Jonathan Wong.

‘BEST OF BOTH WORLDS’
‘LIKE TERA PATRICK IN HER PRIME, THIS IS300 BRINGS THE EURASIAN HEAT!’

That embarrassing title and deck line was literally what I used for the first story I ever wrote for Super Street back in 2009. At the time, I had been writing stories for Honda Tuning magazine for a couple of years and was looking to expand my horizons by working for the #1 import automotive publication in America. Honda Tuning was a great book and I loved writing for them in the time it was around, but for me it was always the more ‘technical’, more straight-forward magazine in Source Interlink’s (the publishing company at that time) diverse line-up. Everything seemed to be around then. Super Street, Import Tuner, Honda Tuning, Modified, and much more. They were great times for print. Every magazine had its own individual flavor and people were able to get their car-fix every month with a variety of magazines. I really miss those days. Years down the road the chopping block came for pretty much all the magazines but Super Street is and always was the #1 magazine for many of us car guys. It was the magazine we grew-up reading, you know? Super Street was the ‘fun’ title where the rules were stretched a little bit and they had a lot of creative freedom to work with. It was the book that I consistently purchased every month because I was either too lazy or too dumb to just simply subscribe to it, and it was always a bucket-list item for me to be able to contribute to it. I was doing pretty well writing for Honda Tuning at the time and I made decent money writing for them. The Chronicles hadn’t really gained traction yet outside of California so nobody really knew who I was. I was just a freelance writer trying to find my way and The Chronicles was just a stupid thing I did when I had spare time. Being a writer with deadlines that I could easily meet, I was left with a lot of free time. The Chronicles was the byproduct of that free time and the site would have never been where it is today had I not had the creative freedom to do as I pleased because writing was paying my bills.

The Editor-in-Chief (EIC) at Super Street magazine back then was a guy named Jonathan Wong. Many of you know him better for a nickname that he developed over his years working there as ‘JDM Wong’. He had been working for the book since he was 21 and eventually worked his way up to the top as the head guy at Super Street. I don’t think I ever met him before I started doing work for SS but I felt like I knew him, as did many other car guys of that generation and the years before that because, well, he was ‘JDM Wong’. EVERYBODY knew him. He was the fucking man at Super Street. Car enthusiasts nationwide looked-up to him because he had seen it all. He’d toured the country and even traveled to Japan to see the mecca of import tuning. He did a little bit of everything. Some would even say he helped to popularize “JDM” here in America. He was a photographer, a writer, a true car guy that helped to revolutionize the industry, and he did some occasional partying, which to this very day, he is still very, very, adept at. Admittedly, I was a little nervous the day I decided to email him to see if he would possibly use me as a contributor for Super Street. I didn’t think he knew who I was and he shouldn’t, I was a nobody. I still have no idea how I mustered up the courage to do so, but I sent him an email one late night. In that email, I introduced myself, told him a little bit about what I was trying to do with The Chronicles, how I had done some writing for Honda Tuning, and left it short and simple. It was a real shot in the dark. A lot of people think that I got into this industry because I knew so many people. I really didn’t. It was a whole lot of luck, some misfortune, and me just taking a lot of chances. I had nothing to lose so being denied work wasn’t going to drastically change my life. I went to bed that night just expecting to be ignored. I don’t know, I live my life going into things with little to no expectations because things have just worked out better that way. It was almost like writing a letter to your crush in grade school or something. If they responded, you felt like you were on top of the world. If they didn’t, well, you just kind of act like it never happened.

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I don’t remember how long it took him to respond but he actually did.

Jonathan Wong, THE JDM WONG, responded to my email.

Butterflies and energy drinks were in my stomach. Probably more energy drinks but I was like, AMAZED. Haha. I have no problem admitting my joy.

He told me that he had seen my website before (Til this very moment in time I still don’t believe he had ever looked at it before I emailed him) and he wanted to see if he could find some work for me.

