Author Archive

Antonio Alvendia

Website:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/antonioalvendia/

Profile:
I am... a nonstop buyer of Japanese car magazines even though I can't read them, a long-time collector of rare steering wheels, horn buttons, deep offset wheels, fresh Kangols, hip hop mixtapes, and vintage Japanese automobilia.

I'm addicted to taking photos (especially with my Canon SLRs and my iPhone) - I shoot at least one photo every single day. My background is in shooting advertisements and editorial photos for print magazines, as well as working with major motion picture studios in Hollywood.

I love cars. I have a huge collection of vintage Toyota memorabilia and rare parts to go with all the cars in my collection. Life is too short to drive a car that sucks. Enjoy life with your favorite car! My life revolves around photography, cars and car culture; I am extremely passionate about these things! At the same time, I grew up around the culture of hip hop music, with a reverence for graffiti art, underground mixtapes, and street fashion.

I've been involved with the emerging drifting scene in the USA since the late 1990s, and back in 2004, I decided to quit my corporate job as a Director of Sales and Marketing for a technology company so that I could chase my dreams, traveling all over the world to document drifting as it evolved from Japanese subculture to pop culture.

After several years of working with print magazines worldwide, I accomplished a big goal of mine in 2006, by authoring my first hardcover book, entitled "Drifting: Sideways from Japan to America," the first book ever produced on the topic of drifting. One year later, I was contracted to create the first mass-produced and internationally distributed calendar on the topic of Drifting (2008 release). These projects were just a labor of love for me, so I never expected them to be as successful as they were; I certainly didn't expect to randomly see my book on bookshelves and coffee tables in other countries. That book certainly opened a lot of doors for me!

In fact, one of the many doors that my book opened up for me was that of a big video game company in Canada - Electronic Arts. One of the art directors stumbled upon a copy of my book at the local Chapters Bookstore, and they eventually decided to contact me. I was shocked and honored when they told me they used my photos and stories as a reference to add authenticity to their video games. Soon enough, I found myself getting flown up to Vancouver to consult EA on the Need for Speed franchise's marketing/brand extension projects. I became one of the presenting hosts on camera for EA's Birth of Pro Street documentary film that aired on SpikeTV and Motors TV internationally. Soon after, we formulated some plans and began working to create one of the biggest corporate-owned car culture blogs on the internet - Speedhunters. I have since left Speedhunters so I could team up with several of my close friends to build up the MotorMavens Movement.

Our website has come so far since it first started. MotorMavens is driven by the passion and hard work of each of our contributors. MotorMavens does not have a corporate expense account or huge multi-million dollar corporation paying our bills. Instead, every individual member of the Motor Mavens Crew works hard, spending hard earned money on camera equipment and travel. I think I can speak for all the members in the crew when I say that I don't mind putting my own money and sweat into the project because I passionately believe in what we're doing.

I love to build and be productive. I'm extremely goal oriented and motivated to be successful in what I'm passionate about, so I'll never stop pushing forward. Of course undertaking big projects can be difficult at times, but nothing worthwhile comes without a struggle. I just feel that people shouldn't waste any opportunities to do something that drives them. Isn't that the whole point of living?

-Antonio Alvendia

www.ANTONIOALVENDIA.com
Connect to me on Facebook!



GALLERY> Global Time Attack Super Lap Battle

Global Time Attack's annual Super Lap Battle event at Buttonwillow Raceway is one of our favorite events to attend and shoot every year. GTA's Time Attack Finals always brings out the top tier time attack competitors in North America. Some times, cars are even shipped over from overseas just for this epic event, which is covered by all the top automotive media outlets online and in print. Since our friends at Super Street Magazine will be printing the actual results and complete coverage of this year's GTA Finals in their next issue, we decided that we'd bypass the reporting of all the hard numbers and just post some of our photos of the event, as a teaser to their full report.   Read more...

NEWSWORTHY> Scion iM Concept Car Revealed

The Scion iM is here! The lowercase i, uppercase M is an ALL NEW CAR for the US market. From the looks of the concept renderings, it's a front wheel drive, four cylinder, four door hatchback (or five-door, depending on your school of car terminology) with European compact styling. We just posted up photos of Scion's new iM on the @MOTORMAVENS Instagram feed, and it has been getting mixed reviews from our audience... but we like it!

According to our good friend Jeff Lushe of compact car modding specialist Micro Image, the new Scion iM is basically same thing as the Toyota Corolla Auris, which was already released in Japan a few years ago.   Read more...

