As interest in Japanese cars grow, more and more automotive TV producers are trying to cash in. Top Gear did an episode in Japan, and Fast N’ Loud broke away from their muscle car staples to build a Datsun 280Z. Netflix’s Fastest Car, a show self-described as “Drivers of exotic supercars put their street cred on the line against deceptively fast sleeper cars built and modified by true gearheads,” is the latest, but the results would make any enthusiast cringe.
You see, one of the cars on the show was Abel Ibarra’s Mazda RX-2. We showcased Ibarra’s collection in 2015 and one of the highlights was his Mazda RX-2, which looks completely stock complete with 70s vinyl roof. It was a sleeper, though, and under the hood was a turbocharged 13B. Sadly, it doesn’t look like this any more. The Instagram account of the Vintage Japanese Motor Union, a car club based in southern California, describes what happened. Sensitive readers may want to avert their eyes.
We are sure most of you all watched the Fastest Car on Netflix. We thought this was a great idea to pit Super Cars against us gear heads in a heads up race. Once we got word that Abel Ibarra would be representing the Vintage Japanese Sleeper we were excited to see him in action. If you don’t know Abel Ibarra just know he is one of the first to put the US on the map for import racing. @flacorx8 is a NHRA hall of fame member and a grassroots builder that made his mark with the community before all the big sponsors came on board. We all have been patiently waiting to see him in competition and this was going to be his big break back onto the scene. Abel agreed to bring out his all original Rx2 which was a true sleeper being that it was his daily driver. The stage was set and Abel’s back story shows his passion for racing and the grassroots community as a whole. It saddens us to see the damage to this prestine car and even more upset that Abel will have to shelf it as he does not have the funds to fix the damage sustained in the filming. We started this campaign to bring the car community together to help a real racer get back in the game as he has helped countless people get their rides up and going!!!! #VJMU . ** GoFundMe Link is in our Bio ** .
On the show, producers pitted Abel’s RX-2 against the White Zombie, a Datsun 1200 converted to electric power, in a drag race. Spoiler alert: the Datsun veers into Ibarra’s RX-2, crunching the fender and nose. Both drivers were unhurt, but the same could not be said for our hearts.
It’s a gut-wrenching fate for a car described as original bodied, but there’s a GoFundMe campaign to rebuild the car. Ibarra was one of the stars of import drag racing in the early years of the Tuner Era and knows a thing or two about the strip, but sadly experience can’t fully account for the mistakes of others.
We’ve heard many horror stories about people using their prized cars for filming, only to return with damage. The truth is, in most cases you have to sign away any liability, and driving on film isn’t like driving alone. Yes, there’s the allure of getting your car on film, but there are long days, exhaustion, lack of food and water, and many moving parts to the production. The objective of the producers is, first and foremost, getting the footage within the allotted time and budget, not protecting your car. Something to think about before agreeing to put your baby on film.