Apr 26, 2016

Battle Stripes | Jovi's Track Ready Evo

The first impression usually becomes the initial judgment we have for any person. But if one is smart enough, they know very well that an exterior is never proportionate to what comes from inside. For this context, seeing a ride that looks like a race car with crazy aero and a full body livery, we expect for that machine to perform very well on track. It is always a pleasant surprise if it did. But if it was a disappointment, it becomes a case of “all face, no trousers”.

But realistically, how often do we find a car out on the streets that possesses a loud exterior with a very capable level of performance? In fact, it is usually either one or the other. But while I was in Singapore, I find that those who build and modify their cars usually will make sure their pride and joy becomes the complete package. Since getting a car in Singapore is already as difficult as it is, it makes perfect sense why a car owner and enthusiast in Singapore will make sure their rides are built up completely.

Sometime around Christmas in 2015, I met up and joined the guys from LHB Motorsports on a little drive around the island. That was the point in time where I really got a chance to be knee deep in Singapore’s street scene from the abundance of properly built rides to the island rounding sessions held after dark. That’s when I got to know Jovi and his red and white Mitsubishi Evo 9. Unlike Jovi’s calm persona, his Evo has one of the loudest exteriors I have ever seen, and that was meant in a good way.

Jovi started becoming fascinated with Evos about five to six years ago. There was no questioning why so. The Evo which is known to fast and fierce looking also had a huge potential when it comes to making power. This was the exact reason why it made sense for Jovi to have the Evo. Of course, this wasn’t his first project car prior to the CT9A. Jovi started by building up a Honda Civic EK followed by a Civic FD then an Evo 10.

It wasn’t until a bit over three years ago when Jovi finally settled with his current ride after the CZ4A. Luckily, when Jovi purchased the CT9A, it already came with a C-West aerokit on the exterior. But the 4G63 underwent a full rebuild at LHB in order for the motor to utilize its potential to make the amount of power that he wanted. So the whole motor was ripped apart and rebuilt from the ground up.

At the moment, the 4G63 was built with a 2.3 liter bottom end and Tomei 290 degree cams and valvetrain on the top. They also replaced the stock turbine with a 25G hybrid turbine from Owen Developments to feed the boost to the built motor. The turbine is bolted on to a HKS turbo manifold and downpipe. To make sure the setup is running in order, a Syvecs engine management system is plugged in and tuned so that the 4G63 motor is running at optimal performance.

But of course, all those power upgrades will make no sense if the car can’t put its power down to the asphalt. For that job, the Evo runs on a set of 265/45/18 Yokohama Advan AD08R tires. It also has a set of Nitron Racing NTR R3 fully adjustable coilovers to provide the perfect dampening both on track and on the streets. With all these extensive modifications done to this Evo, the car was able to make a lap time of 2 minutes 25 seconds that was clocked by Aloy, the person who runs LHB Motorsports on the Sepang International Circuit.

With a lap time at 2 minutes 25 seconds on Sepang which is definitely an achievement to be proud of, it’s incredible to see the same car being driven almost every night out on the Singapore streets. In fact, an Evo like this is well worth the battle stripes that it wears proudly. A perfect example of the ‘give finish’ attitude that Jovi and his crew mentions time and time again. But for him, this is still an ongoing journey since he is already thinking of what to do next on the Evo. That future might still be unknown but I do know that this Evo holds much more than a simple first impression.

Owner: Jovi Chin
Model: 2005 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution RS CT9A
Location: Ang Mo Kio, Singapore

2.0L 4G63 Inline-4,
LHB Custom 2.3L Stroker Kit,
Tomei 290-degrees camshaft,
Tomei Valvetrain,
LHB Custom Camshaft Degree,
Owen Developements 25G Turbocharger,
HKS Turbo Manifold,
HKS Turbo Outlet,
HKS Turbo Downpipe,
Apex'i Exhaust,
Magnus Intake Manifold,
Q45 Throttle Body,
Okada Quad Pack Coil,
PW 1000cc Injectors,
HKS Fuel Rail,
Tomei Fuel Regulator,
ARC Radiator,
HKS Intercooler,
HKS Twin Oil cooler kit,
Dash Surge Tank,
Bosch Fuel Pump,
Syvecs ECU,

5 speed manual,
OS Giken STR Twinplate Clutch,

Nitron Racing NTR R3 Coilovers,
Under Carriage Bushing & PillowBall from LHB,
Carbing Strut Bars,
Endless Racing 6 Pot Front/4 Pot Rear Brake Kit,
Endless CC-Rg Brake Pads,

Gramlights 57D 18 x 9.5 (all round),
Yokohama Advan AD08R 265/45/18 (all round),

C-West Wide Aerokit,
C-West N1 Front Bumper,
C-West Super Aero Front Bonnet,
C-West Super Aero Trunk,
Voltex SPL Carbon Fibre Twin Canards,
Voltex Type 5V GT-Wing,
Voltex Carbon Fiber Exhaust Protector,
Ganador Side Mirrors,

Defi Gauge Full Set,
Bride ZETA III Bucket Seats,
Varis Carbon Fiber Gauge Holders,
HKS EVC Boost Controller,
Momo Mod 08 steering wheel,
Flamebeater fire extinguisher,

LHB Motorsports, Singapore.


