One of the things I notice most about the modern world is ignorance. Nobody cares anymore…about anything. Nobody wants to do things the hard way, or to earn success. They all want it handed to them, which has to be the most unfulfilling thing ever. People do not signal or shoulder check. I mean, when was the last time someone held a door open for you? Even worse, everyone is willing to take someone else’s idea without permission and claim it their own. In this world, people will not rescue someone from a burning car for fear of a lawsuit. Worse still, some people would gladly steal the wallet of the person in the car while he burned to death! Everyone is making the wrong choice between what is right and what is easy.
Over the years I’ve had my entire webpage stolen numerous times. The pictures I posted on it as original material have been re-posted by others who stole them off my site. I’m sure most of you have even seen them! People have even set up websites with similar names and email addresses. On every BBS there’s someone with my handle or something close. I even had someone hijack a BBS domain from me and tell everyone who goes there that they started it! Others still have taken parts I’ve made or sold them and used them to fake superiority by claiming them as original. People like that stop progress, and I really wish they would grow up, get out more and do their own thing.
That having been said I thought it only appropriate to have a section on here thanking those who made all of this possible. I realized early on that I got where I am automotively due to the work of others, and I think they deserve recognition. Without them, I would not be able to make a webpage like this about a car that I built with my hands because none of it would have been possible. I should also point out because these people took the time with me, I do my best to take the time with others to do the same. Someone once said to me that the best kind of repayment they could accept was for me to teach someone else what they had taught me because we are all in this together. That is how this website originally got started so many years ago. That is why Jover and I started Dorikaze and how all of the other car-community related things I have done began.
For starters, I would like to thank Gary Herrick, owner of Interspots.com. It was he that tought me anything was possible as long as I put my mind to it. We did all kinds of silly things together, but it was he that put the tools in my hands and said “this is how its done”. There simply is not enough mentoring in the world anymore, and for that I do owe him. I mean, people let television raise their kids! I learned that physics could be fun. Most of all I gained a new way of thinking that has carried me along. I learned so much from him, words cannot describe. He is literally the greatest mind I have ever known and nothing automotive I have ever done was possible without him.
I also have to thank Aric Shen. Aric was a member of IMOC, and a member of Speedline Racing Concepts. I stumbled upon him online looking for parts for Gary’s aw11. Aric not only sold us thousands of dollars of parts at cut-rate prices and introduced me to many of his friends online in the furtherance of my quest for knowledge. Were it not for Aric, I would still be in the dark ages. I met many people who would have a profound effect on me through him. Aric was the source of my ill-fated 4agze swap, bless his soul. The last time I checked, he was the director of the IDRC and worked for D-Sport, though I have lost track of him over the years. I know Aric has been married and had at least one child since I talked to him last, and if you are still out there, please drop me a line. I would love to hear from you.
Eric Hsu is one of the people Aric introduced to me. Eric is an amazing person, having started XS Engineering out of a garage with Andy An. He was also the Chief engineer for Apex’i USA before leaving to work for Cosworth. How cool is that!? It was really cool to be able to talk to him both through email and on the phone, and that never would have happened without Aric. Still, Eric provided me with the rarest kind of information available: real world experience. He has this in spades having tuned and engineered speed parts for every kind of car on the planet. Eric has also been in the company of numerous other greats and many other people on the cuttting edge of what was then the import scene. Suffice to say he was a wealth of information. I only regret that I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. The one time I went to California our schedules could not mesh. Kudos sir, and kudos again!
Aric also introduced me to Stephen Gunter. Stephen lives in Jamaica and owns a Toyota-centric repair business. There is not much out there that can be done to a 4ag that he has not personally tried. I have to thank him for all of the information he provided me with in the early days. It was guys like him who had the answers. They had been there and done it already. He was the first person to tell me straight up with no bullshit just how to install a 4agze into an ae86. Stephen also told me how to build a 7ag stroker motor when local tuners refused citing “trade secrets”. He never asked if I was selling the information, or hid his secrets for fear of competition. He just told me everything I wanted to know, no matter how silly the subject or obvious the answer. I have not been able to talk to him in many years, but I do drop by his website occasionally to make sure everything is still running smoothly for him. Thanks again for everything Stephen.
