Random encounters…

Sorry if it seems like the site has been moving slow. I’m working on other things right now and since I didn’t attend the Mass Appeal event or Battle of the Imports, I don’t have coverage for you guys. The NSXPO coverage is pretty big but I just haven’t had time to sit down and go through all the pictures. I’m either trying to fill everybody’s orders from The Chronicles store or I’ve been doing real life work stuff outside of the site. I do plan on going to the annual Norm Reeves show this weekend which should be pretty cool. It’s smaller than most events but it’s an actual toy drive so it’s for a good cause and Norm Reeves Honda is kind enough to give us enthusiasts a spot to bring cars out and chill at. It’s on Sunday but it’s only 4 hours long so even if you have other shit planned that day, like watching football or whatever, you can probably still make it out there and get to wherever you need to go after…

Here’s the flyer for the event. I think I’ll have a booth there so if you guys want to come by and say what’s up, that’ll be cool. I’m sure at 8am in the morning I’ll be overjoyed to see people and to say what’s up, haha…I usually don’t even sleep until 8-9am so maybe I’ll try to sleep early for once and get out there…

Yeah it’s a lot of reading but if you plan on going you should probably read that. It’s a cool show that has a nice batch of cars normally. The homies will be out in full force as usual and will have all their cars there. If you do go I urge you guys to bring a toy with you to donate. It’s the holiday season and it would be cool if you guys brought something to donate to kids in need. Don’t bring like old toys either. Try to go get something new, nobody wants toys that you played with when you were 5 years old or some shit…

So anyways, as I stated earlier, I’ve been busy running around doing stuff for my actual job, which is writing and shooting features. Honda Tuning is starting to get going again after their two month winter issue so I’ve begun work on some stories for 2011. Super Street does 12 issues a year so they usually keep me busy. I think we’re already two issues in for 2011 at Super Street or something like that. The amount of work they’ve been sending over to me lately has kinda made me lose track of what month is what…

Yesterday I took a trip over to the AEM facility in EL Segundo to meet up with Shawn Hillier. Jonathan Wong sent me out there to go shoot Shawn’s Ruckus and I had never shot a Ruckus or something that small so I was a little nervous about how that was gonna go. I usually bring Big Mike along with me since he has free time during the week and I could always use his help moving things around when I shoot. He’s always a big help so I gotta give him credit for always being down. Plus I get to drive in the car pool lane with him in the car so it’s a win-win. Having a job like this is cool because it always manages to take me somewhere new in the industry that I have never seen before. I just finished up a story the beginning of this week for a Corolla from SEMA that was built by none other than Stephan Papadakis. You guys should all know Papadakis as a legend in this community because of what he has accomplished in the import drag racing scene. His two yellow AEM Civic drag cars are gonna be ingrained in our minds forever. I only communicated with him through email but it was cool to get a feel for what the guy is up to nowadays. He built this custom widebody AE86 Corolla for Motegi Racing and the car is pretty insane. Full GT300 style kit with a complete BEAM’S 3S-GE swap from a Japanese Toyota Altezza RS200. It’s nuts, it even has the Altezza 6-speed in it…

Just from doing some research and talking to various people I realized that he operates Papadakis Racing out of the AEM facility. I guess he developed a relationship with them throughout the years and now he has a pretty huge section of the building that he works out of. He’s been doing work on the Rockstar Energy Scion tC with the V8 in it and has been keeping pretty busy with building all kinds of cars. I think he even has a trophy truck or something. Papadakis build the Rogue Status xB with the 2JZ-GTE swap in it that I’m supposed to shoot in the next couple weeks too so I can’t wait to see that thing. Well I bring this up because Shawn Hillier works there too and his Ruckus was on that side of the building. He just build the Ruckus for fun and says that he’s never even taken it out on the street. It’s just something he build inside the AEM facility and it’s never left the building.