Apr 14, 2016

Appreciating Originality | Skyline R32 GTR by Garage R

From the day I started shooting cars under my blog’s name, I always keep a list of favourite cars that I always wanted to shoot and write about. This list of cars I have can range from a rare classic to a highly exclusive trim of a particular model. There have been times because of these targets, I find myself on a wild goose chase of lost hope and baseless tips. Of course, I was fortunate enough to cross out some of the entries in that list, a Voltex kitted CT9A, an NSX and a Rocket Bunny BRZ just to name a few.

During the same period of time, I also began to develop a huge appreciation towards the R32 GTR. Despite knowing about the R34 GTR first when I was a kid through the Fast And Furious trilogy, it wasn’t until my 20s when I started to know and admire the R32. The biggest reason was the absolute simplicity of its appearance. It all falls into place and it is one of those very few cars which I will not change a thing on its factory exterior. Thus, this was also why the R32 GTR is also an entry in the list of cars that I want to shoot at least once.

While I was visiting Garage R in Singapore, Jason Lin, the shop manager took out a Skyline R32 GTR which belonged to one of his customers. The car itself was in immaculate condition. The fact that cars that are more than 10 years old are considered an endangered species in Singapore, how could there be an R32 GTR still being driven in Singapore out of all places? But it did not matter to me since the car was right there for me to shoot and experience.

The owner has been a Skyline enthusiast ever since the early 90s when someone he personally knew imported one from Japan at the time. It wasn’t until three years ago when he finally bought one from a friend. However, it wasn’t exactly in the best condition despite making around 600 horsepower at the time. It was clear the power was a bit too much for the owner. So after a few months of ownership, he decided to send the R32 to Garage R for a complete rebuild.

The whole rebuild and restoration process took a very solid six months to complete since there were quite a number of issues that needed to be addressed. Among one of the major changes to the car was the change in turbo set up. Previously, the RB26 motor in this R32 GTR was running a huge single turbine set up. So the guys at Garage R changed the set up to the smaller HKS GT-SS twin turbine set up which was similar to the stock specs. This was because the owner wanted to be able to have a car that was suitable to be daily driven.

After the rebuild was complete, the R32 GTR was daily driven without any major issues. Soon after that, sometime in late 2014, the owner joined a club from Singapore called the Traction Circle Club. The members of the Traction Circle Club largely consist of weekend track drivers who frequently go up to the Sepang circuit to hold their open track days there. Hence, after joining the TCC, the owner became a weekend warrior and started to take his R32 GTR on occasional track days whenever he has the time.

Aside from the rebuilt RB26 motor, everything else on this R32 GTR has been restored and maintained in great condition. Of course, since the R32 GTR is now taken to the track occasionally, the car is now fitted with HKS Hipermax IV GT coilovers and ProTune competition brakes which are an exclusive item that can only be found at Garage R. Not only a machine like the R32 GTR must look good, but it must also be able to excel on track just like how the original designers intended it to be.


After spending an afternoon with this R32 GTR in Singapore, my appreciation towards the R32 has grown significantly. Despite being more prone to like modifications and tuning, there will be those rare occasions where I find a car that’s better left untouched. It is either that or at least not modded up to the point where the car’s character and charm changes. I have mentioned this before and I will mention it again, the R32 GTR is best left largely untouched. This R32 GTR from Garage R is a great testament of this claim.

Owner: Anonymous
Model: 1989 Nissan Skyline GTR BNR32
Location: Yio Chu Kang, Singapore

2.6L RB26DETT Inline-6
Nitto Forged 86mm Pistons,
Nitto Forged Conrods,
Tomei Type R PonCams Duration 250(IN/EX) Lift 9.15(IN/EX),
Tomei Valve Springs and Retainers,
HKS GT-SS Twin Turbos,
HKS Racing Twin Blow-Off Valves,
Stock Turbo Manifold,
HKS Front Pipe,
HKS Silent Hi-Power Exhaust System,
ARC Air Box,
ARC Radiator,
SPL Custom Radiator Fan,
Sard Fuel Regulator,
HKS Fuel Pump Upgrade,
HKS 800cc Fuel Injectors
HKS Fuel Rail System,
R.I.P.S. Intake Plenum with 80mm Throttle Body,
HKS Fcon Vpro Ver 3.24 ECU,

5 speed manual,
Nismo Super Coppermix Twin Plate Clutch,

HKS Hipermax IV GT Coilovers,
ProTune-Competition 6 Pot Front Caliper,
Dixcel 355 X 32 FS-2PC Floating Front Disc,
Brembo Stock Rear Caliper,
Dixcel SD 1-PC Rear Disc Rotor,

Nismo LMGT4 18 x 9.5 Offset +12 (all round),
Michelin Pilot Super Sport 265/35/18 (all round),

Fujimura Auto Rocket Dancer Front Lip Spoiler,
Craft Square Side Mirrors,
Carbon Fiber Intercooler Surround,

Defi Advance ZD,
Skylab Fusion E-TS Controller,
Nismo 260kph Meter Cluster,
Nismo Centre Gauge,
Chargespeed Carbon Fiber Dashboard Cover,
Nismo Seat Covers,
Nardi Torino Steering Wheel,
Takata Drift 2 4-Point Harness,

Garage R, Singapore.