In an era where most content is fed to us in the form of a single photo or a short video clip on social media without a back story or further details, it’s increasingly easy to make our own assumptions as to the subject matter shown in said content. Don’t judge a book by its cover is what we’ve always been taught, despite social media continuing to cause us to disregard this outlook and form our opinions based on a single image or short video clip alone.
I like to see that, despite the continuing rise in popularity of repost pages (STL content tends to be reposted daily, often without any form of credit) to appease the ever decreasing attention span of an internet-savvy generation, quite a large audience still continue to enjoy lengthy features or longer videos that offer a more in-depth look at the subject matter at hand. As this has been the core of STL’s output since I started this blog back in 2010, I don’t plan on dropping this approach any time soon.
It’s often very difficult for those who refuse to delve beyond this culture of instantaneous content to appreciate the work that goes on behind the scenes when producing certain photographs and videos. And, while I have no doubt that the images you see here will soon find their way back to the internet via various channels (hopefully with some form of credit to myself, in which case I don’t particularly mind them being re-uploaded), many of the perpetrators of this behaviour struggle to understand and appreciate the hard work that goes into producing this work. This was the overwhelming thought that plagued my mind while I had my entire torso out of the window of a pick-up truck travelling at roughly 50 miles per hour, being buffeted by wind and rain while the temperature neared zero as I took hundreds of rolling shots of the Nissans that you see here, hoping that I would come away with at least a handful of images that would be good enough to release.
This pair of Nissan S-bodies make up Low Origin, a team formed by Alex Law (S14) and Dan Joyce (S15) who will be competing in both competition events and fun free-for-alls throughout 2017. As the name would suggest, the key feature of both of these cars is their low, static ride height, while it’s also imperative for both Alex and Dan that their Nissans remain road legal.
This makes them distinctively unique amongst their fellow competitors; especially so for Alex, who will campaigning his S14 in this year’s British Drift Championship, a series known for its grid full of track-only cars with 500bhp+, semi slick tyres and excessive tubular construction. By comparison, Alex’s S14 has a cup holder and windscreen washer jets, boasts a comparatively mild power output of around 430whp and the cheapest rear tyres that can be sourced.
While the more amateur-orientated Drift Cup was introduced as a series designed to cater for cars such as these (with the first season actually featuring a class that required cars to be road legal and have a valid MOT certificate), this approach has since fallen by the wayside somewhat as drivers become ever more serious in their quest for silverware. Car power figures have been known to be surpass the 500bhp mark, with the aforementioned tubular constructions and wide, sticky tyres becoming ever more common on some of these track-only cars.
Again, by comparison, Dan’s S15 features a DVD player and a full compliment of seats.
I’m sure there are plenty of people reading this right now that are wondering what all of the fuss is about regarding clean, street legal competition drift cars and why I touch upon the topic so frequently. I’m afraid that, no matter how much I talk about the matter, there will be no convincing these people as to this way of thinking but, that’s absolutely fine. The sport of drifting is big enough for different factions to exist, with high end competitions at one end and simple grassroots events at the other.
What I will say though is that very few things can rival the magic of hammering your drift car around a track all day before driving it home amongst other road users, gawping as they drive past in their every day vehicles, blissfully unaware that you were having the time of your life drifting with your friends just a few hours earlier. Some drifters will never appreciate this but, for others, it’s a feeling that defines their entire enjoyment of the sport. It’s addicting, and I for one am an addict.
As I rushed about in the cold in Stockport town centre on a sleepy Sunday night, dodging traffic and wrestling with a tripod that I soon gave up on in order to capture the presence that these cars simply ooze, it made me remember how much I enjoy getting this intimate with feature cars. While simply snapping a couple of pictures on my phone and uploading them makes for a quicker and easier release of content, my main enjoyment comes from trying to translate the feeling of being in the proximity of these types of cars to your computer or phone screen.
With nothing more than a very vasic DSLR camera, a cheap second hand lens and whatever lighting was available at the hastily chosen locations, getting the photos I wanted was quite a frustrating yet rewarding experience. While the use of additional lighting equipment and the such like would definitely have yielded results that were technically better, I felt it would been at the sacrifice of the rawness of the images. This wasn’t a clinical and sterile photo shoot; it was us driving around a town centre, confusing passers by and baffling other road users.
Something as typical and as mundane as visiting the local Pizza Hut for a group dinner brought with it a huge buzz. Even if you aren’t sat in the drivers seat of a car like either of these two S-bodies, being in their presence and knowing that the gawping passers by have little to no understanding of the scene that you are a part of and that these cars represent is a hugely exciting feeling. It’s something I experience a lot when other people give me a wide array of looks ranging from confusion to intrigue and disapproval as I load my weekly food shop into the boot of my own drift car at the local supermarket, parked amongst a sea of salaryman saloons and run of the mill hatchbacks. I love it.
I will be posting more in-depth features on both of these cars individually very soon, as I feel both deserve to be thrust into the limelight separately. Rather than just diving straight in to spec lists and other details though, I felt that I should write this post to try and explain the emotions that drift cars like these evoke in myself and many others.
Unlike many soulless builds that are put together solely with the intention of bringing home fame, success and silverware, there is so much more to both of these machines than the sum of their parts. They are a true representation of their owners and the countless man hours that have involved in their respective builds, along with every hard earned penny that has been invested in them.
You might never understand what all of the fuss is about and that’s perfectly fine. But for those that do get it, I’d like to think that you can relate to this post on many levels. For us, there is so much more to drifting than clipping points, judges scores and trophies.