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Parker's 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX

Editor’s note: Parker Pulido has dubbed his Subaru WRX Project Blobeye. From the streets of Las Vegas to the desert roads of the southwest, Parker and his WRX are having a blast.

 


 

The thing that started my interest in cars was being able to take a car and make it your own. I was never interested in having just another factory car. I love the countless options and directions you can choose to separate your car from the norm.

I call my car Project Blobeye. I discovered it in a Craigslist ad from Newport Beach, California. The day I saw the ad, I was on the I-15 headed to California to look at a newer model Forester. I quickly rerouted to go check out the WRX because I had owned a WRX before — a 2005 WRX wagon — and it was one of the best cars I ever owned. I had to sell it when I moved to Hawaii for work, but I swore I would get another one at some point.   

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When I bought the wagon, the direction at first was a slight lift with rally coilovers and some beefier tires. I was scanning options for rally suspension setups when I came across an Instagram page dedicated to off-road Subarus called @mtn_roo. The second I saw some of the things those guys were doing to their Subarus, it was inspiration to stray from the track route and go for a more impractical, and goofy looking off-road machine. It’s been downhill ever since, trying to build an off-road capable Subaru WRX not just for gravel or muddy roads, but for a little more intense crawling-type experience. It certainly helps having the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s. The reason I chose these tires is because when I owned Toyota pickups, I always ran All-Terrains for the simple reason of dependability. The tire sizing for Subarus is a little more difficult, but with minimal research, it's no doubt that these tires are the best fit for Project Blobeye.

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I love my Subaru because it’s unique. Even with the rapidly growing off-road Subaru scene, I can still say my car is one of a kind. Anyone with a passion for cars or trucks will say the same thing: despite preferences in make and model, it's about a love for your machine.

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I love to drive around Lake Mead and down by the Colorado River. Being in the desert for the summer months is rough, so I usually dig out to the water any chance I get. But one of the perks of living in Las Vegas is that we are surrounded by many different types of terrain which keeps the trail rides interesting.

 


 

Follow Parker and Project Blobeye’s adventures on Instagram.

 

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Build

Tony's 1999 Toyota 4Runner

Editor’s note: Tony Rubino started tricking out his 1999 Toyota 4Runner while he was a high school sophomore. Today, he’s still working on the truck with plans of turning it into an overlander with full race suspension.

 




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When I was growing up, my brother built a 2006 Ford F-150. Watching him really got me interested in building, and when I bought my 4Runner for $5,000 at a tiny dealership, my brother and I went to town on it. The very first thing I did to the truck was put BFGoodrich All-Terrains on it. Then I put a Flowmaster 40-series muffler on it and redid all the audio with a Pioneer head unit and speakers and a 12” subwoofer. Next, I bought a Yakima Megawarrior roof rack with an extension so it runs the whole length of the roof. I custom fabricated some mounts for lights and a shovel, and I had a friend custom-build a brush guard for me. Then I put a cheap Rough Country lift on it, which I’ve recently replaced with a new lift from Toytec. I also got new 33x12.5x15 BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s.

I take my 4Runner out to the desert a lot with my brother and my dad. We have made many memories ripping around Ocotillo where it’s open and flat, and you can just relax and cruise. My future plans for this 4Runner are to eventually make it a dedicated pre-runner/overlander hybrid with full race suspension, seats and harnesses, supercharger, a Baja-style bumper, fiberglass fenders, and of course new BFGs. I’ve owned two sets of BFGs and I will probably never own another tire.

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Build

Ryan's 1974 Chevrolet Blazer

Editor’s note: If you happen to be cruising the streets of Los Angeles and a ’74 Chevy Blazer blows by you, it’s probably just Ryan Kerzner taking Emily out for spin. She’s the love of his life.

 




When I was growing up, my dad worked for a rental and leasing company and he would always come home with different cars. From the newest Porsches to Mercedes convertibles, he was always driving something cool, so I just naturally fell in love with cars. Instead of reading books and watching TV, I was the kid reading Motor Trend and Car & Driver magazines. 

