The wait is over! It’s finally the time of year where we shed the car covers, finish our tunes and builds, and make any last modifications to get fully prepared for the 1,320-feet road course racing season. As you can imagine, all of us here at CorkSport now have an extra pep in our step with the weather improving and our goals becoming clear.
Built for speed
Because I live for racing, I’ve built my car specifically for the drag strip. I have a 2009 Mazdaspeed 3 decked out with:
During last year’s season, I was able to lay down a pretty raw pass with my full bolt-ons, stock block, and CorkSport turbo. I was happy with a 12.7 elapsed time (ET) at 115 mph — a respectable number if you ask me! This year with my new built bottom end, I am hoping to have more midrange, spray more meth, and run faster. I have a personal goal of trapping 120 mph on the CorkSport turbo. Just imagine how sweet it would be to have a Mazdaspeed 3 trapping 120 mph in the 1,320 with almost no turbo lag!
Whether a racing victory is your goal, or you just want a modded-out dope-looking ride, we want to make sure you guys think about CorkSport when you are looking for parts. I’m proof that our turbo with full bolt-ons is capable of impressive speed. Whether you need suspension components, turbo components, or you just want to have a chat, you know where to find us!
2017 Race Season Is Here! February 6th, 2017CorkSport
Think back to one of your most memorable drives. You can — no doubt — remember the road you were driving, who you were with, what Mazda you were cruising in, and what else? The music. Every great drive needs a soundtrack. When that familiar guitar line or chorus pipes through your speakers, you grip the wheel a little tighter, your foot instinctively pushes down a little harder on the pedal, and nostalgia takes over as your car hits those highway curves.
At CorkSport, we know that once you have the car and the parts, and maybe even the route to drive, the next thing you need is some great tunes. Whether it’s a modern banger or a classic rock song, you can always use some new tunes for your next road trip playlist. CorkSport’s suggestions, from old standbys to modern hits, will make sure your head’s nodding next time you hit the pavement with your Mazda.
“Slow Ride” by Foghat
For a song called “Slow Ride,” this tune sure makes you want to drive fast. Featured in the movie “Dazed and Confused,” this 1975 rock hit may tell you to “take it easy,” but we bet it will encourage you to put the pedal to the metal.
“Drive Slow” by Kanye West featuring Paul Wall and GLC
In contrast, the mellow thump of Kanye’s “Drive Slow” is the perfect accompaniment to cruising around town. Hitting the streets to look for some honeys? Put the windows down, bump this, and go out on patrol.
“Low Rider” by War
One of the all-time classic driving jams. To quote the Beastie Boys, “slow and low, that is the tempo,” and this funky, upbeat hit is ideal for any kind of drive. If you’re looking for a great twist on this standard, check out Amerigo Gazaway’s “Tenderoni (Lowrider Cruisin’ Mix)” that combines War, Chromeo, Marvin Gaye, and T.I.
“Ride Wit Me” by Nelly featuring St. Lunatics
Nelly may owe the IRS $2.4 million, but this joint ain’t broke! If you’re looking for a smooth song to have on as you pick up your lady, look no further. Good bass, smooth flow, and a catchy hook? Like the song says, “if shorty wanna rock, we rockin’ to this.”
“King of the Road” by Roger Miller
OK, this one’s pretty old school, we admit it. But, it’s also a quintessential driving song packed full of Americana, nostalgia, and that ol’ traveling spirit. Call it a classic, dub it a guilty pleasure, or tell your friends it was your grandpa’s favorite song. With us, you’ll have no shame toe-tapping to this classic.
“Car Song” by Spank Rock featuring Santigold
If you want to put your subwoofer through its paces, anything from Spank Rock’s catalogue will suffice. But with its car-centric title and lyrics, this rhyme-laden bass-boomer gets our pick for the jam you’ll most want to roll to.
“Old White Lincoln” by The Gaslight Anthem
We know you’d rather drive a slick Mazdaspeed 3 than an old, white Lincoln, but this earworm from New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem is an incredible driving song. Heavy on the nostalgia, this tune is a love letter to youthful escapades and the cars that featured in those memories.
“Radar Love” by Golden Earring
No list of driving songs is complete without this masterpiece. With a churning, chugging bass line that forces your foot to lean on the gas (“I’ve been drivin’ all night, my hands are wet on the wheel. There’s a voice in my head that drives my heel.”) and lyrics you can belt out as you fly down the highway, if this song doesn’t make you want to drive you should see a doctor — you may actually be dead.
