Homecoming

As I have primarily been posting overhaul progress on an SR20DET engine I scored from a partout car last winter for the past few months while my S13 is collecting dust, I wouldn’t fault you at all if you forgot there is actually a car that will eventually be mated up with that drivetrain.

In case you missed it, I picked up a bone stock ’92 S13 coupe back in October of 2018 (or more specifically, my friend Tim picked it up for me.) After Tim graciously towed the car from Indiana to his parents’ barn for winter storage, we got to work by removing the USDM pop-up front end and brown interior from the car. After inspecting it thoroughly, we stripped the engine bay to have some rust repaired and the bay repainted prior to transporting it to my house.

Fast forward about nine months or so to this past Friday. The car is finally home in my garage next to my other S13- a pretty awesome feeling. While it may seem like this took way too long, this is exactly the realistic timeline I set for myself to get the engine bay painted and have the car transported back to my house. My goal for a while now has been to have the car home and the engine sitting inside the bay before the end of the fall, so at this point things are right on schedule.

Alexi was very curious about what her father had gotten himself into this time…

Believe it or not, this was actually the first time I have seen the car in the daylight. It definitely has its share of dings, especially on the driver’s door and quarter panel- but nothing that can’t be taken care of prior to paint. I have a replacement trunk in the basement with a factory spoiler on it, but I haven’t decided which look I prefer just yet.

The trunk has some rust forming around the holes where there must have been a spoiler at one time. Both of the tail lights have some cracks, but I have sourced a cleaner pair that will eventually make their way onto the car. This must have been a high school student’s ride at some point based on the sticker on the back window.

This time around I elected not to shave anything in the engine bay to maintain a factory appearance. I attempted to piece together a shaved engine bay on my hatch many years back and have since grown to regret it, so I left everything as-is this time around. The rust above the frame rail has been repaired and I now have a blank canvas to work from. The battery, brake and clutch lines, and fuse boxes will all remain in their respective factory locations.

Various interior and chassis items were all piled inside of the car for transport, so I slowly began diving in and getting organized over the weekend when I had the time- but I’ll save that for a future post.

It feels good to finally have the car at home in my own garage. I’m anxious to dive in and begin getting some work done on this thing. With any luck I’ll have some progress to share soon. Thanks as always for stopping by!

Damon

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Don’t Call it an Update

Not much to report in the garage at all this week aside from a couple small items for the PS13 arriving from RHD Japan: a new hood prop rod, NISMO clutch pivot ball, NISMO steering rack bushings, and some rubber bumpers for the doors and under the hood that were much cheaper in Japan than in the US:

My wife and I celebrated our ten year anniversary this past Wednesday and leave for Cancun a week from tomorrow, so car work hasn’t really been on my radar. It might be a while before I can make any progress, but such is life!

Have a great weekend and stay cool- it’s going to be a hot one!

Damon

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July is Here

With summer in full swing, I’ve been spending most of my free time away from work with friends and family. We have been fortunate enough to enjoy a lot of really cool stuff that comes with Michigan living in the summer which is really nice. You’ll learn that Michiganders tend to take advantage of nice weather at any opportunity since we live in dark, dreary, and cold conditions for half of the year. Summer is always a time to be appreciated and enjoyed.

Look at this and try not to start humming Queen…

While our Fourth of July weekend was very busy, I did spend a small bit of time out in the garage over the last couple of weeks. Though I haven’t accomplished a ton, I continue to make small bits of progress. I picked up a clutch master cylinder for the PS13 manual conversion from Exedy. I probably should have gone with an OEM Nissan one, but the price was hard to pass up. Perhaps this will change down the road, but it should be sufficient for now.

I also picked up some brand new windshield wiper and turn signal stalks for the eventual PS13 interior completion. One of these is discontinued from Nissan, but the other is still available. I was able to source these ones from Rock Auto for a reasonable price, and they’re identical to the factory Nissan components in every way. I did the same for my hatch a year or so ago and it really cleans up the interior nicely.

