Author Archive

Travis Hodges



COVERAGE> Live Blogging The 2011 LA Auto Show

384hp Audi eTron R8 at the 2011 LA Auto Show coverage

The 2011 LA Auto Show is here! Over 50 cars are making their debuts at this year’s LA Auto Show, with 20 of them being international debuts! Make sure you are following  @MOTORMAVENS on Twitter,  Tumblr and Facebook our for LIVE up-to-the-minute photo updates of the coolest cars at the show! We’ll be live blogging today and tomorrow to bring you the best cars of the show, as well as some behind the scenes moments that most people won’t get to see normally! (more…)

VIDEO> A Passion for Vintage Japanese Cars

HBTV: Depth of Speed – JDM Legends Restored from HBTV on Vimeo.

Our webmaster Brandon Campbell introduced me to this video, and I thought it was too good not to share.  HBTV presents another episode of Depth of Speed. Josh Clason revisits Eric Bizek from JDM Legends in Utah.  In this short video doc, Eric shares his passion and love of vintage Japanese cars. He takes an in-depth look into the quality and craftsmanship of the vintage cars along with his own personal restoration process. (more…)

VIDEO> Mads Østberg at Rally Sørland Shakedown

Recently I’ve been checking out a lot of different videos; seeing what’s sick and what produced a dry, wheezing cough. I came across this one on ContourHD’s site. It features some truly inspired rally driving.

In the video, we ride along with Mads Østberg and his co-driver Jonas Andersson through Rally Sørland Shakedown in their Ford Fiesta S2000. To give you a little insight into the mad skills of these dudes, they beat Ken Block in the Swedish round of World Rally Championship and came second overall! And if you are wondering what the language is, it’s Swedish. By the way, my Swedish is a little rusty but I believe Jonas is actually reading Mads one of the Twilight books…..silly Swedes. LOL! (more…)

NEWSWORTHY> Hot Wheels x JNC Hakosuka

Hot Wheels Japanese Nostalgic Car Hakosuka Nissan Skyline HT 200GT X

Recently we met up with our friends over at Japanese Nostalgic Car Magazine for this year’s Toyotafest (watch for the upcoming story), and they told us the epic news about the “hush-hush” project they had been working on with Hot Wheels!

Now we can finally share the great news with all our readers, and the above picture shows you the outcome. Hot Wheels is producing the legendary Hakosuka in die-cast form! Just to be clear, this isn’t a KPGC10 Skyline GT-R, it is actually a KGC10 Nissan Skyline 2000GT-X. One of the coolest things about this die cast project is the JNC inkan on the doors. Congratulations, guys!!!

The detail on the car is really nice! It has exterior oil cooler hoses, headlight covers and the interior is fully caged. JNC says it’s heavier than your typical Hot Wheels car so you KNOW this car is gonna fly down the track! Any one still have their orange Hot Wheels track? (more…)

VIDEO> BMW M3: Come Ride With Me!

BMW M3 Film from 3seriesblogcom on Vimeo.

I came across this inspiring video from 3seriesblogcom, featuring the new E90 BMW M3 Coupe and thought I’d share. The new M3 is the first to get a 4.0 liter V8 engine, which kicks out an amazing 414 horses and 295 ft-lbs of torque, taking you from 0 to 60 in 4.8 seconds. Oh, and daaammmn if you won’t look good doing it.

There’s a lot more I could say about this car, but let’s be honest – I’d drive that girl anywhere she wanted. Except my home…..where my lady would be…… waiting to kick the ever-loving @#$! out of me. Well, as long as I got to drive the M3, it’d be worth the beating…I guess. (Actually, knowing my gal, she’d probably forgive me if I just handed over the keys, hot girl or no hot girl.)

So check out the sick ride this video takes you on and dream of the day that you get to pick-up your luscious lady from the airport and take her for a ride… in… your… M3… *cough*cough*


:: Travis Hodges

VIDEO> Apex’i Lexus SC430 Drifting at Evergreen

With all the great things I’ve been hearing about last week’s Formula Drift Seattle event, it’s getting me amped to see what will happen at the Las Vegas round of the championship series. I’ve been checking out a lot of our video footage from the event, but I remain drawn to the great POV (point-of-view) footage that Justin Shreeve captured with a ContourHD mountable/wearable video camera.

