Im glad to be a member of Natsukashi garage. As long as i can remember I’ve always been into cars especially euro cars. My current car is a MK5 GTI, and i bought this car stock right after college and getting a real job. It was a gift to myself for graduating college. At the time I was looking at older VWs and BMWs but when I test drove the MK5 GTI i knew I had to had it. Its a 09 MK5 GTI and has the TSI motor (the improved FSI motor from the older MK5 GTIs) and the same motor that is in the MK6 GTI. People say the MK5 GTI is the best GTI since the original MK1 GTI. The GTI is already a great car stock but being a gearhead it wasn’t stock for long. Within two months I had on BBS LM replica rims, then a month later I had Neuspeed race springs and VF engineering air intake. Then i bought a carbon fiber lip to make the car lower. But since I like to be slammed, i wasnt happy how low my car was so the next month I bought H&R Ultra Low Coilovers. I was slammed and rubbing hard haha. Then I saved some money to money to buy some CCWs because I wanted to have some poke. But I spent that money on a plane trip to the Philippines for vacation and to see my girlfriend. It was money well spent. When I came back, i scored a great deal on some Mercedes Alphards on craigslist. It was like a substitute to CCWs. Now Im slammed, tucked, poked, and stretched. I recently bought a exhaust and euro rear fog light for that OEM+ look. Within one year my GTI was completely transformed. Right now I would say Im 90% finished with my car, just driving it to big car meets with the Natsukashi garage crew!

Rolling on BBS LM reps and Neuspeed race springs

Gotta love those Alparhards

Mayday Garage status!

ccm xiii — okc

So as many of you may know, this past weekend was Cupcake Meet 13: Cupcakin for CF Care.  Alllll the way up in Oklahoma City.  When Branden and I first heard about the new location, we KNEW that there needed to be a natsukashi road trip in store.  New city, new state, new people, new styles, new friends!

My original plan was to drive my peanut up there.  Given the history and turmoil that went hand in hand on my journey to attain the peanut, I thought it was only fitting to take the car back to where it originally came from.  In just the couple of days journey it took for me to drive up to Oklahoma City and drive it back to Austin, a LOT happened.  Both car-wise and non car-wise.  To say the least, a couple chapters were added to “The Life of Thaison.” Continue reading

Introducing Natsukashier Vinson

Vinson has always sort of been the big brother of the group. He was the first to graduate college and has been into cars as long as I can remember. His first car was an old first gen VW bug which was rat rodded out and extremely cool. Considering his family has a long history of Euro tuning it’s no wonder why Vinson opted for a new VW GTI as his car of choice. This car started out stock and from there has grown to be, arguably, the best GTI in Austin. My personal favorite is the cross platfrom Mercedes rims that fit so perfectly on the little hatch. Adding Vinson to the group is a great honor and seeing as he now resides in Houston, we will be offered with the pleasure of following some of the Houston scene as well as more Euro things for the Euro guys. Like the rest of us though, Vinson has a love for slammed, loud, and all around sexy cars. Welcome to the team Big Brother Vinson.


The GTI at night. This car is seriously low

The Glory that is


Introducing Natsukashier Cody

As a lot of you readers know, Cody has been one of the first followers/friends of Natsukashi Garage. This guy carries our mindset, love for cars, and builds some of the best damn Honda’s known to ever hit Austin streets. When we first met, wayyyyy back when, he picked up at 1987 Honda accord LXI hatch back. To most people, they would write off the car and build something more viable and new but that’s not Cody. He always builds cars out of the ordinary and does so with the best parts (mostly OEM) to date. He happens to also be probably the main reason why I love Honda’s so much. I owe a lot to him and his expertise. If any followers need any help/advice on a Honda I’m sure he would love to help, and really…. this guy is a walking encyclopaedia. It’s great to have him on the team officially.

As of right now he owns a late 80’s model civic wagon that is near perfect. I love this car!


The man and his wagon. When you own a car this old you have to get very creative on your mods. Check out those fog lights and that lip!


Wagon shirt + wagon = love

Welcome fam!


The OKC Journey

Tomorrow starts our trip to OKC. Thaison and I will make sure to keep you all updated as we go with a few friends. Going to be a great weekend! (For more frequent updates follow me at NSKG_Branden on instagram!)

blacktop swap progress

So the blacktop swap into the 86 is about to go full swing.  I’m waiting on a couple parts to come in from the mail!

I found a deal on a harness that I could NOT pass up.  So I ended up buying this harness from a gentleman on club4ag, rather than rewire the aw11 harness that currently is on the engine — I’m just gonna sell that harness instead.

I’m also waiting on some exhaust parts — a jsp header and a buddy club spec ii to be exact.  Meaning, this car is going to make babies cry and your ears bleed from exhaust tones.  So my set up will be 110 mm velocity stacks, jsp headers, straight pipe, buddy club spec ii.

jsp header

My parts should all be here tomorrow!  I’m excited to get started on this swap.  Should make for a completely different car

salted, unsalted, or honey roasted?

I like my peanuts honey roasted.  At least, whenever I’m eating them alone.  We use salted peanuts a lot in Vietnamese cuisine.  It adds a little extra crunch and a slight toasty-ness to meals.  Growing up, sometimes I would just eat rice with crushed peanuts.  nom nom nom.

And in case you are wondering, no this post isn’t really about eating peanuts/peanuts in food… haha

So the “slang” or nickname for the second generation corollas are “mango” and “peanut.”

