MCM to Release Free Feature Film on Christmas Day - 'TURBOS & TEMPLES 2'
Although Mighty Car Mods started off with two young blokes modifying little Japanese runabouts in one of their mum’s driveway, it has become one of the most watched independent automotive series in the world. We’re talking over 500 million views on YouTube, as well as being broadcast on Discovery Channel, Velocity in the USA, and even on QANTAS airlines.
While they don’t always work on cars I want to own, one of the things I really love about MCM is that it is made by two mates of mine in Sydney, Australia, and their shenanigans are always genuine. It’s also beaut they occasionally rope some mates in to help them spin spanners, or hold a camera.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get a call up to help work on the Roadkill Subarute and HQ police car builds as the “Workshop Manuel”. One of the coolest jobs I’ve done with the boys was helping write and publish the MCM book last year, detailing all the mad cars they’ve worked on over the first 10 years of the show.
While MCM kicked off in 2008 as a way of teaching people how to modify their cars, they took a huge leap in 2011. The boys released their first self-made and self-funded feature film, Turbos & Temples. More than just a bunch of footage of cars driving around Japan at high speed, Turbos & Temples was a bit like a meditation on Japanese culture, pushing outside the boundaries of what audiences had come to expect from an automotive film. It was such a hit it spawned two further Japanese-based films for MCM, the hugely successful Kei To the City, and Chasing Midnight. Both drew in legions of new MCM viewers and had soundtracks which landed in music charts all over the world.
But it all started with Turbos & Temples, released way back in February 2011. The premise was simple: the boys land in Japan and pick up a tiny 660cc Suzuki Alto Works kei car and travel across Hokkaido in search of automotive enlightenment. During the process they try calligraphy, battle a Kendo master, check out local landmarks, test too much sake and spend some time in a Shinto shrine getting their little car blessed (which was basically a priest whipping their tiny car with a feather duster) before their road trip.
The resulting film, which has since been viewed millions of times, was very different for its time and still stands up today as one of the must-watch online films for anyone into Japanese cars and culture. In fact, the film and its locations became so popular that a Japanese tourist company ran group bookings to visit the locations from the film!
What really trips me out is that, despite Turbos & Temples having such a huge impact in the global Japanese tuning scene, it was made entirely by Marty and Moog (with the help of their friend Steve King, a Japanese local who helped organise the trip and acted as translator).
This wasn’t a Hollywood production – all of the filming, editing, and original music was done by the boys themselves, and the film was actually edited in iMovie broken up into 10 minute sections because the boys’ laptops couldn't handle file sizes longer than that! Once each section was edited they were stitched together and released as a full film on YouTube.
Thanks to its blending of awesome car content with a sincere look at Japanese culture, Turbos & Temples became the film that car nuts watched with their partners and parents, who usually wouldn’t take the time to watch anything car-related at all. And it also left out any fabricated on-screen drama that some productions seek to exploit. The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper explained: “What immediately sets Mighty Car Mods apart is the uncommonly pleasant nature of both of the presenters… they’re not constantly trying to over-hype things for the camera.”
Almost a decade on and much to the excitement of MCM fans who loved the original film, the boys have just announced that a sequel is being released this year. Turbos & Temples 2 aims to kick off on another road trip across Japan, this time in a dream car that Moog purchased off the Internet as a gift for Marty.
Neither of them have seen the car in real life, let alone driven it. Of course the car is completely untested and the boys pick it up on film and then attempt to take it on a journey of hundreds of kilometres to a well suited final destination. Needless to say, not everything goes to plan once they find a cryptic note stuck to the steering wheel from the previous owner.
I’ve been lucky enough to see some of the rough edits coming together and I think what’s interesting about this film is that, unlike a lot of online car channels that are fast-paced and edited to catch your attention as quickly as possible, this film has a real sense of space. It’s not crammed full of voice overs or packed with sped up edited sequences to try and get your attention. It’s at a pace that feels more Japanese, feels organised, and there’s definitely a maturation in the style and content.
It’s beautifully shot in 4K, with opening titles by IRONGAV and some new original music by Moog alongside a selection of MCM tracks from the last 11 years. And, just like the original, the breadth of the film extends far beyond automotive shenanigans. There's enough culture to keep your non-car friends interested too. Needless to say there’s all the JDM cars and nuggets you’ve come to expect from a Mighty Car Mods film, including Moog hitting over 280km/h in a Nissan GT-R.
Something I really respect about the boys is that this film is entirely self-funded and self-made. Over a couple of ice-cold Denzel Frothingtons Marty and Moog recently explained to me that this was something that they’ve wanted to do themselves, and they considered it a treat for them as well as a treat for their fans. The film runs for over 3 hours and as such will be released in two parts, with the first part coming out on Christmas Day. The timing is no accident since the boys did a Christmas upload with their Roadkill battle back in 2016, much to the excitement of the fans.
Although I’ve been fortunate enough to have been paid to drive all manner of exotic hypercars and modified supercars as part of my job writing for car magazines, I have to say that being a part of both the MCM vs Roadkill build and showdown is still the best week at work, ever. To then get to re-live it with my family on Christmas Day as we sat around chockers full of food and beer was just next level beaut.
However, some people aren’t so fortunate at Christmas time and so it is important to remember that it can be a tough time for people who don’t have family or friends around, or are battling depression, or just going through a rough time in their life. This is when a free Christmas present from your mates at Mighty Car Mods can help lift spirits, even slightly.
Moog put it best when he said to me: “You wouldn’t believe how many people contacted us to say thank you for releasing the Roadkill episode on Christmas Day. As a society we’re constantly bombarded with media, advertising and social media posts about how amazing Christmas is when family and friends come together. But, the reality is that for a lot of people this is not the case at all. When it feels like everyone is celebrating except for you it can exacerbate existing problems you’ve already got going, and that’s why we’ve decided to release the film on Christmas Day. It’s a little gift for those who may be struggling at this time of the year”.
In addition to the Christmas Day premiere, the boys are releasing the whole film for free and in full on their YouTube channel. No paywall. No YouTube Premium. No paid subscription service required.
Marty and Moog are rock-solid on their logic behind keeping it free and handling the bulk of the workload themselves: “Nobody has to pay to watch TT2,” says Marty. “This is a thank you to our viewers who have been watching and supporting us for so many years. We decided to self-fund this film so we can release it however and whenever we like, and we’re excited to take MCM viewers on another trip with us across Japan. We’re really proud of it and can’t wait for everyone to see it”.
Words by Iain Kelly - Workshop Manual
‘TURBOS & TEMPLES 2’ PREMIERES on the 25th of DECEMBER 2018 on YouTube. youtube.com/mightycarmods
If you are someone you know is struggling at the moment, their is help and support via Reachout Australia - an online mental health resource for people and their families.