For all you veteran car audio enthusiasts who’ve wondered whatever happened to the talented Mark Fukuda (think 1985 yellow S-10 Chevy Blazer), well here is an extract from an interview with Car Audio and Electronics Magazine from 2010(ish).
Mark’s most recognized car audio accomplishment was his 1985 yellow S-10 Chevy Blazer. Taking two years to complete, the Blazer saw its first Pro competition win in 1990 at the Thunder On Wheels national finals in Houston, Texas. This marked the beginning of a series of national title victories that would not only include sound quality and installation quality but also SPL world records in all sanction events — USAC, IASCA, CAN, and Thunder On Wheels which lasted for six consecutive undefeated years
At the time of writing, Mark lives in Texas and doesn’t build cars anymore, but still owns the Blazer.
CAE: What are you doing now?
Mark Fukuda: I am actually still in the car audio industry as a sales rep. I now co-own a rep company “The Wave Group” in Houston, Tx. We sell home and car products so I never got away from it at all.
CAE: How did you get into car audio?
MF: I used to DJ in high school. That sparked my interest in audio which led me to car audio once I got my license to drive. I ended up hooking up all my buddies systems and eventually began charging for my services. My senior year in high school I started window tinting/car audio business and the rest is history.
CAE: What attracted you to SPL competition?
MF: I was fortunate enough to live right in the middle of the car audio boom in the early 80s (Beaumont/Houston) and in those days it was all about crazy installs with multiple 15 woofers. During this time I catered to the competition rats of the era building eight vehicles that competed at a national level. At the shows there was always this guy (Tom Fichter ASC HOUSTON) that held the World SPL record and he would spank the competition so I decided it was time to build something to beat him. So in 1989 I began building the yellow Blazer.
CAE: What was your first show like?
MF: My first show with the Blazer was the 1990 Thunder on Wheels finals in Houston. On that day I beat Tom Fichter and his Toyota 4 RunnerS. That pretty much started my obsession with SPL and competition.
CAE: What are the key features of the Blazer that set the vehicle apart? Can you give readers not familiar with the vehicle the basic rundown of the system?
MF: There were many iterations of the Blazer so I’ll just give you a couple of system rundowns, as it did change over the course of six years with innovative features and I think probably firsts in the car audio arena:
Anatomy of the Chevy Blazer
- 8 Rockford Fosgate Power 1000’s
- 16-15″ Rockford Fosgate Woofers
- Morel & Dynaudio high frequency drivers
- Alpine high frequency amplifier
- Motorized amplifiers, head unit, and processors
- 50 remote function alarm system (displayed in rear lift gate)
- Motorized rear side windows
(Circa 1994, focus on SPL):
- 8 Rockford Fosgate 1000’s were changed for 32-Rockford M500’s
- All high end removed
- All alarm with remote functions removed
- 1″ thick polycarbonate windshield installed with steel brace Charging/Power System:Industry firsts:
- Custom-built charging system with 20v field winding voltage for the alternators vs. a standard 12V which typically would drop to around 9 volts. This system also had adjustments for voltage charge set point and current output in 20 amp increments. Also had LED display monitoring. System could charge up to 600 amps at 18.7 volts
- Custom-built 10, 0000 amp, 2-volt UPS (Uninterrupted Power Suppy) batteries. I used eight of these for 16-volt nominal voltage which was the first of its kind. They were 150 pounds each with dual plus and minus poles to handle the current
- Custom-built MCM 1000 million strand power cables, about the diameter of a Coke can. This was the main power distribution cable that would run from the batteries to the 1″ copper buss distribution
- Custom built 1″ copper buss bar system allowed all of the amplifier power wires to have equal and very short length for both plus and minus
- 1/0 Silver power cable for alternator runs to batteries
- 1 Farad bypass capacitors for filtering Preamp/Amplifier Industry firsts:
- Custom preamp distribution with build in signal matching amplifier. This allowed for multiple amplifiers to be connected at preamp level without typical voltage drop
- Custom-built outside podium that attached in the gas tank filler opening. This podium could control amplifier turn on/off, monitor output for each amp lifer, hit the button and make big SPL
- Custom-built amplifier monitoring system. Read the output voltage RMS and peak hold, speaker impedance, battery voltage, and temperature of each amplifier. This was very similar to a Fluke Oscope being attached to every amplifier but in a selectable format x 32
- Custom-built 16-channel delay preamp system for woofer time alignment
- Custom-built 200 volt capacity capacitor bank that was attached to the rail voltage of amplifiers Sound Q
- Custom fiberglass enclosure for all high frequency speakers in the doors
- Aperiodic Vero vents (industry first) for the mid-bass drivers in sealed enclosure
- Sound absorbing material on enclosure, ceiling, and dash
- Seats moved slightly to the middle to improve imaging, also an industry first Extras
- 50 remote function alarm system. Would control motorized panels, head unit, EQ and processors, lighting, system powerSect
- 120-volt flat panel lighting used through out (EL Lighting or Electroluminescent Lighting) Now used in cell phones or any other backlit panels. Much cooler than neon which was the craze at the time
- 1″ Thick polycarbonate windshield with steel brace
- Motorized internal chambers in enclosure. Used to change the airspace for sound quality to SPL