2018 was the year I unintentionally set a standard for myself. I didn’t think I would do as much, but as you will see, it got kinda interesting…
You are probably wondering why I am making these retrospection posts. December 2018 is 2 years since F31club was relaunched. While it has been around since 2004/5, I really wanted to keep it going. It was just trying to figure out which direction and what to do with it.
*(these milestones mostly reflect my perspective as I post for f31club. I actually hope people send me their milestones so I can add)
4 Items that started the year.
Okuni-san sent me the magazine coverage of our meeting in October! I didn’t realize it was going to be in a magazine!
While Tomica released the Tomytec F31s in 2016, there was a Tomica Premium release that everyone was looking forward too!
Kuze-san also sent me Carshop Friend Calendar and 31st year photobook.
Leopard Spotted in France!
I was going to France for a conference and I wanted to have an F31 lens to it. How can I share this experience through that lens? Well, I remember reading about traveling mascots. Americans are not really into mascots besides sports teams. In Japan, almost everything has a mascot.
I wanted to have imaginative perspective of if I was living in Paris and I had my M30, how would I take some of these iconic locations and take pictures of my M30 in front of it.
I took my 1/43 scale model car and tried to do that. I feel the scale car is an extension and representation of me, so that is why I also decided to do it.
Birth of the Wandering Leopard, GoLep.
Wandering Leopard in France: Euro Ambassador
This trip I wanted to experiment with having a car lens. In all actuality, I was suppose to meet Iwan in The Netherlands (he has an Infiniti m30 convertible) and that would have been my culmination of the trip. I never made it to The Netherlands unfortunately.
Update on my M30:
I’ve been stacking parts and getting things together. I slowly started to get projects done. It wasn’t until I decided to enter RADwood that I would step it up a notch. I was taking care of small projects for my M30 such as changing out my front seats (Driver and passenger), gathered materials to wire up my headlights/taillights, prepped the lens, Zenki F31 tail lights arrived and started prepping, Installed Zenki tail lights, removed the front end, wired and tested the JDM kouki headlights, installed the front bumper and license plate bracket, and spent all night prepping the M30 while simultaneously working on the leopard corner lamps.
I have always loved car shows, but this was my first time entering one and it was awesome. I felt RADwood was the perfect platform for it.
Wandering Leopard Returns to Vancouver BC
In August, I was going to be in Vancouver 2 times,just a couple weeks apart.
I met with my VanKulture brothers for both trips and hit all the Infiniti Dealerships there.
But in between those trips, Mark (Strikevalk) came to the mainland from Hawaii!
He was in San Diego and I decided to drive the M30 down there to get him, mob around Los Angeles and then bring him up to SF.
While in Southern California
- Alex’s house
- Alec W. meet up
- Nightmoves aka Edrik meet up
- Hachiboy aka Roger V meet up
- Jacy aka JCrapps meet up
- Hunter’s point with Ricky (C4Nitrousboi) and Gil (Gilly Gil)
- Late night Jack in the Box with Mike (SlappinM30) and Kue (F31Pilot)
- Mark and Rene meet up in AZ.
Back to Vancouver BC
After Mark left for Southern California again, I was going back to Vancouver BC.
I met up with my VanKulture brothers and completed the Infiniti Dealership Challenge in BC while there.
Japanese Automotive Invitational at Pebble Beach
The following week of getting back, I couldn’t believe it, but the Japanese Automotive Invitational was happening in Pebble Beach.
And they were gonna have an Infiniti M30 there for display.. I have to go!
These were some of accomplishments of OG F31club forum members.
Renny (Onevia) started to research on how to fix some issues!!!
We’ve always talked about solutions, finally Renny did something about it!!!
Passenger side vent!
Digital climate control troubleshooting.
Renny has 2 M30s. This one was sitting in his garage for years.
Mark got one of his beige M30s redone!
Edrik aka Night Moves got an other M30!!!!
Infiniti Dealership Challenge
While it started prior to 2018, there was significance added to it this year. Ryan T and Mark sent me pictures.
Tomica Premium Blue two tone was released
I was hoping to snag one of these when I was in Japan, but found out that they were only sold online!
Nonetheless, another scale leopard is released!
Wandering Leopard to Japan 2018 (October-November)
I decided to visit Japan again. I started to plan some dates and Ogawara-san sent me information. One thing that caught my attention was Lake Suwa Old car festival. He would participate in that and said a few Leopard brothers would as well. So I started to plan around that.
10/29-10/31 The Kyushu missions
- Route 202 and F30 Leopard
- Barw’s tuning
- Kumamoto and L-Selection
- Nagasaki’s Crazy Leopard owner, 1104Racing
- Shunan meeting Taguchi family
11/3 – 4 brothers
- Wing Works visit in the morning
- Kuze-san for lunch.
- Yousuke-san for evening.
- Satoshi-san meet in late evening.
11/4 – Lake Suwa
It was an amazing trip again. I had met with good friends and made more! I had reached a few regions I did not go to before.
Wandering Leopard: Emerald City Prowl
I got back the states and started to process everything I had just experienced.
The weekend before Thanksgiving (November 22), my wife suggested that we visit my parents since I had the 2 days plus weekend off. I thought about it and since I had a lot of ties to the PNW (Seattle), I decided to go.
Going back to the Infiniti dealership challenge, I wouldn’t be driving my M30, so I had to get GoLep to be my representative.
I was able to hit all the dealerships there.
The most important aspect was I wanted to meet with Jim P and Albert. So we planned it, but Albert hit a snag with the airlines and couldn’t make it. Jim and I met up and it was awesome!
This led to something I’ve kinda been chasing… Owning convertible!
Leopard Open Meeting, Japan
In Japan, the day after US Thanksgiving, Yokota-san had an “Leopard Open Meeting” in Yokohama. Here is a quick video from Nakajima-san.
Miyama-san and Noguchi-san met up. I believe they haven’t seen each other in a long time. I always ask friends if I could use display their pictures on F31club.
As of this writing (December), I know there are a few things going on. Projects and fixes. Couple folks visiting Japan (hope they send pictures).
It was a super busy year. I didn’t expect to be doing so much, but at times, you just have to either step it up or back off depending on the conditions. When it came to doing these impromptu trips ( to Southern California, Vancouver BC and Washington state or even RADwood) I knew I had to and wanted to do them. Every point was vital and one thing lead to another. These might not be a catalyst, but they help keep the momentum going.
- I wish I did take a day to go to The Netherlands and meet Iwan. I think that would have cemented Wandering Leopard Paris to Euro Ambassador.
- At Pebble Beach, I didn’t realize there was another part of the area that had the racecar Nissans. Had I did my research, I would have seen some rare race cars.
- In Nagasaki, I wish I spent more time. Maybe more time in Kyushu in general. But going to Japan, it’s never enough time.
- The trip to Japan, I was so busy that I didn’t get a chance to check out some other shops. I wasn’t also able to see more Abunai Deka filming locations and use GoLep in those pictures.