Out for a Quick Run

On Saturday, I decided to take the FRS out for a quick leg stretch and to also break in the Brembo brakes. (See how I spelled the two words properly? Lots of people don’t lol). I initially didn’t want to take it out until I gave it a full detail and cleaned up some minor things but the weather was perfect and I couldn’t wait! I still have to a full detail and clean up the paint, put the TiBurnt valve stem caps on, replace the worn out level one sticker, and clean the tires and remove the browning. Right now the car is a mess – it’s just dusty and looks like it sat in a garage for 6 months lol.

Forgive me – I “think” I’m having some technical issues with my camera, or colour profiles and I have yet to figure out how to calibrate it all. When I edit these photos on my computer, they look perfect. However, when I get them onto my phone or a different monitor, they’re really dark and unpleasing to look at – or at least that’s what I see. I’m betting that you’re also seeing a fairly dark photo as well – and I promise you, that’s not how I intended it to be. I just didn’t want to hold off on the photos because then it just gets to be old news. Anyway, aside from the technical issue – it was just a quick drive off to some warehouses to get some sunset pics and show off the new set up as best I could. I’ve pretty much gotten comfortable with shooting people with the new camera set up, but shooting cars is a whole new ball game for me right now. I’m rusty as hell and at the time of shooting this, I couldn’t even figure out exposure lock – something I took for granted on my Canon 7D. It wasn’t until later that night after getting home that I finally figured it out… So I’ll go back out and try again sometime soon.

Anyway – just a few quick pics!

What wheels are those? Steelies?! damn it.

It helped a bit more when I was facing the sunset – but barely…

One thing I am finding is that the 35 f1.4 is an AMAZING portrait lens. This thing is a beast when taking pictures of people and things. But it’s a little more difficult with cars. I’m used to either using my 10-20 to get a nice wide perspective or my 135 f2.0 to get a nice distant shot. But with the 35, I’m trying to find the sweet spot and I’m not sure I’ve found it yet…

One last shot before going back home and after working the brakes for a bit. I’m lucky that I’ve got dead roads near home where I can just test the brakes and break them in properly with no issue. God, they just bite like crazy compared to stock brakes – to be expected – but when you actually use them, they’re amazing. They’re also loud as hell though cause of the pads that came with them – everyone around me thinks my car is broken haha.

Here’s where the 35mm shines. Close quarters where you want details of one main thing and everything else around it to be blurred out.

I miss this view… Thank god summer is finally here.

The Death of the Black Swan; Enter Bumblebee

The day I’ve been waiting for months finally came. If you recall my previous post about actually getting the Brembo’s, you’ll know that I ordered it at the end of January and didn’t end up getting them for almost 2 months after. Even after getting them, I couldn’t put them on because of the shitty weather we’re having. As I type this, we are under a snowfall warning and expecting 10-20cm of snow – WTF – it’s the middle of April for Pete’s sake!

Whatever, I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about our century-long winter so let’s just talk about the exciting stuff. This last weekend ended up showing us a bit of mercy and we had +10C weather – nice enough for us to stay in the garage and wrench on the cars. Punit and JC came over and helped me swap out the brakes and flush the lines. You know when you have those projects/installs that should really only take an hour but one small thing goes wrong and it takes you like 3? It happens to us every time…

Anyway, I’ll talk about it as we go… On to the pics!

The Brembos all ready to go.

You (background) vs the guy she told you not to worry about (foreground). lol

We got started right away by removing the original brake line. This was the first part that really should’ve taken like 1 minute. The brake line was caked in gunk and seized a bit so when we took the 10mm wrench to it, it sort of rounded off the nut. We ended up taking two vice grips to latch on and turn. Cue the “That Was Easy” button press.

The weapons…

Removing the brake line bracket

Punit installing the Brembo caliper bracket to allow the caliper to mount properly.

Shot of the bracket on!

The dust shields were removed – they’re not needed nor will they fit with the new brakes. You can see the new rotor to the right as well.

The stock rotor came off with a bit of hammering and the new one slid on like a glove. We put some lug nuts on to keep it in place while we installed the caliper.

Shot of it all complete!

Another shot of the finished product.

The stock calipers and rotors

Next problem was that the TE’s didn’t clear the calipers. It rubbed just barely on a part of the brakes. So who you gonna call? Zokusha Tuning!

As soon as we realized spacers were needed, I slid into Eric’s DM and he met me within half an hour to give me these 5mm spacers. The one good thing about this over shops or online sites is that if they want to be, they could be open all day, every day. Where would I get parts on a Sunday afternoon otherwise? Thanks to Eric @ Zokusha Tuning for the quick service! Life saver!

We popped the spacers on and then the wheel – perfect! The next hard part was getting the car back on the ground without getting the jack stuck or wrecking the bumper on the wood lol.

I am SO digging the look though.

The next few shots are just of the car outside. I didn’t think I’d hate it as much as I have been saying it, but I really hate taking pictures of black cars with black wheels. I did a quick edit on this because I had no polarizer and it was just bright as hell outside so everything was either overexposed or underexposed.

