Monday, May 31, 2010

Bitten by the Bug

Over the past couple years, subcompacts have been making a comeback. These tiny cars with tiny engines are popping up all over. And I love it. There's something about a zippy little hatchback that makes me drool, and this week's feature is an excellent example.

This week's feature comes from Nashville, although the car and its owner will soon be moving to my local area of operations, in the beautiful State of Maryland. Randy, the owner, is a studio recording engineer who originally purchased the car for the most practical of reasons. His old Isuzu Trooper wasn't exactly an economical ride when gas was hovering around $4 a gallon.

Randy credits for inspiring him to move his "Tuna Can" up from beater status. Once he decided to go ahead with the work, he turned to Garm Beale, the owner of Micro Image to provide him with the parts to make his Yaris shine.

Tuna Can's interior has been spruced up to more properly accommodate Randy's tastes. For a man who loves music, A quality sound system is mandatory. A Dynamat insulation, a JVC head, Memphis Car Audio speakers and amp, along with an Infinity subwoofer, ensure that Randy doesn't have to do without great sound no matter where he goes. LED lights coming from the ceiling, console, ignition, and floor illuminate the cabin to provide the right mood for driving. For a touch of sport, an NRG e-brake lever, sport pedal covers, Redline shift and e-brake boots, and a TRD shift knob connected to an SST short shifter complete the look.

On the outside, the first thing Toyota aficionados will notice is the JDM Toyota Vitz badge and foglights prominently displayed up front. (For those not in the know, the Vitz is the Japan-market Yaris). In the rear, a pair of TYC taillights accent shaved badges and stubby antenna for a smooth body. Under the hood, Tuna Can sports a couple choice TRD bits, namely a fusebox cover and oil cap, complementing the ground kit, Tanabe strut brace, NST underdrive pulleys, AFE Pro-Dry intake, and DC Sports header.

If you were to drop down and take a look underneath the car, you'd find there's still more to be seen. Tanabe springs and TRD shocks keep Tuna Can's body only barely above the Hankook-wrapped 17" MSR rims. Stuffed inside those rims, a full disc brake conversion is completed with R1 Concepts rotors up front, Carbotech pads all around and Agency-Power stainless brake lines tying the whole setup together. Peer under the rear if you want a look at the Tanabe Medallion Touring exhaust system and the TRD rear sway bar.

At this point, I usually try to wrap up the article with a summary on why the car I'm featuring appeals to me. This time, I'm going to let Randy speak for himself.

"I found other Yaris owners that shared what upgrades they had done to their rides. It started with wheels, lowering springs, TRD shocks. Soon I was skipping meals so I could afford led lights for my instrument cluster. When my wife started to feel the differences in the handling and acceleration from the mods I was doing, I knew I was hooked ! Modding my Yaris gives me a sense of individuality. Knowing that nobody else has a Yaris set up like mine makes me feel good when I drive it and I enjoy driving my "Tuna Can" !"

Randy goes on to say...

"What I like most about my Yaris is it’s look and handling. It’s never gonna’ be fast, but it’s quick and rides curves like a glove. I love hearing comments like, “Randy, I’ve seen other Yaris’s but none look as cool as yours.” And since I’ve taken off the badges that tell you what model it is, I get, “What kind of car is that? It’s got a European plate, Did ya’ have it shipped over here?” "

Sounds like a classic case of "bitten by the bug" to me.

Until next week, keep it Clean.

It's Good to be back

Features are officially back! Check out Randy's Yaris later today. Stay Tuned!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Free Stuff Alert

My cards have come in. And while this shitty photo doesn't do them justice, I'm excited enough to post it anyway. In person, they look awesome. I'm very happy with the print quality.

Want some?

I'll send you one of each. They're great for arranging or just looking at.

All you have to do is give me an address to send them to.

You can post it here, or email

I also got a couple sheets of stickers with the same design to give away. I have yet to determine how I'll distribute those. Stay tuned for that.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How to get your sketch...

So the Clean Membership Campaign sweepstakes is officially over. With... Disappointing results. I gained a total of about 12-13 members over the past week.

At this point, I'll still be awarding a consolation prize. I can't justify the expense of super-fancy paper right now, but I want to do right by my readers. I will mail out one sketch on 96lb 5.5"x7" sketch paper. This sketch can be of your car, or of any other car you'd like to have a custom picture of.

However, I still need to pick a winner! If you have referred people to the Facebook page over the past week, please post their names on the page. I will award the prize to whoever has managed to refer the most new members.

Everything I do on this site is basically an experiment. I try different things and evaluate the results. I gained some valuable information from this contest, which right now is the main goal of everything I do related to my little venture. This won't be the last promotion you'll see from me, and the next one will definitely be a bit more interesting.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ahoy, Maties! Thar Be Fun and Promotions on the Horizon!

Want a Sketch of your Car?

I'll be mailing out a one-off sketch to the winner of this week's competition. How do you enter? It's simple.

