วันศุกร์ที่ 3 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2556




 copy from http://www.speedhunters.com/2013/04/united-nations-of-car-culture-1jz-vw-caddy/


As human beings, we’re constantly learning, questioning and gaining new knowledge of the things that we’re passionate about. For me, and no doubt you as well if you’re reading these words, that means every day I’m excited to learn more about car culture. Just over a week ago, Paddy and myself flew to Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, to go Speedhunting. To be honest I didn’t know what to expect… and I’m still trying to take it all in. Rod had set up a feature with the beautifully aggressive Volkswagen Caddy that you see here, but the rest of the three day adventure was yet to be confirmed. In fact, Rod might well have mentioned what else was on the agenda, but as soon as I saw a photo of this 1JZ-powered VW on my phone, I lost track of everything else that was happening.

Was I excited? Damn straight. Seeing a car build like this and not knowing anything about how it came about is pretty exciting from a storytelling point of view. I had so many questions: was it a no-limit, chequebook-out type of build? A big money demo car? Who owned this absolute weapon and what were their plans for it? But allow me to explain the answers to those questions in just a moment whilst I take a brief trip back in time.

Y’see, there’s something very special about this Caddy. It reminds me of the mental cars that used to find their way onto magazine covers here in the UK back at the turn of the millenium. In the late ’90s and early ’00s two car builders stick firmly in my mind for pushing the boundaries of what was possible. Ian Birch of Dubsport fame was one of these guys; he put together many rear-engine conversions and a handful of twin-engine powered cars (all of the VW variety) that graced the covers of many automotive magazines. Another name you might remember, if you were into the turbocharged Ford scene, is Squint of MJS Performance and his positively bananas rear-engined Ford Escort and even more insane twin-engined RS Turbo pick-up truck. These builds were the ultimate pinnacle of insanity, albeit it of a good kind.

But then much of this awesome shoehorning of big power motors into places they didn’t really belong seemed to kind of stop in the UK. Sure, it still happened. But in the VW community there was a shift toward factory-look motors with big power or very clean engine swaps that looked awesome, but didn’t really gain any sort of high score bonus for mentalism.

And that’s why I think this 1JZ-powered Volkswagen Caddy truck, which has been lovingly built by its inspirational owner, Viktor Martensson, is so very special. Not only does it bring together a crazy engine swap and elements of different car cultures but he and his friends at the Japcrap Bombsquad are all about having fun with their bonkers automotive creations. Viktor and his friends embody everything I love about the automotive scene. This guy started out as a humble metal worker in Stockholm, and with the help of the Japcrap Bombsquad, has put together a vehicle that he is able to have stacks of fun with.

I’m fascinated by the pure insanity of the build. Simply down to the fact that it breaks all of the rules. This Caddy is a perfect Euro/JDM mash-up and Viktor has also managed to combine many elements of various scenes to create a car that everyone seems to be talking about. It’s all-encompassing. This vehicle represents the Euro, drift, JDM and stance movement all in one hit. It’s a German car that’s been created by a clever Swedish guy using Japanese power. With this in mind it could be some sort of United Nations car culture project!

From the outside it may look like just a pretty bonkers Volkswagen Caddy with a side-exit exhaust. But actually, there’s a whole other complete car involved in the build, as well a load of fabrication work. Rather than just fit the engine from a Soarer, Viktor completely re-engineered the whole body. The front end is pretty much all Soarer with the Caddy panels cleverly disguising the happenings from this dead-side shot. The rear sub-frame is all Soarer too. Rod put it better than I could on the shoot when he said, “There’s a ghost of a Soarer living inside that Caddy.”

Maybe that ghost is why the front of the Caddy almost has a personality; a kind of mad, one-eyed face that shouts, “I’m gonna physically harm you if you don’t get out of my way!” And Viktor’s not afraid to push his latest creation as these awesome photos taken by Paddy at the incredible Gröndal Eskilstuna Motorsport Arena show.

In fact, I found it pretty hard to believe that this was only the second outing for the car and the first time it had been used to its full potential in its current guise. Viktor has recently made some changes to make the Caddy more track compliant. The external wastegate used to sing its battle cry via a wild screamer pipe that looked similar to the handbrake and gear shifters used inside the car. This screamer pipe exited straight up out of the engine bay and looked crazy, but also sounded pretty violent, too. Violent in a good way, that is… unless, of course, you’re a racetrack scrutineer with a dB meter. With noise reduction being the name of the game, Viktor has re-engineered his Caddy’s turbo’s wastegate system. Despite this though, the motor still sounds very tough indeed.