I sent my fuel injectors out to Injector Rehab to have them cleaned and flow tested. I was pretty impressed when I sent them in on Monday and got them back by Friday! They also installed new O-rings and pintle caps- which is a good thing since my caps were cracked and in very bad condition. I spent some time cleaning up the fuel rail before reinstalling it on the engine with the refreshed injectors. I also replaced the small portion of fuel line on the rail and the O-ring inside the FPR.

I next turned my attention to cleaning up the filthy transmission. I think it might have actually looked better dirty, but at least it won’t be a mess when working under the car in the future. I also cleaned up the manual crossmember I acquired for the manual swap. I need to replace a couple seals on the transmission and fix a broken wire on the reverse light sensor and then it should be more or less ready to go. I noticed the drain plug is stripped and appears to be stuck, so I should probably figure that out as well before it goes in the car.

Yikes… that ain’t going to cut it.

I’m just about ready to take the engine off of the stand so that I can replace the rear main seal before mating it with the clutch, flywheel, and transmission. My factory flywheel has seen better days, so I need to find a solution for that. I would ideally like to install a NISMO Coppermix clutch and flywheel, but I am not sure that is going to be in the cards any time soon. I also need to make a decision about the alternator- either replace it with a remanufactured KA unit, or bolt the current SR one up and hope for the best (the latter being the method I am currently employing on my other car.)

As for the coupe chassis itself, I am finally making a bit of progress- though not through anything I have done directly. My good friend Tim tossed the suspension and some stock wheels he had on hand onto the car for me and transported it to his friend TJ’s shop this past Monday to have the engine bay painted. There is a small spot of rust above the frame rail on the driver’s side that needs to be fixed before the engine bay is resprayed, so that will be addressed as well.

I’m hoping to have the car in my garage at home by sometime in mid August. My wife and I are traveling to Cancun for our ten year wedding anniversary in just two short weeks, so I don’t really plan to try to accomplish anything from a car standpoint until after we return. Our kids will be heading to school not long after that so I am sure life is going to be pretty hectic for a bit, but I’ll continue to tinker with the cars as I am able to.

Finally, I picked up a cheap set of “tear drop” wheels with tires to keep on hand for rolling the coupe around once it is in my garage. The ones on it currently are borrowed since I sold the original steelies it was equipped with on one of the other coupes I parted out previously.

As for my other 240, it’s still just sitting in the garage on jack stands. Though it is tempting to try to pick up a set of wheels for it, I’ll likely try to continue to let it sit until spring. I have a list of small improvements I would like to make on it as time allows, but it’s really just general maintenance type of stuff. No other big plans for it at the moment as I choose to focus my energy on the PS13 for the time being.

Thanks as always for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

Damon

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Quick PS13 SR20 Update

I don’t have a ton to report this week now that neither of my S13s are currently on the road, but I did manage to make a decent amount of progress on the coupe’s SR20 swap last week. Summer is in full swing which means we spend most evenings hanging out in our driveway with a few families in our neighborhood that we have grown close to over the years. The kids all play together and the adults typically bring camping chairs and a beverage to hang out together and enjoy the weather.

While we were hanging out one night last week, I decided to pull my intake manifold off of the shelf and tear it down for a refresh. My youngest daughter Alexi was interested in the tools and gave me some help with taking everything apart.

My wife was out at a girl’s night later in the week, so once I got my daughters to bed I braced the mosquitos and got the intake side of the engine together. I cleaned everything up and reinstalled the manifold with fresh gaskets and hoses.

This SR20 had a GK Tech throttle pulley installed when I pulled it from the donor car. I have heard good things about them, but prefer the OEM look- so I sourced a stock S13 SR throttle pulley from Japan and finally had a chance to install it.

Replacing the IACV hose under the intake manifold with a new unit from Japan.

I had planned to modify the coolant piping routing like I did on my other SR to avoid the bottle neck of hoses behind the valve cover near the firewall, but ultimately decided to leave it all alone in the factory configuration this time around. I could get sucked into making the engine a ton cleaner and painting everything, but I prefer to just give it a light cleaning and leave all of the finishes original. I want it to look decent and be clean for working on it, but it doesn’t need to be show car level by any means. I have gotten sucked down that path before and try to avoid it now whenever possible.

Fresh OEM PCV valve, hoses, and clamps from Japan.

