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!



DRIVER SEAT> Track Testing The BF Goodrich Rival

Michelin North America's BFGoodrich brand just recently unveiled the all new BFG g-Force Rival, an ultra high performance tire designed for drivers that want versatile tires for their high performance street cars; tires sticky enough to be used in autocross and track-day events, then driven home.

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...

CENTER STAGE> Hwy 341 Hillclimb Hero Porsche

Just thirty minutes south of Reno Nevada and 40 minutes east of Lake Tahoe lies the most dangerous stretch of highway in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and quite possibly, the entire west coast - Nevada State Route 341.

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...

OH SNAP> Tsuisou! Tandem Drifting at Ebisu Circuit

Tsuisou Tandem Drifting at Ebisu Circuit South Course naoki nakamura team burst orange naoto suenaga

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…)


GALLERY> Celebrating HotRod Culture w/ Mooneyes

Los Angeles is a melting pot of many cultures, so the car culture in Southern California is diverse as well - this place is ground zero for modified cars! Los Angeles has automotive heritage that spans from the first hot rodders and dry lakebed racers in the 1940s and 1950s to the evolution of the European and Japanese car scenes on US shores that began in the late 1960s and continues strong until today. People complain about all the smog and traffic and crappy roads in LA, but we're lucky - as far as I'm concerned, we have it all.

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...

CARSPOTTING> Bentley Continental GT3 Close Up

Need yet another reason to visit the LA Auto Show? How about a chance to see the new Bentley Continental GT3 up close and personal?! Based on the fastest ever road car to bear the Bentley badge (the Bentley GT Speed), the Bentley Continental GT3 is an FIA approved concept race car with a 2013 racing program that's currently in development.

Signalling Bentley’s return to the racetrack for the first time since its historic sixth Le Mans victory in 2003, Continental GT3 remains faithful to the company’s founding motorsport philosophy of developing racing cars from their road-going counterparts.   Read more...

GALLERY> Scenes From The 2012 LA Auto Show

It's that time of the year again! The 2012 edition of the annual LA Auto Show is here, and automotive enthusiasts will be flocking to the LA Convention Center to see all the new makes and models from the world's leading car manufacturers, along with some special historic vehicles on display that showcase the heritage of some of the bigger automakers!   Read more...

CAR&CULTURE> Le Rendez-Vous Toyota in Paris

People from all over the world flock to Paris because it is well known as a city of love; a city of passion; a city of style and history.

Everyone who knows me personally knows that I have an enduring love and passion for the style and history of fine Japanese automobiles, especially those from a particular automaker - Toyota. As a driver, restorer, and collector of vintage Toyotas, I've owned something like 40 Toyota and Lexus vehicles in my lifetime, with tons and tons of rare parts and Toyota motorsports memorabilia in my private Cipher Garage Collection.

For those who also share the passion for Toyota automobiles, Toyota Motor Europe has graciously created a place for all of us to rendezvous.   Read more...

CAR&CULTURE> MotorMavens Adventures in Spain

For the past ten years, I've been traveling to Japan to take photos and learn about the interesting car culture there. I've also traveled to places like Germany, the UK, Belgium, and Greece, but never once have I been to Spain... until now! Ah, España! In just a couple of hours, I'll be traveling there for the very first time, and I'm so excited!

Truth be told, I'm not heading there to attend a motorsports event or anything like that - I'm there on other business. However, by Facebook chatting with a fellow AE86er who hails from Madrid, Jorge Azcoitia Moreno, I learned about some of the exciting things that his hometown of Madrid has to offer. Aside from amazing paella at Casa Nemesio near Plaza de Castilla and patatas bravas from Las Bravas, I also learned about the local racetrack, Circuito del Jarama, and the Jarama Vintage Car Festival.   Read more...

DRIVER SEAT> Ferrari vs Lambo At Exotics Racing

It doesn't matter if you're male or female; young or old. Everyone loves exotic cars - especially Ferrari and Lamborghini. They're beautiful; they're fast; they're exclusive. Unfortunately for most, this exclusivity stems from the fact that they're also very rare and expensive; some people never even get the chance to drive an exotic super car in their entire lifetime. The lust for exotic automobiles begins when you are a child - every car lover dreams of driving an exotic car, but usually they only get to play with smaller scale toy versions.

