F.E.R Working So Well… Part I
Shane Miller and Damien Smith have only known each other for a few years but you’d swear these guys knew each other from childhood with the kind of friendship they have of which F.E.R is responsible. Far East Rulers also known as F.E.R is a group of friends from the same area who share similar interest in modifying performance cars; well at least that’s what it started out as. The name was created based off of their location as simple as it sounds. St.Philip is commonly referred to as far by many and is located to the eastern side of the island, making easy to form the name.
What exactly is F.E.R all about? And why do these guys do it? Is it about having the fastest car and ruling the streets? Is it about the fame of having the cleanest car? These are all frequently asked questions and the truth is, it really isn’t any of the above, it’s several things rolled into one. It’s about a group of guys coming together and thinking outside the box to achieve the complete package, it’s about the satisfaction that comes with building a well rounded car. And taking an even closer look at F.E.R you tend to realize it’s still more than just another group of enthusiasts, the friendship between this group of guys extends beyond the cars and the fame, to sum it up, it’s really more like a close knit family.
Officially F.E.R has 12 members and the guys have been together now for roughly 4 years, in this time they’ve moved from just a bunch of guys hanging around talking about cars and transformed it into a legitimate business venture, F.E.R Entertainment. Under this umbrella comes: hosting and promoting of events (cruises, parties etc), managing and directing photo and video shoots as well as providing vehicles for photo and video shoots. The idea came about after a few members held events separately with an impressive turnout and response. Wanting to stay close to their roots, it was a no brainer that there would be a portion dedicated to the automotive scene and with the requests coming in for members rides to appear in photo and videos shoots, the guys thought this would be a great addition to the services offered.
The group’s vision was simple: Showcase their passion for modifying cars while keeping their builds tasteful and packed with quality.
That was an inside look at their close knit family, now let’s take a trip to where it all started for Damien and Shane…
Damien ‘Blip Boss’ Smith
Going all the way back before the hype, before the long parts lists, before the violated bank account. Some may find this as quite a shocker but cars never fascinated Damien, he was more interested in bikes. It was only around his early 20s when he started to hang around some guys who were into the car scene and they would go to the nearby race track, hang out and take in some of the racing. Still being a student at the time and with not much funds readily available, he then took control of his dad’s Mitsubishi Colt. Thinking back on it Damien recalls how slow it was with the 1500cc 8valve engine but as time progressed he gained more interest and started tinkering, a set of lowering springs were first up then he went on to a sound system. While contented with these slight additions Damien still wanted more and soon he was toying around with the idea of performing an engine swap. After saving for some time, he purchased a 4G92 swap but even at this stage with his foot barely in the tuning scene, he was well aware of how important it was to have the full package. With the swap in his possession next on his list were brakes and suspension, this is where he hit a wall, it was becoming quite a challenge to source the necessary parts needed, along with the money he would have to spend. It wouldn’t be beneficial enough and Damien scrapped the project and put everything up for sale in search for something with a bit more performance.
It wasn’t until one fateful night while having to bum a ride with a friend after the sale of his car, where Damien made up his mind that the next car had to be powered by a 4AGE 20v motor. From this point onward he was on the hunt and shortly after he ended up with a BZ-Touring. Little did he know that this would be the car to allow him to make a mark on the streets. This was where his interests in modifying and customizing increased significantly and at the same time he learnt some vital lessons about what the automotive world was all about. Around this time the Touring was a very popular base to start with and Damien was bent on setting his apart from the others. He wasted no time and dived in head first, tackling ride height to match the performance he desired. Contented with the aesthetics for the time, he worked his way to the performance side of things and went through various intake setups but most of his time was spent in the exhaust department, until finding the perfect note to satisfy his liking while making it easy to distinguish him from others. Tragedy struck when Damien’s engine blew and even though he was bummed out, he took this as an opportunity to make the car even better. As the engine was being rebuilt, the shell was sent off to paint where he had a custom designed front bumper made. When the car returned to the streets it was clear that he achieved his goal, reunited with his Touring Damien found that things were starting to change. With the emergence of Runx Zs and various Hondas it was quite a challenge to keep up. Damien states “the difference in performance was just too vast and I knew if I wanted to keep up I had to upgrade to something else, which sadly meant letting go of the BZ”, he further emphasized “even though I didn’t want to, there just wasn’t anything left”.
Once again he found himself on the hunt to fulfill his need for speed and the only way forward for Damien was Honda. With his mind made up he wanted a Civic hatch and he found one, things were going his way or so he thought but before he could finalize the sale someone beat him to it. Still on the hunt for a vehicle he approached fellow F.E.R member about purchasing a shell which had been sitting dormant for a while and after some negotiations, Damien walked away with a new project and even greater passion for the tuning scene. Now the new owner of a Integra GSR shell he quickly sourced a B18C5 motor for it and in no time he was back on the streets. “The difference between the BZ -Touring and the Integra were like night and day” Damien recalls. “The acceleration was phenomenal and that joyous sound of VTEC screaming all the way to redline made it even better. The car felt more stable and the gear ratios were definitely much better but the LSD took some getting used to.” Similar to the BZ this car also saw the light of much modifications over time up until its completion. Equipped with Ings+1 full body kit and Mugen gen 1 wing to compliment it, there was no wonder why this Integra stirred up quite a buzz and it was clear Damien made his mark in the tuning world.
However for some reason he wasn’t quite as contented as he ought to be, some where in the back of his mind were still lingering thoughts of, “what if I actually had the opportunity to build a hatch? What would it be like? Would I be more satisfied?” No matter how much he tried to be contented with his Integra build, he was alluded by these thoughts that continued to haunt him until he finally gave in. Some may call it either luck or divine intervention that just then, the same F.E.R member who he’d acquired the Integra from would happen to have a hatch he was willing to part ways with. And the rest as they say is history because this is the same very SiR hatch you see before you today.
Finally Damien had in his possession what he’d dreamed of owning for some time now. He now had to put the pieces together, of which he wasted no time. Beneath the hood of this EK4 lies a JDM spec. B18C motor. The head was revamped using Supertech’s valve springs and retainers to ensure that nothing goes wrong from VTEC engagement point through to redline. Air is sucked into the motor via a Password JDM whale penis intake and Skunk2 Pro Series manifold, while a Hytech Tri-y header matted to a Greddy exhaust with a HKS axle back take care of the spent gasses. Attacking corners while ripping up the rpms has been made even more fun with a Koni / Ground Control combination. Further reinforcing the suspension setup is a Meagan Racing rear lower tie bar. Bolted onto each of the studs are 17-inch TE37 replica wheels done in a full bronze.
Comparing it to his previously built Integra, Damien states it isn’t as fast but his focus isn’t on raw power at the moment as it’s still his daily driver. His goal this time around was to build a more comfortable and enjoyable car of which he has done just that. When asked about further plans, with a smug grin on his face he responded “this is only the beginning, I have some plans for future but for now it’s all about soaking in the moment and enjoying the car I’ve always longed for.”
Coming a long way from having a deep interest in bikes, after just a few years in the automotive world Damien was converted and he made every moment of it count emerging a die hard car enthusiast of which we are thankful for.
Damien would like to thank Bandi for the necessary paint work, Arnard for handling the maintenance of the car and to W. Batson for his mechanical help along the way.