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 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 🙂

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!

Poorform: Jimmy’s Lexus LS430

Part 2 of the PoorForm shoot coming at ya! Finally getting around to doing some more editing and getting them up. To be honest, I’ve been trying to hold off from posting all the shoots one after the other or else I’ll just run out by the end of the week. I still have a bunch left to edit from other shoots so I think it’ll last me at least until the end of the month if I keep it up at this pace LOL.

Anyways – I was particularly excited to shoot Jimmy’s LS430 because of my infatuation with the VIP style when I first started building me LS460. To be honest, at first when I saw his build thread on beyond, I didn’t really get it. I didn’t get why someone would want to build a car like the LS (or any big body sedan for that matter). I thought it was sick that it was on air and it had big wheels, but everything after that didn’t make much sense. Keep in mind that this was before I knew or understood VIP. I was still in my ricer phase of big wings and loud exhausts – but don’t be mistaken, I still love all that shit… I just love the VIP style a little more now. The first two big body sedans I loved was of course the LS430 and the Toyota Crown. After I started loving the styling more, I started to appreciate the direction that Jimmy was going in his build thread.

It wasn’t until earlier this year that we started talking about different air set ups and such and we actually ended up going the same route for air suspension – a combo of coilovers with UAS bags paired with Accuair. The first time that I had seen Jimmy’s LS430 in person was at Driven 2013 with his newly finished air setup and it went home with a well deserved “Best of Show for VIP”. You’ll see why…

Jimmy’s wheels are now different than the old Work Gnosis HS203’s in gold that he had at the show. Now he’s rolling on Work Varianza V5S in a custom shadow black with a black anodized lip.

An up close of the rear wheel. 20×10.5… and that anodized lip is awesome in person.

The rear is a combination of 5Zigen fireball mega mufflers and custom piping all the way to the front. A perfect look for the rear of the 430 and it gives it an awesome sporty-VIP look.

Side shot of the rear wheel and his exhaust.

Shot of the front wheel.

Laying low. Just a bit further down and you’ll see his trunk set up – but his suspension set up is a combination of the popular Youzealand SS pro kit to get the car just a little lower – 30mm I believe, UAS aerosport bags over a set of Tanabe Z40 coilovers.

Rolling low.

And a rear quarter rolling shot.

The creme de la creme of Jimmy’s car is his trunk. Countless hours were put into this and to someone who hasn’t installed air on their ride, it may look as simple as putting the tank in, running some lines, and bolting everything down – how hard could it be? Well it’s actually extremely time consuming – making sure you have enough space for everything, ensuring lines don’t pinch, tucking all the wires and double checking that everything is easily accessible if you need to get to it. VIP styling is far from just having the car sit on the ground with big wheels. For some people, it’s an art and it’s about showing everything off. It is essentially being as flashy as you can be.

Jimmy’s went the extra mile to upgrade the audio system in the LS430. He’s got two Focal 33WX Utopia subs in the trunk, a Steg K201 and K402 amp to power everything, Steg Masterstroke MSK3000, Audison bitOne with DRC, Focal KRX2 front components with Audison Voce rear coax’s and finally a Pioneer deck up front to control it all.

As for his suspension set up – you can see here and the previous picture that his Accuair VU4 is set up quite nicely and the way the air lines run are extremely unique. Jimmy is running the full Accuair management system with Viair compressors.

An upclose of the hardwood that Jimmy used all throughout the trunk. This is one of the biggest eye-catchers and there is an excellent amount of attention to detail here. The edges are lined so there’s no rough edges showing and it’s laid down and cut perfectly to the contours of his trunk.

Last one to end the set! The last one to end this is of course, Jimmy’s monster 2JZ GS…

Arrival: SSR Vienna Merisia & Accuair + UAS

Finally the day has come, and it couldn’t have been better timing. My final shipments have come in. Bare with me while I get the ‘thank you’ speech out of the way – I only feel right to give recognition to everyone who helps me on the path to get the car completed.

First of all – I want to thank Nick Chow for once again hooking me up with one of the biggest parts of the car – the SSR Vienna Merisia’s. They are – to my knowledge – the first set of 21″ step lip Merisia’s in North America. There is only one other individual with a set of Merisia’s in North America and he’s rocking an aggressive 18″ set on a 2GS. The 21″ version became available on the website literally a week or two after I placed my order. The wait time from the date I ordered these to today when I picked them up was 20 weeks. That has been the longest wait I’ve ever had for any part – but well worth it. I was awaiting Nick’s call for weeks and finally it came!