Get 10 people to join the Clean Facebook and follow me on Twitter. Once you've done this, post up on the Facebook page, listing the names of people you've gotten to join.

That's it, basically. I'll put all eligible entries in a hat next Sunday and pull out the winner at random. Pictures will be posted so you all can see.

The winner will receive a sketch of their car in the mail.

Don't have a car? Don't want yours sketched? No problem. I can draw any car you want. The sketch will be drawn on archival paper, which means that provided you keep it clean and dry, the paper won't deteriorate. Mat it and frame it or whatever you want. If this contest goes well, expect more in the future.

Why am I doing this? I need more members! It's as simple as that. I'm trying to increase my readership, and I can't afford tons of expensive advertising and stuff like that right now, so I'm keeping things small.

In other news, I just spent the last several hours uploading and designing the official Clean business cards. These cards are going to feature the drawings from Clean Series 1. The fronts of the cards are going to look just like the images you see above you.

I'm going to be mailing these cards out in sets of three (one of each image). Want some? All you have to do is ask. And give me an address to send them to. They should be available in a few weeks (I hope).

Finally, features should be back next week. I'm currently corresponding with the owners of a few unique and interesting daily drivers. I apologize that it's taken so long to bring them back, but with a full time job and other commitments, I can only do so much.

That's it for now ladies and gentlemen. As usual, feel free to let me know about any feature-worthy cars you see, including your own. I love getting feedback from everyone, so don't be shy.

See you next week!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Third in a Series

Here it is, the last of three images.

These images will soon be available on prints, t-shirts and other merchandise. They are the first of many different art releases I have planned for the future.

When I started this blog, I had one specific goal: To make a living drawing, writing, and talking about cars. This is just the first step of many towards that goal. I'll still be writing, still drawing, and still talking to all kinds of car owners from all over the world. It's been a fun and educational experience so far, and I see no reason that won't continue.

I picked these specific cars for a reason. All three were immediate successes upon their release, and remained successful through many years and generations. All three are also still available. I hope, of course, to make the same thing happen to this little venture.

Expect merchandise to be available by the end of the month.

And if you know someone (Including yourself) who deserves a feature on their car, shoot an email to or post here, or on the Facebook.

Have an awesome week, and by the way, welcome to all the new fans. I appreciate all the support.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Second in a Series.

So here it is. Part 2. Son of part 1.

As I mentioned last post, these images are part of a promotion I'm setting up, among other things. The main uses will be revealed tomorrow, but, like any promotion, there will be free stuff, so look forward to that!

At this point, I really want to know what everyone thinks of the art and the blog in general. Personally, I love interviewing people and writing about their cars. I love probing everyone's mind with new questions every day. I love shooting cars and tweeting commentary at car shows. And, of course, I love drawing. This blog of mine has been a great way to combine a lot of my interests into one ongoing project, and I hope you all are enjoying the results.

Third image will be up tomorrow, along with the final bit of information as to what I intend to do with these. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 7, 2010

First in a Series

The image you are viewing is the first of three images that I'll be posting this weekend. There'll be one more tomorrow and a third on Sunday.

These images will comprise the face of my first promotion campaign. I'll be doing some pretty cool stuff with them. Stuff I don't want to reveal just yet.

As always, feel free to post any thoughts, advice, criticism, praise, etc right here, or to the Facebook.

Have an awesome weekend everybody!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

CPTuning Meet & Canned Food Drive

It's getting close to summertime, and car season has officially begun. And with car season comes car meets. One of these is the annual charity meet at University of Maryland. A fun little event, with canned food items standing in for the admission cost.

The event was fun, despite the oppressive heat. I heard accounts that it was bigger last year, but the lots seemed pretty full to me. However, most people, including myself, had left after a couple hours, so I guess there's something to that.

There was a nice mix of brands and countries represented, along with a good blend of style, from ratty daily drivers to ultra-clean show cars. Definitely a lot of eye candy on display for enthusiasts like myself.

Meets like this are always a good way to get a genuine feel for what's happening in the local car scene and what people like to do to their cars. Here's a few impressions I got:

Drifting seems to have made its final evolutionary step. Now, much like drag racing, the die-hard enthusiasts remain, but it has lost it's status as the hot trend everyone wants to follow. I think this is a good thing, honestly, as the sport will begin to become more open to newcomers now that all the haters have found something else to get on their high horse about.

I definitely saw my share of crazy wheel fitments out there, some better executed than others. I honestly like a flush setup once in a while, although I'd never do it to my own car. However, as usual, some people take it a bit too far. If your tires are scraped up from your fenders, you're not a badass, you're an idiot.

One thing I definitely don't get is this new trend with engine bays being painted a different color than the rest of the car. To me, no matter how good your paint job was, it still looks like someone did a shitty respray on your car and neglected to paint the engine bay. I just don't like it, but if it's your thing, enjoy.

Wire tucks: Always amazing. I love them.

That's it for today: Remember, there's a bunch of pics on the Facebook page, so head over there if you haven't already. See you next week!