Stephen Gunter introduced me to Robert Reid. Now, I will be the first to admit that I do not know Robert nearly as well as I would like to. He is the sole reason my engine aspirations were completed. As near as I can tell, Robert is the first person to put a 4agze into an ae86 without using all the 4agze electronics. He has certainly completed the same swap into an aw11 as well. It comes as no surprise that when people told me what I wanted to do was impossible he was the lone candle in the wind. In fact, he has succeeded where so many others have failed. I learned a lot about this swap from Robert, and I know I am not the only one as several others have taken up this swap with great success. Still, nobody knew it would work except for him. No matter my doubts or unending stream of questions, his unwavering spirit kept me going. I literally could not have done it without him.
In doing my online searches for Gary’s car, I stumbled upon a place called The Toyota Mods Webring. This was where things really started to happen. This was an email server feeding every Toyota model made. I met many people on this server, including Jamey Firth, Yasin Ali, Antonio Alvendria, Herb Policarpio, guys from AEM, LC Engineering, CyberAuto…the list goes on. Not only did I gain unbelievable knowledge on this server, I made many beneficial connections. I hope the server is still there doing its thing…it is a gem. I guess you could say that I cut my Toyota teeth on this server.
I should thank Jamey Firth for teaching me that resourcefulness is the key to everything. Without Jamey, I would not know half of what I do. He sent me my first copy of HyperRev direct from Japan via Britain, and I never looked back after that. Jamey has been a great guy over the years, and it is unfortunate that we’ve lost touch. Still, life goes on, and I know he’s modding like crazy somewhere. Still, he was one of the original founding members of Dorikaze.
I have to thank Yasin Ali and Pascal Lavarenne for putting up with me in T-Dot, letting me stay at their house and otherwise just annoying them. It was nice to get out with other serious Toyota guys, and it was my first Toyota related pilgrimage. Thanks again! Two more wonderful founding members of DK. Both have since disappeared to other adventures.
Because of Yasin, I met Jover Papag. Another Toronto native, Jover is quite a character. It was his idea that we start a Canadian version of club4ag.com, and it was because of our dedication that Dorikaze was born. It took the help of many others along the way, but Dorikaze now shows thousands of members from all over the world. I have to thank Jover, because without his insight none of that would have been possible. He’s been on the cutting edge of the import sceen in T-dot since time began, having been one of the driving forces behind Importsociety.com. This was the brainchild of George Ciordas, another DK founding member, who has since gone on to do a tuner tv show on Speedvision with good success.
I should really also put a huge thank you out to Moto at Club4ag.com. I can remember when Club4ag.com started many years ago back when there were few 4ag related resources online. Moto is pure generosity and a class act, single-handedly footing the bill for what became a massive BBS out of his own pocket. He even went so far as to create track and drift days for enthusiasts. In fact, he is so nice that I went to stay with him for ten days in California many years ago. What a great guy! He put up with countless phone calls and emails over the years and has generally been the cornerstone of 4ag and ae86 tuning information in North America. About the only thing I can say is that there is literally no way I could ever repay the generosity Moto showed myself or the rest of the community. Without him, we would be lost. Words aren't enough.
Seeing as I am on the subject of California, I have to thank Antonio Alvendria and Herb Policarpio. These two guys from Team Cipher have been holding down the “JDM” fort in North America for years and years, and they do not get enough credit for who they are and where they have been. I confess that I learned the technical aspect of cars from other people, but Antonio and Herb taught me style. In all seriousness, when it comes to true Japanese nostalgic style, these two guys are untouchable for what they do. I understand that I will never be on their level, but it is nice to dream that some day I may be. I will always be ten years behind them, but they have been great teachers. Both continue to push forward their vision of what JDM really is.
