Regina George Hibernates

That time has come. It’s that one day a year where you painstakingly clean the car, but this time with sadness rather than excitement that the car will be clean once again. I stopped driving the LS at the beginning of October but didn’t have enough time to clean it or anything so it’s kind of just been sitting there. Today I had a few hours to finally clean it up nicely and make sure it was all clean to tuck away into the corner of the garage. It’s bittersweet because it’s sad to have to go back to driving the Civic again but my wallet loves me a little more because the tab at the gas bar isn’t so bad. $45 every 2 weeks is wayyyy better than $75 every week lol.

Huge thanks to Jackie Tong at Zero Limit once again for hooking it up with this battery maintainer. Usually I just park it and pull the battery and store it downstairs and then install it again when it’s time to drive again. I’ve heard about trickle chargers and such but I’ve been too lazy to go get it. I know – I’d rather go through all the work to take the battery out rather than get a trickle charger… Crazy.

However, during Jackie’s shoot he asked me how I would park the LS with the air and such and eventually he suggested this battery maintainer. Simple hook up to the battery, plug it into the wall, turn it on and select a mode and voila! When you’re ready to drive it again, all you have to do is unplug and go. The cool thing about this is that it cycles the battery through several cycles making sure that it charges, discharges, pulses, etc. We’ll see how it goes next year!

Dirty ass wheels that haven’t been cleaned for weeks. Chrome wheels are such a pain in the butt to clean.

Raised up looks so dumb lol… but getting ready for a wash.

Nice and clean!

Tucked away as far over to the side as I could get it and aired down. I air it down mainly because the bags are assumed to lose air over time and it’s just going to end up sitting aired out anyway.

Hooked up and good to go.

The maintainer showing which cycle it’s at.

Easy connect. Nice and simple.

Good to go for the winter. lol @ the jack stand in the bay – it’s to hold the hood up so that it doesn’t come down and clamp the wires or unhook it from the battery terminals.

Well… So far, I’m doing OK with the transition… I know once it starts snowing and getting cold, I’ll be itching to drive it again. Until then, I got big people stuff to worry about. I think that’s why I’m OK with parking the LS away for now…

Until next year!

MDM Visuals: Lexus LS460L

Last night Mike from MDM Visuals finished up the last of the photos from the other night. I just want to give another HUGE thanks to Mike and Jesse for coming out to shoot my car. Like I said before, no one had shot my car before so I was super stoked for this shoot and the pictures turned out amazing. All summer I wanted to get a rolling shot, but there was really nobody that knew how to adjust it just enough for it to not demolish the inside of my wheel wells and be careful enough to raise it back up quick enough if a bump was ahead, all while I would be in another car shooting it. I was finally able to get that shot through Mike because I’d be the one driving the car and frankly, I think I only trust myself to do that haha.

The shots ended up turning out super rad! Mike and Jesse were super chill the whole time which was great and it felt good not to be the one directing the positioning and taking shots. I actually liked just sitting back and relaxing while someone else did the work.

Check out Mike’s photostream on Flickr as well as his website if you’re interested!

Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikejoe

MDM Visuals: http://mdmvisuals.ca/

While I’m at it, I might as well do a little write up of my own car too… Technically I’ll be writing my own feature! haha

On to the plethora of pictures!

A perfect side profile shot. This was exactly how I pictured it to be way back before I ordered the air and wheels. I probably spent a good 5-8 hours a day for about a month trying to decide on which wheels to get. As you all know – wheels can make or break the car and it doesn’t matter how much your wheels cost, if they don’t suit the car then your car’s look is essentially ruined. When I was shopping for wheels, I wanted two things: 1) something not many people had and 2) a wheel to compliment the LS body. That’s it.

The biggest problem I would run into was that I either found a wheel that not many people rocked, but it didn’t suit the LS at all… Or the wheels were so perfect on the LS, but everybody and their dog had it. A VIP build is very meticulous – things like fitment has to be spot on, wheels have to suit the style, and accessories give the VIP feel. All of these things are aspects of the car that I still wish I could make better on my own car and I’m far from perfect

The 07 front end/fascia was the first facelift after the LS430. Sharper-looking headlights, more refined grill, a sportier take on the lower grills, and much smoother hood and fender lines. Dual projectors – DRL halogens and HID low beams with AFS (adaptive front-lighting system) – the projectors turn in the direction that you turn to help light up the road better. I was fortunate to stumble across this particular model because it has all the bells and whistles of the 600hL, minus the executive seating package. This means that multiple upgrades were put into this model that would normally be rare to see.

The front Lexus badge is embossed in plastic – this is the first sign of one of the (costly) upgrades to the LS. Radar cruise control – to help keep your distance between the car in front of you while using cruise control on the highway. You can adjust the distance between the two cars using a button on the steering wheel. It’s not necessary, nor have I ever used it… but it’s something that’s nice to have.

