Down In Flames

I’m always coming up on new car blogs. It’s this fad we’ve talked about time and time again. Most of them are pretty cut and dry, with pages and pages of the same pictures and lackluster commentary. It’s always some dude talking about “fitment” and “pushing the envelope”. In many ways they’re no better than the mindless features we’ve all read in import magazines. It’s amazing that car features have almost become this cookie cutter science. Everyone is always blowing smoke up each other’s asses and talking about how great every car is. Well, most of the cars aren’t that great and neither are the blogs or magazines that are showcasing them. God forbid we say anything negative about a car. It might hurt the owner’s feelings, because these cars were all built very passionately with blood, sweat and tears, right?

The truth is that I haven’t seen a car that “pushes the envelope” in quite some time. I’m rarely impressed by new builds. I know some of you are going to say we’re in a recession and that it’s a result of that. Well, that’s fine and hey, I agree with you. But the reality is because of that recession, no one has money to spend on their cars and the ones that do aren’t making any waves, so lets not trick ourselves into thinking something else.

Great builds have become a thing of the past; look at all the VIP’s and hybrids at Tokyo Auto Salon. Whatever happened to built motors and performance tuning? Those are the areas were I look at cars the most and they’re the areas that distinguish a car from being truly great or just another cookie cutter. John has been a big part of the Subaru community for quite sometime and not too long ago started a blog called Bugeye Garage. This is one of those great blogs that few people know about. He features only bugeyes, solid builds and the dude knows his stuff. Yesterday I was reading a post of his and he made a really great point about tuning and how it’s changed so much. This leads me to Nasif’s WRX, a car that embodies the tuning trends of old. This car was a fully built car from head to toe. Not only was it great to look at, with only the best parts, but it also had the performance to match.

For me this car was the best example of what people aren’t doing today and why I said most newer builds aren’t that great. If Import Tuner says that some dumped, HellaFlush car is pushing the envelope, than what is this WRX doing?

In many ways Nasif’s WRX was the ultimate street car. This guy understood what he was doing when it was being built. It was great to look at, extremely unique and very fast. All of those things were able to be achieved while maintaining a full interior with all the creature comforts (and then some) you’d find right off the showroom floor.

There was enough ARC parts on this car that the company should’ve be handing him money to drive around.

Do you think most of the current crowd knows about this car? Probably not and it’s unfortunate.

This is what you won’t find under the hood of most of today’s “celebrity status” rides. A swapped JDM Spec C engine, STi 6-speed transmission and an Ultimate Racing GT35R turbo kit. Just because you have a front lip and some Rotas doesn’t make your car special. This car is what I consider special. You might be wondering why I keep talking about Nasif’s WRX in past tense. Isn’t it still around, did he sell it?

They say the good die young. James Dean, Keith Moon and more recently Heath Ledger; celebrities, infamous and at the top of their games, leaving us to wonder. That was the fate of this car, a tragic end at the peak of it’s time.

There hasn’t really been a proper conclusion as to how it happened. Something sparked in the engine bay and the whole car quickly went up in flames. It was reduced to it’s shell, barely alluding to the machine it once was. The final images of this car somewhat serve as a symbol to an era that has nearly become a memory in the tuning community; the fully built car. Nasif’s WRX was that prime example of what cars today are not. When blogs, magazines and other media outlets use phrases like “pushing the envelope” and “setting the bar”, this is what should serve as their reference. Not some dumped, cookie cutter on wide wheels. Not to mention most of these cars are rocking fake wheels. What’s the justification of the owners you ask? “Well it’s really expensive to own the real thing and mine look just as good.” Really expensive? What you see above is upwards of $80,000 burnt to the ground, so let’s not go there.

I read something really interesting on the forums the other day (I wish I could find it), but someone was complaining about how everyone is building identical cars these days. One person piped in a made a comment about how it’s hard to not fit in and adhere to the trends because you’ll get criticized and hated on. Are you serious? Fuck off. This is the kind of mentality that people have nowadays. Do you think this scene started because people were afraid of not fitting in? I’ll give you a hint, it starts with “n” and ends with “o”. This utter lack of creativity and desire to do something big is what is killing this industry. We’re all led to believe that the current trends are new, exciting and the way forward. Well, maybe they are, what the hell do I know? But look at any of the original Bosozoku cars from the early days of tuning and you’ll see exactly what you do on every Impreza, 350Z and Evo on the blogs, forums and magazines today. It’s not new, it’s a rehashing of old trends that weren’t done because people wanted to fit in and “not get hated on”.

Many of you have read this blog for a long time and will think this post has completely contradicted a lot of the things I’ve said in the past. It sort of does, I’ll be the first to admit it. But what I’m really discussing here is the lack of big builds. The real front runners in the tuning industry. There are plenty of clean, well-executed cars out there that I would love to own. But it’s been a very long time since I’ve been blown away by anything.

Photos courtesy of Nasif.



  1. It is interestsing to watch the modification scene. I have followed the import tuner scene for 11 years now. I’ve also followed customs, traditional hot rods and Mustangs in that time frame. It seems like theres a lot more people with “hopped up” cars today. With the internet, its like going to Walmart to pick up some 18×10 lowish offset Rotas, coilovers and ebay to pick up some aero bits. Time attack and drift builds are probbly the best to watch today versus the full on street builds. Time will tell what the future holds. But, I do agree that there are too many people caring what others in forums have to say about how they build their cars.

  2. All they do now is dump there car and run some cheap wheels with a crazy offset. This is really killing the import scene.

  3. It’s a shame what happened to Nasif’s car. But at the same time, I don’t let the trends get to me. They come and go. I still love seeing people try new things; even if they put form above function.

  4. Awesome post. I remember when the pic of this car on fire was posted on nasioc…it really depressed me for a few days. Ahh the good ol’ days – this and Paulie’s WRC Tarmac project were killing it then.

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