I got my Blazer sort of by accident. My best friend David Gross bought it from a friend of his who didn’t have the time to restore it — the Blazer had been sitting abandoned in a field for over twelve years. David wanted to restore it for himself, but he couldn’t find the time either. After some smooth talking, he convinced me to buy it from him with the plan that we'd restore together. 

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So far it’s been pretty easy to restore. The parts are inexpensive and have been easy to find. The Blazer now gets a lot of attention — you just don’t see many lifted, full-size, vintage trucks cruising around LA. It really stands out among all the compact and luxury cars. I get more thumbs up driving the Blazer than I do a lot other vehicles I have access to. I use it to run my errands, and I’ll occasionally drive it to work and drive to friends’ places on the weekend where we work on our cars. Once we get the interior Rhino-lined and remove the camper shell, I’ll be at the beach on the weekends with it. Convertible truck for the summer — HELL YEAH!

During the restoration, we found the name "Emily" painted on the glove box, so inevitability we decided to call the Blazer "Emily." Being a single guy in LA, I make jokes with my friends that Emily is my main chick. I do spend more time with her, fixing her up, spending money, and taking her places more than anyone else. My friends and family are always asking me how the restore is coming along. The Blazer has really become part of who I am.

I work for a luxury car rental company in LA, and I've driven a lot of different cars. It’s not unusual for me to deliver a Ferrari 488 Spider to a client one day, and do a demo of a Rolls Royce Dawn the next. It’s a cool job, but I’m never happier than when I’m behind the wheel of my Blazer.   

I have BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2s on the Blazer. My friend David pointed these out to me when he was working on a 2017 Ford Raptor. He wouldn’t shut up about the truck, its specs, and especially the tires. We thought it would be a perfect fit for a retro truck. We knew it would make the truck look aggressive without having to put huge 4x4 off-road tires like everyone else does on these old Chevys. It’s a very versatile tire, too: smooth in the city, and when I decide to take her off-road, I know I'm going to be in good shape.

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I work for a luxury car rental company here in LA called MCar. I’ve been in the luxury car rental industry since 1999, and I've driven a lot of different cars, especially the exotics we have. It’s not unusual for me to deliver a Ferrari 488 Spider to a client one day, and do a demo of a Rolls Royce Dawn the next. It’s a cool job, but I’m never happier than when I’m behind the wheel of my Blazer.   

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Build

Jhay's 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer

Editor’s note: Jhay Ar’s 2009 Mitsubishi Lancer is a labor of love. Be it the Las Vegas Strip or the desert roads of Arizona, the mods he’s made to the vehicle turn heads wherever he goes. Now, as a member of Team Hybrid, Jhay is ready to take his Lancer to even greater heights.

 


 

I came to the United States from the Philippines when I was eighteen years old. I started working at a gas station, and one day a group of guys came in with their modified cars. I was amazed and I went out and started talking to them. When they found out that I drove a 1992 Civic Hatchback, they asked me to join them. That’s when I really became interested in cars.

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My very first car show was Hot Import Nights in Long Beach, California. Team Hybrid was at that show, and I immediately became a big fan theirs. About four years ago, a couple of the team’s members saw my car on Instagram and Facebook and they invited me to join them.

I’ve always loved Mitsubishis. Mitsubishi has been with my family for a long time —my dad’s very first car in the Philippines was an ’82 Mitsubishi Lancer. In 2004, I purchased a 2004 Mitsubishi Ralliart OZ edition. And in 2008 when I graduated nursing school, I purchased a brand new Lancer as a gift to myself.

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I love the way my car looks and the way it drives. When I drive around with it, I get attention from everyone. Driving around Vegas and Arizona is something I really love because of the views and the great locations for photo shoots.  

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I don t really have an inspiration on building my car, I just want it to be unique and clean. My main goal is having my car featured in a major magazine and get recognized in big industry shows like SEMA. But the car has already gotten a lot of attention and I would like to show Hybrid Luv to the staff at BFGoodrich for allowing me to represent their company with their amazing products. The Comp 2 A/S tires have been really impressive.

