Hella Norcal Dopeness >>> Luke Lonberger’s Turbo LS1 S14
Back in 2003 I was hanging out at a meet in Milpitas when a blue S14 with a S15 front rolled into the parking lot. The guy pulled in right next to my car, then got out and asked me, “Hey man, do you know anything about the warranties on JIC tubular exhaust manifolds?” I told him I didn’t, and he walked away, probably to get a hot dog or something. That’s how I met Luke Lonberger.
Luke has had a lot of pretty badass cars over the years. Before he had the blue S14, he had an 800hp 300ZX twin turbo, and since I’ve known him he’s also had an Evo, his popular white LS1 FD, an LS1 FC (which he still has in storage), and now he’s back to his current LS1 S14.
Notice a theme? There’s a lot of LS swapping going on with Luke. When he built his FD, he began a close relationship with Brian Hinson of Hinson Supercars, and as a shop owner himself, Luke offered the swap as a service. I don’t even know how many cars he’s put various LSx’s into…
Anyway, back to this S14. He built this car to showcase what he does at Blu808, which is his shop in Campbell. At the shop he mainly does engine swaps and builds roll cages and other fabrication work. The LS1 is of course the thing that impresses most people, and it’s a way to get a lot of die-hard American Muscle fans to appreciate what people are doing in the import scene. THEN they notice the turbo. That’s right, a big 78mm .96A/R Turbonetics turbo sitting right there in front. This thing is putting down 700hp at the wheels.
Vic over at Victory Automotive Machine put the block together early last year, using top of the line parts, and aside from a few cooling issues the engine has stayed strong until now. Luke is currently having it freshened up for Round 4 of the ThunderDrift ProAm Series, coming up next month. He’s third in points, and only 10 points behind the leader so he’s got a good chance of winning the series and going pro.
A lot of people also dig the side-exit exhaust, which spews nice flames now and then. It’s just too bad that it’s not legal for Formula DRIFT.
Since Luke is working with Hankook and Conrad Grunewald in their Formula DRIFT efforts (did I mention he built Conrad’s Camaro?) the car has a constant supply of Ventus R-S3′s to ride on. Behind the front wheels are Brembos straight off an Evo IX, courtesy of WORKS Motorsports.
The cabin is stocked full of Sparco stuff, with a 7″ LCD displaying data straight out the HP Tuners software, and a K-Sport hydraulic e-brake mounted proudly on the tranny tunnel.
Blu808 is Luke’s second shop. Before this, he worked on a variety of BMW’s and Porsches at BRRacing in Los Gatos and on vintage muscle cars at Goodies Speed Shop in San Jose, with custom fabrication always his strong suit. Prior to Goodies was SDP, Luke’s old shop in Santa Clara. Unfortunately it was too focused on drifting and so it fell victim to the decreased drifting presence in Norcal after Altamont Raceway was shut down in 2007. You can thank Mark and Karen Rivard for that. Seriously, write them a letter or something.
Luckily ThunderDrift brought drifting back to Norcal, and now Luke is constantly working on cars competing in the ProAm Series. When he’s not working on awesome cars, Luke can be found on any of the local mountain roads going for a relaxing cruise in his 2010 Hyundai Genesis. That’s his daily driver. He also enjoys long walks on the beach, and ladies, he’s available.