It’s a deliciously smooth straight-six sound that the 1JZ turbo lump serves up. A sound that is completely unexpected. It’s not something you associate with a VW and certainly not a little Caddy truck. The smooth engine note is complemented by the equally slick rolling stock which this vehicle sits on. The OZ Racing Futura is one of my all-time favourite wheels and Viktor is running some super-wide 17×10-inch items out back…

… with a pair of 17×8.5-inch versions up front. At the moment the vehicle is still being developed, so this set-up could change but the stance of the vehicle is pretty much right on the money if you’re a fan of aggressive wheel fitment. Personally, I love the look. The timeless design might make me slightly biased, but I can think of no better wheel set-up; the Futuras add a classic blend of style to this nutty build.

And speaking of the build here’s the man responsible. Viktor’s first car was an E30 BMW, so rear-wheel drive vehicles are his roots. His fabrication skills were learned first before he became accomplished in vehicle bodywork. In fact it would seem that this guy is very much into trying his hand at everything.

The dash installation, wiring and cool little touches inside the Caddy are all Viktor’s own handiwork and an expression of his personality. I for one really like it when people inject some of their personality into a build rather than simply installing ‘must have’ parts in an effort to tick boxes.

This car has been built for the driver. Everything is exactly where it should be. Sit in the hot seat and you can easily access the well positioned gear shifter and the hydro-handbrake (or e-brake for people in America). Despite the Caddy having the looks of a stance car, this is very much a driving machine.

The top of the S13 dash pod more than hints at the seriousness of the pedal box conversion that Viktor carried out.

OBP, or Optimum Balance Products as they’re also known, have been used to ensure that the Caddy is even further focused towards the driver. Viktor used to be into Moto X racing, and despite it only being his second time driving the Caddy, out on track it was very apparent that he’s a natural drifter.

A further view of the interior shows that this is very much a function over form affair. It’s something that I really admire: I like cars that have a clear theme throughout. Just look at this photo. The interior’s just so raw! It’s totally in keeping with the rest of the build and hits home how angry this car is. In fact, it’s beyond angry. It’s super mad!

But this is just the beginning. Viktor and his crew have got more plans for the Caddy and its heart, the 1JZ motor. Just a few days before the shoot the car was dyno tested at 310 wheel horsepower. That was at 0.6 bar of boost, so there’s still a lot more to come from the engine.

So then… about that 1JZ motor. As you can imagine the swap was not at all easy. Viktor actually had the Caddy sat around in his workshop for four or five years, but didn’t ever start the project. Then a turbocharged ’91 Soarer packing the all-important 1JZ motor came into his possession and 12 months of hard work commenced.

The front end of the Soarer has been expertly grafted onto the Volkswagen Caddy. Soarer suspension parts have been used throughout and that includes the 5×114.3 hubs allowing for more interesting wheel fitment than the usual 4×100 Caddy offerings.

Parts-wise, Viktor has opted to use a mixture of basically anything he can get his hands on. Some parts have been specifically sourced for the build, like this Tial wastegate, whilst other parts have been gained from other builds or sourced at a bargain price. I’m really into this hunter-gatherer ethos and the result is a machine that commands respect. It’s clear that this truck has been built by someone who’s resourceful as well as inventive.

One thing’s for sure: this car has a massive character about it. You can’t not like its quirky demeanour. Even the engine bay screams coolness with its purple and black combo working so well alongside everything else in the build.

Forcing air into the motor is this GT35 turbo; the sound is absolutely incredible. The fuel consumption is pretty insane too… with the turbocharger allowing the 1JZ motor to eat 10 gallons of fuel in less than 120 miles when being used to its full potential!

A birds-eye view of the motor install shows how far back the lump sits. The install is tight up to the bulkhead and clearly this is nice for weight distribution. A testament to Viktor’s fabrication work is how well this car drifts. I went for a ride in the passenger seat and it was a pretty cool experience… if this is how it feels now, I’d definitely like another ride along when the car has been developed further.

The side-exit further highlights the pure craziness of this build. You’ll no doubt hear this car coming before you see it courtesy of the twin two-inch exhausts.

And I really do hope that you get to see this car in the metal. I hope you get to hear that 1JZ motor sweetly and smoothly howling around a track because believe me – it’s a real treat for the eyes and the ears. It’s lovely to see a VW built with no element of predictability. This is out-of-the-box thinking and execution at its very best.

Viktor has taken the element of craziness that was around maybe 12-15 years ago in the Volkswagen scene, and of course other scenes too, and he has applied it to his amazing Caddy build. Furthermore, the dialled-in stance ensures that this car has a very modern twist to the theme and that makes it super cool in my opinion.

