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 πŸ™‚

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!

Sponsord by Duracell: Punit’s VIP Lexus GS450h

Finally got around to shooting Punit’s GS450h since he’s finished with it (for now). I mentioned once before that I always find it funny how I hang out with these guys quite often but they’re the only ones that don’t have proper shoots. It’s always behind the scenes or just a half assed shot cause we were chillin’ somewhere. No one ever really asks for a shoot and I never really think about it because I’m busy trying to get another photoshoot done.

One of the reasons I bring this up is because I think about the last time I shot Punit’s Integra and that was back in May of 2009. I just started shooting, didn’t know much about dSLR’s, had my Canon XT with one lens and just pointed and shot things. Here’s one of the shots from when I just met Punit and saw his car… At the time, this car was a big deal locally. Real wheels (the meisters that are now purple and on Diana’s Fit), mint paint, low for 2009 standards and OEM plus. Hell, even by today’s standards his Integra would be considered clean. No where near aggressive but just comfortable enough for a daily driver during those nice summer days. Lots of things have changed since 2009 and I’ve had shots of it here and there but not a proper shoot. My hope is that Punit gets it all good to go this year and we can get a proper shoot going for him.

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Noob status.

But I digress. Let’s move onto bigger and better things – Punit’s GS450h. Punit picked up the GS450h shortly after I picked up the LS460L and JC picked up his CT200h – the VIP bug was biting hard and we all wanted to do something different. For me, it came and went quickly – as you can tell, but my story can be saved for another day. However for Punit, he had the luxury and privilege to own a race car and a luxury daily driver. He takes care of his cars and it shows. Punit was quick to get on board and quickly bought a set of AME Shallen LX’s in a perfect fit for the GS body and of course with big wheels means getting the car as low to the ground as possible.

Punit started off with just coils and going as low as he could and drove that way for the first season of ownership. Finally over the winter he worked on getting the car on air suspension – the way a VIP car should be set up. There’s nothing more to say about Punit’s GS – it’s clean, functional, and it breaks necks. The GS is a popular platform and with that, you have a fine line between a half assed car with replica wheels and looks to be built by a former Honda owner OR a proper VIP-inspired car with attention to detail and care which also looks to be built by a former Honda owner. The latter here applies to Punit – I’m also glad to have played a small part in his build and decisions as he’s gone through it to what you see today.

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One of my favourite shots of Punit’s GS. The fitment is fire and everything just flows so well.

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Lets start off with a few rolling shots…

JC – clean your damn mirrors.

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Clean.

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Blue skies, green grass, Lexus. What more could you ask for?

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Of course – snapped a shot of JC’s car off to the side.

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A better shot of the fitment. Tight and tucked.

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Anything you can spot here…?

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The Mode Luxe side decal looking good. Originally I had created the image and placed it on Punit’s car as a test.

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Rear quarter shot. The GS looks good from every angle.

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What would a VIP car be without chrome?

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A better shot of Punit’s fitment. All that dish in the back too. I love it.

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Remember how I said it looks to be built by a Honda owner? Punit just couldn’t resist hanging Asimo with the Junction Produce items… LOL

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Rolling to a new location…

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Right by the lake. Seemed fitting.

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Punit’s tank set up. I personally love love love the look of this. Looks so good in his trunk. Super simple and clean.

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Chillin’. I need to get them to hold equipment or something…

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Let’s finish off with the rest of the rollers. Looks HDR-ish, but I swear I didn’t touch anything… Polarizer works wonders.

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One last one. Blurry – but I liked the concept lol.

Another one in the bag! Hopefully that Integra wakes up soon…

Hybrid Bags Part 2… And Some Rocket Bunny

During the weekend I had the chance to drop by Zero Limit to get an oil change for the LS and see how the progress is with Punit’s GS and the air install. There’s rumors that it should be done this weekend… We’ll see!

IMG_0347 copyGot VIP parking right next to this gem.

IMG_0350 copyPunit’s car on the hoist. A nostalgic view for me from last year… Also a nice surprise was Giuseppe’s Skyline sitting right under Punit’s car. Always a nice sight to see and I was surprised to see some new shoes! I love the look that Giuseppe is going for with the Skyline lately.

IMG_0353 copyOver in the corner was my old set of Meisters. I miss these so much but I’m glad to see it still around and used on some good cars…

IMG_0354 copyA shot of Giuseppe’s rear over fender and new wheels.

IMG_0356 copyAss shot. Love the Rocket Bunny addition…

IMG_0363 copyAnother shot of the SSR Sp3’s. Love that dish.

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IMG_0360 copyUp close of the Rocket Bunny lip spoiler

IMG_0361 copyAn appropriate sticker.

IMG_0362 copyAnother familiar site to me. All the lines and wires hanging all over just waiting to be finished!

IMG_0370 copyAnother shot of the Skyline. Can’t get enough of this… Maybe we’ll go for a photoshoot this year!!

IMG_0371 copyA shot of Punit’s bags. There were a few set backs with his bags that delayed the install and ultimately the completion of it but I believe it’s all sorted and slated to be done by Saturday if all goes well!

IMG_0372 copyShortly after, the LS was put onto the rack for the oil change.

IMG_0375 copyIt’s not often that I have pics of the LS aired up. I don’t like looking at it any other way than aired down lol

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And finally – Jackie doing his thing and taking care of the LS. Probably the only place I’ll be taking my cars from now on. As long as Zero Limit is open, Jackie will be getting my business!