Grand Theft Auto V: In Brief

I haven’t posted as usual, Friday around midday. The reason for that is GTA V the game I have been waxing lyrical for the last 2 months. The game that makes me write about other games to write about GTA. This is borderline obsession but how can you not be worked up about “the next GTA” on the demonising or praising sides of the fence? I, thankfully love the game, I always have enjoyed and immersed myself into the offerings from Rockstar with the GTA titles. GTA V has not disappointed me one bit due to the vast, vibrant setting and interesting characters to boot, you feel a part of the world they have sculpted so carefully with the technology pushed right to the limit, I cannot praise the level of detail and thought put into everything you can see and interact with.

What I am not going to do now is review the game because I am no super-gamer and I don’t finish games hyperfast and then go online to write up the awesome guides and tips. What I do is take the experience in reasonable sized pieces with gaming sessions around 4 hours long, even then I don’t get through that fast so for me it’s all about taking it in (as I write I am at around 47%). And because I am taking it in I hope I can give you some info on the different way things work for someone as “relaxed” as I am with the pace (No pictures this week, I don’t know how to snap photos on PS3):

I love cars, everyone who knows me knows I don’t like cars, I love cars, just not in some sicko sexual way, I like to drive and think and talk about cars, my name is Shaun and am a petrolhead (Hi Shaun). GTA V is car lovers heaven, high end sports cars, off-road pickups, modern and classic US muscle cars, sleek convertibles and all others because most of it is cool… are represented here. For the first time the vehicular line up is extensive with multiple models from manufacturers (moreso than GTA IV) but also the detail and the diversity on the streets of Los Santos is astounding. I am nearly halfway through the game and I am seeing some cars for the first time in the game. The first foray you would have gotten/get is in the Obey 9F (an Audi R8 amalgam) did what GTA IV did when I first tried it out… it sucked. Why, well it was far too twitchy and turned unnaturally quickly, in the amount of control it had as a handler it was out of control and I disliked it. Since then I have had the chance to drive nearly everything else and I love it. The feeling is definitely like a Need For Speed or Burnout with easy handling and fun easy dodging, however making you work a little to get the drift happening right. So far the highlights of my offline garage is the Vapid Sandking XL (Ford Raptor on roids), Inverto Coquette (Red, carbon bits, looks like 2014 Corvette), Bravado Buffalo (2013 Dodge Charger, Franklin’s default car) and an Imponte Phoenix (70s Pontiac Firebird, Custom for Trevor).

I am rambling but you should know:
– Cars are modifiable, if you modify your default car (for Michael, Trevor or Franklin) the car will always be modified. Find a Los Santos garage and drive/ride in.
– Things you can modify on your car: Suspension (Lows), Armour, Braking, Performance (Turbo, Engine, Exhaust, ECU), Body (Bumpers/Splitters/Diffusers, Spoilers, Wheels, Tyre Smoke, Tint, Colour, Roof, Roll Cage)
– Playing the game I notice adding a turbo seems to negate the need for engine or transmission modifications as the turbo maxxes the acceleration stats (is there any benefit to adding other stuff?)
– Rockstar seems to be on the pulse of car culture, their choice of wheels, cars and modifications shows it. They included wheels that look like Volks and SSRs… WOOHOO!
– Bikes are modifiable too, I love my Bagger (Harley Road King) in matte black.
– You can lose your car if you park it at your character’s home garage. So far Trevor’s parking lot at the strip club (kinda spoiler) doesn’t have this problem. I have lost approx 3 cars and 1 bike this way over all three characters. Luckily I wasn’t too fussed about the cars but that could get annoying if you bought something for a fair bit of change and then lost it. The most secure way to retain cars is by putting them in the large storage facility type garage.

On Foot
Walking around is not such a bad way to get around these days, with the sprawl of the city or the waves on the beach I can’t take in everything fast enough. Shooting and evading baddies and cops has improved somewhat. Aiming with the auto aim function is well executed and when you get shots on target in quick succession you feel like a badass. I haven’t started a triathlon yet but I am assuming I will have fun with the biking, running and swimming events.

