A MIDNIGHT PURPLE R33 4 DOOR THAT'S WORTH GOING INTO D3BT FOR

A MIDNIGHT PURPLE R33 4 DOOR THAT'S WORTH GOING INTO D3BT FOR

Photos by: Ricky Rigutto | Words by: Ian Lee

Had the Skyline name not become so tightly attached to the more favoured coupe variations or had 4 door Skylines taken on a different model name, perhaps public opinion may have differed. The sad reality for Skyline sedans are that they are generally third choice cars that end up being beaters, drift pigs or used for interchangeable parts for people who own coupes – almost always in that order too.

Truth be told, like many others, Robert’s hunt for a turbo JDM sedan led him down the path of initially searching for a clean JZX. By chance, he stumbled on the 33 you see in front of you which had just been pretty much built from the ground up by the previous owner, Miguel. After an initial inspection, Robert knew he wanted it and the next week it was his and who can blame him for instantly wanting this car. Now, given the car’s only been in his possession for a short while, much of this article will be about the build process taken by the previous owner. That said, Robert has got his own plans lined up for the car which we’ll get to at the end of the article.

The car was bought in reasonable condition with bolt on’s but had a poorly applied paint job that featured some dust throughout the finish of the car. Knowing this was going to be a project car, Miguel (as an apprentice spray painter) looked past the flaws and took the car under his wing to start his second project car.

With the car coming with some pretty standard engine mods, the more than capable RB25 put out a respectable 240kw at the wheels. This included a high flow GCH turbo, Tomei drop in cams, Nistune ECU, Greddy front mount and 1000cc injectors. Westside Mechanics and JEM were both enlisted to tidy up some of the mechanical items and do a flex tune on the car which saw the power rise to a solid 300kw.

But for Miguel, the power of the car was only the secondary goal during the initial build especially knowing that the RB is more than capable of power. Instead, the primary focus was to leverage his work experience to really leave his own personal mark on the car and visually create what he felt was the ultimate streeter. Miguel sought to it that he got involved in repairing and preparing the whole car for a refresh on life.

Taking up 6-7 days a week doing 8 hour days, Miguel with some help from other tradesmen after hours, stripped every bolt, removed all the glue, fixed dents, resealed, blocked the car and massaged the guards to fit the Enkei RS05RR’s (18×9.5 +22 & 18×10.5 +15). Body wise, Miguel opted to keep the factory aero bodykit and supplemented it with an Impul boot spoiler and KMAK BL front style lip. The car was then resprayed in Midnight Purple which incidentally was also introduced for the first time on the R33 platform. Finishing the respray, the car was then flowcoated, cut and buffed before lastly getting The Detail Masters to apply a Feynlab ceramic coat to the whole car.

Another eye catching feature of the car is the fully custom designed and impeccably assembled interior. Danny from Concept Garage led the work which started with some initial designs centred around the limited edition Bride Vertex Zeta III’s. The final result is a full black Alcantara interior with yellow/gold stitching accents to match the Vertex fixed back bucket seats. This colour scheme can be seen throughout the entire car including the shift boot, handbrake leaver and old school Momo steering wheel. Bride logo fabric is thoughtfully stitched into the door panels, roof and rear seats to top off an extremely tidy interior with a subtle hint of yellow that definitely suits the deep purple finish of the exterior.

With little to change, Robert says that he plans to make some adjustments to the suspension work including new coilovers and bushings. Besides this, he’s more than happy to enjoy the car although an RB26 down the line would be the long term goal.

A MIDNIGHT PURPLE R33 4 DOOR THAT'S WORTH GOING INTO D3BT FOR

Had the Skyline name not become so tightly attached to the more favoured coupe variations or had 4 door Skylines taken on a different model name, perhaps public opinion may have differed. The sad reality for Skyline sedans are that they are generally third choice cars that end up being beaters, drift pigs or used for interchangeable parts for people who own coupes – almost always in that order too.

Truth be told, like many others, Robert’s hunt for a turbo JDM sedan led him down the path of initially searching for a clean JZX. By chance, he stumbled on the 33 you see in front of you which had just been pretty much built from the ground up by the previous owner, Miguel. After an initial inspection, Robert knew he wanted it and the next week it was his and who can blame him for instantly wanting this car. Now, given the car’s only been in his possession for a short while, much of this article will be about the build process taken by the previous owner. That said, Robert has got his own plans lined up for the car which we’ll get to at the end of the article.

The car was bought in reasonable condition with bolt on’s but had a poorly applied paint job that featured some dust throughout the finish of the car. Knowing this was going to be a project car, Miguel (as an apprentice spray painter) looked past the flaws and took the car under his wing to start his second project car.

With the car coming with some pretty standard engine mods, the more than capable RB25 put out a respectable 240kw at the wheels. This included a high flow GCH turbo, Tomei drop in cams, Nistune ECU, Greddy front mount and 1000cc injectors. Westside Mechanics and JEM were both enlisted to tidy up some of the mechanical items and do a flex tune on the car which saw the power rise to a solid 300kw.

But for Miguel, the power of the car was only the secondary goal during the initial build especially knowing that the RB is more than capable of power. Instead, the primary focus was to leverage his work experience to really leave his own personal mark on the car and visually create what he felt was the ultimate streeter. Miguel sought to it that he got involved in repairing and preparing the whole car for a refresh on life.