That was crazy to me. I don’t know what I was expecting. I think I was just surprised that he even responded. A couple weeks later, he sent me some work. My first story was on an Lexus IS300 built by a guy named Nate Davis. It wasn’t anything too crazy and not a car that was going to be on a cover or anything. It was a nice build, and more importantly, a safe car for me to write a story on so Wong could see if I was any good. What better way to kick-start my Super Street writing gig than by using an overly-used title and mentioning not only a pornstar, but also using the words ‘Eurasian’….haha…what the fuck was I thinking?…

Wong actually used it. He even left it completely unaltered. (PROOF)

It has been eight eventful years since then. Man, time fucking flies. I’m glad to not only say that I’m happy this guy took a shot on a struggling writer at the time, but I’m even more proud to say that this guy is now a dear friend. I could honestly sit here for a chunk of time and tell you a lot of stories about Jonathan Wong. I think in this current generation, the younger crop of enthusiasts don’t really understand the magnitude of this guy’s efforts and what he did for our car community. Maybe ‘JDM Wong’ doesn’t mean as much these days because things have changed so drastically since the days when he first stepped foot into the offices of Super Street. He was unceremoniously ushered-out of his job 15 years later without so much as a peep. Import automotive culture would not be where it was today without this man. And I really don’t even know if he understands that. I don’t think he truly comprehends the imprint he left on this industry and in the lives of so many car enthusiasts everywhere.

I wouldn’t even be a photographer had Jonathan unknowingly forced me to be one.

So one day in 2010, I get an email from Jonathan and he assigns me with a story. By that time, it was nothing unusual. I had been getting plenty of writing gigs for Super Street and I was like the go-to guy to meet short deadlines. If there was a story that needed to be written in 24 hours or less, I was your man. If there was a car in Japan that was photographed and every technical detail about it was in Japanese, I could figure out a way to decipher it and give it a story. Wong had developed trust in my ability to get shit done, and that was cool. I could even use a pornstar name or two in the story every now and then. Anyways, so he assigns me this story. He wanted me to go out to the Inland Empire to shoot and write a story about Bisi Ezerioha (Bisimoto) and his turbocharged Honda Civic Wagon. It was for the Honda Issue and the car was kind of a big deal.

I don’t think Jonathan knew that I wasn’t a photographer.

I had only started shooting photos the year before for my own website just out of necessity. I got tired of using other people’s photos or not really having any photos at all for my site so I just shot really horribly with a really old dSLR camera which I was borrowing off and on from my friend Loi Song. Sometimes I would shoot a photo and it would just be completely WHITE. And I really had no understanding of why or how that would happen. I didn’t even read a fucking manual before I touched the camera to figure out what the fucking features were. A big part of me wanted to email him back and tell him that I wasn’t a photographer. It would probably be a bad idea for me to shoot anything for print. I should also mention that I have the shakes. Like, I think I can shake the meat out of a burrito without even trying before it reaches my mouth for a bite.

…but….I kinda saw it as an opportunity to get more work. The saying is ‘fake it ’til you make it’ and if I could somehow fool Jonathan into thinking that I could actually do this, I could get more work and get paid for both the photos AND the story. That’s like, double the money (or so I thought). It also sounded way better than emailing him back and saying ‘uh,  you put too much faith into thinking that I knew how to use a camera’. I guess you can say I took it as a personal challenge. I scrounged-up whatever money I was making at the time and bought a Canon Rebel T2i. It wasn’t the greatest camera. It was totally the entry-level camera noobs started with. And well, it was the only camera I could afford at the time. I tried so hard to make the photo shoot a serious thing. Not only did I have to trick Jonathan into believing I was a photographer, I also had to sell Bisi on the idea that I knew what I was doing. Otherwise he’d call Jonathan and ask him why he sent some random asshole over there with no skills to shoot his pride-and-joy at that time. I borrowed some small Canon 580EX flashes from my friend Rodrez, took some pictures of my cat in my apartment with them, and just sort of figured it out.

I submitted the story and photos to Jonathan and the first thing he said to me was, ‘what camera are you shooting with?’ I had to look at the camera again just so I made sure I gave him the right description of it. I assumed he asked me because the quality of the photos were of less skill than he originally anticipated.

It went to print in the 2010 Super Street Honda Issue.

*PHEW* Ultimate sigh of relief.

