HOW IT ALL STARTED (retrospective view from 2005)
By: Scourge, JC, and Roger
F31club… 2YRS IN THE MAKING.
This is how F31club started out. A thread on FA, To a free forum, to what we have now. The Evolution of F31club.com was journey in its self. From an afterthought to THE only dedicated M30/Leopard Site in the World. How did it all start? What was the mindset of SOME of the people that contributed to make the foundation for F31club?
While the Infiniti M30 stopped being sold in 1992, there wasn’t a huge following. Few people enjoyed the M30, but there was no solid enthusiasts site or abundance of information. Many owners were sporadic and the enthusiasts would be on older forums of social media, such as aol messenger.
Internet forums became very prominent and many car enthusiasts were able to share information and discuss a variety of topics related to a car. Freshalloy.com was one of many geared towards Nissan and Infiniti cars. A topic that often intersected with RWD cars is the sport of drifting.
2003 – The FA M30 THREAD
by Scourge; Off Topic Moderator
The FA thread was the start of a revolution!!! It rose awareness of a car that was ignored by the masses and only appreciated by the enthusiasts. The FA thread generated interest in to the F31 chassis. It was also a gathering point for M30 owners. It was THE thread to get info about Nissan Leopards/infiniti m30s. In its time, It generated 9 full pages of info, questions, interest, and camaraderie of the owners. It was also the Catalyst and genesis of the M30 forums.
THE IDEA, THE INTEREST, THE START…
I have been an M30 fan since it came out in the US in 1990 and thought myself about the only guy who did. In 2002, I found the FA forums before I moved to Japan and lurked there until I starting posting regularly when I had my R32 Nissan Skyline. Noticed that FA had an Infiniti section and so I posted a thread asking in February of 2003.
I had my Skyline and I had looked for a F31 Leopard and not found one. FA was (is?) the (or one of the) largest Nissan enthusiast communities on the internet. I was always a fan of the M30 but could not find one for sale in Okinawa until AFTER I bought my Skyline. I posted at FA and saw the “Other Infiniti” forum and thought – “Hey, this is the largest Nissan site I’ve ever heard of. I wonder if anyone else here likes the M30. It’s a rare car in the US and I’m the only guy I know who is really really into them. I’ll post a thread asking why it’s so overlooked and maybe they’ll be a few other guys out there who actually know what an M30 is.” Nearly 3 and a half years later, my question has been fully answered with people all over the world saying that they too consider the M30 a great car. I am not alone and never was. The internet allows all of us to drive the road less traveled with a willing passenger and that has made all the difference.
2004 – THE BEGINNING OF THE ONLY M30 FORUMS…
“INFINITI M30/NISSAN LEOPARD COMMUNITY”
by JCrapps; Forum Administrator/Founder
The infiniti m30/nissan leopard community forums were the end result of the FA thread. After the thread ended, JC couldnt believe there was no site for M30s. So he made the forums and all the people that were on the FA thread went to the forums. It was the new home for M30 owners.
INFINITI M30/NISSAN LEOPARD COMMUNITY IDEA
After I got my M30, I quickly hit the ‘net to see what type of information was out there. Luckily I ran into scourge’s (Thomas) very informative and interesting thread on the Fresh Alloy website. It was great because it seemed like there was some interest in the M. People were starting to realize that it had potential. Although it was great that Thomas created that thread, it wasn’t enough to quench my thirst for more knowledge. Then I started to think of a way to start an M30 only forum. I searched to see how I could do this for free (since I was a broke college student) and stumbled upon a free forum service called phpbbforfree.com. This was great because they basically set it up for you. All you really had to do was add the content. Slowly but surely, the forums started to grow and what started as a single thread from FreshAlloy had grown to a dedicated forum with dozens of members. I was able to create connections with M30 enthusiasts such as scourge, nyeark, and strikevalk to name a few. Having the site was a great way to share ideas and information. Being that there were NO sites in the US dedicated to the M30, it was a goldmine for any M30 owner. As the site grew, we knew that it would be time for us to make our final transformation. We needed our own identity ( F31club.com idea thread ). We then became known as F31CLUB.com! Although F31club.com has grown to something great for the M30 community, we always need to remember that we had a very humble beginning only 2 years ago. With shear determination and diligence, we have become THE site to go to, anywhere in the world, to learn more about the Infiniti M30. How many sites can say they’re #1 in the world?!
