FEATURE II: Ron – RunHardRacing
If you recall my first feature presentation with Kevin, he mentioned to me that I needed to meet the man that was a key figure in getting his NA Miata properly setup. Kevin’s word is good and I knew I had to meet the man myself. When people speak of Ron of RunHardRacing, you hear nothing but positive feedback about his character, work ethic, and drive. They have a saying as Ace, a member of RunHardRacing told me“if you don’t see the tool, you make the tool.” This is the grit and determination that is an essence of Ron’s garage.
I received a warm welcome and nothing but love from Ron and everyone from RunHardRacing. It is great to see a brotherhood and community where all cars are appreciated. When you are at the garage it feels as though you are experiencing Gran Turismo in real time. From SRT Jeep’s to BMW M4’s to R32 GTR’s, you always get a variety of cars. I did not even mention the bikes that pull up. No one day is the same. This is also a testament to Ron’s range of what he can work on. If it has an engine and wheels it is a problem that he can solve.
“No day is ever the same and I treat things on a day to day basis. Sometimes I am extremely busy and other times I have down time. As much as I plan for it, I never really know when work will start or end. “
“I like stepping on the gas and hearing the engine roar. I like the relationship with the pedal that lets me unleash horses.”
YV: What got you into cars?
Ron: Ever since I can remember, I have always been fascinated with the thrill of speed, acceleration and g-forces. It is an amazing rush. Before I was able to drive and work on cars, I was playing a lot of racing games such as Need for Speed, Gran Tursimo, and Forza.
Ron: Growing up I did want to be an automotive journalist, until I realized that required a lot of English classes and writing.
YV: You were about to be pre-law though.
Ron: Right, this was before I had my car. I did want to be a race car driver or something along the lines of competing at a professional level. For my career I went to college for law, however you can see it took a different turn.
YV: What made you change paths?
Ron: During my senior year of college, I started to contemplate if I was going to be really happy spending another 8 years of higher education. We spend a tremendous portion of our lives in our careers. I wanted to do something I enjoy and that involves working with cars.
YV: Work in my personal opinion should never feel like a chore, but something you enjoy even when it is mundane. This to me is one of the key principals in successful owners and businesses. I see this in you.
Ron: When you love something, it will never feel like work and lead to better productivity.
Ron: Did I feel I can make a living off automotive repairs when I first started? My answer to that is no. The reality of it was my car was broken and I had no money to pay anyone to fix it, so I had to do the repairs myself. I had a Supra and I was on SupraMania.com a lot. Forums are invaluable sources of information and networking. I was able to connect and befriend Supra owners in New York City. Once Supra owners seen I was working on the same issues their mechanics were fixing, I started to get request to fix their cars.
YV: Was it around this time you realized you can make this into a living?
Ron: I did not have too much experience at the time, expect for my own car so I was doing a lot of jobs for free. It was for the love and passion. I would say when people started to pay me or ask what they owe, I would ask for either $5 or $10 because they were friends. As I progressed, I was able to charge a much fairer rate for my services.
YV: How does your girlfriend feel when you have a lot of work to do and cannot spend time with her?
Ron: She does not take it well, but it’s the reality of being an entrepreneur. No day is ever the same and I treat things on a day to day basis. Sometimes I am extremely busy and other times I have down time. As much as I plan for it, I never really know when work will start or end. This is the part she won’t accept sometimes. For instance, we would make dinner plans at 7 p.m. on any given night, but if I have to finish a customer’s car and it is their only car, sometimes I will have to sacrifice my personal time for my client.
Ron: My work involves a lot of late nights. I try to devote certain days where we spend time together. I try the best that I can, but it is definitely not easy.
“Confidence is Key. There is no job that’s too big for me because If I can’t do it then somebody else will and what makes them different than me? So at least try. You will never know what can happen if you do not try. My mindset is they are human just like me and you. They have 10 fingers and 10 toes. If they can do it, then I can learn to do it too. “
YV: I am shocked to find out you were also a Toyota guy. What got you into Nissans?
Ron: They make good platforms. I was always a Toyota guy and my first seven cars were all Toyotas. We are counting the SC300 under this umbrella.
Ron: Before I got the G37, I had the G35S track edition coupe. It was a six speed, rear wheel drive, Brembo brakes, OEM 19 inch Rays wheels and a back seat. The vehicle had a blown engine. At the time I had a 2JZ sitting in my garage and I thought, why not put the engine in the car, since there is not one.
YV: You were doing that 2JZ swap a while back though.
Ron: Yea, that was around 2008-2009 to be exact.
YV: There were no plug-in play kits available at that time.
Ron: When I did the swap, there were not too many people that did the conversion. Most of my research came from the 4 guys in the forum that completed the job. At the time no one did it on a G35 coupe with the original 6 speed transmission, and mainly 350z heads were primarily the ones doing the swaps. I would say I was the first to do the G35 coupe with a 2JZ motor on the OEM transmission.
YV: I’ve been around everyone at Run Hard Racing and people are silent about horsepower and setups. How much power did you make? If you are willing to share the information.
Ron: I sold everything in that setup. If you want the run down it was a 1JZ cylinder head, with a 2JZ cylinder head block, the head was built with BC cams, BC valve springs, retainers, and an HX55 turbo at37 pounds of boost. It was 800ish at the wheels when in full kill race mode.
