Inbox filled with memories…

Alright, like I said yesterday, I finally got around to cleaning out my email inbox and found a bunch of stuff from the past that I thought was interesting that I would share with you guys. Man I can’t believe I have stuff that goes back to early 2005…so much has changed since then…. Memories of my car coming together to the eventual sale of it to me getting my job as a writer…etc….etc….Let’s begin a trip down memory lane shall we?…

Here’s a shot from the morning of a car show in front of my friend’s house. I can’t even remember what show it was for but my friend who’s now married with a child now was bored that day and decided to tag along. I remember my carbon fiber trunk didn’t have the rubber molding around it so gas fumes would go into my car while we drove….Actually if I remember correctly, this was the Showoff Classic show in Pomona when they were still doing shows over there. I remember the gas fumes got so bad that we had to drive with the windows down and it was cold as shit that morning and on the way home that my buddy got sick from that shit…haha. This was also like a week after I got my JDM front bumper back from the bodyshop and it was all painted and clean. I told myself that I was gonna switch bumpers everytime I did a show so nothing would happen to this bumper but that sure as hell didn’t happen. I had this shit on the car until the day I sold it….

Speaking of carbon fiber trunks, this is the first carbon fiber trunk EVER in existence for a CB chassis Accord. There were so many people trying to do it back then but deals always fell through. Luckily my friend Billy at the time worked at CF1 and was able to get these made. If you’re reading this and you have a CB Accord with a carbon fiber trunk….You’re welcome. If it wasn’t for the two of us, this would have never happened. My OEM trunk was all hacked up for this shit and the Korean owner of CF1 eventually made only 9 of these before he sold the mold to another company. Then those companies started making shittier ill-fitting ones and mold after mold was sold to til now. The original 9 were probably the best from what I saw. The one pictured was ultimately destroyed too and I had the second trunk on my Accord… Billy of course, as you may all know him, is the owner and builder of the now famous Laguna Seca Blue IS300. He’s graced the pages of Super Street as well as the cover of Import Tuner and it’s probably the most recognized IS in the country….

This guy has always had a good eye for cars but what many of you may not know, is that he used to drive this thing everyday when he was working at CF1…

Yup, a right-hand drive 2nd gen. Integra…It eventually was cleaned up and the lip was painted, Type R Recaros, etc…

It was one of the first Integras during that time, especially a 2nd gen. DA/DB that had Wilwood brakes on it. The Work RSZ-Rs is also another interesting story. I had saw these wheels for sale online one day and I was like, “man, what the hell, this guy is crazy. He doesn’t know what he’s selling if he’s trying to sell some 17×7 +30 offset RSZ-Rs for a thousand bucks…” So I called up Billy and he scooped them up right away and they ended up on this Integra. Strangely enough, the guy that he bought the wheels from turned out to be Ojay who eventually built the gold Element that you all know today from Phaze2xDoods. Back then we didn’t even know who eachother was but I guess things just work out that way. Small world I guess….

Back then, the Integra was a daily and I don’t even think I had my Honda yet. We were all into the big bodykits and Hot Import Nights style stuff. Billy and I were both apart of this crew, the 13Devils. I thought it was a cool name after I saw it in Tokyo Street Racer so we ran with it…Ended up winning alot of awards too but things ended up not working out and we all parted ways. Now most us are working within the industry and the majority of us are still friends, just not doing car crew stuff together anymore….

You seen me doing some Scion stuff nowadays since Ross and Mikey are into them and I’ll occassionaly shoot them from time to time…but we had a xB in our group back then that was pretty cool too. I just didn’t know shit about them at the time…

This guy ain’t even into cars anymore. He got married and is doing other stuff with his life now, but back then he had alot of really nice stuff on his Scion…

While I was going through my email, I also found the writing sample that I sent to the editor of Honda Tuning Magazine that ultimately landed me a job as a writer. I had read somewhere that they were going through some changes at the time and I wasn’t working at the time so I decided to hit the editor up and he told me to send in a writing sample. Well I guess he thought it was good enough to give me work and here we are today. Now I’m freelance writing for Honda Tuning and Super Street, seems like ages ago now…For those of you who are interested, here’s the sample that I wrote. It was never published or anything but it gives you a good idea of where my head was at the time in regards to the industry and all…