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Here are the specs for my car: 

Exterior:

  • Solis hypercolor shift liquid wrap 
  • 2015 Lancer GT front bumper with JDP carbon fiber lip
  • 2009 Ralliart rear bumper with Evo 9 rear diffuser
  • APR GT carbon fiber side mirrors
  • Do Luck carbon fiber trunk (candy red)
  • VIS carbon fiber hood (candy red)
  • Varis side skirts
  • ARS HL2 rear lip
  • Wreckedlancer custom front fenders

Interior:

  • Bride ZETA III bucket seats
  • Buddy club seat rails
  • Bride fabric door panel
  • NRG quick release and short hub 
  • NARDI 350mm steering wheel
  • Red carbon fiber interior panels
  • Takata harness
  • NRG harness bar
  • ARC shift knob

Suspension:

  • D2 racing air suspension
  • Cusco rear anti sway bar
  • AEM front strut bar

 

Engine:

  • RRM SRI intake with HKS filter
  • TSW short throw shifter
  • ARC radiator cap
  • Mishimoto aluminum radiator
  • Red carbon fiber radiator cover

 

Audio:

  • Kenwood DNX 892
  • W3 12 inch Subwoofer x2
  • MB Quart 1500watts x2

Wheels and tires:

  • Volk TE37 SL wheels (18 x 11 +18, Top Secret Gold)
  • BFGoodrich g-Force Comp-2 A/S (235/40/18)
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Follow Jhay’s build on Instagram at @jhayar24_non_evo and the rest of the Team Hybrid family at @teamhybrid_95.

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Adventure

Brother Builders

Little boys have little toys. Big boys — well, they have bigger toys, of course. That’s the story of Lonny and Jason Childress. Yes, they might look like fully grown adult men, and they might be the founders of Gateway Classic Mustang and Gateway Performance Suspension, but there’s no denying it. The Childress brothers are still kids at heart. 

Here’s the long and short of it: Lonny and Jason made a career out of racing monster trucks, and then they made a second career out of restoring, building, and upgrading Mustangs. If that’s not the stuff of kids’ dreams... 

It’s remarkable Lonny and Jason are even in the automotive industry, to begin with. Their childhood in Missouri was filled with horses, not horsepower. Their father was a breeder, so Lonny and Jason spent plenty of time moving hay, cleaning stalls, and driving tractors — not exactly the stuff of high octane dreams or hot rod fantasies.

But the one thing the Childresses did have was a model building hobby. “I built a lot of models, and as a kid, you don’t know anything about horsepower, especially if your dad isn’t a hotrod guy,” says Lonny. “So when I went to the hobby store, I looked to see which models looked cool. And to me, Mustangs looked cool.” 

“Just look at them,” adds Jason. “They’re cool looking cars. Neither one of us really liked Chevy designs. Everyone oohed and ahhed over the ‘70 Camaro, and I just didn’t see it.”

Adding to the cool factor of those Mustangs was the Childresses’ exposure to actual, real life ‘Stangs. “We had a couple of cousins who were older. One of them had a ‘66 Shelby clone, and the other had a ‘67,” says Lonny. “We would go over to their house every summer, and they had these cool cars. That got me into Mustangs a little deeper.” 

Mustangs. Just look at them. They’re cool looking cars. —Jason Childress

After graduating high school, Lonny found his own Mustang. “It was a ‘68 coupe, and I decided I was going to fix it up. So that’s where I got my start. I rebuilt the engine myself, and I tried doing the bodywork and paint myself. I didn’t have any money, so I did everything I could.” At the time, Lonny didn’t have any experience with cars, but he was working for Western Auto in Emporia, Kansas, so he had plenty of brains to pick as he figured out his way around his car. In doing so, Lonny came to the conclusion that “a guy could make a business out of doing Mustangs: buying them, selling parts, and fixing them up.” 

