and Mario for letting me take photos of the cars for the mag! Hope you enjoyed!

Applying and Leveling a level ONE Decal

Prior to the photoshoot today, Diana and I went over to JC’s house to meet up and head out in one car since it’s a pain to drive both around when we get to certain locations. Drove up and saw Derrick chillaxin…

He recently got a level ONE decal and about a week or so ago he had carelessly applied it crooked – I never saw it but I’ll just take his word for it. Turns out he wanted a new one and a second chance at doing it properly. Ironically, the level ONE decal is quite a difficult decal to get “level”…

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Derrick came up with a better way of doing it and brought tape and everything lol

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JC cleaning his car getting ready for the shoot. It’s funny because “most” of the time, JC’s car is always cleaner than the car we’re actually shooting with the exception of his side mirrors sometimes… haha!

IMG_4110 copyApplying this decal is usually a three-man job… Sadly.

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Taped up and centered properly this time

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Voila! Derrick got the chrome/black decal and it goes perfectly with his car.

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Lookin’ good. Been a while since I’ve seen his car…

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Random.

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Group shot with my lame stock car… Slowly starting to order parts now so I should have my first part next week sometime. FINALLY. By next year it should look decent enough to finally run with the boys.

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