What Does Speedhunting Mean To You?

About four years ago, after our journey took an unexpected turn, I was heading to Detroit with Bryn Musselwhite in a rather special hire car. The motto for that adventure became, ‘Drive fast, take chances and talk to strangers.’

These, it would seem, are a pretty good set of rules to live by, providing that you understand them. You know, don’t take chances whilst driving fast. And don’t talk to strangers, whilst taking chances and driving fast. That sort of thing.

Use the motto wisely and it will serve you well. I promise.

In fact, I didn’t know it at the time, but it’s the talk to strangers part of the aforementioned phrase that got me talking to Magnus Walker back in 2012. A couple of days later I was on a shoot with Larry and Sean at Magnus’ warehouse in LA. Sometimes talking to strangers can get you into trouble, other times it can open doors. More often than not, though, talking to strangers results in new adventures.

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Over the past five years I’ve been lucky enough to talk with lots of strangers, some of whom have become friends. Others, I like to call Paddy McGrath. A few months ago I landed in LA and fortunately Paddy was not with me. He was likely busy complaining that someone had stolen his RAYS valve caps (again), or trying to work out what he isn’t going to do with all the air miles he’s forgotten to collect this year covering Formula D. I’ve known Paddy for around six years now and his extreme levels of organisation, regularly juxtaposed with his distinctively peculiar ways, are a constant source of amusement to me.

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Anyway, I digress slightly, but Speedhunting has connected me with many people who bring much joy to my life. Paddy being one of them. Larry being another. I had a couple of days free, so I called Larry to see what he was up to. “I’ve got a car that you’re going to love. It’s really fast,” he said. “Let’s meet tomorrow!” I definitely love Larry almost as much as I love to hate Paddy. Tomorrow would be a good day.

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What Larry didn’t mention was the car he had to drive was a 727 horsepower Mustang. Actually that’s a lie; you can see from the photos that it’s not really a Mustang at all anymore, it’s a Roush Mustang RS3 Phase 2. What does that mean exactly? How about 610lb-ft at 5,000rpm and nearly 70 percent more power than the stock car. Plus a manual transmission. Oh, and some canyons to carve. The power delivery is fantastically linear and the gearbox feels mechanical and direct, making the Roush RS3 an absolute hoot to drive, especially on the twisty roads above Los Angeles.

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Larry wanted to stop and take some photos en route. I got slightly upset that my water bottle didn’t quite fit in the cup holder, and then we bumped into a crew of guys who were also out for a drive.

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Charlie’s S52-swapped BMW E30 was a really cool build. If I remember correctly, pretty much all of the work had been done by him and his friends.

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The motor installation was really tidy and looked right at home in its precursor’s bay. Here in the UK, E30 coupes have gone up in value a lot over the past few years. I recall nearly buying an E30 M3 for £3,500 (approximately US$4,600) around 12 years ago. Should have, could have, would have! 

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You could check out Charlie’s build thread here, if Photobucket wasn’t holding the entire internet to ransom!

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I’m pretty sure he said that he daily drives this, too. What do you think of Charlie’s BRONZIT built-not-bought BMW?

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After a quick breakfast at Newcomb’s Ranch there was time for some Porsche 914 admiration with Larry’s friend’s, AJ and co.

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A gentle nod of respect was given to whoever was driving an Ariel Atom on a rather cold day in March, before we headed to meet Louis somewhere in East LA. I think.

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Louis was eyeing-up a new project car, which we immediately coaxed him into buying. I’m looking forward to seeing what Larry’s young protégé will be doing with his new purchase.

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It looks like you’re all helping him find the right path judging by the number of comments on the Subaru’s SH Garage introduction post!

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With the deal sealed we headed to Rotiform to meet co-founder Jason Whipple. We didn’t actually plan to shoot his F80 M3, but it was sat outside Rotiform’s HQ and I absolutely love sports saloons, so I asked if we could go for a drive.

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He was too busy, so handed the keys over to me and Larry, the only deal being we would have to clean it if we wanted to photograph it! This seemed fair to me, so off we went to Auto Zone to pick up some detailer and microfibre towels. You can check out the full feature very soon.

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If you’re wondering why Larry has two Canon 1D X Mark II bodies and the lenses taped on like they’re about to fall off, then I was pondering this as well. It’s not because he’s greedy, insecure, or a show off. When Mr. Chen is photographing those dusty off-road race events, this one camera/one lens system avoids dirt getting inside the body and on the sensor. And I thought he was just showing off! Speedhunting is definitely about learning stuff, too.

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To me, hunting speed means going places, meeting people and doing things. Often decisions are made spontaneously and the result of this is late nights and early mornings. My desire to drive fast cars, take chances and talk to strangers has got me into some interesting and sometimes strange situations.

