RJ de Vera Wants the Very Best for Enthusiasts and the Car Community

It’s not every day we get a true car industry leader for our ongoing DRIVERS series, but when we do, we love learning about their career and how they got there. It’s a dream come true for a lot, so the knowledge and advice they pass down is truly inspiring. And RJ de Vera is the perfect role model for this.

RJ de Vera is a veritable household name for car enthusiasts. His humble beginnings as an editor at Super Street magazine would eventually lead to consultation and work for numerous brands like XBox’s Forza Motorsport 2 and Valvoline, a small stint on MTV’s car-centric series Trick It Out, senior positions at Meguiar’s and 3M and much more. Oh and yes of course, he starred and consulted in the first Fast and the Furious film long before it jumped the shark with submarines, zombie cars and a Pontiac Fiero in space.

The Fast and the Furious at that time really exploded youth car culture,” explains de Vera. “It really showed everyone that there was this deep passion for tuning and modding cars that was more of a global phenomenon – it really united people and took things to the Nth degree. Fast forward 20 years later and there’s still people inspired to get into modding and tuning cars because of the franchise.”

His role in The Fast and the Furious was, let’s say, straightforward – Danny Yamato, the young, hungry tuner regular at car meets and races who had something to prove against the “big guys.” And while some would say his image was stereotypical at the time, others could argue that he opened the door to anyone who was ever curious about the tuning world but never really had someone who personified it like he did. And whether its Danny Yamato or the Vice President of Marketing at SEMA – his current position – who is “that person” to guide you, at the end of the day the car community recognizes de Vera’s work that created that inclusive environment for us all.1 of 17

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So what does this “champion” of the car community drive? Something highly bespoke, incredibly personal, and downright gorgeous: a pristine, cleaned up and very, very capable 2008 Honda S2000. Co-owned with personal friend Will Chau and built entirely by the experts at Evasive Motorsports, this AP2 example is so much more than “OEM+,” however it would take a trained eye to spot what really makes it special.

Beyond the obvious forced-induction engine upgrade under the hood, SoCal’s Signature Auto Body gave the S2000 a serious update in the looks department, starting with a slightly wider set of front fenders to accentuate the special 20th Anniversary bumper. MUGEN parts really speak to the core of S2000 fanatics, and this build has it all, from the JDM brand’s carbon-fiber roof, the the very rare bronze wheels, rear wing and even the steering wheel. Huge Brembo brakes help with the now-300-horsepower output, and KW coilovers help keep everything planted and sitting just right. Our favorite detail however are the Spoon mirrors – ultra sleek and beautifully thin while still serving their purpose.

While we’d all love turbocharged hardtop S2000s, de Vera drops knowledge about how the aftermarket will dictate the future of automotive. “It really depends on the people involved. What’s really important is that we make sure to invite new people, new faces, new enthusiasts. It’s about making sure we continue to inspire people into modding and customizing their cars… we have to protect and prolong this love for customizing and modding.”
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