And another…

One more…

Front quarter shot you might have seen on the Gram…

A bit closer…

Unfortunately, back in the garage. 😦

One last one before closing the garage and heading in. I suppose it’s OK – I’ve still got a little work to do before taking out. It’s been a while since I’ve done a full detail on the car, so I think I’m going to take a full day and give it a spa day.

I need to clay bar it, give it a 2-stage polish, seal and wax it up. I want to give the front bumper a little TLC – the grill is all chipped up from last year and I need to touch it up. I’m hoping some polish will get rid of a lot of the spots from a lot of the grime it’s picked up from driving. I’m going to be a bit more patient this year and wait until most of the rocks are gone. The combination of being a black car and being low is terrible for catching everything off the road. More pics soon!

A Little Brembo Never Hurt Anyone…

Finally the last piece of the puzzle arrived! (this was actually last week but never got around to posting until now). It’s been a grueling and kind of frustrating process to get these suckers but I’m glad they’re finally in my hands.

When I originally ordered them on January 31st, I was told that it would take a week or two to assemble at the Brembo factory and then it would be shipped out. Great – not a big deal – I wasn’t in a huge rush and it was still pretty much the dead of winter with tons of snow on the ground so it’s not like they were going on the car anytime soon. A few weeks go by and I hadn’t heard anything so I followed up. I was told that they are still preparing the parts and they will be in touch soon. Another few weeks go by and still nothing. By this point, it was already March and I had no Brembos in my hands. I followed up yet again and was told they are reaching out to find out what the status is. Finally, by mid-March they said the product was going to be shipped ASAP and well… It was shipped the week after. Whatever – I still couldn’t put them on anyway but I hate being told one to two weeks and actually waiting months for something. I get that there are things that happen, but typically I find that as a customer, we’re given the best customer service with the shortest estimated wait time until we hand over the money then it goes downhill from there. Not ALL the time – but maybe it’s just me. Again, not a big deal – I got the product, they delivered on what I ordered so I’m not going to stay bitter about it but I would rather have a “it’ll be about 2 months” and have it show up in 4 weeks rather than a “it’ll be about 2 weeks” and have it show up in 2 months, you know?

Anyway – not only do I get to play ring around the rosie with this (unnamed) company for a few months, now I get to do it all over again with FedEx. The delivery was scheduled to be on a Friday. I called them on Monday before it even crossed the border and asked for them to hold it at the facility before having it go out on the truck for delivery when it got to Calgary. “No problem”, they said – and the tracking was updated. On Wednesday, I get a call saying the package is ready for pick up. I think to myself “whoa, an early arrival date. Good for me”. So I ask where can I pick it up and they said “Great Falls, Montana”. Turns out they decided to hold it at the border rather than where it’s originally supposed to go. Smart. No big deal – I tell them that this is a mistake – it’s gotta come to Calgary and I’ll pick it up when it gets here. Come Friday, it makes it’s way to Calgary with the exception that it will be held. What happens? It goes on the truck and out for delivery – I don’t get my brakes on Friday. Ugh. To save yourself the extra reading – the same thing happens on Monday too. I finally call again and ask that it does not go on the truck again and they assure me it will not. I end up picking them up on Tuesday – they did actually hold it the third time – but still a frustrating process nonetheless.

That’s my rant. At the end of the day, I got my brakes and I’m happy. I just wanted to do a quick post showcasing them before they got on the car – which likely won’t be for another few weeks until this weather decides to get its shit together. It’s April and it’s still snowing…

The beautiful boxes. lol

The GT calipers in all their glory. I can’t wait to put them on the car and get the car down on the ground.

Stainless steel brake lines

The slotted rotors. The coating should go away after the break in.

Another shot of the calipers. The packaging is amazing. The brakes come with a manual check list of everything to ensure all is in working order and all parts are accounted for. It’s then signed off by someone at Brembo and dated. I like those details.

Here we have Endless RF-650 brake fluid courtesy of Eric over at Zokusha Tuning. Shortly after receiving the brakes, I went on Instagram and asked for recommendations on new brake fluid. I’ve tried a few and am no expert in brake fluid so I thought I’d try something new. In the past, I’ve always used Motul as that seemed to be one that lots of people gravitated towards. One of the first times I had used Motul was about 10 years ago in my Civic. I had tracked with regular stock fluid and that was terrible – the pedal was mushy and it wasn’t long after the braking was just fading away. After switching to Motul, the braking was MUCH better on the following track days and that would’ve been the first time I became a believer.

This time around, a lot of the recommendations that came in were for Endless RF650. Not just for the JDM scene points, but this ended up being one of the top notch brake fluids out there. I mean, everyone knows I’ve built a track car and go to shows. I’m not going to front that fact but I hope I get some seat time on the track some time this year – I’ve been itching it but other things get in the way. It doesn’t help that it’s like 2.5 hours and a hotel stay away for a night just to get to our nearest track.

