Thursday, November 23, 2006

SEMA 2006: Day 4 - Drifting Changed Our Lives. Seriously.

I ran into my boys from the and they hit me up for the hot new "Drifting Changed My Life" lanyards that all the cool kids were rocking at SEMA. Seriously, alot of people in the drifting industry were rocking this lanyard in support of DRIFTING. Thank you all, that was so dope.

Anyways, TheSpeedLounge guys and I decided to take some photos screwing around. See the guys in the front? All 86 guys. Well Chris (left) used to be an 86 guy. Dave (right) still has his black AE86 hatchback, and of course you know I Live The 86 Life. No doubt.

Bookmark their site, cause I told you to. Make sure not to forget "THE" in The Speed Lounge. You guys and your difficult domains.

DRIFTING Changed Their Lives. Without a doubt.

These are my boys Joey and Andy from Slide America, along with Cody Wellons from S3 Magazine. Joey and Andy are super cool, but they're also pretty weird. They drove across the country in a rental van with stickers all over it, and shot video of drifters all over the country. The video will be coming out sometime in 2007, so look out for it! In the meantime, buy some stickers or shirts from their website ( ) and help support the cause.

David Huang from Team Hybrid is super super cool. He is always down to support Cipher Garage and my mission to spread the gospel of negative offset wheels across the country. He is also ballin out of control, what... with a done up IS300 cover car and a done up IS350 show stopper and a done up Range Rover in the works??? And he says his money comes from his family's "importing business." WTF?!

Come on David. Makin all that cheddar, what the F is your family importing from China man?! Ohhh, I get it. OTHER CHINESE PEOPLE. Damn no wonder. Well your secret is safe with me.

Jay Lapid is a Formula D driver from San Francisco CA who just got married, and just had a baby! Forget "Drifting" I need to make him a shirt that says "My wife and kid" changed my life. haha!

But seriously, Jay is a super cool guy. He runs a sticker shop called Graphtech in South San Francisco. (Peep him out at and tell him Antonio sent you.)

Jay made the super dope limited edition GOLD Cipher Garage stickers that we made famous on our last trip to Japan. Don't sleep. Jay can hook you up with custom printed and die cut graphics, and he's reliable. Graphtech prints and cuts the graphics for most of the Team FALKEN cars in the Formula D Series. Even the SF Police has Jay doing their stickers.

Drift Day was the foundation for grassroots drifting in the west coast. Here we have my very good friends, Professional Formula D drivers Taka Aono and Hiro Sumida, along with Koji Mori (Club4AG webmaster) who is working with the guys to manage the team and get sponsors. These guys are all hardcore AE86 guys. I respect them alot.

And I think Taka Aono is THE BEST AE86 DRIVER IN NORTH AMERICA. And he is super nice, super humble, super down to earth. Not only does Taka drive his car in Formula D competition, but he also trailers cars ( his car or other people's cars) to all the events! Dude, he trailered his GF Yoshie Shuyama's Formula D competition car from LA to Formula D Seattle!!! Now that's love! But that's not all! Taka fucking drove his truck across the US of A and trailered Yoshie's car (and Hiromi Kajikuma's AE86 Levin) to Formula D New fucking Jersey!!! Can you believe that shit?! That is soooo far. Maximum respect to Taka. We need more hardcore people like Taka in the drifting scene. Hardcore driver, and hardcore grassroots enthusiast. People like Taka are the reason why I am so inspired by DRIFTING. I mean it.

I am sooo puzzled as to why Hiro and Taka don't have more sponsor support. I mean, they do get support as part of Team Falken, which they are very thankful for, but I'm talking about they need other monetary sponsors to help them through the season. Also good lookin out to Owen and Brian, their mechanics.

DRIFTING Changed Their Lives. For sure!

This is (L-R) Hiro Sumida, Ray Nakadate, and Yoshie Shuyama. Yoshie is Taka's gf and quite possibly the top female drifter living in the USA. She has steep competition from Hiromi Kajikuma though, who is sponsored by Team Kaaz.

Ray Nakadate owns Team Kaaz, and is the President of Kaaz USA. Many of you might not know this, but Ray and I go back. Way back. He has been a good friend of mine since like 1999 or 2000. Wow that's nuts. Ray taught me what he knew about restoring old cars, because he had a shop called Newport Exotic Cars near Newport Beach CA. People from all over the world used to send him old Lotuses, Lancias, Ferraris, Mercedes, Shelby Cobras, and shit like that to restore.

So what do I do? My dumb ass brings him a red 1986 Toyota Corolla GT-S hatchback and asks him to help me restore the body and paint. Well the body was pretty clean to begin with, but Ray helped me out with the paint- we got a painter who specializes in shooting RED! (This guy paints Ferraris and shit. In fact, right when we were pulling my AE86 into the paint booth, they were just finishing up a Lamborghini!) Anyway red is a hard color to paint... if you spray it at different angles, and different distances from the car, you come up with different colors. Anyway we painted my AE86 with red lacquer paint (uhm.. it's illegal in CA) sourced out of the country, factory Toyota AE86 color 3E6. With extra gloss of course. The old hot rod guys always used lacquer paint because it would dry super hard like fingernail lacquer, and would produce a super brilliant gloss. That's why my kouki AE86 always looks glossy, even when its super dusty. That's the secret.

The Drift Alliance guys were showing support too! Drifting definitely changed their lives! If it weren't for drifting, they wouldn't be known as "DA." Maybe AA? Anyway, here's Ryan Hampton, Ryan "Hampshaa" Tuerck, and Chris Forsberg.

Richard Tran works for Formula Drift. He was showing his support by rocking one of my lanyards too, which says "Support DRIFTING" on one side. Richard is Formula D's official model handler. This guy is always pimpin the chicks.

More than one girl has told me in these exact words "Richard is a pretty good looking guy, for a Vietnamese guy." Seriously, more than one asian chick has said that to me. But the thing that strikes me, is why do they have to always add the "for a Vietnamese guy" part?! I would have never even thought of that- I'm a racer, not a racist!

Juan Henao is one of the best up and coming drifters to come from South Florida. Mark my words, you'll see more of him and his red S13 very soon.

Dan Pina is a good friend of Calvin Wan's. He is also known as "the other Mexican drifter." Doesn't it suck to live under someone's shadow Dan? LOL juuust kidding. Dan is a hell of a driver, Calvin says Dan was running touge in Northern Cali in a stock Ford Focus, and he was still passing fools! And the other cars out there were like... AE86, S13, S14, FD3S, R32 Skyline GT-R (Hubert Young).

Just ask Calvin Wan from Team Falken. He will tell you stories of how pissed he was several years ago, when Dan beat Calvin's time in an SFR SCCA autocross, driving Calvin's own FD. Man was Calvin pissed.

Eventually Calvin got Dan back, but still! I'm sure Calvin is gonna be like "damn fool! Why'd you have to write that shit in your blog?! Fuckin Antonio, dude..."

Haha. Go start your own blog then, Calvin. =)

Mike Maez is one hell of an up and coming photographer. Actually, no. He's not an up and coming photog, this cat has MADE IT. And by made it, I mean he has made tons and tons of covers... magazines like Modified Luxury & Exotics, Modified, Nissan Sport, etc... He is a friend of mine, and I really respect his work. Props Mike!


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