Builder Stories: Comparison Kills Creativity
Is Being A Speedhunter Hereditary?

Hello fellow Speedhunters, my name is Daniel Covarrubias and I’m a 22-year-old adrenaline-seeking enthusiast who is striving to make building and driving a career. I would like to express a great amount of gratitude towards Speedhunters for bringing me on board as a build partner for 2016. This is definitely one of those moments in life that’s made me realize opportunities are usually disguised as hard work. I will be shooting my journey during this process as I am a photographer at heart. Photography is what I live for when I am not behind the wheel, designing, attending shows or planning my next steps.

I must admit, if it wasn’t for Keith Charvonia, I am not sure if you would be reading this today. Keith and I were familiar with each other’s 86 builds, and as a result we became acquaintances via social networks. I kept in contact with Keith throughout my 86 build, and as I was getting closer to finishing it, I contacted Keith once more. Our last discussion consisted of my plans for 2016, which resulted in him introducing Speedhunters’ Managing Director Rob Bullough and I, sparking off a chain of events that would lead to me joining in partnership with Speedhunters. Since then it’s been my job to live up to the expectation of what it means to be a Speedhunter… Hopefully there is enough downforce within these images of the 86’s GT wing to keep your eyes fastened during this introduction.

SH INTRO - FRONT SHOT 240SX

First, a little backstory. Due to the fact I reside in Southern California and in a city that seems to have competitions on who can go to sleep first on a nightly basis, this missile of a 240SX probably should not have been my first car. Driving with a 325hp SR20, 2-way LSD and an ASD hydro e-brake to work is no fun – cough, cough – at all.

SH INTRO - EQUINOX

Then, there was this. I’m sure many of you are wondering why this 2012 Chevy Equinox was built, but there’s a story behind it. My mom was such a passionate and determined woman who made sure ‘giving up’ was never a part of her vocabulary. She was an independent woman who rode superbikes in high school and asked my dad to marry her. In my eyes, that’s pretty badass. She was also quite an adrenaline junkie herself. Is being a Speedhunter hereditary? I guess only time will tell…

My mom passed away February 28th, 2014, from terminal cancer. She was 42 years old. This build is representing my mom; this was her car. Months down the road I walked outside one morning and asked myself, ‘How am I going to keep her spirit alive?’ I instantly realized what I had to do: build my mom’s Equinox and tour it with her story. Just remember, every struggle in life has shaped you into the person you are today.

SH INTRO - FR-S RANCHO

Having started taking my 240SX to Just Drift events, by mid-2014 I was in search of another project. I happened to shoot this fine 86 shortly after it was built by LTMW, and noticed it was up for sale with only 5,000 miles on clock. Following the shoot I had quite a contemplative drive home asking myself; ‘Is she the one?’ It was probably the same emotions your dad had when he first saw Pamela Anderson running along the beach in the introduction to Baywatch.

She Was The One
SH INTRO - GARAGE FR-S

Most jump to a conclusion that this build (most builds, really) was a financial mistake, but in reality this has been one of my most rewarding investments to date. Shortly after bringing the FR-S home, I knew it was time to create a monster. We began this process by adding Vortech Engineering’s V-1 supercharger – an oil-fed unit that contains HD high-speed ball bearings ideal for race applications, and utilizes precision ground gears to drive its impeller.

SH INTRO - V1 FR-S

The driving experience and linear power curve my V-1 supercharger provides is just below surreal. This is all made possible by Jim Middlebrook and the engineers at Vortech Engineering.

SH INTRO - IRW FR-S

The 86 sits on Air Lift Performance’s all-new 3H system. Air Lift’s shocks/struts have 30 levels of dampening adjustment and high performance mono-ball upper mounts with camber adjustment. Air suspension has come a long way in the last few years, and the 3H system is a perfect representation of that.

SH INTRO - PCH FR-S

Still contemplating whether this eyesore of a GT wing is a children’s jungle gym or not? Well, let’s just say I am a very curious individual that does not want to wish I ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda…’ If you never try, you’ll never know. I may have encountered a blessing in disguise while I was driving on the freeway back home from an 86 event in Arizona several months ago. It was then that I heard an abrupt accumulation of cracking, pulling and finally scraping. I then glanced into my rear-view mirror to see my Rocket Bunny rear diffuser dragging on the freeway at 65mph while still connected by my reverse light power wire. By the time I was able to pull over all I had left was a half-devoured reverse light. I have always been a fan of GT wings, so I decided to attack this vision I had with full force. Possibly a bit too much…

People would ask what kind of shape this wing would take, and I would find myself using the same hand motions over and over again. I then took this continuous hand motion shape I’d been describing and sketched it on a sheet of graph paper. Being satisfied with the look, I then made a prototype from Styrofoam. Once the numbers were crunched, I went to a buddy of mine with a CNC machine who took those numbers and produced the first version of my ZN6 GT wing.

