Top Rank Importers Open House: October 13, 2019

I’ve known the gang at Top Rank Importers for a very long time and we recently reconnected at the SPOCOM show in Anaheim. Dating back to the days of Motorex in Gardena, CA – which had afforded me the opportunity to play with R32, R33 and R34 iterations of the Nissan GT-R (and shoot two prints ads. a “fashion” feature in Super Street magazine featuring the well known “Blackbird” R34) – these guys love cars. And started the Top Rank business in earnest to bring various Japanese cars into the US market LEGALLY (I won’t get into the fine details about the challenges of making a car legal in California vs. the rest of the United States, for example).

But I digress. Doors were opened to the public to take a peek at the vast selection of GTRs, Supras and many other RHD Japanese gems. I found a new favorite of mine in the Mitsubish Delica Star wagon – the looks of an old school Japanese minivan combined with 4WD and turbocharged diesel engine.. and in stock at Top Rank.

If you’re hankering for your next RHD build or just curious about the importation process, give the Top Rank team a call. I’m sure they’ll do their best to answer your questions.

Top Rank International Vehicle Importers
5595 Corporate Way
Cypress, CA 90630
(844) 523-2233
www.importavehicle.com

Vettel: Leave Formula 1 ASAP

I won’t go into the details of Ferrari’s complete debacle at the Russian GP. Plenty of bigger media outlets have covered it in detail. And Sebastian Vettel has put up his usual baloney line of excuses and half truths to cover his ass. That his MGU-K failed mid-race was pure karma.

RevdCars has covered Vettel for nearly 10 years now in some shape or form. We have never been a fan of his. He’s over-rated. Only won the 4 titles thanks to Adrian Newey. And can only win when starting within the first 2 rows. Can’t handle competition. It’s clear that Charles Leclerc is showing who’s boss at Ferrari. And Vettel can’t stand it. He will forever be a petulant child. He’s no Schumacher. Not even close. He can only aspire to that role since he’s a fellow German.

It’s time for Vettel to leave and free up a seat for someone else. Someone who is far more qualified for a seat at the Scuderia. Go raise your kids. Go do whatever you want. But it’s time for you to leave F1 for good.

2019 Japanese Classic Car Show

The 2019 Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, CA

Nostalgia is all the rage these days. Media companies are paying half of a billion dollars for the rights to stream old shows like Friends and Seinfeld; “mom jeans” are back in vogue; fanny packs have magically appeared around the waists of hipsters all around. Perhaps it makes people feel good to relive old times, when things weren’t so complicated, when life wasn’t so unpredictable. Whatever the reasons may be, people are longing for the past.

Perhaps that’s the reason why, or perhaps it’s the showcase of 400+ cars on display, that drove automotive fans to the 2019 Japanese Classic Car Show in Long Beach, CA. Featuring Datsun 510s (many with SR20DET swaps), Z’s, Mazda Cosmos, Toyota Mk1 Supras and much, much more, it was pleasurable walk down memory lane.

Without further ado, enjoy the photos!

Adieu, Robert Kubica

We all love a comeback story. We all know what it’s like to be doubted. Feel undermined. Perhaps not even trusted.

The beginning of the 2019 Formula 1 season brought good tidings in the form of Robert Kubica’s return to the calendar. Having been out for a number of years due to the horrific accident which virtually left him without use of his right arm and hand, it was welcome news to see his return.

Sadly, looks like Robert will leave F1 at the end of the current season. I’m sure the completely undermining performance of the Williams Considering how many young drivers are waiting in the wings and experienced drivers without a ride – Nico Hulkenberg being a stand out – there’s probably very minimal chance Robert will find a ride. Regardless, what a heroic year it has been. It’s a shame the romance couldn’t last longer.

