February 11, 2010

Super Feature: Matt

Something new I thought I could bring this year to my blog is what I'd like to call a  Super Feature. It's a brief description and interview of a car enthusiast. This is the very first feature here at Super Terrific so I am quite excited. I am not being bias because Matt was a previous Altezza owner :), not to mention the founder of a club in Australia, just to give a small preview of the many things he has done. I've encountered Matt through my Flickr account lurking at IS300 pictures. As many of you may not know I am Raemon Photography on Flickr, yes I have an infatuation with Doraemon hence a lot of my things are Doraemon related, but that story is for another time. During one of my flickr lurking runs, I stumbled upon an Altezza picture club and saw that Matt was the Admin for the club. I browsed a lot of his photos and was impressed with the photography that Matt snaps. There are photos in the bottom that Matt has snapped for our viewing pleasure. If you have time please visit his flickr account  there are a ton of great photos not just of Altezzas, but other terrific cars as well. I cannot show all of it you, but you can enjoy his photos by clicking the link. You can also enjoy the scenery of Australia.

Meet Matt, the founder of the Altezza club in Australia. Matt is the founder of the website www.altezzaclub.org.au for Lexus IS / Altezza owners  in Australia. For the enthusiast that felt  "that appreciated that this was a 4 door car with 2 seater feel. Our forums http://forum.altezzaclub.org.au have become one of the best English language resources for true Altezza owners (ie. 3SGEBEAMS RS200 Altezza’s). This is mainly because most Australian based Altezza owners are on there, and we have lots of New Zealand owners as well – they have an open import market, so lots of Altezzas there."

His car is an IS200 or a Toyota Altezza AS200. Matt stated " It;s a 6 speed manual, LSD, and 2 litre 6 cylinder 1GFE engine. Once i fitted the TRD clutch and JUN flywheel it was nice and revvy, but you are constantly aware of the very lower power of the 1GFE engine (112kw) matched with a weighty 4 door sedan. But the handling (particular after i fitted the TRD coilovers) was sublime, and it was a great and reliable daily driver and track car for me."

Without further interuptions his Altezza:


The begnining of an end. Past meets the future.
The last shot taken of the Altezza
Yes guys this car does see the track:

Sadly the Altezza was sold, Matt told me "I sold it to a mate Brett, who owns the 1000hp IS200 you can find in my photos http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=is1000&w=9301358@N06
Brett did a V8 conversion on it and sold it on. I drove it – 1UZ with an auto box, it was a very different, more lazy cruiser. Not as fun to be honest. Another friend (who runs toymods, Australian Toyota modifiers club) has a VVTi 1UZ V8 in his IS200 with a manual gearbox. That’s a fun car. Did 12.9 down the quarter without the VVTi working and an open diff."

Here is the new car:
Nice Pictures By The Way!

  An excellent example of subtle changes making a lasting impression. Less is more!
 I'm loving the open rooftop with the Autumn leaves rustling as a roadster zooms by.
Yes this Miata gets track love the same that the Altezza has experienced, Photos coutesy of another photographer:



 Your just missing the hardtop! :)

Here is a brief interview with Matt

Whats your name?

What was your first car?
1976 Peugeot 504 sedan. 2 litre 5 speed manual, rear wheel drive. Great car.

Did you always have a passion for cars?
Yes. Dad is a car nut and he used to rally competitively, so it's in the blood! I had the Matchbox Car collection, the white Lamborghini Contach block mount on my bedroom wall. The piles of car magazines.  Later it was just a love of cars, and now it's more about driving and track days.

What is your philosophy with car tuning?
Everything in balance. I think it's important to focus on what you want from a car, and to play to a cars strengths.

What got you into Japanese tuning?
Initially, it was the fact that the Japanese approach to fast road cars was so different from what I was used to. As I got further into the scene, I began to really appreciate how much importance Japan’s domestic tuners placed on often overlooked aspects of a car like throttle response and unsprung weight. True Japanese tuning is about enhancing the experience for the driver. As I began to experience this in modified Japanese cars first hand, it made a lot of sense. And it translated both to the road and to the circuit.

Do you specifically just like Japanese cars?
No, not at all. The Japanese are not the first to consider these aspects of tuning, I just like the Japanese approach to things. The bang for buck is also a bonus! However I've always had a soft spot for French cars, in fact some of my favourite cars are European. There are many appealing cars around - i mean, there's no single perfect 'do everything' car, is there?

How do you feel about car culture in general in Australia?
Australia is a very car-centric culture, so I think we have a healthy population of car lovers here. The landscape for enthusiasts in Australia still tends to be dominated by the V8 offerings of Holden and Ford. But that appears to be steadily changing. For certain, just about every type of car has some devout followers living here in Australia.

Where do you think you guys stand with the rest of the world?
Certainly, when it comes to building world-beating production, race and tuned cars, I think Australia punches above our weight division.  There's a lot of quite unique and special cars always bring produced in Australia. Australia has also produced some of the fastest drag and time attack cars around as well.

Are you affiliated with any clubs?
Certainly. The car club scene can really enhance the enjoyment of car ownership, and save you some money in the process! I'm an active member of the MX5 Club of NSW, Circuit Club (a trackday group) and JDM Style Tuning. I also mingle with other clubs such as the OzRenaultsport and the Altezza Club of Australia, which I co-founded in 2004.

Any special thanks or links you would like to provide for the readers?
JDM Style Tuning for introducing me to ‘bone-fide’ Japanese tuning:

Circuit Club for running the best track days around:

Indy and IS Motor Racing, for being the best damned workshop in Sydney. 


Nuckin' Futs said...

Very interesting and cool idea to run features. Its a pretty cool thing to see being done on not-so-mainstream blogs like this one. Only blogs like speedhunters or fatlace seem to think that interviewing people is relevant unless ur getting massive amounts of traffic. Its a good way to build a following and Matt was cool enough to be down with it. Respect to him.

It was a pretty good read, Its always sad to see your car go. At least he was able to sell it to his friend and not a stranger. Miatta was a good choice, so much you can do and such a good bang for the buck. I wanna see how that baby looks after he tunes it.


r32taka said...

Nice bro! Getting interviews is very good. We can know and learn how the japanese scene felt is in diferents countries and how the people fell it. Congrats