The hyping of car-trends has never been bigger, and it seems every year a derivate from stuff done in Japan for years; suddenly falls on the lips of the hungry mainstream-blogs who in turn feed young readers whats ”cool” now or not.
Who said this needs to be ”evil empire” bad?
Here is a story of a paradox gone full circle, how a heavily influenced ”beginner” got his hands on a real gem- and then accomplished what the Japanese for ages spent zero thought on doing- perfecting the understated cool!
Meet Erik Jonasson and his Datsun 240Z S30 which we will call ”JDM-build of the year” in Sweden ; just to set the bar right away on what your about to read.
Coupled with some really sexy pics which were previously exclusive to Banzai Magazine– we thank the photographer Martin ”BILBILDER.SE” (CLICK!) Persson for getting first scoop on their online arrival!
Its a cold and uncertain morning in southern swedish city of Helsingborg. We are at WANGAN MEET III (READ MORE HERE) as main-sponsors and to contribute with everything we got to make this the years best Japcar-meet in our small but JDM-rich country.
After a long long winter we’ve gotten past the opening even of the year (ELMIA EXPO 2011) and people are for the first time treated to showing their cars in a good ol’ outside meet.
OUR OWN SUPERIOR MEDIA VIDEO:
We struggle at the beginning, trying to find an ounce of order in all the arriving cars and an inexperienced crew doing their best. After some initial calamity, its time to get to work.
The Superior-Blog is here to select its TEN OF THE BEST (SEE THE LIST HERE), and already we’ve had our first ”jaw-dropping moments” seeing some 100% Mazda/Eunos Miatas with full hellaflush stance.
Laughable for some, this was still something that had not quite reached us in Sweden despite a few brave souls who ”know their stance”, such as Marcus Eisenhut and his part famous part infamous (”haters gonna hate”) Honda Integra.
At the same time, all the general public currently knows about; and crave for old school JDM cars is still at kindergarten level. But things are about to change, as we stumble upon someone parked like any other car- but with the glaring charisma that singles it out instantly:
Go back to August 2010, around 10 months before Wangan Meet.
Erik Jonasson got this car in a scarce battle among many when the original owner since many years decided to sell his (1985-1992 build time!) epic project. Describing the process as a quite lucky circumstance of events, he got to see the car in person one day ahead of around 10 other speculating customers (among them someone from the US of A).
”I had scouted it for a while as it was available a few weeks, the owner had owned the car since 1985 and put a lot of effort into it- he was in no rush to sell. You could say he was looking for the perfect buyer. Plus he was working a lot in the aeromotive industry. Then one day he just called and told me I could come check it out; as 10 others were in line if I passed…” – Erik.
He had originally set out to find himself a newer BMW that never seemed to be available and in proper enough condition for him to buy. His daily driver for a while had also been a Z33 Nissan 350Z, and naturally he was well aware of what that modern Japanese muscle had in its heritage- the almighty Fairlady Z!
So when the opportunity came, and the car was not only in pristine condition- but loaded with plenty of aftermarket parts in both an extremely well built stroked 3.1l engine and chassis… there was no stopping him.
”The previous owner had kept an insane amount of receipts, workshop manuals and even some old Nismo-catalogues. I knew right away this was perfect for me as I had no need for a lifetime project restoring some junk, it was an easy decision to pass up on the expensive end *insurance!* of owning the 350Z for this- but to put a summary on it… everything felt like I slipped into all this on a banana-peel!” -Erik
Back to Wangan Meet and what had been going on with the car between the purchase —> and where we are right now standing, interviewing a calm, humble and slightly shy Erik (video of this interview by Superior-TV is coming!).
Long story short: First thing he did was to clean things up, toss the rear bumper and drop the car so it had the proper ”stance” which in Sweden was about to explode.
He then added the older style front fender mirrors and imposed his ambitions to possibly making it a track day racer, with a much more modern kind of carbon diffuser/splitter in the front.
We had certainly noticed the car, but are still shocked. This kind of build caught even some very diehard and experienced JDM-enthusiasts as ourselves totally of guard? I mean, genuine workmanship, creative/fearless touches and even a proper engine on that?!
”I had no problem to put the sledgehammer in use to widen the rear body even more, and getting modified coil-overs from a VW Golf was no problem either. I had already broken all sacred grounds by definition when I kept the Centerline USDM-wheels on, right?” -Erik.
Thats where it becomes interesting. How easy isn’t it to destroy something by adding too much? All the diverse opinions in taste apart, by just reading the text you might have gotten a messy image in your head.
But it was going to get a lot messier indeed, just as the meet itself (but thats a whole other story)…
Whats important is that we found ourselves helplessly in love with the car, and with stiff competition still made it our Superior choice and highest ranked on the TEN OF THE BEST list easily. In hindsight, there was no need to convince others that our opinions usually count (*throw me those black Hipster-glasses*).