Joey Lee

4/24/2007

Writing Sample

A couple years ago, if someone had walked up to me and told me that I’d be the owner/builder of one of the more recognized Honda’s in southern California; I’d tell them that they were crazy.  Not that I was against Honda’s at the time, they just weren’t on the radar of cars that I paid close attention to.  I was strictly a Toyota guy.  I had built a pretty obscure project in a Toyota Camry at the time and I had formed an almost cult-like following with other Camry-owners.  Occasionally certain Hondas would catch my eye on the street or at a show, but they would have to really stand out among a sea of Civics that were sporting grey-market “Buddy Club” body-kits and over-sized wheels.   This was also around the time when European cars were starting to get modified and the term “VIP” was strictly limited to the Yakuza in Japan.  European cars never caught my eye either, probably because I never had the money to even consider stepping foot inside one.  It was a rare thing to see a really clean purpose-built Honda.  You could sometimes spot them on the street but hardly ever at shows.  Back then it was all about getting into the industry and finding companies that could “hook you up” with free parts or befriending people who could get you somewhere in the show scene.  At this time, I was way to naïve to even realize that I was sourcing parts for a car that literally had zero aftermarket support, everything I did had to be custom made, usually by me, and the results weren’t always pleasing to the eye.  It was even harder to make friends within the industry because they didn’t see any potential in a car that nobody cared to look at.  When I finally had the opportunity to build a Honda, the difference was night-and-day.  Everything just seemed so easy.  I would cruise message boards on the internet like Honda-Tech and CB7Tuner (a well-known CB Accord forum) and I would see countless threads about how the Accord platform sucked because there was no aftermarket support.  I thought to myself that these guys must be crazy.  Compared to where I had come from, it was like I had parts falling on my lap.  I had little knowledge of Hondas at the time and it took me almost 4 years to build my previous car, which received little attention from others, and 5 months to build a car that eventually received a magazine feature.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  The moment I stepped foot into a Honda project, my outlook on the entire “import scene” had changed.  No longer was it about car-shows and winning trophies.  It was all about the actual build of the car and the attention to detail.  Monthly meets and get-togethers with other owners took precedent to pouring tire-shine on your wheels and hoping that you would take home a gold piece of plastic.  Showing a mutual respect for one-another replaced the idea of competition and who had more stuff done to their cars.  Outside of the Honda community, it was always assumed that owners of Hondas were unfriendly and overly-competitive “ricers”.  Maybe I had just been at the right place at the right time, but I couldn’t possibly be happier with the friends that I’ve made along the way.  The guys I knew were so helpful and taught me so much about how to build a clean, timeless project.  Strangely enough, the people I know today who I can truly call “friends” and inspire me to continue my project are the same guys who owned the Hondas that “occasionally” caught my eye back in the day.  These are also the same guys that will probably, in a couple years, be considered the “muscle car guys” of our generation.  I guess life has its own unique way of working things out.  A couple months back, I was offered quite a bit of money to sell my car and admittedly, it was a tempting offer, but eventually I turned it down because I felt as if I would be selling myself out of this great community that has welcomed me with such open arms.  It almost felt like I’d be abandoning my friends and losing my opportunity to eventually become a staple in the Honda scene.  I was also handed a shot at building another project car, a non-Honda, but I just couldn’t find it in my heart and mind to do it.  I have gained a respect and loyalty to the community that has shown me so much love and garnered me so much respect among my peers.  I would be doing myself an injustice if I just got up and walked away.  A couple years ago, if someone had walked up to me and told me that I’d be the owner/builder of one of the more recognized Honda’s in southern California, yeah, I would tell them that they were crazy.  But if someone were to tell me today to just up and leave, I’d be out of my mind to even consider the notion.

Ehh, it’s kinda whatevers now….Funny thing is that I had no intentions of selling my car then and it sounded like I would never let it go. That sure didn’t work out…and the car that I mentioned above when I mentioned “building another project car, a non-Honda” is actually the car that I’m driving today. Again, strange how things work out…

I really do miss that car though…so many great memories of it. Here’s a pic from my first Eibach Meet that I went to. If those of you who don’t recognize the tag “.Ben.Snap.”, that’s actually Stunna Ben, who also does feature work nowadays for magazines. He’s a pretty well known east coast photographer now. Back then though, he was just a black guy that walked in front of my car to take a picture that I was worried about running over….haha. That was also the short period when I had my Starks on. I never completed the set and I just ended up using one of them as a spare in my trunk until I flipped them….

After I went through the Sprint Hart CP-Rs, the Starks, and then the Advan RGs (which Sportcar Loi owns now), I had my favorite set of wheels for my Accord; the Work Meister S1s. I found this pic in my email that Old Skool Shaun took on our way back an NWP summer meet… I was actually gonna buy a set of Blitz 01s at the time but my friend Grant convinved me to get these instead. I wasn’t too keen on wheel fitment and offset at the time so I wasn’t too sure if 17×8 +33 would fit right on the car but damn, that shit came out great….This is what they looked like the night I brought the wheels home from Takumi Project…

Man I really miss that place….They used to have some good shit there. I picked these S1s up from them for like $900 through my Speed Alliance discount. They had some big ass fucking tires on them. Some of the faces were pretty fucked up so I had to have a wheel repair place repair them and polish the faces on them. Then I had to order the stickers again from Work Wheels Japan and that shit took longer than it took for the wheels to be redone…

I was happy as shit with the way they came back though. Here’s a pic right after I picked them up and when I was putting on my Function & Form Type IIs…

Man, so many memories of that car in my emails…I also found the emails I sent to SP Engineering back then to order my Bride seat rails for my Brix Is. I didn’t know where else to go at the time and I didn’t know if anything else would fit as good so I just forked out the $350 to get the fucking things. $350 for seat rails. Seriously. That shit took like 6 months to get too and the seats were in the house so long that my dad would just sit in them from time to time to imagine what it would be like the car….