On the day of the shoot Viktor’s Caddy put a massive smile on the face of everyone who saw it and you can’t help but admire his ingenious approach to the build. This isn’t a big money build. Quite the opposite – it’s very much a blood and sweat type of affair. Viktor and the Japcrap Bombsquad are bringing together the best of many different car cultures and are also having loads of fun in the cars that they build together. And that is, without a doubt, something everyone into car culture should celebrate.

Words by Ben Chandler
Twitter: @Ben_SceneMedia
Instagram: @ben_scenemedia
Photos by Paddy McGrath
Twitter: @PaddyMcGrathSH
Instagram: speedhunters_paddy
Additional photos by Rod Chong

Viktor Martensson’s 1JZ-powered VW Caddy
Toyota 1JZ motor, GT3582r turbo, Tial 38mm wastegate, 3″ downpipe, aftermarket plenum with 80mm throttle body, BMW F10 radiator with two 12″ electric fans, 19 row oilcooler, GReddy blow off valve
BMW ZF gearbox, ACT paddle clutch, home made driveshafts
BC Racing BR coilovers, stock Toyota Soarer brakes
OZ Racing Futura 17×8.5 (front), 17×10 (rear), Federal SS595 195/40/17 (front) and Nankang NS-II 215/40/17 (rear)
Full respray in Japcrap purple, home made wide fender, side exit exhaust, complete custom rear bay with 10 gallon fuel cell
Flocked modified Nissan S13 dashboard, home made eight-point roll cage, hydraulic handbrake, Sparco Sprint seats






copy from http://www.speedhunters.com/2013/04/hakosuka-dream-drive-touge-roads-of-mt-fuji-2/


From the moment I returned from my first trip to Japan in 2011, I was obsessed. My fascination with Japanese culture and the beautiful nostalgic vehicles that came along with it grew every day, and the idea of going back there began to consume my thoughts on a daily basis. My mental list of ‘stuff to do when I go back to Japan’ was getting ridiculously long, so this year I decided it was time to put an end to my daydreaming and start making some of those dreams actually happen.

Driving a vintage Japanese car through some of Japan’s famous mountain roads has always been number one on my to-do list, and after a little research, a bit of help from fellow Speedhunter Dino Dalle Carbonare and a lot of Google Translate, I eventually managed to arrange the perfect car and location.

After what felt like the longest two years of my life, earlier this month I finally boarded a plane bound for Kansai Airport once again, and I couldn’t contain my excitement!

After a bit of general sightseeing and getting lost on many occasions, it finally came time to travel down to Hakone, a popular tourist destination spot less than 100km south-west of Tokyo. It was there that I had arranged to meet with a very special car…

… but in order to get there, I first had to pick up this very small, and I mean tiny Daihatsu Move rental car. With all of its three cylinder, 660cc glory and with a top speed of 131 km/h, thankfully this was not going to be the car that the story’s about!

The Move also had a full navigation system, which was very handy for getting around. If you understood Japanese. If this photo could talk, it would be saying, “PERFORM U-TURN NOW, PERFORM U-TURN NOW, PERFORM U-TURN NOW!”

Luckily we had stocked up on plenty of okashi, like these green tea flavoured Kit Kat bites to keep us going!

After what seemed like far too long I finally managed to get the GPS system to shut up (by that stage we were using Google Maps on my iPhone!) and then we were back on track and in the right direction, taking the scenic route through Kamakura and past Enoshima…

… and then finally into the misty mountains. If you’ve been keeping up with the latest episodes of Initial D, you’ll be familiar with Hakone’s ‘white demon’, the blinding fog that creeps into Hakone’s mountains and makes driver visibility extremely poor. As you can see, it really exists! It sent shivers through my spine when I realised.

The next morning I headed over to meet Yokoyama-san, the owner of a company called Fun2Drive. Looking at my map, the address I’d been given seemed to be fairly in the middle of nowhere, but when I pulled up I knew instantly that I was in the right place…

… because this stunning ‘71 C10 Skyline GT-R replica was parked right out front.

Built using a 2000GT as the base car, the replica was in near-perfect condition. But the best part about all of this?
It was waiting for me to get behind the wheel!

Here Yokoyama-san is explaining to me how when you put your foot on the brake pedal, nothing really happens, so I should be careful. Hmm… that should be interesting!

Then I was handed the keys, and it was time for an adventure!

To me, there’s something very special about that surreal moment where something you’ve been thinking about and wanting to happen for so long, actually happens. When I briefly closed and then opened my eyes to find the keys to that car firmly grasped between my fingers in the ignition, the smell of fuel tingling in my nostrils, I knew this was no daydream!

But still, there’s a moment where, for a second, your dream and reality seem to become one as they cross over, and in that surreal moment you try as hard as you possibly can to take in every part of it with all of your senses…

… and it’s the best kind of moment imaginable.