Because Erik got the credit he well deserved without us fueling the fire. And in combination with another awesome build (Christoffer Geiros Audi A4) we had early picked as the winner of the all important Elmia Expo (*still having those glasses on*)… it instantly made Stance and Hellaflush the words on everyones lips!
”I was not expecting anything like the response afterwords. You could say I had done a severe crash-course in the whole ”JDM-automotive lifestyle” industry and gotten this car without being a maniac that actively pursued it. My only experience of Jap before was a Nissan 200SX which first blew its turbine; and then the engine. After that I promised to never buy anything other then naturally aspirated again!” -Erik.
A touch of the ”Old school JDM is cool y0” virus had sneaked into the picture as well, which we more then happily welcomed. Been warming the people up to the trends for a few years now, but nobody is quite ready to shell out the same money for a 30-40 year old Japanese car when you could get a really nice Mazda RX-7, Toyota Supra or even a pretty new Skyline GT-R for roughly the same money.
But we are deeming Eriks 240Z as the possible ice breaker for this too (Insert free marketing plug: W E can get you any proper JDM-car directly out of Japan, just CONTACT US and we’ll give you the straight answers you need.)
For the sake of this article, we could have stopped there- but give us a few more minutes of your quality reading time yet still. Because Erik was not done yet, and here is where it gets really interesting…
Like we’ve already stated, following trends is not hard; but its way easier to go too far and just be ignored & almost spat at for ruining in this case a classic. I was worried when Eriks next move to place an oil-cooler on the exterior of the car. *BAM* Right on the front-bumper, and like a big black spot on that dashing red ladies beautiful silhouette.
”What the hell are you thinking” was my first blunt judgement of the idea, and you could smell some tension; albeit as smelly as it gets from a couple of polite online comments exchanged…
I was worried this car might go the path of some of the laughable projects often seen in the US, or maybe even as far as that we could have put another ”trendy” JDM-enthusiast word into play in Bosozoku = mad almost ”clowned” cars with extreme spoilers and screeching paint themes?!
”I like doing things which Iam kind of alone with. It bugs me when young car enthusiasts today find a car they like, and start ordering parts based on it. I can’t deny it also gives a sort of satisfaction to get split opinions, even if I have the utmost respect for everyone and cherish their input. In the end I follow my own path, and thats how it went with the exterior oil-cooler as well; as a tribute to the old school racecars of that era…” -Erik
But I should have stayed calm. Like ”Dalarna-region of Sweden” calm where Erik usually resides. The part of the country the rest of us usually think of taking a long skiing sessions through the forest.
Where a friday evening might be best spent at the local pizza place grabbing a few beers, possibly going nuts and gathering in an apartment to share some hard distilled liquor with your closest buddies. Simply put a very down to earth place, with plenty of people with personalities to mirror that…
Because indeed, today with the season passed and with this sweet car getting published in not only those trendy blogs; but in highly esteemed JDM-auto magazine Banzai thanks to photographer Supremo and SUPERIOR SELECTED lynchpin Martin ”Bilbilder.se” Persson (SEE HIS FB-PAGE HERE)- the car not only had the balls, muscle and brains to be our JDM build of the year…
It also now had the merits more then worthy of it.
***MARTINS PHOTO-COMMENTS: Shooting this car was a bit of a practical nightmare. We met during a large meet for Stanced cars that was organized in a beautiful natural reservation. The problem was that it was high season, and after a few failed attempts to do shots like the above due to passers by- we moved over to Koeningseggs airstrip. After meeting and greeting a few Agera R’s, we got a few good snaps before the rain came down. Not the best of days, and there is a lot more potential, as this car is breaking some serious necks; just cruising past people low n’ slow…” ***
So thats it, for 2012 we know Erik has made a pledge to the JDM-gods to venture even further on the path of being truly old school in the strict far eastern sense of it. We know he has a nothing less described then s i c k set of old 15″ Speed Star wheels which he intends to spend a fortune on making like new; and ready to ”just stance” with another twist to it!
”2012… Well, all I can say is that I will clean things up even more. The stickers will go away and the treasures I got directly from Japan that will carry the car will define the whole build itself. And of course, I expect it to be even lower- perfect fit to finally make use of those trackdays ambitions I originally had buying it…” -Erik.
You can read the cars FULL SPECIFICATION HERE on his GARAGET.ORG page. We appreciate when someone follows his own mind, even if there are clear inspirations to draw from. We truly salute Erik for both refining this car and breaking new ground by using the biggest force of them all: U N D E R S T A T E D and effortlessly…
If you appreciate this article, be sure to check out the following links to support the people involved in quality feutures like this one: 1. THE SUPERIOR FB PAGE —– 2. BILBILDER PHOTOGRAPHY FB-PAGE —– 2. OLD SCHOOL JDM SWEDEN (Eriks own FB-group).
Please ”Like” and ”Share” them all and we promise to continue to publish quality media and writing for all you true enthusiasts out there- who want more then a short quote and single compressed picture on Facebook day in and day out…