Final Bout Coverage (Part 3 of 3)

Finally, the weekend began to come to a close. The on and off-track party of Saturday night slowly bled into Sunday morning, and it was time for our competition. As much as the competition was seen as the main event of Final Bout, everyone who competed just wanted to watch the other teams throw down and make some great memories. Every team gathered on the hill of the USAIR staging area to watch each other run team by team, and each run was greeted with cheers and screams of excitement. In almost a decade of drifting I’ve never seen so many drivers share so much joy all together. For everyone at Final Bout it was truly a life changing experience.

Before we get into the photos, I’d like to thank everyone that was involved with Final Bout- Starting first with our drivers- without you all believing in this idea, Final Bout weekend would not have been what it was. This was ultimately a collective effort between all of us, and every single driver was a part of making history, together. Our amazing staff, along with the people who came together to organize Final Bout had to work incredibly quickly in a very high pressure environment to put the event together and keep each portion of the project reined in throughout this weekend. Without the help of everyone involved in ClubFR, Final Bout could have never been what it was. Thank you to our amazing judges! We were so lucky to have people who have contributed to drifting history judge Final Bout. Between Toshiki Yoshioka, Benson Hsu, and Rob Riter, I truly felt like we were in the presence of some of the most wise, experienced, and at the same time friendly people in American drifting. Our sponsors, who believed in us from the very beginning when Final Bout was just an idea, and trusted the Final Bout team to build our dream event from the ground up. Without Koyo, Kenda Tire, Touge Factory, Origin Lab, Stance suspension, Dodo Logic, GTR Garage and Earnest Clothing we could not have created this event, or had such amazing prized to give to our drivers. And now, without further ado, here are some great photos from Sunday by Brad Sillars.

-Ilia Smolov (Team Proceed)

In case you missed the previous coverage:
Part 1
Part 2

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Unfortunately some drivers experienced mechanical trouble on Sunday. Roy from Bosstown had a clutch failure and spent Saturday night and most of Sunday working to get the car back together. Although he couldn’t finish the car in time, I know he’ll be back next year.

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Most people who grew up learning about drifting in America have at some point admired Toshiki, Benson, and Reiter. These guys have set examples for thousands of kids who learned to drift in the 2000s, and having them all in one place as judges was a bit surreal. To help them out with commentary we added Teddy from Auto Factory Realize and Brian Kolar, one of the oldest names in Chicago drifting. The judges were ready to see some exciting driving, and each one was talking a fair amount of trash, too. It’s not a drift contest without a bit of mockery from the judges!

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Gold Star’s super low ride height cars didn’t have much power, but this team knew how to put on a show. Their runs were super exciting to watch!

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Although the HotBoyz were short one member, Jack and Eric held it down together with help from Tyler in his silver 180sx. These guys were riding the wall for both of their competition runs, earning them 4th place.

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ShaDynasty’s Celica and Corolla were amazing with their ITB’d 3S engines. With Mark’s 500 horsepower Cressida in the mix, these runs were definitely something to watch. The wail of the 3S engines and Mark getting huge angle right near the wall were sick! ShaDynasty took 2nd place in the competition.

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Risky Devil came correct as always with perfectly coordinated cars and driving of a level that could only come from running together for years. Watching all of their cars drive at once got everyone on the hill psyched and cheering! Risky Devil took 3rd in the competition.

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Team OOPS might have had a silly name, but these dudes have been driving for years. Brian Peter (seen here) has been a Formula D driver for many years, Fuminori Kaneko (in his white FC) has been drifting since the 90s in Japan, and David Lee (in the black 6666 customs S13) owns Touge Factory. Between them, this team had easily the most experienced drivers around. Their runs were rad to see.

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Breaking’s cars have always had perfect color coordination, and although Derek King and Derek Bianski were not able to make Final Bout, the Breaking cars there had exciting runs all weekend.

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BossTown threw in everything they had during the competition. Their S13s were some of the cleanest, best condition cars at Final Bout. That didn’t stop these dudes from driving with absolutely no fear, tapping the wall over and over again. This was the Final Bout spirit captured by Brad here!

