SP Rides: Built to Drift


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By Michael Kitchens

Justin Whaley is just 17 years old, a student at Kamehameha Schools, and already he drives one of the sickest Corolla SR5s on Oahu’s roadways.

The story is that he acquired the 1986 Corolla, bone-stock, from an older woman for a killer deal of $800.

“The power steering was out, so she just let it sit in the garage for over seven years,” he says.

The vehicle was in pristine condition and came with an automatic transmission, but Justin still had a bit of work to do. He spent the last couple years scrounging for every nickel and dime he could to build this car along with the help of his father. “I have put every dollar I have from work, presents, whatever, into this car,” he tells me.

And the results are noticeable. Just by looking at it, you can feel a real sense of accomplishment.

The first step in Justin’s modding was an engine swap. His father had a torquey 3TC lying around that they dropped in after fabricating some custom engine mounts and driveshaft. A donor Corolla provided parts as well. Then came the bits and pieces necessary to make this a drifting machine, including replacing the impotent bits of SR5 gear. Coilovers, a hydraulic e-brake, sway bars, etc. all came in their own time as Justin saved for an extensive build.

Both the exterior and interior are immaculate. Thanks to the car’s time in storage, the interior is in fantastic shape with gleaming panels and shiny bits all over, including a removable Nardi Steering wheel and a custom-built 6-point roll cage. The paint is fresh, and applied by Southside Ink (the paint shop) — with the Nebula Grey Pearl really accentuating the mix and match bodykit that consists of a Free Type 1 front bumper, Side Skirts, JDM kouki rear bumper with J-Blood valences. The car is slammed with SSR MKIII 15×8-12 tucked and rolls on NEXEN 3000 195/45/15s.

Justin’s appreciation for the drifting scene originates from his father, Mike Whaley, who would bring him to Drift Session at a young age to watch all the controlled mayhem. “My role models were Justin Kikkawa and Royce Fuji-moto,” he says. “They were really nice to me.”

As the former DS media director, it’s kinda crazy to see someone who was just a little kid running around back then, and now all grown up with a gorgeous ride of his own. It’s a little sad, too. Justin still doesn’t have a place to play and like most sensible enthusiasts, he’d prefer to drift in a safe, controlled environment. “There’s no opportunity to learn how to drift except on the streets … compared to a track where you don’t have to deal with cops or complaining,” he says.

Owner: Justin Whaley
Does What: Student at Kamehameha Schools
Hobbies: Remote Control Drifting (HyperDrift) and skid racing

Color (exterior): Nebula Gray Pearl
Build Time: 2.5 years
Engine: Rebuilt Toyota 1.8 3TC, Webber Carburators Carbs 40, Norris Camshaft, Custom fabbed headers by Walter Watanabe, Holly Red Fuel pump and Vintage Air air conditioning system.
DriveTrain: Centerforce Stage 2 Clutch, Custom Drive Shaft and GT-S Rear end with rebuilt LSD.
Suspension: 3 chrome Hydraulic pumps, 3 chrome Adex dumps, 3 Zig Zag slow downs, Chevy bow tie “Y” block all provided by Black Magic hydraulics and running 6 batteries.
Interior: Nardi 360mm Classic, BRIDE VIOS 3-Buddy Club Seat Rail, Autometer Tach and Gauges, Cusco drift button + Shift know, Custom 6-point Roll Cage and Parts Shop Max Hydraulic Hand brake.
Exterior: Run Free Type 1 Front Bumper and Side Skirts, JDM Kouki Rear Bumper with J-Blood Valences, JDM Redline Taillights and JDM Front Corner lights and JDM Turnsignals.
Wheels/Tires: SSR MKIII 15×8-12 (NEXEN 3000 195/45/15)
Shout-Outs: My dad, Mike Whaley; JSPRIT/JSPL, Southside Inc., Pacific Automotive, Sticker Pimps/GFX Projects Group, Advance Graphics, Eddie’s Auto Repair LLC, Auto Customs, JS4KIX Garage, RadMotoSport, Hawaii Old School Toyotas, HyperDrift, Hammah Time, Extreme Audio and all of my friends who helped out on the car and parts.