The First Annual CamryOnBronze S Chassis BBQ

Despite the fact that this event just took place a little over a month ago, the story actually begins way back in 2010. Back when Zilvia.net was the place to be, Instagram was about photography and widely unused, and you sent the big shots a “PM” to ask them about their wheel specs, not a “DM.”

Probably the most well-known photo of my car with the chuki front end.

I bought my hatch in November of 2008 just before graduating college. I ended up making some improvements over the winter and driving it a bit in 2009 despite it being a busy summer (that was the year my wife and I got married.) That phase was known as the chuki stage for me, and though I improved the suspension and exterior appearance of the car, it was pretty unreliable. I tore it completely apart in the winter of 2010 and that’s when the big changes happened. By that summer it had new wheels, a complete exterior transformation via OEK kouki 180SX aero, and a refreshed engine with an S15 turbo setup.

One of the Zilvia driveway photos from when I first got the car put back together.

It was around this time that the car ended up garnering a bit of attention on Zilvia after I shared some photos of it completed sitting in the driveway of my wife and I’s new home- certainly much more than I had ever anticipated. I got a PM from a dude named Kyle that would end up becoming one of my best friends (I even stood in his wedding many years later.) Kyle said he thought my car was cool (well, probably in a round about way that should have been considered an insult, but that’s just how Kyle is) and offered me a place to crash if I wanted to make the six hour trip down to Illinois to attend Toby Broadfield’s Annual Nissan BBQ.

Kyle and Toby working on some photos of the cars in a parking lot during my first visit in 2010.

Toby was a legend on the forums. His white stock body S13 coupe with a big turbo S15 SR20 setup was probably the tidiest on the plant. I had saved tons of photos of his car even before I owned an S13 and looked up to his clean execution and modest style a lot. I couldn’t pass up a chance to meet Toby and see his car in person, so I decided to roll the dice and drive my car down to hang out with those guys (despite the fact that I had literally just finished putting it together.

I ended up having a great time hanging out with Kyle and Toby. Kyle took some cool photos of the cars, and we snapped some of them parked together in Toby’s driveway at the BBQ that day. I met a lot of cool people that I am still in touch with today. Toby would essentially post his address in an event thread on NICO Club and Zilvia inviting anyone local with a Nissan to attend- something that would largely be unheard of in this day and age. He usually had Forza set up in the garage and grilled some dogs and burgers- a very chill event that usually had about 20 cars or so in attendance.

Toby’s car in the driveway alongside mine in 2010.

As fate would have it, I ended up getting a PM on my local Michgan forum from Peter Tarach’s brother asking me to send an email to PT. When I reached out to PT, he explained that he had seen the photos of my car parked with Toby’s in the driveway at the BBQ and he wanted to shoot a feature story for Modified Mag about both cars. He liked the fact that they were clean street cars, built at home in a garage, and had sort of a yin and yang effect representing both versions of the S13 chassis. Alicia and I ended up taking a second trip down to Toby’s for the photoshoot, and we ended up on the cover of Modified Mag together. This was definitely a childhood dream of mine and I still can’t believe it happened to this day. I even got to do some freelance feature writing for Modified after that before the mag was shut down. I essentially owe all of those opportunities to Kyle and Toby’s invite to the BBQ.

One of the shots from our Modified Mag feature.

Fast forward ten years to 2022. My life is now a lot like Toby’s was back in 2010. I’ve got my own home, a few daughters at home, and I am in my late 30s. I don’t get out as much to go to meets or cruise around with other car enthusiasts, but I still tinker with my cars and am just as passionate about it as I’ve always been – even if I can’t quite devote as much time to it as I used to. There are several local S13 guys that I consider friends that I often chat with on Instagram, but rarely have a chance to hang out with in person. If I do see them, it’s usually to buy or sell parts, get something welded, or have a set of tires mounted. Family life is just too crazy to allow me to get out much more than that.

For the last few years I have wanted away to connect with friends new and old that are passionate about the S chassis. After kicking around the idea of hosting my own BBQ for years, I was finally pushed over the edge by my friend Alan. Alan dismounted the tires off of my Work Equip 40s from the coupe in April of this year and refused to let me pay him. He instead said “Host that Nissan BBQ you have been talking about and I will consider that payment.” This was the final boost I needed to get motivated and make it happen.

Most of the gang that attended. Thank you to everyone that made the trek out!

I ended up sending a group DM to about 15 people or so and invited them to come over and hang that day. Most were current S chassis owners, but some of them sold theirs and recently moved on to other platforms. I had met the majority of these guys in person before, but some I had only talked to on the internet. Much to my surprise, they were all really excited and happy to come hang out with an old dad on a Saturday afternoon. They all put a lot of work into ensuring their cars made the trip out.

Seeing my own coupe and hatch in the driveway reminded me of the photos of my hatch with Toby’s coupe that started it all- my coupe is just a lot worse off than Toby’s was back then, haha.

The first person to arrive was Nick. Nick lives pretty close to me and has a really nice 240SX hatchback with a rowdy KA-T setup in it. I first met Nick at a local car meet back in 2016 or so. I was really impressed with his car, especially for his age. It’s evolved a lot since then and so has his driving- he’s a pretty talented dude!

Nick’s car looks great, especially considering how hard he drives it.

