“This car reacts faster than I can think; it is impossible to keep up with it!” These were the words that Timo Salonen uttered to waiting media when he pulled his Peugeot 205T16 into time control in Finland 1986. As the beads of sweat on his face glistened under the setting Finnish sun, he pulled out a cigarette, lit up, and surveyed the time-control board. A trail of smoke crept out through the perspex side window of the angrily rumbling Peugeot as he engaged first gear and idled off to the next stage.
Author Archives: aaronmai
*This article was originally produced for Classic Ford, a UK-based magazine*
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Plenty of race cars come and go, but a special few manage to etch themselves deep into our memory banks. Unfortunately, so many of these special breed of race cars share one thing in common – and this story is no different. They often disappear as fast as they lap the tarmac once they are retired. While Gary Wilkinson was in Johor Malaysia, he caught word that there was an Escort in a workshop that he might want to have a look at. As a passionate Ford man, Gary needed to know more.
Kei Miura is a leader and leaders always get heat. They’re always going against the grain, Nakai-san takes heat, Kato-san takes heat, every great artist takes heat. Heat means they are doing something right. Anarchists have always taken the path less travelled and ultimately by listening to the voices of passion and ignoring those on social media we have bonkers creations such as the TRA-Kyoto S30Z.
It might be pint-sized, it might not be an obvious choice, but believe it or not this micro-machine packs more punch than it lets on. Yes it is a Suzuki Swift, which is perfect for grabbing groceries, pottering off to the garden centre in, or picking up granny on a Sunday afternoon. This particular example though, would for sure give granny a full-blown heart attack.
A while back I did a spotlight post on a very special boat that is circulating around ponds here in New Zealand, although this one breaks the mold. Jet sprinting originated in NZ, and is dominated by V8-powered boats. So when Peter Huijs showed up back in the day with boat that sounded slightly different, we all sat up and took notice.
Jetsprinting in a nutshell, is a jetboat with a crew consisting of a driver and a navigator racing against the clock through a twisting series of channels in 70-100cm of water. Each run usually takes around 55 seconds, and consists of 25-30 changes in direction, and as far as spectator sports go this one is hard to top!
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2016 has been much less automotive orientated than expected, yet some of the things I was lucky to experience are without a doubt some of the biggest and most satisfying to date. Compiling a post that captures the best of what a photographer shoots in a year, without it getting out of hand is insanely difficult, and that level only ramps up year by year. So let’s get into it. In no particular order is my favourite parts of 2016 captured through my lens.
1 – RAUH-Welt Begriff New Zealand 001 & 002
Life at times is very impersonal. Scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds consists 90% of cars, it feels like we are starting to forget the human element when it comes to photographing the car scene. We always talk about the people behind the builds…why not the people in front of the builds? The machinery is a by-product of people not the other way around.
This post is dedicated to the human element of ‘Chigiri’. It shows the experiences and the people Nakai-san brought together in Melbourne to make for an unforgettable experience.
After removing the window banner from another successful build, the one question hanging in the air was what the 993 would be named. Without pressing Nakai-san, we knew that the right time would come and he would decide on the name when he felt it was the right time. There was one last thing to do as a group, and that was to head for a celebratory dinner. Feeling full and very content, it was back to the workshop for a brief stop before bed time for most.
As Nakai-san and everyone else departed the workshop, the freshly completed RWB sat quietly in the workshop, so I seized the chance to take a few shots before the public meet and greet the following day. Ladies and gentleman I present you with Australia’s latest RWB.
One of my favourite things about reading a book rather than watching a movie is that the visual story I form in my mind is my own version, individual and unlike anyone else’s. By only writing the time that I took each photo in these posts, I am hoping you too will form your own visual story of the birth of ‘Chigiri’. It truly was a different experience for every person who attended. Enjoy the final build chapter of Australia’s first 993.
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19 August – 9:56pm
‘When you photograph people in colour, you photograph their clothes. When you photograph people in black and white, you photograph their soul’. For those who have witnessed the art of RWB in person, one thing resounds with everyone. The cars are beautiful creations, yet it is the man behind the name who captures the hearts and minds of people. Welcome to part 2 of simple beauty – the birth of ‘Chigiri’.
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August 19, 2016 – 12:14pm