Lifestyle of Rich & Famous.



El Garaje Vida

Freeways jammed with traffic, red lights keeping you from going to work and of course you yourself doesn’t want to get out of bed. Well, I’m probably sure the same goes for the crew of Garage Life (ライフガレージ) but nonetheless they shuffle on in sooner or later. Around 8 in the morning, Brian usually will be there already getting ready or just browsing the web. The shop doesn’t officially open till 11, but no one said being early is a bad thing. Jason is almost always there unless he’s at work but those two usually watch movies early in the morning.

The day I went to drop off my turbo for a rebuild, Brian had just bought Star Wars on Blue Ray. What can better pass the day while working on cars with all six episodes of Star Wars playing throughout the day.

The interior of the office recently got moved around so, if you’ve seen it awhile back they have furniture now!

Don’t let the outside fool you, Garage Life has yet to get a banner up. You can’t miss the row of import cars usually outside the shop, so you can’t say you didn’t see the shop. I got a little tour of the garage while I was there and wasn’t disappointed.

The shop itself is pretty massive in size, but sadly they only have one lift. No worries though they are going to grab a digital alignment machine and a few more TIG welders. The shop specializes in not only normal car overhaul duties, they can also rebuild rotary engines since head mechanic/co-owner Daniel Kuo and Jesse Mata have been around them long enough. It’s nice to know that they aren’t biased against the rotary world, but no worries they can also work on Euro cars.

This would be the engine that DK and Jesse rebuilt and dropped back into the FC. Of course later on Kristian Wong of renown SP Engineering, would tune the Apexi SAFC II inside the car. Kristian is also one of the crew members who work late into the night after his job ends at SP. Double duty, this guy’s tough.

Tube frames for EVERYBODY!

A display of the body work they can dish out. The carbon fiber hood off of a customers MKIV Supra, the crew was asked to keep the fins carbon fiber while painting the rest of it black.

Jason’s personal drift car is being serviced right now, the engine needs a rebuild but I guess you can say this thing has seen many tire walls and even the asphalt.

Formula D driver Aman Dio from Indonesia has left the car in Garage Life’s care while he’s off doing his own thing.

Interestingly enough, the car looks pretty normal of a drift car. Stripped, caged and ready to rock and roll, but check out that mad tyte JDM KEYS! racing wheel. Word.

Here further in the back of the shop is Kristian’s old daily driver. The poor thing died on the way to XDC Arizona this year due to massive overheating for at least 10 min. Even the mighty Honda motor went on it’s way to heaven after that ordeal. But no worries, he plans to bring it back to life sooner or later.

Last but not least, this is the Daniel Kuo’s personal drift car. Although not quite ready for the track right now, this car has seen many competitions and drift days. Maybe a return to XDC next season?

I came a few days later at night because my turbo started smoking again due to bad bearings and grinding fins. Although this may be the after hours of the shop, if corrections are need to be made DK and crew will be there to help. The two that went right to work on my car was Kristian and DK after the turbo cooled down of course.

Man, I hate my turbo…

All in all my car came out doing back flips and somersaults with the rebuilt turbo, no more oil leaks and no more oil burning. The garage is pretty peaceful at night, if they don’t have anything to work on they just go back in and watch movies or just talk about well… cars! I want to thank DK, Jesse and Kristian for the help on my car also Brian, Adrian and Jason for the customer service and hospitality. Your work is definitely appreciated! Hopefully in the future business will boom for you guys.

Garage Life

11128 Rush St.

South El Monte, CA 91733

(626) 455-0415


Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wives The Super Beetle Is Here.

Alright so before anyone asks where I’ve been I have a little scoop for you readers. A friend of mine, Kent, who I did a post of on here picked up a project that is his girlfriend’s to be daily driver. A genuine 1973 Super Beetle who was dumped to a junkyard to die, was picked up by his girlfriend’s dad as a daily driver for her.  Turns out the car isn’t what she wanted at the time just because their was work to be done to it. That was about 2-3 years ago, flash forward to now it turns out the dad wanted to sell the car because no one wanted it. So me and Kent took the initiative and asked his girlfriend if she could get the car. Of course it would be under her name so, basically it would be her car. Pretty cool, right?

