- Adam Lizotte-Zeister (LZ) got his YouTube feet wet in the BMX world but eventually transitioned into the car scene before his full-fledged campaign in Formula DRIFT.
- Amidst his YouTube success, Adam has never rested on his laurels and respectably continued to pursue tangential interests to expand his brands and businesses.
- His infamous, sprawling Florida compound is an eclectic collection of buildings that house cars, LZMFG, Drift HQ, and his personal life.
Everyone wants the recipe for the secret sauce. I’m sure plenty of people have visited Adam LZ’s notorious 30-acre compound looking for hints of exactly that. But after meeting Adam for the first time, I can honestly tell you that what he is and what he’s doing has nothing to do with secrets. In fact, as a YouTube star, his life is more transparent than most.
What I will add to that is this: Adam LZ is the real deal in every sense of the phrase — he has approached his burgeoning enterprise with immense authenticity, gratitude, and grit — and because of that, his success is no mystery.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
LZ’s backstory is plastered all over the Internet already, but his upbringing is not so different than yours or mine. Like most of us, LZ had embraced our first mode of transportation, the bike, with open arms. For the rest of us, removing our training wheels was a rite of passage — an acknowledgment of proficiency and an inaugural taste of freedom. For Adam, however, that same exercise seemed to open a whole new window of opportunity.
Rather than just riding, LZ immersed himself in the BMX world and with it, the YouTube platform. Going back in time eight years to watch his “How to Bunny Hop BMX” video (which has accumulated 3,894,047 views at the time of writing this article), he was just a real dude trying to help other people do a basic trick. In it, his familiar authenticity was already there; he didn’t claim to be the first, nor did he claim to be doing something groundbreaking. In fact, he didn’t claim to be anything other than himself.
From there, things seemed to accelerate at a meteoric pace. His experience in BMX, both as a pro rider and the business that comes with it, certainly provided a helpful foundation before his eventual transition into car culture where he, along with his LZMFG team, has built an empire.
To put it bluntly, I am far from a YouTube expert. Admittedly before my time at Pit+Paddock, I didn’t know who Adam LZ was. But I think that also made meeting him much less of a fanboy moment; my obliviousness afforded me the opportunity to see him as a “regular” guy and talk to him as a fellow car enthusiast more than anything else.
What I extracted from that experience was LZ’s genuine character and giving mentality. I confess that we visited the LZ compound on a Sunday and, as someone who operates another business on top of my full-time obligations, I can understand how precious even a few hours of free time can be for me and my loved ones. Just like he didn’t have to teach BMX riders how to bunny hop amidst his ascent as a pro rider, he certainly didn’t owe us anything as strangers to his enterprise. Nevertheless, he was more than happy to host us with open arms. Maybe his self-sacrificial attitude has come from a decade’s worth of practice, but I’d bet that he’s had that inside of him all along.
By the numbers, the LZ Compound sits on a 30-acre plot, has 65,000 sq-ft between 26 buildings, 200,000 sq-ft of concrete, and storage for over 200 cars. To put it in more relatable terms, you could comfortably fit 72 900 sq-ft apartments just like mine inside his building space and a whooping 1,452 across his entire 30-acre footprint. It’s massive.
Indeed, the sheer size of the operation is crazy (it’s called a compound after all), but the eclectic collection of buildings — which had been abandoned for five years — is still second best to what he’s doing inside of them. The main building could be considered the cornerstone of the compound. Inside is the primary shop space, fabrication area, dyno, a large Drift HQ fulfillment center, sandblasting and paint booths, a podcast studio, and a pretty wild collection of Ganador mirrors.
Some satellite buildings were home to more of Drift HQ’s parts development operations and car storage. The former of which I was introduced to LZ’s first car which he had recently located, purchased back, and restored — with a turbocharged S54 to boot. I enjoyed seeing his expansive collection of cars, not necessarily for the volume, but because of the sheer variety. It’s rare to find a MKIII GTI nestled into conjoining garage areas with an Evo VI, or a fully modified drift-spec FC RX-7 in the same space as factory pristine E36 M3s.
To put it simply, he’s done everything we car enthusiasts talk about doing and never do: buying a crashed car to resurrect, buying a new supercar off the showroom floor, tracking down your first car and restoring it, or turning your passion into a full-blown professional motorsport opportunity in Formula DRIFT.
In an impressive complement to his “Pursuit of Perfection” credo, these cars — which range from the everyday usable street car to “absolutely ignorant” — are built with speed to appease his insatiable fans. It’s incredible to see how fast LZ’s operation goes from ideation to finished product, including the plethora of content that comes with it.
Even when things go wrong (in more ways than one), he’s been seemingly unfazed and able to earnestly create content from it.
THE GRAND FINALE
At this point, I haven’t even mentioned the driveway which snakes around the myriad of buildings with a racetrack-like flow. Before calling it quits for the day, it was only right for us to sample it using one of LZ’s own cars: an S15 Silvia. Being able to do motorsport things in your own driveway like this, even for a little stress relief stint, has to go down as one of the biggest perks.
With the sun going down, we bid adieu to the LZ team and the compound that they call home. But just as our day was coming to an end, his was nowhere close to completion. As we exited, one of LZ’s tuners made his way in to tune one of his latest projects and he, along with his media crew, were back at it again. His life, and the tenacity with which he approaches it, is not something that 95% of us could handle. But that’s exactly why LZ deserves every ounce of respect that he’s earned and probably a great deal more.
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