I’m grateful to this guy for all that he’s helped me to accomplish. When I decided I wanted to try something new with The Epilogues, he not only was the first person I thought to do a story on, but he was also the first guy to be on board with the entire notion of it. No hesitation, at all. “Put me in the game, coach.” were his exact words. He was ready to dive into this foxhole with me. Blind faith since the beginning.

I have a lot of close friends who are still a little weird around Jonathan, it’s actually quite funny. I don’t think I ever looked at Wong with the same fanfare as some of my friends did because he was my boss for much of the time I knew him. There are guys my age that still look up to him quite a bit but won’t ever utter a word to tell him. He has a pretty awesome story to tell, especially since he’s been in the trenches of the automotive industry so long. It was important to sit down and really give him some time to reflect on all the years he’s been invested in this hobby of ours.

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  • NAME: Jonathan Wong
  • KNOWN ALIAS (Social Media or Otherwise): JDM Wong
  • CURRENT OCCUPATION: N/A
  • WHAT YOU ARE KNOWN FOR: I think this has changed a bit over the past few years, but I suppose I’m best known for my time at Super Street magazine.
  • HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THE “CAR COMMUNITY”: Since 1994, when I bought my first 1991 Honda Civic. I haven’t looked back since.
  • AGE: 39
  • HOMETOWN/CURRENT LOCATION: Los Angeles, CA

As long as I’ve known the guy, I don’t think I had ever really asked him about his childhood or how he got into cars. Jonathan mentions his dad a lot whenever we talk about life or anything in general, and as it turns out, he was also instrumental in getting him into his now lifelong hobby. “I’ve been into cars since I was about four or five, or at least, that’s how far back I can remember.” Jonathan recalls. “My parents took me to the L.A. Auto Show every year, and my dad always had car magazines around. He owned a Datsun 280ZX (Non-turbo) and later an ’89 Nissan 240SX (which I should’ve kept), but we would always drive to the local Porsche dealer and stare at his dream cars. Dad also frequently left notes on the bathroom mirror with reminders like; ‘Someday…Porsche 911’. Between the ages of seven and twelve, I was really into the DeLorean (88mph, Back to the Future), Ferraris (F40 in particular), and Lambos (Countach). Things took a slight detour as junior high crept-up.”

“My older cousins come from the late ’80s/early ’90s LA street-racing scene. They were always fixing-up their Celicas or CRXs in their driveways—loud, slammed, so much fun to go cruising in. I distinctly remember Epsilon wheels, Cherry Bomb mufflers, HKS, and Jackson Racing because of them. Who knew that those early inspirations would affect me for a lifetime?”

“Then high school came along, and my love for imports kicked-off. I had just transferred to South Pasadena High School, my first time in a public school, and that’s where I was seriously exposed to the classics. Those classics were the 90-93 Integra and 88-91 Civic hatchback, and the kids rockin’ the good stuff all had SSR Super Fins and HKS or Mugen exhausts. My first car was a 1991 Civic Si and we went everywhere in that thing. I was always broke but I did manage to save enough money to buy myself a TRUST exhaust (unique for its time) and had more fun cruising around LA with my friends anyway. Those same friends are still close to this very day, some of them being car industry people today.”

“By the summer of 1998, I’d already put school aside to try working and managed to find myself a couple of small gigs, one of which was shooting photos and helping out Mainstream Productions with a show you probably know: Import Showoff. I’d met the Mainstream crew (Ken Miyoshi, Kent Chen, Marc Fata, Mike Morita, Tony Kwan, and several others) off AOL’s ‘Import Racing’ chat room; it’s where I’ve met a lot of friends that, like my high school friends, I still know to this very day, including many bigger names where there are far too many to include here. I was really lucky to be growing-up in that era and being able to hang with so many people that I looked up to during the ‘Battle of the Imports’ days. It was a big highlight of my life.”

