Move Over, Rocket Bunny: Thanh's Vlene FR-S RS 1.0
Love it or hate it, SEMA is a prime motivator in some of the most amazing and ridiculous builds nowadays. The Specialty Equipment Market Association seems to focus more and more on the “specialty” part each year with more rare, custom and first edition parts gracing the show floor each passing event. There was one build in particular that took full advantage of the first edition aspect this year: Thanh’s Vlene FR-S RS 1.0.
One has to give credit where credit is due, and that means taking a second to acknowledge that there are other Vlene kits in the US. However, Thanh and AutoTuned were the first to successfully fit, paint, customize and install an entire kit on an FR-S. With that being said, every Vlene kit starts in the same place: Japan.
With the help of Mark Arcenal (of Fatlace / illest), AutoTuned was able to get the full 13-piece kit shipped over and get to work on the massive undertaking the kit would present.
Like all wide body setups, the Vlene kit required a pretty drastic trimming of the factory quarter panels to afford the maximum amount of space inside each wheel well. While Vlene hasn’t officially released specs on how wide the fenders are, the word is they’re over 100mm wider than the OEM fenders on each rear corner. That’s a total of almost 8 inches wider than stock when measured side to side. For reference, Rocket Bunny rears measure around 65mm wide.
So what does one do with all that extra space? Give it a fender full of wheel of course! For this, the gang turned to Rotiform and their WGR series wheel, with 19x10.5 in the front and 19x12.5 out back to really fill everything out.
Built to Perform
To get a nice, cohesive fitment all around, the car's suspension has been swapped out in favor of an Air Lift Performance kit, complete with a custom trunk mounted tank setup. This allowed Thanh to drive the car to and from SEMA, as well as around town as a daily driver (because apparently parallel parking is too easy in a normal width car.)
Throughout the rest of the build, you’ll find plenty of goodies that help the car perform as well as it looks. Under the hood, a Sprintex S5-210 twin screw supercharger sits front and center, coupled with the Moto East E85 kit to deliver a 1-2 punch from the boxer engine. Behind the front wheels is a Wilwood big brake kit to help counteract the supercharger’s performance gains, as well as adding a bit of color to the otherwise entirely black and yellow RS 1.0 colorway.
One of Everything, Please
If one looked over the car long enough, they could probably find what seems to be Whiteline’s entire catalog helping keep the FR-S stable and predictable. The front and rear sway bars, shifter bushing, front strut tower brace, lower control arms, rear subframe inserts and steering rack bushings all bear the Whiteline name. With the E85 tune, supercharger and Thanh’s not-so-jokingly crazy talk of trying to bring this car to a track day, he’ll take all the help and stability he can get.
Overall, this is one of the most in-depth and exclusive builds AutoTuned has put out (don’t forget the Rockey Bunny tC of course), and the craftsmanship hasn’t gone unnoticed. It’s even crazier when the three-week timeline is taken into account. The SEMA crunch of long days and all-nighters was as real as ever, but when the end product is an American first, those lost Zz’s and countless energy drinks all prove to be worth it.