In Stock Items by PCAL

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Over the 10 years we’ve been in business, we’ve had an astounding amount of rare and awesome JDM products roll through our warehouse. However, it seems like some have made themselves a home on our shelves and we’ve accumulated a pretty eclectic mix of rare products. Below is just a taste of what you’ll find. Among other things, check out the Ersteklasse Z4 kit and the Top Secret Longnose kit for the 350Z:

Clearly there’s a huge variety of items you won’t see anywhere else. We have a nice list of what’s in stock right here. You’ll find everything from First Molding canards to Top Secret Fusion Oil!

As a special offer for our loyal readers, if you’re interested in any of these items, give us a call at 213.745.6954 or drop us an e-mail at sales@bulletproofautomotive.com and we’ll get you a great price. These parts would look much better on your car then on our shelves! Who knows, we might soon be blogging about your project instead of parts just sitting around.

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Ferrari 355, Prancing Mule? by PCAL

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As far as Ferraris go, the 355 Berlinetta is not a well-loved car. Sure, it has its devotees and it’s still not what most would consider an affordable car. Much like a mule it isn’t the best looking horse in the stable, but its statistics are still very impressive. The 355 was one of the first production cars to produce in excess of 100hp/L thanks in part to a free flowing 5-valve head and also an 8500rpm rev-limit. It was also one of the first available with an automated manual transmission.

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Japanese Ferrari owners seem to see the 355 in this light, rather than as a status symbol whose time has past. Americans may not understand the business logic behind producing a stroker kit or exhaust system for this car as opposed to one of Ferrari’s newer models, but that’s simply not the case in Japan. Ben previously highlighted the TODA stroker kit that is now available for this car. TODA also made a racing version of this engine as seen below.

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More recently, we discovered that Saclam has made an exhaust and GruppeM makes their Super Ram Intake for the 355 as well. Besides this there are a plethora of boutique shops scattered around Japan that specialize in customizing and maintaining older Ferraris. If there’s a lesson in all this, it’s to avoid the throwaway mentality that some seem to have with even cars of this caliber. Take what you have, use it and make it better.

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Water Crossings by PCAL

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As a kid, your natural inclination when you see a puddle is to jump in it. Perhaps this same primal desire is the reason I particularly enjoy water crossings in various rally events. I wish there was some deep philosophical insight into life that I could provide here. Instead, I’m just going to share some images of this phenomenon which ranks right up there with jumps, opposite lock and left foot braking on the list of rally’s charms.

The Japanese love rally too. Companies like L’Aunsport, MAS and Ralliart make it possible for anyone to live their dreams of being a rally star. Ultimately, helping people attain their dreams is just another part of what we get to do here at Bulletproof Automotive. We’re proud to import products from all of these brands and more. So what’s your dream?

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The Most Exciting New Honda in Years by PCAL

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There are many possible paths to becoming a professional racer. In the past, one of the most popular stepping stones to a career in professional racing as a driver or engineer was Formula Ford (FF). The cars are restricted to using 1.6L Ford Kent engines that were designed back in 1959 producing a maximum of 140hp. They are also not allowed to have any downforce generating devices.

Honda FF Engine Demonstration Vehicle Swift DB-1

The specifications might not initially seem very impressive, but keep in mind this is still a thoroughbred racecar that weighs about 1000lbs with highly developed suspension, running full race tires. The car helps provide a remarkably level playing field at a reasonable cost which has been proven to help develop world champion drivers, including Jenson Button, the current F1 world champion.

Unfortunately, the Kent engines and associated parts were becoming rarer and rarer. Honda decided that it was time to show some support this legendary racing series and has developed the L15A7. Even devoted Honda buffs might not recognize this engine code. That’s okay because the engines are typically destined for the lowly Fit. The engine has been modified to endure the rigors of racing and to mimic the performance of the old Kent engines.

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So why blog about one of the least sexy (well, except when Danica was racing) race series in the world? People highly modify cars built for the street to go faster on the track. Why not start with a platform that was designed strictly for going fast on the track from day one? Throw away the rule book and get some long tube headers, ITB’s and huge race cams. Formula Fords start at under $10,000 and Fifth Gear did an interesting test where a “stock” FF easily outran the Ford GT around a track. Talk about bang for buck and just imagine what you could do with a fully built engine!