The timeline may be different, but Wong’s youth was not unlike many of our own. We all met many of our friends through cars but how exactly did he land a job at Super Street at age 21?…

“I was working at a place that was importing Do-Luck body kits, and one of the original SS editors, Brent Romans, came by to do a story on one of the products. We got to talking, and he said that they needed to fill an Associate Editor position. I thought to myself, ‘That would be so cool if I could get in there’. I borrowed a friend’s suit that was two sizes too big for me and they laughed at me when I showed-up for the interview. I bugged the EIC then, Matt Pearson, for a good month up until I got the job. I was so excited when I finally did. I truly owe a lot not only to the original SS staff for believing in me, but also to the Mainstream guys for vouching for me. I am forever indebted.”

It’s safe to say that the print industry has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. Some would even say that it is dead now, thanks to the introduction of social media. Everything seems like an attempt at a ‘get rich quick’ scheme because everyone is just so adamant about instant gratification. Print is important though, I can’t stress that enough. It still means something. Even on its last legs it is still very much a goal for many of us car guys/gals. Wong understands this more than most would, considering he was in the center of it all, but he recalls a time when print reigned supreme. It is a period of time that many of you younger readers probably wouldn’t understand.

“Things were so different back when print was king. We had to hustle to get cars first before our competitors (SCC/Turbo/Import Tuner/Import Racer); it’s not like today where you can just pull-up Instagram and find a gazillion photos of your favorite car. That’s also what made the job a bit more special back then. It was our ‘social media’ of the time, except you had to wait two-to-three months before it hit the newsstands. Plus, if you made it into a magazine, that was really something special. Not to say that not being highlighted today in any fashion isn’t any less exciting, but how often can you say your car made it to print? It’s still a big deal.”

“The Internet killed print while social media is on its way to doing the same with the Internet. The consumption of content now is ever-changing.”

“I can distinctly remember not being able to get enough from print magazines. I couldn’t wait to find more photos of my favorite car/s because there was no ‘Internet’. If I was able to get out to an event, I’d be sure to take lots of photos because that was your only chance to do it and not make the owners feel like you were gonna jack them or make them feel uncomfortable (these were different times).  At first it was very much a job being an Associate Editor. I only knew what I knew about cars and looked all over the Internet for more, automotive forums specifically. That’s where I really developed my knowledge for all things Honda-related, off the Hybrids.jp forum—but I wasn’t always welcome. Super Street was sort of looked-down upon in the early days, the not so technical, not so legitimate magazine, and I really wanted to change that. I made sure to look to the right experts/enthusiasts to help give us the credibility we needed in order to become respected in more automotive circles. I tried my best to learn and not just follow or report on trends, but to be sure that what I was covering was something that would help your car’s performance (in addition to looking good). I did this with the JDM Honda scene, drifting…anything I thought would help give us street cred I’d go and find more of. I think that’s when I felt like I had a knack for being able to source what’s cool and help make it relatable to the casual consumer. I got a lot of equal parts love and hate for what I’ve done.”

What made Super Street such a great book during that era was that it never took itself too seriously, and it was because of the staff that made it possible. As Jonathan recalls, “Overall, it was a lot of fun. Not being the technical or top magazine allowed us to do the kind of things that people wouldn’t expect. That’s what also gave SS such a unique voice: to be relatable to its readers. We wanted them to know that they were a part of our community, that they could talk to us at events and not feel like we were above them. We were all car enthusiasts and treated everyone like family. That’s the one thing I’ll cherish fondly of my early days at Super Street. Best of all, everyone I worked with were more like friends/family than being co-workers, people I greatly admire and respect even long after we’ve parted and gone our separate ways. I don’t think that dynamic will ever be replicated, and is something I’ll miss. Don’t get me wrong, the job was very tough at times, but it never felt like work. As the old saying goes, ‘when you love what you do for a living, it never feels like work at all…’

I really wanted Jonathan to dig deep into his brain to try to come up with what he felt was his favorite memories during the 15 years he was at Super Street. Like, what were the moments that stood-out the most and what he would take away with him for the rest of his life. As I expected, so much happened in that period of fifteen that it was hard to pinpoint any individual moments.

“There are so many of those moments that it would take almost a lifetime to recall them all. But I will say this: it’s because of Super Street that I’ve been able to connect with car enthusiasts all around the world and be able to tell these exciting stories to anyone who was willing to listen. Most of those connections have resulted in lifelong friendships, and I’ll always appreciate their support.”