I have to thank Chris in Arizona. He goes by the internet handle Twincharger, and he and I came up online at about the same time with club4ag.com, choosing two very different paths. Still, we both had websites on Geocities (he still maintains his) and we both had mediocre html skills. Our drive for knowledge brought us together and it keeps us together today. We still talk, miracle of miracles. I have to say that Chris is one of the independent geniuses of the ae86, mostly cutting his own path through the tuning side of things. After all, he does have an entirely home-built turbocharged, supercharged 20v in his car running off megasquirt. If there was ever someone who could prototype things or figure out the electronics of it, Chris is the man. I tend to turn to him for technical advice because he has analyzed the electronics of the ae86 beyond anyone else I know. Also, he’s usually the first person to offer to help when chips are down. There just are not enough nice things you can say about a guy who will raid his personal supply of parts and mail them halfway around the earth just to keep someone else’s car on the road…at his expense! Thanks again Chris! We both know none of this would be possible without you. I should also point out that he now has a 1jz ae86, on top of his 20v, as well as numerous other Celicas, Supras etc.
Some time ago I wandered to the land of the rising sun in the search of relaxation and knowledge, and I most definitely found both. My trip to Japan changed my focus about everything. I know now why I feel so out of place where I am, and I know what I need to do to get where I want to be. Call it an awakening of sorts. Either way, I need to thank the generosity of the tuners of Japan for their inspiration and knowledge. Thanks to Revolver for taking me in and letting me see everything you do. You are legend. Even though we had no common language, we had pictures on paper and magazines like HyperRev to get us by. I will run your flag with pride. A special thank you to Mr. Kumakura from Techno Pro Spirit: I learned more from you in two hours of conversation about the ae86 than I do here in years, and I know you do not understand how significant that really is. I simply cannot thank you enough for your enthusiasm, driving skill or incredible parts craftmanship. You really went the extra mile for me, and it has not gone unappreciated. I will run your flag with pride as well. I should also thank the wonderful concierge service at the Takaragaike Prince Hotel and the Tokyo Prince Hotel, without which none of my trip would have been possible. Also, I have to send a note here out to Dave in Japan...longtime friend...thanks for all the help you provide...I couldn't do it without you.
There are many local people I simply cannot say enough about: Chris Ferrari, Jason Chan, James Chan, Phil Wong, WRONGWAY, Josh Moran, Ian Gulinao, Jimmy Lee, Pat Jadoo, Breton, Brian at Extreme, Jim the Cage Guy, Gary Herrick, Darren Phillips, Ivan Turnock, Mike Diep, Brad Matthews, Matt at JB's, Greg the Welder…what can I say but thanks? All of you have been instrumental in making my car what it is in some way or another, from supplying parts, ideas, grunt work and even raw fabrication. From crawling under the car in -20 degree weather to attach parts in the dead of winter to giving me a place to store my shit or even just hanging out…you are the backbone of my world and are the most important force behind what I do. If not for my friends, this whole car project would have imploded long ago.
There are several shops I should thank. Shout outs to JB Automotive, Certified Radio, Manton Auto, Thrifty Muffler, Gregg Distributors, Campbell Automotive, Extreme Bodyworks, The Tire Rack of Indianna, Silverstone Automotive, Kal Tire, Pat’s Driveline, all the online vendors on Club4ag, all the online vendors on Dorikaze, Yahoo Auctions, Power Battery of Canada, Gee and Gee Racing, Elite Auto, Swaybars.com, Desro Automotive, Dash Distributors, Tsunami Autosports, PE Tuning, Toysport, Performance Evolution, The Seat Cover Center, Lexus of Edmonton, Kingsway Toyota, Revolver, Techno Pro Spirit, QRGarage, Pick’n’Pull and Just Jap Auto Dismantlers. Without your generosity and dedication to helping me, none of this would have been possible!
Lastly, I can't forget to thank my longtime girlfriend Jeannie. So many women have seen my car habit as a threat them. That it is something to fear. To feel jealous of. Something to compete with for affection. Just the fact that you encourage me when I'm frustrated and volunteer to help in any way you can speaks volumes. Having an AMA card certainly helps. Not everyone is as lucky as I am to have an understanding woman like you.
Sorry if I forgot anybody. Everyone in my heart, you know that I appreciate you.