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My lead runs during Proceed’s competition runs weren’t my favorite. I slowed down a bit too much on this lead run, which caused Leigh to tap me a bit on the way down into the corkscrew. It did make for a great set of photos, though!

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Tracker’s cars looked on point all weekend. Kam’s Grey S13 was always super stylish with his battleship grey color and white gram lights.

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The D Squad corolla driven by Ryan was riding the wall all weekend, and his 3S engine made some amazing sounds!

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High Fade laid down amazing runs with their gorgeous black team cars during the compeition. These dudes were as consistent as you could get and managed to get all four cars perfectly stacked up during their tandem. They were an easy choice for first place!

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My team Proceed won Touge Factory’s award for best team unity. The guys at Touge Factory felt that our team reprensented as a group as well as we could. We’re so proud of that! For us being a team, being together, and being of the same mind set as brothers is more important than anything else. Thank you Touge Factory!

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Congratulations to High Fade for their great looking cars, amazing driving, and awesome attitude! These guys had a great time all weekend, and everyone at Final Bout was happy to see them take home the Final Bout trophy for this year, at least ;) .

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All of the teams that drove deserve props. Coordinating car colors, team names, livery; making sure that all of the team cars run perfectly and are ready to drift, all of these are incredible feats. We are so grateful that you all came together to make Final Bout what it was. Thank you all, and see you at Final Bout 2!

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As a bonus, here are some shots of the HotBoyz heading up the hill and into the wall, before Jordan crashed his car. He was able to recover after his big crash, and the last photo is an “after” image of his car post repairs, on Sunday. Everyone smiled and cheered when we saw his car run- he came back and dragged the wall first try on Sunday! The crowd support was incredible

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Josh’s 180 made a huge impact at Final Bout also, but his engine failed early on. The few runs that he was able to get in were absolutely amazing. Thanks for checking out the last installment of our Final Bout coverage. If anything, I hope this encourages more people to attend next year!

Final Bout Coverage (Part 2 of 3)

Welcome back to our part 2 coverage. Click here for part 1 in case you missed it. Photos by  Brad Sillars.

-Ilia Smolov (Team Proceed)

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The vibe in the pits on Saturday morning was absolutely palpable. Everyone at the driver’s meeting was so excited just to be in the same place at the same time as some of their favorite amateur drivers. I started out the driver’s meeting with a Vin Diesel pose and said something along the lines of “This is… BRAZIL!”

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Proceed lined up at the intermediate course, ready to go.

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We didn’t waste any time driving with our friends from out of town during the free runs. This shot has Julian from Animal Style leading, Ryan from Animal style following, me following Ryan in my Proceed Cressida, and Jordan following all of us in his Miata. It was a privilege to be part of that tandem!

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ShaDynasty getting some practice runs in before the competition on Sunday. These guys looked amazing all day!

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Animal style laid down absolutely flawless runs, one after another. The livery and paint on the cars was super exciting too.

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Simba spent some time following Jack from the Hot Boyz in his JZX81 Cresta. Both cars look amazing driving together!

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Final Boat was no joke! Here is me piloting my giant land yacht through an ocean that formed at the bottom of the USAIR corkscrew- one of my favorite points at the course.

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The seasoned veterans of Oops just wanted to put on a great show for the crowd. Brian Peter, Dave Lee, and Fuminori Kaneko have all been drifting for years, and brought amazing spirit to Final Bout.

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Risky Devil brought a ton of style and great driving to Final Bout too. Their cars were perfectly coordinated, and the drivers have spent years drifting together. It showed in their great tandem runs!

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Simba takes a solo run, and casually brushes past the wall. I didn’t get to be on the spectator side of the fence this weekend, but I’m sure runs like these were super exciting to watch.

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HotBoyz are lining up for one of their practice runs. I love how their tan cars look together.

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Derek’s silver S14 was easily one of the best looking cars of the weekend. This car had perfect paint, Ganador super mirrors, was super low, and had an awesome interior. What more could you ask for?

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Hert tests his FC. His car was having trouble all weekend, but it didn’t stop him from going out and doing some awesome laps.

