Project Leopard’s RB25det now at A’pexi USA

*Quick note – I totally respect my original builder and I NEVER gave him a hard time. I always paid money ASAP because that was the agreement and I also didn’t want delays. 



I have been patiently waiting for my builder to get my engine done. I just kept getting excuses. There was also the component of the car. Other people’s cars got completed while my engine just sat and my car repeatedly getting denied to be brought to the shop. I didn’t know what to do.

I even asked him directly in his face, “Do you even want to finish my engine, if not, just tell me so I can start looking for resources”… He assured and promised to help me.  I wanted to give my builder the benefit of the doubt. July comes around and I tell everyone and start looking for resources. I asked once more to bring my car there knowing the big projects were gone. He denied me again. I was honestly heart broken.

2.5 years

We started this project January 2020. Right before the pandemic. Marco ordered everything he needed to get the block assembled at the machine shop. I also took it further and ordered all the parts I needed to replace. It was going to be a fresh motor. Marco would get a “batch of items” or I’d ask him about some components to upgraded to. Marco said he can anything and had the resources. Some where down the line, he started to just tell me to order screws, bolts or brackets. I don’t have any resources, I don’t have connections to parts, I am not part of the car industry. I still went along with it because I didn’t want my engine to be delayed. It didn’t matter as he would sporadically work on my engine. Parts were piled up. Maybe it’s because I live in NorCal and he is in SoCal, that he didn’t have to deal with on a face to face basis. I am a paying customer and I always communicate about everything. In the end, I felt I wasted 2.5yrs as he could have gotten this done in 1yr. Only benefit was that I was able to save up more money to buy upgraded parts.


I found Rival Autoworks on recommendation and I talked to Jason. Solid guy and on point. He said to bring the engine when I can and he will look it over. He also mentioned I can control how much involvement with him. When I brought the engine over, he saw a couple red flags. One of them was the Tomei Poncams didn’t have assembly lube and he couldn’t fathom why any engine builder would not do that.


I was waiting 2.5 years to get this engine done. Once I got over the hump of majority of the machine work done and big components acquired, I thought everything was going to come together quickly.

Initially Marco was getting everything and asking for payment (which I paid right away so there are no delays). At some point, my engine wasn’t touched for months and my parts just stacked up. I didn’t understand why and I would give him the benefit of the doubt. Hung even told me about a year into the process to get the motor and move on. I should have taken his advice.

I can’t thank my brothers enough. Edrik, Hung, Roger V. and Ozzy. They have always gotten my back when I was there, but they have also seen my struggle and frustration with this whole ordeal.