Mario Tetsuya Bautista - 2008 Mazdaspeed3
Imagine liking anime so much that you literally wrap every car you own.
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"Behind every itasha is a story. Behind every story is our bond." (-ItaPara car club motto.)
Mario Tetsuya Bautista
Nico Nico Nii~
1992 Autozam AZ-1
Founder: @ita_para carclub
Founder: @itashawonderland car show
Owner's Instagram: @nicospeed3
Itasha Design Company: @SetsunaDesigns
Imagine liking anime so much that you literally wrap every car you own. That's what happened to me (Mario Bautista) over the past 5 years of being in the itasha scene. I like to tell people that "Itasha is the culture that bridges the gap between anime fans and car lovers alike". I currently have 5 itasha when you include my fiancée's Mini.
2008 Mazda Mazdaspeed3
2011 Mini Cooper S Clubman
1992 Autozam AZ-1
1995 Toyota Previa
2014 Scion iQ
What I want to focus on for this article is the car that started this addiction, which would have to be my 2008 Mazda Mazdaspeed3 or "Nicospeed3". The name derives from the character that is on my car, "Nico Yazawa" and the model of my car (Mazdaspeed3).
I chose to put Nico in my car because she helped me stay positive and get out of a low point in my life. I didn't watch too many idol-type anime shows before, but Nico explained that an idol's job is to make others happy through their singing and dancing which she definitely did for me.
Since I initially did not know how to design an itasha myself, I knew that I would probably have to find someone who knew how to... but where? One day at my local anime store, I met a woman named Chelsea. She said that she knew what the itasha culture was and would be glad to design my car. After a few iterations, we finally settled on the final design. Turns out we both liked anime so much that we actually ended up dating during the project and are currently engaged. Chelsea also has an itasha of her own which is a 2011 Mini Cooper S Clubman.
From there we wanted to reach out and connect with others like us, who have a passion for anime and car culture. We started the itasha car club, ItaPara in 2015 and also created an itasha design company, Setsuna Designs in 2017. Our goal is to be able to connect with people around the world and create unique, one-of-a-kind designs for people who want to also be a part of this culture.
ItaPara currently has around 20 members in the group. We are simply just a bunch of friends who connected through anime, cars, and itasha. We typically just hang out to watch new anime, display our cars and also cosplay in various anime events around Texas. ItaPara and Setsuna Designs has also been featured in Japan's largest itasha car magazine, "Itasha Tengoku" (痛車天国vol.5 and 7).
I don't only take my car to car shows or anime conventions. I also try to take the car out to track days or autocross events in my local area from time to time. My car is modified with the following modifications which give it a healthy 309 wheel HP over the stock 263 crank HP.
K&N Cold Air Intake
HKS Turbo back Exhaust
CPE Catless Downpipe
CPE Motor Mounts
CPE Front Mount Intercooler
COBB Turbo Inlet Pipe
Corksport Bypass Valve
Over the past 5 years, I have added a lot of little bits and pieces to the car to bring together the theme to a higher level. Some of the things I added were the painted mud flaps, custom registered Texas license plates, custom painted wheels, custom valve cover, and lastly custom interior headliner and door panel inserts.
I've also collected countless amounts of Nico Yazawa specific merchandise like figures, tapestries, keychains, plushies etc. I've lost count but I'd say that I've spent at least $3000USD on all of it so far. I usually try to bring most of the collection to car shows so that I can set it up and display it. It usually takes about an hour or more to set it up and another hour to pack up the display. I typically go to car shows to share my story with the itasha culture and meet people who may potentially be interested in turning their car into one. The trophies and awards are just an added bonus, but I have won a few throughout the 5 years of owning the car.
In the end, the itasha culture is something that I am truly passionate about. I have met countless individuals who I trust and are very important to me. I honestly would not be where I am at now if it weren't for the itasha culture.
Big thanks to Stance Auto Magazine for giving me the opportunity to tell my story behind my car. I hope I will be able to talk more into detail about my others as well.
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