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Sadly Jordan’s HotBoyz Miata tapped a wall following Leigh on Saturday, taking him out of the competition on Sunday. His extremely well built front crash bar saved the car, and he managed to repair the pretty intense looking damage over the course of the weekend! Stay tuned for our last portion of Final Bout Coverage…

Final Bout Coverage (Part 1 of 3)

It’s possible that describing Final Bout to the uninitiated may be an exercise in futility. To understand why these particular three days at this particular patch of concrete in this particular tiny town in Wisconsin are being called “historic”, “monumental”, or “epic” takes a bit of inside knowledge of drifting both as it is now in the US, and as it has been for decades in Japan. Simply put, drift style and culture in the US and in Japan are on progressively deviating trajectories. While some in the US are happy to participate in the US “way of things”, there are many of us that have grown up admiring the drifting that we saw in Japan, and are still inspired by our heroes there today. Names like A-Bo-Moon, Burst, 326 Power, Hoshino, Dart Izumi, Sexy Knights, and so many others still give us goose bumps.

Final Bout was created to pursue that aura, here in the US. With the help of some of the most experienced drivers and organizations in America, Final Bout set out to allow fans of Japanese drifting to live out their dreams. One of the oldest drift organizations in America- ClubFR- worked with USA International Raceway and three of the most respected names in US drift culture to give drivers an environment that would support incredibly stylish cars and wild driving.

Drivers and judges came to Shawano Wisconsin from all over the US and Canada to drive together, and although a team tandem contest was the claimed focus for the event, everyone in attendance knew that our real reason for being there was to enjoy drifting in its most pure form. Every time I rode a bike through the pits to announce a driver’s meeting or track start time I saw smiling faces and people who were ecstatic simply to be in the same place at the same time.

It’s possible that my take on this weekend won’t begin to describe the significance it held for every attending driver. It’s possible that people reading this article won’t understand, and will be confused as to why so many have called Final Bout the best drift weekend of their lives. Looking back at the Final Bout weekend, I can say one thing with confidence- 20 teams came from thousands of miles away having never met some of their fellow drivers, and left Final Bout with 20 teams’ worth of new brothers. Please enjoy these photos, presented by Brad Sillars and JDM Chicago. Part 2 and 3 will hopefully be dropped before the end of the weekend. 

-Ilia Smolov (Team Proceed)


ShaDynasty came all the way from Seattle with their awesome mix of cars. The X83 Cressida has a 500 horsepower 2JZ engine, while the Celica and Mango are both using 3S Beams engines with individual throttle bodies, making 200 or so horsepower a piece.

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I love the Celica and the Mango. They’re both incredibly unique cars, and with the 3SGE engines are not something you see much in the US or Japan. Combine that with the fact that Mark, Paul, and Matt are amazing drivers, and ShaDynasty made for a super exciting team to watch.

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The guys from GoldStar came all the way from the Sacramento area to drive Final Bout. One of their drivers didn’t bring a car and took professional truck driving classes, just to get a CDL so that he could drive their amazing rig out to USAIR. Talk about dedication… You can see the tan HotBoyz cars in the background of the second shot, too.

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The HotBoyz S13 look great all weekend with its Julius aero and 326 Power wing. The car is 1JZ powered and he had no trouble riding the wall. Tyler (pictured in the bottom photo) drove his kouki aero 180sx all the way from Los Angeles, across the entire US. When the HotBoyz needed a 3rd driver for the team tandem competition, Tyler was happy to help.

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Animal Style made huge waves with their amazing matching livery and super bright paint colors. Ryan Kado’s car was built specifically for Final Bout, and just in time for the event. These guys are amazing drivers and were huge fun to watch!

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Even though Josh Buado and Ryan Hanlon did not get to drive at Final Bout, they still came to support their friends and team-mates from Tracker.

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Bosstown brought three incredibly stylish cars to Final Bout- two 180s in matching red, and a Cressida in a similar red color. These guys looked absolutely perfect rolling in to the pits on Friday.

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Opposite line from Canada brought out an extremely stylish S14, an R32, and an A31 Cefiro. Each car was very clean and made tons of power.

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The Breaking cars had great team unity with matching blue color, vinyl, and wheels. These guys have been a team in the Midwest for a while now, and we wouldn’t have had a complete Final Bout without them!

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High Fade came out with a huge bang with four super clean and very stylish black V8 powered cars. Their driving was incredible all weekend!

