5th Annual iTunes Car Show Edition   Leave a comment

For the last few years, I’ve been privileged enough to crash (really we get invited since it’s in our lot) the iTunes car show. Every day I see some of these cars drive down the street, but I look forward to the show every year because it’s the perfect environment to unwind. Just hang out, talk cars, grab a beer and some great food, all with live music.

I poked my head out the back door of the gym earlier in the morning and saw this 599GTO sitting, and knew it was going to be a good afternoon.

I didn’t even know that the GTO was available stateside yet, but if the owner of this car is who I think it is, then I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t actually available.

And of course next to it was a beautiful F355 Berlinetta. Due to the endless parade of Ferraris through these shows, I think I’ve seen almost every model since the mid-80’s. Still waiting on the F40 and F50 to show up.

Finally got to take a look at Sam’s E46 since he got a bunch of work done a month or so ago. I work across the street from him, so why haven’t I seen it? Because racecar.

Fancy racing.
Sam has been bugging the shit out of me for the last 24 hours about these pics, and after getting them done I realize that they’re all artsy angles. Oh well, I guess he’ll get better shots if he ever decides to go to a track day on not in the middle of the week so I can go with.

Jon’s replacement for his Audi that was seemingly always “in the shop”. I think it’s a major upgrade, because why do you need more than two seats in a track car?

I asked if I could sit in it and his exact response was “sure, when there isn’t a Lambo sitting in front of it. There’s no e-brake, there’s just a rock holding it back”. After that, every time I saw someone anywhere near the car I just kept seeing that worst case scenario.

I tried to figure out what model 911 this is, but after 10 minutes on wikipedia I gave up because it just looked like a Beetle. An awesome looking Beetle.

Few cars can actually pull off the titanium exhaust, but I’ll have to add the STi wagon to the list.

Gorgeous example of the Beetle. It is a Beetle right?

I’d love to load this on my phone and show it to 8th gen Civic owners when they complain how their short hood makes it difficult to get to anything in the back of the engine bay.

If I owned this, I’d just leave it running through the whole show so people would have the pleasure of hearing that wonderful exhaust.

I laughed so hard when my manager’s brother walked up to this and said: “What is this? An Aston Martin for ANTS?! It needs to be, at least three times this size!”

Sometimes this Alfa’s owner will come to the gym super early in the morning, and its strangely eerie to see a flat black Alfa sitting on the street at 5am being backlit by a street lamp.

Completely accidental shot with the flare on the end of the badge. Also, very hard to edit because the red was super saturated.

In my opinion, hands down, best in show. Why? Because it’s a Jaaaaaaag!

Thanks again to David for putting this on every year!

Facebook album here


Posted 09/03/2011 by gordonronco in Uncategorized

Planes of Fame 2011 – I   Leave a comment

For my birthday this year, my dad got us tickets to get into the Planes of Fame air show. More specifically, he got us passes to get out on the ramp at sunrise which are limited to only a couple dozen people per day. When I was a kid he showed me pictures of when he would be out on the ramp at Reno for daybreak, and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do, so for me this was an amazing opportunity. I’ve also been eyeing a Canon wide angle lens, and thanks to borrowlenses.com I got to try one out before I committed to buying one. These shots are from probably the first hour or so that we were there. From here on out I’m going to just let the photos do the talking.

My dad picked up a Rebel T2i days before, and from the amount of pictures he took, I’d say he loved it.

That’s all i have edited for now, more to come later this week. Maybe. It’s a bit more time consuming than I thought it would be.

Posted 05/31/2011 by gordonronco in Airplanes/shows

Planes of Fame teaser   Leave a comment

Here are some teaser photos from the Planes of Fame air show at Chino from last weekend. I can’t believe it but of the 1583 photos I took, there were barely over 600 that were usable.

The issue I’m having at this point in selecting which photos to edit isn’t so much which ones are the best, it’s just such a vast selection to choose from in general. Because of this, I’ll probably have at least two posts in the next week.

Posted 05/19/2011 by gordonronco in Airplanes/shows

Just a quickie   Leave a comment

I snapped this in one of the Apple parking lots after seeing Fast Five a couple weeks ago. I thought shooting under white LEDs would be easy but the temperature correction was just a bitch to deal with since my camera doesn’t have a setting for 4300K.

I’m heading to Chino with my dad on Saturday for the Planes of Fame airshow, and he got us passes to go on the ramp for sunrise shooting. “Fucking stoked” kinda begins to describe my excitement. Hopefully I’ll have teasers up on Sunday, much more next week.

Posted 05/10/2011 by gordonronco in Automotive

BAP Spring Meet 2011 Edition   3 comments

Everyone has their forum. That one group they started with and will always be tied to, that even though they moved on in terms of cars. For me that group is BayAreaPrelude. This upcoming tuesday (4/19) will mark 6.5 years that I’ve been a member of BAP, and through that time I’ve seen the community shrink and grow a bunch of times. As of recently though, the future of BAP has looked pretty grim. After a drama filled year or so drove a bunch of people away, and some of us that stuck around just stopped caring, it was looking like the forum’s days were numbered. Some of us tried to revitalize the group, but nothing we were doing seemed to really work.

