Dawn of a New Eclipse
As an addition to the new Eclipse that debuted in '05, Mitsubishi is offering a convertible Spyder version for the '07 model year. Slated for delivery in showrooms by April of '06, the new Eclipse Spyder features an automatic cloth top with defrostable rear glass that folds under a tonneau cover within 19 seconds. Available in a 162 hp 2.4L four-cylinder GS version or a 260 hp 3.8L V6 GT trim, both motors utilize Mitsu-bishi's MIVEC technology and come in your choice of automatic or manual transmissions. Both models come comfort-ready with a laundry list of standard equipment including a 650-watt Rockford Fosgate premium six-disc audio system with an eight-inch subwoofer integrated into the rear seat. Perfect for those long drives up the coast, top down, lipsyncing along with the latest Ashlee Simpson song.
GT Live, the company which brought JGTC stateside a little over a year ago, is partnering with the Grand Am series to bring a unique sports car festival for all to enjoy. Just as before, attendees will get a chance to ride shotgun around the track in a Super GT race car as well as a Super Taikyu, Time Attack or Grand Am race car driven by actual pro drivers. If a pro test drive or watching a Grand Am series race is not your cup of tea, there will also be an actual Time Attack, motorcycle stunt competitions, music acts and the fan favorite XDL stunt team drifting to keep you entertained. Fans at the event will also get a chance to show off their skills in go-kart rides, circuit drives, and an opportunity to win a trophy in the car and motorcycle show. A virtual themepark for gearheads, GT Live and its wide range of activities is bound to offer something for everyone this May 12-13. www.gtlivetour.com
Despite what you may have heard, HKS stands for Hasegawa, Kitagawa, Sigma. The first two were the founders and the latter provided the funds.
When it Rains, the Crowds Still Pours
Amidst the freak pouring rain in Los Angeles this past January the crew over at JTuned held their first Annual Meet and Greet presented by Scion at the Irwindale Speedway. Contrary to Southern California wet weather intuition, over 2,500 enthusiasts and 1,200 vehicles ventured out into the rain in support of what has to have been the largest free outdoor car show in the history of the world (or at least in Los Angeles', if not Irwindale's). Our own Rikdaddy and Carter were contemplating whether or not to go out in the rain due to their sensitive gel-coated hair. However, after a call and some coaxing from Will "Homer" Law at DragPro confirming the presence of ACT, Enkei, HKS, Mackin, Nitto, Tanabe, and a huge crowd, they quickly decided to sacrifice spiky hair to party with a group of soaked hardcore fanatics.
While our staffers made the treacherous trek out in the rain to hand out free Super Street calendars and magazines, kudos goes out to the guy in the WRX who drove out from Arkansas. What courage it must take-not only for driving out to LA but to drive an import in the Deep South. Mad props to JTuned for pulling so many heads and dope rides; it takes true enthusiasts of this scene to host a free event for fans alike to meet. We can't wait for next year's meet-hopefully Mother Nature will be off her menstrual cycle by then.
Back to back at Thunderhill
We all know that Hondas have a reputation for being reliable, but 25 hours on a racetrack? Billed as the "most severe endurance race on the planet," the brand- spanking new '06 Honda Civic Si took home first and second in its class at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill Endurance Race. Fresh from the factory and sporting a stock K20 block with mild modifications consisting of an AEM intake, DC exhaust, carbon fiber splitter and spoiler, Rays wheels, Michelin tires, and H&R suspension, the two Civics came in fourth and sixth overall out of a total of 58 cars, a true testament to the Honda reliability and engineering behind the new Si badge. www.honda.com
Word on the Street...
...Honda just announced the release of a new Si Sedan. Yes, you heard us right: Sedan. Take a moment and let it sink in. Look for full images and specs in our June issue alongside Mugen's answer to Honda of Japan's lack of Si support, the four-door Civic Dominator.
...AEM is withdrawing from its Pro Drag efforts for this season. If you haven't heard, there's this little fad called drifting, where cars skid around, and that's where they're headed with a second race car-to back up Stephan Papadakis and his S2000-rumored to be a 350Z driver by Tanner Foust. aempower.com
...Chip Foose, from TV series Overhaulin' fame and the true pimpslapper of rides, has announced he will lend his mutant-like ability to convert any object into a thing of beauty to the new FD audio line for Arc Audio. And here we had our money on a licensed pinstriped foosball table equipped with a small block Chevy motor spitting out ball bearings onto a field with Shelby Cobra emblems as kickers. arcaudio.com
...On the Scooby-Doo "What's going on?" tip, two of our favorite Japanese powerhouse tuners who usually make big appearances, A'PEXi and VeilSide, went missing from this year's Tokyo Auto Salon. Hopefully they won't end up on the side of a JDM milk carton. e-autosalon.net
...If you caught the last Ultimate Fighting Championship fight, no, your eyes weren't deceiving you, import friendly Toyo Tires' logo was on the bumper and floormat of the ring. Picked as the official tire for the UFC, one thing's for sure: any skid marks left by the UFC athletes can't be good. toyo.com
...Redefining the level of manliness associated with the color pink, Speed channel is set to renew PINKS, a reality show where participants drag race for pink slips, for its second season. speedtv.com
...Tire giant Pirelli is going Hollywood with plans to produce a film every year under Pirellifilm. The Call, their first film, is a thriller starring John Malkovich and Naomi Campbell which will be directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day). Pirelli asserts that all of their films will be based around three central characteristics: controversial, performance, and international. Can't wait, sounds like an exciting new bukkake movie to us. pirellifilm.com
Classic Super Street
Back in May of '99, Super Street not only featured, gasp, a VW Jetta on the cover, but Euros throughout the entire book. The self-titled "Euro Invasion" infected Super Street worse than flea-ridden rats did pre-Victorian England. Today, fortunately, we have our sister publication, eurotuner, to contaminate, err, cover any rolling bubonic tonics.