“I made sure to enjoy every second of my time at Super Street.”

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It’s a bit of a touchy subject, I guess you can say, but for those that don’t know. Jonathan’s career as the Editor-in-Chief at Super Street magazine ended abruptly in 2014. Only those internally really know what happened, and it isn’t necessarily important in the grand scheme of things, but it made for a huge shift in Jonathan’s life. Let’s just call it a ‘business decision’. Wong did his job to the best of his ability and it just came down to simple business practice. I think myself and many others were pretty devastated when we found out. All of a sudden, everything was different. We didn’t really know what to say to him. What happens to the magazine? More importantly, what happens to Jonathan? It was a crazy time. This was also the section of time when other popular titles like Import Tuner and Honda Tuning were ousted. He would come by my office every now and then in the days to weeks that followed and we would just talk. We talked about how he was handling it, what he planned on doing, and whether or not we should try to collaborate on something entirely new. Wong was built for this industry. He knew everything about it inside and out. It made sense to create something new.

After so many years dedicating his life to this job, I think he really just needed to take it all in and take a break. Perhaps it was a necessary time to decompress. Find some sense of clarity and understanding in all of it. There was no need to romanticize an ending to it. Just take those experiences, remember them fondly, and move forward. I gave him an open forum to say whatever he wanted regarding the matter, and he really had some enlightening things to say about his mindset during that rough patch in his life.

“My final days at Super Street were a little unusual. It may not have been totally clear to everyone, but I didn’t leave on my own terms, which I’ll leave at that. It was heartbreaking to say the least, as I’d spent most of my adult life there. I’ve often jokingly said that it must be similar to that of someone who’s been in prison most of their life and then being set free. You almost don’t know what to do with yourself since you’ve been so conditioned to a certain way of life. Perhaps it was a weird sign of someone saying it was time for me to wipe the slate clean and start over, but it was tough. More so mentally than anything. I didn’t get to talk about it much except with my close circle of friends, so I battled with myself back and forth. Some moments I knew I’d gotten out of a bad situation and other times I felt like I’d done something wrong. I wish I’d taken more time to let myself heal before moving on but sometimes you need to suck it up and do what needs to be done. I didn’t know what I wanted to do after SS, even if it had been on my own terms, but I’ve always thought that I’m destined for more. I haven’t reached that point yet, but I’m working on it.”

Watching all this unfold before my very eyes was honestly a very harrowing experience. Like I said in the beginning, JDM Wong was the guy. Though we eventually became friends, I still looked-up to him. It was one of those things that really kind of woke me up. What do I do after this? When The Chronicles is gone, where do I go? This guy gave everything and all of a sudden, it was gone. Much of his adult life was spent dedicated to this job and in his late 30s, he was pretty much told to start all over again. I’ll tell you this though, Jonathan didn’t just rest on his laurels or wallow in self-pity. He got off his ass and got right back to work. Jobs came to him, another editorial position at a new publication, that came and went, but he’s still in search of that next opportunity to really open up his creativity, a place where he can create his new foundation. It is a truly commendable thing to understand when you need to step away and start anew.

I always wondered if working in the industry made him jaded at all about his hobby. Seeing so much of the ‘internal’ aspects of the industry have often left many people wanting to just get out and away from cars. For Jonathan, it did little of that. I think he’s smarter now because of his experiences within the automotive industry, but his love for cars has remained very much unchanged.

“The beauty of working at SS was that I never once had to put aside my car hobby for the job, and in fact, it was often encouraged to use my personal cars as a project car for the magazine. That usually meant being able to choose how I wanted to build my car/s while being able to support the companies that supported us. It was a great way to save some money because I also spent a lot of money sourcing parts that weren’t easily/readily available back in the day. We were able to build some crazy cars.”

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With so many project cars at his disposal, perhaps there was ‘the one that got away’, a car that he regrets selling or one that he wished he would have finished. I think all of us as enthusiasts have experienced similar relationships with our cars at some point.