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Brad also decided to take a photo of my Cressida. It’s not the prettiest car at Final Bout, but I love it for its comfort and amazing 1JZ sound.  Be on the lookout for Part 2 for some real action!


Luis’ 1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

Back in 2006 Luis was living in Massachusetts. As a Wisconsin native, the east coast never really grew on Luis. He often found himself coming back home to visit friends and family. On one fateful trip, an uncle invited Luis to a family BBQ.  The usual great food and company was anticipated, but he never expected to find the gem of the car you see featured today.

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

Luis had not see his uncle since early childhood. Much to Luis’ surprise,  his uncle was a fellow car enthusiast. Tucked away and barely covered by a weathered tarp, Luis recognized those familiar headlights and grill of a Datsun 510. At that moment he knew the wagon had to be his, but he didn’t know how attached his uncle was to the vehicle.

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

After a few beers, Luis finally mustered up the courage to ask his uncle what his plans were for the 510.  His uncle had some bold ideas and even considered a rotary swap. Unfortunately, his plans never came to fruition due to his busy schedule.  At that point Luis asked if he would consider selling the car to his “favorite nephew.” His uncle gingerly laughed and before you knew it, Luis was the proud new owner of a Datsun 510 Wagon…or so he thought.

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

Luis flew back to Massachusetts a few days later and was in a state of shock that he landed his dream car.  Luis called his uncle first thing on Monday to finalize details of the sale. His uncle was surprised to hear that Luis was serious on the offer. Regretfully, Luis’ uncle informed him the car was promised to his own son. Luis was obviously disappointed, but understood the circumstances.

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

A year later Luis heard from the grapevine that his cousin was looking to purchase a truck and needed a loan. Luis thought this might be a good opportunity to finally be reunited with the wagon. Luis immediately called his cousin and instead of loaning him the money, Luis struck a deal to purchase the wagon outright.  This was a win/win for both parties.

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

A year later Luis ended up moving back to Wisconsin and reality finally set in. The 510 looked almost the same as Luis remembered it.  Initially Luis thought of simply slamming the car and keeping the original faded paint. However, Luis’  cousin started some work and partially primed the car. This meant that Luis had to switch gears with his plan.

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

With the move back home money was a bit tight. Rather then keeping the car a two-tone mess,  Luis rattle-canned the car as a temporary solution until he was able to properly restore the car.

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

Several years went by and the 510 essentially stayed the same while Luis was able to save money and acquire parts. Luis was finally ready in late 2013. Great Lakes Autobody was procured for some light restoration, shaving, custom flares, and finally paint.

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There are still things on Luis’ list that need to be addressed such as the interior and engine. For now, Luis is very happy with how the car turned out and simply enjoys driving the car as often as he can.  We look forward to seeing what’s next for this wagon!


Info & Mod List

1971 Datsun 510 Wagon

-JDM L18 W53
-4speed transmission
-Suspension Ground Control coilovers
-280zx shorten housing
-MR2 inserts
-T3 camber plates,
-2″ lowering Flexform rear springs
-Monroe rear airshocks
-3inch blocks
-280zx front brakes with hawk pads
-Work Equip 01 Wheels (15×8.5 & 15×9)
-Toyo Tires
-OEM Color Nissan Blue
-NOS emblems
-Customs Fender Flares
-Shaved rocker moldings
-Rear hatch vents shaved
-re-chromed front bumper/door handles
-JDM front grille
-BRE front lip
-JDM fender mirror
-Recaro front seats
-Grant wheel
-JDM center console


JDMC Summer Collection

Thanks to Salina Xay for modeling our latest “Zilla” shirt & tank. We also have our popular Option-Style snapback hat now in black.   Finally, we listened to your requests about Lanyards and picked up the best possible one on the market. This lanyard even has its own bottle opener! You can purchase all these items by visiting our store.

Salina Xay- For JDMCHCAGO


Salina Xay- For JDMCHCAGO

Salina Xay- For JDMCHCAGO


Salina Xay- For JDMCHCAGO


Salina Xay- For JDMCHCAGO

Salina Xay- For JDMCHCAGO

Salina Xay- For JDMCHCAGO