Basically this is Kent’s project car for his girlfriend, to bring it back to life and allow her to use it as a daily driver. I had owned and worked on a Karmann Ghia in the past, I was like how much different could it be? Not that different at all. So my knowledge was kind of useful to good ol’ Kent. Then again my pops knew more than I did about VW’s, because that’s what he used to have back in the day. Anyways back to the story, the car hasn’t been running for about 2-3 years now so the battery died. In the end, we had to get it towed back to Kent’s house in order for us to work any further on it. After looking around the car a bit, besides all the random bondo work and the cool rusted out floor pan where the battery sits, the car looked fine.

The interior was actually redone by the dad on his spare time. Not too shabby at all, except for the few random changes like the shifter. You have to pull the trigger on it up while moving the shifter left and down to go into reverse. I would’ve just kept it stock, push down to the left and down. Some little things were missing like the radio and a couple of random switches here and there on the dashboard. The speedometer was dead because of the cable being broken and disconnected. But I guess that’s what you get for a free car right?

We had troubles with the car from the start, first it not having enough fuel. It was pretty much empty when we first got it so, of course it wouldn’t fire up because their was no fuel going to the carburetor. Second was that even with the battery hooked up we couldn’t get it to start normally. In the end we had to push start the car in second gear, with which we failed many times before that BUT it finally started up. Slowly at first with puffs of smoke coming out the pea shooters, but surely the car ran off into the neighborhood. Hearing the roar of the little engine got excited that we had come this far.

As you can see from the pictures, the engine was still in good shape. One of the things that needed to happen though was either rebuild the carburetor or tune it. In the beginning the car didn’t want to run at all, it would bog hard so I turned the volume adjustment screw to give it more fuel. It seemed like it ran better at the time because of that fuel bump. Well since we knew the car could start we began speculating that the starter was dead. That was truly a nightmare, let me tell you we spent most of the weekend trying to get the starter of this car, but to no avail. Kent got it all squared away once he decided to go all out and clean grounds and such. The car could finally turn over on it’s own!

There is the man himself pictured in this photo, Kent Soliven of Soliven Mysteries Co. Since I had to go back to Northridge for classes, this guy spent his whole week cleaning and figuring out how this car works. When I returned, he had solved the starting issue, but was not stuck with wiring. Oh how I hate electrical ailments on a car, I wish cars didn’t give us that trouble at all. The headlights and taillights were giving us the worst time possible while trying to enjoy the car. When we reviewed the wiring diagram we decided to re-wrap the wiring near the tail lights in order to make better contact. What did I find? Well most of the wires had already been redone, but as Kent would say he called at bobo work. The wires weren’t even touching! They were just wrapped over hoping that they would touch. In the end after many trials and errors, we finally got the taillights to actually work with the help of our friend Elnner.

At the end of the day, the car is now ready to go. We just need to register it and get insurance on it then it’s off to Camarillo! We had our moments although short, but in the end you get quite attached to it. One of the good memories was mobbing in the car to get shaved ice at the Get Shaved. I drove like a madman of course because I’ve always loved the feel and torque that the small engines dished out. I’ll admit I haven’t been posting updates because I’ve been pretty busy and at the same time lazy. I hope you do enjoy this little read though, till next time. HIDE YO KIDS, HIDE YO WIVES.

The Rundown: Chamorro Owned E30.

Guamanian born and raised, Lainard has been through many cars in short time. Living on his own in California, he’s made himself quite comfortable. From 240sx’s to an RX-7 convertible he’s now in the German club with a 1980’s E30.

It may look quite ordinary, but that’s just because it’s a daily driver. I chose this car not just because Lainard is a friend, but because it has character in it. Cars that are too plain and clean are horrible sometimes. Don’t get me wrong though there are cars that I love that are clean and proper.

As you all (mostly) can tell the rims are pretty much stock BBS that you can get pretty easily, but you see this car by day is a daily by night a sliding white nightmare. Open differential with a 5 speed transmission with an inline 6 M20 engine creates what is the Chamorro’s E30. Lowered on, correct me if I’m wrong, Eibach springs and Bilstein yellows all around which is why you can see the major change in camber up front. CLUTCH KICK AWAY!