The mangos are supposedly the sportier ones also known as chassis code te27:

mango (te27)

The peanuts are the “sedans” or family cars also known as chassis code te21:


To this day, I still don’t see the resemblance to a peanut, buttttt… meh, it is what it is.

I’m getting deeper into the 5spd conversion for my peanut.  I called BRD Racing to talk to them about lightening my flywheel and making a custom clutch for me.  They said the product they offer is good for up to 500 hp.  YES, 500 HP.  Did you know you can crank out this kind of power from the single cam 3tc engines?  (if you don’t know, the 3tc is the big brother to the 2tc, the engine I have in my peanut)

Here’s a taste of some 3tc power in this 86:

I’m hoping to get my flywheel shipped up to BRD Racing on monday and then waiting for the pieces to fall together.  I still need to pick up a clutch master, clutch slave, make a hardline, order a soft line, and make sure all the crossmembers fit.  Then…custom driveshaft etc etc.

Gotta lotta work ahead of me!

Hatch Progress

Well it is time to take the motor out of my hatchback. Over the years I had gone through many motors (5 to be exact). This time, I plan to do things right. I’m not sure exactly what I’m set on, even though my heart has always been with the b16b out of the ever famous Civic type R. These days people have moved on to bigger and better things such as K swaps and even J swaps these days. Yes these motors may be bigger and fancier, but I will always have a soft spot for anything from the 1990’s through the 2000’s. Enough Babble, lets show some pics!


Here she is on the last day with a running motor. I can’t wait to turn this car into the car of my dreams.



No shame in my single cams. For the kind of driving I love to do these little motors have been more then enough to make me happy. Yes my car is still complete with air conditioning.


Cody and the Big Biss powering up before an afternoon of easy work. Yes my bumper really is drawn on with paint pens. It’s been that way since high school way back when. That’s the thing I love about this car, I build it for me and do things that I think are fun. Rather then paying for new paint that is likely to get destroyed I decided to do this instead and let people leave a little memory on my car. Love it or hate it it’s the fun that matters. I guess this is why I’ve always had tons of respect for the drift community in that their main priority when it comes to their car is driving it, which is how it should be.


Cody and Biss have trouble tackling the evil coolant hoses. Of course, I had to step in and handle it, but for the most part it’s fun to watch Cody with his boneitis struggling with things like this (Especially since he has it easy over there at Acura). Note to self: Don’t allow oil to leak all over your hoses for years, they swell up and can explode!!!!!!!!


Luckily fr you guys, I dress to impress when working on my car (Crocs, BBall shorts, and cut sleeve t-shirt)


When you don’t have jack stands that are low enough for your needs, you result in using bricks (Which is exactly what my car is sitting on right now)


No engine hoists needed, just drop it out the bottom. This is what we like to call good old Texas ingenuity.


Apparently Texas Ingenuity runs into problems sometimes, this one being the car wasn’t high enough


After much tugging and pulling on the rug we were finally able to get it out.


It seems as though some things never change. I love my life

Now my car sits in the garage on bricks, no really bricks, without a motor and wheels. I’m not sure when I will be back at it again with this car, but it’s only a matter of time. When Jeanie sees the streets again she will be better then ever. After all that’s what life is always about right? Progression is key.



Stay updated Natsukashiers!

peanut is alive and kickin!

So, sometime towards the end of last year, I parked the peanut and put it on jack stands and removed the front brakes (because they were the 86’s brakes).  The torque converter was going out (yes, it’s an automatic).  I could only use 1st gear out of the 2 gears this transmission has.

after one hour of ownership

You may be asking, “Thaison, your peanut has a 2 speed automatic????”  Yes…oldschool technology.  I’m pretty sure this car was marketed to be sold to people driving around in the city.  But regardless, the gears are super long.  1st gear can take me almost to 50 mph!  haha, I have no idea what RPM’s it’s running at though — there’s only a speedometer.  I parked it because, I was working out in Lakeway, so that was about a 30 minute drive through the hill country.  Sooo….needless to say, the peanut couldn’t get enough speed for the hills because the gears were slipping.  So it sat in the driveway.

lowered the car and the wheels were too wide -- open wheel it is!

As of recently, I’ve been getting the itch to drive it again.  I just get this feeling when I’m driving it that I don’t get with my other cars.  The chasis is super light (curb weight of 1,600 lbs).  It’s got a peppy little 2tc engine in it.  The 40-year old seats are SUPER broken in.  I added some asian-style “comfort beads” which are quite comfortable.  It wreaks of gasoline.  AND it sounds like a cammed big block.

made the trip all the way to houston for the nostalgic meet -- toyota reliability right there!

My little brother helped me bleed the brakes last night and after hooking up the car to be jumped and priming the ISH out of the carb, it started right up.  So today, I threw some wheels on it and drove it to work — I work closer to home now, so I don’t have to worry about too many hills.

MAN, did it feel good to be riding around in the peanut.  The brakes are still a little spongy, so I’m going to have to look into that again.  But other than that, it was amazing.  I’ve removed all the seats, so there’s only the driver now.  Half of the car, I’ve removed sound deadening.  So boy, it’s even lighter.

So now, I’ve sourced almost all the parts, I’m going to start the 5-spd conversion.  Using a T-50 from an ae86, a T-40 bell housing to match the 2tc block, ae86 clutch slave, custom drive shaft, and maybe a spec racing clutch.  And maybe a stock clutch master cylinder?  I read on speedhunters, where a guy used a wrx one — which leads me to think that maybe the te21, stock ones are hard to come by?  Who knows…. more research for now and updates to come soon!