It felt great to bolt everything in place with fresh OEM hoses and clamps. I have never had actual Nissan replacements for items like this and didn’t think it was possible to get them, so it’s really satisfying to see it all come together.

So this is where the engine currently sits. There’s not much left to do at all before it can come off of the stand and be mated to the transmission. I removed the fuel injectors and sent them out to be cleaned and flow tested, so once those are returned with fresh o-rings and pintle caps I can install the fuel rail and injectors. I need to decide if I want to spend the money to replace the alternator or not and then I can install that along with the fresh belts I purchased a while back.

A couple small things like the dipstick still need to be replaced, but for the most part I am very close to taking it off of the stand to install a fresh rear main seal. I’ll try to take the flywheel to the machine shop to be resurfaced prior to installing that. I plan to reuse the Competition Stage 2 clutch that came with the swap since it is nearly brand new and the same clutch I have in my other S13. I would of course prefer a NISMO clutch and flywheel setup, but it’s just too expensive- so this will have to do! I’ll then move on to cleaning and refreshing the transmission a bit before bolting it all up.

I’m working on lining up a pair of stock S13 SE wheels to use to transport the coupe chassis to have the rust repaired in the engine bay before eventually bringing it to my house. I’ve created a list of things I can then begin to install and work on once this is completed utilizing all of the items I’ve already collected which I think will be pretty rewarding if it pans out. I just need to find the time to get out to my friend Tim’s place where the coupe chassis is stored to help take it to the painter’s place for repairs. Hopefully I can do that sometime in the next month.

I must admit that not being able to drive my car during the beautiful early summer weather here in Michigan has been really difficult. I think having the coupe around to work on and drop the engine into will definitely bring some satisfaction that makes up for that void, but I have been heavily debating if I am making the right call lately. Things change by the day, so I can’t really say what the future holds at this point, but I am trying just to take life as it comes and enjoy it along the way. I would love to be able to get some wheels for the car, but the coupe build currently feels like a more exciting endeavor to pursue. There aren’t really any wheels that excite me right now, so it probably makes sense to wait on that.

Anyway, thanks as always for stopping by. We’ll be busy celebrating my oldest daughter Kinsey’s 7th birthday tomorrow which should be a great time. Have a great weekend!

Damon

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Summer Slump

I’ve gotta be totally honest- I have not been feeling it this week. Last week I made the decision to part ways with my mercury silver TE37s for a couple of reasons- the first and primary motivator being financial security. I’m currently being hit pretty hard with some real-life expenses and needed to make a sacrifice in order to ensure stability through the process. It’s never any fun, but a necessary decision that needs to be made sometimes for most of us.

One last pic on the silver TEs before putting the car away for a while.

Most will tell me that the obvious choice would have been to sell off my second S13 chassis, SR20 swap, and supporting aero components I have collected instead in order to keep my hatch in a complete and drivable state- and I completely agree. But as someone that has dreamed of owning more than one of these cars for a while now, I just couldn’t bring myself to let go of that goal just yet. Parting with my TE37s was difficult, but left me with the most options on the table for moving forward. There are several directions I could go from this point and I’m really not sure exactly which way I want to go yet.

If I were to stay committed to my original S13 only, I could part with the coupe project and likely have the funds to get a nice set of wheels and a paint job. I would end with a complete car that’s finally more or less refreshed to the level I have dreamed of for nearly eleven years now. This is certainly an attractive option, but I’m struggling with the idea of giving up on the coupe for some reason. If I’ve learned anything from messing with this car over the years, it’s that reaching the point where I’ll be “finished” and content with the car never really seems to happen.

I’ve managed to collect all of the key components for a PS13 replica build: a relatively clean and unmolested rolling chassis to work from, a nearly complete black interior conversion, full OEM optional aero in great condition, original metal Silvia front end with all brand new lighting for the front (the opportunity to own these items will not come easily again,) and a complete SR20DET swap. Anything else needed to finish the car is still manufactured and readily available, so there is no major rush or anxiety in sourcing those things. If I part ways with most of these things now, they’ll be more expensive and very difficult to collect down the road. This is probably the only chance I’ll get at building one of these cars while still managing to keep my hatch in the garage alongside it.

