Yokohama x lifewithjson

Pretty excited to share this news with you guys – if you follow me on Instagram, then you would have already seen it but last week I had Yokohama Canada reach out to me and offered a sponsorship to me for supporting their brand. I had never been sponsored nor have I ever tried to get sponsored only because A) why does any big brand care about me and B) it screams “look at me, I’m too cheap to buy things myself so give me free things instead” to ask brands to sponsor you. (Also… Don’t do that).

Over the course of building the cars that I have, I’ve been approached by a few brands but have always declined. It was just never worth my time because the proposition would always be super exciting like “hey we want to sponsor you…” and then you’re like “well damn, sure! what’s in it for me?” and they’ll hit you with the “we’ll give you a 2% discount if you slap our decal on your car but you also have to pay for shipping and any conversion fees from USD! Excellent right?!”

No, mate. No it is not. That’s just like giving me free pennies for you to get free advertisement. No bueno. I also may have exaggerated the amount of discount – it was actually 5% (truly) which is still like saying “we give literally zero fucks about actually sponsoring you and just want you to rock our decal”. After a few of these types of approaches, you start to get this bitter taste in your mouth about sponsorships and think that there is no such thing as a good sponsor – so who gives a shit about them. I certainly didn’t.

Let me preface this by saying this didn’t actually start the way I’ve outlined it above. It all started with Kyle Ho from Spec R messaging me one morning asking if I’d like to be in the Yokohama booth for the illmotion Sunday School Show and Shine because Yokohama Canada saw my car and wanted it. “Sure”, I said. I don’t mind repping a sick brand for the show – and it just kind of ended there. A few weeks later, James from Yokohama Canada connected with me directly and we started talking a bit about the car and being with the booth. One thing lead to another and this is one of those situations where a brand decal is on my car for a better reason than just thinking it looks cool. We ended up meeting officially in person at our last Friday cars x bubbletea meet as he was in town and decided to come out. James is apparently also a follower of the blog so that’s super exciting for me LOL! It was nice to meet you James!

i’m still debating how and where to put the bigger Advan decal – I need the placement to be perfect. I think about it in my sleep sometimes… LOL

I will also say this – the pictures, the words, my actions – none of it is paid, because I know some of you are thinking that. They don’t pay me to rep Advan/Yokohama and they don’t pay me to say nice things about the brand. I think that’s the great thing about a company that trulyΒ wants to sponsor you. A saying that’s been with me for much of my real-world, corporate career has been “support those that support you” and it really translates to real world circumstances too. It’s tough to find that in the world of big corporate names and brands.

Support (cause that’s what this really is) is more about backing the ideal and the vision that another is working towards and less about trying to get freebies or discounts. A brand that’s willing toΒ help you in your build is a brand worth supporting.

Anyway, I’m super stoked that Yokohama Canada chose me to back in this oh-so-large community of tuners and gear heads. Good things come to those who aren’t looking.Β  Thanks for listening/reading!

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™‚

Unedited Shots: Nick Chow’s Nissan GTR

Ah, this place is such a bummer lately – no posts, no updates, no nothing. It’s December 1st and Christmas is already around the corner – November just flew by and I don’t even remember what I did. Kind of sad but lately it’s been go go go. Diana and I just finished our Christmas shopping for EVERYONE on the weekend in a span of 4 hours so now we can just relax all throughout Christmas. I’m glad we were able to do that too because I hate going to the mall every week during December. All you see is bad parking, angry shoppers, no stock on anything, and end up frustrated at the end of it all… So this year, I ain’t havin’ none of that. Another plus to finishing early is no bills! The rest of this month will be collecting more money for car parts! I promise I’ll have something by January… I keep talking the talk and not walking the walk… It’ll change, I promise!

Anyway… T’is also the season for going back through old pictures during the summer and edit the ones that didn’t make the cut the first time. First up is Nick’s GTR – although most of the shots I took of Nick’s car were nice – half the credit goes to him building a clean GTR, the other half is probably because of the scenery. πŸ™‚

Now that I actually look back at the pictures, I’m not sure why I skipped over them but here they are!

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PS – Nick has also gotten rid of his Advan GT’s for new Volk Te37’s…

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As much as I said I hated black wheels on a white car, I love it on this. Probably because I’m beginning to love Advan GT’s the more I see them.

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Them hips don’t lie.

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No cyclists were hurt during these rolling shots.

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And that’s it! Of course, it’s a lot shorter than a full shoot since these are just snippets of photos I either missed or skipped… But it gives the site a little hope until summer comes along. Until next time! Happy December 1st!

