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?
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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...
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…)
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…)
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…)
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...
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...
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...
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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...
Last week, I was given the opportunity to test the new BFG Rival at NOLA Motorsports Park, and it delivered on every single one of its claims. The BFG Rival might even be the best new tire in the Tire Rack lineup for weekend autocrossers, road racers, and midnight canyon runners. However, before we jump to any conclusions, let's take a closer look at our experiences on the racetrack. Read more...
As the twisty road slices through the mountains towards the oldest city in the state of Nevada, a gold and silver mining town called Virginia City, it allures drivers with breathtaking views of the snow capped mountains in the Sierras - but this is all part of Highway 341's deadly charm.
Drivers who are tempted into gazing upon the majestic beauty of the Sierras while behind the wheel are often fooled into making fatal mistakes at high speed. Taking one's eyes off the single lane road even for just a few seconds can easily lead drivers headfirst into the rocky face of the mountain, or worse - off the treacherous cliff side, where the drop is hundreds of feet, with sharp boulders and abandoned mine shafts below.
For close to twenty years, a man named Duck Fuson has been challenging Highway 341 in a 1974 Porsche 911. This is his story. Read more...
I love Ebisu Circuit!!! And I’m not the only one. This photo is one of the reasons why! Look at the white S13, being driven by Naoto Suenaga from the world famous Team Orange – his front wheel is right up against the sideskirt of the purple S13, being driven by street drifting hero Naoki Nakamura of Team Burst!
No wonder people from all over the world make the pilgrimage to Ebisu Circuit in Fukushima Japan several times a year! (more…)
As Southern California car culture evolved from traditional handcrafted V8 powered hot rods to include the modification of small bore, high power output Japanese cars, our car scene truly has come full circle. It may be difficult for some to grasp this, but today, one of the most popular events in Southern California celebrating hot rods and the culture behind them is actually run by a group of hardcore hot rodders from Japan! The event I speak of is the annual Mooneyes Christmas Party at Irwindale Speedway, and year after year, it captivates me like it was my very first car show. Year after year, the Mooneyes Christmas Party remains paramount in my mind as the very best hot rod event I've ever attended. Read more...