Which leaves me with another option: part out my hatch and build the coupe. A number of items could be transferred over allowing me to build the coupe shell to the same level my hatch is currently at, if not even nicer. But while I really desire to build a coupe, I am not sure I would feel content owning one in place of a hatch. I do love the process of building these cars though and this would give me an opportunity to continue to do that. I’m just not sure if the value of enjoying the build process again would be enough to make me part ways with my hatch.

My thinking when I sold my wheels last week was that I would take a step back from the hobby a bit and try to shift my focus to other areas of my life. I could throw a cover on the car, take the insurance off, and try not to pour a lot of time into my car hobby until next spring. I’ve never really done anything like that before, and a few days into not driving the car I feel like I am already beginning to go a bit crazy. I’ve seen tons of people over the years manage to hoard and collect a number of desirable and hard to find items for these cars – including multiple chassis – but never manage to assemble one completely and drive it. Granted, I realize this is not easy to do by any means, but I have always made it a point to try to avoid getting into that situation. I just wasn’t built to be a hoarder. If something is sitting around not being used and has any sort of value to it, I would rather sell it than hold onto it. It’s part of the reason I have bought and sold the same parts over and over many times during the years. I know it sounds a bit crazy to most people, but it’s just sort of the way I operate.

Keeping both cars presents a number of problems that would need to be solved, including storage. My friend has been gracious enough to keep the coupe at his parents’ house for me for a number of months now, but I am feeling some urgency around moving it to my place. Summer is already flying by (even thought it officially begins today I guess,)  and before long I’ll need to ensure that my wife’s van is in the garage during the winter months so that my family doesn’t have to deal with the snow and freezing temps. One of my cars will need to be stored offsite and I don’t really have a viable option for that yet. I think it would be silly to have to pay a monthly storage bill for a shell that will likely take me years to complete. It’s just another obstacle to consider in this process.

Another option I’ve been entertaining lately is selling both of my cars to import a real S13 Silva or 180SX from Japan. You’ve likely noticed a change in my perspective when it comes to the S13 over the last couple years. I am less into fully building a car with a ton of aftermarket components and more interested in restoring a vehicle while adding subtle improvements. While I used to think owning an imported car would be a headache, I’ve come to see a lot of appeal to it these days. It would be fun to start with a clean and relatively unmolested true Japanese example of one of these cars and simply focus on restoring it- with the addition of a nice set of wheels and some other small improvements of course. The cost of the vehicle would be greater up front, but items like a Silvia front end and SR20DET power plant would already be in place from the factory which is tough to beat. This could be a very rewarding option but would require me to part with both of my current cars and nearly all of the supporting parts on them- which, if I am totally honest, isn’t likely to happen.

And lastly, there’s always the option many of us consider but can never seem to follow through with- getting out completely. After tinkering with S13s for nearly 11 years, I often wonder if I have more or less accomplished everything I set out to do. A lot of the process has repeated itself numerous times. I’ve gotten to the point I thought would be the end more than once only to find myself making changes once again. It’s pretty obvious to me at this point that whatever option I pursue will not leave me feeling content. While I really enjoy the process (probably more than driving the car once it’s finished) perhaps it’s time to throw in the towel so to speak. I’m at the point in life where I know it makes the most sense from a practical and financial standpoint, I just can’t seem to make myself go through with it.

In the end, the last week or two has left me with a ton of things on my mind. The subject of Instagram and even this blog is another thing that has left me with some difficult questions to answer. I think that even going into social media with the mindset of wanting to help people and enjoy a common interest can go to your head. It’s easy to get consumed with the routine and a desire to see your number of followers tick up. You’ve got to post something new and exciting every day to try to keep people interested when in reality there’s not much going on. Most of us have lives, families, and careers that take priority over our car hobby and unless you’ve somehow managed to make a career of sharing your life on the internet every day, sometimes there just isn’t anything to say. Building a following on Instagram was never something I set out to do, but I’ve definitely gotten a bit consumed by it and am feeling a bit burned out as of late. It’s probably time to check myself a bit and ensure that my priorities are straight.

Well, if nothing else, Alexi supports the decision to sell the TEs.