I didn’t get a chance to talk to him too much because it looked like he was busy running around doing other things but he’s a pretty chill dude. The V8 Scion was in there too, fresh from  the Mass Appeal Gymkhana event as well as the Corolla I was telling you guys about so Big Mike and I spent some time staring at those cars while we were shooting the Ruckus. It was pretty funny because I have never even touched a Ruckus before in my whole life and Big Mike and I were busy trying to move the Ruckus all over the place to get different angles and maneuver around the stuff that was in the building. I really didn’t want to take a chance at dropping the thing on the ground and Shawn was busy so I didn’t want to keep asking him to come back to move the bike around. Overall I’m pretty happy with how the shoot went. The detail shots came out really good and I’m slowly starting to go through them and get them ready for print. I think it really helped that I shot that 5Axis GS460 a couple weeks back because both were shot inside a dimly lit building so I had a chance to figure out all the camera settings before I had to shoot the Ruckus…

I keep saying the name Shawn Hillier like everybody is supposed to know him but the newer generation guys probably have no idea who he is. Well he’s been in the industry for a long time now and was building Hondas before many of you new guys even knew how to drive. I asked him if he was still into Hondas or did anything outside of work and he told me that he still had his 99 Civic in his garage. He built an EP in 2003 but he sold it to get a truck. He said he’s been busy doing real life shit and not really worried about building Hondas anymore. His Civic apparently has just been sitting in his garage for the last 3-4 years and from what he was saying, it didn’t seem like he was in any rush to bring it back out any time soon…

This is his EP Civic from way back in 2003, long before anybody really wanted to fuck with EP’s. Had a full Mugen kit and CE28s on it. Even if it was still around today it’d probably still be a really nice car. I mean, Mugen shit and Volks never go out of style so this car would definitely still be popular today. This picture was shot at Pitcrew Motorsports in San Gabriel I believe. Shit brings back memories. That was when JTuned was still around and still relevant to our community. Oh how things have changed…One thing still hasn’t changed though; People still don’t really fuck with EP’s…haha…

This was his other Civic back in 2002 when it was featured in Import Tuner. Another build that would definitely still be popular by today’s standards. Backyard Special bumper, Spoon SW388s and brakes, I don’t recall how the motor was set-up but I’m sure it was clean. I think I might actually have this issue of IT too but I’m gonna have to dig around to find it. Pretty crazy to think that this car was build back in the early 2000s and now just sits in a garage…I guess it’s better than those guys that just build their cars and then sell them right away…

That’s all for today, I know, it’s a lot of reading, but I mean, if you don’t want to read just to come on the site anymore, haha. I just wanted to give you guys a glimpse of everyday life in the industry. Okay, it’s not everyday…it’s more like every couple weeks I get to do this shit but I’m definitely glad that I have the opportunity to go meet these people and to see all the different facets of the industry. It’s cool to meet the guys from the past as well and to see what they’re doing nowadays. Some of these guys paved the way for our community today and continue to do so now, just not specifically doing Honda stuff. They’ve expanded and have done so many more great things. I just hope I’m on that same course and I can continue to expand my horizons…

See you guys at Norm Reeves this Sunday…PEACE…

 

9 thoughts

  1. Wow..that 2002 coverage on that hatch is probably something you really never saw back then either, I mean think about it..all the rage back then was bodykits and other items that would oday be frown upon.

    Joe I have an idea for an issue of Honda Tuning: Find or dig up any cars from back then that were clean cut builds sans the kits from the early 2000s, like a throw back issue but with a where are they now type of story.

    I really like the ep3 as well.

  2. 2 very nice cars… i loved his ek back then. built a 99 si, in 99 that had all the spoon, then switched it up to mugen in 01… those where the days, so very view people had the cool shit. He definitely did it big. the EP was such a clean build, sick as hell. i wanted one so bad after that

  3. Shawn’s cars were way ahead of its time. The EK was featured in Sport Compact Car when it had a B-Series in it.
    It got featured in a few magazines once it got a K-Series in it.
    I remember seeing the for sale ad for the EP before I even had my full license.

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