Yes, that’s another year (almost) done.
This was Speedhunters 11th year in existence, and we still find it both beneficial and exciting to look back at what we’ve covered each year. As is the norm now, we like to wrap up the year with highlighting some of the most popular stories on the site, along with revisiting some of our own personal adventures at the time. Reflection is good, as it allows you to see what was enjoyed the most, and areas which we need to look at more of in future.
The following stories are our Top 10 ‘Special Features’ of 2019, as decided by page views. It’s a very simple metric, but also an important one.
Curiously, the stories which are often the most popular, rarely have the most amount of comments, and vice versa. Something which we have seen over the years is that our fantastic and loyal commenters (whom always keep us honest) only make up a fraction of a percent of our total readership. So, in many ways, these stories reflect the views of the silent majority who come to Speedhunters each and every day. Let’s take a look at what Special Features you read most of in 2019…
So often we go behind closed doors on Speedhunters, and it’s no surprise that Naveed’s visit to the often overlooked TurboHoses R&D resonated with so many people. It was a look inside a company that specialises in silicon hoses and a whole lot more as it turned out.
There were some unexpected treats in store, from a pair of classic BMW race cars to some experimental Lotus’ (Loti?) and future projects involving a crashed GTI and a Lotus Elise. There’s so much more in this story that I can’t cover with such a limited word count, so I highly recommend that you check it out.
If there’s one car that has stolen all of the headlines in 2019, it was the A90 Toyota Supra. While other outlets were busy trying to grab a first drive in a factory production car, Dino went one better and tagged along with HKS as they started trialling their first parts for the new car. On the famous Gunsai touge course, no less.
If this wasn’t enough to elicit a series of jealous sighs from the rest of the Speedhunters crew, then the presence of Manabu Orido and his Ridox JZA80 certainly did.
As one of the first journalists on earth to sample an aftermarket Supra, it was nice to read that Orido brought Dino back to earth with our favourite pasta-based nickname for him. It’s the little victories in life, folks.
If there’s one part of Speedhunters that best encapsulates what it is that we are all about, it’s IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER. The story submission system has evolved from simple photography contests to full stories documenting adventures and parts of car culture we could never have covered otherwise.
Charlie Brenninkmeijer (whose surname I double-check for spelling every time) took us along on his whirlwind 48-hour European road trip. Not only was it an exciting trip, but Charlie’s photography from the trip was exquisite.
If you’re thinking that this looks familiar, you would be correct. Originally published in January of 2018, and our biggest Special Feature of 2018, Ben and Mark’s ‘day off’ at BMW-Welt in Munich was revisited so many times in 2019, that it’s ended up seventh on our list this year.
I can’t recall that ever happening before in the history of Speedhunters, as most online content has such a short life once it vanishes from the front page. Maybe it’s just Mark and Ben sitting at home constantly refreshing the page? Or you know, stunning photographs and Ben’s insight into what it’s like to have an entire museum opened just for two people.
It’s probably the former, though.
We have covered a lot of car shows over the last 11 years, and it does reach a point where it gets hard to write anything informative beyond describing what’s in the photograph. Aware that you also have eyes, it feels lazy to simply retell you about what you’re already looking at.
Ultimate Dubs was and remains an awesome car show, but we found there was a lot of apathy this year towards covering it. Why? Well, it feels like the VW scene has stagnated somewhat over the last year or two, and it’s something we felt that warranted a healthy discussion on the manner. This was one of the rare stories that was both well viewed and commented on, showing that there’s a lot of passion out there for the Volkswagen scene. Still, are we waiting for the next breakthrough?
The sight of two Flanker-Fs drifting on a frozen lake was all that you needed to be enticed into this incredible feast for the eyes. No clickbait titles required, just a simple story with some of the best photography to feature on the site this year.
While his name isn’t attached directly to the story, it wouldn’t have come together without the help and enthusiasm from our own Vladimir Ljadov. I’m not sure we would have known this had even happened if it wasn’t for him. Regardless, it was another great win for IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER, bringing us to more places than ever before.
Perhaps the first A90 that a lot of Toyota purists could stomach, it was hardly surprising that Daigo Saito was one of the first to swap a 2JZ into the new chassis. With a bare shell to work with, it was understandable that Daigo and HKS sought to use what they know for their first A90 competition build.
While we are still to see what the B58 really has in store for us, there’s no doubting the 2JZ’s credentials as one of the best forced induction engines of all time. They might be everywhere, but it’s for good reason.
There have been countless Japan stories on the site over the years, including a lot of ‘My First Trip to Japan’ type ones as well, but this IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER took the slightly different approach of sharing information with you and almost serving as a guide of sorts for others about to make their first trip.
From Spoon’s Type One to Honda dealerships and many other tuners in between (even some non-Honda ones), it doesn’t surprise us that this proved so popular with you. Perhaps it’s time to start thinking of a Speedhunters Guide to Car Culture around the world?
While it was BMW in January of 2018, it was Audi in January of 2019. Okay, the story was photographed by our Technical Editor Ryan Stewart some months before, but it doesn’t change how epic Audi’s secret bunker is. Again, there were looks of absolute envy around the Speedhunters office (I’m just imagining this part; we don’t have an office) but it’s definitely a place which would be high on any Speedhunters’ list of places to visit and shoot.
With rows of iconic Audi race cars and road cars, it really is special. You’ve stopped reading this and have already clicked through, haven’t you? That’s fine, it wasn’t that rude, I can wait…
Back? Good. Because now it’s time for #1…
Liberty Walk are probably the biggest winners this decade, and any opportunity to visit their premises in Nagoya shouldn’t be passed up. While some will bemoan the takeover of overfenders into the aftermarket world, it’s not fair to lay blame at the doors of Liberty Walk, Rocket Bunny or RWB etc. They’re simply supplying the people with what they want.
It’s a style that goes back decades, and its origins can be seen in the circuit racers of the era. While contemporary cars which wear these kits nearly always do so now for show, there is still the potential for them to be used for performance, it’s simply up the owners.
At the heart of Liberty Walk, is Kato-san and his son Hyuma. Two genuine car enthusiasts that when you encounter them, you understand that there’s nothing but love and passion behind each product. While we can sometimes be critical of the overfender movement (present company included), we should alway remember that it comes from a good place.
That this story is #1, also shows that the silent majority of Speedhunters readers still haven’t tired of the wide-bodies just yet. We might just have to find some of the best examples to remind ourselves why they have been so popular.
I think we might know a guy…