Luckily for us, MotorMavens sharpshooter Mike Kim and I were given the rare opportunity to test drive a pair of exotic supercars on a race track at Exotics Racing in Las Vegas! Located just a few freeway exits away from The Las Vegas Strip, Exotics Racing blends all the luxury and service that one expects from a Las Vegas Resort with an amazing supercar driving experience.

To be honest, Mike and I have always thought that test driving cars like the Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Aventador, Mercedes Benz SLS AMG, Audi R8 and Aston Martin V8 Vantage were out of our price range, so we never really bothered to look into it. Big mistake. As it turns out, our stupid assumptions were wrong. Completely wrong!   Read more...

COVERAGE> FR-S, BRZ & AE86 Passion at 86FEST

On October 7th, over 2500 Scion FR-S, Subaru BRZ, and Toyota AE86 enthusiasts from all over the Western United States converged at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA for the very first 86FEST, and the energy was just incredible! The newly introduced Toyota/Subaru "86" platform (sold as Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ in the USA) has received international acclaim as the second coming of the legendary AE86, which has a huge cult following worldwide.

With help from sponsors like Falken Tire, OEM Audio Plus, Turn 14 Distribution, Whiteline Suspension, Motul, Spec Clutch, Mann Engineering, Flossy Shift Knobs, and M7 Japan, it's pretty crazy how quickly our inaugural 86FEST came together! Just a few weeks ago, I was driving at a Volkswagen event at Big Willow, and got to talking with the Speed Ventures organizers about how cool it would be if we could get a bunch of FR-S, BRZ, and AE86 owners together at a track day. They both expressed a lot of interest in the idea - especially since we have been thinking about ways to work together for nearly two years!   Read more...

COVERAGE> Formula Drift After Dark: Las Vegas!

The MotorMavens Crew is once again back at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Formula Drift After Dark. For those of you that couldn't make it, consider yourself lucky that you don't have to deal with the searing desert heat. Luckily it's not as hot as it was last year, but we're still baking in the sun so we can bring you imagery of whats current in Formula Drift.   Read more...

DRIVER SEAT> Volkswagen Golf R: Turbo AWD Fun

The new Volkswagen Golf R just might be the perfect daily driver - but only if you value things like nimble handling, quick acceleration, a sporty-yet-comfortable interior, a good stereo system, ice cold air conditioning, and the ability to bring friends on road trips with you. If you don't like those things, then the Golf R might not be for you. But wait - who doesn't like those things???

My first experience with the new Volkswagen Golf R certainly caught me by surprise. As a person that has been primarily focused on sporty Japanese cars all my adult life, I'll honestly admit that I've never really looked into buying a Volkswagen. As a result, I've been a bit ignorant and unfamiliar with the VW brand in the past - something that I will definitely be changing in the future!

I knew that the Golf R was Volkswagen's top contender in the sport compact segment. However, until I actually had the chance to spend an entire week with the car, I had no idea that I would like the car as much as I did! Of course, the Golf R did have some pros and cons...   Read more...

GALLERY> Nisei Showoff Vs Infamous Long Beach

This past weekend, there were tons of automotive events happening, so those of us located in Southern California faced a dilemma - should we go to Nisei Showoff or Infamous?!

The tried and true Import Showoff event thrown by legendary import carshow promoter Ken Miyoshi during Downtown LA's annual Nisei Week Festival in Little Tokyo is always a good time. Everyone knows that Nisei Showoff symbolizes the best of the best - the highest standard in modified import cars, with attendance by the OG crews that used to run the streets of Los Angeles when the sport compact scene was just beginning to blow up. The whole vibe at Nisei Showoff feels a bit nostalgic, to be honest. Can it be that it was all so simple then? Good cars and good friends in a relaxed atmosphere, surrounded by good Japanese restaurants and boutique shops in Little Tokyo.

However, some young car enthusiasts don't care about memory lane nostalgia or waxing poetic about the good old days. For this rapidly growing new generation of frame-scraping tire stretchers, the newly conceptualized Infamous show was thrown as a collaboration between the Fatlace and Canibeat Crews at the Queen Mary in Long Beach.

It's obvious that MotorMavens connects to both scenes and both types of automotive taste, so those who follow @MOTORMAVENS on Instagram and Twitter already know that we decided to hit both shows. Here's a quick gallery of images from both events!   Read more...

