We spend nearly every day behind a computer looking at cars, editing photos, and writing stories. Don't get us wrong, it's not a bad gig, but we enjoy ourselves more when we're out of the office, driving fast cars, and spending money that's not ours. So with that said, we started something called #SS2Vegas. In other words, our official Super Street staff retreat to Las Vegas, and for '16, we made it even better with doper cars, more friends, and crazier shenanigans!
A successful road trip starts out with the cars, and we had to outdo last year, which consisted of Gordon Ting of Beyond Marketing's blue Lexus RC F and our Lexus NX200t project car. Since we knew Gordon had access to a couple other rides up his sleeve, we hit him up and crossed our fingers. After some back and forth, Gordon was on board along with not one, not two, but three Lexus RCs, which all just happen to be former Super Street feature cars!
To start, we secured two RC Fs; the blue model being the same car we piloted on last year's retreat as well as the Gumball 3000 rally a couple of years ago. It's the most "street" car of the bunch with a GReddy exhaust, TEIN coils, Advan wheels, and a carbon lip kit. It's a breeze to drive and also lets you enjoy all the creature comforts Lexus has to offer.
The second RC F was featured earlier this year in the Toyota issue. Wrapped in orange, it rocks the first Pandem (from Rocket Bunny) widebody as well as TE37 wheels, KW coilovers, and an upgraded intake/exhaust combo. It was built as a dedicated track car, hence the stripped interior, rollcage, and Sparco seats and harnesses (I had to not step, but climb in and out every time! - SD), This particular coupe hasn't seen many miles on the road since it debuted at SEMA '15, so we were very stoked to pop its cherry.
Our third chariot would be a non-F model RC 350. This red Rocket Bunny beauty stole our hearts at SEMA '14. It's the trailer queen of the three, only being transported from show to show, that is, until we got behind the wheel and thrashed it all the way to Vegas!
Like we hinted at earlier, this retreat is a "work" function so we made sure the next 48 hours consisted of proper "media acquisition," "vehicle testing," and "team building." So take a few minutes to see how we conduct our staff retreats at Super Street, and who knows, maybe we'll need your help to make next year's bigger and better!
The starting line at GReddy headquarters.
Our first casualty of the trip, the rear wing of the orange RC F's Pandem body kit. Because this was an early production piece, we weren't too surprised, but it sucks it happened right at the start of our road trip!
Burgers and fries at our mandatory In-N-Out stop in Barstow.
Mike knew of a few dry lake beds to sneak into for a little mini photo shoot, but unfortunately it didn't last long as the property owner threatened to arrest us with his "power of attorney"!
Calico Ghost Town is one of the original mining towns from the 1800s, but we turned around after hearing it was $8 a person just to look inside.
Once you hit the city of Baker, you're one and a half hours away from Vegas. Alien Beef Jerky, a necessary pit stop, sells more than 15 types of jerky.
Instead of hitting the fast lane on the way to Vegas, we veered north on Death Valley Rd., which is where the journey really gets fun—i.e. an extra four hours of driving through deserted roads with no cell service!
Death Valley Rd. is as desolate as it gets. We hung out at a long straight for more than an hour for photo ops and random shenanigans.
This abandoned road looked breathtaking and also featured some gnarly windy roads. After a couple of hours of high-speed raging, it eventually led us back to the main highway.
Rollin' three deep on the strip!
Our final stop at the new Le Pho restaurant in downtown Vegas. Yummy in our tummies!
Guests of Honor
The entire staff agreed it might be a li'l more fun this year if our retreat wasn't a sausagefest. So we dragged the '15 and '16 Miss Super Street models, Erica Nagashima and Janey B, along for the ride. We think they had fun despite not being able to drive the cars and also having to put up with our antics, but hopefully we can still be friends and they'll be back with us next year!
How was the drive and what was the most memorable part?
EN: The drive seemed like the longest journey but the most fun! I don't think I've ever enjoyed an eight-hour drive as much. The best part was getting kicked out of private property [dry lake bed], and almost going to Calico Ghost Town.
JB: It was hot...Haha! I've never taken the Death Valley route and it was definitely scenic! Besides that, my favorite part was the car meet and cruise. The Vegas car community is definitely very friendly and super chill! I'd love to cruise out with them again!
What's your advice for anyone going to Vegas for 48 hours?
EN: Lots of water, Red Bull and vodka, and sunglasses.
JB: Water. Pound that water to avoid feeling like death. Oh, and good tequila. You can't go wrong with good tequila. Especially when it's 1942!
What would make the trip better?