This is the one part that falls down slightly. I remember getting in a chopper in GTA IV and loving the idea of getting around quickly and deadly like in the annihilator. I was the king of the sky until I hit something like a power pole or skyscraper. In GTA V the same excitement was had when I approached the helicopter, then on take off everything was fine until the turbulence from all the strongest winds around the world decided to hit me at once and from every direction. I get that flying isn’t an easy thing to do but the hipster living in Silver Lake, LA can’t drive for peanuts but I bet he’s having fun driving in Los Santos. I am not sure why R* decided to make driving better but flying worse. The same goes for planes where flying is a constant correction and adjustment exercise with what feels like constant turbulence. Are they trying to stop us from flying too much?

We all like money, tricking co-workers into thinking they won the lottery is a low thing to do, it also reveals everyone needs money. The game really makes a big deal of making money and lots of it, items are sufficiently priced to drive the need for lots of cash. Making money in the first half of the game is sparse except for the first heist. I was stupid with this heist so I didn’t make much (no spoilers just make sure when the crap gunman drops the loot, ride over it to pick it up as Franklin). There is a great glitch where you can find an underwater case of money and immediately switch to another character and then switch back to collect again and again until you have enough to buy that house/business/car. Apparently you make a load of cash around 50% (nearly there!) so fear not, you can get everything you want eventually.

Stock Trading
i thought this deserved a section on it’s own because it’s very much like gambling except you can influence the outcome. I don’t profess to be some super trader dude so I rely on the tips everyone else has. You can influence the ups and downs of stock by just being destructive or through the assassination missions where if you get the intel before you start the mission you can get all 3 guys bought into a particular stock with a guaranteed profit after the assassination mission is over. Generally you are killing company execs, developers or jurors so you can see where this is going. I highly recommend you leave these to after you do the big union depository job as you can bet big and make a load more than I did by playing them and putting in all I had at the time (~$800K per character)

The Law
One leap I am happy with is the Police. They are more accurate with the gun and fast with the driving. This is usually a bad thing for the aspiring criminal however what they have also done is make line of sight realistic.
What I mean by this is best explained by comparison with GTA IV:
– Running up wanted stars is easy in GTA IV and GTA V – I was t-boned by a cop car in V as I pulled out and then immediately got 2 stars. IV would have let that go. Walking near to people setup in locations i.e. a picnic or around a camp tends to make them want to call the cops for no reason. Makes me stay away.
– Hiding in a carpark in IV would spell trouble if you were still in the “dragnet”, no matter how well you were out of the public’s view, the cops would turn up and surround you, choppers were near impossible. In V as long as you were one turn ahead and then out of sight down an alley cops would convert to “point of view cones” on the map and as long as you kept out of their “view” you were safe and then you would lose your wanted level after long enough.
– Swapping cars in IV did nothing to stop the chase, in V it dropped the amount of stars as long as you were out of sight.
– Police AI in IV was quite simple, in V they have your number and will work hard to get you and your friends

San Andreas: The town the country and the vibe
I truly enjoy the sprawl and lights, I have always wanted to visit LA and this is the closest thing to that so far. You watch the movies, the tv shows about LA and there is a made up vision of the city and what is there. R* captured the gritty monumentalism of New York for Liberty City and almost in a complete opposite they got sunshine and urban sprawl as well as outback country of Blaine County just right this time around. Downtown and then the dusty plains and undulations feel like completely separate parts of America. Once again I don’t know what real life LA is like but my word, LS feels authentic, glitzy glamour and dilapidated projects have never looked or felt so right together. Buildings are not simply copy pasted round the place, every building feels individually constructed to be unique, if you want some tips on architectural design then walk around Franklin’s Vinewood home on the hills. Roads are textured and varied, it all looks sunburnt and a cool feature is they even got the ripple strips along the side of the highways to make that noise you get from driving over them. Draw distance has also changed somewhat with nearly all of the surrounding city completely visible and defined even at distance, this turns up the realism from GTA IV’s draw distance although I will say in my first foray there was one or two instances of a whole building popping in from what would have been less than 50 metres away from the character.

Can’t wait to try this out, the game has had some issues with the online system dropping out for hours at a time (BAWSAQ, Social Club) probably as R* is ramping up the GTAO servers and such, if the response to the start of GTAV is anything to go by they will most likely be beefing up their servers to contain the overwhelming demand for game servers when everyone, no doubt would have finished the story and be vying for the 500 missions with their own custom character.


