Feature - 2002 Toyota MR-S - A Tuner's Legacy
Most people would consider it a right of passage, to receive the keys to a new car upon graduating high school or university, but for Lorenzo Dacanay, inheriting a used car at the young age of 15 came with a different level of significance.
Lorenzo says his father took great pride in their 2002 Toyota MR-S. He recalls being brought along to car shows and wrenching on weekends, including an install of one their first mods, a set of Sparco racing seats. Lorenzo was quickly growing into the role of the "car dad's son". However, their build came to an abrupt halt, with his father's untimely passing from a rare bile duct disease, known as Cholangiocarcinoma.
A devastating loss for any 15-year old. Many years later, an older, more focused Lorenzo says—remarkably, that he had channeled the spirit of his father and decided to keep the car, vowing to complete the build they had began all those years ago. As if possessed, Lorenzo began learning the ins and outs of the MR-S.
Now a student of Bellevue College in Washington state, his path has taken him beyond a weekend tuner, exploring Business and Engineering.
The MR-S has undergone a complete transformation since . Widening the body profile with an APR Performance kit, carbon fiber hardtop and mounting kit, lowered on Tein coilovers, and offset by deep dish Avant Garde F220 wheels encased in Toyo R888r rubber. The pièce de résistance being a dark green wrap we're conveniently nicknaming, "The Dragon".
But probably the most eye-catching view is the rear. A bumper-free style, exposing the 315 width tire, swapped 2ZZ-GE power plant, and a custom dual-tip center exit exhaust.
Inside the heart of the dragon is a work in progress, which is admirable, and equally inspiring are the "R" insignia tags hanging from the mirror. "Respire", Lorenzo explains, is a brand with a name whose literal meaning is to "Recover hope, courage, and strength after a time of difficulty".
He says, "Through the difficulty of my dad's passing, I wanted to create something that would bring people just like me together. Respire consists of events where thousands of attendees come together and have fun, creating YouTube videos showcasing our lives, and designing clothing to spread awareness."
When asked for customary parting words to close out the feature, Lorenzo answers, "When you feel like giving up, remember why you started." It's safe to say, his father would be proud.
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