SH INTRO - AB FR-S

I must say, partnering up with Speedhunters and Andy Blackmore on my livery designs for 2016 was no less than a dream come true. I discovered Andy’s work in 2009; I was 16 years old and wanted nothing more than his designs on my future builds.

SH INTRO - SEMA FR-S_V.2

Here we are six years later. We finished two projects and I am sure there will be plenty more to come.

The Hustle
SH INTRO - TOWING 240SX

Although I knew that time was not on my side, I made the decision on October 1st to commit and rebuild my Nissan 240SX for SEMA 2015. Instantly, I loaded up the 240 and took her to Ace’d Autoworx for deconstruction.

SH INTRO - CLEARANCE 240SX

The moment had finally come – it was time to test-fit my Avant Garde F132 wheels. Something magical happens when a meaty tire is fitted on a super-wide deep dish wheel; it honestly gets me every time.

SH INTRO - CABIN 240SX

Witnessing an aggressive fitment getting put to work is just short of arousing if you ask me. In order to make an 18×10-inch -39 wheel functional in the front, let’s just say I have a free foot rest if anyone is looking for one… And squeezing an 18×11.5-inch -49 wheel in the rear was quite an adventure in itself, too. Before I knew it, we had a rolling chassis ready to obtain an all-new hue by LTMW.

SH INTRO - CHASSIS 240SX

Here we were October 27th, five days until my scheduled roll-in at SEMA.

SH INTRO - INTERIOR 240SX

Two days later and I’d remembered how completely cracked and dried out my dash was. I’m sure many of you know the value of a superb 240 dash, so attempting to find a perfect one within three days didn’t exactly seem too realistic. So for some insane reason I felt a dash swap would be more realistic; an 86 dash to be exact.

*WARNING* DO NOT ATTEMPT A DASH SWAP WITHOUT A BACK-UP PLAN THREE DAYS BEFORE AN EVENT!

SH INTRO - INTERIOR 240SX - 2

We managed to pull it off, and, quite frankly, it was damn near a direct fit. I will have more interior shots of how we managed to implant this 86 dash within future articles.

SH INTRO - AB 240SX

If you are unfamiliar with Andy Blackmore, please be sure to check out his website filled with some of the world’s most iconic livery designs and vehicle styling.

SEMA-SH-2

We did make it to SEMA in the end, but this is where the story really only begins.

SH INTRO - GARAGE 240SX

We weren’t born to just pay bills and die. We are here to live a life, and we all choose what we make of it. The moment people stop comparing, is the moment they will realize comparison kills creativity… Almost always, the creative and dedicated minority has made the world a better place. I appreciate all builds – especially ones of the minority – because I ask myself, ‘why?’ prior to ever thinking of what’s inside. I have established many relationships within these past two years, and I must say, I am very thankful for the nights that turned into mornings, friends that turned into family and dreams turning into reality.

If it wasn’t for RD Engineering and Ace’d Autoworx, 2015 would not have been possible. It is now time to finish these two vessels and get us back on the track. If you want to see some fender-smashing and bumper-flying action, be sure to attend a few Just Drift events this coming year, as this is where we’ll be. We are tossing in my overhauled SR for a couple months while we compose our Vortech-supercharged 2JZ. Yup, I said that right. I can already hear the keyboard warriors typing faster than they can think…

It appears there was enough downforce to keep your eyes fastened during this introduction, so stay tuned as the hustle continues.

Daniel Covarrubias
Instagram: killagram
daniel@speedhunters.com

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81 comments

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1

Awesome story!
I've very much enjoyed your builds but never knew the stories behind them, thanks for sharing.

2

Just finished reading......and first off just wanted to say sorry for your loss, such a young age not only for her but for you as well. It's is totally inspirational the way you turned things around for the better, people tend to keep things pinned up inside but I like the way you let them flow out...... more POWER to you and your creations. Your definitely going in the right direction.

