Renault Espace / Lexus LS400

Espace

When people think Renault Espace, they either think of it in it’s basic form as a vanilla people mover, or, if they’re anything like you and I, they think of the completely insane F1 version. But what if modifying one wasn’t left to the devices of a motorsports company, what if a car guy got his hands on one, what would they do with it? How about cutting out the floor and dropping it over a Lexus LS400, complete with 1UZ-FE V8 power? Not enough? what about a central driving position, just like the McLaren F1, and a bottle of nitrous in the boot for good measure. Sounds like I’m making it up, right? Not even my imagination could come up with something this left-of-field. Head below to see this awesome chassis swap build with your own eyes.

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Build-Threads Garage: Introduction

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To celebrate 10,000 likes on the Facebook page, I thought I would unveil the latest Build Threads project build. I think by the title you’ve guessed that it isn’t another car, but my very own garage! I’m fairly certain that this is something that all car and bike people dream of, and I’m no different in that regard. It’s been on my wish list for many years, probably ever since I started working on my own cars around 10 years ago.

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What I’m Watching: You drive the Pagani Huayra

Marchettino

As I mentioned a few posts ago, I’ve really gotten into YouTube lately, so I figured I might as well share all the stuff that keeps me from being more productive I view in moderation. I’ve decided to start a new post topic called What I’m Watching, which will show what I’m currently viewing. Videos that, while always automotive related, may or may not be build-oriented, and hopefully something to keep you entertained between build posts. To kick it off, here’s a video that I’ve watched numerous times, I just keep coming back to it to hear the sweet induction noise of the new Pagani without any fluffy visual effects or soundtracks to ruin it. Enjoy…

via: Marchettino

V8-powered Fiero (355 Replica)

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When thinking of a suitable intro for this post, I wanted to share my opinion of some replica builds without offending anyone, then I read the owners own intro and realised he summed it up for me with this gem: “The problem I’ve seen with many rebodies though, is that too many of them end up looking like accidental explosions.

Regardless of what the body style is trying to emulate, the simple fact that we should be concentrating on is that this car is a mid-engine V8 sports car with a host of intricate fabrication. The base car, like many Ferrari replicas, is a Pontiac Fiero. To get the right proportions, it’s been amended by 3 inches, and a Cadillac Northstar all aluminium V8 and 6 speed transmission will take care of the momentum. Make sure you check out the plethora of technical drawings and DIY’d inbound suspension setup when you get to the highly detailed build thread.

Thanks to Youn-sok for submitting. Click here for more replica builds.

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My visit to Mooneyes USA

In September last year, my wife and I headed to the US and Mexico for our honeymoon. While I’m not the type of guy to go out of my way to do car stuff when I’m traveling – I didn’t even visit one workshop while I was in Japan! – I discovered that Mooneyes was in the direction we were traveling one day. I would have been crazy not to stop in, I’ve always been a fan of the brand and never once imagined I’d have the opportunity to go there in person. After buying up a bunch of merchandise in the showroom, I mentioned to the gentlemen behind the desk that I was from Australia. Upon hearing that, he asked one of the staff to take us on a little unofficial tour of the place. Apart from sitting in the front engine dragster (the seating position makes me wince at the thought of a diff letting go!), we got to see the Moon discs and tanks being hand spun, and heard a lot about the history of the brand, the building, and some cool stories about the founder Dean Moon, and current owner Shige Suganuma. It was definitely an experience I’ll never forget. Head below to see some of my photos from around the shop (click for larger versions) and please link back to the site if you choose to share them.

I can’t thank the staff at Mooneyes enough for their kindness and generosity on the day. They didn’t have to take the time out of their day to show us around, but they chose to, and that really says something, especially since we were just a couple of tourists. There was a really nice and chilled atmosphere about the place and the people who worked there, the brand is definitely more than just it’s parts and cool logo.

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’69 Karmann Ghia, powered by Subaru.

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This feature has been a long time coming, and to be honest I’m not sure why I didn’t do it sooner. You see, Mike is one of the few people that liked to share updates of his build on the Build Threads Facebook page, and every time he’d post an image, readers would love it. Just last week I posted an image of his, and again, people flocked to it in droves, so I thought it was time to share it with the whole audience on the website. Mike is obviously great at taking photos, and the fact that he is stuffing a Subaru engine into a naturally patina’d Karmann Ghia doesn’t hurt. If you have your own build thread, then you know the struggle of wanting to get your work done versus picking up your camera and documenting your steps. Sometimes – and I’m guilty of this too – you just forget about taking photos to git-er-done, but not Mike, he’s turned his thread into a virtual gallery of awesome images filled with playful use of light and shadows.

