Date:   Sun, 19 Aug 2001 3:09:56 PM
From: "Chris Surjadjaja" <>
To:   "Wilson Tai" <>
Subject: Question and Answer with Wilson Tai of Z.Team Yossi


The reason for asking these questions is to satisfy my curiosity on how the import teams keep their team and foundation strong. I see Z.Team Yossi as one of those strong teams. Don't get me wrong, in South California, the import scene is very, very, big. So no matter what, I think there would just be more people fixing up their rides and representing. It seems like most of the well known crews start out as close friends and then grow. My questions are aimed at finding out answers from someone experience being the founder of a strong team. Your answers will be a big benefit for someone like me who is trying to keep a crew strong - Chris Surjadjaja of Team Kaotic

Chris: Did the team really start in 1996?

Wilson: Yes, ZTY began with a hypothetical name, "Yossi." Shaun came up with "Yossi" and I changed the name to Z.Team Yossi because I wanted "Z" to represent speed and "Team" for the crew we were going to try to build from the ground up. I was looking at the Mugen logo and saw the layout: name/logo/name and we used the Chinese/Japanese elemental character representing "fire." The exact design of the fire symbol happened thanks to Shaun who had a friend in Santa Rosa that was into Chinese calligraphy. To this day, people mistakenly confuse the character with "R." We had no contacts in the import scene - until we met Mark Arcenal of Meccagraphics in Santa Rosa's RevSports car show. There were less than a dozen cars and Mark was making stickers back then for car crews and shops such as RevSports. I still remember his old slammed yellow M3 with E36 17" wheels. 

Since then, your brother has been the president of ZTY? 

Correct. Shaun took the position of president of ZTY for the sole purpose of adding a type of foundation or organizational leader. In fact, he did everything until I decided to focus exclusively on the public relations aspect of ZTY in '98 - one of our biggest years in terms of representation and growth. That year's efforts put ZTY on the map. I implemented the official website and that in itself earned ZTY a spot in the limelight on the international level. Goodtimes Motorsports was a large reason why we were known in Northern California. Import Showoff (Southern California) brought their show to Northern California for the first time and we came out with so many cars (19 flagship cars) and models (12 Yossi Hunnies) we took home TEAM REPRESENT - it was a big deal to me personally at the time and I think that rewarded the team members with positive attitudes and a strong confidence. There was a point that ZTY was taking home trophies at every show - and a long run in which we took home BEST CREW consecutively one after another. It was a lot of fun.

Are the previous team flagship cars unchanged today? 

We began in 1996 with the average age of 19 years amongst the team members. That said, as time progressed, members relocated due to work or school and cars were sold or new projects were started. Members stay, cars change - it's a fact of any club. No car is ever finished, but many get close with magazine features and multiple trophies/titles - when an owner is satisfied, the owner will move onto a new project. That has been the case with a number of members.

Do you think there is an advantage/disadvantage to have a president in a car club?

Even though Shaun is the president of ZTY, it doesn't make him anymore "authoratative" than any other of the members. There is definitely an advantage to having a leader type figure in any organization. In the end, we are all teammates and we depend on each other for feedback, comments, ideas, and suggestions. As leaders, Shaun and I shared all of our contacts and hookups with manufacturers. For example, when Shaun got sponsored by Nitrous Express, he shared the contact with John H (Eclipse) and Ken (Supra) - both were sponsored immediately. That is what teammates are for - to help each other out. 

Have there been any problems with the members that a president could not handle?

Shaun does an excellent job as president. We have been very lucky to have a base of dedicated and loyal team members. Even though we have different opinions, lifestyles, and backgrounds, we still flow as water when we come together. If there is a subject disagreed upon, a symposium of sorts will be held on the subject.

How many meetings does ZTY have a month?

It varies. It depends on how many shows we have at our resource. It can be as many as two per month to as long as bi-monthly. Sometimes a phone call to specific teammates can justify skipping team meets. Our team meets are more based on BBQ fun than serious meetings. Our team is focused on the fun factor of participating in the import scene. Why continue if we don't have fun? I would say ideally, team meets before big shows are a must.

How do you recruit? Is it mostly friends of friends or just strangers asking to be in?

Good question. When we first began, we did lots of things wrong. One of them, was bombing random cars with fliers or hittin' up random enthusiasts. We were just trying to get the name out, because we started with nothing. Shaun and I started in Santa Rosa, but when I moved home, I started hitting up the Bay Area and San Francisco. The internet helped us find members as well - one example was Tum (Integra). I found his car feature online and started reading his personal website at Stanford. He seemed like a fun guy, lived in the Bay Area, and I thought he'd fit in great with the ZTY crew - so we corresponded via email and soon after, he was at a team meet in person. Today, I receive multiple emails regarding membership. I can answer right now that our membership roster is full. However, the best way to get answered to by any team would be to send a full profile on yourself and your car. It's not just about the car, but it's equally important to find out about the owner.

Are you guys 20 cars strong or are there  "down-low" cars (less modified) in the crew? 

The cars listed on the team site are the Flagships. Some members while building their projects do not sport ZTY stickers because they feel they have to fit a high standard. It's all about personal preference. I personally always have a ZTY logo on my show car but I can see that if one doesn't want attention, then the logos can come off.

My main question: In your opinion, how do you keep the team strong and solid? Is it maybe because of quality members, or because there's not too many teams in Northern California (as compared to over 100 import car clubs in Southern California)?

Add luck, chance, and stroke of genius. Mix together and pray that it will all work out. It really helped that ZTY began early on - November 1996. The import scene and car shows were just beginning in 1996. There were a lot of crews, but they were crews rather than teams. The difference being that crews were a group of friends exclusively, where as teams were more a group of enthusiasts set out to own at car shows or on the streets. ZTY tried to merge both together and it worked relatively well. We are more of a car team than a crew because we have members from all sorts of backgrounds with a common interest - import racing. I'd recommend quality over quantity. It's natural to think that bigger is better, but that is not the case when it comes to successful car teams. Find common similarities amongst team members and gear your goals towards those similarities. It just takes time, and more time. Finally, there are no weak teams, only weak leaders.

Thank you for your questions Chris, I wish you best of luck with your crew. See ZTY at and for more on ZTY lifestyle, check out my personal lifestyle site - Wilson Tai