Monday, December 9, 2013

Girls day out in a Gallardo

The NZ Performance Car Magazine Summer Tour kicked off on Saturday with the annual park up at Hooten Reserve in Albany, Auckland. Even though it rained throughout the morning, the forecast was correct in predicting that it would clear up in the afternoon, and it turned out to be ridiculously hot. This did not work out well for me as I was dressed all in black! Project Z still isn't running yet so I was faced with the predicament of not having a cool car to take along. I thought I would try my luck and ask my boss if I could take a car from my work. You’ll never know unless you try, right?

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The answer was as I'd hoped! I collected the car, a 2013 LP 550-2 (550hp, rear wheel drive) just after lunch and went to pick up my girlfriend Michelle - the look on her face when she walked out of the house was priceless! We got onto the motorway at Western Springs so that we could drive through the new tunnel – the last time I went through there was for the FD3S Dream Drive story I put together for Speedhunters. We rolled the windows down and I chopped down a gear, and we both looked at each other and cracked up laughing. The sound it made as it echoed through the tunnel was ridiculous. It was beyond awesome!

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Photo by Saret Vision

I love the feeling of driving with the paddles; the 6-speed 'e-gear' transmission is a refreshing change for me as I drive a manual car on a daily basis. If you do ever get the chance to drive one of these, seriously don't even bother with the automatic mode, that's for sissies. It was definitely difficult to not get too throttle-happy as the car handles so beautifully and the throttle is so responsive, and hearing the V10 revving behind me left me with a permanent grin for the rest of the day.

Now that's what I call a Christmas bonus!

Other info about the LP 550-2:
Review by Driven
Vehicle listing on Independent Prestige

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

When pink is cool

I love the colour pink, but not so much when it comes to cars. I'd much prefer a car in black, white or silver rather than a bright colour, as I tend to get over coloured cars and change my mind about what I like very quickly. However, there are a few exceptions. Here are 13 examples of when pink is super rad, and I would TOTALLY go there. Just FYI, it's a pretty random mix of different styles. Just go with it...

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Because Kei car. This Suzuki Wagon R rocks my world. I want this as my daily driver so bad.

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Because Japan. External mounted oil cooler, G-nose, over-sized bodykit - and those air horns! This pink Z is so radical.

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Because 1957 2-door Cadillac. Probably my number one dream car.

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Because 1959 2-door rag-top Cadillac. Something about a baby pink drop-top Caddy with big white walls and an all-white interior makes the inner girl in me jump up and down and cry with delight.

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Because Hayashi Yayoi. My dream wheels!

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Because RWB. Because Porsche. Because race car. Whatever, just give me it.

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Because TRA Kyoto. The picture does the talking.

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Because SSR Mark III. My other dream wheels! I always wanted to buy a set of these for my old MX5 and paint the centres pink. Gimme, gimme!

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Because date. 3rd of May 1982. That's seven years before I even existed on this planet!

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Because P1. Well, duh? Don't need to explain this one.

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Because juxtaposition. Aggressive drift car + pink steering wheel = just ain't care.

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Because galaxy-wrapped Aventador. These photos are old but whatever. I love it, want it, and need it.

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Because Hachiroku. I'm pretty sure you could paint an AE86 any colour and it would still be cool. Love the wing mirrors and the gold meshies too. Such a winning combo!


Images from:
Import Tuner
Work Wheels Japan

Monday, August 26, 2013

A pink shakotan-style Z432

I've been meaning to share some photos of this amazing 1:20 scale model Z432 I came across in one of Mad Mike's magazines he brought back from his last Japan trip.

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The amount of detail that has gone into this project is insane - some serious Otaku stuff! The creator has started with a Fairlady Z432 model kit and added a G-nose conversion, Lambo-style scissor doors and a kaido-racer style rear-hatch conversion. They've obviously drawn a bit of inspiration from the Shakotan Boogie 'Yanky Mate' S30, which has a lot of similar styling features.

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It also features an incredibly detailed engine bay with the correct Z432 heart - the ever so desirable Nissan S20 straight-six. Mmm... what I'd do to hear one of those with my own ears. One day!