Upon receiving all the recommendations, Eric reached out and let me try out a liter of this apparently epic Endless brake fluid. I’m super stoked to be trying this out in combination with the Brembos.

If any of you local guys need parts, I highly suggest checking him out here:


Over the last year, he’s been super helpful with getting me quotes and information on products with no hesitation. He can get a lot of stuff that you don’t see on the website obviously – reach out to him via Instagram DM’s or email. You won’t be disappointed with his prices.

Once I get the Brembos on the car, I’ll be doing a review on it all and a write up on how everything looks and feels. Stay tuned! Now we just wait for the snow to go away so we can all have some fun.

The True Bavarian Beast: Tommy’s ga”M3″over

Finally getting to some photo shoots!! I’m pretty stoked about the next few ones that I have coming up for you guys because they are quality, quality, quality. That’s the number one thing that really inspires me to shoot to the best of my ability – someone who puts in the time and let’s not forget money, into their cars because they don’t believe in compromise. Builds that move forward with that mindset naturally gravitate towards being amazing.

It’s truly rare to find a build that reflects the owner – Tommy is the exception – there are no cut corners and no lack of quality in his choice of parts or workmanship when it comes to fitting them. Let me step back a bit… Tommy is Diana’s (second) cousin for what it’s worth, so I’ve known Tommy and his M3 for a few years now and in many ways, I’ve heard and seen about his build but never truly got to take it in or appreciate what it was all worth. I’ve seen his car every year for the past few years in Driven, and every year he walks away with an award – no surprises either, as you’ll see when you start scrolling through the pictures. His car has made significant progress as time goes on and my God, the progress is definitely notable. No amount of words in this post could sum up the details in his M3… But I’ll try my best. Tommy is an extremely modest guy – you wouldn’t really guess that this was his car, but once you start talking to him, the pieces start to fit together.

This photoshoot happened the day after Driven – perfect timing since the cars are as clean as they can be. Tommy and I have been trying to touch base over the last few years to get the photoshoot done but our schedules never really matched up. I *think* I caught it in its prime – unless of course Tommy has more planned. Anyway, this was a super fun shoot – I do regret not taking more shots (lack of engine bay shots – fail on my part)… But Tommy has agreed to lend me any of his BMW’s for a photoshoot anytime… Yes, there are more in his stable. 🙂

Enough chit chat! More M3!

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We’ll start it off with a roller…

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Upon first look, you might not be able to see everything that I might have alluded to earlier… But it’s coming.

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He sits on a set of 19″ BBS FI’s and an upgraded Brembo GT BBK behind them in white. When BBS first released the FI’s, I wanted them so bad. When I saw the price of them, I decided that I didn’t even like them that much anymore. Note: lying to yourself doesn’t make you feel better.

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A closer look will show you it’s no regular M3… Those familiar with G-Power will know what I mean.

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A somewhat closer look at the wheel and brake kit. Also a good look at the Vorsteiner GTS-V bumper. Beauitful.

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Even closer and you’ll see BBS lugnuts

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Check that rear… Paired with a Varis rear upper and lower diffuser. I personally love that he brought Varis into the build – they are killing it in the aftermarket game right now.

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The majestic beast sits quietly on Ohlins TTX36 coilovers

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Inside, the details just keep coming. Afterall, this is where all the fun starts, right? Tommy upgraded the seats to BMW Performance Seats retrofitted with power and a full wrap with Alcantara.

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Paired with his BMW Performance seats, Tommy chose Schroth Rallye Cross 4-pt harnesses. Surrounding the interior is BMW Performance carbon trim.

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Behind that is a rare BMW OEM GTS roll cage powder coated in white with a BMW OEM GTS rear seat delete.

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And below all that sits a Halotron fire extinguisher – a nice finishing touch.

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Some more details with the rear include a Vorsteiner double sided carbon trunk. The paint has been faded so you can see that lip of carbon as well.

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Another roller 🙂

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A closer look at the rear of Tommy’s M3 and you’ll see the matte look to the exhausts… which only means Titanium. Akrapovic Evo exhaust to be clear.

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One more look at the wheel/brake combo. Just massive… You can also get a small peak at the carbon side skirts

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This view – probably a very quick view if you happen to be in front of him at the track – shows a little more detail… BMW Performance carbon mirror caps. “Something” behind that grill…

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Before this all ends, I want to say (as I said earlier) that I fully regret not taking engine bay pics – I don’t know what got over me. So I’ll lay it all out here for all of you wondering…

Tommy has fitted his M3 with a G-Power SKII CS Supercharger – as previously hinted by his replaced badges. Along with all of that, he’s added Vishnu Proceed with Meth injection and WPC treated OEM rod bearings and bolts. The M3 on its own is no slouch – with the help of G-Power… Oh the places you’ll go.

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A closer look at the aggressive front.

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A side profile. That hood hump. It’s also a good angle to see just how massive those rear rotors are.

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That carbon roof…

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Done! Huge thanks to Tommy for giving me the opportunity to shoot his car – he brought along his brother-in-law (Randy) as well who owns a sick Lotus Exige… Coming soon.