Second huge thanks to Mark Chin over at RavSpec for putting all of my air suspension components together and getting them to me ASAP. I contacted Mark on March 26th and worked out some numbers and he notified me that there was a 2 week lead time due to Accuair being back ordered quite a bit. I said OK as long as they are here at least a week before May 11th. One thing to note about ordering from vendors in the States for us up here in Canada is that they make an effort to save you trouble and money when it crosses the border. Mark spent a day filling out NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) papers for me on these three boxes to ensure that I wouldn’t get charged up the behind. By filling these papers out, it states that all products are made in the United States and allows it to pass freely without any charge. An example is ordering a Swiss watch from the States – you will get charged a royalty fee and all that fancy stuff because it isn’t made locally. When you have a vendor that is willing to do that for you – you’ve got yourself a good connection.

Third – thanks to Punit for helping me out for the last week and today. With his mad hook ups at UPS, he was able to hold the three boxes of air components for me and help me clear the package on my own to save the duties charge. You end up saving a ton of money by doing it yourself and it took all but 5 minutes. This combined with Mark’s filling out NAFTA papers made for a $40 tax bill. I’m good with that considering these all weighed over 150 lbs.

Finally – another huge thanks to Jackie Tong at Zero Limit Automotive for tackling this project of installing the air for me over the next few days before the show. Jackie understands the time constraint and is still willing and promising to get this done and I’ll take his word over most peoples’. We’ve all been spending quite a bit of time at his shop chillin’ and getting work done and I think I speak for most of us when I say that we’re really grateful for letting us loiter when I’m sure he’s a busy ass guy. Hit up Zero Limit for anything you need and Jackie will make sure it gets done for you. Those that know me well know that I wouldn’t just leave my car with a big project under a huge time crunch with any shop/one.  J TONG IS YOUR MAN.

OK let’s get this show on the road. Those that didn’t read – there’s tons of eye candy below especially near the end.

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The three packages. All air components.

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The UAS bags and BC coils. Mark was kind enough to assemble them for me before sending them out.

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The package. Accuair IMO is the only way to go after doing my research on all other options. It’s literally the most user friendly and the most simplest to set up over all other management systems out there.

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While I was waiting for some room to open up, I checked out Nikki’s cars’ progress. All air lines are run and all that needs to be done is really just the switches and the placement of the tank and compressor. Here are the lines in the trunk.

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The fronts were all lined and connected.

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You can see the air lines up front coming through. Jackie ran them all through the inside which was awesome.

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More air line mess that will be cleaned up shortly…

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I also took the wheels out to show Jackie and decided to see how it would look to do the typical side mock up. 10.5″ in the rear

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Oh god.

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Looks so awesome. Can’t wait to get these bad boys on.

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Next I unpacked all the Accuair stuff and mocked it up quickly to see what my options were to mounting it up in the trunk. Accuair packaging and organization was perfect.

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Took a break from that and gave JC and Punit their Mode Luxe decals. Punit went ahead and brought his car in and cleaned the rear to put it on.

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JC placing the decal.

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While they were centering a decal – which btw is extremely important lol – I went over to take pics of the SSR’s in Punit’s rear seat. When we picked them up from Nick, I could only fit two in my rear and the other two went with him for the time being.

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Almost perfect…

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Random shot of all the air stuff laid out.

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I’ll get another shot of this when all the cars are done.

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Finally down and it looks legit. Rep Mode Luxe!

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We played with a few configurations and we ended up sticking to this. It’s basically the same mount design that it would be if it were on the Accuair Exo Mount. This is the most space efficient and cleanest so we set on this. I took the tank and board home so I could paint the tank and get the board carpeted and looking nice again.

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To the left of me was Steve trying to get on the alignment rack. Low car troubles.

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Had to take the bumper off or it would’ve been ripped right off lol

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On the way home. Punit was supposed to make the trip with me to take the other two but because we were in a hurry in the afternoon, we didn’t think of turning the boxes up to fit them all in my car. Three in the rear and one up front sitting shot gun with me. Made me realize just how huge this car is haha

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Finally got home and unpacked the stuff… SSR plate frame, lanyard and stickers.

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Now the money shots. Full face shot of the rear. 10.5″

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The red center cap. So gangster.

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Design of the spokes is awesome. Partially what attracted me to them.

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The bolts and the cut out for the valve stem.

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Full shot. I wish there was more lip but unfortunately for the LS – there is no camber solution available besides what you can do to it stock – which is not much. I have to stay modestly sized so that I can tuck the wheel and not worry about having to add more camber. The rear of the LS can fit up to 295 but I’ll be doing 285 this year.

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Last shot. Titan silver is so money.

Anyways – over the next few days, I’ll be doing some more work with the tank and such and I’ll be dropping the car off to Jackie on Thursday. It’s about to go down!