ROADTRIP> Visiting Virginia in a VW Golf GTI

We recently had the opportunity to test drive the 2015 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and we couldn't be more excited about it! Everyone who has seen our previous stories or social media posts related to the Volkswagen Golf knows that most of the MotorMavens staffers are big fans of the car. The Golf is the very first car that defined the term "hot hatch," implying that the car is light, nimble, sporty, and fun!

We love going on adventures with our favorite vehicles. We left our home base of Southern California and traveled to the historic colonial town of Middleburg Virginia to take the new Golf GTI through its paces.   Read more...

DRIVER SEAT> 40 Years of Volkswagen Golf GTI

This year, Volkswagen is celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the popular VW Golf - the best selling European car of all time! More than 30 million Golf models have been sold since the Golf Mk1 went on sale in May 1974 in Europe (the car made its debut in the United States as the Volkswagen Rabbit in December of the same year). Seven generations later, the successful formula remains the same: compact, yet elegant styling; space-efficient interior design; small displacement yet powerful engines; and responsive front-wheel-drive handling.

While on a short trip to San Francisco, I had the unique opportunity to test drive both the all new 2015 Volkswagen Golf Mark 7 and a 1984 Golf GTI Mark1. What an awesome experience that was!   Read more...

GEAR DRIVEN> Brian Crower Toyota 4AG Stroker Kit

NICE! I just got my hands on a brand new Brian Crower STROKER KIT for the 4AG engine! I can't wait to put my engine together with this beauuuuuutiful forged crankshaft and lightweight connecting rods!

Before I elaborate on the details of my engine build, check out this new video from our friends at Brian Crower, highlighting some of their sponsored racers. I'm honored that my own AE86 is going to have a heart transplant that includes engine internals from the same manufacturer that's responsible for the success of these pro drivers!   Read more...

VIDEO> GReddy 2JZ Powered Rocket Bunny V.2 FRS

Rocket Bunny Version 2 V2 GReddy Racing 2JZGTE Scion FR-S FRS Ken Gushi Formula Drift

Last night, we attended the Scion Racing Pre-SEMA Media Invitational event that promised a sneak peek at the cars entered in the annual Scion Tuner Challenge. Although we enjoyed checking out the three 2014 Scion tCs in the contest, there was clearly one car that stole the show – The GReddy Racing 2JZGTE powered Scion FR-S that was built for Formula Drift star Ken Gushi. (more…)


COVERAGE> Japanese Classic Car Show in LBC

Every year, one of my favorite events to attend in Southern California is the annual Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach. JCCS is like a big reunion of old school friends, surrounded by the finest pre-1990s vehicles made in Japan. The water surrounding the iconic Queen Mary cruise ship and the Downtown Long Beach skyline is a perfect backdrop for Skylines, 510s, Zs, Celicas, Corollas, Starlets, Land Cruisers, RX7s, RX3s, Civics and all sorts of other interesting Japanese old school cars!   Read more...

CARSPOTTING> Stay Classy With a Vintage Fiat 500

While we were in San Diego checking out the Socal Euro Gathering with our friends from the Purist Group, we stumbled upon this shiny red Fiat 500 with Abarth badges on it. The car was parked alongside several newer Fiat 500 models on display from Kearny Mesa Fiat. I just couldn't resist the classic styling of the original Cinquecento that made Fiat famous all over Europe, so I had to take a closer look!   Read more...

RANDOM DOPE> 2014 Toyota Corolla Commercial

COOL!!! Has anyone else noticed all the classic Toyotas used in the television commercial for the 2014 Toyota Corolla??? I got to see a sneak preview of this TV commercial a couple weeks ago when I was in San Diego for the 2014 Corolla’s Official Media Preview and Test Drive, and I’ve been excited to share it ever since! I’m sneaky, so I even shot a few undercover “on the downlow” videos of Toyota’s new TV commercial with my iPad Mini when they weren’t looking – just so I could show my friends! (more…)


VIDEO> Subaru WRX World Debut at LA Auto Show

Subaru WRX World Debut Video LA Auto Show MotorMavens

Check out the 2015 Subaru WRX from its official world debut at this year’s LA Auto Show. The new WRX is a more powerful and better handling version of Subaru’s iconic high-performance Impreza WRXmodel.Powered by a new 268-horsepower 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo BOXER engine, the 2015 WRX debuts the model’s first six-speed manual transmission and a new, optional performance automatic transmission, the Sport Lineartronic with two manual modes.