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It’s cliché to say, but it’s not where you are, it is most definitely who you’re with that usually results in the best experiences. It just so happens that SoCal is automotive mecca and I got lucky that Larry and Jason had some very silly cars to drive whilst I was in LA.

So what does Speedhunting mean to you?

Ben Chandler
Instagram: ben_scenemedia

Photos by Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto
larry@speedhunters.com

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72 comments

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1

I love this post. Sums up everything Speedhunters should be doing. :)
Experiencing car culture and people.
Its all about getting out there with your car and meeting new people, and experiencing new events.

Author2

Thanks SubzDC5. For me, more often than not, the cars are secondary to the people who own or build them.

3

Agreed. Article was very well written.

Author4

Thanks David. I'm going to make time to write more in the future. I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

5

Actually, that motto, "Drive Fast, Take Chances, Talk to Strangers," would make for a cool SH window/bumper sticker... whaddya say.

6

Love the Roush! I think it's pretty hard to put it into word what you expirience at a meeting or event. It's all just like a shadow of what you saw and heard. But the whole expirience with cars and people just goes way beyond everyday normal life, and opens a person to a lot of new things. I always try to put myself in a SpeedHunter's position to get as close as possible to his perception of the event. I even read the articles about cars I don't actually like, because there's always something new, there's always some detail which would be missed out otherwise. Therefor, thanks SpeedHunters for all your work, and opening uor eyes to a wider horizon, I know it's not an easy job, but you're doing it more than awesome.

Author7

Nice one Patrick. That's dedication! It's cool that you're so passionate. It's not exactly a hard job to be a Speedhunter, but it does require quite a lot of persistence and dedication. And, as I'm sure Dino, Paddy and Larry will at confirm: a love for not sleeping very much, plus a borderline silly travel schedule.

8

Hehe, thanks Ben. Although my passion is being in sleep mode for now. For I live in Croatia, and there are two problems, first it's a financial disaster so people can't afford too much to play around to try something on their cars, and the import of parts is catastrophic. The other problem is that croatian do not have a taste or feeling for cars, so those who can afford something better always buy a new Audi, BMW or Mercedes, and there are couple of Porsche Cayenne and Panamera. My plan is to move out ASAP as I finish college (long overdue) and start my own build. Until than, I can only enjoy SpeedHunters and those couple of events that happen during a year (Drift, 1/4 mile and Rally events). So there's not much but still something pulls me towards cars, and it'll keep doing that. :-D

Author9

I much prefer the weather in Croatia to the UK, though!

10

We have cool weather, beautiful land, awesome mountains, breathtaking sea and crapiest politics world has ever seen. Next time your in croatia it would be nice to meet in person. :-)

11

Speed Hunting to me is enviously reading these amazing articles at work, and happily walking to my crappy ol'car at the end of the day.

Author12

Haha. At least you have a car! What do you drive?

13

Well, at least I've never flown a DJI Inspire in a hotel room at 1AM, you horrible person. (PS love you too)

14

I think this requires "story time" next time I see you.

Author15

That sounds like a REALLY dangerous thing to do! Lucky you were asleep, right?

16

hjtydkjd

17

great post
..
off topic - it seems like they could have put a little bit more love into making the active exhaust knob not look like a controller for underglow from amazon.com

Author18

Let's just say that you cannot compare the interior of the Stang to that of the BMW which is also in this post. You soon forget about the plastic-ridden innards of the Ford when you drive the thing. Roush has done a brilliant job of creating a car that is very fun, indeed.

19
ReallyForeverAlone

Speedhunting to me is all about scoping out cars that were meant to be driven spiritedly, at SPEED. So what it doesn't mean is cars with -10 or whatever camber designed to be parked and driven "low n slow". And if fewer of those articles showed up on this site, nothing of value would be lost. Save that for the sites that do focus on those kinds of builds.

Author20

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. What about cars that can be driven fast and hard parked like Paddy's 'Project GTI'. How do you feel about that? http://www.speedhunters.com/2017/06/project-gti-the-game-changer/

21
ReallyForeverAlone

You know very well that I'm referring to cars like this: http://www.speedhunters.com/2013/11/stance-nation-hits-japan/ riding on tires that are 4 inches too narrow for the wheel they're mounted on with a camber that leaves them with a contact patch narrower than the width of my pinky finger.

Author22

I was just checking! ha.

23

Spending months being inspired by this site and modifying my car, driving across Europe to a the Nurburgring only to find that my new brakes work too well and keep setting on fire due to lack of ventilation, driving back across Europe and then doing it all over again. This is Speedhunting to me.

Author24

A friend of mine drove all the way to the ring only to realise that his bucket seats 'with ears', as the Germans call them, were not allowed. Fairly inefficient use of a 16-hour round trip!

