He had an idea, he is also a student, who also started a Vapor cigarette company where he will be mixing his own recipes and flavors, and he have started a clothing brand cult, while holding onto another full time job on top of that. In his “downtime”, he builds an awesome car. Does that sound like something you would do?
Well, it was what Robert Kochis did and continues to do with his 2013 Toyota FR-S along with his Stay Crushing brand. This guy is an animal. How does he have any spare time? Trying to schedule this shoot with him was a challenge to say the least. Somehow he found a couple hours for me. And for that I am very grateful.
After discussing online a few shoot locations near him, we agreed on hitting up the Azusa Canyon up Highway 39. After a couple of last minute date changes, I finally had him locked down for an early Friday morning shoot. This would be cutting it close for my deadline but I knew the results would be worth the cram session in front of me.
We met about an hour away up in West Covina, CA overlooking the San Gabriel Mountain foothills for a cup of Joe and then headed to our shoot location. Winding through the town, I was beginning to wonder if he was trying to lose me just as my phone rang.
It was Rob.
“Sorry Johan. This car of mine is so low, I have to take a path that won’t have me laying frame all over town.”
Robert’s car is a daily driver and by driving it so often, he has found his own special route to where ever he is heading. I do suppose that a safe route is a good thing to know to not only save his precious machine but also know where to avoid any unwanted looks from Johnny Law. It was multiple run ins with the police that lead him to the fine folks at Borla. He had put in a lot of thought into this build and how everything would work together but the straight pipes he was running initially did not go over so well with local noise ordinances. Borla helped him come up with the perfect solution that provides all the benefits that a great exhaust system should. Witnessing his car rip through town, you can tell they definitely delivered maximum torque and horsepower with a superior tone.
While Rob’s hands were involved in a lot of this build, he says it took an army of companies to help make it the beast it is today. With 35 companies to be precise and he wear each of their names proudly upon his rear window. He hopes all of them are as satisfied as he is with the final result.
There was a method to Robert’s madness. He purchased the car new a whole month before it was even available. Robert started sending out proposals in March of 2012. He was sourcing and organizing the build by May of 2012 and is still massaging the machine almost three years later. When asked why he chose the Toyota over the Subaru version, he answered that it was more than just a cost savings. He preferred the Rocket Bunny body kit and wanted to help market the brand to the public.
The body kit is what Robert believes gets his car so much attention. Unfortunately, he went through hell to finally get his hands on one. There were two different delays that took two months each as the shipping company struggled to get it through customs.
When it finally came time to do the paint and body work, Robert self cut the frame and body to get the basics done and then handed off to Platinum VIP in Irwindale to complete all of the fit and finish work. Upon return, he cut even more away from the frame and inner fender liner for maximum clearance
The car is a solid performer. I can testify to this as I witnessed it disappear out of my windshield once we hit the winding canyon passes. Robert gives a lot of credit to Jeff at Jordan Innovations. Jeff installed the Vortech supercharger as well as helped provide shop space when not at Platinum VIP to work on the FR-S.
Pop the VIS hood and you see eveerything is covered in carbon fiber to give it a clean high-end appearance. Almost like a jewelry box to showcase the Vortech supercharger California Car Culture is apparent all over this machine. Go to a car show and you will be amazed at how people mix-and-match their own creations. You can tell that was a big influence with Robert. He combined the hot rod, low rider and the import scene to make this car a perfect hybrid of each.
Anybody can build a racecar and swap out parts as they break. It is truly impressive to take that same race tech from the track and bring it to the street in the form of a daily driver. Robert Kochis has done just that.
Car: Toyota 86
Engine: S 2.0L Boxter, Flashed ECU by ACU-Tech
Transmission: 6-speed manual, Kaaz Diferential, A.C.T Clutch,
Chassis & handling: Front Fucntion and Form Spring Type 2 with cup kit, Solid Steering rack, Voodoo 12 Suspension Arms, White Line sway bars front and rear
Braking system: Stoptech calipers R-1 concept rotors, Front 13 inch brake disc and rear stock, No ABS and no traction control
Wheels & tires: Toyo 226-45ZR17 – Front, Toyo 225-40ZR17 – Rear, Forge Start Wheels 17”
Exterior: Rocket Bunny version #2 with rear canards Big Country Labs Wing
Interior: Roll bar dipped in copper by Long Beach Auto Tech, Buddy Club Seats, Takata harness
Text: Johan Johanson
Photo: Johan Johanson