A Brief Yet Triumphant Intermission

As most of you know I acquired a 2004 Mazdaspeed Miata a little less than a month ago. Getting this car was one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened to me. I live to drive, it’s what makes me happy and keeps me sane… literally, there was a point when I didn’t run a single road for 3 weeks and I was the most irritable person ever. So as you most of you can imagine getting a car with as much potential and heritage as a Miata (not to mention the fastest one produced) was a huge moment for me. The day I met with Dillon to make the trade, I was both nervous and excited. I couldn’t imagine that anyone would want to get rid of such an amazing machine; it took a total of five minutes before we both agreed to the trade and I was on the road. I was so excited that I had blasted through down town and weaved my way through SXSW traffic and was already on the highway when Dillon called me to mention that I had left him with all of my keys. As I drove back towards down town to pick up my keys, I couldn’t help but smile. The smooth exhaust note and slight ‘pshhhhhh’ from the blow off valve was more intoxicating than anything I had ever experienced.

Being that I have always wanted and planned on owning a Miata, I knew right away what sort of mods i would be making. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to cars and I love to dream; since I was 16 I’ve had this notebook filled with cars, parts and my would be builds if I owned one of them. One of my many dreams had become a reality and it was time to get to work. I spent the next three days scouring the web for parts and info that would help me build my perfect car.

Then… it happened. I woke up for work three days ago, got in the car and started making my way to the office. That’s when I heard it, that’s when I heard the sound that literally broke my heart… it was rod knock. Not too loud and not bad by any means, but I knew what it was and what it meant. That sound meant my dream was on the verge of death, so I did what anyone would do in my situation… I lied to my boss and told him that my “girlfriend” had been in a car accident and I needed to pick her up. I got in the car and drove straight to the dealership to have my car guru (Cody) take a look. Turns out that the fellow I had gotten the car from hadn’t changed the oil before letting it go. I had been running dry for god knows how long. We topped it off with some oil just to hold me over until I could do a full oil/filter change and I headed back to work. This was by far the worst and most unproductive day of work I have ever had. Instead of searching for parts and ways to make the car faster, I spent the entire work day reading thread after thread of people with my same symptoms. Over the next two days, I went back and forth trying to argue that it wasn’t rod knock. it’s got to be the lifters, it must be a bad water pump, maybe it’s a bad exhaust leak… as much as I tried to lie to myself, I knew what it was.

Being that this is my only car, I found myself in a bit of a shit sandwich. I had to drive it to get to work; but I didn’t want to in fear that I would further damage the motor or be left stranded on the side of the road with a ventilated block. As much as it killed me, I did the only thing I could think to do. I posted the car on craigslist. Within a four hour period, I had received four cash offers and three offers to trade (one of which was for a drag racing boat… how sweet would that be?). Seeing how desirable the car was and how much people were willing to offer for it made me realize how much I didn’t want to let it go. I was in love, it’s been a short relationship but I have fallen head over heels in love with my car.  After sitting in my back yard starring at nothing for an hour I got an idea, “Why should I get rid of it? I always get rid of things when they break. I’ve never tried to fix anything. This is it, big things 2013! You are going to rebuild it!” i did my research and contacted an old friend who happens to rebuild motors and transmissions for a living. Fred assured me that he could get it done in a timely fashion and would be giving me that “friends and family discount” that we all know and love.

So here I am, currently stuck with a car that may blow up at any given moment while driving, stuck with a list of wishes and wants, and stuck with the responsibility to rebuild it and to do it properly. So unfortunately, you all won’t be seeing anything about my Miata for a while. First I need to save up for a beater car to get me around from “A” to “B”. Then the fun begins, then I get to start saving up for what will be the most expensive and extensive project of my life. The question is… will I rebuild it to factory specifications? Or will I splurge on forged internals and build it to be more than it already is?

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Cupcake Meet 16

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Right after TX2K13, the next day I woke and left Houston for the 3 hour drive to Cupcake Meet 16 in San Antonio. I met up with the rest of the Natuskashi Garage crew at the meet and they were pretty much setting up the tent when I arrived. Still tired from yesterday’s work and TK2K13, being reunited with the Natsukashi Garage crew was worth it. Now, for those of you who dont know Cupcake Meet, its a car show that all the proceeds go to charity. A car show with a cause!

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The weather was perfect with clear blue skies. Thaison thankfully brought some sun block lotion, because with any outdoor car show that lasts more than 2 hrs you are most certainly going to get sunburn.

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This is Cody’s slammed Honda wagon, you dont see too many of these cars this clean. He even owns a dope Honda Ruckus too!

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Our newest member, Arick and his boosted Miata.