2005 – CHANGES ON F31CLUB.COM
By: Roger; General Moderator of F31Club.com
Found an M30 for dirt and was doing my research. Found nothing for the car aftermarket wise. Started to search for basic problems, which I posted on Nicoclub.com, which was a site I frequent since it had an M30 section.
Upon searching even more, I found the FA thread “ Why is it that nobody considers an M30?” that scourge as well as all the OG M30 guys posted up on. Even though it was outdated (no new posts happened), it even interested me more after reading it. Then found the “ Infiniti M30/Nissan leopard ” forum, which is referred to the original forums. I started reading and also enjoyed that site. It was cool to see people so enthusiastic about the car and how close everyone was. I joined after everyone moved to the new forum, F31club.com.
HOW F31CLUB FELT TO ME
F31club site was one those sites that didn’t seem to be active. I think because of small amount of info around and even small members base. There wasn’t a bunch of posts and replies going around. Sometimes people would ask a question and it would go unanswered. There were also ideas for stickers going around. I also knew of an attempt to have an M30 meet (in Hawaii). There were ideas floating, but things didn’t seem to materialize.
I never was part of the original forums when it was active. So I felt that I didn’t matter on the site. When I went to Japan, I checked up on the website and didn’t see any new posts and at one time, there wasn’t a new post for a week.
I told myself I can just go on f31club when I get something done to my car, like an update or just post something once every week.
That all changed when the Nyeark, who was on F31club almost everyday as mod, got a z31 and started to concentrate on that. Jacy asked me if I wanted to be a moderator and I couldn’t resist. He told me there wasn’t much to do, but just check up on the site every couple of days. I told him I got some ideas but I wanted them to be okay with him before I mentioned them on the forums. I started to try to organize the sub forums and looked for some important information that everyone can use. I threw the idea of other sub forums. I started to compile some info and rearrange the site to get to the point that someone can search without having to go through a lot of posts. I wanted to organize the site so that people can go to different sections and get what they wanted.
THE MOST IMPORTANT SUBJECT
After that, the most important subject to address was the direction of the F31club. I sent PMs to every single person that registered on F31club. I got a lot of replies and even made a post for what people said mattered. (WHAT YOU SAY MATTERS.)
I wanted people to tell me what they wanted and expected. I even went to the old forums and pm some people on there (Yotis). I wanted to make everyone come to the table and get the site going. But I needed something as a vehicle to get people to start talking again. Once people started talking, members would go with the momentum. I wanted all the OGs, lurkers and new people to feel that they are part of the club. I wanted everyone to know that if they had a question about M30s, it will be addressed. If someone had a problem with their car, I didn’t want their post to go unanswered. This started to take effect. I think the morale rose and people started to come on the site more often. I could only do this if people told me what they expected from the site. I got that. I got ideas from people and started to get some things rolling on the site. We had to decide about the stickers and font to use. The idea has been up in the air for the longest and need to be finalized.
We started to brainstorm about banners and meets. Sub forums were created so ideas were not lost or buried in the general forum (f31 meet/multimedia). These forums got huge replies and also made the site more organized and enjoyable.
Jacy and I started to brainstorm some ideas like the f31 map and chat.
Ways for people to interact. http://f31club.com/f31map/ (frappr disappear years ago)
More replies, ideas and posts started to generate more participation.
There is more interaction among members and good discussions.
