PCAL – Forgotten Prophet: ST205 Dome Celica

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Dome S102

While the automotive styling products business is booming, true aero products are still tough to find. Usually the most that can be hoped for are cooling benefits or minimal downforce. Some JDM companies are trying to change this, but most rely on theoretical aerodynamics. Probably the largest reason for this is that wind tunnel time is prohibitively expensive. But what if a company that specializes in actual race car aerodynamics decided to make a product for the aftermarket?

Enter Dome. They’ve been a race car constructor and designer since 1965. Their latest product is the awesome S102 above. In 1995, they decided to take a shot at the aftermarket with the ST205 Celica. But instead of attempting to improve the already relatively good aero of the car’s body, Dome decided to fix the biggest aerodynamic flaw of the vehicle and create a prototype-style underfloor and diffuser. This isn’t just form being secondary to function, this is function being the sole objective of the part. Dome measured a 9mph increase in top speed, a 7.8% improvement in fuel economy and a very useful 200lbs of downforce. While I think this represents JDM at its best, apparently not enough people did and the project was canned.

Dome Celica Concept

With the rising popularity of time attack there has been a resurgence of interest in real aero and now diffusers are becoming much more common. I think the most logical progression of this trend will be full under floors. Although they may be hard to market since they are so large and retuning them takes real engineering and wind tunnel time, the benefits of such a product are obvious (and well illustrated below and explained at Mulsanne’s Corner).


Is the Dome Celica a sign of things to come? As much as I hope so, only time will tell…

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Amuse R35 GT-R Does 611hp to the Wheels (Dynapack Data)

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As we continue on with our first Amuse tuned R35 in the US project (exhaust is en-route now and front diffuser and hi-mount dry carbon GT wing are on order), I thought you all would enjoy the latest magazine test data from Amuse showing 611ps to the wheels (about 601HP actually).

Amuse 611hp R35 GT-R

Amuse 611hp R35 GT-R

Taken from a Japanese magazine where original credit is due.

Online credit is due to:  Original online blog source: http://cba-r35.blogspot.com/2008/04/amuse-r35.html
and also found on http://www.autoblog.com/2008/04/28/gt-r-tuning-update-amuse-breaks-600-hp-tranny-woes-at-mcr/

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Fast and Furious 4 Opening Scene Feature Car Project – Pt. 1

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Some of you have heard the rumors already. Universal Studios had asked us to build them twin S2000 feature cars. The Honda S2000s will be used in a racing scene along with a few other feature cars for the opening sequence of Fast and The Furious 4. Currently the two cars are already completed and have started filming.

It is a long and interesting story, some of which I can say now and some of which I cant. Here is part 1:

I was a consultant on The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift for a short period of time. During that time at one point I was asked to design/build the majority of the cars for FF3 (they even asked me to have Top Secret build them a full built GT-R engine for the Mustang). I was given the car list and I started to plan some pretty serious cars. Shortly after the planning stage everything started falling apart and I left the project because their direction and my own did not mesh. I had big hopes to bring some of the hardcore Japanese functional design to the movie but ultimately the movie’s decisions were made for reasons other than purely the art form of building the best cars possible. The only tangible thing that materialized from my time with them was the article I wrote for Modified Magazine offering the world exclusive on the GT-R powered Mustang and an inside peak on the development of the movie.

Link to “JDM Goes Hollywood” Here: http://www.therealjdm.com/archives/TheRealJDM07.pdf

As any of you who read this blog know, my gold S2000 was selected for a brief feature in the 4th movie as the center of a particular scene. Little did I know that the movie’s producer who owns the franchise was on set that day. He saw the car and from what I’m told, was blown away by it. A quick decision was almost made on the spot to remove the car from the scene and use it for the opening race sequence of the movie. However they were already set to do the scene and they completed the scene as intended.

Naturally once a car is featured in the movie, for continuity reasons they can’t use it again. However the visual impact of the gold S2000 still resonated with them. Shortly after, I was contacted about a last minute project idea…build them two new S2000s for the opening sequence of the movie.

This was a challenge on both my side and theirs for a number of reasons. First was the nearly non-existent budget they gave me to build the two cars. On their end it was a challenge because they had already built two FC3S RX-7s for the opening scene which would then be useless if they had me build them two replacement cars. Ultimately we agreed on a deal that had them not use the RX-7s that they had built and that would have me arrange 2 widebody S2000s for them.

So the project began. I had 3 weeks to build them two feature cars from scratch. I was fortunate enough to have Josh, a client of mine donate his car for one of the two vehicles (he’ll get his car back in a month or so). Short on time, I decided that I needed to buy the second one myself.

As a result of the unique circumstances and pressures of doing this last minute deal, the movie studio offered me two unique exceptions from the usual formula of building feature movie cars.

1. I was allowed Bulletproof Automotive logos on the cars whereas pretty much all other cars have no sponsor logos at all.