YV: Damn, you were probably son’ing people.
Ron: Oh yea.
YV: I might have seen you on NYCE1s.
Ron: I wasn’t really racing that car back then. The car was mostly for highway pulls. I raced some people here in there with bikes, hustlin people. It was definitely a sleeper.
Ron: That’s why in the street I don’t ever assume anything. My car might look fast, but I am honest and tell people its slow and really for learning how to drive or enjoy real driving.
Ron: I will tell you a way you can tell if someone’s car is the real deal. Let’s say you are about to race someone, and you come to a dead stop. When the car is idling and you can hear the fuel pump, then they are making power. If you can hear the fuel pump over their exhaust, it translates to a fast car. For instance to make power you need to dump a lot of fuel. If you have a fuel pump that is so loud and I am inside my car next to you, then I know that you are making serious power.
Ron: For example say a Miata pulled up, next to yours and he did not have big wheels or slicks and you hear a whining sound on his fuel pump, I would not race him. More fuel equals more horsepower.
YV: I was going to say it’s better than people laughing at you, since there is this stigma about Miatas. There is this toxic shit in car culture that does not need to leak within our automotive culture.
YV: How do you feel about electric cars then? It is straight torque.
Ron: I feel there is no connection with electric cars, however I respect the technology.
YV: I was the same, but I know one car that will change your mind about electric cars. The Tesla Roadster.
Ron: I don’t think it will.
YV: It will change your mind I guarantee it.
Ron: I respect the technology that Tesla has, but as far as the autonomous driving, it is the future. 20 years from now cars will be driving themselves. I like stepping on the gas and hearing the engine roar. I like the relationship with the pedal that lets me unleash horses. For example, the new Q50. It has electronic steering. There is no linkage between the steering wheel and the wheels of the car. It feels like you are playing Forza. There is no feeling.
YV: That sounds terrible.
Ron: I like my car because it is drive by wire but it looses a sense of connection and feeling. I love older cars because of the throttle cable and that connection feeling with the road and all the bumps and imperfections. You can’t run away from technology.
YV: What car would you like to import?
Ron: It would be a right-hand drive NSX, however you can also import cars from Europe. The car I would like to import as well is a Lancia 037 Stradale.
YV: That is a beautiful car and a great pick. Since you are a fellow enthusiast, it is only natural to expand our collection as we progress.
Ron: Of course we all want the finer things in life. Money can buy you a race car. I never seen nobody with a race car driving that was unhappy with a frown behind the wheel. I will even take it to the extreme that I never seen anyone unhappy driving a go-kart.
Ron: What about you, what would you import?
YV: I would import a Toyota Chaser JZX110 big body style. I would put the chrome work VSKFs on it just to get that 90s weight pusher vibe. Vertex kit and all that.
YV: I want your take on what is a better car in this old school versus new comparison. What I would consider new is anything after 2010. I want you to give me a modern car that you feel can beat it. I will bring it up there immediately and start with a Toyota 2000 GT.
Ron: That is an iconic car. That is Toyota’s first sports car ever.
YV: Don’t you think the design is timeless? It reminds me a lot of the beautiful American muscle cars from the 1950s through 1960s. So can you give me a car from today that is better? I got a car in mind.
Ron: I wouldn’t say I can compare a better car from today, but I will say the Alfa Romeo 4C. I would not say its better, but more of a driving car.
YV: I remember by you, Mark and Corey were debating about the new Supra and whether or not it is a good car.
Ron: Every weekend we have a debate. It gets loud especially when there is alcohol. The last debate we had last weekend was what makes a car quick versus fast? Depending on who you ask, they would put themselves into a hole of not really understanding. A car can be quick, but only be fast if you do x mods to it.
Ron: I would like to use Corey as an example with this conversation we had. I would say the FRS is quick and fun to drive. Corey would ask me “what is fast?” Is a Subaru WRX STI fast? It is faster than the FRS, but is that considered fast? It still comes out to be a subjective debate. My rule of thumb is if it scares you, it is fast.
YV: My car does not scare me.
Ron: (Laughs) It’s not fast. Not fast enough. If the car does not scare you enough it is not fast. It might be quick to you but it is not fast.
YV: If we put a 2.5L it would maybe be quick or a K-swap.
YV18 – Ron’s Yellow Print to Life
1. What are you passionate about?
Ron: Anything with four wheels and an engine.
2. What would you define as success?
Ron: Being able to do what you love every single day.
3. What are your keys to happiness?
Ron: Work hard, play harder.
4. What is one Ron gem you can bless us with?
Ron: Its only one way to find out.
5. What do you want to just get off your mind and let the world know?
Ron: Confidence is Key. There is no job that’s too big for me because If I can’t do it then somebody else will and what makes them different than me? So at least try. You will never know what can happen if you do not try. My mindset is they are human just like me and you. They have 10 fingers and 10 toes. If they can do it, then I can learn to do it too.
Additional Information If you would like to follow more of Ron please follow his Instagram page at RunHardRacing.
Ron: I would like to give a special thank you to my mentors my Father, Grandparents, Big Adrian, Fabian, and Little Adrian. Thank you to all my family, friends, and everybody with RunHardRacing.