January 2019 – While Mark and I talked about it jokingly, we decided to put it out there. I made a post on the FB page (which I am not an admin of) and in a sense call out the vert owners.
I did this for a couple reasons. One, since I don’t have my vert currently, I didn’t want to wait until half of the year to get my vert and announce it. So I wanted to do it right away. I wanted the vert owners to feel some type of excitement.
FB posts eventually get buried. So every so often I update the post so it rises to the top.
February 2019 – Not much happened this month. Some people sold their M30s (Casey, Alec to name people off the top of my head). I’ve been waiting for Jim to get the title of vert. Also waiting for the Oakland shipping company to give me an update on the zenki front end.
March 2019 –
Finally some progress on my M30 coupe. After months of excuses and minimal communications, Oakland shipping company gave me info on shipping my zenki front. They gave me a new partner to send stuff too. I truly had all the red flags. Email didn’t work. Itabashi-san said the number wasn’t correct… I had to contact the Oakland company. Finally, the Osaka partner contacted me, contacted Itabashi-san and contacted the partner company in Oakland. I paid $1200 for shipping over the parts. Itabashi-san is gonna drop it off!
RADwood/Hooptiecon came up and I participated with my M30.
I also met Alex of OldMotors blog. He was very professional and you can see in his work. He probably took a THE BEST PICTURE of my M30 I have ever see!
- I sent Jim some M30 mud flaps that asked for. He calls me to tell me the title for the vert is on the way.
- Malik and I also took some pictures and worked on his cracked bumper.
- I was also contacted by Jon D. He informed me that he is the new owner of Koji’s car (but also the original person who bought it off Koji). This eventually lead me to getting in contact with Koji!
- I’ve also reached out to 91ragtop, ChrisPhillips and gregt from the original forums.
I’ve kept it kinda of a secret, but I had an impromptu junkyard run to see an M30. It was far and I didn’t get a chance to get much stuff of it as I only had 15 mins. Initial search with basic tools didn’t yield anything. I left my gloves at that M30 and had to go back… I only had a few minutes left (overhead announcement), so I was just walking around and stepped over carpet and other things… but a Holy Grail vert piece:
After cleaning it up.. its in good condition.
Pretty uneventful on my end. Just waiting for stuff to come in and take care of. I had some issues with my M30. Oil pan was leaking, so oil pan gasket was replaced.
Mark M (mmokm30) has kinda been on mission to get another M30. He revealed to me he had purchased another one!
Well, sad and exciting news. Curtis (who owns the 1st leopard in the US) has to sell his leopard. Renny, Mark and I talked about getting it… but it might have been to complex. Then Mark realized he couldn’t let this leopard go into the wrong hands of someone who wouldn’t appreciate it. So Mark bought it!
It was my son’s 5th birthday and we were going to Disneyland for the weekend. While it was mostly family stuff in the day time, I had to formulate it to be a Wandering Leopard trip.
LAX Night Files – which was to do F31 stuff at night.
I let a few people know.
- Ozzy (F31ozzy on IG) posted it and I didn’t get a chance to meet with him since I didn’t have a solid plan.
- Koji and I planned to meet, but it became late in the evening to meet. So it did NOT happen.
- Edrik (Nightmoves) came to my hotel in his M30!!! We hung out for a couple hours.
- Roger V (hachiboy) and I met in the early morning as I went to his workplace to meet with him.
LAX Night files also dealt with the #Infinitidealershipchallenge
Can’t forget about GoLeop in:
At the end of May 2019
It was Wandering Leopard in Japan again. Meeting with brothers and traveling around Japan. Carshop Friend Meeting in Hakone too!
- Day 1 – Osaka – Arrival and Kansai brothers
- Day 2 – Osaka – Wandering around Kobe and Osaka, meet with Uchida-san
- Day 3 pt 1 – Nagoya – Breakfast with Sugiyama-san
- Day 3 pt 2 – Hakone – Arrival to Carshop Friend meeting
- Hakone Touring Information
- Day 4 – Hakone Touring – Leg 1 – Ashinoko Skyline Rest house
- Day 4 – Hakone Touring – Leg 2 – Ashinoko Skyline toll plaza
- Day 4 – Hakone Touring – Leg 3 – Izu Fruit Park
- Day 4 – Hakone Touring – Leg 4 – Atami Beach line
- Day 5 pt 1 – Shinjuku Niagara Falls, Tokyo Metro building observatory, Meiji Shrine
- Day 5 pt 2 – Odaiba, History Garage, Toyota WRC and Megaweb Toyota with Kimura-san
- Day 5 pt 3 – Saitama, Truck Shop Jet and VANkulture Japan with Suenaga-san and Taguchi-san
- Day 6 pt 1 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum
- Day 6 pt 2 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum – Kei cars
- Day 6 pt 3 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum – Initial D
- Day 6 pt 4 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum – Classic JDM cars
- Day 6 pt 5 – Gunma – Ikaho Toy, Doll and Car Museum – Race Cars collection
- Day 6 pt 6 – Visit to Craft Z sports, GTR shop
- Day 6 pt 7 – Toy hunting, Tochigi dinner with Itabashi family and Oinuma-san arrival
- Day 7 pt 1 – Takamatsu meeting up with Miyama and Noguchi-san
- Day 7 pt 2 – Takamatsu nights and VANKulture
- Day 8 – Fukuoka Nights – No meet ups.
- Day 9 – Nagasaki arrival, Stage 1: secret base, and Stage 2: Red Kaido Leopard
- Day 9 – Drive between stages and Nagasaki Nights
- Day 10 pt 1 – Hells of Beppu with Dustin (Excite Video magazine)
- Day 10 pt 2 – Shunan Rush with Taguchi-san
After coming back from Japan, my parts arrived after 7 months of delays.
