It takes a lot to get noticed on the streets of South Cali. But Freddy’s super-clean Rocket Bunny BRZ seems to be doing just that without even breaking a sweat…
If you’re lucky enough to have ever visited the glamorous towns that line the sunny SoCal coast, you’ll probably have noticed something pretty early on into your stay: the Californians love an interesting motor. With the range spanning JDM street racers through to steroid-pumped pickup trucks and everything you could dream of in between, watching a sun-drenched boulevard of an evening can often be like having your own personal car show take place right in front of you.
While this is undoubtedly awesome for car fans that happen to be passing by, it does lead to one issue for locals. Just how can you possibly stand out and make a mark with such a high calibre of vehicles around? This thought process had crossed Freddy Bustamante’s mind more than a couple of times after he picked up a stock Subaru BRZ (the rarer and arguably therefore slightly cooler cousin the Toyota GT86) recently.
Having owned a few fairly hot retro Hondas in his younger life, Freddy was not only stepping things up with a near-enough brand new car, but also with the plans he had with modifying it, too. Not that it was instantly clear from the start…
“I didn’t have any modification plans until I visited LTMOTORWERKS (LTMW) in El Monte…” Freddy remembers. “They had customer Phoung’s blue Rocket Bunny GT86 sitting outside, something I’d never seen anything like before!” Now that’s quite a big statement from someone who grew up in Cali, so we know he must be serious when he says the Rocket Bunny coupe had caused an impact.
What came next was a lot of chatting with Long from LTMW, along with Phuong himself, who set Freddy on his path to create his own wide-bodied beast. “It was then I had a clear vision of what I wanted: a clean, Rocket Bunny Version 2 kitted BRZ.” The revised ‘Version 2’ incarnation of the legendary wide-body kit from Japan features a heap of upgrades from the original, such as a dedicated front bumper and splitter, along with the more subtle ducktail spoiler out back, to create an arguably much more visually appealing BRZ as a result.
With the various jigsaw puzzle of wide-body parts hastily bought and sat up in Freddy’s living room, it was only then that he realised there was a lot more to adding a Rocket Bunny kit than just sticking on some wider panels. “The kit sat there for six months while I worked out what wheels and colour scheme to go with…” he says. While Rocket Bunny itself opts for Work wheels on its demo cars, Freddy chose some with a European flavour in the form of four clinically clean BBS LM split rims; a whole 12.5-inches wide at the back and shod with premium race rubber.
It was then a case of dropping the car off to the guys at LTMW for the somewhat daunting task of cutting away at its standard arches to make way for the bolt-on package. “The biggest horror story was waiting and waiting to see the final results!” Freddy laughs, explaining how clock-watching in anticipation of seeing his pride and joy once more almost killed him with excitement.
But thankfully, it was all worth the wait, as you can probably see for yourself. Keeping the car white to go with the clean theme has worked wonders on its new-found lines, especially when finished with touches like those rims and the contrasting lime green StopTech brake calipers tucked underneath. The team at LTMW went for an Air Lift air suspension system while adding the body kit to offer Freddy proven, reliable lows which can be adjusted at the touch of a button inside.
So has Freddy succeeded in beating the Californians at their own game? “It breaks peoples’ necks left and right!” He answers the question for us. “People of all ages give me the thumbs-up and ask what it is…” Although companies like LTMW have helped to create a JDM car scene in the area that is perhaps only matched in Japan itself, Freddy’s subtle, inspired touches ensure he’s always one step ahead of the crowd with his BRZ.
Going with the looks comes a Tomei manifold and cat-back exhaust system, which adds some unsilenced boxer burble to the package. “I now love tearing the car up Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, cruising the Hollywood Boulevard and going up and down Pacific Coast Highway with my mates,” Freddy reveals, making everyone stuck in a rainy, dreary office reading this feel that little bit more depressed! He also attends a large amount of car shows in the area, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re ever around.
This isn’t where the tale ends, however. Freddy has bigger and better ideas ahead of him to take his car that little bit closer to insane. “I’ve just put my order in for a Vortech V3 supercharger, and will be getting a roll cage inside soon too…” he teases, highlighting the car’s performance and still near-enough standard interior as the next parts of his grand plan. Sounds like perfection is about to get even more perfect…
OWNER: FREDDY BUSTAMANTE
CAR: SUBARU BRZ
2.0-litre Subaru four-cylinder boxer engine; Tomei unequal-length exhaust manifold; MXP Performance cat-back exhaust system.
Six-speed manual transmission.
10.5×18-inch (front) and 12.5×18-inch (rear) BBS LM split rims; Toyo R888 semi-slick tyres; Air
Lift Performance AutoPilot V2 air suspension kit; StopTech big brake kit.
Rocket Bunny V2 wide-body kit (including wide front bumper and splitter, wider front wings, wider rear wings and duck-tail spoiler).
LTMW, Long, Phuong, Will, Darren and Ivan.
Words Simon Newell Photos Mike Kuhn