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Art and Science of a Brand by PCAL

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Domestic auto executives have been getting quite a verbal lashing by the media and the general public lately. There’s no denying that there have been some mistakes made, but I think their current image is an undeserved one. Rewind 10 years and the only remotely modern Cadillac that interested me in any way was the Mosler Twinstar, a car with one 300hp Northstar in the front, and another in the back. I got a chance to talk to a GM executive about Cadillac’s resurgence at SEMA which helped me realize how far the company has really come.

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First there was the Prodrive-built Cadillac Cien that helped define the company’s new design language as only a supercar could. It even ended up appearing in Gran Turismo 4. Then there was the CTS-V and the associated Speed World Challenge race program. There was also the Corvette-based XLR. The result is a very different, but much stronger brand. Currently the CTS-V is considered a solid competitor to the M5 and is a performance benchmark itself.

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Even with all that, I was surprised to see the Cadillac VRS at SEMA. This car was remarkably well done. The builders were clearly people who “get it.” Why is it on the blog? Our car’s are rolling expressions of who we are. Cadillac isn’t going to produce the VRS, but it sends a very clear message about the brand. No matter what you’re building, the impact this car makes is something to consider.

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Notable details: Aero-section tubing for suspension arms, inboard shocks, Formula 1-style brake ducts, continuity of the styling theme.

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Built From Scratch by PCAL

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Many extreme car enthusiasts at one point or another in life convince themselves that they can build a car from the ground up. Some of those people are the Colin Chapmans, Soichiro Hondas and Gordon Murrays of the world. Others…. aren’t. But you’ll never know unless you try, right?

Dennis Palatov is one man who has put his money where his mouth is. Thankfully, he’s also chosen to document the whole process on his website. I’ve been following it for quite a while. One of his projects is the DP4 which is essentially a motorcycle powered car that’s designed to be a half-way point between karts and traditional race cars. Peruse his website and you’ll see many cool machines.

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One day I’d like to try my hand at making a car and when I do I’m going to use a Honda Goldwing motor. Many have adapted various motorcycle engines to their homebuilt creations so that’s nothing new. However, many of the conversions suffer from a few basic faults that keep them from being as desirable as they could be. Most motorcycle engines rev extremely high and produce very little torque. This, combined with clutches that were never designed to move the weight of a car usually don’t make for a very smooth launch. Then there’s the problem of motorcycle engines typically being designed to use chain drive.

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The Goldwing doesn’t suffer from any of these faults and is remarkably torquey, has a low center of gravity, is extremely reliable, widely available and even has an alternator that is actually designed to run more than a single headlight. It’s not a violent, unbalanced inline-4 that revs to 15,000rpm, but that’s the point. I want a scaled-down, lightweight sports car, not a stripped down torture chamber.

What would you build?

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OT – Another One For The Wish List by PCAL

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Here at the Bulletproof office, we have many passions. A few of us regularly commute on our road bikes and we all have an unhealthy love for all things carbon fiber. This post is not about cars, but it is about two things we are passionate about so I felt it was worth posting. I mean hey, we’re talking about something that’s way cooler and more efficient than a hybrid.

Carbon composites have a long history in the automotive industry and will continue to play an ever larger part for both OEM’s and the aftermarket. However, the automotive industry doesn’t have a monopoly on this technology. One of the most exciting developments I’ve seen recently is Delta 7’s IsoTruss technology.

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Interestingly, they chose to debut this technology on a pair of bikes; the Ascend road bike and the Arantix mountain bike. As amazing as the technology is, the bikes do an outstanding job of demonstrating how groundbreaking the technology really is. While at first the bikes look somewhat flimsy and frail, reviewers have come away impressed by how stiff these frames are relative to the competition.

There are certainly possibilities for automotive use of this technology, although they are likely limited to the upper echelons of motorsports due to cost and complexity issues. Where would you like to see this technology applied?

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