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Enormous exaggerated fender flares house what look to be a super-wide set of SSR MK1s - and what would this dream Z be without a bit of 'demon camber' as a finishing touch? The fact that it's a hot glittery pink colour has nothing to do with why I'm so obsessed with it. Nothing. I admire the Japanese so much for their level of dedication to model car building because they have such amazing style and a great eye for detail. This article on Speedhunters from a few months back is a great example of this! Now if I could just figure out how to acquire a large wall-sizedposter of this for my wall, or even better, this exact car in real life. Sweet dreams!

シャコタン  ❤ x

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

California Dreaming: My America Adventure

I'm still coming down from whatever the car version of 'Cloud 9' is after experiencing the utter madness of Gatebil Rudskogen last weekend. It was truly the experience of a lifetime and if I didn't have all the photo evidence of what went down there, I think I'd be struggling to believe that I was even there at all. If you haven't been reading Speedhunters then make sure to head over there and check out all the rad Gatebil coverage we've been putting together!

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Now that I'm back in New Zealand, I've spent the last few days looking through all of my photo albums on my computer from my travels so far this year and I realised that I still have so many photos from America that I haven't used anywhere. So I thought I'd dedicate a blog post on here to them along with a few words about my impressions during my short stay there.

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Firstly, it really surprised me how much I loved California. Perhaps the time of year that we visited contributed to the great first impression I was given - something about that super golden sunlight and amazing hot weather made our whole trip so enjoyable. But I also felt so accepted and welcomed by all the people we met there, so it was hard to dislike any part of the experience I guess!

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It seems like most of my car obsessed friends were first attracted to their hobby through either drifting or taking an interest in old school Japanese style. But if you've read my 'about' page then you'll understand why I was so keen to get amongst the USDM car scene to check out how they do things. Rides like this Scion xB were what originally pushed me to take notice of cars in the first place. Of course, my obsession goes much further than just wheel fitment now, but it was still really cool to see some of these cars with my own eyes.

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I spotted quite a few people wearing my stickers over there too! Thanks Yogi :)

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It wasn't just new human faces I met either - you guys know Orbit the dog, right?

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There were so many cars there that I'm so used to seeing on the internet so I usually wouldn't think twice about them, but then when I saw them in person I was really impressed. For example, we don't have any Rocket Bunny kitted 86s here in NZ yet, so I'd never actually seen one until the night these pictures were taken. Seeing them like this made me realise that they have such a cool street presence.

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Formula D was really fun! I really hope I can go to another round again one day. What livestream doesn't really capture is how amazing the atmosphere there is - the whole event area was buzzing like crazy!

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As to be expected, there were some really low cars there too. But like... too low for how incredibly shit the roads in LA are. I don't get how they do it! #MaximumPavementAttack

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Bill Baldwin is such a dude! So not phased.

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It was so cool to get the opportunity to meet some people who knew of me and that had read my blog before. Hello!

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Fatlace founder Mark Arcenal is someone that I really look up to, and after meeting him he wrote these kind words about me and Sean Klingelhoefer from Speedhunters. Thanks so much Mark!

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As well as socialising in Long Beach, I really enjoyed venturing out of the city to check out some ocean views and open roads.

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More on that in a different story!

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I just remembered that I took this to show how bad the roads are... pretty crazy, huh? Bum-cheek clenching stuff, that's for sure.

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The interior colour scheme on this Porsche 356 looked so good against the terracotta tones of the Terranea Resort where we stopped for lunch; I couldn't resist a quick photo.

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One of the tourist spots at the very top of Pedey's list was Neptune's Net - for obvious reasons. These photo comparisons he put together were actually pretty cool though! The night before going there we were reading some hilarious online reviews of this place; one guy reckoned he walked in on two bikers doing it in the port-a-loo toilet there.

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Despite the, err.. negative ratings, the food there was actually really good. When I first started eating food in America I was all like, 'Why do they put so much STUFF on chips fries here!' and then when I got back to New Zealand I was all; 'Why do we NOT put stuff on our fries here!' Chilli cheese fries FTW.

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Here are some road trip photos from our drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco. My friend Matt kindly let me borrow his 5D Mark II for this trip, and shooting on ISO 50 really helped show how dreamy the weather was...

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... see what I mean? The sunlight captures everything in a different way here. I can't explain it!

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Look how happy Pedey is to be stuck in a Mazda 6 for NINE hours with me! Haha.