An awesome roller from Mike with the car sitting nice and low. As long as I didn’t turn, all was well lol.

The wheels are SSR Vienna Merisia’s in 21×10.5 in the rear and 21×9.5 in the front, finished in Titan Silver and finally, paired with red center caps. The unique thing about these wheels are that they are still one of the only sets in North America in the 21″ size and step-lipped. There are others with 19″ and 20″ but none are step-lipped.

The funny story behind it all is that I was debating between these SSR’s and Aimgain GIIM’s. Both are very unique wheels, and both looked awesome on the LS460. I was going back and forth between forums, multiple websites like WEDS, Volk, WORK, SSR, K-Break, etc and eventually I came across the Japanese SSR website where they had the SSR Merisia’s in 21″. On the North American website, they only had it available for up to 20″. While I could have settled for 20″, the LS460 is just so big that it dwarfs any wheel smaller than 21″. The majority of the LS460/600 community are running 22″ but 21″ was a safe bet too.

Nick Chow – the person responsible for helping me source and get these wheels assured me at the time that he could get 21″ even though the website didn’t have it up. When I finally took the leap, weeks later – SSR North America updated their website to finally have the 21″ sizing. The only other car that I know of with my specs is actually the Lexus LS600hL of SSR Japan.

Here is a good shot of the fitment. The rear is on point, but the fronts leave a little more to desire. I wish I would have gone a little bit of a lower offset to have them sit closer to the fender, but I am totally happy with how it turned out given that the VIP community and their wheel sizing is very secretive, especially when it comes to aggressive fitments. Rightfully so, as it isn’t an easy task nor is it cheap to buy wheels and hope they fit. Not to mention that a 5×120 bolt pattern is rare to find.

A beautiful shot of the rear. The rear of the LS460 is one of the finer aspects of the car. The tail lights, exhaust finishers and rear trunk all line up nicely. Many people in the VIP community actually take the exhaust finishers and retrofit them onto their vehicle. The rear is probably my favourite part of the car.

As you go through these pics, you can start to see or imagine how long this car really is. The long wheelbase version (hence the “L” at the end) is 4.8″ longer in length than the regular LS460. While it doesn’t sound like much, the extra 4.8″ means you also get a bunch of other goodies in the package. Which part of the car is 4.8″ longer, you ask? Only the rear. The whole front of the car and the trunk remain the same size – Lexus put that space all in the rear. With that simple amount of room, now a 6 ft tall man can easily cross his legs with no issue. The addition of rear reclining seats is now possible.

The long wheelbase upgrade also includes the addition of a navigation unit, front and rear heated and cooled seats, power trunk open/close, power rear sunshade, headlamp washers, wood and leather trimmed heated steering wheel. In addition to all of this, the previous owner also decided to add the rear side shades, a rear seat fridge to keep your water nice and cold on those hot summer days and to end it all off – the ultimate Mark Levinson audio entertainment package – 19 speakers in total around the LS460. This allows for DVD playback and a sound surround experience for the music and movies you listen and watch.

An awesome “James Bond” inspired shot.

The long wheelbase LS460 also comes with the option of air suspension – which mine also had. The stock air suspension was designed for a couple reasons: to allows a comfier and less bouncy ride. It’s like riding on a fluffy cloud – it had the ability to make you sleep while driving. It also had sensors that would lower the nose of the car when you reached highway speeds to increase aerodynamics and fuel economy. There is a “height high” button on the interior center console that allows you to raise the car when trying to get over speedbumps or clear high objects on the road. All of this and I opted for aftermarket air simply because it wasn’t enough for my needs. The downside to stock air was that it took ages to raise and lower – 3-5 minutes both ways. It also never went as low as you see it in pictures now.

The interior is very basic – not much has been touched and not much needs to be touched either. The simple addition of a white Junction Produce Tsuna and a black Junction Produce Fusa makes the interior feel a *little* more JDM. Also always supporting our friends to the East – level ONE – a group of friends that have really grown over the past year and I’m happy to be a part of that. Each one with cars that are done up with only the best and really done up with a fine tooth comb.

Ending it here with a roller into the sunset. The LS460L is definitely quite the car – it plays the part and it looks the part. The interior is a totally different world compared to my Civic and STI and it damn well should be. Am I done building it? Not really – I’m actually far from done but I think I’ll take my time with this one. Would I build another VIP car again? Perhaps… but it’s so hard to find a good chassis to build upon that fits the criteria. I’m quite happy to say that my LS in particular was like finding a needle in a haystack. We’ll see what the mod gods bring me next…

Moving onto a few shots of JC’s car and then some dual shots that Mike hit out of the park.

loved this roller.