The top 10 Future
10 Smaller Wheels: Ever since the whole "dub" scene, rim sizes have been growing fatter than Kirstie Alley post-Cheers. Now, with drift and influences from overseas, smaller 15- to 17-inch sizes are hot, especially rare JDM old school wheels.
09 Fat Tires: The rubber band-thin tires necessary for wider wheels (and their incredible propensity for dinging or cracking rims) aren't going to be with us forever; smaller wheels showing more rubber are already in.
08 Decline of Drag (not the RuPaul kind): With crowds and race car entries not what they used to be and sponsors and teams pulling out, the future of drag looks hazier than Snoop Dogg at a hookah lounge.
07 Classic Restorations: Wait-did we just hear you call us an oxymoron? Before you start calling us names, take a look at Marco's Skyline in this issue. Go ahead, we'll wait-this column isn't going anywhere. See? That's what we're talking about.
06 Time Attack: Not to pat our own backs or Elliott's for that matter, but Time Attack and its appeal to enthusiasts looking to battle themselves against the clock on a track has turned out to be accessible to weekend warriors weary of "drifting" their car into trouble. Catch our "drift"? Hehe, we crack ourselves up.
05 Balanced Tuning: Before, peak horsepower translated to bragging rights at the drag strip. Now, with events such as Time Attack and drifting on the rise, an emphasis on a balanced car with reduced weight, improved braking and proper chassis setup is becoming much more prevalent.
04 Hybrid Cars: Thanks to the recent global fustercluck, gas prices have risen higher than ever. Hybrid cars and their fuel efficiency and improving design have been taking off. Now, all we need is Tamiya to make bigger electric motors for them.
03 K-Cars: No we're not talking about cars from Seoulman's home country or the cars that Rikdaddy encounters on Olympic Blvd between Western and Vermont on his commute home, but the small but potent (like JDM Wong passing gas) cars pouring in from Japan (see Tetsu's Tales and our Honda Fit stories this month).
02 VIP Style: Yo VIP, let's kick it. Alright, so it packs more flavor than "Vanilla" and is a whole lot cooler than "Ice" and we guarantee it's going to be around a whole lot longer than his career (TNMT 2, anybody?). VIP-style pimped-out Japanese flagship sedans (GS 300/400, M45, LS 400), to quote Leonardo DeCaprio in the Aviator, are going to be "the wave of the future!"
01 Japanese Supercar: With old favorites returning and highly anticipated exclusive models arriving, the era of the Japanese supercars is dawning once more. With the new GT-R bound stateside and rumors of the next generation Supras, RX-7s, and NSXs littering the Internet chatrooms, we can't wait to see Japan's sneak attack on the Hemi craze.
Fit & Yaris
"Honda will sell Fit and Toyota will sell Yaris in USA soon. What do you think about the Fit and Yaris? It is just small car with small motor? Are you interested in them? Do you think they are just a Mom's car? I want to say that you are wrong! Fit and Yaris will be able to change into sports car if you know good tuners or had good tuning sense. I know if I put a turbo or super charger on a Fit or Yaris the motors can make about 150ps. If you liked big power and you had money, you could choose 350Z, Civic (Civic?), etc. I like them, but most of us need to save money and need to daily drive a car. You want a car which can run on a closed race track and can improve your driving skill. The Fit and Yaris fills your wish. The motors save gas which means you can save money. If you put coilover and good tires on Fit and Yaris, many Japanese race car drivers say you can go on a closed race track and practice till you get good driving skill. Your mom will like Fit and Yaris too, I guess. If you like audio equipment, Fit and Yaris are also a good car for it. I would like to say you can change Fit and Yaris to any style (sports car, race car, show, etc.) that matches your tuning sense. The Fit and Yaris have unlimited possibilities. Some Japanese car magazines say you can put a bigger motor in Yaris because Toyota will sell 1800cc motor in the Euro Yaris soon. Mugen and other Japanese tuning shops are trying to put a K20 Type R motor in the Fit. Big power motor and lightweight body is excited me. How about you?
I would like to see a Fit or Yaris with a big motor tuned by an American tuner at SEMA or at a Super Street Time Attack event in this year!"Tetsuya Ogushi
Can you guess the make and year the concept was released?