25

Whilst I go to events to submerse myself in the sights, sounds and smells of the automobile it's the interactions with the drivers / owners of these cars that are most rewarding part.

26

This is going to sound very cliche, but Speedhunting to me is what I've adopted from this sight(reading and following since 2009), starting out I just really loved cars couldn't really put my nose on why, I grew up reading Import Tuner, Modified Mag, Super Street as a kid, playing "Need for Speed" religiously, when finally driving when I became 16 had a passat but could never find a good way to mod it so when IO bought my WRX 4 years ago, thats when I started meeting people and going on cruses. But for years I could never describe the feeling of the love for the culture. When "shapes with no restrictions" was introduced on this site it put every feeling and thought to life: Passion, Strength, Unity, and Tolerance. Meeting people who share those beliefs is great. I've grown up respecting all cars and groups, some can get toxic (Subaru groups sometimes) but those four words and shapes really defined what Speedhunting is to me.

Author27

Glad you're having fun in your Subaru. Looking at Louis' latest project post, Subaru owners sure are a passionate bunch.

28

I have! Im Super excited to see where he takes it!

29

Really like that approach. And really like that there is so many of us with different perspective, different ideas and besides those toxic groups we're still a union. That's also an interesting thing about cars for those who love or at least admire them, they unite people more than anything else I've ever seen.

Author30

I even get excited about budget rental cars! But then, maybe there is something wrong with me.

31

That's an interesting idea...

32

Great read Ben. I'll definitely use those tips. Thanks for sharing.

Whilst I go to events to submerse myself in the sights, sounds and smells of the automobile it's the interactions with the drivers / owners of these cars that are most rewarding part. The challenge for me is actually introducing myself. Most times I take a sneaky snap and walk away but in the cases where I've stuck around and had a chat, it's always been worth it. I guess ultimately, everyone who attends or participates shares the same passion so there's no need to be shy. I should just take a chance and meet a stranger.

Thanks again
looking forward to hearing of more adventures

Author33

Sometimes I'm like, shall I have a chat... or nah? I'm usually glad when I do. Thanks Mick. Glad you enjoyed the story.

34

Speedhunting to me is when you see a car drive by and you turn your head and say,"woah..." then proceed to dissect all the potential modifications the owner has done to the car.

Or when you wake up at 4 in the morning to drive 5 hours to norcal from socal to pick up a cheap, but rare, part for you project car.

Or when you get Tanner Foust's autograph

Or when you take your mom's Prius for a drive through the canyons because your car isn't running but you already promised your buddies that you'd drive with them.

Or when you park your car and turn back to stare at it and smile.

Or when you're hanging out the back of a car going 40mph, doing rolling shots of a cool car for a Speedhunters article.

Author35

Or when you're hanging out the back of a car going 40mph, doing rolling shots of a cool car for a Speedhunters article.



Haha. Those are always fun times. Look forward to doing this again with you soon, Louis.

36

Or when you park your car and turn back to stare at it and smile.

I like that one the most. Can't wait for it when I can do that. :-D

Author37

Usually a little sneaky look, so nobody sees you checking out your own car. Ha.

38

The best look is when you turn around and give that under lip bite while checking out you car's hip lines.

39

I would not care about that, every artist admires his own work. :-D

40

For me its not about the performance or the speed... its about the joy of being one with the vehicle... You can have just as much fun in a 100hp civic as a 1000hp racecar if you feel connected to it..

41

Speed Hunting to me is about pushing the envelop. Starting off in a slow car and then moving into faster and faster machines. It's about performance and ignoring trends that will be gone in the years to come. The talking to strangers part has taken me from flat broke to driving alongside some of the biggest names in the world of motorsport. Great post! Stay hunting my friends...

42
Matthew Everingham

It's nice to stop and take a look at the bigger picture with stories like this.
Speedhunting for me is all about the random adventures that revolve around four-wheeled companions, the cool experiences and the crazy people you meet along the way.

Author43

It's definitely about the adventure! And you sure do meet some crazy people haha

44

Speedhunting in my country is somewhere between legal and illegal, and it wasn't long before cars become affordable to ordinaries, not to mention those performance builds, even though millions cars are sold, we still don't have a solid car culture.

Car modification has been around for some while, but people rarely know there's a community out there until we got internet. I didn't know there were car meetings until I saw such a thing on Speedhunters, and I started actively searching for meetings like those in Japan in my town, and I did found some.

For once, I got to a local car meetings, happened to meet the third RWB, a green 993 in my country. I was so surprised seeing such an iconic beauty with my own eyes. The other day, I went to Shenzhen to pay my friend a visit. We were talking about car things. I mentioned that there's a cafe run by a car media near to your place, so there we go. There was a bagged RX-7 FD and a three-door Mk.V GTi sitting at the doorstep, which is a rare scene for me. What I didn't expect was seeing that green RWB right behind the door. This time I had a chance to touch it with my own hand, and that's a moment of my life.