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I especially loved driving along the coast of Big Sur; it was so stunning. I MUST drive a Cadillac along here at some stage in my life! Or at least something with around three times the power of our rental car.

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Finally we made it to the outskirts of San Fransisco by dusk. After being totally mind-f*cked by how big Los Angeles was, SF was refreshing. Everything is very close together and it's much easier to get around there.

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More beautiful weather followed us there too. It was nice to do a bit of sightseeing that didn't involve cars or driving for a change.

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I fell in love with all the buildings and houses, as you do.

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This part of our trip really felt like we were on holiday. As in, I actually felt relaxed and not in a rush for once!

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More of that light as it escapes another day. I think this was actually our last night.

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Checking out Mark Arcenal's car collection was another highlight of our trip - because he pretty much owns all of my favourite cars! Except for an S30Z - although I have a feeling he'll get one of those too some day. It was so awesome to meet the crew at the Fatlace Paddock too!

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Even though we could only be there for a week, that was all it took for me to fall in love with California. The people there all seem to have such a positive attitude and are really outgoing, and I guess with my personality I can relate to those traits so I got along really well with everyone! Thank-you so much to all the amazing people that made our trip what it was. We had so much fun and looking at these photos is making me realise how much I really miss it there! Hopefully we can come back soon :)


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A sweet memento...

I recently received an email from a guy named Matt who had stumbled across my old Miatasaurus being advertised for parts. He managed to pick up my old BC coilovers and thought it would be nice to salvage my cert plate for me while he was at it. Last week I received it in the mail.

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It was quite a weird feeling when I first took it out of the envelope. I know it seems pretty silly to talk about having an emotional connection with a car; it is just a bit pile of metal and bolts anyway, right? But I guess in a way, cars are a bit like living creatures. They have a body with vital organs and they move on four struts, they get judged by what brand of footwear they have on, and they need air to breathe and fuel to survive. They aren't conscious living beings like we are, but I believe they have their own characteristics and personalities - their own spirit perhaps.

As I brushed my fingers over the dirty piece of engraved metal it definitely brought back memories. I know I'll have another MX-5 one day, but until that day comes I know that in the back of mind I'll always have regrets about selling this car. I really didn't realise what I had at the time until it was gone.

Thanks Matt for sending me something to keep as a sweet memento of the Miatasaurus!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tips for improving your Instagram & iPhone photos

I often get asked about what apps I use for photo editing on my phone, so I thought I'd write up a few simple tips and app suggestions for those interested. Although I'd choose my Digital SLR over my iPhone camera any day, I'm not one of those people that usually carries my camera around unless I'm actually going to an event or planning on taking pictures, so I do sometimes rely on being able to whip my phone out of my pocket and still be able to capture a picture at the right moment! Of course, the quality of an image from an SLR camera will always be much better no matter what kind of phone you own or how focused your phone image is, but it's also the convenience of being able to upload and share your picture instantly on your social media feed that appeals to me so much.

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More importantly, not everyone owns an SLR camera, and I'm a big fan of encouraging people to take pictures and express themselves creatively! Even if you're just taking photos and uploading them to a social media app, it's still fun to make your images look as cool as possible. So these are just a few of my personal methods of how I improve my own photos. It's also worth noting that I have an iPhone 4S at the moment, so I'm not too sure if all of these apps are available on Android or not. I'm aware that there are so many other photo editing apps out there, but I really don't have room on my phone (it's a lame 16GB) to have any more and I don't really need any more, but if you do have any suggestions that are really amazing then I'm all ears! Anyway, here goes:

Good for: Different filters, frames and colour/contrast adjustment

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This is one of my favourite apps as it allows you to make more subtle tweaks to your photos and also choose what you want to change more specifically, such as saturation, brightness etc. This app also has the circle frame that you see people using.

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Afterlight has heaps of different colour and black & white filters to play around with, and once you've chosen a filter (you don't have to though) you can then adjust things like saturation, clarity, brightness and contrast.

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This app also has a lot of frames relevant to Instagram users, you can use the circle frame or if you don't wish to crop your image into a square you can add white edges - (I find it quicker to do this in PicFrame though so I will explain that way soon).