Last week however, a miracle happened. Derrick organized what I thought was going to be another small meet, but turned out to be reminiscent of BAP meets of yore. So much that Nat, aka “BAP mom” for those who don’t know, called it “the new generation”. Anyway, enough of my rambling, here’s some photos.

All the 3rd gens lined up. Definitely crowded out by the 5th gens, but when you consider that they’re all at least 19 years old, you realize there aren’t going to be as many as there would’ve been even 5 years ago.

Nice to finally see Derrick’s turbo build done. He’s been talking about doing it for years, and it’s good to see someone’s dream build come true.

Just in case you forgot who makes the Prelude.

The last time I saw this car it looked quite a bit different, but that was a couple years ago when Mario still owned it. I know he pulled a bunch of shit off before he sold it, but at least it still has the H22, carbon fiber hood and a set of beautiful BBS RAs. Can’t wait to see what the new owner (who’s name I always forget) does with her.

I’ve always loved what Glanny has done with his car. It’s got so much going on that you have to take a few passes to catch it all.

One of the details I love is that he kept the stock plate tub on his carbon fiber trunk. I mean, he’s kind of a hipster with the mass of stickers (crazy HP yo!), but he’s doing his car up the way he wants and it looks damned good.

Clean red paint + flat black hood = b-e-a-utiful.

I still see rim, go can lower.

Seriously pissed with myself that I couldn’t manage a good shot of Russ’ wheels. Laughing at the fact that you can clearly see the hood badge through the bra, it’s the automotive equivalent of hard nipples.

Noble’s lude, which he named Choochoo or something, that actually has a front bumper. Hope he remembers to not drive in the rain on bald tires with this one.

As Lamcke pointed out, I was humping this 3rd gen all day. Completely made me consider going out and picking up another one because it made me miss mine.
At first I didn’t like the look of slips on 3rd gens, but the combo of polished with that beautiful red paint is definitely winning me over.

I wish I had snapped a wider shot of Jeremy’s car. There really isn’t a single thing I don’t like about this car. Could use a Mugen wing though, just sayin.

Speaking of…

I once saw this on a car that I knew was the other way around. Definitely not the case with Rico’s car, which has changed more in the last year than most show car’s I’ve seen. The best part is that he’s done it all himself.

At some point Amit decided that his car was a 4×4 and belonged off road, or a rolling stereo. Either way it looks damned good.

Of course we weren’t excluding non-Preludes from the meet. Hell, I haven’t had a ‘lude for almost 18 months. My buddy Sam has come out to a few meets with his E46. Eventually I’m gonna get a full shoot of his car with a couple other guys from Apple, when they all their cars decide to be fully functioning.

I’ve been pondering picking up an older Honda bike just like this one. I dont like the loud shouty things like what this rolled in with. I’ve always been more partial to the 40/50s style Harleys and Triumhs, but considering I don’t make enough to buy or even maintain something that old I’ll have to take one like this instead. Japanese reliability and whatnot.

Jimmy’s TSX. I may wind up picking one of these up as a family car in the future, if I haven’t already gotten an estate that I like more.

Nat & Jei’s beater STi. It’s too bad they didn’t bring out Jei’s S2000 or Nat’s DA, but then again I’m sure that Cammy would’ve been a handful in either.

Lamcke’s beloved “Fonda Odstar”. Never before have I seen someone put so much work into modding a car that they hate so much and has cost them so much. Complete with primer black paint job (which is the third version it’s had), a killer sound system and even a BBQ in the back. It’ll probably be set up totally differently in a few months, if it hasn’t completely died by then.

Apparently that area was marked “Creeper van parking only”.

Noble had enough foresight to contact MoGo BBQ to come out, and a huge thanks to them for doing it. Damnit, now I want another rib eye and bacon burrito.

They were also nice enough to let us add to their sticker collection. Jei threw a BlackTrax decal on while Noble filmed the occasion.

And I put a BAP decal where nobody would miss it. Not my first choice of placement, but they had an issue with us putting it over the “Bay Area” part of the Bay Area Dog.

Candid shot of Jei, Nat and Cammy. Friggin dog is a tank.

Right before I took this Noble was complaining about not being able to eat something because of some food allergy. “I can smell the gluten” or something like that. I think he should’ve just gotten some bacon and beef from MoGo without any bread.

And someone brought a live snack!

This is the scene I miss from car meets, people standing around sharing stories and tech tips and info. Take note Honda-Tech, not everyone needs to be a flaming douchewad.

Until next time, I’ll Leave you all with the pic that sums up the whole meet to me: great cars, great friends and great memories.

Facebook album here
Meet thread here

Posted 04/15/2011 by gordonronco in Event/show

A bit of nostalgia…   Leave a comment

I’m constantly thinking about my old cars. What could have been, what I should and shouldn’t have done. I realize that back when I started trying to do my own build, I was extremely underfunded and had no knowledge of what I was doing or how to do it right. For instance, I ripped the back seats out of my Vigor and bought eBay seat covers for the front, all the while ignoring the three growing oil leaks. At one point there was real promise for the Vigor, the JDM lights and slight drop were a good start, and the paint hadn’t started to rapidly oxidize yet.

