Fortune Auto Open House 2022

Fortune Auto Open House 2022

Almost every modern automotive build has one modification in common: adjustable suspension. For some platforms (e.g., the FR-S/BRZ twins) it’s an obligatory step in the process.

Coilover suspension from Fortune Auto was the first serious modification I made to my Scion FR-S in conjunction with 2.5” wider TWS wheels and SPL rear lower control arms (necessary for rear camber adjustment). The changes made the already fun car factors more exciting to drive and set off an avalanche of other modifications to round out the car.

I have the luxury of living just a half hour away from Fortune Auto, so when I purchased my 5th Generation 510’s back in 2016 I was able to pick them up in person and meet the crew at their headquarters in Powhatan, Virginia.

Given their close proximity to us, attending their annual Open House is a no-brainer. Andrew, Landon, and I squad-rolled in our Miatas along with David in his IS300 Sunday afternoon.

One of the first vehicles to catch my eye was Chris Johnston’s Mazda FD3S RX-7. This car is no stranger to attention, especially after its PIT + PADDOCK SEMA debut in 2021. This is a car that has endured many forms over the years under Chris’ ownership which started in 2009. Years ago, we saw this car on the back of a trailer at Cars and Coffee with no windows, mismatched body panels, and cardboard aero. It’s come a long way and now sports a medley of R Magic, RE Amemiya, and Klaus Composite aero pieces.

I originally met Chris in 2019 when I brought my FR-S to his paint shop in Midlothian to clean up some minor rust spots from rock chips on the trailing edge of one of my front fenders. He ended up repainting the whole fender as well as straightening out my lackluster fender rolling job. The paint-matching and body work was nothing short of perfect - so when I had to get my whole car repainted this year (more on that later…), bringing the car to where he currently operates out of at DRP Collision was the most reasonable thing to do.

Given his proficiency as a painter, it’s no wonder Chris’ personal creation is breath-taking in all the small details.

Given that this is a Fortune Auto Open House, I feel inclined to point out the visible remote canister for the Dreadnaught PRO 2-way coilover in this photo
Given that this is a Fortune Auto Open House, I feel inclined to point out the visible remote canister for the Dreadnaught PRO 2-way coilover in this photo

Situated front and center were these two white all-wheel-drive beasts. To the right was an immaculate Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R, and to the left was Ben Thorne of Gears and Gasoline’s 500 whp monster of a “daily driver”.

I hope this engine lasts a while.
I hope this engine lasts a while.
There's a great road trip series where they take this car and Ben Lin's Time Attack Mitsubishi Lancer Evo to Alaska
There's a great road trip series where they take this car and Ben Lin's Time Attack Mitsubishi Lancer Evo to Alaska

This is one of the coolest Audis I’ve ever seen - Nicholas Flom’s Audi RS3. Although it might not look like it, this started as a street car and not a factory DTM racer. While the FD3S has many painted-over carbon fiber panels, Flom Motorsports chose to leave the carbon fiber exposed.

Keeping with the all-wheel drive theme, one of the oddball builds found at the Open House was this Mercedes-Benz GLA45 AMG owned by Fortune Auto’s own Devin Herndon. With a turbo 2.0L engine and all wheel drive, you could think of it as a luxury Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution that never was. It’s not just good on paper, either - Devin competes in time attack events with GRIDLIFE regularly with it.

Devin’s GLA45 wasn’t the only GRIDLIFE contender - also present was Ross Smith’s infamous daily driven Sundae Cup car. Andrew was excited to pose with it since he also has a manual Honda Fit that he loves (albeit a second generation model).

Not everything in the main show was strictly for road and racing performance - also in the main show area were the Sumospeed drift C6 Corvettes as well as the Roadstar’s Miata drift gang - all of which looked fantastic despite being driven hard.

This yellow NA caught my eye the most. I had never seen an NA Miata with a standard front end but no pop-up headlights. I believe the headlights are implemented where the turn signals would normally be. Some western Miata enthusiasts may scream sacrilege over an NA Miata without popups, but with the hardtop spoiler and WORK Equip 02/Equip 01 combination, there’s a real theme being adhered to.

