Gimmic 300 by John Babbitt

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This time around, I thought I’d feature something a bit different. While many of us are mostly concerned with power, balance, and everything else that aids us in speed, others first thought when it comes to cars is style. Vip style is a genre that’s all about the look. Low and wide, with amazing interiors, loud exhaust, even louder stereos. And let’s not forget the wheels. Wheels can make or break a vip style build, so it’s best to follow a particular saying amongst vip style fans: don’t get wheels that fit the car, make the car fit the wheels.

But a hot debate within vip style circles is proper chassis. Most vip purists say only big nissans and toyotas are allowed, while others argue that point, based on the number of other big luxo cars that are built by vip car producers, like jags, mercedes, and (surprise!) chrysler 300. Case in point: the Gimmic 300.

It ticks all the right vip style boxes. Big wheels (both diameter and width)? Check. Low? Very. Wide? Um, yea. Gimmic is the modififying sector of parent company, GM Corporation that imports american cars. But Gimmic not only does custom work, they actually produce thier own aero for many american cars, including the big Chryslers, Deville/DTS, even the Dodge Intrepid, amongst others. Some of their other platform specific items include air suspension, mufflers, and many exterior accessories. And they all come together in this amazing 300.

It starts life as a Chrysler 300 3.5. Gimmic adds it’s own air suspension, and those love ‘em or hate ‘em Sporza Zero 3pc wheels, coming in at 24×9 up front and 24×11 out back. Then comes the blister fenders, grille, rear bumper extension, side panels, spoilers, front bumper, and cool headlights. Finishing off the look is the carbon tipped exhaust. It’s a look that will keep this 300 stand out for many years. The interior is a big contrast, by going with a more subtle look than the exterior. New comfy leather adorns the seats, while a custom rear console now resides between the rear passengers, making this a 4 seater. Now if we could only get people here in the states to wear 24′s like this. But with Vip style still growing here, this car will hopefully be an inspiration, instead of an argument. Enjoy!- Jbab

     

Gimmic 300

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R.I.P rotary 1951-2011 by John Babbitt

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rotary4
For 60 years, the rotary engine captivated the imagination of enthusiasts world wide. It’s use in motorsport included Group B, IMSA, N1, and even a win at Le Mans(which prompted its ban from the event). Of all the manufacturers that experimented with these amazing engines, only Mazda dared use them in actual production cars.
Viewed by many as unreliable, un-economical, and under powered, the wankel and renesis engines caught a lot of hate over the years, mostly due to owners who just didn’t understand the capability of their machines. Rising fuel costs and awareness for lower emissions were the coffin nails. In 2011, only about 1100 RX8′s were sold.
In Japan, Mazda used rotaries in many applications. Some are well known, others not. What’s important though, is that we as enthusiasts remember these vehicles and preserve them for future generations to enjoy.
Unfortunately though, this is a harsh reminder that fun Japanese cars are becoming extinct, and fast. No more exciting Hondas, Mitsu gave up the ghost, Toyota decided its only interesting car should cost more than a house, Subaru is injecting salt water in its cars veins, and its only a matter of time before Nissan says Z cars don’t make any sense.
So pour some out for the rotary, because we won’t be seeing it ever again. Your time came way too soon.
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Classics by John Babbitt

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s302

Its summer time, so you know what that means. Car show season. And no matter what kind of enthusiast you claim to be, there isn’t a true car fan on earth that doesn’t wish they owned a classic. Something about no safety aids, carbs and chrome get our gears turnin. Although owning a classic isn’t necessarily a task to be taken lightly, it can be affordable if done right from the start.

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For instance, is it rusty? Do the numbers match? For those that already own that special car, they’ll probably tell you patience is key.  Depending on what you’re looking for, it might take some time and traveling, so keep that in mind. And when that magic moment finally does happen, be prepared to sometimes regret you ever even liked cars to begin with! Owning a piece of motoring history truly is a love/hate type of thing. But the pluses always, always outweigh the minuses.

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Also, tuning isn’t as simple as it is with newer cars. There aren’t as many “bolt on” parts as readily available, so creating something unique is actually a lot easier, limited only by imagination. And possibly the best part: no smog check.