“My favorite car that I’ve ever owned also happens to be the same car I regret letting go: a 1994 Honda Civic Si. It was the first car I bought with my own money and really represented who I was at that stage in my life. I spent hours researching what parts would work right on it, I made sure to give a hand to my friends who helped me build it, and I drove the shit out of it. Multiple trips up and down California, parked it anywhere…I just got paranoid that it would actually be stolen, so I parted it out. The one car I wish I could’ve built was my dad’s 240SX. It was perfectly straight and would’ve been the perfect platform, but I just wasn’t into it as much at the time and sold it before realizing it was. Who knows, if the person who has it now might be interesting in parting with it (granted it’s not beat to shit), I might want to bring it back home.”

It would seem as if Jonathan met the girl of his dreams (in this instance, cars and the industry) and married it at a young age. As long relationships go, things can sometimes get stale if you don’t nourish it. Being a part of the car industry can be an especially unstable relationship as well. Things change and change quickly. I wanted to know if at any point he got tired of being in the epicenter of import car culture and/or if there was a point when he wanted to jump ship.

“Anyone who knows me knows that I would spend as much free time as I can spare at any car event, and I usually do. It’s like when my friends who are parents now ask me why I’m at a kid’s party when I don’t have kids myself. I always say it’s because it’s the only time I get to see my friends since everyone’s schedules are so busy. So, car events are like that with my car friends—if I don’t stay connected, I’m more likely to lose touch. Plus, I feel more at home when I’m in those environments and it keeps me updated with the current trends.”

In regards to where the car scene is headed, he sees the pitfalls of social media and how it has shaped the way many people build their cars. He says candidly,

“More than anything, I want people to build cars because they are truly passionate about it. Don’t do it for the ‘gram or Likes—at the end of the day, they’re like Monopoly money and do nothing for you.”

“I honestly don’t know what will change or how the scene will evolve; that’s always the million-dollar question. If I could answer that accurately every time, I’d have killer content for a lifetime. The best era, in my opinion, was right at the mid-to-late ’90s, when things were still so new, raw, and relatively undiscovered. We were all coming into our own then, figuring out this car scene. Sure, there were egos but it was all naivety too. There wasn’t much before us (of course, big props to the super OGs from the ’80s/early ’90s); we were creating the mainstream path that you’re all marching down now.”

One of the many curiosities that I always had about Jonathan was how he’d always been pretty much the same guy. After all these years, being looked at as ‘JDM Wong’ and the guy behind much of Super Street magazine’s success over the course of over a decade, how’d he manage to not change? I thought that maybe he was just around at the right time and didn’t have all the social pressures that come now from being thrust into such a world where everyone is so interconnected—He didn’t have all the celebrity that came with being ‘known’ on Instagram or Snapchat or anything where you’re constantly needing to remind people you exist. Or maybe, he’s just a level-headed human being. It comes down to remembering a childhood where he woke-up every morning and looked at that note on the mirror that said ‘Some day…Porsche 911’. Humility is so important in a time when all everyone wants to do is cry ‘me, me, me!’ to get that social approval from absolute strangers.

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“I always think to myself to just never try and be bigger than anyone else—everyone has their own individual challenges and you can never assume what anyone’s going through. Sure, everyone has those asshole moments, but that’s what makes us human. Hopefully I haven’t done that too often. I love to talk to people in general and exchanging life stories is what enriches us all.”

“In the grand scheme of things, I’m still a nobody.”

“I just happened to make my mark at a very unique time and I’m thankful that people took what I had to say so positively. Whenever I was asked for an autograph or a photo by SS readers, I never turned them down. Imagine if I walked-up to Michael Jordan (apples-to-oranges comparison, of course) and I was flat-out refused? I’d have been crushed and I’d never want someone to feel that way. You make someone’s day with the smallest of gestures.” 

At 39 years of age now, where does a guy like Jonathan go? The road seems wide-open for him now but as a friend, I worry about him. I don’t know how to recover from where he was and what happened to him. It is easy to say that you just move on but everyone knows it isn’t that simple. Life presents you with challenges but man, it is a tough pill to swallow when you give everything to something you cared so deeply about and now you’re at the point where you are essentially told to start fresh. He seems pretty content though. When I see him, he’s all smiles and he’s settled into his life now. Life goes on, you just need to take the good with the bad and consolidate them into experiences that make up the sum of this existence. “Right now I’m free of the corporate life, still trying to find my way.” Jonathan says. “There’s been a few rough patches and there have been brighter days, but I know I’ll see my way out of it soon. It’s time to focus and prepare my mental game to be stronger than ever before, then attack with the same type of hunger I had when I was starting out.”