DRIVER SEAT> Longo Scion FRS Tour of LA Drive

With all the attention the new Scion FR-S and Toyota GT86 have been receiving, people have been scouring the internet for photos and information on the exciting new front engine, rear wheel drive sports car platform that has been taking the world by storm. Scion dealers around the nation have been participating in Scion "First 86" unveilings, but the good folks at Longo Toyota/Scion have decided to be proactive in connecting with the newly developing Scion FRS owners community.

While other dealers concentrate on trying to move units, Scion salesman Jeffrey Chang and Longo Scion decided to sponsor the very first Scion FR-S Tour of LA driving event! Lots of great looking cars were in attendance, but I just couldn't take my eyes off the newly built Cusco Scion FRS, which was already outfitted with Toyota emblems, and the full line of Cusco suspension and accessories.   Read more...

GALLERY> Autocon At Santa Anita Racetrack

This weekend's Autocon event at Santa Anita Racetrack was hot. Super hot. There were lots of other car events happening in other parts of the west coast, but it seemed as if most people naturally just flocked to Autocon, because it's a new event series that's gaining some good momentum. It was initially started as a smaller car gathering in Southern Cali's City of Industry, but it has seen quite a bit of growth recently. I even saw some of the core team from the old Hot Import Nights (the crew that was behind HIN when it was strongest) and Global Time Attack behind the scenes this weekend.

I've been traveling out of state for the past few weeks, but I decided to fly back to Los Angeles for this weekend's event - it was the perfect chance to enjoy summertime in Southern Cali, spend time with good friends, and finally check out Autocon in person.   Read more...

OH SNAP> Risky Devil RPS13: Endangering Chicago

Risky Devil Junkhouse RPS13 180SX S13 240SX

Oh snap! Just found this Risky Devil RPS13 180SX photo on my hard drive! I’m back from a period of non-publishing on the blog – 3 weeks to be exact. Sorry folks, I injured my wrist/elbow, which made it very difficult to edit photos or even type on a computer. This being said, I’ve only been able to publish new content on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr. If you don’t follow @MOTORMAVENS in these places, you’re sleepin!

This is a photo of Josh Maghirang‘s right hand drive RPS13, taken while I was sitting shotgun in Leigh Roto‘s JZA70 Supra. It’s no secret that the Risky Devil crew, the boys from Grip Gambler, and all their other Chicago-based friends under the Junkhouse banner are a bunch of lowlifes who terrorize Chicago streets by driving like a bunch of a$$holes – tailgating each other at high speeds on the freeway, drifting freeway onramps and offramps, and street drifting in downtown Chicago right in front of popular clubs. No wonder all the residents of Chicago always yell F*CK JUNKHOUSE when they see these cars passing by! These guys are always up to no good… which is probably why I love hanging out with them! They are fun. (more…)


PAPERCUTS> Road&Track Magazine Closing?!

Road&Track Road and Track Magazine shuts down shutting closing closes doors last issue

I can’t believe it. I just received word from a reliable source that Road&Track Magazine will be shutting down its Southern California offices. Can this be true?! This is insane. Everyone knows that the print media industry has been hurting for a while, but hearing reliable sources say that Road&Track is shutting down… that’s one piece of auto industry news that’s hard to fathom. (more…)


COVERAGE> Wheelspotting At Wekfest Long Beach

Long Beach is quickly becoming one of my favorite venues for automotive events. This weekend, our friends from Weksos Industries made the trek down to Los Angeles to hold yet another Wekfest event in Southern Cali. Even though the event is pronounced "weak-fest" and their company name is pronounced "weak sauce," the turnout was anything but weak. Lowlife car owners from all over California and Nevada scraped their oilpans all the way to the Queen Mary to show off their first class wheel fitment.   Read more...

CARSPOTTING> Crashing A Vintage Porsche Event

There really is nothing like a vintage Porsche 911. Ever since the first time I was able to actually see and hear an actual 1970s Porsche 911 race car running through Nurburgring Nordschleife on my first trip to Germany, I've been lusting after a 911 of my own. Shortly thereafter, I was given the opportunity to visit the Porsche test track in Leipzig, Germany, where I got the chance to get up close and personal with an authentic 1973 911 Carrera RS, which was wheeled out from the Porsche Museum so I could take it out on the track! I really need at least one of these in my life.