3

Great journey and story! I enjoyed your writing very much! You have 2 accomplished builds under your belt at such s young age, Kudos!

4

Awesome! Love all the cars in this post, and a great story too!

5

Great read. Looking forward for more.
dash swap looks dope and the 86 has a mean rear now, be proud of it.

6

That 240sx would be just a mean streetmachine. Nice work.

7

Dope story and builds.

8

So you want to be a professional moms money spender when you grow up?

9

@RIPSpeedhunters Dang, does it hurt to see someone else do what you can't?

10

Awesome article! Big fan of your builds. And thanks for the new wallpaper

11

So did you just not read the part about how his mom passed away, or are you just that much of an ass?

12

Seems like a rich kid....did not earn one dime towards builds by hard work. Cash only.

13

@RIPSpeedhunters Show respect ass nugget

14

MichelleOrtega And who are you to say he didn't earn the money he is spending? Do you know where he got his money? You have a computer and internet access to spew this pointless hate. You are a 'rich kid' compared to many impoverished nation's citizenry.

Next time you decide to smack talk, perhaps you can show us pictures of something you have built with your own hands.

15

Personally, id say get rid of the stupid af wing if you don't even track it (86)

16

Does that make the car itself any worse? How it was paid for is a moot point. What matters is how it was built and intent of the owner.

17

RDENGENERING! Represent lol. I've seen this driving around town... awesome car, sounds amazing! 22 years young and doing it! Congratulations man!

18

i really loved the equinox even before i read the story, once i did tho it made the car 1 million times better. All of my respect goes to this build now. I lost my great uncle to lung cancer, and he is the one to actually teach me how to work on engines, I didnt dare look at another engine for almost a year, but one day i realized he wants me to do what i love. Its tough to just move on from a death that killed you, but sometimes you gotta look at the light in the situation. And i love how you did, i bet every time you jump in that car all the good memoirs come to mind, and you dont let that ruin your day, you keep doing what your doing for her thats what she would want.

19

Wow, only 22 and already many fantastic accomplishments. I feel old, and lazy.

20

Really dope pictures! Looking forward to seeing more from you here on SH!

21

To be honest I am a little confused by this article for a couple of reasons. But the big one is what exactly does being a build partner for Speedhunters mean for you? I am assuming that Speedhunters is looking for promotional cars at events. But what is it exactly that you are going for? Eventually own a shop? Act as a design firm? A sponsored driver? A photographer? A bit of it all?
I apologize but I am struggling a bit to get my point across. And I am definitely not hating, all three of your cars are on point. Maybe what I am asking is this: SEMA is a trade show and Speedhunters got their brand out using your cars. But what exactly is your "brand"?
Either way landing a partnership with Speedhunters is a cool honor, and I suspect you'll put it to good use!

22

Stance or speed, drift or drag - we all hate cancer. Many of us have lost people to it. Please know that there are people out there in the car world wishing you all the best, car-related or not.

23
takahashitothetop

ARIZONA!

24

That Chevy looking pretty bad ass!

25

live.build.drive.

26

Was a pleasure to work on this Daniel. So pleased for you the builds turned out the way they did. Daniel worked his arse off on these build while fitting in what life brings you. Hope you had the chance to recover a little post SEMA

27

.........that Equinox though.......... I'll never look at them the same now......... wow

28

Is the 2j just supercharged or dual charged? Turbo and supercharger? Just wondering if your going to trashbin the turbo all togethor?

29

Rad article, I love your 86 and that massive wing, meaty fitment with a hair of poke is seriously the best. The Equinox has a great story behind it. You're 22 and out here doing it, I need to get my shit together and start making moves so I can be on your level at that age haha. Can't wait to read more!

30

Jagdroach Speedhunters, at it's very foundation, is about supporting passion. From the moment we spoke to Daniel it was abundantly clear that he had it in boats. We were instantly drawn to his drive and determination to __GET SHIT DONE__. I'll stand by this forever, Daniel is a mark apart. What's in it for him?.. he said so in his piece. He gives just as much of a fuck about doing awesome shit as we do, maybe even more so. Sure there's some cross-marketing opportunities but much more so its about kindred souls helping each other to kick ass

31

Great writing, photos and builds Daniel! I think from this introduction article you've already justified SH's decision to bring you on board... Very well done mate!