“Get Your Roll On” by Big Tymers
Maybe it’s how car-heavy most of the music videos were, but there’s something about late-1990s/early-2000s hip-hop that lends itself perfectly to rolling, windows down, with the volume cranked up. Needless to say, with this jam bumping in your Mazda, you’re required to get your roll on.
“Panama” by Van Halen
Much like that late-1990s hip-hop, classic rock feels like pure driving music. There’s something about it that grabs you by the guts and makes you want to drive. It doesn’t get much more classic than this track from Van Halen, which features engine-revving sound effects to boot. Hit the road, turn the volume up as far as it goes, and get ready to pound the ceiling as you shout, “PANAMA!”
“Neckbrace” by Ratatat
Sometimes, a great beat constructed by a two-man-band is all you need. There’s not much more than percussion and bass in this jam by Ratatat, but it thumps along in such an addictive way that there’s no way you’ll take a pit stop with it rumbling out of your speakers.
“Born to Run” by Bruce Springsteen
Like we were gonna make a list of great driving songs and not include The Boss. Yeah, right! “Born in the U.S.A.,” “Dancing in the Dark,” really, you can take your pick. But, for our money, start with the classic “Born to Run” and just keep cruising through the Springsteen discography as you head off into the sunset.
“Levels” by Avicii
After a long week, sometimes getting up the adrenaline to hit the town on Friday night needs a jumpstart. “Levels” is basically audio caffeine. It’s electricity for your ears. It’s a shock to the system and fuel for epic evenings. “Get a good feeling” by bumping this.
“Black Betty” by Ram Jam
Though the meaning behind the lyrics is widely debated, we’ll stick to the interpretation that “Black Betty” is one helluva hot rod. I mean, it just feels like a driving song, so whatever else it may mean, this tune is a necessary jam when you hop in your ride.
“Have Love, Will Travel” by The Black Keys
This gritty, funky take on The Sonics’ original thumps along nicely as it pipes out of your speakers. Sometimes you just need a little low-fi soul delivering a gritty guitar riff to your night driving.
“S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats
When it’s hard not to stomp your feet or clap your hands to a song, you have the mark of a great road trip song. When that song also allows you to holler, “SONUVA BITCH!” at the top of your lungs, you know you’re driving with a winner on the radio.
“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth
By far the most melancholy track on our driving playlist, this song from the “Furious 7” soundtrack is a tribute to the late, car-loving Paul Walker. While it might hit you right in the feels, it’s upbeat, catchy, and feels like a natural tune to get you thinking mistily about your local Mazda community.
“She Is Beautiful” by Andrew W.K.
Just substitute the word “car” every time Andrew W.K. says “girl” and you’ll see this rock anthem really is the perfect love song for your Mazda.
There aren’t many things that can make a person pick up their whole life and move to a new place — especially when that move has to happen in only four weeks — but an amazing job can be good motivation. Still, when this whole journey began on October 31, I had no idea what kind of roller-coaster ride I’d started.
My old grind
A few months back, I was just a technician working my normal routine. I’d wake up, go to work at 8:30 a.m., work on cars, and then go home. As much as I love working on cars, repairing people’s daily drivers wasn’t exactly fulfilling. There were no turbos, no coilovers, no stage 3 clutches, and — most of all — there was no challenge, no way to better myself. There was satisfaction in learning and in becoming a better tech, but even though I had a great boss, I didn’t exactly find myself waking up looking forward to the day. My motivation was declining and I knew it was time for a fresh start.
Since I moved to Vancouver, I’ve gotten two responses when people ask me where I came from. It’s either the classic, “I hate Californians!” (Of course, I can’t blame them. Many Californians are snobby, drive too fast, and don’t use their turn signal enough. So, it’s understandable that the locals are pissed off that their area is getting contaminated by newbies.) However, I’ve also been asked, “What brought you up here?” And, to that, I get to reply, “I got recruited by an awesome company that I’ve wanted to work for since I was 19.”
When I first saw Luke post that CorkSport was hiring, I wanted to hop all over it. But after reading the job description, I didn’t think it was right for me. A few weeks went by and I hadn’t thought about it again, that is, until I spoke with Barrett. I asked if anyone had been hired yet and the answer turned out to be a negative — they were still looking. Next thing you know, I’m getting asked if I might be interested in the gig. One thing led to another, and a day later I’m on the phone with Kim. Turns out the job was a better fit than I first thought!
It’s quite the elaborate interview process at CorkSport. We don’t have revolving doors here, and they needed to make sure that I was the right fit. Over the course of a month and a few interviews, things were looking good and it started to become much more real that I could actually end up working for the biggest name in Mazda Performance. They already had a strong idea of what they had in store for me and where they wanted to see me in six months. Everything came together and they offered me the job.
