Like all of you, the editors here at 2nr were all avid car magazine readers at one time or another. We foraged through the magazine aisles of our local grocery stores and bookstores, looking for the latest issue of our favorite mags. We too used to stand there for what seemed like hours, drooling over the flashy feature cars and reading the tech stories so we could replicate them at our own risk. But working here is a different story. We often look back on the same articles that you read every month, and with all the pride aside, we think about how we put damn near everything into writing those. Whether or not you liked the stories, the editors did everything they could to bring you the truth and keep you entertained with interesting articles. For this issue, we scoured the back issues of Import Tuner to bring you a retrospective look at some of our favorite stories.
B-Series Shootout(August, September, October, December 2004)
The B-series shootout was nothing short of a pain in the ass. It was a tough story to put together, to say the least, but, as always, we do anything to keep up the three-ring circus for the sake of entertaining all of you. This four-part series consisted of five of the best engine builders in Southern California, including our then Tech Editor Gary Castillo, battling it out to see who could build the baddest Honda B-series engine to run on 91-octane. Each team had four months to build their engine and had to follow strict guidelines given by 2nr. As with any heavy competition, some of the teams tried to bend the rules in order to get ahead. At times it seemed like we had to babysit them to make sure it was a fair competition. During the four months of the story, there was a lot of hype on the message boards about it. We were pleased to see the enormous response and team backing that the readers put up, because that meant the whole fiasco wasn't all for nothing.
Ever since our first issue in 1998, 2nr has made it a point to test out the latest go-fast products on various cars. The whole point, as you can imagine, was to prove our automotive journalistic integrity by showing the real power figures that those products will make. Issue after issue, our tech editors spend hours on the dyno, as well as burning and scraping their hands installing parts so that we can provide you with accurate information. Although writing the Power Pages is often a tough and time-consuming endeavor every month, it's always worth it when the products put out good power and are worth the money. We picked all of the power pages as our favorites because of the hard work put into them every month and the satisfaction the readers get when they realize what parts they should have bought.
Dr. Charles Madrid interview (June 2005)
Good 'ol Dr. Charles... One of the most influential and legendary import drag racers ever to grace our pages. This interview came at a time when Dr. Charles himself was able to sum up his achievements and really give us a view of his perspective. Although he may look and act crazy, we were able to uncover the more levelheaded side of him and ask him about some his past experiences. From his days of racing with his crew "Wicked" to working at different speed shops and ending up at Skunk2 designing race cars and engines, Dr. Charles has kept it real through the years by maintaining his character and increasing his automotive ingenuity. We were lucky enough to capture it on film and paper.
Warranty Problems? (July 2005)
Presenting you with every little piece of information about cars is our main goal here at 2nr. That is why we told you what you needed to know in following the warranty guidelines when purchasing a new car. We liked this story because it showed that, despite what you think, dealership mechanics aren't stupid and that the fine print in warranty contracts should not be skipped over. Next time you find yourself walking the dealership lot to sign your life away, take a moment to thank 2nr for reminding you about the do's and don'ts of warranties.
The gasoline story was a blast. There's nothing like busting myths and shedding some light on the truth about the stuff you pay $3 a gallon for. The interview with Rocket Brand Racing Fuel was an eye opener when it came to learning the truth about octane ratings, fuel additives and how using a higher octane affects emissions. These tell-all stories are what we live for and it's a pleasure bringing you the truth.
Jet Li Interview (May 2005)
It's always an honor when a car magazine gets to interview a mainstream actor or music artist, so you can imagine how astonished we were when we got the chance to interview Jet Li. In the interview, not only did Jet Li talk about his new movie at the time (Unleashed), but he also brought up a good point about the difference between American and Asian marketing. Speaking about his other film "Romeo Must Die," Jet Li told us about how the other actors, DMX and Aaliyah, weren't as popular in Asia as they are in U.S., so when it came time to market the movie, Jet Li himself was the main selling point, instead of all three of them. In the end, this interview put in a much-needed balance for our automotive-geared magazine, showing that we're more than just car guys, we like movies too.
Buy it there, Drive it here (June 2005)
Who needs a JDM right-hand-drive conversion for a Civic when you can just import the real deal? Sure, it's just a pipe dream for many, but we showed you that it is possible. This story was the answer to the age-old question, "Will the Civic Type R ever come to America?" Apparently, it can, but with a whole lot of paperwork and money. It was a pleasure finding out the truth about importing JDM cars and it shocked us to see just how much work is involved in getting one. Nonetheless, it was a great piece of information. So who needs a JDM conversion? I guess we do, until we win the lottery.