Lonny pitched the idea to Jason and his father, and they went as far as purchasing two more Mustangs to work on. But it wasn’t meant to be. The elder Childress — who grew up poor and as one of nine kids — was reluctant to invest resources into the builds. “He wasn’t the guy who would take a risk like that,” says Lonny. “We were always watching every penny we spent. We were taking parts off this car to put on that car, instead of building it with all new stuff.”

Despite falling short, those Mustangs did enable a couple of important things for the Childresses. The first: Jason had a great car go to prom in. The second: a down payment for a monster truck.

 


 

All the while the brothers were working on those Mustangs, they had also developed an interest in the monster truck scene. “The one and only time my brother and I paid to see a monster truck show was in Columbia, Missouri,” says Lonny. “We’re Ford guys, red’s my favorite color, and there was this ‘79 red Ford monster truck called First Blood. That was my guy, right there. That truck ended up winning the event, but in doing so, it broke one of the front knuckles off. Afterwards, we went down into the pits and we notice the driver is there by himself. We’re young and dumb, so we asked if we could help him out.”

That started a relationship with the driver, Rob Fuchs. The Childresses went from helping that first event, to becoming part of Fuchs’ regular event crew. Then, one day, Fuchs calls Lonny with a problem: his wife is pregnant, and with the due date imminent, Fuchs can’t drive his truck for an upcoming tour of New York area fairs. So Lonny stepped in. 

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“I was scared to death. I’d never done it, just been around it,” says Lonny. “But I made my mind up. If I didn’t drive, I’d always wonder, so I did it, I loved it, and I got the bug bad. When I got back, I told Jason we had to figure out a way to do this.”

Through their connections in the monster truck world, the Childresses found a monster truck that had been built, but was mostly sitting unused. Lonny offered to start driving the truck for the owner, but on a shoestring budget, it wasn’t the type of experience he wanted. “They didn’t have the equipment, so we ended up having a conversation about making payments on the truck because we wanted to do it as a full-time gig instead of running it three times a year,” says Lonny. “The guy’s daughter really wanted a Mustang, so we gave him the first ‘68 coupe I did as a down payment.”

“That allowed us to race monster trucks, so we did that, and then we got hired to race full time with a big team,” adds Jason.

I was scared to death. I’d never driven monster trucks, just been around it. But I made my mind up. If I didn’t drive, I’d always wonder, so I did it, I loved it, and I got the bug bad. When I got back, I told Jason we had to figure out a way to do this. —Lonny Childress

After running — and winning — with that first truck, the Childresses got hired by the Bigfoot Monster Truck team. Lonny spent his career with that team, while Jason moved on to drive King Krunch and Bearfoot. “It wasn’t a job,” says Jason. “We were living the dream. Seriously, how does a hillbilly redneck from Missouri get to jump in a truck and be a rockstar in front of 60 thousand people?” Lonny agrees. “It was the time of my life. We had the best equipment on the planet, and it was the heyday of monster trucks. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

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On top of performing for stadiums full of raucous fans, the brothers learned what it meant to give 110%. “Our work ethic comes from our parents, but it’s another level when you’re in Bigfoot or Grave Digger. You’re the star of the show, and you’ve got to do whatever it takes to get that truck ready for next night, even if you have to stay up 25 hours straight,” says Lonny. “We were the Tim McGraw of the show,” adds Jason. “People came to see our trucks. In all the years I raced, I think I missed 2 shows because I couldn’t fix my truck.” 

But after over a decade in the monster truck industry, Lonny and Jason began thinking about life outside of those trucks. Spending 48 weeks out of the year on the road and in those trucks was taking a toll. Lonny took himself out of the driver’s seat and instead began managing the bodyshop for Bigfoot, but with little room for growth there, it became clear to him that he needed a new direction.

 


 

Luckily, there was a Mustang shop not far from where Lonny worked at Bigfoot. The owner was looking to sell his shop, and Lonny saw an opportunity. In exchange for the shop owner’s mentorship on the business side, Lonny would help with bodywork and paintwork. “I still had a full-time job on top of racing, so Lonny was going to learn how to do everything and go through the books,” says Jason. “But the guy never did it. He just had Lonny slaving away as an employee.” Lonny decided he’d had enough, and he left to start his own shop with Jason, which eventually would become Gateway Classic Mustang.