I remember when I first got my MazdaSpeed a couple years ago, I thought about how cool it would be to work at CorkSport. It was apparent to me, as well as fellow modders, that CorkSport has fun doing what they do, and that they love their customers and the Mazda community. It’s ironic that, not too long after I first thought CorkSport would be a great place to work, the windy roads of life brought me to the moment when I received a formal job offer from them.
After a long talk with my girlfriend and my family, the decision was made, I accepted the offer, and we started packing boxes. I was leaving my family, a beloved Mazda community, and a bunch of friends behind for a clean professional slate, but I knew I was gaining the room to grow, and more opportunities than ever before.
Part of the team
A few weeks and a million questions later, here I am writing a CorkSport blog and getting settled in. I must say that, so far, my favorite part about this process has been dealing with and getting to know our awesome CorkSport customers. I’ve been writing postcards and throwing in little goodies, the same things I used to get with my parts when I was a customer — a little something extra makes all the difference! My daily job is helping people make their cars faster, lower, and cooler. I’m living the life!
On another note, no other company I’ve worked for has been so welcoming and helped me to feel at home so quickly. It’s not easy to pack up and move your life, but it didn’t take long for Luke, Vinny, and me to become best buds. Working on cars has now become more of a hobby, and all my tools now go good use on side jobs, like other Mazdas in the community. No more beat-up, dirty hands from repairing people’s daily drivers is a nice change, and my girlfriend is probably happy about that as well. Ha!
That’s, essentially, the long story short of how I was recruited to work at CorkSport and made the jump from the Bay Area to Vancouver. I’m glad to be a part of this awesome new team, and to have the opportunity to keep growing and learning.
Until next time, ladies and gents!
Employee Spotlight: Cali Goes Vancouver January 25th, 2017CorkSport
There’s nothing worse than being all dressed up with nowhere to go, right? Whether you’re itching to try out your Mazda 6’s new added power, your Miata’s updated handling, or you simply need a more scenic background to snap a new photo of your Mazdaspeed 3’s dope hood scoop, sometimes a trip down the road to the grocery store just doesn’t cut it. If you’re as passionate about the roads you drive as you are about the mods you install, or you’re simply looking to vary your daily driving route, this list of some of the best roads in the West will inspire you to take your Mazda to new frontiers.
Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon
Since the Pacific Northwest is near and dear to our hearts, we’ll start with an amazing drive that’s close to home. Hop on U.S. Route 30 in Troutdale to begin the 75-mile journey to The Dalles that features a bit of everything that makes this area of the country stunning: tall trees, Columbia River views, waterfalls, and Mt. Hood. The winding, curvy road is a dream to drive, and you can stop along the way at sites like Multnomah Falls and Bridge of the Gods for photo ops with your Mazda.
Highway 101, Oregon
One of the few gorgeous natural features Oregon is known for that you can’t find along the Columbia is the ocean, but this coastal drive takes care of that. Some folks may take this route to tour historic lighthouses, but we love 101 because it allows you to trace the sweeping curves of Oregon’s rugged coastline from Astoria all the way to the California border. You’ll enjoy fresh salty air, great seaside driving, and loads of Oregon breweries to check out if you want to stop for the night and sample the local flavor. Remember that it takes a few days to do the drive even cruising speedily in your modded ride.
Three Rivers Highway, Oregon
Whether heading to or from the coast and Highway 101, the Three Rivers Highway (aka Oregon Route 22) is a twisty, curve-laden, extremely fun drive. It’s not the best when it’s dark and rainy, as visibility can get bad, but this trip from Salem to the ocean is a great ride to test your handling on. It’s also located right in the heart of CorkSport’s local region!
Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington
Head north up I-5 for one of the most rustic scenic drives you can conquer without four-wheel drive. You can enjoy the great outdoors no matter which Mazda you’re in! This 330-mile trip features beaches, lakes, hikes, and camping as you circle Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. Sometimes you just have to get away from it all. All of it, except your Mazda, of course!
State Route 1, California
One of the most iconic American roads, right up there with Route 66, is the 655-mile route that stretches most of the length of California. On this journey, you’ll hit San Francisco, Los Angeles, and all the stunning coastline in between — the road even goes over the Golden Gate Bridge. The Pacific Coast Highway section through Malibu is another highlight you won’t want to miss on California 1! And it’s a great place to show off your ride to California girls, naturally.
