I have to admit, when Shawn Lisjack, founder and CEO of Exotic Engravings contacted me, I was sceptical. A hand engraved Civic with 5000+ hours of Dremel work put into it? “This has got to be another case of spam for sure…“, I thought. But through our correspondence, I started to learn about a project I had never known existed and received a huge amount of details on the build from Shawn. With each mail that arrived, the more stunned and amazed I became… Read more
Look out Mazda. Toyota, after absolutely piling on the sales for their new sports FR platform over the last 9 months, in all corners of the world, have green lit a project that will arguably drive it toward a different segment of the market – one that likes to rock out with the top out… Read more
It was back to Thailand for me at the end of December to enjoy another crazy week at one of the absolute best racing festivals on the planet; the 2012 Bangsaen Festival of Speed. My hosts for the week, MAX TV Thailand, graciously arranged for the entire trip, and in very short notice mind you, so all that was left for me to do was pack the Nikon D3, a couple of lenses and document as much of their weekend ( and everyone else’s ) as possible. Here’s how it all unfolded… Read more
No doubt all of you reading this are familiar with the green/yellow “leaf” and orange/yellow “tear-drop” symbols that Japanese motorists are required to have at various stages of their lives behind the wheel. In recent years, these are being increasingly seen in overseas tuner circles with some pretty crass variants having sprung up; all of which, an element of the industry appear to be defining as the things to have if you want to be “JDM as F*CK“, whatever that means. And on top of all this, a lot of people don’t actually know what these symbols actually signify… Read more
F1 racing has always been an open wheeled, open tempered affair. From the likes of Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti, Jacques Villeneuve, and Michael Schumacher, fans have seen some of the greatest racing ever to grace the tarmac. But as of late, no F1 driver has had more presence than the legendary Ayrton Senna De’Silva… Read more
In the last post, I gave you the warmup to what unfolded the night before the snowy action in Nagano. In this post, you’ll be seeing all sorts of awesome cars going very sideways on the trickiest surfaces you can imagine. The best thing about the Megamiko Snow Driving Park is that the entire place is so well managed and totally safe for car and driver – you can really have a ball here and not have to worry about damaging your car unless you are a complete and total idiot… Read more
Audi was good enough to offer me a bright red A1 to play in the snow with for the weekend and I met up with a bunch of friends shortly after for a whole load of fun up at the Nagano based, Megamiko Winter driving park. This awesome place is a couple of hours drive north from Tokyo and offers a safe haven to practice your snow and ice driving techniques… Read more
Dom Bloemhard is a great guy to have on the 7Tune team. One reason besides being awesome to down pints with is the fact that he is so deeply ingrained into the VIP culture that it was an insta-yes the second he told me about the Sessions Platinum event at Fuji Speedway not too long ago. Read more
If you own an MX-5 and don’t know who Car Make Corns are then please educate yourself quickly. A dedicated workshop purely focused on MX-5s in Japan, who built up a very loyal following for a very good reason. Want a rare instrument cluster with a discontinued front lip and a roll bar for your NA6 MX-5? Then look no further than Car Make Corns!
Thanks to HoonTV for the video!
In a country with such drastic laws to control the growth of vehicle numbers, it’s amazing to find such a dedicated following of JDM enthusiasts. We may complain about high car prices and increasing fuel costs. But this is nothing compared to what a hardcore JDM enthusiast in Singapore has to go through. Whilst in other countries we merely have to contend with rising fuel costs, draconian road laws and mounting public pressure (whilst not having a super efficient public transportation system); Singapore’s potential car buyers have to deal with so much more. After buying a piece of paper which entitles you to own a car, for anywhere from 40,000 to 60,000 SGD (2.63- 3.95 million Japanese yen), the driver then has to pay for import duty at 41% of the car’s cost. Following which an additional tax of 150% of the car’s market value is to be paid. Finally a registration fee of 1,000 SGD (65,857 yen) is paid.
This quickly adds up to astronomical sums and deter any potential enthusiasts. Furthermore, after 10 years the car must be scrapped or an additional tax of the same 40,000 to 60,000 SGD has to be paid! This incredible piece of legislation has made Singapore (a country of 700 km2 and 4 million people) to be the second largest exporter of used cars after Japan.
This leaves only dedicated and slightly insane enthusiasts keeping the older cars in working order and prepared to pay the additional money to keep their treasured possessions on the road. So the cars you see here are owned by not just ordinary enthusiasts, but diehard enthusiasts. Willing to go through huge financial hurdles just to own that one ride. A track car with a daily driver is a far and distant dream for many. Whilst owning these cars you could be slapped with many an infringement notice, continually heckled by other drivers who consider you to be a hoon, tax after tax, soaring fuel prices and no track days within the country. If you consider yourself a enthusiast one might ask this, if all these conditions were thrown at you would you still own one of these?
When you think about it, it’s amazing that there are so many older JDM cars still on the road in Singapore. And with such wallet imploding costs involved it’s even more startling to find that cars are modified to such a beautiful degree. Even in the yellow sodium filled streetlights in the hot festering damp, the cars were something to behold. No ratty tatty here, no bumpers falling off, no paint fade or even unpainted putty. All were kept in fantastic shape. Being here tonight has taught me to cherish what we are given.
But the guys i met tonight, they don’t seem perturbed. Eager to chat about parts ordered, plans for the future of their car and general scene culture. Relaxing by railings, watching cars drive by they hardly seem to have a care in the world.
The car enthusiasts of Singapore, i salute you.
Words – Benson Lau
Photos – Benson Lau
I surf the net looking for JDM stuff that’s cool when I have the time. More often than not, and if you know where to look, you’ll come across JDM cars that simply blow your mind. So forget tissues for this one. It’s time to grab a towel… Read more
I like to take a look around Japanese sites like Goo-net.com every now and then because they always turn up something really interesting in one form or another. You should too. Places like this are the store that contain all the car candy you could consume and no self respecting car nut could afford to ignore them! I have been thinking about Mazda RX-3′s recently and after discovering that an America only SP version of the RX-3 existed, I was determined to see what other rare rotaries may have been available in Japan at the time… Read more
In another truly WTF moment, 7tune has stumbled across this timeless supercar from Mercedes, in dilapidated condition, sitting uncovered, covered in dust and on blown tires in Shizuoka, west of Tokyo. We’re sure this is going to upset a few people… Read more
I really like the animated blockbuster franchise centered around the Evangelion series and I’m geek enough to admit that Asuka is my kind of gal but the flavor of this mix of Japanese Itasha and Italian Supercar may be too difficult for some palates to appreciate… Read more