At Long Last: Sean’s JZX81 MarkII

Did anything ever happen to you, where you’ve been through the scenario and results a millions times in your head previously and when you finally accomplish what you set out to achieve, the outcome is even better than what you had ever though of? Rarely does that happen, much of the time my expectations greatly outweigh reality.

I’ve known Sean for the bones of six years or so. I first met him through some friends of mine whilst we were at Drift Matsuri in Anglesey. Theres a bit of a story surrounding the first morning of that particular Matsuri which probably deserves its own blog post or a segment in a video somewhere but long story short, Sean should’ve probably bet the shit out of me that day but thankfully, he didnt and we’ve been good friends ever since!

The JZX81 is like that unicorn car you see every couple of years but you’re not really sure what it is but you just know its cool as. Theres people out there who have have never set eyes on one in the flesh but I’m fortunate enough to have two in very close proximity, Darrens Cresta and Seans Mark II.

Being around a certain type of car all the time (80s/90s modified Japanese machines mostly), the tendency I’ve found is that you grow numb to being in their presence. I can’t say thats ever happened to me with this particular chassis. Theres something about the caliber and sheer quality of the goodies that Toyota threw at these machines in the early 90s that even some of the cars they make now dont come with these kinds of trick bits.

Seans car has always been particularly cool and elusive, sitting on some sizeable Work Meisters they originally had a black face but they have recently been changed to silver faces and they stand out that much better. Amongst the KFD bodykit, the uprated Nissan brakes and the chrome trim, the centrepiece of the whole car has to be the original Thrash Racing wrap around seats. If these aren’t the most period correct, old school cool seats on the planet, then I dont what is.

Myself and Sean have spoken about a possible livery for the car over the course of a number of years and nothing ever managed to materialise or the timing wasn’t right but having recently purchased a vinyl cutter I’ve been making stickers in-house for about a year and doing the ocassional design or window banner for people but I was hoping for something a little more challenging.

Sean must’ve known about this as not long after he messaged me and asked me to put a design together, something reminiscent of that late 90s/2000s drift style we all know and love. After a couple iterations we came up with something we were happy with and there was only one vinyl type we had in mind, CHROME! I’m absolutely guilty of overusing chrome and I’d quite happily make stickers out of it until the cows come home. It adds aggression and flare to any design and doing a full livery was something I wanted to do for a long time. I now had the perfect canvas.

Cutting vinyls pretty straight forward provided you’ve got the right quality file and good quality vinyl. The challenge comes in sizing as each car is different, each sideskirt is a different dimension, each windscreen with a slightly different curve or each panel with a different body line. You nail the sizing, its perfect, you get the sizing wrong, you’re back to cutting.

Having Darrens car in the shed was a real help as I was able to mock up the designs before making the 90 minute journey to Seans in order to apply the vinyl. We picked probably one of the hottest days of the year to do this….wonderful. Ice lollies, fizzy beverages and donuts aside, sunburn was the order of the day and nobody survived without some form of irregular and painful tan lines.

The results, speak for themselves. I think we nailed this idea from start to finish and I don’t think theres much I’d do differently. The car has some new shoes on the way which I’m sure Sean is eager to show everyone in the near future, or maybe hes already shown you depending on when this drops.

Special thanks to Willow the puppy for her help, guidance and ability to sleep just about anywhere. To Jess for making sure the vinyl was straight and to Jamie 1 and Jamie 2 for providing some casual banter and conversation throughout the day. Its days like these that you’ll always remember.

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