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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Hot Wheels

For most, cars are just a mode of transportation, taking them from point A to B and nothing else. For others, cars are much more: something that tells a story or an extension of the owner’s personality.

2011 Mitsubishi Evolution. // Photos by Tyler Morris

2011 Mitsubishi Evolution

Sourena Javadpour has owned his 2011 Mitsubishi Evolution for the last four years.

Javadpour said the car is heavily modified. Everything on the outside of the car has been modified with the exception of the hood. The car sports a full wide-body kit along with modifications to the engine.

“My plan is to eventually move away from this being the daily driver,” Javadpour said. “I want to make it into an autocross or a track car, just make it as light as possible.”

As of right now, Javadpour doesn’t see himself getting rid of the car. Rather it will continue to be built upon.

At first glance the car looks to be painted light blue, but it’s actually vinyl wrapped, meaning large sheets of vinyl film are placed over each body panel to protect the original paint.  This, Javadpour said, was one of his favorite parts of the car.

“It’s the color and the tire lettering,” Javadpour said. “It looks like a toy.”

1968 Ford Mustang Fastback. // Photo by Tyler Morris

1968 Ford Mustang Fastback

Bellingham resident Kris Hamilton’s 1968 Ford Mustang Fastback has been a family heirloom.

Hamilton’s father purchased the car brand new in 1968. It’s been repainted once as the original coat was badly scratched, Hamilton said. Apart from that, the car has no damage.

The car has its original 302 cubic inch V8 engine and four barrel carburetor. However, it hasn’t been without its fair share of problems.

“It’s a bit of a bear to drive because they can’t get the power steering adjusted properly,” Hamilton said. “I have driven it though, around 250 miles straight to my 50th high school reunion in Ephrata, [Washington].”

The car gets a lot of attention since Hamilton’s favorite thing about it is all the compliments he receives.

1987 Mazda RX-7. // Photos by Tyler Morris

1987 Mazda RX-7

Junior Vasiliy Shishkarev is a student in Western’s vehicle design program. He is also the owner of a home-built 1987 Mazda RX-7.

Shishkarev owned a Jeep before the Mazda, but had never been into cars. This changed when he went to a drift event for the first time.

Drifting is where the driver intentionally tries to break traction of the rear wheels while maintaining control of the car through a corner.

“When I was 18, I went to Formula Drift for the first time,” Shishkarev said. “There were a bunch of Nissan 240SXs and after that, I wanted one. I searched Craigslist and they were either expensive or beat up and I found a RX-7, it looked just like a 240 and I said ‘well I’ll give it a try.’”

After owning the car for two weeks, the original engine died. Shishkarev rebuilt the engine, but he decided to swap out the original engine for a Toyota 1JZ inline six-cylinder engine.

“It’s out of a variety of Japanese Toyotas,” Shishkarev said. “You couldn’t actually receive this engine in the United States.”

Shishkarev plans to restrict the car to track-use only. At the moment however, he said it’s a fun car to drive.  Currently, Shishkarev has started taking the car to drift events.

“It a really responsive chassis [frame], you can feel everything that’s going on,” Shishkarev said. “I don’t think I have ever owned a car I’ve had this much fun in.”

1971 Ford Maverick

Junior Daniel Gauger owns two cars that he has put a lot of time and effort into keeping up. One, a 1971 Ford Maverick, was bought new by his great grandmother and has made its way through his family.

“When she passed away, my dad inherited the car,” Gauger said. “My brother had it passed down to him; he didn’t know anything about cars. It broke down on him, he comes home pissed off, throws the keys at me. He said he didn’t want it anymore and I’m like ‘Sick!’”

Since then, Gauger has swapped the engine, and the Maverick currently has a 302 cubic V8 from a 1990 Ford Mustang. The car also has some engine parts, like the intake, from a 1996 Ford Explorer because, as Gauger said, the parts from the Explorer give the engine a bit more power.

1978 Honda Accord. // Photos courtesy of
Daniel Gauger

1978 Honda Accord

Gauger also has a 1978 Honda Accord he purchased for $500 nearly two years ago.

“My coworker had just found out that he was being shipped off for the military,” Gauger said. “He had just been given the car from his aunt. It was originally his grandmother’s, she bought it new.”

When Gauger purchased the car in September of 2015, it wasn’t running. It took him about $300 to get it roadworthy, but has since been something he drives everyday.

“I will not drive a boring car,” Gauger said. “I will not give up on a car that’s different, but still practical.”

1991 Nissan 240SX.
// Photo
courtesy of Lucas Weeks

1991 Nissan 240SX

Senior Lucas Weeks is in the vehicle design program, and owns a 1991 Nissan 240SX. The car was a shell when he purchased it, meaning it had no engine or transmission.

“I bought it knowing I wanted to build it with all the stuff I wanted,” Weeks said. “It has a lot of stuff done.”

Weeks said he has a full suspension set up, along with a new engine. Like Shishkarev’s engine in his RX-7, it was never available in the United States.

“It’s my second [Nissan] 240,” Weeks said. “I crashed my first one very tragically and I knew I wasn’t done with them.”

Weeks said future plans involve in making the car more comfortable. The car is very loud at the moment, and he wants to put some sound deadening as well as some new speakers to fix his sound system. Weeks also wants to make the car ready to compete.

“I do want to do some angle modifications so it can drift better,” Weeks said. “I hope to take it out to Evergreen [Speedway] and get some seat time getting sideways.”

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