I also found the emails from Import Showoff when I did my first Nisei Showoff and emails to Chargespeed Japan just so I could get some stickers from them since I had a authentic Chargespeed grille on my car. They were actually really nice and got that stuff out to me right away. I ordered a bunch and to this day I still have a big red Chargespeed sticker in my room. Yes, a big red one…the fuck was I gonna put that on? Haha…

I still have the tech sheet that Rodrez sent to me when he first shot my car for Honda Tuning…man I had no idea who that dude was at the time but he was really quiet. Now I work for the guy…oh how times change…

Now for a bit of sad memories…

Here’s a random shot at a gas station that May took back in the day. I think this was after an Eibach NWP meet as well. Well May has been apart of the Doods! family since we started this whole thing and she was also building an Integra at the time. She also had an orange EG hatch like waaaaay back then when she was apart of Team Techna with Ojay and DPK JP. That was also around the time when NSX Tony had a Civic coupe and was in Hybrid. Well anyways, she had already been building a Integra before we started doing the Doods! thing and what happened to her car was actually one of the contributing factors as to how we all ended up together as a group….

I remember the first time she sent me pics of the car…

It was all primered up at the time because she was saving up for her paintjob. Man it was like 3-4 different colors and I would make fun of her because she would drive it everywhere. She had no choice, it was her only car…but it was funny just to imagine her driving that thing around, haha….still makes me smile today when I thin about it. It was really promising though…It’s a shame she doesnt do car stuff anymore because she had a real talent for building cars too. I mean, she was apart of Techna back when it was at the top of the car show scene, so she had to have known what she was doing right? She sold her hatch and picked this thing up and around the time I met her was when she had barely picked up that ITR front end. She was so excited about it because it finally meant that she was gonna be able to paint the thing and really start digging into it.

She told me plans of going with a full Spoon theme and the stuff she was telling me sounded like the car was gonna be a real beast….

Here it is fresh out of paint… This picture was probably taken like, maybe a week after it left the bodyshop. Well the Spoon theme thing was gonna go into effect soon and luckily she didn’t spend all the money and order all the parts yet, because one fateful night, some motherfuckers stole that shit. Just a totally random night. There are some people that we suspect may have been involved, some people we knew very well at the time, but we won’t speak of those people. Just so you know, payback is a motherfucker and we’re watching you. Anyways….man it was heart-breaking to hear that this thing was taken. So much promise you know? All for nothing…Seriously, I felt some anger even when I looked at these pictures last night. They found the car somewhere in Los Angeles and here are pictures of it that May took at the impound lot when she went to go see the car. Shits brutal. It’s like going to a hospital to identify a loved one or something…I can’t even begin to imagine how she felt when she saw this thing torn down to shreds like this…

What a shame…oil was also smeared all over the car to get rid of fingerprints and what not too…She didn’t get the car back and the insurance company just gave her whatever for it. Pretty sad. I really wanted to see this thing finished…Man she was down for so long after the car was taken. Even when she went to car shows and car stuff with us. She said that it just wasn’t the same anymore. Like she felt left out that she didn’t have her car along with our’s…Maybe one day she’ll get back into it, who knows…but I understand how she feels about it. It sucks to have something taken away from you like that…

Oh well, that’s about it. It’s amazing the shit you find when you look through your old emails right? Haha….I’m sure there was other stuff too but it was unrelated to cars so I’ll spare you the details of all that. I’m out for now. That was a pretty long update…haha. Should give you guys plenty to read about over the weekend. Now time to go run this Nike 10k Human Race thing….I’m out… Peace.

10 thoughts

  1. Shame your CB is no longer what it was before, definitely sick car at the time. I even still have the issue where you made the cover for Honda Tuning!

    Shitty ending for the DB too…Even shittier is it might have involved people you know…

  2. 13devils ftw! I remember seeing cars from that crew, specifically your Accord and the Camry. The Camry was yours too??

    oh and btw, they hired you with that article you sent in? You fail at using possessives. 😛

  3. your accord was clean with those polished works man. what color was it painted? was that a stock color for cbs? just asking because it looks really close to my 99 accords green paint.

  4. lovely update. funny how things work out eh? i still feel for may’s ride. situation sucked and i was super sad to hear what had happened when it was stolen. hope she gets a new project soon!

  5. Damn seeing May’s car like that made me mad. I remember getting your text about it the next morning. Sucks that it could possibly be someone we know. I still get mad thinking about it. Like right now.
    I know she’s concentrating on her education/future, but hopefully May get’s back in the game.

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