Getting out to events and tracking down feature cars might seem like the mainstay of what we publish here at Speedhunters, but there are also the stories that we bring you which sometimes might not seem obvious, but prove to be massively popular. At the start of each year we can make an educated guess about some of the things we will see, but this rundown really celebrates the unexpected side of what we do. In some ways these Special Features stories are the ones that come from deep within our culture, so are the most heartfelt, being based on pure passion.
From new builds, to doors opening for us and discussions starting. New friends and a fresh way of looking at things, behind the scenes and new territories. This is what we do. This is Speedhunting.
#10 – RADBUL: Meet Mad Mike’s New Mazda
Mad Mike is a larger than life character, but more importantly he always has been. One of the reasons why his popularity has grown globally is because he’s the real deal, and before the sponsorship deals came along he was building kick-ass cars and skidding them up whenever he could. More importantly, like a lot of successful people, Mike has stayed true to his roots and his love of rotary power.
Constantly moving his game on, when we announced that Mike was building a Miata/MX-5 chassis for his next drift weapon, you guys got pretty excited. There was some discussion centred around the decision to switch to the iconic roadster base, but most of you trusted in Mike’s choice. This initial look at the project was to be the start of something special, in more ways than one.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: RADBUL: Meet Mad Mike’s New Mazda
#9 – Inside Nismo: A Day At Omori Factory
It’s kind of weird, but at #9 in our Top 10 feature car rundown (coming soon) is the Nismo R34 that Dino shot whilst at Omori Factory. In fact, you can see it here in the second row of cars. So out of the hundreds of features we’ve run in 2014 I find it faintly odd that now we’re looking at the sister feature in the same slot! Don’t worry, I’ll get over it by drooling at the incredible facility.
What makes me smile is that it’s bad enough for us sat here looking at screens and dreaming of what it must be like to be there, but can you imagine what it was like for Dino? He bought his BNR34 Skyline GT-R brand new and respects it like a son to a father, and here he is in the temple of Nismo temptation. Oh that hardship, I know… We mustn’t feel sorry for him.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: Inside Nismo: A Day at Omori Factory
#8 – RADBUL: Mad Mike’s New Chassis Takes Shape
Yup, there’s a theme emerging here. The attention to detail and level of engineering going in to Mad Mike’s RADBUL build captivated us all. Here was the kind of operation you’d expect to see with a high-end touring car project, but this is a drift car! How times have changed, huh?
And that’s the beauty of this project for me. It’s not just a drift car – it’s the embodiment of what Mike stands for. Drive and dedication is what made this happen – the kind you do associate with a top-line motorsport team. Which is exactly what Mad Mike runs now. Sure, we all feel like we know him and he’s one of the most approachable guys out there, but think that he’s just a drifter at your peril world, he’s coming to get you…
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: RADBUL: Mad Mike’s New Chassis Takes Shape
#7 – Aaron Beck: The Art Of Automotive Mashups
Hands down one of the most inspirational stories I read this year, Aaron Beck not only has an amazing imagination, but the illustration skills to back it up with. We only had a few images to run, but that didn’t stop you guys finding something you liked and sharing the crap out them! The F1-inspired hot rods were my favourites… Sorry, I’ve just been off scouring the internet sales sites again for redundant single seaters.
Aaron had reimagined some of our favourite cars too, with twin superchargers and turbo fans. This Silvia S13 looks like no other before it, and it should be built! There are so many more good cars waiting to be put together in this world, and if half of them turn out as good as Aaron’s inspired ideas, I can’t wait. Which reminds me, I reckon he might have had a chance to dream up some more concepts by now. Anyone think we should ask him?
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: The Art Of Automotive Mashups
#6 – Singapore Nightlife & Car Culture
Have you ever been to Singapore? If not then you were probably one of the people that read this feature, intrigued to know just what kind of scene is happening there. Put together by Larry when he spent a short time in the country, if like me you have been there, then you’ll have read it too because of Singapore’s incredibly restrictive motoring laws and regulations. I was fascinated to read it from an insiders point of view, plus the pictures totally made me want to be there!
Everybody feels like they have it the hardest sometimes, but truth is, very few places have it as bad as Singapore. Does this stop the local enthusiasts? No, of course not. Just like us, you wanted to know and understand more about this scene, empathising with fellow car enthusiasts and the everyday struggle of doing what you want.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: Singapore Nightlife & Car CultureDid You See That?