If you’ve made it this far through this rambling post then I am impressed! I think writing all of this out was helpful for me to see different perspectives and organize the thoughts in my head. I almost didn’t even share this post, but I thought some might find it relatable and maybe it will help if they’re having similar thoughts about this hobby.

I am not sure what the future holds or which direction makes the most sense at this time, but I hope to have it all sorted out at some point soon. I’ll always be appreciative of the people that I have met over the years and to those that have reached out to say my role in this community has impacted them in a positive way. I’m thrilled to be a part of it and really thankful for all of the friends I have made and experiences it has provided along the way. Thanks as always for stopping by.

Damon

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Follow Up: Kevin’s 240SX Build

Back in August of 2017, I made a quick blog post about my buddy Kev’s S13 he was working on building down in Houston. It’s hard to believe that nearly two years have passed since I made that post. It’s also hard to believe how amazing the car looks now…

Kev recently got his car back from paint about two months or so ago and has finally been enjoying the fruits of his labor. The biggest difference since we last checked in is the color. Gone is the original blue paint in favor of Nissan AR2 red from the S15 chassis (among others.) A genuine BN Sports Type 3 aero kit looks incredible when paired with a set of Ganador Super Aero mirrors and the bright red paint. The presence this car has now is unreal. It’s a classic formula, yet it still looks incredible when properly executed.

Under the hood, Kev has swapped out the tired US-spec KA24 engine in favor of an S14A SR20DET swap with a host of JDM goodies like a TRUST front mount intercooler and Koyo radiator. I really love that Kev took the time to get all of the details under the hood just right. It has a very Japanese presence to it which I really appreciate. The turbo and fuel system remain stock at this time aside from a Z32 MAF sensor and an Enthalpy ROM tune, providing plenty of power and excellent reliability.

Interior upgrades since my last post include a set of Defi BF gauges, red BRIDE material on the door cards and glove box, and a complete manual seatbelt conversion with headliner sourced from our good friend Joe in Canada.

Kev’s car made its debut at a FatCats private drift event down in Houston about a month or so before Final Bout. Though I wasn’t there personally to witness it, I could tell from the photos and videos that day that it was special. Kev’s car looks amazing next to ~Essence~ teammate Jimmy’s R32. Amazing team synergy!

It has been awesome to watch Kev slowly piece together the S13 of his dreams. I know he still has a number of things he wants to accomplish with the car, but who doesn’t? I think it’s at an amazing point right now and he deserves to enjoy it. I was hoping to make this post after seeing it in person, but sadly he wasn’t able to bring the car up to Final Bout last month (for understandable reasons- the drive from Houston is no joke!) I should be able to check it out in the fall when I travel down for a visit though.

Awesome car Kev. Thanks for the inspiration! You can see more of the car on Kev’s instagram account @koukikev

Thanks as always for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

Damon

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Double Duty: WekFest Chicago and Final Bout Gallery 2019

At this point in my life I typically only attend one or two events per any given summer. I frequently have friends that live fairly close to me comment that they only see me in Chicago or Wisconsin, and typically that is often the case. It’s difficult for me to leave my family for any stretch of time, so I tend to try to choose which events I do that for wisely.

I knew before 2019 even started that WekFest Chicago and Final Bout Gallery were the two events I wanted to attend this season. After getting permission from my lovely wife, I later realized that these two events took place during the same week in May- with WekFest happening on a Sunday, and Final Bout festivities kicking off the following weekend. While it sounded a bit difficult to pull off, I did manage to make it happen.

WekFest Chicago

I left for WekFest on Saturday afternoon to head to my friend Melvin’s place out in Chicago. I had just finished a decent amount of maintenance on my car and hadn’t really driven it in a couple weeks as a result, so I was fairly nervous (as I often am ahead of driving it a decent distance like the 250 miles or so from my home to Chicago) but thankfully everything went very smoothly. I did hit a decent thunderstorm after entering Indiana, but I have come to expect it when traveling this route. I thought that by skipping my usual pre-road trip car wash I would avoid it, but sadly I didn’t have any luck.

After arriving downtown, Melvin and I hopped in our 240s and headed over to the JDM Chicago WekFest premeet down the street from his place. Though there were not many cars or people there, I did get a chance to catch up for a bit with some friends I don’t often get to see, including DPK David, Joey Lee from The Chronicles, and Ginash from JDM Chicago. Mel and I ended up grabbing some dinner and hanging out before going to bed at a reasonable time since we had to be up early for roll in at the show the next morning.