Almost immediately after I pulled out of the Fun2Drive parking lot, the road took us through this tunnel and the raspy growl from the Mikuni 45mm triple carbs echoed through everything, hurting my ears in a good way. I couldn’t fight the grin from spreading across my face!
From Hakone we drove northwest towards Lake Yamanaka, one of Fuji’s ‘five lakes’; supposedly the lake with the best view of the mountain. I was a bit sceptical about the possibility of actually getting to see any mountain views though, as Fuji-san is notoriously shy and spends most of the time covered in thick, misty cloud. I’d been told numerous times that those amazing photos of Mt. Fuji that you see on the internet are actually pretty much impossible to get for yourself.

So after emerging back into daylight from that awesome tunnel, I literally gasped when we were met with this view.

This is pretty much as good as it gets!

The views from Lake Yamanaka were nothing short of extraordinary, and looking through my camera viewfinder at this was definitely one of those ‘pinch me’ moments!

I nearly had to be thrown screaming back into the car; it was that hard to leave. That was, until I remembered that I still had some exciting new roads to discover!

For a 40-something year-old car, the Skyline was surprisingly easy and certainly incredibly fun to drive. Though the 2 litre L20 lacked any real punch down low, it came alive above 5000rpm. The Nissan six bark is a favourite of mine, and it reverberated throughout the entire Hakosuka, punctuated by beautiful pops and bangs on deceleration.

Sure it was no modern day powerhouse, but the little six cylinder felt like a good match to the lightweight chassis, and it allowed me to push the car hard without producing speeds that the underwhelming brakes couldn’t cope with. The lack of power steering was definitely something new to me, but I became accustomed to it very quickly and the whole package felt simple, raw and very much right.

From Lake Yamanaka we headed onto a road that I can only remember being called Route 730, but first we took a detour through a few back roads…

… continuously stopping to take in the beauty of the stunning C10 chassis on its classic Watanabe RS wheels.

I’ve always thought that this would be the only other classic Japanese car I would like to own one day, and spending time with this car definitely confirmed that for me.

I really can’t give any other reasoning apart from that I think it’s beautiful; it’s aggressive but still has a classy feel about it, and when combined with the vintage Nissan powerplant, nothing sums up the appeal of nostalgic Japanese automobiles better!

The raked trunk lid spoiler and bolted-on overfenders (although I think I prefer front and rear fenders) are both styling cues that appeal to me very much, and are definitely features I would like to implement on a two-door C10 hardtop of my own one day. But enough admiring, back to driving!

We headed up what I thought was a particularly windy section of road uphill but as it turned out, that was nothing…

… in comparison to the downhill.

Even Initial D couldn’t prepare me for how awesome this road was going to be – I can see why there have been various manga and anime series made about mountain passes in Japan like this!

This downhill section in particular was ridiculously cambered, looking more like a motocross track than a road in places. The tight corners and steep dips here certainly challenged the brakes, but the car itself behaved beautifully, settling well into each corner as I turned in without too many complaints.

There was also plenty of evidence of the iconic sideways action that these touges are so well known for.

It only went on for a few kilometres…

… but that whole time was full of incredible, mouth-hanging-open, ‘oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-this-is-an-actual-road’, knee hard against the doorcard moments!

Eventually the fun had to come to an end, and we headed back to Hakone.

Yokoyama-san had other ideas though, and he insisted that we follow him in his NA Roadster so that he could show us another must-see road!

He proceeded to lead us past Lake Ashi and up another equally amazing, twisting mountain pass. By this stage the sky had begun to darken, and as we climbed higher and higher I realised we were driving in the clouds.

Feeling more and more confident, I felt myself pushing the car faster and faster around each corner, the smile on my face growing at each turn.

At one stage we were convoying with a modified R34 Skyline GT-R, and we saw this Toyota 86 drive past us. I felt like I was in an Option video.

It was about at this turn that I remember thinking, “I really don’t want to stop doing this!” but I knew eventually we were going to have to turn around, and I’d have to reluctantly return the keys.
It’s still crazy to think that it was only a few weeks ago that I found myself sitting in the driver’s seat of the nostalgic Japanese car of my dreams, about to start up the engine and embark on an adventure around the countryside around Mt. Fuji…

… twisting through rural mountain roads while taking in that amazing old car smell, passing glistening lakes with lush greenery and colourful swan boats dotting the bright blue water like beautiful anime illustrations.

Until recently, this was just a daydream. Funnily enough though, it still doesn’t quite feel real!
Photos by Taryn Croucher and Peter Kelly

Taryn Croucher
Twitter: taryncroucher
Instagram: taryncroucher