So what to do now? I’ve been mulling over this for ages. The GX71 has been a bloody awesome project, from the time i bought her in 2004 after my civic got written off for me, i knew what i wanted to do. I had discovered this crazy ‘bosozoku/shakotan/garuchan’ style and had been following it for years. After coming from tiny FWD hatchbacks, a giant 18m long RWD boat seemed a logical progression????
It was a fateful morning after a hard night out that i decided to join my friend Aaron with his brand spanking GT-T Caldina, and head off to some ‘toyota meet’ that he was going to. At first i was only going to jump in the passenger seat. But then I realised… hey. i dont drive a honda anymore. that boat thing is a toyota too! surely toyota people dont discriminate? so i brought the tank.
Pulling into Cornwall Park Greenlane that morning revealed a sea of sparkly new Toyota modern blandness. Gleaming MR2’s, wagons, Altezza’s i think even… Truenos and Levins, all the FWD kind. Aaron in his gleaming GT-T.
and then me, in a ridiculous taxi looking thing, shit faded white paint, no hubcaps, steel wheels, factory height, rolling skip of trash from 1980s.
All conversation dropped to a murmur when we pulled in, with people stoaked to see the caldina, then tried to figure out why this other white thing was following it into the carpark. its like a homeless person walking in behind a supermodel to a photoshoot. you think its a mistake – then the white thing parks next to the caldina, and the murmurs drop to stunned silence. what the fuck is this? i find out then that today is a big deal. XS TV is filming today, and the show will be aired in a few nights. no wonder the bling was in full swing. no wonder Aaron spent 23hrs polishing his rims and shining up the car. no wonder everyone… was so stunned, when the unwashed shitbox pulled in next to them.
all EXCEPT from one crowd. some bunch of young fools who were crowded around a slammed out obnoxious yellow truck, with an even more obnoxiously rude licence plate. some kind of ATV or motorbike strapped to its deck. milling about taking the piss, they stop for a few moments when the taxi parks, then they actually come up with knowing smiles.
“this thing is sweet aye!” one of them offers, the first to talk to me. he’s wild eyed, grinning unfathomably, as if reacting to a neverending in-joke repeating only in his head. “this things like those old school japanese cars aye! they like put those massive dish wheels on, and those exhaust pipes up to here aye!” the wild grin gets bigger, the voices in his head now at the climactic punchline. i was just impressed someone other than myself even know what the fuck was going on. “YES!” i exclaimed, elated to find some intelligent life amongst this sea of 90’s blingers. “im getting 15x9s, 15x10s on the back, slam it out – no ones done it, you know? fuck silvias and skylines and evos right?” he looks at me now knowingly, the mad grin now twisted into a sharp smile – i suddenly see through the mad exterior and realise this fellow is as sharp a visionary as i am. “yeaa boi” he returns, nodding in approval. “Nigel” i say – i offer my hand in greeting. good to meet you, Mike. 🙂
(the day progressed with me eventually getting filmed and interviewed by the crew, telling of my intent to turn the white slab into something that hasnt been done before in NZ. the cameraman takes a closeup of the grille – back on TV, the ‘Grande’ badge on the stock grill flashes up in amongst the other chrome and decals of the other cars. “and you saw it here first on XS TV”, i quipped sarcastically. the interviewer liked that line.)
5 years later. ive gone from making cardboard cutouts of mock wheels and getting pink stickered and having the car out the back of my old house for so long it shows up on google earth in the back yard, to getting it prepped, painted, grafd, certified, and street driven – still one of the most if not the most hit links on the oldschool.co.nz project build forum, with something like almost 60,000 hits to the discussion thread, spreading worldwide to other forums, all without any bleating, trumpet blowing or advertising. i think its been a success – and im proud to have owned and created something unique on this side of the world, and got the recognition for it.
its still an old car. it has its failings. its done 230,000kms for shits sake of course the heater doesnt blow on 1 or 2 and of course the dash controls dont work on boost because they only work on vaccum from an NA motor. of course the ride is harsh. of course theres rust. of course the stereo sounds like shit. and theres no fucking air con, and a constant smell of leaking fuel. but i realise its got character that far exceeds the great majority of daily driven rides on the road… and im sad to give that up. I could go 2JZ in that chassis. but while it will fulfill the power and sheer grunt that its missing now – its still a runaway affair. its still feeding the homeless person caviar and dressing them in armani. they might smell of Chanel but get up close and you still smell a hint of piss. do you hear what im saying? sometimes its time to accept it for what it is and keep going. keep the good times, leave the dance party when youre peaking, not when its 6am and house lights come on and you just dropped another pill…
i dont want to be the 75th re-run of star wars, same shit being remastered and reformatted every year with new bling – hey its a great movie – but how many times can you remake it? you know… maybe its time to make a new movie. 🙂