#Festival of 86

Last Saturday was spectacular, it almost felt like spring was here. Birds singing in trees, no clouds in the sky, sun shining down on our sunburnt nation and the smell of… octane, Why? It’s because Toyota Australia invited 250 of their most dedicated fans to bring their car back to the mothership (in Australia anyway). The car in question is the Toyota 86 and what was great was that if you owned a BRZ or an original AE86, you were invited too. Also in attendance was Beau Yates, Neil Bates and Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer on the 86 project. How did I, Shaun Kok get into such an event on account of I don’t have an 86 you might ask? Well my buddy Lee happens to have purchased an 86 and recently at that.

For the attendees free food, drink and entertainment were abound and plenty of Toyota 86s to take your fancy and make you thoroughly bored with the idea I am sure, although I love cars so this was somewhat a boon for me. I went not hungry, thirsty or lacking in sights and sounds for the whole day so without further ado, I know you, came to see pictures because words are poignant but secretly we are all kids impatient for the “Where’s Wally” picturebook.

Click for hi-res.

86 Logo

It’s all about 86, Toyota 86 that is.

A Lee Car

My friend Lee who recently took delivery of a grey 86 GTS, he’s the reason why I, your intrepid blogger got to go in the first place.


Lined up for entry to Toyota-land. It seemed like some amusement park entry, this was Toyota, one of the biggest car companies in the world.


First thing I saw when I got in was this seemingly rally spec Cusco race car, looked pretty serious, not sure about the wheels.


Ok the RX100 camera wasn’t exactly pro however this thing looked very streetable, once again, not sure about the wheels, but to each his own.


Even though the wheels were iffy the engine bay certainly was not, swathes of carbon fibre with some lovely aluminium braces


Work wheels look the business and Pikachu probably couldn’t find a more solid wheel to attempt to hide behind.


An 86 shortage you say, I have to wait 6-7 months before mine arrives eh? Actually there was around 10 of these car parks just loaded with 86s, BRZs and AE86s


I believe NSW 86/BRZ club was there in force, this is one of their rather serious looking rides.


Looks the business, check out the interior below


Alcantara for incontinence on the dash – check. Carbon fibre in place of speedo and other related and just as important dials – check. Seats, solid like rock – check. It’s a race car.


Many people, all here for the love of the number 86


Tetsuya Tada signing autographs for virtually the whole time we were there. This man is a signing and engineering machine! He was so gracious, shaking hands with everyone who lined up for ages. A rockstar in the owners eyes, I bet he’s just a regular guy who loves to engineer great cars. Wonder what he’ll do next? I can’t imagine anything could be as exciting as “Project FT-86”


A recipe for success or RSI, either way with a queue like this.


Mysterious (to me anyway) racecar with the Rocket Bunny/GReddy wide body kit. Got to see and touch the kit up close. Avid readers may have heard that I wanted to do this to an 86 but I cancelled on the car *sigh*.


Plenty wide, looks good even in raw form.


The roll cage is a custom job, looks the part and I am sure, doesn’t come with warranty. Son, do you know how fast you were going, where your bootlid is, what happened to all the windows in your car?


Nice embellishment on the custom frame


Interior like this, because race car that’s why.


Turbo 86, at Toyota’s HQ!


Initial D reference, always a favourite.


Tough AE86


Wide AE86


One for the Dr. Who fans


Free food. As my brother and fellow blogger said “I’m a slut for free food”, thinking on that, who isn’t?


There were many sausages there of varying colour and shape. This one was mine. Ed – That sounds wrong.


This BRZ was cooler than the rest, it had many STI badges on it.


Kelly has a cool car, love the Volks.


Queensland represent! Agent 86 likes some vinyling, I concur, on the vinyl front.


This young man just had his dash panel signed by Tada-San. Proud moment no doubt. Seemed to be a trend that day.


(L to R) Beau Yates, Neil Bates and a guy I am sure I should know but I don’t.


So close to the front of the queue! You can smell the permanent marker fumes.


Lee is shaking the hand of the man who engineered his car, rare moment. Can you say that you shook the hand of your car’s chief engineer. For the most of us, no.


Justin just got his free #Festivalof86 shirt signed, that ones i going up in the man-cave.


Neil Bates had a cool Initial D 86 GT on show, his own personal ride. Race drivers don’t need satnav but they do need Motec’s dash logger.


