Apr 6, 2016

Made For The Streets | Garage R

When it comes to automotive tuning, it is not just about making a car go faster. There are many aspects that one has to look at when tuning their automobile. Just like any race car engineer, they must know what the car is built for whether it is for track, drift or street use. From there, they can determine how much horsepower is needed and for how long.

Located in an industrial area in Yio Chu Kang, Singapore, is a very established workshop which is regarded to a game changer in Singapore's tuner scene. With numerous amount of track records that can be proud of under their belt, it is no question why Garage R known to be one of the top tier workshops in the city state. Of course, all huge names are not made overnight.

Prior to the establishment of Garage R, Fong Mui Trading was only a mere family business operating in Singapore. Among some of the services done under the name was car audio and accessories. But it wasn't until 1996 when one of the members of this family known as Lester wanted to establish a workshop that specializes in performance.

Lester became highly interested in performance tuning during his trip to Thailand during high school. When he was there, he was able to check out the racing scene in Thailand which was already very strong at the time. That's when he got the idea of establishing Garage R with his brother in his home of Singapore. It only came natural since as the years went by, he became a highly regarded enthusiast in Singapore with knowledge and experience on engine building and tuning under his belt.

Despite relocating from to a smaller location in the recent years, Garage R still operates as a well rounded and complete facility. Up front is the minor works will be done on their customers' cars like oil changes, routine maintenance and other minor jobs. But as one walks to the back, that is where the major works will be done like full engine rebuilds or servicing for adjustable coilover suspension.

As one walks around, one can't help to notice the amount of maintenance parts that are readily on shelf at their disposal. This ranges from items like belts, suspension components and HKS lubricants. Of course, that would be expected since Garage R is the licensed distributor for HKS parts in Singapore. If a customer needs anything and it can be supplied from HKS, they can get it. But of course, if there are other items that can be readily available to the customer. Among other names supplied by this shop are KW suspension, Carbing chassis struts, Akrapovic exhaust and even custom tailored fire suits from Stand 21. In other words, everything you need is here at Garage R.

In logical sense, a workshop is only as good as the cars they build. While the shop manager, Jason showed us around the shop, he also showed us a couple of their cars that was on site. It maybe a normal sight for a Malaysian like myself, but Nissan S-Chassis are becoming ever so rare in Singapore due to the COE regulations. This 180SX was prepped for Singaporean drifter Felix Lim with a built SR20 motor and Falken livery.

Deep inside the shop, there were a couple of the new Honda Civic Type R which was shipped straight from the UK. According to Jason, these cars are bound to be prepped with special parts and later sold off. But this isn't the first time this was done since back in 2007, Garage R built and sold 10 units of the Mitsubishi Evo 9 MR Garage R Edition. Based on that, the outcome of these FK2Rs would be something I would personally look forward to.

Due to the ever so changing times, Garage R nowadays try to avoid building the typical 'monster builds' which stereo typically one would expect the car to be loud, obnoxious and have the ridiculous aerokits. Nowadays they focus more on building highly streetable sleeper cars. In other words, the car may look stock, quiet and boring, but it still capable to perform very well compared to the competition. But most importantly, it is also to have a car that won't grab unwanted attention from the authorities. Something like the red Evo that was parked outside the shop but we will get to that car later on.

One of the first cars that i have featured coming from Singapore was the panda Subaru BRZ that came out from Garage R. Now after visiting the place where the car was built, I was able to see another aspect of tuning that to me became ever more appealing. I still may be interested in the violent looking street machines that can snap necks in huge numbers. But after meeting the people that are involved directly to Garage R, it made me think about it. So I ask myself, is having an obnoxious monster something an average Joe wants to live with? Would one want a car that breaks down every 50 meters? But of course, at the end of the day, we just want a fast car. But at least we don't have to strike nerves to have it. Special thanks to Jason Lin for showing us around.


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