32

Thearkady

33

I can totally see where @jagdaroach is coming from. If you want people to properly respect your build, then show some humility and at least talk about the skills you've attained along the way. Talking about how awesome [insert company] is for selling you [insert part] is just a sad attempt at marketing. Finally, comparison FUELS creativity. Without comparing what's out there, how can you create something different/better?? If you don't compare, you end up with something with already-used paint colors, a rocket bunny body kit, and deep dish wheels.

34

After seeing a lot of 86 builds, and a completely ridiculous amount of 240 builds, I think I'm most intrigued by the Equinox.  It looks simple and understated but just so... right.  Very involved builds are still really cool, but sometimes it just takes something a little different to really capture the imagination.

35

RBJKT Jagdroach I have absolutely no arguments or doubts about his passion or your judgement. His drive absolutely came through in the article. But the fact still remains I don't really understand who he is, how he got there and where he may be going. When I said brand I didn't mean something like "where's his lifestyle brand," I meant brand in a much more personal way: In an industry filled with passionate people how has he set himself apart? And maybe it is that his passion and drive is that much greater than normal . I'll definitely be watching this space to find out more and I am happy he is on board. The car culture can only benefit from people like him.

36

@Fabrik8 Right? That thing is sexy as hell. And then hearing the story behind it... Damn

37

Mad builds!

38

Jagdroach I can spot exactly zero body mods too, so it appears completely stock except for the wheels and drop.

39

I wish I had this kind of disposable income!!!!

40

RBJKT Chill out. The guy is just asking questions - no need to get all defensive.

41

dude_bro No, but as someone that has a very rich friend that has only been able to afford the cars he has via the money his mother gives him, I really find it quite annoying when he isn't honest about it and dodges the question when asked. IMO there's absolutely nothing wrong with having rich parents that give you toys(not saying that's what's happening here) and most would be jealous of it, but when asked, just say. It's always going to be something people wonder of a young guy with expensive toys, and there's always one that will ask the inevitable question of where does the money come from.....why can't they just be honest and say I have rich parents. Hell, I wish mine were rich and gave me heaps of cash. Again, not saying that's the case here, but dang, that's a lot of money to have into a few cars at just 22.

42

That comment you made about being a Speedhunter being hereditary resonates with me. My dad built up a Harley and rode it everywhere, my uncle has a 1950 Ford Shoebox coupe and a 1928 Ford Roadster (being re-built as I type this), and my aunt has 1972 Ford Mustang with a decent amount of horsepower. Anyways, it's awesome to see you as a build partner, I hope to see a lot more photos from you, the quality is outstanding!

43

Wait a minute , SC'd 2JZ ?
I must say I want to see video of that , I wanna listen to how it scream !

2JZ can be a screamer , plus SC ? Boy you must show me some video now ! XD

45

Alil off topic but how much money do you make? Seems like you done some pricey builds at a age where most people are in university or college.

46

Those wings look very functional so if youre actually going to be doing some high speed corning great. But if youre sporting them just for looks I dont know if Id want to be driving around the streets with that, its just too much for a street car imo. For street cars Im either a no wing guy or a duckbill spoiler.

47

One question, do people actually like covering their cars in stickers and vinyl?

If its just for the show why not just make a display board with the sponsors?
Cars covered in stickers and vinyl have always looked horrible to me.

48

Smiggins it's a speedhunters sponsored cars, you reach more audiences online. That means the car needs to be stickered up. Because no one at a show wants to snap a pic of your sponsor board.

49

Big Pooky quality work right there lol

50

RBJKT Jagdroach really? My honest review is that he's kind of a jerk in the toyobaru groups I've seen him on. He always seemed more interested in the formula of what gets likes. He does have access to the right group of people though and doesn't seem afraid to turn a wrench.

Pretty abrasive guy to like but if this article was my first encounter with him I think I would of liked him. Seems much nicer in a formal setting on speedhunters, if there is more of this then I think he'll be fine here. Photography work is nice in those first 3 images too.

