What happened was a series of events that was catalyst after catalyst…
When I look back at 2016, I felt it was a PIVOTAL turning point. Since selling my M30 (2014) and then joining the current M30 community (on facebook), I felt “off“. I was part of the conversations, but since I didn’t have an M30, I felt out of them at the same time.
I have been planning to go back to Japan and was planning to go during June or July, but then I saw Yamashima-san post the F31 30th anniversary meeting!
For some reason, it felt “right“. I contacted them and I registered as a guest on the official registration page.
But a week before Japan, I had a conference in Hawaii. I had to meet with the Hawaiian brothers! This also felt like the stars aligned, again as it felt “right“.
See, F31club is partially Hawaiian based. Many of the concepts and material somehow connected to Hawaii. Example? Jacy (JCrapps) who made F31club was from Hawaii, but moved to the bay area. Jason, Mark, Ken and Renny were from Hawaii. So when I got to Hawaii, I looked up and found that Ewa Beach is on the same island I was on (Oahu) and I was only 20 minutes from the Hawaiian brothers. While planning for Japan and the Leopard meeting can be considered a catalyst, I feel Hawaii was a major step.
When Mark, Renny and I met up, we had this deep conversation about M30s. I NEVER got my original M30 to the level of swapping or lowering, compared to the other member on the forums who did major work. Since I didn’t have an M30, I mentioned that I don’t even care if it was stock, as long as I had one. Mark and Renny had the same sentiment. I didn’t think the same thought of “ownership” (in stock form) resonated with them… but I was wrong.
That fire sparked something within all of us.
This was a place many on F31club held as holy. Kuze-san and Kubo-san took me to Carshop Friend. I remember the shop etiquette from my prior trips to Japan in the early 2000s. I also remembered some business etiquette from Japanese class. I applied those at Carshop Friend because I know their approach to foreigners. Once Mr. Kanazawa saw how I was, he opened up to me about different topics. When I asked about the front lip, he said the price and I said I’ll buy it. He realized I was also about business.
People don’t know how much of a milestone this was. A true F31 enthusiast would know.
I knew I was going to be overwhelmed and it would be a very impactful milestone.
What was interesting about going to the meeting was seeing how people were passionate about the F31. There wasn’t a bunch of engine swapped F31s or MT F31s or even drift missile F31s… I, for some reason, thought that I would see highly tuned and extravagant aesthetics Leopards… but for 98%, were stock form.
I was in disbelief.
I talked to Tanaka-san and he told me that the heart of the leopard is the VG.
Their passion for the F31 was contradicting of the US mentality (RWD, Drift, MT, motor swap, etc) and was more inline with the ownership mentality, in which I’ve always prided myself on. This was another catalyst moment..
When I got back to the US, I was invigorated. I started to looking at M30s. I had 2 directions:
- Used and beat up M30. I would get for cheap, but it would be full rebuild. I would have had motor/transmission rebuilt. I would have interior redone while out and I would have had the exterior made clean and repaint.
- Buy a good condition M30 and build from there.
The cheap options were there. Some were very rough. When I talked to my wife about it, she said get a good condition M30. And so I went with that.
I found the Blue Grey storm in Portland and it had been well maintained. I talked to the owner and flew to Portland. It met my standards and I drove it 9 hours to San Francisco.
The next day, my parts from Japan had arrived. I dug into my old parts and just looked at them. It was gonna be pretty cool to get these things together on a new car.
F31club had been and was down. I finally got it up towards the end of 2016. I found it funny that people would “# f31club” and yet when I get website going, nobody cared to check it out or contribute. I knew right then and there I couldn’t depend on the people I thought would support.
2016 was a real eye opener. I realized who was really there for support and who was just talk. It was a learning experience with how social media is and so from that point on, I knew what to do.