Example of editing using Afterlight:

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Good for: Experimenting with filters, adding text to images

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I've only just downloaded this app so I'm still getting used to it, but I'm finding that it's better for adding colour to landscape photos and the filters seem to look better on lighter/well lit images, rather than dark images with lots of shadows etc.

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Vintique has quite a few different filters, and you can also 'edit' them which is quite cool. 'Delight' and 'Drowsy' are my favourite filters. Keep in mind they are quite harsh colours so they'll give your images more of an artistic effect rather than a natural look. You can also add text to your image and it's easy to go back and edit/resize the text at any time which is really handy.

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You can adjust brightness and saturation, though I prefer to use Afterlight for this. You can also add different vignetting effects to images as well, they are quite subtle.

Example of editing using Vintique:

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Good for: Making collages and different frames

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I use this app for creating collages or any instagram photos with more than one image in the frame. PicFrame has heaps of different framing options so you can either keep things really clean and simple (which is what I prefer) or experiment with different frame colours and shapes.

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If you wish to frame your image/s you can adjust both the colour and thickness of the frame...

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... and you can also change the corners of the image to curve around, like the first collage of images in this post.

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You can also chose to eliminate framing all together which is what I usually do. I use PicFrame to convert my portrait or landscape images into a square too, by selecting the triptych frame option and saving it with just the one photo in the middle - it saves the two unused spaces as white, so in Instagram this will give your photo the appearance of being uploaded as portrait or landscape.

Example of editing using PicFrame:

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Good for: Large range of filters, black & white filters

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I don't use this app very often but I do occasionally use the selection of PFX Film filters as I find them good for adding extra contrast without giving too much of an unnatural look. There's also a filter I like called 'enhance' which I find good for lightening shadows - also can be good as a quick fix for making skin look smoother and softening bags under eyes or blemishes. I also like that you can layer the filters on top of each other and adjust how much of each one you want to use.

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Adding and layering filters on top of each other (and being able to adjust how much you want) is probably my favourite feature of this app.

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I prefer the PFX Film filters and I mostly use PFX 5 and PFX 150.

Example of editing using PicFx:

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When I was younger I used to have a three-megapixel Canon point and shoot camera, and I used to play around with filters in the most basic editing program (I can't remember what it was called but it was so simple and old school) but it was mucking about on that shitty camera that sparked my original interest in digital photography. But if you do find yourself getting into photography, I strongly urge you to go out and buy a digital SLR and keep experimenting with your photo capturing!

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Everyone has to start somewhere, and if getting creative with your Instagram and phone pictures can spark an interest in photography as a hobby then I think that's pretty cool!


I don't know why some people out there wouldn't already have an Instagram account. I'm a bit of a social media freak I guess. But really I think there's no excuse, so just make one. If you post cool photos of a) rad cars b) cute animals or c) desserts then I'll follow you. I don't follow accounts that just post other people's photos. Here's a few quick tips for people that don't quite understand Instagram, they'll also help technology-capable people not hate you for being silly.

1. Like Twitter or Facebook, to tag people on Instagram you use '@' then start writing their name/username. This will come up automatically if you already follow them. When you tag someone OR comment on their picture, it shows up in their news feed.

2. Don't tag people if you're already commenting on their photo. It already shows up on their news feed without you tagging them. Don't worry!

3. If you have a private profile and you tag someone that doesn't follow you, they won't be able to see your photo! It's super annoying when people do this!

4. Hashtagging. Don't tell me you don't know what a hashtag is? I actually have friends that don't know what this is. When you put a '#' in front of a word, this word then becomes a link, and when you click on the link it comes up with all the photos with the same hashtag. Hashtags aren't just for embarrassing words like #omg #selfie #pretty #iloveyou - believe it or not they are actually useful if you are looking for information or ideas on a certain subject. For example, I always search #nailart before I get my nails done for ideas on what I want to get. They're also cool if you're at an event or want to see coverage of an event, as you can get free instant photo updates right from your phone.

5. Don't search or hashtag things like 'penis' - WHAT ARE YOU, TWELVE? Sorry, some people reading this might actually be twelve. Anyway, don't bother as you can't search any explicit words.

6. Want more followers? Concentrate on the quality of the content you're posting, not the quantity of hashtags you're using. Post your own images! Get creative!

Thanks for reading!

 T :)