– Words: Ryan Lewis. Photos: Steven V Phan.
Back in March T-LD turned one. We threw a birthday bash and opened up the invites to anyone who wanted to come out with their car and celebrate. We knew a few people would make the trip across Sydney, but what we didn’t expect were visitors from interstate. To our surprise, Mark and John of the Queensland based AusZoku forum, made the huge trek down from Brisbane to join in with us.
It was a real privilege to have these two there with their bosozuku inspired cars. This is John’s epic little Micra. John said to us, “I had a mate buying the Micra off me and realised I hadn’t done anything with the car apart from daily it for the last two years. After going to a few meets in Brisbane, Dan and I had the idea to come down to this meet and also visit Fonzzy, who is a fellow AusZoku member, and use the trip as a send off for such a rad little car.”
John’s Micra has had a lot of work done during its lifetime. The SSR MKIIIs are 14×7+0 and 14×8.5+20, which is obscenely fat on a K11. To run these sizes the front and rear hubs had to be cut and shut for -5 degrees of camber at the front and a huge -6.75 degrees at the back. Crazy numbers for a daily driven car. There is more impressive metalwork on the car with the flared arches and custom angry eye bonnet extension. Inside, the rear half of the car is gutted out to expose John’s Safety 21 7-point roll cage.
Dan’s car caused just as much of a ruckus when it rolled in sitting on mismatched 15in wheels Dan chose from his collection. It runs a mildly tuned RB20DET motor with RB25 turbo and supporting mods; upgraded injectors, FMIC and exhaust. Dan uses the car on the track so care has been taken to make sure it handles appropriately. Adjustable castor, camber and toe arms have been fitted complementing the car’s upgraded coilover suspension. Dan’s 2-way LSD sits in a rear subframe that has been modified for more grip. Dan describes it as, “A short track drift car with lots of grip and not a lot of power.” Regardless, it’s still a barrel of fun.
Fonzzy and his car have become great ambassadors for THE-LOWDOWN over the last year. He is one of the most involved people in the car scene, and one of the nicest to boot. John and Dan knew him through the AusZoku forum, and had met him once before when he made the reverse trip, from Sydney to Brisbane, for the Classic Jap day last year. “The word that best describes Fonzzy is ‘dedicated’,” says John. “If only we had less haters and more Fonzzys.”
The three boys took Steven Phan along for the ride and managed to put together an impromptu photoshoot in the evening after the meet was over.
The AusZoku forum was started by John back in 2007 after a lot of people were posting pics of bosozoku cars on AE86 Driving Club. Someone suggested starting a forum about it, so he did.
“I’d been seeing photos from Japanese websites and reading into the bosozuku thing for a few years beforehand, but no one had taken that next step I guess,” says John.
John’s car was primarily built by Shane Bingham who was living between Japan and Australia for a few years. The K11 is a popular platform for modification in Japan. Now that John has sold the Micra he has another Kei car project in the pipeline. “I’m hoping it will be as cool, if not cooler, than the Micra,” he says. “But only time will tell.”
In John’s words the AusZoku community is, “Pretty much to do with anything from Kyusha (Nostalgic car) to Zokusha (Bosozoku style car to “Yankee style” aka Yansha as the Japanese refer to it as). So, it’s pretty much early JDM stuff to early 90s, but predominately it’s 70s/80s Toyota & Nissan FR.”
Fans of this look should definitely check out the AusZoku forum and absorb as much information as possible. AusZoku’s members are very passionate and even more knowledgeable about the styles and their origins.
Fonzzy manages to cover a simply astounding number of kilometres in his TA22. There’s no where he won’t drive the car if there is a worthwhile event at the other end.
The interior of Dan’s S13 has been stripped of everything unnecessary, leaving just a Bride driver’s seat and an upgraded steering wheel. There is no stereo whatsoever, which would’ve made the roadtrip unbearable if it weren’t for an Mp3 player and headphones.
Big thanks to Steven Phan for taking these off-the-cuff shots and capturing the comradery between key members of the AusZoku community.
John said, “Dan and I had a blast and can’t wait for the next one. We’re planning to head back down for another meet later in the year.” We’ll be sure to check out whatever John has up his sleeve now that the Micra has gone. Watch this space.