They finished a pair of personal Mustangs — a ‘70 Mach 1 for Lonny, a ‘69 Mach 1 for Jason — and began taking them on the local car show circuit. “We were always first or second for us,” says Jason. “One weekend, I’d be first and he’d be second in our class, and the next weekend, he’d be first,” adds Lonny. Naturally, people began taking notice. The tipping point came at Fun Ford Weekend in 2002 or 2003 — Lonny doesn’t remember the exact year. “We’d built several cars: a ‘70 convertible for my dad, a ‘70 Boss 302 for the cousin who’d had the Shelby clone; and a couple of other local cars,” he says.

Jason chimes in: “A guy in a BFGoodrich shirt walked by and saw the first one. Then he saw the second one, the third one, and by the time he got to the fourth car, he stopped and asked whose cars they were and why they were all running Radial T/As. We gave him the answer everyone should give: ‘They’re the only tire that belongs on these cars.”

The best way I can describe it is we’re building cars that are people’s Picassos or Rembrandts. It’s their piece of fine art that they finally got. It’s their lifelong dream. —Jason Childress

Lonny elaborates: “If you’re building a period correct muscle car with stock wheels, it’s the only tire on the planet. It just screams muscle car, especially back then when no one was doing Pro-Touring builds. That led to an amazing relationship with BFGoodrich — totally by happenstance.”

The momentum continued to build for the Childress brothers and Gateway Classic Mustang, and they began experimenting with restomods. At the time, Mustang clubs frowned upon any major modifications to Mustangs. Period correct was the standard. “That’s still true for Boss 429s, Boss 302s, Shelbys, and other collectible cars,” concedes Lonny. “But they built about a million ‘65 coupes, and they aren’t worth anything. If a guy restores a ‘65 coupe, he could find a really clean, rust-free body, do every stitch of work himself, and put 30 to 40 grand into it, and his car is still only worth $20 grand. And guess what? ‘60s and ‘70s muscle cars drove like crap.”

Jason adds: “I go back and watch videos of Jerry Titus road-racing his ‘60s Mustang. They were in there with no power steering, no power brakes, nothing to keep them cool, and they were in there manhandling those cars. It’s so cool to watch, but people who want our cars are used to driving modern cars. Now, if we can give them the look of an old car with a modern driveline and suspension, he’s got the best of both worlds. He still looks cool. He ain’t driving a Prius, but he’s not on the side of the road, either.”

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At first, the Childresses made subtle changes. One of Lonny’s favorite builds was an Emberglo ‘66 fastback. They upgraded the car to have disc brakes, added a Shelby roll bar, a Shelby gauge pod, and a few other things that were almost unnoticeable — even the editors of Mustang Monthly didn’t realize what was unique about the car until they were in the middle of a photoshoot.

But then, the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds came out, and that changed the game for Gateway. “We sold Lonny’s ‘70 Mach 1 because he wanted to build the Eleanor car from the movie,” says Jason.

“It was a really bitchin’ car, and I wanted one of those really bad,” says Lonny. “We found out the guys who built the car for the movie were going to start selling the Eleanor fiberglass body kits, so I decided to build my own. We found a really bad ‘67 fastback — it’d been in a fire, had rust everywhere…[there was no value] so it didn’t matter what you did to it. So we put on a new suspension, rack and pinion steering, BFGoodrich KDs — it was a completely custom car.”

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The Childresses weren’t the only ones building Eleanors, but to their eyes, other builds were missing something. “They were mudding them in, making the flares so they just looked smooth on the body,” says Jason. “They just didn’t look right to us.” Their instinct was proven correct. At Woodward Dream Cruise, they met Chip Foose, the legendary designer and builder who was behind the movie’s Eleanor build, and he gave Lonny and Jason his seal of approval.

