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...
Here's a collection of some of our favorite images captured from the event! Read more...
Today, I received a single-sentence email from Doug Stokes, Irwindale Speedway's Communications/PR officer, and a friend I've known ever since drifting events started up at Irwindale. This is all the email said: Read more...
After a pretty bad crash at Irwindale last year, he's been planning and redoing his car to be even more competitive this year. This is the same car that he drove last year with a new scheme. He ended up ditching the Type-X for the Instant Gentlemen kit. He also ditched the RB25DET for an LS2. No hate mail - please. Read more...
Earlier in the day, I received a phone call from Rob Primo telling me that practice was rained out. It was very disappointing because practice is my favorite time to shoot the cars on track. Seattle strikes again. However, she can be forgiving at times. A couple of hours later I received another call from Rob. The rain had stopped and the track was dry. Practice was on again! I think you already know that I quickly grabbed my camera gear and drove straight there before Seattle had a chance to change her mind. So, I guess you can thank beautiful Lady Seattle for what you're about to see. Read more...
In addition to the head to head drift action of the Pro-Am, the grassroots drift series was intertwined with the event as well. These drivers are not necessarily novices but they don't have the required safety equipment to run the full track which includes the big 5/8th track. With all of this happening in the same place at the same time, there are bound to be interesting stories to tell from all aspects of the day! Read more...
Well, I suppose the Global Rallycross Championship is just like that - but replace the budget rallycars with fully-built factory-backed professional race cars with full welded rollcages, built engines, and top notch suspension and safety equipment. Also, replace the everyday-Joe shadetree mechanic type with professional drivers from the X-Games, Formula Drift, Pike's Peak International Hillclimb, and the World Rally Championship (WRC). Oh yeah... and replace the dirt parking lot with a humongous man-made dirt course, complete with dirt ramp for catching some big air! This, my friends, is the Global Rallycross Championship. It sure as hell sounds exciting, doesn't it?!
Before you look at the rest of the photos, I really should mention that the Global Rallycross Championship at Irwindale was pretty much the coolest event that nobody knew about. Read more...
Due to the slowing of DVD sales and my incessant need to share my work with the world, I present to you my Formula Drift 2010 Recap video. With footage of every FD stop I made last year, including Long Beach, Atlanta, Evergreen, Las Vegas, and Irwindale. This video represents my first year as a full-time drifting videographer and exemplifies my feelings of the sport in general. There is so much drama and heartache, but like life itself, we find joy through the pain and misfortune. Cars break down, wrecks happen, sponsors bail, but when it’s all over, we come away with more friends, wisdom, and courage than ever before. (more…)
Abbitt Wilkerson‘s Formula Drift 2010 Finale video may be three months overdue, but I would hardly consider giving him half credit. Having recently enrolled in college, the “18 and famous teen idol” is juggling essays with edits. We don’t mind though. This just gives us motivation for the upcoming Formula Drift season during the slower winter months that most videographers despise.
Privateer drivers and professional mechanics, put down your wrenches for a few minutes to be reminded of the beautiful result of all your hard work. (more…)
All of my footage of the MotorMavens Mass Appeal | Ken Block Invitational Gymkhana event went to Joe Ayala for our video coverage of the show… or so I thought! I just found this ContourHD clip of Toshiki Yoshioka driving the Driftspeed S15 Silvia and a few more while reorganizing my external hard drive. (more…)
The very first time I ever posted a video by Joshua Herron on the internet, I was still writing for Speedhunters, he had just finished editing his 2009 Tokyo Auto Salon video (he didn’t even have an HD camera yet), and Josh’s name was pretty much unknown in the automotive scene. Man, have things changed – and in such a short amount of time!
Our own design guru Andy Sapp just sent me a link to Josh’s latest video, which showcases his coverage of the Ken Block Gymkhana Grid Invitational at Irwindale Speedway on December 4th. I’m pretty sure that pretty much everyone will agree with me when I say that this is the_best_video I’ve ever seen from the ‘Hobo’ from Las Vegas! Check the footage of Ken Block’s Ford Fiesta, Toshiki Yoshioka rocking the Driftspeed S15 Silvia, Alex Pfeiffer and the Battle Version SC300, Mike Essa in his M5-powered E92 BMW, and Tanner Foust getting sprayed at the podium once again! (more…)
We've lightly touched on the MotorMavens passion principle in previous stories, but we'll be seeing more of this in the future, as we spotlight cars that people are passionate about! I know I'm intensely passionate about the cars in my collection, and you are too. Although some of us might not come from hot rod or kustom car backgrounds, we can definitely appreciate and respect the automotive passion that the owners of these cars have put into their cars; it seeps into and affects every bit of a person's life. It really IS a lifestyle - a person's love for cars and the culture that surrounds them really does affect every bit of their lives, if they do it right. This goes out to the real gearheads! This goes out to the people that live this stuff day in and day out, because THAT is what it's all about. This isn't just a hobby for us - this is what we build our lives around, and we wouldn't have it any other way.
