DOHCcorp/DOHCresearch was a long term personal project that began in 1998 through a free Geocities-hosted webpage. After gaining more interest in automotive photography and upgrading to the now obsolete Sony DSC-F707 5MP digital camera, the domain name “DOHCcorp.com” was established in 1999, which was the original company name. Through time, taking photos of friends’ mildly tuned cars expanded to photoshoots with other local car enthusiasts and teams in the Hawaii import automotive scene.
Progression and Digital Boom in Online Automotive Media
Through mutual friends, I was fortunate enough to meet and become an apprentice to Steven Smyth, the original founder of SpeedHawaii.com, who gave me the insight to expand my interest in automotive photography, website design and data management, and the automotive scene as a whole. Back then, SpeedHawaii was the main source of online media content and exposure for Hawaii’s automotive scene. During the ’90s and the birth of the internet, SpeedHawaii laid the foundation for online media standards in an environment that was basically brand new and unexplored. Because of this, Hawaii’s automotive scene was quick to gain worldwide exposure and the reputation for building quality cars as there weren’t many other websites pushing out content to the extent that SpeedHawaii was.
There were also a handful of other websites that also contributed to the success of Hawaii’s growing automotive scene, including the very popular 808rides.net (Marc and Kazzy), 808speed.com (Keoni), and eight08.net (Peter). These websites were the pioneers for the new era of online automotive media coverage. Through time, most of these sites slowly dissolved, bringing in the second generation of import automotive websites in Hawaii in the late-90’s, including my close affiliates at the time, aznlyfe.com (Khai Tran) and teamrice.org (Justin Saiki and Lance Akagi). Steven, who had sold off SpeedHawaii a few years earlier, also returned through a new website, nucleartiger.com. At that time DOHCcorp.com had evolved into the current DOHCresearch.com name that has continued on until today.
Accomplishments and Woes
Through the span of 7-years, hundreds of gigabytes of photos and countless friendships made, DOHCresearch shot over 40 official features from Hawaii’s elite car crews including Alpha Project, Eurotechnik, PimpLux VIP JDM Styling, Night Garage, Turbolence, Speed Aura, EFI Unlimited, 1320 Performance, Team PRO5, ENDLESSgarage, Team Revision, Team Ultraspeed, Racing Pretty, and Vision in Progress Racing; and featured numerous events, which helped promote national exposure for Hawaii’s automotive scene.
The closing of Hawaii Raceway Park (Oahu’s only racetrack) in 2005 was detrimental to the automotive community. With no venues to race at, enthusiasts had nowhere to go and smaller tuning shops withered away. Kapolei Industrial Park, known back then as “Triangles,” had further become commercialized and was no longer a viable place for people to hang out and drift late at night. Project cars and backyard builds were abandoned and interest was also lost in DOHCresearch as a result. The site was retired at the end of 2005, kept alive only to retain past memories and serve as a database for Hawaii’s past.
Although DR was retired, I continued to work on numerous projects with other companies and magazines to bring more exposure to Hawaii’s import automotive scene. The scene in Hawaii has improved since then and continues to mature without a racetrack. September 2006 marked the first SCCA Autocross after its move from Hawaii Raceway Park to Aloha Stadium and the organization has continued to give enthusiasts a place to road race legally in the state. The import scene is also booming as “fitment” has become a critical aspect of car builds.
As I continue my journey in Japan, interest has once again sparked in DOHCresearch. However, the focus of the website has transitioned over to Japan automotive culture. I’ll always think of DR as a Hawaii-based import automotive website as my ties still remain with the friends and family I work with behind the scenes back home. My hope is that the focus on Japan’s automotive scene will help inspire enthusiasts in Hawaii to continue to grow the scene back home.
Meaning Behind the Name
As I began my first project, DOHCcorp was the name that I came up with, DOHC (Dual Over Head Cam) to express a somewhat more “dominant” motor setup over a single-cam motor setup (without regards to rotary). Later, “corp” was dropped and replaced with “research”. The transition of the name was at a time when the website started becoming more established in Hawaii and I wanted to start off fresh with a new name, a new website, and a new layout to erase all the previous “amateur” photoshoots I built up the original website with. The new name was actually supposed to be “44research” (44 for “DOHCcorp”), but was reminded that “44” meant “Double Death” in Chinese culture and was extremely bad luck. From there, I stuck with “DOHCresearch”.
For all the people who keep wondering what DOHCresearch means and what it stands for, to tell you the truth, the name has no meaning behind it. The name was designed to be distinctive to set itself apart from other website and company names. The name has still held up till today despite all the new “stance” themed blogs and websites. At times the name has worked against me in situations where people question me as to “why I’m posting photos of cars that aren’t DOHC?” It has also been misinterpreted as a “DOHC-only” website, where enthusiasts feel their single-cam or rotary powered cars do not belong on the site. I never expected people to take the name so literally… it’s just a name, seriously.
Through my time living here in Japan, DOHCresearch has evolved further. DOHC研究 (Kanji reading “kenkyuu” or “research”) and ツインカムリサーチ (“Twin Cam Research”) are 2 variations of DOHCresearch that I now use to watermark my photos and also to market the website.
The DOHCresearch Archives – Previous Website Layouts
:: DOHCcorp 2000 Layout – Website (built with Splash)
:: DOHCcorp 2001 Layout – Website (built with Geocities Website Builder)
:: DOHCcorp 2002 Layout – Website (built freehand)
:: DOHCresearch 2003 Layout – Website (built freehand)
:: DOHCresearch 2004 Layout – Website (built freehand)
:: DOHCresearch 2005 Layout – Website (built freehand)
:: DOHCresearch Archives 2010 Layout – Website (built freehand)
:: DOHCresearch 2011 Blog Layout – Blog (built with WordPress)
:: Air Runner Systems (US)
:: Driving Line Magazine (US)
:: Green-Bottle Productions (Hawaii)
:: Honda-Tuning Magazine (US)
:: Import Tuner Magazine (US)
:: Junction Produce (Japan)
:: Revision Audio (Hawaii)
:: Super Street Magazine (US)
:: Work Wheels (US)
Option2 Magazine (Japan)
:: November 2002, Drift Session Hawaii – Battle Version
Honda-Tuning Magazine (US)
:: July 2010, Hellaflush Hawaii
VIP STYLE Magazine (Japan)
:: July 2010, Air Runner Systems Advertisement
Import Tuner Magazine (US)
:: August 2010, Hellaflush Hawaii
:: August 2015, Offset Kings Japan at Fuji International Speedway
:: December 2015, Offset Kings Japan at Okayama International Circuit
:: February 2016, Black Mark Day: N-Style Customs and Garage B.B.
:: April 2016, Yuichi Yoshida SBcorporation S15 Silvia
:: May 2016, Hachiroku Matsuri at Tsukuba Circuit
:: June 2016, Takashi Kusonoki D/L/K S15 Silvia
:: June 2016, Shizuoka Hobby Show at Twin Messe Shizuoka
:: August 2016, DoriDoreSou at Motorland Mikawa