Jacy then came up with the idea of scanning the whole manual for everyone. Not only does it help people out (if they don’t have the manual or need some quick reference) but gives the site some content and makes the site even more informative that before.
Which got me the idea of anything that can help M30 owners, should be scanned and posted. Zydeco helped out a lot. He scanned the M30 Parts list and also lent me Convertible Supplement manual to scan. Also to help out international f31 owners, I scanned some JDM manuals and put them up on the manuals page.
Another high point for f31club was the First M30 meet. Since we are all apart, it is hard to get everyone for a meet. Jacy and I arranged to get an M30 for parts. Once I got the car, we discussed the ways of getting the bumper to him. I then offered to go to Northern California, but I need to maximize the weekend to make it worth it. So I contacted everyone I knew in Northern California and we planned the First M30 Meet on US soil. Even though it didn’t happen as planned (7 m30s) we were able to get 5 members to meet up. This also opened up the communications between other club members. Brian and Brandon knew each other thru some mutual friends. This also made the forums more personal. This has the snowball effect. Brian met Ricky and also kurumakun (OG) at the Formula D event.
All this happened a few months ago (this was in 2005). It is great to see the site blossom and also see others progress on the rides. The Morale is high and people stop by f31club more often. Some people that lurked on the site before, now post more often, some OGs came back to the site and are helping out.
Naoki and his car have been featured on some sites/MTV/magazines.
My whole goal was to help build this site to be informative, helpful and entertaining. The site is unique because of the car is unique. I feel great when people post up a lot and it shows that everything that was planned never went to waste. The club feels more like a community than just another website. Please understand this is my perspective and others might feel differently about it.
I feel what made everything solid was that Jacy and I went in a car. Jacy needed a bumper and I offered to pay the other half. I was going to try and get it fixed, but I didn’t have space or time…I then had it in a car storage yard and would sell parts off of it.
Anyways, I told Jacy, I’m going to the Bay area and we should meet up. I also called out many of the bay area guys and it partially worked. I was able to meet up with Ricky, Jacy, Brian and Brandon.
Historic Northern California meeting – http://forums.f31club.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=705
Later, I would go to Southern California and meet with 10 members and have a record of 8 M30s. Not only that, we got 3 convertibles together too! http://forums.f31club.com/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=1335&start=90
2005-2006 – The forums have always been the backbone, but we started to make extension pages. We made a history page, installs page and I even got the zenki and kouki leopard manuals. We uploaded anything F31 related that could be scanned uploaded. The manuals page was very helpful. I bought them to help out of UK, Australian, New Zealand and Tasmania Leopard owners. I promoted to help get the leopard owners in Japan involved. This was when Simasima (L- Evolution), Kazuho Tanaka (Le Ceil Bleu), Hisanori and Yohsuke (Specialty) replied back and we made a (short lived) connection.
We also stepped it up with the convertible information. While most were into some type of tuning, there was a good amount of people who just wanted to take care of their M30. This is what made F31club even better. There was a balance.
2006 was also a year of recognition with Naoki’s SR20det powered M30 hitting magazines, events and MTV’s Fast Inc show. We knew after this, the hype train was gonna be there. There were ton of pioneering for the M30 with people swapping in KA, SR, RBs, JZs, VG30et motors.
We had a bunch of 240sx converts (mostly drifters), but we also had a group of guys that came from the Z31 crowd and they made a lot of the technical aspects of the VG motor more relatable and comparisons to the M30. They truly were a foundation for us to understand the VG motor.
This was also when the core group really formed.
2007-2009 – a slow decline in activity on the forums. Facebook was slowly taking over the social part of forums and the new crowd of people didn’t want to register or dig through the forums.
Responsibilities came upon many of us. Jacy and I had our families and went back to school.