Anyway, enough of my rambling... on to the photos! Read more...
If you’re into muscle cars, then screw those four bangers. If you're into rotary powered vehicles, then screw those pistons! If you're into road racing and time attack, then screw drifting. If you’re into Formula One, well, screw everybody. If you’ve been around car culture for any length of time, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You also probably know that not everyone feels this way. As we get a bit older and experience some of the great aspects of other car cultures, more and more of us are discovering that we’re all the same under the hood – we're all just car guys.
In the middle of 2009 when we started MotorMavens, we established the site on a basic principle – that everyone’s voice is validated by their passion for the cars and car culture because the one thing that brings the entire spectrum of car culture together is passion. We call it the “passion principle.” Wherever you find some mind blowing interpretation of the automobile and the lifestyle that revolves around it, you also find some passionate person wrenching away – usually with a ton of pride and satisfaction in his/her accomplishments but very little money to show for it. That’s exactly what the MotorMavens Crew searches for; we look for that passion in every possible niche of car culture so that we can broadcast it loud and clear to everyone when we find it.
So, what does all of this have to do with the Mass Appeal Show? It’s simple. When Ken Block and the Gymkhana Grid team approached us to produce a car show at their Ken Block Invitational, we already knew that it would need to be different than what most people might expect. We knew our car show would need to represent the driving principles of MotorMavens... the car show would have to be multi-car-cultural; reflecting the wide spectrum of car culture that we love so much. It would have to have mass appeal - get it? Read more...
Let me start out by saying that the past two months have been the nuttiest two months of drifting insanity that I’ve experienced to this point. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still relatively fresh on the scene. Many people have crazy schedules packed with drifting/other stuff, so I’m not trying to imply that I’m a special case or anything, but this is the first time that I have consistently lived the drifting life every weekend. Of course, I did it as a camera guy (not as a driver); but I was completely immersed in the life nonetheless.
Really, it feels like it all started on the weekend of August 15th at Autodrome Montmagny with DMCC (Drift Mania Canadian Championships) Round 4 – which I covered on here a little while back. A few weeks later, on September 5th, we returned to the province of Quebec for DMCC Round 5 at Autodrome St. Eustache. This event was kinda weird. That’s the only way I can put it. The weather was really not holding up its end of the bargain the whole time – it rained for the better part of the actual race day. Also, the particular layout wasn’t popular with some of the drivers – which caused a little more than the usual drama.
Alright, so I just finished my edit of the Formula Drift Finale at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, California and it’s going to take FOREVER to render/export/upload. Until that finishes, I thought I would whet your appetites by releasing a [very] short teaser. I created this sequence of the incredibly talented and consistent Rhys Millen while learning the work flow of an amazing plugin for my editing software, which allows one to slow down the speed of footage to an unbelievable rate. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
:: Justin Shreeve
Ever since the Formula D Pro Am at Irwindale several months ago, super designer Jon Chase of DSTROYR fame and I have been talking about doing a project that showcases some of our mutual interests. It’s kinda funny… we never realized it before, but we have been slowly realizing that our taste in things and our interests are actually pretty similar. To kick in the door and get things started, we decided to create this collaborative t-shirt – above is the rough concept art for the shirt. We’re pretty excited to wear this new shirt ourselves, and trust me… it has been extremely hard for us to keep things under wraps for the past few months!!!
We’ll be debuting this new DSTROYR x MotorMavens shirt and having it available for sale at our booth this weekend at Formula D Long Beach. So if you’re going to be at Long Beach, make sure to stop by our booth and get one of these shirts before they are sold out! We’ve been getting a whole bunch of messages from people wanting to buy this shirt already, so please make sure to find the MOTORMAVENSxDSTROYR booth at FD Long Beach and get it while the gettin’s good!
:: Antonio Alvendia
Meanwhile, I'm also looking forward to seeing more from Remix. I'll be pretty honest - I didn't spend as much time as I would have liked to in the car show area looking at cars, because I was busy in the Irwindale grid area talking to and hanging out with all the grassroots drifters from miscellaneous regions of the United States while they were visiting Southern Cali. However, from what I've seen thus far at the Remix Show, I like it! The entire event had an intriguing vibe to it... for those of us "experiencing" the show for the first time, it was definitely different and fun. The first thing we noticed is that there were a hell of a lot of girls at this event - everything from high end "name brand" models to no-name "new talent." As I mentioned previously, I decidedly focused most of my attention on the drifters on the track and on the grid, but in all honesty, there were quite a few times I had to double take and say "damnnnnn" when I saw certain pieces of eye candy sweetening up the show. (This was definitely the type of show that our boy Yoshi Shindo would go bananas at, I'm not gonna lie.)