Nismo? Gazoo Racing? Just Stop Already

Back in the day, Nismo meant something. TRD meant something. And, until recently, Gazoo Racing meant something. They all held the deepest level of respect among car enthusiasts as these sub-brands of OEMs went racing. And they won. And these brands were attached to some of the most iconic Japanese supercars of yesteryears – namely, the Nissan GT-R, the Toyota Supra and, most recently, the Toyota TS050 LMP1 Le Mans and WEC champion. So, I ask, why take such respected names and just, well, screw it all up?

Basically, Nissan and Toyota have taken the Nismo and Gazoo Racing brands, respectively, and slapped it on any ‘effin car they deem fit. Hell, the new Supra isn’t even powered by a Toyota engine but they felt it was appropriate to slap the GR moniker on that car as well. With an even greater level of shameless-ness, they’ve slapped the GR name to a hybrid Yaris that tops out at 108mph.

Didn’t know Toyota had so many Gazoo “Racing” models in development. Horseshit.

Nissan isn’t doing much better either. They’ve managed to slap the Nismo branding onto the 370Z and the Sentra. Neither of the Nismo versions offer any performance advantages over their non-Nismo brethren. It’s all exterior bullshit. Might as well add a bunch of stickers to the non-Nismo versions (don’t forget the “NOS” sticker!) and save some money. The stickers will add as much horsepower as the Nismo versions!

For shame!!

Toyota and Nissan: instead of making these cars “sticker-fast,” why not start making some cars that are actually fast? Yes, the R35 GT-R is a fast car, but it’s a bit long in the tooth (probably an understatement) and the latest additions have made the car about as attractive as Pete Burns, lead singer of an old band who’s had one too much plastic surgeries.

Current Nissan GT-R. Oh so hot! (NOT)

It’s Time for Vettel to Retire from F1

I’ll be honest. I’ve never been a fan of Sebastian Vettel. While he brought some laughs at press conferences, I’ve always felt he was over-rated. Just a look at his performance @ Ferrari is reason enough to pass judgement of this nature. The quality of the car @ Red Bull Racing masked his deficiencies and is the only reason he is a 4 time champion.

At Monza this past weekend, Vettel added yer another screw up to his long list of mistakes. It was only a few months ago that he created a hell of a kerfuffle by dangerously rejoining the track after he went off at turn 3 of the Canadian GP. He almost squeezed Lewis Hamilton into the wall by doing so but claimed he was robbed of the victory because he was handed an undeserved time penalty as a result of his own mistake. That’s not what I saw and supported the stewards’ decision.

Indeed, Vettel did basically the same BS at Monza. He made the mistake purely on his own – no one hit him, no one touched him, he just screwed up plain and simple. He can’t handle on-track pressure, as seen in recent cock-ups at Sinapore (2018), Hockenheim (2018), Monza (2018), running into the back of Verstappen at Silverstone (2019), Canada mentioned above and, now, at Monza. And while Leclerc’s move squeezing Hamilton – the penalty handed down was a piss poor decision, by the way – at least the young Monegasque can deal with the pressure, the pressure of being upfront. Vettel has shown time and time again that he can’t do the same. And this reason alone is reason enough for this guy to retire from F1 and free up that seat for someone who can actually do something with it.

It’s time to go, Sebastian. Leave and enjoy time with your family and do whatever else you may fancy. It’s time to go.

RIP: Jean-Paul Driot

Jean-Paul Driot, 1950 – 2019

To say Monsieur Driot was just a racing team owner would be the understatement of the century. With alumnus including Érik Comas, Allan McNish, Olivier Panis, Jean-Christophe Boullion, Sébastien Bourdais, Kazuki Nakajima, Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen, Jolyon Palmer and Pierre Gasly, his DAMS (Driot Associés Motor Sport) org produced the highest levels of motorsport and drivers. If you’ve followed the GP2 / F2 feeder series for Formula 1 in any regard, the DAMS name would surely be familiar to you.

Rather than rewrite what others have already written, check out what Daily Sports Car had to say about the passing of this motorsport icon. Rest in peace.