Mel and I met up with 4/5 of Team Proceed at a gas station on the way to the venue, then cruised on the highway together over to the show. This was quite a treat- especially to see Josh’s 180 in action on the street. Ilia eventually joined us somewhere along the way and snuck into line. I have a lot of respect and admiration for these guys and I am thankful I have gotten to know them over the last few years.

The show itself was… well, a car show. I had a lot of friends to spend time with there though which made it go by rather quickly. My brother and his wife even came by to check out the show (they live in Chicago) which meant a lot to me. It was great to catch up with people and spend some time together. Thank you to Nicolas from TF Works for asking me to park my car in the Mackin Industries/Rays/Advan booth! That was quite an honor. I was pretty embarrassed about my paint (as I mentioned in this previous long-winded post) but still had a really great time.

After the show, I zipped over to Melvin’s place to grab a pair of metal PS13 Silvia fenders I had purchased from a friend in Chicago about six months ago (a big thank you to Melvin and Simba for helping collect these for me!) Once those were loaded up, I said my goodbyes and made the four hour trek back home to Michigan. I’m really impressed with the fuel mileage my car got on this trip. I’ve never really pushed it very far when driving to Chicago since gas is so expensive in the city, but I needed to have 1/8 tank of fuel to get into Navy Pier for the show. We even had to go out Saturday night to do some highway pulls to burn fuel, even after the long drive from Michigan! Pretty wild.

Final Bout Gallery

It felt like it took an eternity for Thursday afternoon to arrive, but eventually I was able to set my Out of Office message and get out of the office. The power had been out at my home and office due to an overnight thunderstorm, so it made the day pretty interesting. My mother-in-law was kind enough to come to our house that afternoon to watch our daughters while my wife and I were gone at the event, so I was feeling really bad about them not having electricity while we were gone. Thankfully the power buzzed back on right as we were heading out the door, so that was a huge relief. We said goodbye to the girls, filled the S13 up once again with a full tank of gas, and hit the road.

The drive to Chicago was relatively uneventful. It wasn’t very hot out like it typically is on this drive in August or September, so we were able to drive with the windows up. It’s nice to be able to have a (relatively) quiet conversation without all of the wind noise. After sitting in traffic for a decent bit and paying way too many tolls, we arrived at Simba and Angel’s house where a slew of our best friends from all over the globe were hanging out. It felt amazing to see everyone, some for the first time in years.

Reunited with my two best buds from Toronto and Houston- Liam and Jimmy.

Jimmy’s livery turned out amazing. I’ll admit I was apprehensive about it but I don’t
think D Magic could have done a better job with it.

After hitting Portillo’s for some much needed dinner, we went back to the hotel to hang out for a while before bed. The crew consisted of my close friends Jimmy and Liam from Houston and Toronto respectively, as well as Harris, Kev, and Triggs that also made the drive up with Jimmy from Houston. My good friend Camden and his girlfriend Steph from Fort Wayne, Indiana were present as well. We also spent the evening with none other than Brian “Big Bad BH” Harte, who elected to hang back in Chicago and drive up with Alicia and I in my S13 on Friday morning. I was really grateful Brian decided to do this and wanted to spend time with us since it’s not the most comfortable car and we had to leave super early in the morning so that the guys could get good pit spots at US Air.

Dom drove his Z32 all the way across the country from Sacramento, drove it super hard at the event, and drove it home. Unreal. It looked amazing!

After going to bed way too late and waking up way too early, we all hopped in our cars right as a huge thunderstorm was rolling in. It wasn’t long into the trek to the Oasis meeting spot when Brian noticed that the roof/windshield of my S13 can leak fairly bad… sorry about that BH. We stopped at the Oasis for coffee and donuts before making the 3.5 hour drive up to USAIR in Shawano, Wisconsin. The rain eventually subsided and Alicia was able to get some sleep curled up in the back seat of my car- she is a trooper!

Jimmy and Liam’s cars in the pits.