This is probably why this car is unique. A punched in fender from rage and some artistic make up to cover the damages is what I call character. The owner himself is quite the guy if you’ve ever met him, he’s pretty sarcastic too. The little BMW’s suspension towers in the rear have rusted themselves away, but not a problem when Kelvin Arreola came in to do a proper welding job. Now the car handles like it’s supposed to!

I know the owner told me his car wasn’t worth the cover, but as usual I go against it. Why you say? Because this is my blog and I do what I want. Just kidding.

I’ve always told him that my car wasn’t deserving of any kind of photo shoots or filming, but he still did it anyways. This is I guess you can say the same mindset with me. Character and personality is an aura that either be hidden or shown on a car. This little rundown E30 shows just the kind of character like it’s owner. Although small in size, they both have a big heart.

Soliven Mysteries: The Line Bros.

Along the South Bay is a group of brothers who share the rotary love. I guess you can say they’re twins in a sense. The Soliven Mysteries brothers is what Kelvin calls them and it stuck. I finally decided it was time to let the bloggers and world know about the unique duo, the cars they love and daily drive.

A GTU turned turbo and a GTUs which came with quite a few “tricks” up its sleeves are the dynamic duos daily driven vehicles. Kent who drives the GTU turbo swap is not your average college student. A man of the community, Kent plays drums, guitar, bass and even the keyboard for his local church. Not only that he also is in a band and will be touring soon enough. A veteran of Cal State Long Beach, Kent has pursued a musical recording career and Long Beach Community College (LBCC). Daily driving around the city of Long Beach to even Camarillo, what a trooper.

Don’t let the height of the car fool you, for you see this car was the epitome of stock body low. With the sleek stock looking Turbo II front lip and the help of Tein HE’s this car was what brought me to love stock body. Sure he was rubbing the hell out of those tires, but that’s basically what happens when your a little lower than usual.

The history of this car is pretty straight forward, he bought it for a great price and the motor went out. Sadly it had sand? of some sort stuck in there that caused the engine to malfunction. The guy lent Kent (HA. that rhymed) a Camaro for the time being and paid full to rebuild the engine at Neptune Speed. For those who must know, the engine is a 13BT and has a minor streetport. The car purrs quietly with the Racing Beat Dual Catback that he has on and sounds great. For right now the car is running lean and cannot be driven hard, sadly.

For kicks we allowed a money shot to show just how wide these rims are. The rims are from American Racing, but I’ll have to edit further once I get the offsets for you all.

Now for the younger Soliven to get some spotlight. This kid has been through a lot with this car, no joke and pun intended. A GTUs is a pretty rare FC3S to see out and about nowadays, even though FC’s are being brought back now. Technically the GTUs was supposed to come with a 20B engine, but with the US and their smog loving bills we were given the N/A 13B to keep it under wraps. Well the history with this car was that it couldn’t be registered because the VIN numbers weren’t matching. The reason being was that the real VIN of the car was actually on a junked FC for some odd reason. Took months to register, but here it is now in all its South Bay glory.

Lester Soliven is his name and clutch kicking is his game. A student of San Jacinto Community College and a local of both the Inland Empire and South Bay this kid is full of energy to be driving back and forth. Although he hasn’t put down any track time in the car yet, he does plan to this summer! Sounds good right?

Check out that lip! Pretty awesome right? S5 Turbo II rims and lowered with some Eibach Ground Controls this car can handle on the street.

Showing a little rotary love here, Lester’s engine is an N/A 13B with Pacesetter headers and an Apexi N1 Catback. The car has a very nice hum to it and when it takes off it turns into a beast.

Look at this tough guy!

It amazes me how dedicated these two are to their respective cars. These South Bay brothers are my best friends in the area, but also my main support for this site and in general. Thank you both for the support and also you both deserved to be featured on here. Mystery solved.

The Women of XDC: Phoenix

You can thank me later.

Memories of Phoenix Pt.2

Congratulations to Jeff Jones for placing 3rd during this recent event. Thumbs up to Kelvin Arreola for qualifying for Top 16. Also special thanks to our pit crew & vacationers that made the trip “special”.

Memories of Phoenix Pt. 1