With its bold new wide-body sedan design and expanded performance envelope, the 2015 WRX marks a major evolutionary step for the rally-bred performance car that has become a global automotive legend. For 2015, the Subaru WRX employs a new torque-vectoring system that supplements the standard Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. Torque vectoring allows for improved cornering speeds and handling. The new and stiffer chassis, larger brakes, performance-tuned suspension and a driver-focused interior remain integral to the WRX performance character. The new powertrain also yields higher fuel efficiency than the previous model. (more…)


PERSPECTIVE> Ten Years Of Formula Drift Atlanta

This past weekend at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, the Formula Drift Championship celebrated its Ten Year Anniversary. It's hard to believe that the sport of professional drifting has already been in existence in the United States for ten whole years! Crazy - it certainly doesn't feel like it's been ten years.

Over the past decade, there have been a ton of new faces in the traveling Formula D circus - new drivers, new photographers, new teams and sponsors, new models, and new fans. When the very first Formula Drift event was held at Road Atlanta back in 2004, drifting was very much new to the United States. Most people didn't even know what it was. Most of the drivers and teams were very grassroots in appearance; we certainly didn't see the big corporate event activations and sponsor logos that you find at Formula Drift events nowadays.

Many of the original drivers, models, and teams from the inaugural Formula Drift event in 2004 have moved on to pursue other things. However, there are still a few OG Formula Drift heads (like me) still around. Man, we're getting old!   Read more...

COVERAGE> Speed&Stance Swarms SpeedVentures

This weekend's inaugural Speed&Stance meet was crazy!!! I can't believe so many people turned up to the event, because we organized and promoted the entire thing in only five days. FIVE DAYS! Thanks to our friends at Speed Ventures, we were able to throw this gigantic car event in the parking lot of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana!

We advertised the meet to run between 12 noon and 5pm, but every single one of the infield parking lots at the speedway were FULL by 2:45pm! There was a crazy line of cars backed up from the infield parking, through the tunnel, wrapping all the way around to the Cherry Avenue entrance! I was told that once the parking lots allocated to the event hit capacity, the people at the gates had to turn away well over 100 cars! Insane.

Since traffic and road congestion became an issue, the good folks from Auto Club Speedway quickly opened up a couple more parking lots so that cars could pre-stage before rolling in to the actual show area, which saw both autocross and high speed road racing with Speed Ventures on the ROVAL course, and a beginner level car control clinic for Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ owners called the 86 Dynamic Driving Academy.   Read more...

COVERAGE> ALMS Long Beach Street Circuit

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach kicked off this morning with the American LeMans cars circling the track. At 7:30AM, the pleasant sound of birds chirping was interrupted by an even better sound - a symphony of exhaust notes produced by the thirty three competition cars of the ALMS Series. All the people in the neighboring apartments definitely woke up to the sound of screaming engines if they weren't awake already!

The Streets of Long Beach get transformed into a race track about 2 months before the annual Long Beach Grand Prix and as it gets closer to race day you can almost feel the excitement in the air. This will be the last year in which the ALMS will be running as a stand alone series, merging with Grand Am racing in 2014, and ultimately becoming the United SportsCar Racing Series.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Scenes From Formula D Long Beach

Formula Drift on the Streets of Long Beach is always an event not to be missed! The start of racing season (drifting season, actually) always feels like the first day of school. The drivers have new cars and new liveries, the race teams have new umbrella girls and updated outfits, and even photographers come through with new camera gear to capture the happenings at Formula Drift. This year, we had to contend with lots of clouds blocking out the California sun. We even had a little bit of rain fall at the event, but it certainly didn't dampen out spirits!   Read more...

NEWSWORTHY> Dai Yoshihara Wins FD Long Beach

We asked our readers who they thought would win top honors at Formula Drift Long Beach, and they were right! Daijiro Yoshihara is really dialed in. He beat every single one of his opponents, including Vaughn Gittin Jr in the Monster Mustang in the final tandem battle.   Read more...

OH SNAP> Happy Birthday, Ayrton Senna!

ayrton senna helmet cockpit mclaren F1 Formula One Birthday

Happy Birthday, Ayrton Senna! If he were still alive, Ayrton Senna da Silva, who many consider to be the greatest driver in the history of racing, would be 53 years old. In honor of our favorite Brazilian driver’s birthday, we’ve compiled a great collection of Senna videos for you to watch… (more…)


VIDEO> Violent Drifting At Ebisu w/ Naoto Suenaga

RPS13 180SX Drifting Ebisu Circuit Naoto Suenaga

AMAZING!!! Check out violent high speed drifting at its best, from this helmet-cam video of D1 Grand Prix driver Naoto Suenaga from Team Orange in his missile – an RPS13 Nissan 180SX “battle car.” Most people know Ebisu for its legendary Minami Course (the famous South Course used in D1GP competition), but check out Naoto as he drifts the high-speed Higashi Course (East Course) at Ebisu Circuit in Fukushima Japan. (more…)


VIDEO> A Close Look At The Singer Porsche 911

Singer Porsche 911

Ever since I first laid my eyes on Singer’s customized interior treatment, I’ve been in love with the Singer Porsche 911. It looks pretty damn perfect in my eyes.