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Author45

Thanks for sharing. I heard there's a big Volkswagen/Audi tuning community in China. Is that right?

46

Yes, especially in northern China, VW and Audi is a privileged brand, so there must be dedicated specialists on these brands. While in southern China, Japanese brands are more popular, because of the influence from HK. It's hard to find JDM models since right hand drive cars are not road legal here, but there are still JDM players in the town, some of them are left hand drive, some of them are registered in HK. Another surprise I had was meeting a modified Subaru Impreza wagon, which is rarer than supercars in my town, at the back door of my college.

47

Great write up Ben, sums up why we love cars and the people around them. I've lost count of the new friends I've made because of an interesting car. Through the #TrackAddict events we do people who arrive as strangers leave as new friends.

Author48

The Track Addict events are great, Jay. The super friendly atmosphere promotes a really nice vibe and I always enjoy your track days.

49

Thanks man, we have a full schedule being put together for next year so hopefully you'll able to make it to a couple.

50

Hmmm... Paddy seems strangely similar to me...

Author51

Here's unique. Nobody is like Paddy! ha.

52

Thankfully.

53

For me right now, SpeedHunting is looking up prices of classic cars online selling in the US from India and planning out the build that is years away based on inspiration from this website and others... A man can dream, right?

Author54

Dream everyday brother!

55

For me its automotive photography at its finest, its to go to car shows/ car meets, modify my vehicle and generally be part of car culture. For me its an experience as a whole, a way to make friends. A way to connect with other people and talk about their cars, the late night cruises, the late night parking lot meets,

the pulls the hiding from the cops, the entire thing. The drift events, the drag events, auto x, etc.


its a wonderfully vast diverse culture that I dont think I can sum it up in one statement.

Ive always wanted to be a speedhunter. I even rock the white sticker on my rear window.

Author56

Hiding from the Police. Or just avoiding them! haha. Thanks for rocking the sticker and supporting the site!

57

I was discussing with my son tonight how you don't need to have a fast / expensive car to absolutely love it. His best mate just spent two weeks replacing the head gasket on his Holden Barina (Opel Corsa), It's definitely not a fast car, he doesn't have a lot of money and has to do all the work on the car himself. Plasti dip the wheels in pink one week, a huge Milo tin exhaust the next. Whenever something needs fixing / replacing it's always with the thought of how to repair the car in a way that improves it.

His friend just loves the car, that joy is infectious and my family smile whenever we see or hear it coming. That sense of love / joy can be seen not only in the articles on Speedhunters (and in the gobsmacking photography too) but in the car scene in general. You can tell when you come across a Speedhunter because they will be the ones that will check out your wheels as they're waiting across the traffic lights or driving by.

We can't all afford to have the most expensive, the fastest or the newest but we can all enjoy the effort and love someone has put into their ride.

Author58

100% agree. You don't need an expensive car to enjoy a really good driving experience!

59

your name says catpaw.

60
IAMSPEEDHUNTER: NJ

Speedhunting: Good people, cool cars, good vibes.

61

Speedhunting to me is cars, roads, family and fun.

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Author62

Is that shot in the Philippines?

63

yup I'm from this great nation ^ ^ mostly parts of my car were import from other countries hahah

Author64

I went to the SRP drag race in Cebu around 9-years ago! It was like nothing I've ever experienced in my life. Incredible car culture and amazing people.

65

wow that is really great to hear, speedhunters at philippines. If you ever visit clark international speedway, please inform me , i will take a leave just to watch over ^ ^

66

This was such a fun drive and shoot. I can't wait to do it all over again.

Author67

Same. Two dreamy drives in one day. Couldn't have been better. Well, maybe one less ticket for 'street sweeping'. Murica sure is weird sometimes!

68

Great words to live by, Ben.

69

Speedhunting means never letting go of what car enthusiasts loc the most. Because soon well be in all electronic cars and ICE cars will be more than they are now. Also helping the community to learn more and pass along the knowledge.

70

The willingness to cross-over car genres and cultures, remain open to the vision of others, reserve judgement and simply enjoy a shared passion for motorsport, speed, motoring and modifying is what SpeedHunting means to me. Last year, I went on a two-week road trip of track day events, and put 30+ years of track experience into shredding a set of tires. This year, I just completed 50+ hours of work in my driveway upgrading nearly every moving part on my Jeep Wrangler sporting 200,000 miles. On-road, off-road, track events or trails... It is just a matter of expressing passion and sharing the experience with everyone who will listen!

71

For me, being a Speedhunter means being able to successfully peel off the backing on the giant SPEEDHUNTER decal and get it on the windshield without messing up those little striped bits.

Author72

Haha. Now that does require skills and dedication!

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