Alan is the one who finally helped convince me to host the BBQ, along with Alicia. He’s owned a couple S13s now and has put a ton of work into his current one. He even daily drives this thing year round in Michigan which is crazy impressive. Al is a part of team D-Walk-In with Nick, and they have been getting quite a bit of seat time this summer. Very nice young dudes.

Alan’s S13

Ethan, a young S13 guy from Ohio, and his fiancée came to hang out. He happened to be in town anyway for work, so things kind of just fell into place. I was really thankful for this since we had only met once before and he lives a few hours away, so this turned out to be a great opportunity to hang out. Ethan does a fair amount of drift events as well. I still want to see your car in person one of these days Ethan!

There goes the neighborhood…

One of my favorite cars at the BBQ was Justin’s relatively stock hatchback. The paint is in amazing condition for the car’s age and it has really low mileage. I think almost all of us loved staring at this car because it reminded us of when we first got our S13s. You just don’t see them in this condition anymore. I am so thankful Justin brought this thing out! We had never met in person before but he is a really nice guy.

Justin’s survivor S13 hatch reminded me what properly cared for black paint can look like…

Aidan was another guy I met for the first time in person at the BBQ. He rolled up in a really cool drift inspired G35 sedan, but had previously owned an S13 coupe and was in the process of finding another one. I am happy to report that he was recently able to trade the G for a 240SX hatchback. I’ve been enjoying reading about his progress so far and can’t wait to see what he does with this one.

The G35 formerly known as Aidan’s.

Jalen is a really good dude that also lives relatively close to me. We met on Zilvia (I think?) when I sold him some parts and realized from his address that he lived in the apartment complex Alicia and I first moved into when we got married. What a small world. Jalen was my go-to tire and alignment guy for many years until he left Belle Tire to work at a dealership, but we still manage to stay in touch. Another great young dude that I am thankful to call a friend. I know he hadn’t really had his car out in quite some time, so it meant a lot to me that he went through all of the effort to bring it.

Work Metal Buff is one of the best wheel finishes of all time. OF ALL TIME.
The gang checking out Jalen’s noble steed.

Eric has been a friend for quite a while now as well. I am not sure when we met, but he has had his S13 longer than I have had mine. He’s very passionate about Hot Wheels and has given me some really cool ones over the years. A super kind and generous dude with a lot of love for the S chassis as well as cars in general. His car has a super unique style that I always get a kick out of.

Eric’s S13 hatch.

Tyler pulled through in his S14 on air suspension. The car has a super nice paint job with a lot of flake in it. Tyler is yet another really young guy with a big passion for these cars, and actually works at a detailer with my neighbor down the street Blake. Blake has a Subaru, but I shot him an invite to walk down and hang out for a bit as well. I love seeing so many young guys that are passionate about these cars and take good care of them. It definitely feels like the torch has been passed!

Tyler’s S14 laid out.

Another car I really loved was Ki’s red hatchback. I actually used to chat with the previous owner of this car quite a bit, and my friend Mike from Detroit Drifting Co did the SR20 swap on it. Ki bought it a few years ago and has been making it his own- the most recent addition being the Work Meister wheels from Tim’s S13 that I parted out last fall. They look amazing on the car! Definitely the nicest kouki 180SX aero car in the state that I am aware of. Ki has a bunch of cars and is always working on them – tons of passion for the hobby and a very nice dude.

I’ll always love a red hatch with kouki 180 aero… can’t beat it!

Speaking of Tim, he was in attendance as well. These guys were the first two S chassis people I met when I got my hatch in 2008. Tim used to chat with me on AIM (remember that?!) when I first got the car and was a huge help with me getting it running properly. We’ve lost and regained touch a few times over the years, but I am definitely glad to call him a friend. I parted out his dark red hatch for him last fall and he’s got an old Camaro now. He seems to be enjoying it, so that’s all I can really ask for! Tim also brought our long time friend Greg out with him. He’s been building a super clean S13 hatch for many years and is deep in the process currently, but it’ll turn out really nice once it is finally complete.

Gotta share this selfie that Greg and Tim were thrilled to take with me.

I met Mike from Detroit Drifting Co when he was just a young dude. I sold him a kouki 180SX bumper in 2009 or so and we became friends from there. I used to go hang out at his parents’ house while he worked on his S13s, one of which he had a short campaign in Formula Drift with. He now runs a successful shop and it’s super cool to see how he has grown up. He didn’t have an S13 in attendance, but Mike and his wife Rachel came out for bit which was a lot of fun. I actually need to get both of my cars in for an alignment with Mike soon, so I am looking forward to seeing him again.

Finally, a gentleman named Matthew came out as well. Funnily enough, he actually owns the old red S13 hatch that Mike owned when I met him. The car is currently at Mike’s shop having some work done, but should be ready soon. I met Matthew last year when he came to buy some parts from Tim’s part out and he is a really solid dude. I am super thankful he came out to hang and look forward to seeing his car in person one of these days.

Hosting this event definitely felt like a passing of the torch for me from one generation of S13 dudes to the next. It’s so encouraging to meet good people that enjoy these cars and have a mind for building them in a way that preserves the culture and does them justice. It was also motivating for me to get my own cars back in a more presentable state and try to bring my hatch back to its former glory. It still feels surreal that this event happened, even a month later. I am so thankful for everyone that came by and pitched in to make this a success! Thank you for making this old timer feel like a kid again.

Thanks as always for checking out the blog. Have an excellent weekend!

Damon

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