This particular video clip shows former D1GP Series Champ Ryuji Miki drifting his newly built Lexus SC430 on the banking at Evergreen Speedway. For those who havent driven or ridden along on the Evergreen Speedway course, this video is a great way to check the track out – from a driver’s perspective.

We’ve got more clips and we’ll be showing some of our favorite POV footage from time to time. Meanwhile click this link to see other shots from Formula D Seattle and Formula D Irwindale, as featured on the new MotorMavens Channel on ContourHD’s website.

:: Travis Hodges

WEBMINING> Lexus SC430 Drift w/ Apex’i

Last night Antonio and a few of the MotorMavens crew were chillin’ with our friends from Apex’i and Lexus at a pretty sick party they were hosting. In anticipation of this weekend’s FD event and to celebrate Ryuji Miki’s new Lexus SC430, they showed this video – “Lexus Drift”.

A highlight for me was the POV footage using the ContourHD camera. I first discovered this company and camera last year when looking for a great POV camera. We had our first opportunity to use the camera at last year’s Formula Drift Championships at Irwindale. We captured some killer footage! My favorite part was seeing Justin Pawlak as he scraped the wall. Super dope!

So enjoy this video from Apex’i, Lexus and Kevin Lee. Don’t forget to check out our live feed tomorrow. Be on the look out for MotorMavens’ epic coverage of the event. Make sure you check out our video highlights. We’ll being using our ContourHDs, so you KNOW its going be SIIIIICK!

Have a great Formula Drift weekend!


:: Travis Hodges

VIDEO> iPhone 4 & Owle at Pike’s Peak: 156 Turns

Many of you know about Apple’s new iPhone 4. What you may not know is that it now shoots 720HD video! That, my friends, is epic to say the least. While doing some research on one of my favorite directors of photography (Vincent Laforet), I came across this amazing video shot entirely on a iPhone 4, with no color correction from Hoptocopter Films on YouTube. Titled 156 turns,” it features Team Ducati Spider Grip‘s Greg Tracy on a stock Ducati Multistrada during the Pike’s Peak International Hill Climb.

I know we normally don’t follow much motorcycle racing, but this video is definitely worth watching. 156 Turns captures the power, passion and precision involved in this race.  Rhys Millen even makes a powerful statement in the video, “Somebody once asked me if I ever caught air up here….I said, ‘no, but if I ever did, I don’t think I’d ever come down…’”

All I can say is, great racing, great film making, and DAMN, I want an iPhone 4!


:: Travis Hodges

GUEST BLOG> BMW Mania at Studie Tokyo w/WSTO

It's not often that MotorMavens gets a guest blog but when our friends at WSTO got an opportunity to go to the Tokyo Auto Salon and visit Studie - we were more than happy to let them tell their story. And so, without further ado - Julius Choi of WSTO visits Studie. Enjoy!

Imagine getting a call telling you that you and one other guy are the $10 million winners of the state lottery - all you have to do is split the money. Cool, right? Now, imagine the state lottery commission calling again to tell you that the other guy lost his ticket and the whole $10 million is yours. If you have a good imagination, that about sums up how excited I felt getting a chance to attend my first Tokyo Auto Salon - sort of like that lottery winner. But, when I got to visit Studie, the ultra high-end tuner shop, it was almost like getting that second call.

Studie has five locations; Yokohama, Tokyo, Kobe, Sendai and Kidnie. I had the honor of visiting two of these amazing shops; Studie Tokyo (their latest which opened last year) and the main hub, Studie Yokohama.   Read more...

VIDEO> Rod and Kulture DragFest at Famoso

Rod and Kulture’s DragFest 2010

Here is my follow up video to Antonio’s coverage of the Rod and Kulture DragFest at Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. I was there at the event last year, and the impact of the funny cars still hadn’t left me. However, now I think they’ve left a permanent mark on me after this years event.