My family was staying in Vancouver BC for the summer. I would go there 3 times and meet up with family and friends!!
My first 2019 trip to Vancouver BC – my Vankulture brothers were showing at Driven.
after the show, we met up in Richmond for some dinner.
I came back to visit. This time, my mission was longer! I would land in Washington state and drive to Vancouver BC in my convertible adn along the way going North:
- See Mark’s Leopard and meet Dom (in Tacoma)
- Meet Jim and Albert
- Meet Chris (Nyeark in Anacortes)… but it didn’t happen.
Then get to Vancouver BC
I even hit up a couple dealerships in my vert!
I would then go to Victoria BC (without my vert). I would have Goleop and go around to some of Victoria BC’s famous spots. Also hit the #infinitidealershipchallenge in Victoria!
While enjoying Victoria, I met with Speedhero Quinn and Jaclyn!
My 3rd trip to Vancouver BC would be with themed, The Leopard with the Golden Ears (as we were going to Golden Ears park).
Unfortunately… some random car violence left me sad… I never knew the pain of these windows until I tried to find one to replace. It was the greatest lesson for me about vert parts.
I still met up with my VanKulture brothers at the Spanish Banks for bbq!
At the end of August, the Japanese Automotive Invitational at Pebble Beach was happening again. I went last year to see the M30 and this year I had to do the same!
I was hoping to have my car ready for JCCS… but with the 7 month delay.. it wasn’t gonna happen. I still wanted to go and I had the weekend off, so I notified everyone I knew and went to JCCS in Long Beach.
- I tried to meet with Roger V and Edrik again (but timing conflicts and my son getting allergies stopped that).
- I met Rick Mena and checked out his F30 Leopard!
- Meet with Rob P and seeing his Legend finally!!!
- Met with Koji!
- Met with Ashleigh
- Met Alex (showed his vert at JCCS)
- Met Randy of JDM Carboy too!
The next day, I decided to hit the junkyards. There was a coupe at the LQK (1 hr from Long Beach) and around the corner was a Nissan only junkyard that had a vert. I wanted the rear quarter glass, so I went there. While it was cool, the owner had very high prices and I found out later that is why people don’t buy off him. He did have a stash of F31 parts! (pictures in Wandering Leopard Shark post).
On my way back to SF, I stopped by the same area and met with Ozzy! He was picking parts from that M30 in the LQK yard!
I then saw Carshop Friend post pictures from our meeting a few months back.
What I didn’t know was which magazine it was featured in… and I found out it was 80s Hero!
It wasn’t suppose to happen, but Shukai Japantown (free carshow to support Japantown SJ) was scheduled. Cary (one of the organizers) also brought out someone I looked up to in the 2000s era drag racing scene: Adam Saruwatari
I haven’t rolled with my local crew in a bit. Gil hit me up and said he got the M30 going and he was gonna give it to his god son. Then Greg (Dynastyf31/Sakura_garage) said he was in SF for the weekend… I haven’t seen Greg since our 2006 meeting.
So I hit up my dude Malik, Gil, and Ricky and said let’s roll to take pictures. After our Bayview meeting, I went to downtown SF and met with Greg outside his motel.
I was finally able to get a spare M30 vert rear quarter glass. My remained in Vancouver BC. I was planning to go there for Thanksgiving and if I did, I would work on it. So I ordered a portopower hydraulic pump (push out dents), got a rear quarter glass to replace the broken one, needed to get a new battery (the one in the car died a few times according to my brother in law) and I needed to get a cover for it because it was leaking pretty bad.
So we planned for that trip… what we didn’t plan was I5 in Northern California to be hit by a snow storm and it being shut down while we were traveling… this lead us to drive an alternative route. Well, the chains broke on my van and ripped my ABS and fenders up. I took them off and we had to drive in the snow with street tires.. and that took 12hrs to get to Oregon’s bottom…. that was a long and stressful night!
But when I got to Vancouver BC, I got to work on the vert ASAP.
I also stopped and met my brothers from Vankulture Canada BC at their business and drove a RHD Toyota Hiace!!
SEMA happened. I didn’t go, but Ashleigh did and she met Mike Kojima!
December 2019 – Right before Christmas
Project Leopard Recovery!
After summer, Jon R (who owned the Project Leopard M30) decided to go a different direction in his professional life and had to move. He had to give up on the Project Leopard. We talked and he offered me the car. We had a verbal agreement that I would buy it. December 31st was the deadline because he would move and he couldn’t hold the car. (Jon lives in the middle of California, Tehachapi).
During this time, I was in the market to buy a house and pretty much signed the paperwork, but last minute backed out. Location was far and the mortgage was at that borderline comfort/discomfort level. It didn’t go through.
As the deadline approached, I started to play it out in my head. I would have car towed up here, find a storage place and slowly build the motor (find a machine shop). I would also have to eventually drop it in, make sure the wiring was good (heard the engine bay wiring had some additional half ass work by the previous owner), and tune it (in which I don’t know anyone). I was also missing a transmission and intake manifold (among other things).
Roger V changed that plan when he connected me with Roberto, son of Marco, who is owner of the SR20store and builder of the Project Leopard M30.
Roberto and I talked. Then Marco and I talked and he said he would help me… I just had to bring the car down to the SR20store. We coordinated. I would fly down, Jon would tow the M30 to the SR20store and Marco would build the motor.
Roger V, Edrik, and Ozzy also came out and hung around for a bit.
That set in motion the revival of Project Leopard! I started to do research into the RB25det, gather parts and pay for the stuff Marco got (he got me the RB25det transmission).
It was an interesting year!
- LA 3 times
- British Columbia 4 times
- Japan 1 time
- Met with a ton of people!
- Started Project Leopard