Click here for more VW builds. Click here for more Subaru builds.

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Project Honda City Turbo II – Introduction

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A couple of friends of mine (the same guys I went to Winton with) have embarked on a joint project car. The car in question is an obscure little Honda, and it’s not a Civic. Nope, it’s even better, it’s a City Turbo II. If you’re unfamiliar with these awesome little cars, you can read up about them on the Wiki page here. All you really need to know is that it’s small, it’s turbo, and you can fit a Motocompo in the boot. The other night I popped around for a visit while Tony and Ryan were wrenching away and took some photos of the goings on. As usual, click for larger versions.

I’ve been toying with the idea of posting the progress of this build on Build-Threads.com in installments, much the same way I document my own project. What are your thoughts on this? Are you interested in another site-hosted build?

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Willys Pickup / ’08 Cherokee

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I guess you could kind of call this a chassis-swap, even though the original chassis is retained, albeit highly modified. This Willys pickup is based on a combination of two cabs (’48 and ’58), being widened to fit over the subframes and floorpan of a 2008 Jeep Cherokee, complete with a 5.7l Hemi. I have to say, this is one of the most informative build threads I’ve read. Even by breezing through it like I usually have to (because I want to get it up ASAP on the site for you guys!) I’ve managed to learn more than a few tricks. The owner shows off a plethora of DIY garage skills, such as tweaking and straightening the frame using combinations of heat and pressure, panel beating, welding, metal folding/shaping, and more. He really goes out of his way to share his techniques with his fellow forum members via well-written and documented posts. The whole thing is closer to a hot rod build compared to what you’d usually expect from a Jeep. Don’t forget to catch the rust removal technique towards the end of the thread, definitely one I’ll be bookmarking for future reference.

Thanks to Jarrod for submitting. Click here for more Jeep builds.

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Winton Track Day – 3rd May 2014

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A few weeks ago I made the 2 hour trek up north to Winton Raceway for my second ever track day in my Datsun 1600. I have to say it was a fantastic weekend, due not only to the great company of my friends Tony and Ryan, but also the smooth running of the day by EXE Crew and the like-minded enthusiasts that attend their events. Compared to Phillip Island (the only other track I’ve driven on), Winton is a bit slower paced and more technical, much better suited to a noob like myself. I didn’t set any blistering times, settling on a PB of 1.53, but since I started off the day around the 2min mark I am happy with my progress, and it gives me a benchmark to beat next time I’m out there. One thing my car desperately needs is some more supportive seats, as the marshmallows I currently sit on offer me no support what so ever, and I find myself holding on to the steering wheel around corners. Luckily I have a pair of fixed-back buckets waiting to go in, but that will have to wait until I complete a new project that you’ll be hearing about soon.

Head below to see some of my images from the day (click for larger versions), most of them are of our cars but I thought I’d share them with you guys anyway. Thanks to Ryan Lewis (ex Editor of Fast Fours Magazine who wrote the feature on my car) for taking the action shots of my car. Hopefully next time I can get my hands on a GoPro or similar.

***Just a word about Facebook. If you rely on the Facebook page for your Build Threads updates, you might not be seeing every post. It’s no secret that Facebook has tightened the amount of reach that pages can achieve without paying, and I’ve noticed the majority of my posts are only reaching about 10% of the audience. So please keep remembering to check the main site, put it in your bookmarks and RSS readers, or follow me on Twitter where every Facebook post is mirrored.

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BUILT from eBay [video build x4]

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So, I’ve become a bit of a YouTube junky lately. My almost nightly ritual consists of plonking myself down on the couch with a hot coffee, firing up the iPad, plugging in my over-ear headphones, and catching up on all of my favourite subscriptions. Some of those include /DRIVE, HoonTV, Jay Leno’s Garage, Marchettino, Mighty Car Mods, Motor Trend (Roadkill and Dirt Every Day), and of course Petrolicious. For too long I imagined YouTube’s sole existence catered to wannabe celebrities uploading videos of themselves doing something stupid in the hope of going viral. Now I’m more than aware that it’s become quite the replacement for television, with professionally produced channels releasing regular content aimed at specific demographics, making their viewers crave new content just like you would for Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones.

It was during a browsing session that I stumbled across a 10-part series called “BUILT from eBay”, which chronicled the process of four different shops (aligned with 4 different magazines) building four different cars using parts bought only from eBay. While the concept is pretty transparent as being one big commercial, the content is quite entertaining. Hell, you get to see four completely different cars being built without having to read a single word, what’s there to complain about?

Click here for more video builds.

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