In the early 2000s, a few Japanese companies set up shop in America. Veilside, Bomex, Mint Blue, etc… Before the end of 2009, many of them have close up shop or have moved back to Japan.
Couple of reasons why, but one of them is very little support. JDM kits were expensive, but Quality was there (from my experience with Bomex, Veilside, C West and Shine Street). There were also some pretty good American companies too such as Wings West, Xenon and Erebuni… Then came the companies that made good and bad stuff, but also knock off of many of these kits for cheaper… Aerogear and Xtreme Dimension.
Anyways, You can put it together. The masses wanted the cheap knock off stuff.
What does this have to do with F31club? Well, in 2005, it was no secret that people didn’t want to pay JDM prices. I firmly believe that this is why smaller companies such as Carshop Friend didn’t want to work with international buyers. We contacted the shop and said we would like to buy a couple front lips. This was also at the height of people making copies of lips and kits. If one of the lips would have reached stateside, Someone would have made Carshop Friend lips. In fact, RaceonUSA came on F31club and was offering to make copies of Piko Racing side skirts.
Recently it was brought up on FB that one of us should make copies of the front lips we have. Now, I’ll say this. I bought my front lip from Carshop Friend DIRECTLY. I RESPECT his shop and after 12 years of chasing Carshop Friend to be a customer, I am now one of them. I didn’t ask Mr. Kanazawa for a discount or special price. I paid the $400 he asked because I believe in his shop. I want to support his business as him being the only Leopard specific shop.
I wasn’t trying to blow off the M30 guys, but I don’t think some of them get it. It is different compared to 2005/6. We have direct communications with Carshop Friend. We also have direct communication to people who are customers of Carshop Friend. It is why when people ask those Carshop Friend customers on social media (FB, Twitter or IG) for parts or items, they say, “contact Carshop Friend directly”.
Do you know why they say that? Carshop Friend’s business model is catered to Leopard owners, but also catered to how Carshop Friend wants to be viewed as a Leopard shop. There’s a reason why he doesn’t blindly sell things on YAJ all the time. He wants Carshop Friend to be presented PROPERLY. Carshop Friend isn’t a tuning shop for Drift, Shakotan or Bosozoku cars. There’s no massive FMIC or RB26DETT swaps everywhere at their shop. It is about Leopards in the purest form.
Just look at my pictures:
When I joined the FB page, I didn’t realize some of the stuff Kuze-san posted was recent. He posted a magazine with Leopards featuring Infiniti and Leopard Owner’s club. My ignorance, I asked him if he could scan it so I can put it on F31club. I think it might have offended him as he said I could buy it on Amazon.JP. I didn’t realize it was a brand new magazine. So I felt bad. It was a lesson learned. Anything that is new or can still be bought, I decided to purchase. Again, this supports the magazines, the photographers and companies invest to come up with something good to enjoy.
THESE ARE ACTUALLY PRINTED MATERIAL TOO!
When I finally went to Carshop Friend and I saw first hand what Mr. Kanazawa had accomplished as a business, I realized I wanted to support his business. He was paying Nissan’s patents for using the Leopard logo and that also made him officially part of Nissan as everything he makes is LICENSED!
When the guys on FB asked about the making copies of the front lip, I have to explain that it is an active part and Carshop Friend offers it. It isn’t me being selfish, it’s me helping and supporting Carshop Friend. I tried for 12 years to be part of Carshop Friend and now I am.
Supporting Carshop Friend does have its advantages as well. That is something that one must build and define on their own.