So, i think i owe the new site a short introduction on what this is all about. I'm Žiga, from Slovenia but for the last 3 years i've been in the United States of America, more specifically Ardmore, Oklahoma experiencing its vast car culture with my best mate Benjamin aka Benny. It all started in 2016 when he drove to my place from Bosnia to pay me a visit and then we got an idea to team up with a few more friends to build some nice rides around the globe, but for now, me and Benny have set up our place over here.
Ever since then our passion are RWD and AWD cars that you can take either to a race track, drag strip, or just a fun drive on a mountain road, well sometimes i like to throw around a fast little FWD hatch too. We've gathered connections around USA and Japan and thanks to them we've opened up a parts shop to help others achieve the build they want!
Here are the cars that we currently have: You can read the whole story here! Or click here to check out a few later posts before this one to stay updated. But if you were already following, let's hop in right into what we were up to last month!
Topeka Heartland Park, Kansas - 12th Sep 2019
We went to the race track in Kansas for a very fun challenge between me, Big Smoke and Franklin! We all bought used (and pretty beaten up) cars with a V$500 budget and ended up with pretty solid machines! Yuan bought an E100 Corolla with a blown head gasket for only V$50(!!!), Franklin bought a 318i E36, also with a few engine problems for V$300 and i got a SC400 which got a major impact in the front. Well, mine needed the most work but i managed to get it ready for this track day by pulling a few parts from the SC300 drag car. The funny part is, Franklin found this car to swap the 1UZ in that E36 but after some fixes it didn't need an engine swap anymore. It's a fairly powerful and reliable V8 but it's only available with an automatic so i'm not sure if we'd have enough time to make the conversion.
When we arrived to Topeka in the afternoon we wasted no time and set off on the track. At a venue like this i usually brought a fully prepared and modified racecar, but this time it was the complete opposite! We did no changes to the cars whatsoever, apart from the required repairs to make them run. This reminded me of Gears and Gasoline's track day with a beater Mitsubishi, they proved that you can take anything to the track and have great fun! That car was probably still in better condition than our shitboxes but regardless, we tried to drive them all out on the track to see what kind of "racecar" V$500 can get you!
The SC400 was pretty tail happy in many corners, despite its lazy old automatic the V8 had more than enough grunt for a bit of sideways action. Or maybe it was just because of worn out tires, who knows. Another thing to worry about was the huge body roll, that can be a real problem when you lose traction!
At some moments the car decided otherwise and wildly understeered, even to the point when i went completely off track! Fortunately there were no other cars next to me because this land yacht is pretty heavy and would easily take another car with itself. Well a few seconds later there were just Franklin and Yuan passing by and most likely laughing their asses off. I'm glad i didn't end up in a rail, luckily there's enough grass before it. I don't really care what happens to the SC400 but of course i'd like it to make it to the end of the day, at least.
Yuan had a major advantage in the corners, his Toyota had really thin tires and like on my car, the typical 20 year old suspension, but it was way lighter and it dealt some parts of the track with ease unlike me. He still handled it really well, that shows the skills of an experienced time attack racer!
As he completed a few laps he tried to push the little Corolla further with tighter racing lines and later braking, but then he almost overshot this corner! I suppose he has no problem using this technique with his Evo 3 which is properly set up for tracking, on the other hand a car that barely has any grip requires much more caution. The front wheels locked up for a moment, causing a bit of "big smoke" in the process.
Franklin's laps were quite impressive too, and looking at his car i'd say he had the best of both worlds: a well-balanced RWD layout, fairly light weight and sufficient power for its size. He welded the rear differential for some extra fun in the corners but he might've drifted a bit too much in some of them! Again, he had a better handling car but i made up that loss on the straight parts haha.
Later in the afternoon we headed to the drag strip held on the same place, how convenient. The Lexus had an obvious head start here, with its V8 packing 250HP compared to the 140 or 100HP 4-cylinders on the other cars. Surprisingly, i even managed to pull off a burnout before making a quarter mile pass! I don't think it added any grip but i did it just for fun. I'm used to dropping the clutch and then sending it, this time the automatic did the trick too! I guess they're not that bad after all, i just go for a manual car whenever possible for a more authentic driving experience.
Towards the evening we had some snacks and talked about the day and some other cool cars on the track. Man, i can't believe we drove these beaters all the way over here! This track day was a huge success, lots of fun with great company and we barely spent any cash! Like they always say, the best things in life are free. Well, almost in this case.
The day after that the action just kept on going! I attended a local street car drag competition with the Supra but first it needed a few adjustments to fit the regulations. The engine was detuned to 700HP due to a power/weight ratio limit, and its tires were slightly too wide so i took the 18" SSRs that used to be on the SC300 and fit a couple of Hoosier street legal slicks on them.
Despite the power restriction the Supra still felt very torquey, violently throwing me back into the seat as i launched it down the strip. The grip was amazing and it brought me to a 1/4 mile time of 8.7 seconds, resulting in 5th place overall! There were some subtle looking but insanely fast cars in the competition, and the winner was, believe it or not... a Honda Civic. You may think rear wheel drive cars would have a major advantage but not this time, that Civic must've had some serious work and testing done to it as it just broke in the 7's.
21th Sep 2019
Sadly Yuan and Soju had to move back to their home turf a few days earlier due to some events they planned to attend but at least we still had Franklin with us for this one. I took the 300ZX because i haven't driven it in a while, and Benny was rolling in his Lambo behind. Anyways, we went to Stroud again for a drift event but this one had a special guest, the one and only Ken Nomura!!! Ben from KameTrick was his translator, absolutely the right guy for the job as he was living in Japan for a few years, exploring its grassroots drifting culture and spreading knowledge about it in USA. Too bad i couldn't drift with the Chevelle again but it will take a break for a while with a different approach to the build. Well there was still the AE86 but it would still need a few preparations before going to the event which i just didn't have time for, we were hanging out with the boys and tracking beater cars haha. Anyway i spent most of the time there socializing with the local drifters and Ken, obviously. He's always been a funny guy, and that's what i love about him. Even in the times when he was constantly competing in D1GP, he was still the same old him, straight up having a good time and making people laugh. He was keen on hearing our adventures in Japan and around the world and was happy to know we keep the drift scene going. By the way we also copped some Uras merchandise that Nomuken brought, pretty cool stuff that you don't see every day, maybe not even in Japan! All in all it was wonderful to meet such a legend, big thanks to Ben for clearing things out and making this possible in the first place!
Moving on back to our garage, the Chevelle is still awaiting an engine checkup that i should do ASAP. At least i got the new wheels on, they make it look like a real classic.
Benny's S2000 did get some proper work done underneath though, the suspension is all set up with new control arms and Tein OEM spec springs and shocks. We should be able to get this thing rolling now!
3 weekly paychecks: +V$3375
Lexus SC400: V$500
Hoosier rear slicks: V$500
S2000 Tein S-Tech lowering springs: V$279
Fuel, snacks and drinks: V$163