It’s the precise blend of vintage Porsche soul, mixed in with some modern touches that don’t ruin the nostalgic aesthetic of the car. I wish more retro car builders would take notes from the examples that Singer has created! (more…)


GALLERY> HT Cup Challenge Racing with Raceline

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to join my friends from Raceline USA and JDM Zipties at the series opener of the Honda Tuning Cup Challenge at Buttonwillow Raceway. There are three announced HT Cup Challenge events for the 2013 calendar so far - Buttonwillow, Chuckwalla Raceway, and Streets of Willow.

Raceline also added a new component to the trackdays they organize - a challenge series for the new 86 Platform,"Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ. Even though it is called the 86 Challenge (coincidentally the same name as the previously announced 86 Challenge from Speedventures), the series is tailored towards Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ drivers, not AE86 owners.   Read more...

DRIVER SEAT> 370Z Roadster At Raceline Track Day

I had a lot more fun than expected when I test drove this Midnight Blue 370Z Touring Roadster! During the week I had it, I drove it to several weekday meetings and photo shoots with the top down, enjoying the 70 degree weather typical of Southern California in February. On the weekend, I was given the opportunity to join my friends from Raceline USA at a track day they hosted at Buttonwillow Raceway.

At first, I felt like the odd man out in a bone stock 2013 370Z Touring Roadster, because almost everyone else in attendance drove the track day in a modified or race prepared car. I quickly got over that feeling though, because a day at the track with friends is always a fun experience. And a 6-speed 370Z Roadster is definitely a fun car to drive!   Read more...

GALLERY> Global Time Attack & Shift S3ctor Pro Am

If you saw our previously published story on the R's Tuning Ben Sopra GTR from the Fast & Furious 6 movie, then you already know we were out at Buttonwillow Raceway this past weekend for the Global Time Attack Pro Am with Shift S3ctor. The event wasn't intended to be one of the larger GTA events; it was planned as a Pro/Amateur track day for the guys to shake down their cars at Buttonwillow. The types of cars at the event varied pretty wildly, from expensively modified AMG Benzes to homegrown builds, like Honda Civics and Mazda RX7s.   Read more...

VIDEO> Tuerck’s 240SX Drifting Tree-lined Touge

There are so many crappy drifting videos on YouTube. This is not one of them. There are also tons of over hyped, overproduced “viral videos” on YouTube. This is not one of those either. While most of the drifting videos on the internet are incredibly lame, THIS video of Ryan Tuerck navigating his way through dense thickets of trees while bouncing off the rev limiter is really a breath of fresh air! (Or should I say… a breath of freshly burnt tire smoke?) (more…)


CARSPOTTING> Ben Sopra R35 GTR at Buttonwillow

This weekend, I went out to Buttonwillow Raceway for the Global Time Attack and Shift S3ctor Pro Am with my friends from Whiteline Suspension. While walking around the paddock, I couldn't stop staring at this blue Ben Sopra R35 Nissan GTR from R's Tuning. This thing looks menacing as hell, especially from the rear! While many people might have seen this car at the SEMA Show in November or in the Fast & Furious 6 movie trailer, I honestly didn't recognize it at first.

When I walked up to the car in the paddock garage, I was thinking, "Oh damn. Someone built another Ben Sopra GTR?!" While I see R35 GTRs all the time (there are 3 of them on the street I live on), it's not often that I get to see one done up with the super expensive Ben Sopra aero kit. At $45K, the Ben Sopra aero costs slightly more than half the price of the car! This was definitely a treat and a surprise - this weekend was the first time I got to see a Ben Sopra GTR in action on a race track!   Read more...

GALLERY> VW of Van Nuys Volkswagen Gathering

As most of our readers already know, my automotive background has been primarily focused around the culture of Japanese cars. I still remain a purist in this sense, but in the last few years, my automotive tastes have broadened. Ever since my first trip to Europe (something like five years ago), my interest in German cars has been steadily increasing. I never really paid attention to the Volkswagen brand because I've been a long time fan of rear wheel drive cars... but I immediately saw the light the first time I drove a Volkswagen Golf R.

My good friend Mitch Sison from EcoShine Auto called me up over the weekend and told me about this meet happening at Volkswagen of Van Nuys, organized by Brandon Chasin of Wustefest. I figured it would be a good opportunity to see some nice looking local Vee Dubs, so I grabbed my camera and my brand new Canon EF 35mm 1.4L lens and headed to the meet.   Read more...