#5 – Pick Your Weapon: The Engine Bays Of Formula Drift
Larrys involvement with Formula D is very much a double-edged sword for him. On the one hand he’s been up close and personal with some of the most incredible moments in the series history. On the other side there’s a constant need to look at the events and competitors in a different way, so that his in-depth coverage remains fresh and interesting.
This article was entirely dedicated to the engine bays of the grid – the power houses that are indirectly responsible for destroying so many tyres throughout the season. It was amazing to see the quality of work and level of preparation that goes into these weapons of drifting.
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: Pick Your Weapon: The Engine Bays Of Formula Drift
#4 – When 3 Rotors And 1 Turbo Aren’t Enough: RADBUL Gets 26B-TT Power
Hang on, I know that guy? That’s err… Mad Mike, right? As the build up series became more and more popular we could see more people tuning in to see what was coming next. Given that Mike has official involvement from Mazda these days, and the fact that the Miata/MX-5 has never come with the rotary motive power that he loves so much, I’m sure some of you thought he was maybe going to go inline four…
Which he did, sort of. When the news dropped that Mike was going to be powering his new project with a 4-rotor 26B from Pulse Performance Race Engineering (the people who gave us the world’s first 6-rotor motor) jaws dropped. With power figures to rival a small country and Mike’s infectious drive whipping up the frenzy of excitement, it’s no wonder this is a build that we all feel we’re part of. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when we show you the completed build?
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: When 3 Rotors And 1 Turbo Aren’t Enough: RADBUL Gets 26B-TT Power
#3 – Destroying Million Dollar Hypercars? On Set With Need For Speed
We all want what we can’t have – to press the button marked ‘do not touch’ and open the door with the ‘keep out’ sign on it. So when we managed to get Sean behind the scenes on the Need For Speed film, we had to sit on the article for a long time. These pictures were actually taken in April 2013. Getting an insight into the production process with nothing dressed up for us or hidden from view was pretty special.
The film’s success meant when we released the article it soon lifted up out of automotive circles and was spread by readers who had little knowledge of the cars, but just wanted to see behind the scenes action. Plus the hardware the guys were playing with was pretty cool – replicating and subsequently thrashing on and smashing up hypercars is always going to get our attention!
Didn’t see it first time around? Check out the full feature here: Destroying Million Dollar Hypercars? On Set With Need For Speed
#2 – Banishing The Female Car Enthusiast
Contrary to popular belief, the intention was never to stir up a hornets nest of discussion – Taryn just had something she wanted to talk about and got on with it. The scale of your reaction showed that she’d tapped into a vein of interest that a lot of you wanted to discuss. Hands down, this post attracted the most comments we’ve ever had on a story – not that they are a good indication of readership numbers. But in this case it may have given you a clue of just how popular it was becoming.
It was an interesting point to make too. We can show you all the cool cars and go to all the cool events, but once in a while there are genuine pockets of car culture that we want to look into and explore more. Taryn was very well placed to start the discussion, seeing as she is exactly the sort of person she wanted to know more about. Don’t know what all the fuss is about? Why not take a look and see what you think.
Check out the full feature here: Banishing The Female Car Enthusiast
#1 – Gymkhana SEVEN: How It All Went Down
Ken Block, it’s always struck me that his name could be that of a history teacher or a garden machinery repair man. In my book he should be called ‘Overlord Randy Dangerson the 3rd’. His grasp of what looks amazing and putting the requisite people in place to make it happen is highly admirable. In our Top 10 feature car rundown the Hoonicorn features up there, but here the breakdown of how the entire five-day shoot happened ranks at #1.
Once again Larry gave us his best, drained from a week of late nights and early mornings he still delivered evocative images that transported us straight in to the middle of the varied locations the team used in LA. For many people, Gymkhana SEVEN was probably a five-minute distraction during the work day, discussed over the coffee machine or tool box and then shared on social media. Larry’s feature was like having the director’s cut commentary to steer you through the process, and you couldn’t get that wonderful insight anywhere but on Speedhunters. Awesome work Larry, and Randy!
Didn’t see it first time round? Check out the full feature here: Gymkhana SEVEN: How It All Went Down
So, what can we learn from this rundown then? For a start the range of material that we can cover here on Speedhunters is pretty much boundless. But closing in on that, you want access, you want to see what other people can’t and be included in the process when somebody is creating something awesome. Viewing the finished job isn’t good enough anymore, and thankfully we live in a world where we can take you to the centre of the action. You’re vocal and we love you for it. You feel passionate about your interests and want to discuss them when given a chance. Oh yeah, and you really want to see more of RADBUL. Am I right? Roll on 2015!