Warrior Wagon

Yes, i know it’s not a wagon technically it’s a hatchback, but for me it  has always  been the former for the mk1 axela. Growing up admiring early models of Golf, starlet and civic the term hatchback for me became synanimous with being sporty and compact. This was the complete opposite of the axela when I first saw it roughly 15years ago(i know no one will agree with me on this) it looks like an average 5 door family car to me.

Even in recent time I’m puzzled why it has a huge following in New Zealand and many enthusiasts are raving about it. But after seeing Karl’s quality example of Mazdaspeed axela and had a chance to get acquainted with it I’m now a believer to a point that i started looking for one on TradeMe.

Equipped with a 2.3l turbocharged engine mated to a 6 speed manual transmission and limited slip differential, it also offers spacious passenger & cargo room. It competes on the same league as Lancer evo and impreza WRX.

to give it the right noises a blow off valve and muffler delete has been added to the modification list.

a set of bc gold adjustable coilover suspension and work kiwami wheels were also added to keep everything planted to the ground.

and karl being a detailing freak, the quality of the paint is just mint. the photos doesn’t do it justice.

Karl’s mazda 3 really changed my perspective for axelas. Whether you see this as a wagon or a hatchback one thing is for sure this is not your average 5 door family car. For me this is a warrior wagon.

Sports Sedan

If you are following this site you would already be able to tell by now that I have a soft spot for the ’80s & ’90s compact  J-tins. Apart from the fact that these cars were the ones I looked up into while I was growing up, cars from this generation reminds me of a time when cars were compact, nimble and doesn’t need a complex computer to be driven. no traction control or drive by wire system to make the driving experience feel numb. They go like go-karts or in other words they were fun to drive.

One of my favorite from that era is the Civic EG sedan platform. Yes, it is not as compact and light as its hatchback sibling but there’s something with its distinct body lines and four-door practicality which gives it a charm of its own. And since this is a Honda you can put go-fast-bits like putting Lego bricks together and you can turn this from a four door grocery getter to a four door sports sedan. This is exactly what has been done to Jun’s car. started it’s life as a civilian sedan, it is now converted to a potent track weapon.

From the outside you would immediately spot a more aggressive stance. The car has been tastefully lowered with performance coilover springs and is now sitting on lightweight buddy club wheels.

The rear deck has been fitted with Ferio spoiler.

Inside the cabin you will be greeted with Sparco steering wheel and Recaros SR3s.

and here’s the special part, this particular civic originally comes with an anemic D16 engine with automatic transmission from the factory but is now transplanted with a B18 engine with matching gearbox from an Intergra Type R.

the whole package liven up this 22 year old car, a light chassis fitted with large engine is a proven recipe you cannot beat.

A 22 year old Honda is the last car you would think when you hear the words sports sedan but im sure once you’ve driven one you would agree it deserves to be on that category.


Project Honda Fit part 1

Growing up from the Philippines where compact cars are the staple of automotive tuning culture I can’t help but notice the lack of love for Japanese grocery getters in New Zealand. I can’t blame Kiwis about that as this country is blessed with the continuous influx of proper performance cars coming directly from the land of the rising sun. From the economics point of view, i do understand that. Why bother modifying a base Mitsubishi Lancer if it will end up costing you the same price as buying a Lancer Evolution right? but were’s the fun on that?

From my personal opinion, the core of car tuning and hot rodding culture is taking an unassuming base car, modify it to bring it on a different level and compete with the big boys. I could be wrong about it and maybe it’s just my heart that wasn’t able to move on from the golden era of compact car tuning when civics, corollas, lancers and sentras were the king of the streets but it’s definitely something i don’t want to be forgotten. as a homage to that my brother and i decided to start working on a project. now that honda civics are of the same size as 90s SUVs i thinks it’s safe to say that it doesn’t fit the compact car category anymore. that’s where the honda fit comes in. it’s small, underpowered,light and there’s shitloads of them in New Zealand so we know parts will be plentiful.

Although Honda Fit/Jazz are abundant in New Zealand 99% of them have an automatic transmission and are equipped with poverty-spec body. it took us a while finding the right one and have to wait for a fresh import from Japan. after months of searching we have found what we’re looking for, a Honda Fit Type S manual with a matching body kit.

after we got the car we immediately collected the part that we need, first on the list is a Daiyama adjustable coilover set.

To give the car that track look stance we decided to stick to size 15 wheels. luckily I was still able to save my Volk TE37 wheels from my previous EK2 build.

We ordered a Modulo stainless muffler as well from a local dismantler. it was looking a bit tired when we received it but after a few minutes of polishing it is now looking great again.

and of course after installation, we have to do the obligatory photoshoot 🙂

that’s it for now, we still have plenty of plans for this so stay tuned!

The art of letting go


Saying goodbye is one of the hardest thing to do, it marks an end to one of the chapters in your life. The moments which you normally enjoy and cherish will become “What used to be”. This is the case with JC Rabena and his ’94 Honda Shuttle Beagle, after years of ownership, they are now bound to go on separate ways.

The two met together back in 2011 and it was love at first sight. The shuttle was not the prettiest thing in the block but JC took good care and pampered it well to bring it to the state which you are currently viewing. A little drop, a little boost and a nice set of wheels really brought the best out of this wagon.

I will admit, the first time I saw them I thought it will only be a one-night-stand affair but i was wrong. The two became inseparable and for 6 years the beagle has been JC’s partner in crime, cruising New Zealand roads together. I know six years of ownership is not that long but on these days of social media, project cars only last but for so long and often once they are exposed to the internet they will be sold or parted out.

As much as I wanted to see JC and his beagle together, it’s a sad fact and we have to accept that there are things which are not meant to last forever. There is no doubt this is a hard decision for JC. The end of a book is a sign of a new beginning. He already needs to move on to the next chapter of his life and his beagle will not fit anymore. By the time you are reading this, the beagle will already be in the hands of a new owner.

Part of JC will grieve because he will miss this beagle but im sure it will eventually heal as he knows it’s already in the hand of a new owner which can give love better than what he will be able to offer.

Twinning with white wheels

Laidback Sunday

We were planning on attending Motorkhana to shoot some cars last Sunday but have not expected that the event will finish early. Me and Jonathan arrived in the event location at Hootons park one hour before the scheduled end time but the place is already empty. since both of us are carrying our gears already and it’s still quite early in the afternoon, we cruised down to Chelsea heritage park to shoot our cars instead.

If you have seen previous photos on this site you will notice that this is one of my favorite spots for shooting cars. It has winding scenic road going to the shore and the place is mostly empty during Sundays.

The open thoroughfare allows us to shoot cars in the middle of the road.

After mocking around at Birkenhead wharf, we headed down to the Asian market place at  Newmarket. I really like the ambience here, it reminds me of old Hong Kong movies which is a huge inspiration for me when i was still new on using my cameras.

The afternoon turned out great, it is not really what we were originally planning but we were still able to drive around, take some photos and catch up with a friend. For me this is a perfect way of spending a Sunday afternoon.

Got my roof racks on