State Route 12, Utah
Also known as “A Journey Through Time” Scenic Byway, this meandering desert drive gets you out of those tree-lined Pacific Northwest roadways and ocean drives and into some staggeringly impressive canyons and rock faces. Crossing through Bryce Canyon National Park as well as the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this road won’t simply allow you to put your handling to the test; it offers scenery perfect for that new profile pic of you and your Mazda you’ve been meaning to take.
Million Dollar Highway, Colorado
Though you can take U.S. Route 550 all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Montrose, Colorado, it’s the stretch between Silverton and Ouray in Colorado that will really wow you. The guardrail-free drive through Uncompahgre Canyon features narrow roads with steep drop-offs, so exercise caution. But hugging these mountain curves is definitely a thrilling drive. The road is often closed in winter, so check conditions before you prepare to zip through these bends. After this drive, if you feel like continuing the road trip, Route 50 through the Curecanti National Recreation Area is another great drive that winds along with the Gunnison River.
What better drive to take than the route along the first road built by the National Park Service specifically for automobile-using tourists? Following the Continental Divide through Glacier National Park, this strip of pavement winds its way around, and even through, the Rocky Mountains. Offering great views and engaging driving, isn’t it about time to convince your lady to take that educational vacation to a National Park she’s been begging for … so you can drive your Mazda through these sick curves?
The High Road to Taos, New Mexico
Looking for a drive that feels like you’re in a foreign land, but don’t want to worry about shipping your Mazda to Spain? The High Road to Taos, aka State Road 503, needs to be on your list. A 56-mile scenic route through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this road features loads of great, twisty driving, but watch your speed as you’ll head through villages along the way. If you want to skip the slowdowns, check out the “Low Road.” State Highway 68 is a quicker route, but it follows the Rio Grande and delivers some great views!
The Sea to Sky Highway, British Columbia
Let’s not forget the asphalt of our neighbors in the Great White North! Picking up west of Vancouver by Horseshoe Bay, the Sea to Sky Highway follows Highway 99 all the way to Pemberton. Formerly a bit dangerous, the road has been improved so you can safely zip through the craggy Canadian coast up into the snow-capped mountains. If you’re feeling more ambitious, you could always opt for Highway 1, aka the Trans-Canada Highway, which takes you all the way to the east coast. But we’ll stick to recommending the easier-to-reach Sea to Sky HIghway for now!
This list should get you started on some exhilarating Western drives to add some fresh scenery and fresh curves to your Mazda driving. If you have other great western drives, drop your recommendations in the comments. And if you follow up on these recommendations, tag us with #CorkSport when you post to Instagram!
Bucket (Seat) List: 10 Must-Drive Roads of the West January 18th, 2017CorkSport
So you may not realize this, but most of us at CorkSport are actually car guys/girls. While I’m sure most of you are at least somewhat familiar with what we have here as far as company cars, I was thinking you may be curious what some of us are working on when we’re not “on the clock” so to speak. That being said, first I’ll give you a little bit of my background as it relates to cars.
When I first came to CS back in 2011, I was probably a bit of the odd man out when it comes to cars. While I’d owned and customized 40 to 50 (or more) cars, I’d never really been into the import scene. I was always more into lowriders, 4x4s, old school customs, minitrucks, and pretty much anything and everything that was not a tuner car. When I started, my daily driver was a fully airbagged 1976 Chevy stepside truck (see below), and I had two other old school projects at home: a 1955 Pontiac which was also bagged, and I was building a 1963 GMC big window shortbed.
This was my daily driver and that was more or less my normal ride height. Of course all of the tuner guys at CS thought it was pretty funny (which I get). A lot of people wonder “why would you build something to drag it down the street?” My answer is, “because I can and most people can’t.”
The Pontiac was a little bit classier and, while fully bagged, it didn’t “lay frame.” This car was more about the custom body work that you would never notice unless you know what a stock ’55 Pontiac is supposed to look like, specifically the rear end.
Those vehicles are long gone by now, so what have I been working on since then? Immediately after those, I bought an MS6, which you may have seen in the past. We used it at CS for product development and testing on various products, so I’m pretty sure some pics made it to the old interwebs at some point. That was my first taste of a tuner car and, while it was fun to drive, it just wasn’t my thing. So I sold it to another employee here.
Since then, I’ve played with a few 4×4 trucks, a diesel Silverado, and a ’97 F-150 which I still have and plan to build into a desert truck at some point (though that’s not yet in the project status). So what am I working on? I’m taking it back to the old school and building a minitruck — and yes, it is a Mazda but that’s just a coincidence.