The best of the breeds. 86 looks angrier and fangier somehow. Both are screaming at each other for stealing the show.


Here’s an interesting AE86, all tough, old-school-ey just like the usual fare right?


Actually it has a Nissan engine, sneaky fella got Yokohama’s finest into a Toyota festival.


Rollcage, difficult ingress and some cargo equipment. Good for racing, bad for bad backs.


Extended fuel tank for racing. Good for mileage, not good for luggage space.


Queuing for the big driveway photo.


Everyone out of your car!


Setup to shoot


The man himself, Tada-San with his many creations.


The “Oh what a feeling” shot, they messed it up a couple of times. Tada-San decided enough jumping on account of his shoulder. He is an engineer after all.


Lee getting his photo taken with Tada-San again because i ruined the last shot


BMW Drivers Club NSW: SuperSprint (Round 3) – “I get to be a flag marshal!”

It was a great weekend… this weekend. The sun was out, the weather was cool and bearable so I was outside almost all day which is kind of uncharacteristic for me with my brother and fellow Kokstar, Justin (who for him it is completely uncharacteristic to be outside). I was invited to be a Flag Marshal at Eastern Creek (sod calling it Sydney Motorsport Park) for this round of the BMW Drivers Club NSW Super Sprint and I accepted.

Other than It was kinda fun to hangout and play with walkie-talkies and coloured flags, tell Keith that a faster car was passing him and generally watch loud cars go racing by, it was something different to do to the average weekend. I started early, as in 2 days before by planning with Justin, what to bring: sausages, mini-BBQ, snacks, drinks, bread loaf, laptop, cookies, chairs, DSLR camera, tripod, cutlery, cups etc. Everything was in place and ready for the day. When the day started it did it at 8am witha safety briefing followed by getting driven out to the turn I would be at for the whole day, Turn 14 (South Circuit).

Enough words, how about some pictures:


The South Circuit’s pit garage and tower – The magic starts here.

Lineup 2

E46 M3’s all neat in a line – These cars are waiting for scrutineering

Lineup 3

E92 M3 belonging to Keith Austin, my colleague


More suspects arriving for check-in – First Class thank you


The Pit Garage – This MINI is completely race-spec and reasonably fast too, loved the whine of the supercharger


Brings new meaning to MINI-cab


CAMS Logbook – Essential for the drivers today


M3s of each generation so far were represented, yes even an E30 Evo!


They look quite shiny at the start of the day… that will change


That’s a fire extinguisher – Words of wisdom here, check the certified date to make sure it isn’t some job from the last century, I think it needs to be within 6 months!


No loose bits in the engine bay, this example is quite good, albeit stock which is safe.


The Paddock – No cows here only thoroughbreds of the BMW, MINI, Mazda, Radical and MNR kind


E30’s – It seemed that the older the car got the more heavily modified it became, these two were loud and very quick in the turns, real track weapons


Gun to a Knife fight anyone? The Radical SR was sounding like a formula race car, quick shifts and massive speed everywhere on the tight south circuit.


This thing makes me thing of a Doonkavoort but it was called an MNR and it sounded turbocharged, it probably ran a close third versus the Porsche who was only a little slower than the Radical


The foreground’s M3 E46 (barely!) is a serious turbo race car. It was setting blistering times and looked good at speed.


Turn 14 – My home for the next 8 hours, nice day though


Turn 14 – The right side going to turn 15, peaceful, but only for now


Justin, settling in by smashing the chair around (ok not really) cyclone fence is all that keeps debris travelling at lord knows how fast from smacking us in the face, helps that this is a gentle outside corner I guess


Keith’s wife Belinda going fast around the circuit


Radical SR – Fast as it is furious, anything that followed this class of car seemed slow.


MNR? If you know what this was then tell me


E90 3 Series, nothing like the one your doctor drives, this thing is loud and quick on the track


Probably made mostly of fiberglass and kevlar or carbon fibre, drive quick and had that awesome turbo whoosh!


Lowered and hunkered down, semi-slick, loud with straight pipe GT3


MINI R53 S – This thing had fire shooting out the rear and the driver was female, great sticker on the back that said “You have just been passed by a girl”. The sticker was seen many times by loads of drivers that day, this MINI was FAST

Evo 9

EVO 9 (I think) – Pure race car, arrived on a trailer and tore it up. Showed that AWD could kick hard and dominate


Very loud race E30


This E46 was pretty darn quick and that is not considering the beige interior

Mini Cab

I need to get to the Airport… quick!


