What it all boils down to, at least in the magnificent world of drifting, is the fact that style is key. In a professional setting, if judges favor your style then you can advance to the main competition and furthermore, if you can do a better job at tandem then you're likely to win. With the exception of a few people who insist on driving their primered $200 240SX missile car, many privateers are going the extra mile to make sure their car is looking as fresh as possible. Jose Gutierrez is among the latter who makes sure his car looks as good on the track as it does on the street. You'd think his car came straight from Japan, but you'd be wrong. This 240SX is built and maintained in the good ol' U.S. of A.
"I first found out about drifting during my freshman year in high school after watching Tokyo Drift with a couple friends and I was instantly hooked." Jose begins. His senior year is where things got interesting and he got behind the wheel of a RHD S13 but eventually traded for the Kouki you see before you. "The front end just looks aggressive to me. Plus, I'm on the heavy set side so the extra room was nice," he claims. He met friends with similar sliding interests by going to car meets. It was the same friends that eventually helped him weld his diff and gave him his first drifting lesson. That night he was nailing donuts and figure eights, but sure enough, a cop rolled up to the industrial area he was practicing on. As luck would have it, the cop simply asked them to stop hooning and head home. Since then he's dedicated his life to drifting and has been practicing ever since.
Like many of us, Jose looked to Japan for inspiration for his S14. Instead of gathering style cues from the Fast and Furious chain, he turned to Hot Version and Option videos. This is where the D-Max aero comes into play as well as a few other JDM goodies. "I asked around, mostly the OG's that have been in the game for awhile and gained their knowledge. Asking questions is key," he says. Privateers know all too well that drifting doesn't come without problems. Breaking aero and blowing motors come with the territory. Call it the Japanese spirit, but Jose does something not a lot people do, by replacing or fixing damages on his car before participating in any sort of drifting event. The day his KA motor blew was the same day he bought his SR20DET motor from a friend. "I was also in the progress of moving to a different house. We pulled out the KA, dropped the SR and bolted it down. The next morning we finished the swap and test-drove the car by doing donuts at the corner of the street." His new neighbors were not pleased and called the cops, but like his first drifting experience, the cops were surprisingly cool about it (some guys have all the luck). His engine set up isn't as complicated as a Formula D spec car, but it's enough for him to have fun with and further hone his driving skills.
Over the last six years Jose has been tinkering and perfecting his S14. As a Toyota technician, Jose tells us that a 1JZ swap is in this Kouki's future."I just want to have fun, entertain people and make new friends. Ultimately I want to be able to travel to different tracks and drive in places such as Germany and Japan, of course. I already have a couple of homies out there that I would love to drive with," he concludes. With his passion and taste in style we think he'll fit right at home.