I think we arrived at the track before 10 AM. Lots of cars and teams were also arriving and trying to set up their places in the pits. Melvin asked me to park my car in the Club FR booth all weekend- which was awesome since it meant free event entry and not having to park out in the grass field. Things can get a little hairy out there, especially when it rains. Big shoutout to Mel for hooking us up! We really appreciate it. We spent the day wandering and standing around in the pits with winter jackets on as it was fairly chilly and cloudy all day. After checking off our traditional trip to Arby’s for lunch, we hung out a bit more at the track before going back and relaxing in Jimmy’s hotel room at Boarder’s Inn. We eventually made our way to Longhorn Saloon, but didn’t stay for too long as I realized I had not eaten much all day and had only had Mt Dew and Red Bull all day. Alicia, BH, and I retired early to get some much needed sleep.

The man himself BH World helping me clean the car up before parking at the Club FR Booth.

We woke up Saturday and headed over to the track with Brian in tow. After setting up my car and trying to make it look somewhat presentable, we walked back and forth all day between the pits and the spectator area to watch some driving. A large group of us ended up going to dinner at a local diner during the competition, so we missed that portion of the event. But we did make it back in time to watch some night driving from the judge’s stand which was a real treat. I wanted Alicia to get to experience this as she had not been to an event at US Air with night driving before. It’s super exciting to watch. We mustered up the energy to all hang out in Jimmy’s room for a bit again before passing out.

Joey Lee of The Chronicles and Yasu from Phase2 made the trip out to Wisconsin from California and Japan respectively despite being in Chicago just a few days earlier for WekFest. Pretty cool! Always awesome to see Joey in person. Very kind and talented guy that I appreciate a lot.

My wife Alicia hopping into Jimmy’s R32 before heading out on track.

Daigo of Sexy Knights checking out Tony’s 240 which he was super excited about. He didn’t seem to care much about my car, which made me feel that I accomplished my goal of making it look like a stock 180SX in Japan, lol.

The vibe on Sunday is always much more relaxed. Things seem to move at a slower pace and you don’t have to wake up as early to head to the track. We parked my car in the booth once again and spent the day doing more or less the same thing we did Saturday.  Alicia and I were able to get a couple ride alongs with Liam, Jimmy, and Melvin which was a lot of fun. Alicia has really gotten into drifting in the past couple years and desperately wants to take my car out on track- I think she has a much stronger desire to try it than I do at this point. Maybe I will be able to make this happen for her eventually.

Frankie is a great dude and has a couple of super nice 180s. Always nice to see him!

Alex and his friends traveled all the way from Germany to attend Final Bout Gallery. It was awesome to meet them in person!

I hadn’t seen Teddy from Auto Factory Realize since we attended the very first Final Bout together in 2014 so it was awesome to see him again! Nice to see Chuck as well.

One last meal at Arby’s with the guys (and some gals too) before making the trek home.

I always leave Shawano around noon or 1 PM at the latest on Sunday since I lose an hour on the way home due to the time zone difference and it’s an 8+ hour drive. This year, since Alicia was with me and we had child care lined up for our kids, we decided to just hang out and try to stay awake for the late drive home. While this was a lot of fun, it did make the drive home pretty exhausting. After saying our goodbyes and one last trip to Arby’s, I think we left town at 6:30 PM Michigan time. It was a chore staying awake and watching for deer and other hazards in the dark on the crusty roads during the drive home, but thankfully we made it safely at around 2:30 AM or so. After swapping over to our Sienna and unpacking a bit, we eventually made it to my in-law’s and fell asleep around 4:30 AM, only to be woken up by our daughters at 7:30 AM. I was a wreck for a few days but it felt so great to be home.

In looking at my photos, I took a ton more than the ones posted here. Maybe I’ll make a second post or try to add some more here at a later time.

It was a wild week, but I am so thankful for the time I got to spend enjoying my car and for some time away with my wife- even if it wasn’t really much of a vacation. My car held up like a champ with zero issues which always makes me feel accomplished. Forever grateful for the friends we have made through this silly hobby and all of the experiences we have been fortunate enough to enjoy. Looking forward to the next time we all get to be together!

Thank you as always for reading. Have an excellent weekend!

Damon

 

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