Turbo MX-5 and driven by a young girl. Love that!


135i – Doing the track thing


Manual E92 – A bit slow that day, I think he had gearbox issues from what I was told.

Just Chillin please pass

Can’t you see I am waiting for passengers here? Pass me!

Radical Evo

Evo in front but not for long, the Radical munched anything ahead of it.


Afternoon Delight – Fast cars heading for turn 15


Are you trying to impress me? The camera came out at Turn 12 and all of a sudden throttle got used more than normal.

135 v E46

Past v Present (Plus a turbo)

M3 v 135

Warranties and perceived value wins over throttle – I know I hammered the bejesus out of the M3 at M Driver Training, my own would be a different story, I can relate.


Peak Performance had 2 of their race cars out there


Fast Porsches get me all artsy when they go around corners


Feel the heat from the GT3

Good day in all.

If you want to know more about the BMW Drivers Club:


AllStars: Stance-off

The AllStars crew have put on another gathering of like-minded car aficionados. This time the key was “Stance”.

Not political, it’s about how your car sits. Does it sit like it’s got a stilt up it’s keister or does it sit like it’s taking a dump on the pavement? If you said “hell yeah” to the second option then you belong in the stanced crowd and you should have brought your car down like these people.

Click the images for Hi-Res


Toyota Aristo, VIP style, I don’t see much of this in Sydney. Makes sense because this dude had Victoria plates.


Not alone, that’s for sure, much more hotness here


Something so right about E30 Bimmers, this one was very clean, love the wheels, must take around an hour to wash those… each.


On another BMW – I am a fan of the marque, please enjoy this wallpaper


Chunky looking 350z. Work Meisters are my personal favourite


Nismo wheels on this very sorted looking S15, you know they’re serious when they carry spares… for punctures of course.


Tasty fitment


The Zen Garage stand and rides of the Capozzi kind.


This S15 had something to say…


…Worked much?
S15: I just met you and this is crazy but here’s my number so call me maybe.


Panorama of the “B side”. If your car doesn’t officially qualify for “super stance” then you parked here as hard as you could. Having said that some cars here were pretty awesome.


86 sitting nicely, good fitment.


Cable ties and steelies, why…


… because Race Car that’s why and I love this.


This S13 looks like it comes straight from the Touge runs in Japan. Take a look at the dish on the rims.


That’s deep


We know you do honey


The “A side”


MPS with SSR Professors, it’s just the right wheel for virtually any application. Love that Thule roof rack.


This was on the MPS so I made a wallpaper for it. Owner must be picky and sick of the scraping


No school like the old school Work Meisters. 5 spokes is enough, clean Civic too.


I like a good E30, this one is a regular and the stickers are great. I dunno about dialling Tracy Grimshaw on a phone though


My Dad had the 4-Door version of this car. You know 4-doors for more…


Old Corolla, on the back it had a “ToyoGlide” badge. I love the stance too


Great day all around, warm enough and very clear, we get pretty good weather around here


There are alternate views on what car mods mean. Did you know you can get that rust going with pee? mightycarmods told me so.


BMR crew out with their very vivid E90 3-Series. Orange is kewl


I like your Enkeis, your cars are pretty cool too. Simple is best. You can make most cars look even better with some really nice wheels, these guys know it


We don’t speak engrish


Work Meisters: Flexible application, don’t matter what you drive. I’m just glad either of them aren’t on Dolce’s because I have seen that before and it’s… not good.


We were leaving around lunch time and some low riders were coming through, caught one in the act. Shadows didn’t help us but now it’s all nostalgic like those instagram photos. So pretty… the picture. The dudes were like tough and balling or something, hopefully not blue-balling.


Tidy 80’s Corolla, these things are coming back, it’s like Datsun 510 all over again.


Even the AllStars ez-go got stance so you don’t have any excuse not to. Sergio one of the masters of ceremony showing us how they do it, AllStars style


Thanks guys, nice showing and keep it up.