A little backstory on this truck and how this project came to be: I’m probably older than most of you, but when I was a kid in the late ‘80s, minitrucks were the thing. 15” wheels were considered big wheels back then, and 195/50x15s were the standard low profile tires — quite a bit different than today. So when I was 12 in 1990, my mom went and bought this ’89 Mazda B2200 which was already lowered and had fancy red 15” wheels and a red tenneau cover. It was a pretty sweet truck by most peoples’ standards back then and IT WAS MY MOM’S! Seriously, whose mom drives a sweet minitruck?
I don’t really have many old pics of it, but this was when I borrowed it from her to haul a motor for my ’63 GMC project.
Even at 12, I loved cars. I would spend my time reading “Lowrider Magazine” or “Mini Truckin’” and drawing pictures of customized cars, so of course I was in love with the truck. I dreamt of my mom giving it to me when I turned 16 and got my license (which didn’t happen), and all of the cool stuff I would do to it. At some point when I was probably 14, the truck was stolen and wrecked which destroyed one of the wheels. You couldn’t get them anymore, so my mom put the ugly Moderns on it, which you can see in the pic above. Then later something happened to the tonneau (don’t remember what). Needless to say, time took its toll on the truck. It wasn’t the same truck anymore, but it didn’t change or take away all the time I spent daydreaming about all of the things I wanted to do to that truck as a teen.
So fast-forward 24 to 25 years. My mom was retiring and didn’t need the truck anymore. At this point, it was just a 25-year-old B2200, so it wasn’t worth much to anyone aside from me. She said if I wanted it, I could have it, so of course I jumped on it as I’d been thinking about this truck and what I would do to it for over half of my life. So what were my plans for it?
I wanted to mix keeping it how it was with doing some of the things I’d thought about over the years. So the first thing I had to do was put some red wheels on it again, as that’s how it was when I was young. However, I wanted to cross it with a bit of my preferred “old school” style, so I had to mix it up a bit. I picked up some 15” steelies with chrome center caps and had the wheels powder coated red. I also wanted wide white wall tires, but I couldn’t find the size I wanted, so I got other tires and added some Porta-walls for the wide white look. I then replaced all of the bushings and ball joints in the front end and added the new wheels and tires.
Anybody that knows me and my taste for vehicles would know that I wasn’t done at this point, so I continued to collect components for the next step. Full air ride was on its way. I got everything needed to bag it, including a complete 4-link kit for the rear. (Sorry for the blurry pic; it’s what I got.)
I then kind of lost motivation, so the truck largely just sat in my garage for the last couple of years. But a couple of months ago, I started working on it again. I started with notching the frame in the rear so when the suspension is aired out, the frame will sit on the ground (lay frame). I then welded in the 4-link rear suspension as seen below. I used the factory front leaf spring perch for the lower bars. (They’re there; you just can’t see them.)
Then I turned my attention to the front end. If you know anything about these trucks, you know they have a torsion bar front suspension. And if you know anything about bagging stuff, you know that isn’t the easiest starting point for airbags. Preferably you’d start with coil springs, because then you just have to remove the stock coil and put an airbag in its place (more or less). Since these are torsion bars, you have to remove most of the existing suspension and build everything you need in the front yourself. I recently finished putting the bags in the front, which is the hardest part of this project, and am now at the point where I can start making mounts and installing all of the hardware in the rear (a.k.a. the fun part).
The frame is, in fact, sitting on the ground in this pic.
If you’re curious what my end goal is with this truck, I’ll fill you in: I don’t want to go full custom show truck. I plan to leave the body, faded paint and all, just as it is. I’ll also leave the big ugly mirrors and stock rear bumper, which is the first thing most minitruckers remove. Really my plan was/is to leave everything outside stock, aside from the wheels/tires, and fully bagged. Then I’ll do a custom interior with a nice sound system. The point is not a show truck; I want the stock look of the truck my mom drove for years with the ability to drag the frame down the street and throw sparks. I also plan to see if I can get another red soft tonneau cover made, so it will be a bit closer to the truck I remember as a kid — just better.
Other things I’ve considered are an NA 20b swap with a turbo 2 trans, cuz why not? Or maybe a boosted 302 swap, although that may be a bit overkill for such a small truck. It does have an automatic trans, so I don’t love that, but it works fine for low and slow. Anyhow, thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed getting a little look at what I play with when I’m not at CS. Maybe you’ll see some updates in the future, maybe not, or maybe you’ll get a look at some of the other guys’ projects around here. Let us know what you’d like to see and we’ll see if we can accommodate.
What’s In Our Garage: Dustin’s Custom Projects December 20th, 2016CorkSport