LRD VDR: Trung Nguyen’s Track-Prepped Honda S2000

One of the craziest cars that attended the illmotion Sunday School Show & Shine was Trung Nguyen’s Voltex-equipped, HKS-powered Honda S2000. Around this city, it’s quite rare to see an S2000 anymore – unless of course you’re hanging out with the YYC S2000 crew, but if they aren’t around, an S2000 is not so common. On top of that, just seeing a fully track-prepped S2000 with really good quality parts (and money) paired with it is almost like looking for a Unicorn. There used to be a couple around town – Jackie Law’s S2000, which is now in BC and Nick Chow’s S2000, which has been sold and in another city to name a few… But to be fair, the S2000 is an impractical car – they were made to be at the track… That’s how they were bred and how they were meant to be used. If I do ever see one, it’s always an older guy that looks like he’s going through a mid-life crisis, but you just know that deep down he doesn’t really understand what the S2000 is capable of or what it was meant for. But I digress… That is a whole other story in and of itself for another time.

Now… I’ll just put it out there that I have not personally met Trung since he lives in Edmonton but I have spoke with him on numerous occasions about his car, my car, parts, and whatever might come up. He had been working hard to get the car ready for the show & shine, drove it down and then flew back out, leaving the car in Nick’s hands. We ran out of time with the shoot so regretfully, I didn’t get a chance to take as many shots as I had originally wanted. However, I do know that Trung has some significant plans for the S2000 and I’ve already called dibs on shooting it as soon as he’s done for next year – and I promise I’ll have a whole boatload of shots that we can all ogle over.

Whenever I shoot cars like Trung’s, it sounds odd but I get inspired to get great shots. A well-built car with every aspect in mind and no corners cut deserves every bit of my being to showcase it. Trung, with the help of Nick, built the car so meticulously and so carefully that I’m sure any of us can appreciate every inch of this S2000. I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but you’ll see pretty quickly why this car demands the attention that I speak of.

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Early morning and we met up at Nick’s house. Could you imagine waking up to a garage like this? I would probably wake up 30 minutes earlier just so that I could give myself an extra 30 minutes to stand in the garage and battle myself on which car to take that day.

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Nick’s GTR

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And Trung’s S2000 right beside it. I’m sure for the few days that it was sitting there, Nick had to have been reminded of his J’s Racing S2000 and perhaps wanted it back for a bit…

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We quickly left and went en route to a location as per Nick’s suggestion…

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And boom – let’s get it started. Trung’s build is literally black on black on black. Black Advan GT’s, Black body, full carbon sticker-less Voltex Type 7 GT wing Voltex diffuser… All of that with greenery behind it made it work perfectly.

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Close up shot of the Voltex front bumper carbon lip with amazing quality weave.

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One of the photos I had posted on Instagram – LRD VDR LURKING.

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These next shots were Nick’s idea as this couple was walking by with their dogs. Nice candid…

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Worked out well for National Dog Day last Monday too! haha

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Close up of the rear of Trung’s set up with the Advan GT’s in matte black which I am beginning to grow quite fond of lately. I was having a first world problem moment after the photoshoot with Nick and JC about what wheels I want for the FRS. The GT’s look amazing on cars with aggressive aero and if the wheels themselves are in an aggressive size, but not so sure how they would look on a lowered, stock-bodied FRS… The debate continues…

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Close up shot of Lord Vader. Beastly.

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Trung very quickly made his way into the level ONE fam. One thing I never got a shot of, and perhaps you can make it out if you stare long enough is the set of rare Mugen MS-R buckets in the cockpit…

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A front quarter shot of his car shows a closer look at a lot of very expensive aero – perfect for his track days.

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Another perspective on the wheels and fitment

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Shot of the rear again. Side note: The span and base of the Type 7 wing is MASSIVE compared to my old Type 5 double decker if you’ve ever had the chance to compare or see it in person, it’s crazy.

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A shot of the beautiful rear that made JC and I hate our cars exponentially more as we drove behind it that day.

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A closer shot of his rear J’s Racing fenders

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Another of the front – which is now my iPhone wallpaper…

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A closer shot of the front fenders and some custom work. They are Challenge fenders that have been widened and re-radiused to +30mm by Circuit Garage. The extension piece on the front bumper was custom and fit on there to finish it off.

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More black on black action (no racist) – a charcoal colored Endless BBK behind the GT’s and AST 4150 Coilovers to bring it all together.

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Did a closed hood/engine shot that I thought worked well since Trung’s engine was not overlooked either… I don’t think I’ve ever used this technique cause I thought it was always cheesy, but it worked in this case lol.

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Inside sits the powerplant backed by the HKS GT Supercharger – which at this point in time has made the most power known globally at 372WHP.

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A closer shot and you can just barely see the T1R header which flows out of a Berk exhaust out back.

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Placing this as the last shot you’ll see until I get the chance to shoot it again – most likely some time next year, but it’s in the books now. I wish we had time to do the rollers but I’ll make sure it’s an epic shoot the next time we go out with Trung’s S2000!

Hope you enjoyed!