Over time though I got lazy and ran out of money to work on her. I had stupid ideas like painting the hood white, not replacing the rear seats but I was finally forced to fix the leaks at great expense (it was losing a quart of oil a day). Eventually I grew tired of it becoming a pain in the ass and a major financial drain. By the time I had owned her for 3 years it was an outright hatred, about the only thing I did like about it was that she had a decent amount of power.

After I took a trip to Ireland with my family, it became fully apparent that I needed a new car. Seeing that I had been a member of BayAreaPrelude for four years, I decided that I needed to finally get one. Less than a month later I payed way too much for a salvaged ’89 4WS, and the torrid love affair began.

Due to no fault but my own, I started dropping massive amounts of money into her and accruing more debt than I could deal with. Despite the fact that she caused me problems from the start, I was always happy with her and willing to sink more money into the project. Even when it came to simple things like new brakes I went all out for Brembo rotors and Hawk pads, or when I broke a stud I should’ve just gotten an OEM replacements but instead I had BLOX extended studs installed all around and new axels at the same time.

At least I had learned enough to not buy crap parts for it. Between the dropped suspension, front and rear strut bars, c-pillar bar and wider wheels and tires, the car had what I considered to be a perfect stance. Never any issues with understeer or loss of grip, I used to flog her all over the Santa Cruz mountains and took every turn I could as fast as I could. Even after engine problems sidelined her for a month or so, as soon as she was able to run around again I went straight back to the hills.

But just as the Vigor before her, the Prelude wound up out of my good graces. I had put so much more money into the car than I had paid originally that I lost sight of the fact that I really just needed transportation. It’s been over a year since the Prelude and I parted ways, but not a day goes by that I dont physically remember how it felt to put her through her paces. Even the Vigor sticks in my head; it was a comfortable enough car to drive and if I haf the money I would gladly buy another one to build the right way. I know the Vigor is dead now, and the Prelude is rolling around San Jose/Los Gatos area. I can only hope that her new owner, who bought it off the drug dealer (not kidding) I sold it to, treats her right. And if he sees this blog, I sincerely hope that he contacts me because I would love to see the car again and how she’s doing.

Facebook albums of the Vigor and Prelude.

Posted 01/27/2011 by gordonronco in Automotive, Blog

Solo Edition – Arsenii’s 2.5RS   Leave a comment

Anyone who has known Arsenii for more than an hour knows that he has had quite a few cars. If memory serves me correctly, this is #15 since 2003. They haven’t all been lookers, hell some of them have been downright terrible, but after years of working his way through nearly every Japanese car company he finally got stuck on Subarus. I’ve always respected his dedication to the pre-bug eye platforms, especially since the trend and popular thing to do is pick up some newer WRX or STI and slam it. It wasn’t until a few years ago that he finally got a respectable Impreza though, a WRX-swapped GC coupe that seemed like more of a pain than it was worth. Whoever had done the swap messed something up that caused him to go through two clutches in less than a year. Unfortunately it died when it was slammed right across the front bumper, shoving everything forward of the wheels a good half a foot to the right.

But if it wasn’t for that hit, he may have never had as good of a car as he does now. Soon after the insurance payed him out for the car, he parted most of it out and used the money to pick up another blue 2.5RS.

A couple years ago it started having engine troubles and it eventually died. Luckily he picked up a totalled ’03 WRX and sold off most of the car, keeping the drivetrain for himself and having it dropped into the coupe to bring it back to life. Unlike most people our age who get an engine swap, he did two things different: it’s actually legally swapped, with all the paperwork done so that he doesn’t get hassled; and he left all the stock badges on instead of slapping a WRX badge on the back.

Now since he’s had two nearly identical cars, I have a hard time remembering which one had which mods on it. I know he’s had three different scoops and a couple of wings, and for a long time it seemed like he was changing the scoops to match his outfit. It’s been so long since I’ve seen his car though that I didn’t even know that he had gotten a carbon fiber wing, let alone painted it.

One of the other things I’ve always loved is the fact that he hasn’t slapped a set of “hella sick” Rotas on the car. Other than his stock 2.5RS wheels, I think the only other wheels he’s had were a set of later-model STI BBSs. That’s the one thing that I am openly resentful of most Subaru owners of doing, and I don’t know why what the logic is, but I really could give less of a shit as to why they do it. Add to that the fact that the car looks fairly stock, other than a few carbon fiber pieces and the exhaust, and it’s just a very subtle and clean build.

Yes that really is a full Version 7 STI interior, complete with Momo steering wheel and dash-top climate pack. Just another way that he’s kept this a very clean build.

And now, by the power of magic! I’ve done a few of these “cut aways” before and always loved them. The intercooler really is an STI unit, not just the stock one that’s been painted.

Sadly he’s planning on selling the car this year and moving on. It’s been a joy to see this car grow over the years, and I know that whatever he winds up with next will be built up just as cleanly. I can only hope that the Impreza’s next owner will treat her as well as Arsenii has.

Posted 01/22/2011 by gordonronco in Photoshoots