Dual shot. I wish Punit was there to be able to get in on this. It would have been perfect.

The new front fascia of Lexus is amazing. I love all of them and I’m not sure why people hate the spindle grill either. haha

And to end it off – a nice shot with JC’s car staring out into the sunset.

Again – HUGE props to Mike for the shots!

Favourites: Ricky’s Volkswagen GTI

It just dawned on me that I hadn’t posted these shots of Ricky’s GTI from last summer since they were waiting to be published elsewhere. I think a year is long enough to showcase his beautifully bagged GTI.

I’ve followed along with Ricky and his build, put a fair share of sweat and tears, and discussed hours upon hours of his build from the very beginning. The one thing you don’t usually get is the feeling of accomplishment that the owner gets when the car finally reaches this stage. Often times, readers just see the final outcome but they can’t appreciate the amount of work has gone into something. The little things like what needed to be done to fit a certain part, or the sacrifices that had to be made to actually make it to the product you see in photos. Luckily for me, Ricky’s GTI was one of those cars where I can say (I think he’d agree) that I know the process. I think he could say the same thing about all of my builds as well. For those of you that don’t know, Ricky is my cousin – so that’s part of the reason why we’re able to share that pain we all love when building cars.

The unique thing about Ricky’s build – and I use the term “unique” loosely – is because ever since the beginning, Ricky’s GTI has been semi-inspired by a lot of JDM builds. Most of the guys we all hang out with started out with the JDM-phase – building Honda’s, Toyota’s, etc. You’ll see very quickly that there are aspects of his GTI that make you think that Ricky should’ve built a Honda instead. From his SSR Professor SP1’s to the Bride carbon kevlar Gias seats. The mixture of Euro flavour and JDM inspiration comes together extremely well, and while there is some distaste among his fellow VW owners, there’s no denying that this is one of the best GTI builds out there.

The first thing you notice about his GTI is the beautiful set of SSR professor SP1’s in the awesome spectrum silver finish. He was one of the first to finally slap them on and at the time, it was rare to even find pictures of them on the internet. His Oettinger bumper is aggressive and flows well with the lines of the car.

His fitment in the rear.

Comparison shot.

Ricky was also early to the game of bagging his car in the city. There are a few that have done it, but it’s costly and most people prefer just to do static. Thanks to Concept-1, they got his GTI sitting nice and low and looking awesome with Accuair components.

His OSIR carbon fiber duckbill spoiler. This was one of the pieces that we had discussed for a long time about how the paint scheme should be. We talked about painting the whole thing, painting it slightly to show the weave through… Eventually we came up with keeping the bottom unpainted to show the carbon weave and then the top to match with his roof. It turned out awesome and the install took us a while, but the final outcome was worth it. Dave at Screamin’ Paintworks did a great job with the paintwork all around for Ricky’s car.

OSIR carbon insert side skirts as well.

The look of spectrum silver when it’s not in the sun. Simple gunmetal.

A look at the back of his carbon kevlar Bride Gias seats. Again, something that was a little odd to think about adding to the GTI initially, but once they were in – perfection.

Again with the JDM flavour – TI license plate bolts paired with a JDM EGO frame. Perfect!

A side profile shot showing his stance.

The rear with the sun shining right down on the spectrum silver.

Awesome monotone.

His dual chamber Forge carbon fiber intake.

Final shot of the beautiful SSR SP1.

While these shots are somewhat dated, his car still remains the same for the most part. You may remember seeing my post about it a few months back with his car on BBS RS’s as well. You can see it here

https://lifewithjson.com/2013/03/21/enter-rickys-gti/

Accuair E-Level Installed! Thanks @j_tong_

Just wanted to give a huge thanks to Jackie Tong over at Zero Limit Automotive for hooking up the e-level sensors on the LS. You might remember that a while back when he first finished the install, time was not something we had and so I told him to leave the sensors alone until we had more time. Another reason was because of the way the LS arms were, it was a bit more complicated to find the correct angle for the sensor arms to pivot without breaking when it aired down or aired up.

That meant manually using the controls on my own until they were hooked up – which wasn’t really an issue, it just didn’t air up to the driving height every time I started the car or automatically adjust ride height when it sensed weight changes.

Now it works like a dream and I don’t have to worry about getting out of the car to make sure of the height.

I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again – if you need anything done with your car, hit up Jackie at Zero Limit and you’ll leave a happy camper. Nothing but good things coming from his shop and it’s only going to get bigger from here.

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Shot of the remote now without the red arrows.IMG_4588 copy

Placement. Now I’m not embarrassed to post the remote cause it doesn’t have the red error arrows hahaIMG_4591 copy

And just one shot for good measure. Sorry – I haven’t washed it for 3+ weeks and the weather has been shitty. Still awesome to look at though.

Thanks Jackie!!!