My personal perspective, I lost motivation while going to school. I moved from Seattle and San Francisco. I didn’t have the space or the money to put in my M30.. which lead it to sit for a long time. I lost contact with people and I was depressed my M30 was not at the level of Naoki or J, or XslidewayzX (Garrett) or anyone that progressed to a 5spd or motor swap. I believe this was my down fall.
2011 – Hacked… I believe this was the first time F31club went down. The forums were not as active and we lost manual/installs/history pages. Jacy brought the forums back up.
I was absent during this time. From 2006-2010, I was in school for prerequisites. Then from 2010 to 2012, I was in school for my Cardiovascular degree. 2013-2016 I was at San Francisco State University finishing up my Bachelor’s degree.
In both 2012 and 2014, Jacy offered me F31club. I was reluctant to take it from him because I was out of the M30 game. I told Jacy I would and it was always “not following through” on my side.
In 2014, F31club was hacked again and it went down. Jacy kept it down. During this time, I was giving up my M30. I was putting money into rebuilding my Toyota Previa’s motor and transmission completely from the internals out. My M30 just sat at in my car port. I took it for one last ride that night and started to take the JDM parts off. I took pix of my son and I uploaded to instagram, where Mark Joseph (one of the foundation members of f31club) hit me up.
That was when I realize it was a mistake. I have regretted that day since!!! Mark Joseph brought be back into the M30 fold by inviting me to the Facebook group. Where I reconnected with some of the OG members of F31club.
For about a year, 2015 early 2016, I have been meaning to put F31club back together, I knew it would be a daunting task. I realized that the culture had changed.. it was pretty much dominated by drifters and many of the newer owners never even been on F31club.com. There was always nudges from people to “get F31club up”.
Paying for the domain is one thing, but building it was another. I knew it was a hugely daunting task and I put it off for a few months because I didn’t know where to start. I met up with Jacy and he gave me a bare bones back up after the 2014 crash. He said there is no pictures and it was a crude back up. I took my chances and had my friend Jonatan look at it and he got the back up to work. While I did get it back up, it was all text. Part of the newer generation of owners is having ADD or some form of it. I say this because many of them do not want to read the forums.
“People were telling me to get f31club back up and when I did, nobody jumped on and posted information. I get people #F31club, but don’t even know what it is….”
ANOTHER CATALYST…. SPARK A REVIVAL!
September 2016 – I was going to Hawaii for a Cardiology conference and week long training. I remembered some of the Hawaiian group was from Ewa Beach. I looked on the map and couldn’t believe they were 30mins away from where I would be. I met up with 240sx (Kenny), Denny, Strikevalk (Mark J) and Onevia (Renny). I saw the rides and when I looked back, this was the level I wanted to be at. We talked for til 2:30am. This solidified my commitment to M30 and f31club.
October – 2016 A week after Hawaii, I was destined for Japan. A few months prior, Kyouhyou from Club Nonsect posted the annual Nissan Leopard meeting. I signed up right away and bought tickets that night. My intentions was to go there and meet them. The day before the meeting, I met with Mr and Mrs Kubo and Kuze-san. They brought me to Carshop Friend, the leopard shop. This was the shop that we worshipped!!!
While I didn’t have the honor of being the first American to be there, I did established a good relationship with Mr. Kanazawa.
The next day, I jumped on the Shinkansen to Hamamatsu, where the Leopard meeting was taking place. Late and confused on location… but once I was there….
F31 HEAVEN!!! I also met the teams and people I’ve idolized for over 10yrs!!! First foreigner to be part of the Leopard meeting!
This is from Kyouhyou’s Minkara page, faces are blurred.
November 2016 – I’ve been strictly on a mission. On a personal note, I bought a clean M30, got rare JDM parts and started to rebuild F31club as much as I can. I decided to change the f31club to be website and not have it be forum based (but a backbone). I realized that I must keep F31club alive by adapting and making it relevant. I also have been on a mission to meet with F31club members.
Then came 2017, the Year of the Leopard.
Many milestones accomplished.