EN: Longer would be better, and more In-N-Out!
JB: Getting to go to the Exotic Racing Experience with the rest of the boys next time!
During our lunch break at In-N-Out Barstow, a bus full of tourists stopped to take photos with Janey and Erica. Herro, new friends!
Tao and Marquee celebrate Super Street!
If there's a reason to party in Vegas, whether it's a bachelor party, birthday, divorce, whatever, definitely put Tao at the Venetian or Marquee at the Cosmopolitan on your hit list. We had a lot to celebrate during our trip, for example, the 2nd anniversary of our retreat, Janey's birthday, and let's not forget Super Street's 20th anniversary! So a huge thanks goes out to Gordon Ting and our friends at Tao and Marquee for throwing us a pair of parties we'll never forget!
Super Street girl Danielle Lo cameo at Tao Nightclub.
Birthday cake presentation for Janey.
Another SS girl cameo, Tracy Nova.
Boost Brigade x Turn 14 Shirt Collab
You're going to hate us, but Boost Brigade produced a limited number of these shirts and jackets with the help of Turn 14. We were able to outfit our crew and also give a handful of pieces away at our car meet. You'll just have to wait until next year to see what we come up with!
Last-Minute Car Meet at HNRS LV
With only a week's notice before our retreat, we had invited local enthusiasts to meet us at street wear store HNRS on our final day in Vegas. Quite honestly, we were expecting only a handful of cars to show up, maybe 40-50 at most, but what transpired was much more than we could have imagined. Nearly 300 cars rolled out to our meet, filling the HNRS parking lot for hours. We saw lots of unexpected rides in attendance such as Roy de Guzman's Hakosuka (featured Volume 18, No. 10) and many more. Huge props to HNRS for letting us invade their space!
Ian Perri's Datsun 280ZX slammed on rebarreled 14" Advan A3As might be one of our favorite cars from the 702!
Liberty Walk R35 GT-R hangin' with an R33 Skyline.
Roy de Guzman's Hakosuka rockin' new livery since his SS feature two years ago.
The Exotics Racing Experience
If getting wasted at clubs and gambling aren't on your Las Vegas itinerary, maybe you would rather be behind the wheel of an exotic supercar. The folks at Exotics Racing have you covered. They'll let you push the limits of say, a Ferrari 458 or a Lamborghini Aventador, on a specially designed track just 30 minutes north of the Las Vegas Strip. Do you need to win the jackpot to drive one of these cars? Nope. To put it into perspective, you can drive a McLaren 570S for less than what you'd pay for bottle service at a club.
Mike reflects on his experience in the 488 GTB: "Remember when you played that 'five-minutes in heaven' game when you were a kid? It was a lot like that. I was alone with my love, got to do anything I wanted, but I was too nervous to push too hard. Needless to say, I would pay almost anything to spend more time with that Ferrari on that track!"
ER has more than 10 cars you can choose from for its 1.2-mile track.
A short class and a warm-up lap as a passenger gets you ready for the experience of a lifetime.
The VIP room features Steve McQueen art throughout as well as free refreshments.
Eat at John Mull's Road Kill Grill
When I hear the words "Las Vegas," I think of food! Yes, I know, I'm the oddball here who actually goes to Vegas to eat, but hey, it is what it is... For me, there's always one mandatory visit and that's John Mull's Road Kill Grill. The two must-have items are the brisket and the burnt ends. The original John Mull's location also doubles as a butcher shop. It's not uncommon to see someone bring in fresh game they killed nearby while you're eating!
Although I loved all of the RCs, I decided to drive the blue RC F just because it had the perfect balance of street and comfort for the long trip. The Rocket Bunny RC 350 looked so damn good, but I'd rather just watch it on the road. And the Pandem RC F was the most aggressive; however, with a gutted interior and rollcage, it would've been difficult for a guy my size. I don't know how, but we all survived this year's retreat; we even went to the Eibach Meet the day after! I know I'm going to regret it when I say this, but I can't wait to go back!
- Jofel Tolosa
To the Max
This retreat was borderline euphoria/insanity with a mix of maniacs, models, Death Valley, Vegas parties, and three of the most clean, new Lexus cars anywhere. While not pictured, I piloted the official support car for the team: a new GS F with only 3,000 miles on it. I have to say, I had a blast watching all the cars get beat on through Death Valley at speeds I can't legally say. I still have a void in my heart from when I had to return the keys to the GS F. Lexus, you'll make some money when I can finally get my own. Shout out to Gordon, Kenji, GReddy, and Boost Brigade!
- Max Frauchiger