These are all friends from high school.

1. Boy was a notoriously bad driver. We’ll call him “Fatslice” (he was actually twig slender, despite a steady diet of fat pizza slices and sour gummy worms). Between all of us in high school, everyone would volunteer to drive, instead of letting Fatslice drive us around. — One day at lunch, we were all eating by the usual spot at the stairs. Talking about how heavy it rained yesterday. Another friend, we’ll call him “Pillsbury,” mentioned an accident he drove past yesterday, through the torrential rain. He was giggling to himself as he said, “yeah man, I just saw a 300ZX (Z32) wrapped around the lamp pole going down Azusa. That guy must’ve gotten fucked up!” Fatslice answered back, “Motherfucker! That was me!” He later got an MA70 Supra, which ended up catching on fire while driving down the 60 fwy towards Riverside.

2. There was “Gatz.” I’ve known Gatz forever. I’d usually hang out at his place, playing Moonwalker or Shinobi 3 on his Mega Drive, or reading Dragon Quest or Ranma 1/2 comics. His dad was retired, and was well-off enough. His mom would always drop us off in Anaheim for Anime Expo in her E30 BMW, she’d always wear gloves while driving. When he got old enough to drive, he’d take out his dad’s Merc 500 SEL, or a few times in a Porsche 911 Speedster (964). When Gatz got kicked out of the house after a stint with Asian gangs, then the marines academy, he basically worked and survived on his own to get a red 1994 MR2 (SW20). Eventually, that car got built up with a 3S-GTE, JIC Magic FLT coil-overs, Rays Engineering wheels. It was gorgeous, clean. I need to look for the magazine, but it was featured in a Japanese magazine. It wasn’t Option or Drift Tengoku. It’s been so long, I forgot the title. But Gatz was around the LA Import scene enough that he got me in to the first D1 Drift Gran Prix event at Irwindale as staff/vendor. We met a lot legends. Nobuteru (Nob - No One Better) Taniguchi . Tsuchiya. Dai, the “God” of tuning, founder of Option Magazine. Since then, Gatz has had an MR-S, an Elise 111R, an Audi RS5, and now a R35 GT-R. He did it working his ass off, self-made, school drop out.

3. Another friend, we’ll call him “Dishes.” His mom got him a Rav4. It was a bayside blue kind of color. He hated that he got that car. He was totally more of a Prelude or Supra kind of guy. He would commute every morning listening to DJ Shadow, and to the stacks of free promotional mixtapes of Eminem and Kurupt that we would get from A&M Records. Still, he built up and body kitted the shit out of that Rav4. I believe he got plenty of sponsors, such as “Pray to the god of Bomex: I hope your speed over your rival.” When you saw that Rav4, you knew it had to be Dishes. He eventually grew up building Scion show cars, a lot of Scion xB stuff. He drives a 3-series and is more of a family man now.

4. Sax. We’ll call this guy Sax (for saxophone player). His parents got him an Impreza GC8. That car has been through several kinds of hell. I’d drove up through Glendora Mountain Road a lot with Sax, maybe more so than with my other friend Gatz. But Sax would also take his Impreza out to the El Mirage dry lake bed, so he could practice drifting. I went with him once. Make sure the air conditioning is set to interior re-circulate, because all that dirt and sand gets through and blows into the interior! He went so much, he blew the motor because it became so contaminated with dirt and grime. Sax would get obsessed with driving. Another one of our friends would say, “I’m not Sax. I don’t see the entire world as a racing circuit.” Sax would speed and braking duel every corner like it was a battle. Even if he was just driving us in a Toyota minivan. That Impreza, would get EJ20 turbo, taken from a Subaru Legacy front clip. He self-installed just about everything. He also owed money to Dishes, for parts he never finished paying for. He has flipped and rolled that Impreza driving through the backroads in Malibu, and broke his arm. Despite the abuse, that GC8 is still somehow running. Even as you can smell the gasoline ‘cause the motor hasn’t been tuned, and it runs so damn rich. He has had to keep an extra canister of gasoline in the trunk, because the fuel gauge doesn’t work.

5. Rothschild. Rothschild drove a new Supra in high school. Brand new. JZA80. He would refer to that Supra as red car. He purposely bought the car NA, 2JZ-GE, as he planned to build it from the ground up. HKS parts, blow-off valve, Advan AVS wheels. He estimated that the car would output 900 hp. Except he was too cheap to pay for a proper installation and tuning of the HKS vein pressure converter. So it rested around, unfinished. I remember bringing the first season of Initial D over to watch with a bunch of other friends (and in a Cantonese dub, with English subtitles bootleg no less). Rothschild never finished building that Supra. A few months later, I go to hang out with Rothschild and some buddies, and basically picked up a 1985 Corolla hatchback GT-S, AE86. That Supra basically sat in the driveway, as he spent all his time and resources building and driving that AE86. The car got repainted in panda white paint scheme at Maaco. He would freaken weld in his own roll cage and make his own strut bars. Install his own TRD shortshifter and bushings kit. This guy was SUPER DIY guy. I used to think I drove decently proficient and fast, but Rothschild was far beyond my level. It was always fun to ride along with Rothschild. He went blew through the original 4A-GE motor, than a silver top 20 valve AE101 engine, AND a black top 20 valve AE111.