I’m telling you, trying to hold a camera steady as one of those cars passes you on the dragstrip is a SERIOUS challenge. As the nitro dragsters and funny cars pass you along the quarter mile drag strip, you can feel it in your chest! The ground shakes from all the displaced air, as smoke (and sometimes flame) shoot out the stainless formed headers… it’s just amazing. (more…)

VIDEO> MotorMavens POV Video Favorites!

As you can see from the above video, we thought it would be great to release some of our Point of View (POV) footage from last years “The Spirit of Irwindale“ to get you in the spirit of  the up coming Formula Drift Round 2 in Atlanta, Georgia. New playlists have been added to our MotorMavens YouTube Channel: Drifting Vids, Motormavens POV and Owle iphone adapter.  Our POV footage is raw and I only took out the boring stuff. Haha!

So enjoy and revisit all of your favorite videos that are up on the MotorMavens Channel.

We also just added Justins Shreeve’s “The Spirit of Long Beach.” He, Joe Ayala, Andy Sapp and Antonio are all going to be down at Road Atlanta this weekend, so you know our stories from the event will be pretty interesting!


:: Travis Hodges

VIDEO> 5Axis DJ Hero 2: Scion xB

We showed a snapshot of the new 5Axis Scion xB at the SEMA show back in November… here’s a closer look at some of the details of the car, as shot real “quick style” with Antonio’s Canon S90 point&shoot pocket camera.

What we really like about this Scion xB is the fact that it’s the first time we’ve seen anyone make the newer Scion xB look really, really cool. Think about it – DJ equipment, dancefloor and strobelights aside… we think if Troy Sumitomo, the man behind 5Axis, made those flares, wheels and fender mirrors available for your everyday Joe Schmoe Scion owner to buy… well, we’d see a lot more second gen xBs on the road that actually look cool.

After all, we can definitely picture a guy who owns a fully built KP61 Toyota Starlet with TRD N2 works fender flares driving a widebody Scion xB like this as his daily driven commute car, even with the automatic transmission. We think these flares and wheels would be a hit… (Antonio was already trying to figure out what other cars those wheels would fit on) but what do you guys think?

:: Travis Hodges

PS: Don’t you think this xB would fit perfectly in the DJ Hero booth at a big video game convention, like E3?

CARSPOTTING>Porsche 718/8 W-RS Spyder

In my previous post about Porsche’s new Boxster Spyder you may have noticed that this was the car that greeted me as I entered the hallway of the Porsche gallery. I didn’t include it as a part of the other story because I was so enamored with this beautiful machine, I wanted to allow it a brief moment in the spotlight – alone.

In the early 60′s, rules governing sports cars were modified and automakers had to follow suit. Of course if you ask me, I don’t need rules to make me modify a car! Haha. The frame of the earlier 718 RKS was widened, the wheelbase lengthened and the rear swing axle suspension was replaced with the more modern wishbone. In doing this Porsche created the RS 60 and 61. The beauty above is the open air version of the 718 RS 60, 61. The 718 W-RS.

One of my favorite things about this particular car is that in 1963, Edgar Barth won the European Hill climb with the W-RS. Not only is this car outstandingly sick looking, it has a serious race winning history as well. Today, Barth’s 240bhp modified 718 W-RS wouldn’t beat anyone racing up Pikes Peak , but DAMN you’d look good going up, down and around it. I’m thinking more like a road trip to Vegas. Maybe with the weather like it is right now, I should be driving down the New Zealand coast where it’s summer. Mmmmm warm weather…..

Where would you like to be driving right now? Let me know.

:: Travis Hodges

VIDEO> Triumph at the Mooneyes Christmas Party


Even though we don’t cover motorcycles too often on the Motor Mavens site, sometimes we come across bikes that are just so cool looking, we gotta put em on the site! We were walking around at the 2009 Mooneyes Christmas Party at Irwindale Speedway, drenched in rain when we spotted this particular Triumph motorcycle getting rained on.