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Driving something that’s 30+ years old is something everyone should try. There really is nothing quite like gripping the wheel of something so outdated yet so fun. In my case, a 1966 Chevrolet Impala SS. Huge engine+drum brake all around=quite an interesting drive. But the sounds, the smells, the sights. they just cannot be recreated in modern vehicles. A little nerve-wracking, sometimes downright scary, but you’ll never go for a drive and not smile.

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So with all this in mind, I hope some of you consider getting behind the wheel of a classic, before non-enthusiasts decide they’re too unsafe and to costly to the environment. So remember, if you want to save the world, don’t buy a Prius, recycle an old car!

- Jbab

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Wagon Showcase by John Babbitt

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Before crossovers, before SUV’s, there were wagons. The concept is simple. Take a sedan, add more rear cargo room and call it a day. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been an especially great variety of shooting brakes available to us here in the states. But with makers like Cadillac and Acura introducing some really cool wagons as of late, there might still be hope.

But wagon tuning isn’t just limited to newer models. There already exists an untapped market full of potential. Anything from Volvos to Subarus, Chevys to Benzs, there is a wagon to suit anyone’s taste. All it takes, as with any build, is some imagination. Like this Caprice meets Celsior collabo.

As a plus, wagon tuning parts are readily available, due to their popularity overseas. So it’s time to drop the stereo types and consider wagons as serious tuning platforms. Here are a few more real swagger wagons. Enjoy!- Jbab

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Asso Alfa Romeo 156 by John Babbitt

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Asso Alfa Romeo 156

Coming across pictures of factory Alfa Romeos is a treat in itself. For auto enthusiasts here in the United States, Alfa’s, like so many others, are a forbidden fruit. The pure joy of owning such cars are what dreams are made of. Then there are gems like this. As I’ve said before, there’s nothing better than the look of Japanese tuning. When it is applied to non- japanese cars, something truly special is created.

Asso Alfa Romeo 156

It just doesn’t get much more special than this. The Asso 156. The seductive factory look is enhanced greatly by widening the fenders a smidge, as well as the carbon fiber additions that also increase the necessary downforce for track days. Asso 17″ wheels wrapped in Potenza rubber mask Asso brakes with Brembo F50 calipers painted to match the beautiful ‘papaya’ orange body. Suspension and all reinforcement parts are also Asso equipment.

Asso Alfa Romeo 156
Engine wise, a carbon-kevlar induction pipe with a carbon fiber filter shield and BMC air filter are coupled with an Asso muffler and a Force-G piggyback. Putting it all down is a Kaaz LSD.

I personally can’t wait for the return of Alfa Romeo here in the states. But until then, mere pictures will have to do. Enjoy! -jbab

p.s.- The car used to be red, so the engine bay pic below is of the same car.

Asso Alfa Romeo 156

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Fixed Headlight Conversions by John Babbitt

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Years ago, pop up headlights were the standard for sports cars. The NSX, RX7, Corvette, various Ferraris and many others sported them. The thing is though, in the pursuit of speed and light weight, they serve little purpose.

Fixed headlights not only weigh less and reduce drag, they instantly change a cars image. For many years, high end JDM tuners have produced amazing looking cars using fixed headlights.

RX-7′s, NSX’s, 180sx’s and others are what come to mind when you think of these headlight conversions that originate in Japan.

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But what about others? Like Vettes?

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WEST5 Vette by John Babbitt

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west5 corvette

John is back at you once again with another wild JDM Corvette! I most definitely co-sign this – Ben

Anyone that has played Tokyo Xtreme Racer 3 before has seen this car. The carbon fiber bumpers, hood and wing really help it stand out. The standard Lotus developed LT5 engine has been enlarged from 5.7 liters to 6.7, big pistons, big crank, big everything, controlled by a WEST ecu. No idea how much power is available, but it’s enough to push this to a recorded top speed of 196 mph!

Brembo brakes stop it, WEST suspension controls it. It’s interior is mostly missing, with the exception of a Recaro seat made of kevlar, a Momo steering wheel and a big safety cage. The corvette standard TE37′s are present, 18-9.5 front, 18-12 out back. The rest of the specs are a bit of a mystery. Check out the pics!!!

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