Given that Fortune Auto’s coilovers are ride-height adjustable, there were also many stanced and VIP cars. Personally, I’m a little partial to Junior’s Honda Element on a set of Rolls-Royce wheels. It’s just such a cool flex.

So, how about the actual coilovers? Inside was a display of some of the different models of coilovers that Fortune Auto offers. From left to right there’s a Muller MSC coilover, a 500 coilover, a 510 coilover, and finally a 520 coilover. The Muller MSC coilovers are marketed more at luxury marques. 500’s are Fortune Auto’s entry level option but they’re still a very capable and high quality product. The 510’s are much like the 500’s but offer compression adjustment and wider rebound adjustment. If you haven’t heard of the 520’s you’d be in good company since they haven’t officially launched, but from what I understand they fit in between the 510 model and the PRO 2-way model. The remote reservoir on the 520 isn’t as big as the ones on a PRO 2-way, so I’d assume it has independent compression/rebound adjustability, just not as much.

I bought a shirt, too.
I bought a shirt, too.

Just inside is a wall of springs - some as soft as 4K and as stiff as 20K. I can spot some base model springs, Hyperco springs, and Swift springs.

Across from the shelf of springs is where all of the magic happens. All Fortune Auto coilovers are assembled at this facility and individually tested. Speed Academy has a pretty cool video demonstrating this process.

I dig the vintage Fortune Auto sticker
I dig the vintage Fortune Auto sticker

I didn’t actually explore the rest of the facility, but the rear pair of 510’s from my FR-S are somewhere in there ready to be rebuilt!

Back outside were a couple more cars that I paid special attention to. First was this Mazda RX-8 with a cool cell-shading effect. I’ve seen this online but never in person - it actually looked really cool and you can tell it was done very well.

Hat tip to Steve being patient with me using his hood to add to the foreground of this shot
Hat tip to Steve being patient with me using his hood to add to the foreground of this shot

Speaking of things I’ve never seen in person was this cool Nissan Skyline R30 wagon! It is by no means a performance model but is nonetheless still cool to see stateside. Having seen a couple hundred imported legends at this point, I tend to get more excited to see the mundane models that nobody cared to preserve. This one happens to be powered by a four cylinder diesel engine.

While that’s all I can write about in detail, I did take many more photos while trying to hang out with everyone. Despite being at the Open House for almost four hours, I found myself wishing I could have spent a little more time with everybody. Being a photographer and a turbo-extrovert is a hard balance!

Thanks for reading and see you next year! ❤

Bonus Photos

The headlights on this IS300 SportCross came off of David's IS300 parts car - small world!
The headlights on this IS300 SportCross came off of David's IS300 parts car - small world!
The owner of this Fiesta ST has threatened to turn it into more functional build. I support it!
The owner of this Fiesta ST has threatened to turn it into more functional build. I support it!
Left: Zack (who works at Fortune Auto now!) shows us some of the prototype parts for Toyota Supras, Teslas, and Honda Fits.
Right: Ben's AE86 looking fresh
Left: Zack (who works at Fortune Auto now!) shows us some of the prototype parts for Toyota Supras, Teslas, and Honda Fits. Right: Ben's AE86 looking fresh
Matt, whose Civic is on the right, towed my FR-S home for me on his low-car-friendly trailer not too long ago. Matt's a good guy. Be like Matt.
Matt, whose Civic is on the right, towed my FR-S home for me on his low-car-friendly trailer not too long ago. Matt's a good guy. Be like Matt.
You might recognize the S2000 in the center from the In Richmond with Roadsters post
You might recognize the S2000 in the center from the In Richmond with Roadsters post
This is exactly how I'd have an S14
This is exactly how I'd have an S14
Good friends
Good friends
The retractable hard tops on these look a little weird to me, but the meaty wheel and tire setup absolutely slaps
The retractable hard tops on these look a little weird to me, but the meaty wheel and tire setup absolutely slaps
This is, apparently, actually gold plated. I'd be 200% more afraid of this Honda being stolen than the average one.
This is, apparently, actually gold plated. I'd be 200% more afraid of this Honda being stolen than the average one.

All of these photos and more can be found and downloaded for free here!

About Guyon Cumby

Follower of Jesus, gearhead, photographer, and software systems engineer