Buying a Classic Car

It’s exciting, tedious, fun, full of danger, uncertainty and desire. Why, well because I am doing right now. I am trying to be a bit different and not just go for the easy way out (though I might still chicken out yet) with a new shiny un molested, un-scary Toyota 86. The object of my sudden silliness and possible short-sightedness with no commercial common sense is the 1985 Porsche 911 Carerra 3.2. It’s the no frills less scary but hummingly harmonious sister to the angry 930 Turbo which seems to be a bit muted sounding stock (most likely due to the huge turbo). It looks the part with it’s sleek bodywork but won’t kill you with sudden oversteer when the boost kicks in, it is the perfect Porsche for me. I am not rich and most of us aren’t so when one comes up on the online classifieds for $35K it set my tongue wagging. It wasn’t the best colour and the wheels were a bit iffy but I only had three letters in mind; R-W-B.

If those letters mean something to you then you are a car bore and probably wear a baseball cap and you drive something JDM. If you haven’t then let me help you out RWB means Rauh Welt Belgriff,a car tuning shop based in Chiba, north of Tokyo… Japan, run by Nakai-San. The name literally means “Rough World” in German. Why German, well because the type of car he works on most is the 911 Porsche although based on a Q&A with Speedhunters he is happy to work on any car to give it that “Rauh Welt” touch.

What is immediately special about the headline RWB cars are their hugely swollen wheel arches. The cars look like they belong on a race track and rightly so because they barely fit on the street. It’s caricature but it’s also functionally allowing very wide wheels and tyres to give you more grip. Some love this and others heavily dislike what Nakai-San is doing to the last of the pure 911s. I believe it is a tough evolution of a classic shape and if you have ever dreamt of driving or owning a Porsche RSR race car from the 70’s or 80’s then this is the tuner “haus” for you.


Rauh Welt Porsche 911

The Shop:

The Official Site:


Rocket Bunny Scion FRS

Looking at Akira Nakai I am reminded heavily of another tuner in Japan who happens to make another wide body kit for the Toyota 86 (Segue Level: Expert), Kei Miura of TRA Kyoto Rocket Bunny 6666 Customs. It happens that I am very interested in the Rocket Bunny kit for the 86 if I go down that path (which is till have the order in for an am going to be waiting until August).

I guess I am at a crossroads, and I am in need of a car. Do I go classic and the possibility of financial ruin or stay safe and buy the new Toyota 86 with it’s capped price servicing and warranty.

One of my friends put it quite nicely on the subject of cars (I am paraphrasing), “cars are c**ts to a profitable life”.


Movie trailer round up


Fast & Furious 6


first up this week we have Fast & Furious 6 Featurette shows off more of the story line and some little things we didn’t get from the first trailer and you can see it HERE.

Thor the dark world


If you didn’t see one of my recent posts i sliped in the Thor the dark world trailer and you have got to go see it HERE

The Bling Ring


Well I have never seen Emma Watson like this but i didn’t see her coming in “This is the end” so when i saw the trailer for this movie i was amazed it looks great and you can watch it HERE


ZHEN character poster

And lastly we have Grandmasters the story of Ip man the guy who trained Bruce Lee but i think I’ve seen this one wait its called “Ip man” but i cant hate on it….. yet you can watch the seriously corny trailer HERE

Happy Birthday Steph!

Toyota 86: the Prologue

I am in the process of getting my hands on a Toyota 86 (pronounced “Eight-Six” but sometimes i get lazy and say “eighty-six”) or GT-86 for the europeans or Scion FR-S in the USA. We got the Japanese market name so it’s very JDM for us Australians. The model I am going for could be misconstrued as the top-of-the-line-and-I-won’t-modify-it version which is wrong because this one has confort access and sat nav standard so that is two less things I need to be worried about getting or can’t live without from my current 1M.

It’s going to take 8 months until this car arrives so it’s going to take time before I can own it and review it long term.

A few ideas floating in my head about what I want to do to the 86:
– Matt khaki green vinyl on the entire car except roof. Then same vinyl on the dashboard trim
– High gloss black roof
– Work Meister S1R wheels in charcoal with polished lip (single step)
– Coilovers to lower the car maybe an inch
– Rocket Bunny widebody kit, keep it in matt black
– CF hood, nothing fancy, might even vinyl it in same military green.
– Brembo big brake kit
– HKS Exhaust system

Anyone else thinking about an 86? If you are tell me about what you want to do with it.