Back to the cars, I have to say that there were a lot of really impressive looking cars at the show. Everyone is stepping up their wheel game, and it's awesome! Read more...
As some of our readers may or may not know, I've spent the past eleven years of my life chronicling as much as I could about the history of drifting in Japan, and its progress as it grew in the United States and spread to all the other countries of the world. As you might imagine, this has been an incredibly difficult and arduous process, and I've only been able to do as much as a single person without corporate/financial backing could possibly afford to.
However, because of personal qualities that include my relentless passion for Japanese car culture, my ridiculously resourceful/persistent/determined nature, and the fact that I often find myself (most of the time, accidentally) in the right place at the right time... I've been able to amass quite a collection of Japanese car memorabilia that some might consider historic. (I know I do.) Whether my personal collection of Japanese automobilia may be considered by some to be overrated or not... it is very personal to me. For every rare item in my collection, I have great stories to tell about how I found it and how it came to be in my collection. To me, THAT is the real treasure... even more so than the individual items in the collection.
Those who don't know as much about the subject matter may think it's just a bunch of magazines, stickers, toys, steering wheels, horn buttons, patches, and misc car junk stuffed into boxes, shelves, and cabinets... but over the years, I've come to realize that I've never in my life seen a collection like it - items related to Japanese drifting history... with much of it revolving around AE86s, TE27s, and vintage Toyota memorabilia. Please don't think I'm bragging - that isn't my intent at all. For the most part, I've kept all the items I own very, very private. I don't really advertise what I have or invite people to look through my things, as I never intended to collect stuff to "show off" to others. Instead, this is all just a bunch of things that I personally consider important or cool. Read more...
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
These Vee Dubs had their own sense of style. The color and rust spots on this blue Deluxe VW bus reminded me of the Volkswagen Single Cab from Miami that we featured just a few months ago when we started this site. I'm admittedly not a maven of VW knowledge, but I do have a strong opinion on what I think is stylish and what's not. Read more...
There’s just something about Irwindale Speedway at the end of the season. After all the teams in the Formula Drift Championship have faced countless trials and tribulations, dealing with mechanical problems and financial stress of how to get their cars and teams from event to event as the series travels all over the country; the Formula D homecoming at Irwindale Speedway for the last event of the year has a different feeling to it than the other events in the series.
The drivers and teams in the points race are anxious, knowing that they must be on point and professional every step of the way, as even the smallest mechanical hiccup or driver error could take them out of the running and give the advantage to an opposing team.
At the same time, the fans are excited to see the cars and drivers return to the birthplace of American drifting after they have spent the whole year on tour, cutting their teeth and taking their epic fender-to-fender dogfights to race tracks across the nation in an attempt to attract more sponsors, build more publicity, and most importantly… attract new drifting fans.
I’ve been traveling with the Formula Drift series since the very first event; since the series started in 2004… and every year, as the season ends at Irwindale Speedway, there’s a shared feeling of excitement and pride of accomplishment running through the pits.
This video, by Motor Mavens shooter Travis Hodges, is our attempt to capture that feeling. And it was captured entirely with two cameras, the new Canon 7D digital HD SLR and the Twenty20 ContourHD.
We hope you enjoy the video, and CONGRATULATIONS to all the teams, drivers, umbrella girls, and FANS that make the Formula D series what it is. RESPECT!!!
:: Antonio Alvendia
It seems that most of the videographers who made it to Formula D Irwindale have been finishing up the edits on their videos this week. While many of our readers are already familiar with a lot of the “normal videographers” that travel to all the stops on the Formula D circuit, I thought I’d shine a light on a certain young videographer from the Pacific Northwest named Abbitt Wilkerson.
Devout Motor Mavens readers might recognize his name, as Abbitt is the guy behind all the AW Films drifting videos that have been popping up on Vimeo and the owner of a particular sick stanced Subaru Impreza WRX STi that has been the topic of some controversy on the site. (haha!) Abbitt is still relatively new to the car scene, as he only recently began driving and he is just starting his video production career. He’s still building up his skills and experience, because as Abbitt will be the first to tell you – HE’S ONLY SEVENTEEN! Not bad for a high school kid.
Believe it or not, there have been quite a few people on the internet that were actually hating on Abbitt and his aggressively stanced STi, saying he’s just a spoiled kid who had the luxury of getting everything paid for by his parents. It’s funny, because when I mentioned it to him at Irwindale, he got pretty defensive about it, insisting that he works his ass off to hustle enough money to pay for his car and his camera equipment.
Whatever the case may be, he gets respect from ME because while most seventeen year old kids are wasting their lives playing video games and watching TV, Abbitt is actually doing something productive, working two jobs so he can afford to build his car and filming as much as he can so that he can constantly improve his skills in shooting and editing video. Sheesh, I wish I was that productive when I was seventeen. I didn’t do ANYTHING but take pictures and listen to hip hop.
:: Antonio Alvendia