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2 door roaster and a bike, the perfect combo for any bachelor. Those days are gone for me haha, but I have my fiance and my GTI doe.

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Ruckus love

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Thaison’s crazy F20C swapped, Levin front end Hatchiroku!

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This CCM also had a drift event from the cars in the Lone Star Drift Series.

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This was the first bagged Turbo Beetlle I’ve ever seen. Im pretty sure the owner is saving up or waiting for his dope 3 piece rims.

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One of cleanest Hondas out there, I think saw this Honda at Wekfest Austin.

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JDM yo.

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This BMW is from the Squirrel Squad and they were definitely representing their hometown.

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Dem gold lips doe.

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These rims are fairly new from a new rim company called WatercooledIND. These are CC10 wheels and they will make any offset you want with these one piece wheels! I was actually going to get these wheels for my GTI but I went a different route and bought the Enkei RPF1s instead. But the CC10 are killer wheels.

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Liking that teal engine bay

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Because race/drift car

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This S2000 was at Wekfest Austin last year except it was plasti-dipped white. Looks better in yellow, in my opinion.

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BRG representing also, another very good team with their cars. I think they got 3rd place at Wekfest Austin for best in crew category.

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I was loving this STI and the Enkei NTo3 fitted this car very well

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Bent Work Equips 01, can also be used as a very expensive chair too!

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The meet ended at 7pm but the drivers at the drift event were giving rides for the spectators. The drifters went all out for the spectators and put up a very good show. The layers of sunblock really helped me not get sunburn. I know some of the other people that came to check out the show were red as a tomato at the end of the day. After the meet, Natuskashi Garage drove to Big Lou’s Pizza but the wait was 2 hrs long!!! So instead we ate at a chicken and wing place couple blocks down. After chowing down on some delicious chicken, and chillin,  the rest of the Natsukashi Garage crew went back to Austin and I prepared myself for the 3hr drive back to Houston. I’ll be back for the next CCM!

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On  a side note….. Coming back to my GTI at the end of the meet, I found a Sarap Buhay sticker lying next to my seat! Just wanna say thanks Sarap Buhay for hooking me up with this dope sticker!

Natsukashi Profile: Arick Casas

I just wanted to take some time to introduce one of our boys, Arick Casas. Hands down I think all of us can agree that he’s one of the craziest guys in our group. I’ve only had the pleasure of knowing him for such a shorter time than Branden or Cody have. I always knew him as the guy with the slammed xB back in the day…

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I think when it came down to things — it all started with his Honda Fit. After owning the car for less than a week, he had already started stripping it for touge runs.
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TX2K13

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Texas 2K13 is a yearly car event were all high power cars from all over the United States come to Texas to compete in a 3 day race event. The event was held at Lonestar Motorsport Park which is the home of Hennessy Performance. After my hospital orientation I headed down to TX2K13, it wasn’t that bad of a drive, just 45mins from Houston (without traffic). The cars that showed up were V8 muscle cars, Supras, GTRs, RX7s, Corvettes, Italian supercars, Mercedes, Sport bikes, High HP SUVs and trucks. Rolling up in my stanced, Unitronic stage 2 tuned GTI was probably one of the lowest horsepower cars out there.

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Club 420, Manila represent!!!

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While visting the the Philippines I have some friends that are in team called Club 420. Gotta say the cars are legit and to get in is by invite only.Paolo said “People might have a nice car but they have to get along with the group to get in.” Soo true to avoid any team drama. The people were in the team were chill and and didn’t mind me taking pics. My friend Nikko told me there are more people in the group but were unable to make it. They even have a Lamborghini in the team!!

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Import Alliance End of Winter Meet

When I first found out about import alliance back in high school I made it a goal of mine to make it to one of their meets. Ideally I would want to go to the Nashville or Atlanta ones since that’s where all the heavy hitters attend, but money and time always lead me away from it. To my luck, however, they hosted one at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth and a few of us Natsukashi guys (and gals) took to go.

The quality at this meet was outstanding. Yes there were the typical fake parts and no heart builds but you can really see the cars that shine with their creators heart. It’s the builds and the people behind them that constantly remind me of how fortunate I am to be apart of this scene.

P.S. I took a stab at editing photos for the first time, any criticism is welcome!

We decided to stay at the Best Western in Roanoke, Texas. This was the first time that we were stationed at some place that wasn’t way off in the boon docks. It was great!
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Import Face Off 2013

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After a busy night in the ER, and zero hour of sleep, I went directly to IFO with couple of my Houston buddies. The drive to IFO was very nice, the weather was perfect, smooth roads, and I didnt feel sleepy at all. My friend’s front end rabbit gti looked really good while rolling down to IFO. Later the rest of the Natsukashi Garage crew from Austin came down.

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