All our DSLRs were covered up and protected, but luckily we had a Canon S90 on hand, which is definitely one of the top two Canon pocket cameras (the S90 and the G11 are the best in our opinions) out right now. The S90 was able to shoot a quick video in the rain, just so we could show the details of the bike before trying to shelter our camera gear underneath a tent.

This Triumph makes us want to build a bike… so cool.

:: Travis Hodges

More Mooneyes Christmas Party stories on MOTORMAVENS

CARSPOTTING> Porsche Boxster Spyder

After attending several unveilings at the LA Auto Show, I wanted to grab a prime spot for the world premiere of the 2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder. I hiked across the LA Convention Center to the Porsche hall. The atmosphere, as you can see from the above picture, was going to be very different from the "bull pen" vibe of the other automotive showings. Porsche had a gallery all to themselves. As I approached their hall, I was digging their entrance. Going for the full dramatic effect, the 718/8 W-RS Spyder was on display at end of the hall/main room entrance to show off Porsche's race and design history - as well as highlighting the evolutionary pathway which led to the inspiration behind the design of their newest model Boxster.   Read more...

CARSPOTTING> The Audi e-Tron

At this year's LA Auto Show it seemed the topic du jour was green car technologies. However, when you think of an eco-friendly or zero emissions vehicle, I'm sure the last thing you see in your mind's eye is the Audi e-Tron (pictured above). It's hard to believe this sick “super-car” contains a purely electric drive system. The e-Tron has four engines (yes, four) that produce 313hp (230kw) and 3,319.03 lb-ft (4,500 Nm) of Torque. WTF! It can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (0 - 100 km) in 4.8 seconds. Now that's what I'm talking about! The e-Tron's lithium-ion battery is a beast as well. Its range according to Audi is about 154 miles (248km). Funny thing is, according to Top Gear, Audi's R8 was the most fuel efficient super-car. I’m thinking Audi is about to outdo itself in this area. Nice...   Read more...

WEBMINING> Peugeot 908 HDI

Peugeot 908 HDI FAP from Clashproduction on Vimeo.

Ever since watching Truth in 24 and seeing the engineering going into the new generation diesel engines, I’ve become a big fan of the racing diesels. Then when I saw this video featuring Peugeot’s 2009 Le Mans winning 730HP V12 098 HDi from Stephane Benini of Clash Production, I had to share. The car itself is something to behold. Coming from a film background however, I think the low slung shots of the car and camera car are Siiiick! Fantastic job.


::: Travis Hodges

WEBMINING> A Whole Lada Drifting

I know what you are thinking. What the..? I found this on the internet and thought it was pretty weird; many of us stateside have never even seen a Lada in person. Hell, most Americans wouldn’t even know what a Lada is! The car in this video, the Lada, is the trademark car for the Russian car manufacturer AvtoVAZ, which is now a part of Renault-NISSAN-Lada.

Most people today wouldn’t give this car a second glance, however if you live on the other side of the pond you know that this Fiat 124-based VAZ was a really popular car. Its low cost, DIY friendly mechanics, and the fact that you could beat the crap out of it, led to its popularity. Hmmm, kinda makes me wonder if there are any other quirky cars we’ve never even heard of that are just waiting to be discovered? Haha! Just goes to show that you can take a relatively unpopular, yet solid car and do some killer things with it. Lada lovers are still finding sick ways to modify this machine!


::Travis Hodges

WEBMINING> EDC Drifting at Silverstone

DRIFT SILVERSTONE 2008 HD from Clashproduction on Vimeo.

If you’ve had a hectic, mind-numbing, soul-searching day, I think this video from Clash Production might just help you to forget all of the “craptasticness” (my own word) of life. Give yourself a timeout and enjoy a few moments of pleasure.

Granted, it is old, and it has two of my favorite people in it: Nobushige Kumakubo and Kazuhiro Tanaka from Team Orange. Some great camera work inside and outside of the car, with a mellow song to bring it all home. Speaking of home, Clash Production says Silverstone is the “home” track for a lot of the UK-based drifters. It’s a pretty sweet track to call home – especially when considering the F1 history there. It also happens to be one of my personal favorites. So sit back and watch some sick drifting and let the BS of the day go away.


