In The Passenger Seat: Carine Koh, Long Live The Rotary

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Carine Koh's iridescent chrome wrapped Mazda RX-8 is sure to turn heads. In this episode of In the Passenger Seat, we find out more about her car and her experiences with her greatest fans, the Traffic Police.

Carine has been around in the car industry since she was 18. In that time, she's come across all sorts of cars and people. Today, we look to find out about her adventures with her Mazda RX-8 and how it's like working in a car detailing shop.

1. For the people who don’t know, what car are you driving now and what’s the story behind choosing it?

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I’m currently driving a Mazda RX-8 that has been wrapped in chrome. I love the shape of it. Also, the RX-8 has a rotary engine, which makes it more challenging and appeals to me.

2. When you finally got the keys to the RX-8 and took it out for its first spin, what was running through your mind?92573589 3329368633744808 1390240291914514432 O

(Photo Credit: Carine Koh)

I was excited because it was the first car that I have owned but to be honest, when I first drove the car nothing ran through my mind because I’ve been in the car industry since 2012, I didn’t feel anything special. I was only excited as it was my car.

3. Any other memorable experience or heart attacks with your RX-8?

If there's a passenger with me, I’m prepared to hear "LTA! TP!", but I’ve heard those words one too many times that I’m numb to it.

4. How often do you drive your RX-8 out? What reactions do you get when you’re seen with it?

I drive to work and back in it every day, that’s how often I drive it. Reactions wise, I don’t really notice it.

5. Were you always interested in cars? Over the years, what were the cars that you’ve owned?

Yes. I got my driving license when I was 18. However, I didn't really buy a car because I was working in the car industry at that time and there was always different cars to choose from and try out. The RX-8 is the first car I’ve owned.

6. Your car is looking really bold with the chrome wrap, what made you decide to do it and where?

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Before buying over the car, I was looking at what kind of colour I wanted to change. Initially, I was thinking of this iridescent chrome wrap or spraying it purple. I came to love the iridescent chrome colour, so I decided to go for it, it was wrapped at a workshop called Mrrjestic.

7. I thought it is illegal to wrap your car in iridescent chrome? Were there any concerns after you wrapped your car?

My chrome wrapping has passed the necessary inspection. Although it does draw the attention of LTA/TP officers, I know it won't be an issue as it has been cleared and officially certified.

The authorities will conduct spot checks on my car quite often, but in most cases, they will inspect my exhaust and engine bay. Both of which are certified and have passed inspection as well.

8. How often do you get stopped by Traffic Police or LTA and have you ever gotten fined for the wrap?

105705415 3546263175388685 2160196485437839975 O(Photo Credit: Carine Koh)

It occurs quite often. I remember there was a period of time where I got stopped by LTA 5-6 times within 2 months. During the Circuit Breaker period, they even came to my house to check my car where it was parked. The reason why I'm always stopped is probably due to my car wrap and exhaust catching the officer's eyes and ears.

9. Do the Traffic Police cause you a lot of trouble often?

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Yes, but it’s usually a small problem for me. However, some of the Traffic Police officers are good and lenient as they would give chances or warnings.

10. Have you ever had any members of the public try to 'sabo' you and report you to the traffic police or LTA?

Definitely yes, some people posted my car on pages like ROADS.SG, SGRoadVigilante etc., someone even reported me for my previous car plate which was super small at the time, resulting in a warning letter by LTA.

11. Any thoughts of a next car after the RX-8? If so, what?

Haven’t thought of any yet, I’m still very much in love with my current car.

12. How is it like working a car detailing shop?

Right now, working in Lambency Detailing is fun because of my good boss and colleagues. Every day I see different cars come in, and it makes me delighted to see people take care of their car very well when they hand it to us.

13. Your car doesn't look stock, what mods have you done to it? Could you list it out?

127080115 3985356494812682 2814539522177158680 O (Photo Credit: Carine Koh)

Car: Mazda RX-8

Engine: AVS 38mm Radiator, AutoExe air intake / AutoExe high flow filter, Monster Garage ECU mapping, 5.125 Final Drive

Suspension: AutoExe anti-roll bar front / rear, BC Coilovers

Exhaust: High Flow Cat 200 Cell, Apexi Mega Evo exhaust, RE-Amemiya exhaust system power chamber

Braking: Project Mu BBK

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Wheels & Tires: Michelin PS4 tyres / Enkei PF01 18", Pirelli Pzero Lenso / Jaeger 18"

Exterior: RE-Amemiya front bumper, Custom vented bonnet, J'S Racing GT wing, RE-Amemiya rear bumper, RE-Amemiya side skirt

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Interior: Advance A1 Defi Oil-p/Oil-temp/water-temp gauges

14. What are your thoughts on the car scene in Singapore?

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The car scene is too strict in Singapore. I find that everything one does to their car is illegal. Even small things like lights, car plate. Guidelines say that illegal mod increases the rates of accidents occurring. I feel that it's just the driver's driving skill that is the issue, it's not about how much you mod the car.


If you're interested in finding out more about Carine and checking out more of her RX-8 adventures, check out her Instagram here!

This interview has been edited.


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