 


 

The Gateway Eleanor resulted in an explosion of recognition and work for the Childresses, and it also put them on the path for the next evolution of their business. As part of their builds, they were sourcing suspension parts from an Australian manufacturer. But that relationship soured, and Lonny and Jason were left high and dry with client builds but no suspension to put on them. “That forced us into the suspension business. We contacted every one of our customers, explained the situation, and said that if they gave us time, we’d get them a better product than they were originally going to get,” says Lonny.

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The Childresses tapped into that do-anything-it-takes work ethic. Despite a complete lack of formal training, the brothers began developing their own suspension parts. Along the way, they built a bright yellow ‘68 coupe named Rowdy to serve as a testbed, and started learning the performance driving skills needed to really put their products to the test. Out of that hard work came Gateway Performance Suspension. “It nearly killed us, but we were able to uphold our end.”

From that point on, the Childresses have worked to expand Gateway’s offerings — and not just in the Mustang suspension market. They found a way to shoehorn a modern Coyote 5.0 engine into vintage Mustangs; they developed a full kit for that engine swap; and with their 2017 SEMA builds (a ‘62 Falcon for Jason and a ‘69 F-100 for Lonny), they’re on track to expand beyond their pony car roots.

 


 

Despite the intervening decades and experiences, Lonny and Jason are still the kids who built models and raced monster trucks. They were motivated by their dreams and their passions then, just as they are now. Even as they grow the scope of Gateway Classic Mustang and Gateway Performance Suspension, they are ever mindful of why their work is important. “The best way I can describe it is we’re building cars that are people’s Picassos or Rembrandts. It’s their piece of fine art that they finally got. It’s their lifelong dream,” says Jason.

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He tells the story of one particular customer who wanted a Mustang convertible. “He came to us with a car that was so bad, we literally had to throw it away. It was rusted to the point it was unsafe. We basically built him a whole new car with all new metal. Well, we finish the car, and the guy tells us that he’s got an eye disease and that he’s got two years before he’s completely blind. He didn’t share any of this with us until the car was done. And it’s messed up, because within six months of us finishing the car, he had to sell it because his vision went faster than they anticipated. But we got to give him those six months of a dream.”

Lonny elaborates: “For guys our age, muscle cars were unobtanium. We grew up driving Pintos, but we get to a point in life where there’s enough fun money to finally own a really badass Mustang.”

Jason agrees. “Very few people get to buy their dream car, but they work really hard and when they figure out how to do it, we get to be a part of making that dream come true for them, and that’s really cool.”

 

 

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Build

Michael's 1973 Chevrolet Camaro

Editor’s note: While most kids Michael Bradshaw’s age are playing soccer and studying for the SAT, Michael is focusing on a much deeper passion - rebuilding a 1973 Camaro. It’s the realization of dream he’s had since he was just twelve years old.




 

In June of 2013, I met Kyle Tucker (@KT) of Detroit Speed & Engineering. After riding with him on the autocross course, I knew that I wanted a Pro-Touring second generation Camaro. It didn’t matter that I was only twelve years old at the time. A few months later Kyle invited me to stop by the shop when my family was on a trip in North Carolina. Two weeks later I found the car that would become the love of my life, Project Second Try.

I am currently sixteen years old, and I love that I’m building my car with my dad. I got my love of cars from my dad — he’s always been a gearhead, and I grew up around his 1931 Model A street rod. He’s always been into street rods and classic cars, but the whole Pro-Touring movement was definitely new to him. My dad is a great fabricator and he is also an amazing problem solver. He has taught me so much.

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We’ve done all the metalwork ourselves, and the car is due to be completed in March of 2019. My plan is to leave the engine stock until I get some seat time under my belt, but the car will have a full Detroit Speed suspension setup, and the drivetrain will consist of an LS3 and T56/TR6060 transmission. I hope to work with Forgeline wheels to put wheels on my car, and they will have BFGoodrich Rival S tires mounted on them. I also plan to have fixed bucket seats and five point harnesses as well.

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I’m going to do a lot with the car once it’s finished. My plan is to autocross the car and road race it. I also plan to run the Optima Ultimate Street Car Series and drive the car all the time on the street.