Needless to say, I was beyond excited when I attended this gathering of Porsches in Woodland Hills, CA. There were several gorgeous cars from different model years in attendance, but none of the cars truly captured my attention like these retro race-themed 911s.   Read more...

COVERAGE> Supercar Sunday – Sex On Wheels!

I always seem to get up too late on weekends to go to early morning events like Supercar Sunday in Woodland Hills and Cars And Coffee in Irvine CA. I think that's a behavior that needs to change. Until yesterday, I just didn't realize how much automotive epicness I was missing - I can sleep when I'm dead!

Yesterday, I got up before dawn and made my way to the Westfield Promenade Mall off Topanga Canyon and the 101 freeway to meet up with other members of the MotorMavens Crew for a morning of photo taking, Instagramming (Follow us: @MOTORMAVENS), and talking cars!   Read more...

CARSPOTTING> Le Mans 24H Cunningham Corvette

While I was shooting an event feature for the newly launched Driving Line website I'm spearheading, I had the good fortune to meet this 1960 Chevrolet Corvette. While I walked through the collection of multimillion dollar cars at the Greystone Mansion Concours d'Elegance in Beverly Hills, I was drawn to the vented hood, racing number plate, blue headlight covers, and yellow fog lights on the car. It's not very common to see a 1960 Corvette in person, but it's even less common to see a racing version of the car!

It turns out that this particular Corvette was actually a historic race car, owned by elite car collector and Beverly Hills resident Bruce Meyer - it was one of three Corvettes that actually raced in competition at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1960, when the cars were still brand new! The cars were campaigned by renown Corvette race team Briggs & Cunningham, and were flown over to France to compete at the legendary Circuit de la Sarthe.

It is already pretty amazing to think about race cars being flown around the world to compete in high end motor racing events, but can you imagine what it must have been like in the 1960s, when airplane travel was much less prevalent than today?!

I found an AMAZING historic documentary film from the 1960s that tells the story of the Briggs & Cunningham Corvette team and their adventures at Le Mans. It shows actual footage of the cars driving around on French city streets in the 1960s, and gives viewers a rare look at what it was actually like to be at Le Mans back then!   Read more...

NEWSWORTHY> Rest In Peace, Carroll Shelby

Carroll Shelby Dies. Founder of Shelby Cobra AC

Yesterday, the automotive world lost one of its international legends – Carroll Shelby, the 89 year old creator of the world famous Shelby Cobra 427, and the Ford GT40 that beat Ferrari at Le Mans.

Shelby is one of those names in the automotive industry that everyone knows, but it’s possible that some of our readers aren’t familiar with his long and storied history, from his days in Formula One, Le Mans, and even land speed racing at Bonneville. Rather than quickly writing up a story about Carroll Shelby from the media center at the American Le Mans race at Laguna Seca, I think I’ll just provide a link to a couple good articles on Shelby that I saw in the New York Times and USA Today before I have to get back to shooting on the track. (more…)


DRIVER SEAT> Scion FR-S Driving Impressions

The fact that Toyota (Scion) has reintroduced an affordable FR-Sports car (front engine, rear wheel drive) back into its product lineup is so exciting! Everyone has been talking about it, dreaming about it, and hypothesizing about it for quite some time now... but last week, I actually had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the new 2013 Scion FR-S.

As a member of the automotive media and an AE86 owner, it's no secret that I've been blessed with the opportunity to see the new FR-S up close on a couple different occasions, but this would be the very first time that I had any quality seat time with the car.

This being said, once I received the gracious email invite from Scion, I cleared my schedule and eagerly jumped on a plane to Las Vegas to find out what it would be like to drive the highly anticipated FR-S on a winding road, open highway, autocross course, wet skidpad, and perhaps the most enjoyable - a high speed handling test at one of Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch's racetracks.   Read more...

OH SNAP> The First Toyota GT86 Crash in D1GP

GT86 FRS BRZ Crash Hibino Falken Up Garage Scion Toyota Subaru D1 Grand Prix

Could this be the very first Toyota GT86 that has crashed at a racing event? Everyone has been talking about the debut of the Toyota GT86 (Scion FR-S/Subaru BR-Z) in Japan’s D1 Grand Prix Series. Also newsworthy is the fact that Falken Tire was making its return to D1 with this attention grabbing car, which was built by Up Garage, a chain of Japanese used parts stores. (more…)