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“I’m older now, I’ve learned a lot of things, so I’m ready for the challenge. Who knows, maybe it finally is time to do something of my very own. Would you be into it?”

I’d entrust him with whatever blind faith he had in me when I first started-out. The guy can do anything. He’s just always been so understated as a person that I think people (himself included) sometimes don’t realize what this guy has done for our automotive hobbyists community. No matter where he goes, I’m confident in saying that I’d jump right into it with him. As a part of doing The Epilogues, I want to start doing this thing where I ask the people I talk about what they would tell their younger selves if they ever had the opportunity:

“These could be said for a few things that have brought me to this point in life: Don’t be afraid. Don’t worry so much (about what others think). Everyone fucks up. Love where it counts. Try it anyway. Be good to yourself and be good to those around you. You are the shit—you just don’t know it yet. Thank you for doing what you’re about to do because it’s going to be an amazing ride. Enjoy the ride.”

JDM Wong. Car guy, music-lover, party animal, creator, a true icon to many, and most importantly, a friend and believer.

I don’t even know if anyone has actually said this but ‘Thank you’.

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14 comments

  • Hell yes. Love it. Brian from Hasport would be an excelent read.

    Keepin the good days alive.
    Thx Joey

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  • Just when I think it can’t get any better. I’m an 80s baby and grew up in the 90s Era of imports and I’m currently building my 95 Accord sedan. This brought back so many memories from my teen and early adulthood years. The younger enthusiasts will never understand the importance of print. Hats off to you Joey Lee and Jonathan Wong, was definitely fitting get for your first epilogue. Hopefully you’ll be up in Seattle for Wekfest, I didn’t get a chance to bump into you your last to trips to Seattle. Keep up the great work!

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  • This is awesome joey I watch the chronicles faithfully and always wondered what you guys’ stories were if that makes any sense…it’s great to get to know the back story’s on the people that I feel like I know anyway from watching you guys so much on your channel… I think this new venture of yours is awesome and I look forward to more reading.. thanks bro keep going !!

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  • The concept behind the ‘Epilogues’ is a good one, and I cant think of someone else to start it with. I was privileged to watch the rise of the import scene from my island in the Caribbean, waiting every month to buy my car magazines to see what was new and how things were progressing. I salute Mr Wong for his stellar contribution to the industry and look forward to see what he does next. Thank you Mr Lee, for this and ‘The Chronicles’. I rarely comment (think this may be the second time) but always enjoy your works and the insight it gives me to the industry, and the lives of the people therein.

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  • Great piece and keep it up.
    From time to time, we see a good read out on social media about the guys/gals who have helped paved the way of this industry to where it is today. However, not nearly enough.

    I would love to see more articles of this fashion(love your videos on youtube btw). I’ve had the opportunity to meet and take a shop tour with Brian over at Hasport last week.

    Another great fella that deserves a piece like Mr. JDM Wong. People like these guys deserves the recognition that I think they are too humble to demand.

    With your audience Joey, this may be the next chapter.

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  • This is great, one of those names and faces I saw in SS throughout the years but never really had much knowledge of who he actually was.

    Its probably incredibly annoying to get suggestions but one of my favorite issues was Lee from FF-Squad’s green EG, I stared at pictures of that car years but never knew the back story or what happened after (stolen?recovered?). I selfishly just want a high res pic of the car on RnRs but every shot on the web is compressed for a 56K modem.

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  • Awesome write up! Love this whole idea! I can’t wait to see more behind the scenes story telling by icons like Jdm Wong!

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  • i remember the “Jdm Wong approved” logo on articles with all the clean looking hondas and cars back in early 2000

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  • Between your stuff, Rodrez’s and JDM Wong’s writing that is mostly responsible for why I write now. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done JDM Wong and Joey Lee.

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