:: Travis Hodges

European Drifting Championship (EDC)

WEBMINING> Hachiroku turns it 360!

One of the many things I love about the AE86 is its nimble handling. Look at the tight area in which this driver pulls off this maneuver and you’ll understand exactly what I mean – short, sweet, and to the point. Hachi lovers I hope you are watching and paying close attention to the in-car footage – there will be a pop quiz when you least expect it. Samuel Hubinette may have borrowed this as his signature move, but this Hachi turns it out!


:: Travis Hodges

WEBMINING> JDM gets Aggressive

JDM Allstars HD – Agressive style - from Clashproduction on Vimeo.

During the hustle of the last Formula Drift event, I got to take a brief (very brief) break and chilled with Eric O’Sullivan from the Dynamic Auto Sports/ Hankook team. It was great to get to know Eric better. Not only is he a great drifter, but a really great guy. I commented on how well he was doing on his interviews. Apparently, Eric’s brother does video production and when Eric got into driving, his brother put him in front of the camera and told him to get used to it. Haha. A little bit later we talked about the Europe drift scene and Eric mentioned the guys from JDM Allstars. He talked about all their hard work, amazing growth and the growing popularity of the series. This video from Clash Productions gives you a glimpse into why drivers from all over Europe are flocking to this aggressive new series.

:: Travis Hodges

NEWSWORTHY> TopDrift Round 4 Nov 7th!

Top Drift is coming up on November 4th. They’ll be running on Horse Thief Mile at Willow Springs International Raceway. They are giving out some killer prizes.

Top 3 get a Formula Drift License!
Top 8 are invited to the Formula Drift ProAm National in Irwindale “House of Drift”.

- It’s a $150 competition driver’s fee (Registration at

- A $120 practice only fee (Open to those who want to sign up just for practice)

- Qualifying with be at 2pm. Top 16 tandem.

- Team drift if time allows.

:: Travis Hodges

WEBMINING> AE86 Lap Battle in Okayama

While we’re still hurrying to post our photos and video footage from JCCS, I took a moment to do what I love to do best (surf the web), I came across this video of the lap battle that takes place during the All Japan AE86 Festival on the Okayama International Circuit. Surrounded by awesome AE86s all day – you gotta love it, it’s an AE86er’s dream.

The Lap battle is a part of the Challenge Cup takes place at this annual hachiroku festival. The Challenge Cup is a gateway for anyone wishing to compete and want to move up into semi-pro racing. There are typically 8 rounds held during the season, and all of them take place at Okayama. Enjoy the sights, sounds and action of these sick AE86s screaming around the track.

:: Travis Hodges

COVERAGE> Autódromo El Jabalí in El Salvador

Without a doubt most of you are very much aware of the car scene in the USA, Japan, and the UK. Some of you are probably also somewhat familiar with automotive happenings within the boundaries of the other member states of the EU as well. However I'm willing to be that most of you are almost completely unfamiliar with the incredible scene that exists in that other America – the one in the Southern Hemisphere – specifically in El Salvador. Therefore, because we Motor Mavens like to expose our readers to the people, places, and automotive happenings that aren't necessarily mainstream, we would like to take a moment to introduce you to a particular AE86er named Pedro Velado - a man after our own Japanese Nostalgic Car loving hearts. This is his very first story with us, and we hope to have many more stories from him in the future! And to you Pedro – bienvenida!

::::::::::::::::::::::::: First, a little background info on myself. I've been a car lover ever since I was a little boy, helping my dad fix his Fiat station wagon. I grew up loving cars, but not really doing much about it until I finished University. After that, I started to learn about the wonderful world of JDM parts and style. It was in 2003, through a combination of my new knowledge and love for Japanese motoring and the process of building my Civic EF, that the idea formed with me and two of my friends to start the show circuit in El Salvador. Since then, I've been doing the CarShow every year, and getting more and more involved with cars as well.   Read more...