Tera Patrick Interview (September 2004)
Who doesn't love Tera Patrick? We know we do, and that's why when her manager wanted her on our cover, we didn't hesitate to put her on there. That interview should also somewhat stand out in her career timeline since it was the first official interview she did after coming off a one-year hiatus. She gave us a good view of how the adult entertainment industry is, other people's perspective on her and even what her favorite position is. Although 2nr does a model interview every month, this particular one will stand out in editors' and readers' minds for years to come.
My Other Ride does 9's: Shawn Hillier's Civic (November 2005)
Due to the hastiness and popularity of online message boards, Import Tuner may not always be the first to report on all the new trends that occur in the import car world. But we at least like to take part in them and share with our readers the dope cars that we come across. When the Honda K-series swap started to appear, only a few people were able to partake in what the venerable engine had to offer. One of those lucky people was Shawn Hillier. This racecar driver for Skunk2's Project Delta was fortunate enough to get his hands on a JDM K20a and swap it into his 1999 Civic CX. The ultimate concoction graced our pages and wowed the readers with its JDM flare and unique heart transplant. This feature came out at the pinnacle of the JDM scene, and what better way to represent than with a Honda?
Exposed: The truth behind counterfeit parts (December 2006)
Buying cheap parts online; we've all done it at least once, whether drunk or sober. Sifting through the online auctions for cheap parts can be tempting and sometimes addicting. "But it's so cheap, and it looks like the real thing," you say, as you put down a bid of $5. But it's never really worth it, is it? In our counterfeit parts expose, we uncovered the truth behind some of the most common knockoff parts. Short shifters and even important parts like blow-off valves are very cheaply made and can fall apart after a short period of time. This story was a fun experiment and we compared the faux parts to their real counterparts. The Tein springs, for example, caught us off guard when we discovered the minute differences, and the muffler and the blow-off valve were a huge crack up when we saw the poor quality they possessed. This story was a definite hit and it made us proud to show you just what kind of crap is available on the Internet.
We Must Fight Back (November 2004)
What's the most common phrase uttered when our readers pass a black and white while doing 80 of the freeway? That's right, "F*ck the police." Here in California, the cops in San Diego have their very own Drag Net team that is devoted to stopping street racing and busting people for their car modifications. The Sergeant we interviewed enlightened the readers on what the cops look for and just how much they actually know. It's good for us to know these things, because as they say, "Know your enemy." Just keep in mind, don't street race, make sure your mods are state-legal and keep your car at monster-truck height; cops like that.
Standing Among Giants: Rotary Power RX-7 (July 2005)
We're usually pretty humble about our accomplishments and try to attribute most, if not all, of our success to the readers instead of the writing and fancy pictures. But in this issue, Feature Editor Joey Leh outdid himself by going one step further for the cover feature. Sure he's a brilliant writer, but this feature stands out on its own due its unique style. Joey decided to go with the choose-your-own-adventure format for this story, and it sure did add a nice touch. As if the model and car weren't eye catching enough, Joey's words made readers flip the pages back and forth as if it were a centerfold spread in Playboy Magazine. The feature still puts a smile on our faces today and we applaud its genius.
Do Girls Like Your Car? (April 2006)
If you drive a Miata, you're probably not dating one of the models we interviewed for this story. 2nr is known for featuring some of the hottest models in the scene today, and this was another way of bringing you some eye candy. We wrangled up Miss Lisa Kim, Vanessa Valdez, Angie Romasanta and Shae Norris to ask them what kind of cars they like. Just as you can imagine, they're into the higher end cars that most of us can't afford. But not to discredit them, they do have taste, and at least the girls knew what Altezza taillights are and that they're ugly. The interview just went to show that us guys need to put a little more effort into the cars we choose, and that just because your commuter car has power windows and sunroof, it doesn't qualify as a luxury car. As always, the hot chicks keep us in check.
Straight from the Soul (Feb. 2005)
Car and girls aside, we like music, and we know you do too. The interview with De La Soul was dedicated those who know a thing or two about real music and real musicians. And that's just how these guys were: real. After inviting us to chill in their hotel room while conducting the interview, Posdnous and Trugoy treated us like their friends, and not like the 16-year-old hysterical girl that we tried to hold back from becoming. It was an honor to hang with them and get to know them on a different level, as if their music wasn't deep enough.