2. I was allowed full creative control of the car (or so they said at the time when I agreed to the deal)

So I was off on a mad rush to build two cars out of thin air with relatively no money and no time. I temporarily abandoned my office duties as the president of my company and was out of the office for nearly the full three weeks coordinating the build of these two cars. I wanted to show Fast and the Furious viewers something aggressive, unique and distinctively hardcore JDM. The cars in the past installments of the movie, from a JDM perspective, have let me down continually. As such, I felt immense pressure to bring something purely hardcore into the movie

Within 24 hours notice I had my photoshop master buddy Cedric craft up a concept for me. I was dead set on using the Porsche GT3 RS Green color. I wanted to accentuate the green with a set of matte black 19″ TE37 rims with color coded green time attack stripes and black MS-Revolution graphics with a splash of gold foil. Of course parts wise I wanted to use our Bulletproof Remix hardtop, a standard off the shelf Tracy Sports widebody aero kit, Top Secret or J’s Type V carbon hood, JGTC NSX type carbon mirrors and Top Secret R34 rear diffuser. Oh yeah, and a green color matched roll cage visible through the rear hardtop window. Throw the usual details I like with unique paint accents on carbon parts, and agressive offset with stretched tire rims and I’d be content.

I’m in love with the color combo on the GT3 RS and nobody has ever done a green car quite like this that I’ve seen. I also love the challenge that the color combo poses because it doesn’t work on a car unless it is comparably as hardcore as the GT3 RS. I knew it would be controversial and challenging, and thats what I always go for when I build a crazy car project (I get no satisfaction when playing it safe and predictable). We all had fights about it in my company’s office because it was such an extreme color choice. But that was what I wanted to do and I fought for it, internally at our office and with the movie studio.

After the rendering was completed we at my office and at the studio all agreed this would be it.

Here is what I WANTED to build them (please excuse what was a couple hour rush color swap photoshop)

Concept - Fast and the Furious 4 Opening Scene S2000s

Every project needs inspiration, here was mine:


PS: Part 2 will be released on this project soon. Its great having such a large community of like-minded JDM enthusiasts (we’re getting some major visitor traffic on this blog). I’ll continue to give you the uncensored details that I think you’ll find interesting. If it’s a bit long winded then I apologize…but I’d rather give you too much than too little.

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PCAL – Dare to be Different pt.3.02: For the Mitsubishi Crowd

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After my dare to be different series and the post over on Auto-Otaku about the Nissan HP10, I was thinking about similar options for FWD performance. About this time I read an article about Brian Fujita’s completely street-legal EVO III in the latest Grassroots Motorsports magazine. At the end of the article, Brian says, “I’d maybe like to build a 1999-2002 Mirage LS Coupe with a 2.4-liter MIVEC engine. Something light and front wheel drive.”

When people think performance Mitsubishi here in the US, 99% of the time it’s either an EVO or DSM getting the attention. The other 1% is probably talk about the Pajero. However, I believe Brian is on to something. When you look to Japan, the MIVEC 4G92 as found in performance Mirages made more power than Honda’s B16 with the exception of the EK Type-R. And it doesn’t end there. Mitsubishi offered GDI and cylinder deactivation in various versions of the 4G9x and 4G6x engines so the potential to build a fun and efficient commuter that stands out from the crowd is very doable.

Another great thing about being different in this case is that a Mirage will generally cost much less than a similar Honda. It also seems to be much easier to find clean, unmodified examples since they just weren’t as popular to mess with. If you were to really want something that stands out from the crowd, importing a Mirage or Colt hatchback would be a great way to thumb your nose at the establishment of both the Honda and Mitsubishi camps. Once again, different is good…

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PCAL – Dare to be Different pt.1.02: A Nail in the Coffin

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Once upon a time (1989, actually), Dan and RJ Gottlieb debuted Big Red. This car quickly found itself at the top of the hot rodding food chain and as recently as 2005, Hot Rod magazine pronounced it the “baddest ever.” Whatever that actually means, this car is the king of red Camaros. Under a stock-appearing skin the Camaro has a very built 800hp motor and what is essentially a stock-car chassis. The effort that has gone into the car and some of the results it has acheived are really amazing. In fact, it’s owners were so confident in the car’s abilities that they created a contest to demonstrate them. They called it Z2Z Big Red Challenge.

The concept of Z2Z was that cars would accelerate to 200mph, or as close to that mark as possible in a mile, and then stop as quickly as possible. The first year (2006), no one was able to reach 200mph. Jeff Schwartz, in a very nice Ultima came closest and took the Z2Z trophy. The next year, he was finally able to reach 200mph and was able to bring the car to a stop in a total time of only 23.3 seconds. Impressive as that run was, it wasn’t enough to keep the trophy. Mike Reichen in his insane EVO II was able to complete the same feat in only 17.2 seconds! Ladies and gentlemen, behold the current Z2Z trophy holder:

It seems like Mike’s EVO isn’t very well known, but the car is absolutely amazing in a way the Camaro simply cannot be. It has run 8’s in the 1/4 mile and done over 215mph! The king is dead, long live the king!



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Quick Note

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I have some big news which I think the major (blog) media will pick up on Monday so check back for that…

In the meantime, this weekend will be another Patrick Callahan weekend with a continuation of his popular Dare to be Different series!

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My Garage – I Bought a 2nd S2000

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As part of the latest project I’m doing I decided to buy a second S2000. Here is a photo from my garage last week.

Ben’s Garage Photo

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