51

Why is it that people need to point out all the things they dislike about this build, or question how or why he built what he has. Just enjoy it for what it is. Some of you bash this guy with no real constructive criticism to validate anything you have said. 
Anyways, I did have the chance to view these builds at sema this year and I liked what I saw. The fact that the 2 cars together work so well shows you have some skills to be able to achieve that. And even if they were apart, I could tell that  you built them...you have kinda built up a style I guess you could say. Congrats on the Speedhunters partnership/coverage, I for one would love to be in your position lol. Cant wait to see the videos of that 240 sliding around at some events (or maybe I'll see it in person since your from California)

52

OMG this guy is a total fraud, this completely detracts from the achievement of this build and I couldn't possibly overlook the fact that this car was built to a tight deadline and a few jobs had to be done as temporary fixes rather then miss the show...
Leave the dickhead comments to instagram chaps ;)

53

Dtoxin Really? Not only is it off-topic but also completely unnecessary. In case you did not know, it's not respectful to ask someone how much money he or she makes. How would you feel if I asked you how much you make, or your parents?

54

M1NG All I heard was, "meaty fitment with a hair of poke..."  My brain automatically scrambled those words into something completely un-car related.

Who's down to scramble the words to make different sentences?  Let's see how many we can get...

55

Yeeeeeeeeeeah. I have friends who are almost into their forties that were 30-40k into project builds at 22, and are still paying it off now.
It's not so easy as to look at an article and decide on that alone wether someone's got money or not.
Some of us just have really good credit.

56

Agreed, the Toyota/Nissans are nice, but it takes skill to make an Equinox worth scrolling back upwards to see again.

57

What did/are you spending your Student Loan on? When I got mine I paid tuition, paid rent and then dropped the rest on a 400cc "baby" blade.
Priorities man.

58

Yes. It covers flat spots in roofs and bodywork, makes it easier to find my perticular car in a sea of thousands of similar cars at owners days and it gives me a reason to keep mashed body parts and scuffed plexiglass Windows when the wife tells me to get rid of them.
I bet you had a pristine pencil case at school...

59

The jealousy is strong in this thread...nice work, both your photos and your builds.

60

Wasn't expecting a supercharger! Mad props on the dash swap. I like ingenuity. You can buy parts but you can't buy good taste - somethings these builds are full of. Thanks for sharing and welcome to the twisted family!

61

That is common misconception. May well be the case where you are from, but in some cultures it is like asking what you do for a living or your age.

62

That equinox is so sick. I want even aware it was possible to make it look that great. All the props to you. All of them.

63

Good man! I used my 1st year student loan to build my first track car, then 2nd year loan to go to the nurburgring twice. Far better than posing it up the wall like all my friends did!

64

...But regardless of this it's damned if you do, damned if you don't... Making the large assumption that Daniel was lucky enough to have wealthy parents who could help find his hobby rather than fund it entirely himself, then if he states this is where the money comes from people will act shitty about it, just add people act shitty about it if he leaves it unexplained.

65

Who is RBJKT and who spilled their shirley temple in his bro-dozer? Seriously tho, kind of weird for an SH 'moderator' to be using curse words in the comments section. I'm not offended, but I'm used to the SH crew being very professional. I don't think Dino or Mike would ever write comments like that, and that's why they are pure class.

66

@Fabrik8 Jagdroach You're right Sir! :) She is just on air and wheels.

67

Nemes Thank you for the kind words!

68

YoeriRazors Thank you! You'll have much more coming your way Boss!

69

AndyBlackmore No, thank you Andy! I am very please with all the hard work you were able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Hopefully more to come soon!

70

Exactly! Priorities :D
this is what I keep telling the Mrs every time she asks me for a new washing machine but she never listens....
If you are not going to do something stupid and fun when you are young then when? By the time I was 24 I had snapped my legs, my left arm and landed in a field with a Bull, but I had a grin on my face the whole time it was happening.... Ahhhhh memories.......

71

Something magical happens when a meaty tire is fitted on a super-wide deep dish wheel---Amen to that!
On a side note I am reading the comments section less and less these days.

72

The rear of the 86 looks MINT

73

JonathanW That is true.
Nevertheless the question is harmless. Nobody has to answer it.

74

I did not know an Equinox could look like that. Great job. Just wondering, air or static? I assume air.

75

Im all in for supercharged 2jz, keep rocking it!

76

The light's of the 86 are a subtle part that I really like.

77

You the man!

78

hi killagram, from peru with love!!!! thanks for represent our country in all your proyect!! your last na covarrubias is from peru, so you are famous here in lima, thanks a lot

79

Dude your title hit me right in the feels. All two and a half left of them. I've had a problem with creativity a while back and realized comparison is actually needed, that's how new ideas come about. Thanks for the reminder! I'm a purist with my S14 but that's with my own car. Keep doing what you're doing!

80

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