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Attempting a project like this at my age has not been easy. People don’t understand how frustrating it can be. But my dad and my mom have been my biggest supporters — they really motivate me. I’m also very blessed to have people like Kyle in my life. He believes in my vision and goals for the car and he really supports me.

 

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Adventure

Isaac’s 2005 Jeep Wrangler

Editor’s note: A traditional gift for first wedding anniversaries is paper, but Isaac Lopez and his wife decided they needed something else: American iron in the form of a Jeep.




 

My wife and I had a discussion on our first anniversary about how great it would be if we had a Jeep. That day, we were trying to get to a waterfall in a four-cylinder sedan. We were on a dirt road for 8 miles in the middle of the woods in Hot Springs, NC. After that experience, we decided we had to get an off-road capable vehicle.

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Since I have always loved the Jeep brand, the history, and the rugged look, it just had to be a Jeep. I’ve made a few mods on my 2005 Wrangler. The main ones are the 2.5-inch lift, rocker guards, the HD bumper/winch, and 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2s.

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We love the capability those big BFGs give us. Our favorite spot to go off-roading is in Helen, GA. It’s some of the best off-roading you can do in north Georgia. It has mud, rocks, obstacles, wildlife, and creek crossings, and the views are amazing. It’s a must-do if you’re in Georgia. We also have a few spots in my town of Jasper/Tate.

 

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Build

Mark’s 2013 Subaru Outback

Editor’s note: Forget the crossover craze and the American obsession with lifted vehicles. Mark Ocampo went the other direction and turned his 2013 Subaru Outback Limited 3.6R into a lowered street wagon.

 


 

As early as could remember, I was always interested in the way things were put together. I was a pretty inquisitive kid, and my dad’s big hobby of model cars and planes rubbed off on me. I started building models myself around 7 or 8 years old. And heading into high school, I was always the one tinkering with my car’s sound system and doing minor mods to the looks. We didn’t have Youtube to learn how things work, so we just experimented — small wiring fires and all.  

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Still, I was never a full blown automotive enthusiast until college. I was working abroad in England, and I worked a couple of minutes away from a Ferrari dealership. At random times of the day, you would hear that distinct pitch in the distance ominously coming closer, like a jet plane ripping through the countryside. Whoever they were — master techs or prospective owners — I always had to turn and see them drive by in amazement.

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Fast forward 10 years, and I’m married and have our firstborn, and my wife and I were looking for an SUV to fit our growing family. I had been eyeing Subarus for their legendary AWD, and I knew Subaru owners were just my sort of crazy. We picked up the Outback thinking I was going to make it our adventure vehicle, which got me started on researching how to lift it for excursions and camping trips. While I was searching, I found that Subaru had released a wagon version of the Outback (which is a lifted Subaru Legacy in itself) in Asia, Europe, and Australia. I flipped my whole idea, and the lifted SUV dream became my street wagon project.  

Within the year, it was lowered on wheels. It’s a very modest build compared to most, and I’m happy that we’re still able to take the it on some pretty awesome family adventures and camping trips. (Our Tacoma is ready to tackle the harder excursions if need be.)

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The Outback is my daily driven work/family car, so I get to enjoy seeing and acknowledging other Subaru owners on the road all the time.  And being a photographer, the Outback gets a fair amount of attention in front of the lens when it’s photo-worthy. I recently switched to BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S (245 /45 R19) tires based on the reviews, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s a great set of tires for the spirited driver: very responsive and better grip than other tires I’ve had on the car. The aggressive tread pattern that runs to the side wall is an attention-getter, and I’ve gotten so many compliments on the wheel/tire combo I’m running since it’s beefier than most would run on a street setup.

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Here are the major mods on the Outback:

  • KW Suspension Variant 3 coilovers (Specific to Subaru Legacy / Legacy Wagon)
  • 19x9” +38 Work VSXX wheels, powder coated in matte metallic grey
  • BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S (245 /45 R19) 

 


 

To see more of Mark’s Outback (plus some awesome car photography), check him out on Instagram.

Read More...  1     2

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