Taking up 6-7 days a week doing 8 hour days, Miguel with some help from other tradesmen after hours, stripped every bolt, removed all the glue, fixed dents, resealed, blocked the car and massaged the guards to fit the Enkei RS05RR’s (18×9.5 +22 & 18×10.5 +15). Body wise, Miguel opted to keep the factory aero bodykit and supplemented it with an Impul boot spoiler and KMAK BL front style lip. The car was then resprayed in Midnight Purple which incidentally was also introduced for the first time on the R33 platform. Finishing the respray, the car was then flowcoated, cut and buffed before lastly getting The Detail Masters to apply a Feynlab ceramic coat to the whole car.

Another eye catching feature of the car is the fully custom designed and impeccably assembled interior. Danny from Concept Garage led the work which started with some initial designs centred around the limited edition Bride Vertex Zeta III’s. The final result is a full black Alcantara interior with yellow/gold stitching accents to match the Vertex fixed back bucket seats. This colour scheme can be seen throughout the entire car including the shift boot, handbrake leaver and old school Momo steering wheel. Bride logo fabric is thoughtfully stitched into the door panels, roof and rear seats to top off an extremely tidy interior with a subtle hint of yellow that definitely suits the deep purple finish of the exterior.

With little to change, Robert says that he plans to make some adjustments to the suspension including new coilovers and bushings. Besides this, he’s more than happy to enjoy the car although an RB26 down the line would be the long term goal.


JORDAN’S RB26 POWERED S15 // JULY FEATURE

JORDAN’S RB26 POWERED S15
// JULY FEATURE

Photos by: Aubrey Hawthorne | Words by: Ian Lee

There’s nothing quite like the first time you get behind the wheel of a turbo’d car and give it a bootful. And no, I’m not talking about your mum’s Golf TSI or your uncle’s turbo diesel truck but a car from the era where the boost coming on was an obvious change in the car’s behaviour and feel. The excitement of hearing the turbo spool, seeing the boost gauge climb and then suddenly, bliss, as you’re redlining down the back streets on your one week old full driver’s license. It’s definitely an addictive feeling that leaves you wanting more and for Jordan, this experience came to him nearly six years ago when he got to test drive his S15. Judging from the build of his car, it’s pretty clear Jordan got his fix and more.

When Jordan first got the car, it was somewhat of the workhorse car / fun daily for the previous owner who happened to be in the real estate. Test driving it from his friend, Jordan remembers opening the boot and seeing it filled with “For Sale” signs for houses – who said coupe’s couldn’t be practical. With his friend wanting to get something more fitting for a real estate agent, Jordan gladly took it off his hands in pretty much stock condition. No body kit, no accident history and just some minor engine mods to get more power out of the stock SR20.

Originally intending to put in an RB25 engine swap, plans fell through as the package he was intending to buy ended up getting badly damaged just before the purchase. So in an attempt to search for alternative transplants for his awaiting S15 engine bay, an RB26 from an R33 GTR came up and Jordan pounced on the opportunity. The engine had received a stock bottom end rebuild and for the 500hp goals Jordan had, he knew he had to do more than slap on a big turbo.

That being said, the new turbo, a Gtx3582r, was actually the first item crossed off his engine build check list because who doesn’t like to see a massive single turbo in their bedroom. Even if it can’t do anything, it’s almost a constant reminder to yourself of the amount of fun you’re going to have once it’s bolted onto your car. An accompanying 6 Boost high mount manifold was also purchased along with a 50mm Turbosmart Progate to finish off the turbo setup. After a quick engine health check and green light from Driftking Performance the head was stripped and sent off for a refresh which included Step 2 HKS 272 cams, HKS springs, titanium retainers, ARP head studs, Tomei gears, new head and intake gaskets and some porting throughout the cylinder head for better flow.

The bottom end got some additional love for a second time which included an N1 oil pump with Spool billet gears, new water pump and a Gates Racing timing and tensioner kit to see through additional power safely. With the engine assembled by the workshop, Jordan sought the help of some mates to help install the new beating heart into his car. Spending every spare hour he had after work and during weekend, Jordan along with his mates made the necessary adjustments to the S15 engine bay to receive the RB motor. This include the feat of routing the entire fuel system and fitting up the radiator, fans and associated hoses. For a weekend garage job, you’d be hard pressed to find too many faults in the end result.

With the engine in, custom cooler pipes and a full exhaust were installed by the kind folk at Elite Exhausts. Thereafter an R33 gearbox, DCS twin plate clutch and custom one piece tailshaft were mated together to finish off the drivetrain. Some custom catch cans and fluid tanks were also crafted by JMFabrication to allow the fluids to sit snugly inside the smaller engine bay before the engine management component was put in. Along with a custom engine loom, battery relocation and other electrical tidy ups, Whitey’s Wiring helped connect the final piece of the puzzle which was the Link G4+ ECU to get the car ready to hit the dyno. Opting for a flex tune, the car spent a good amount of time at Tekno performance where it now registers over 500hp on 19psi though Jordan already has plans for more boost in the near future.

Aesthetically Jordan has kept it clean with the addition of the RPF1 wheels (17×9+22 F 17×9.5+18 R), and a few minor additions such as the Dmax rear boot lip, carbon splitter and splitters up front. There’s not much to improve on this now iconic silhouette in all fairness and as we’ve said in plenty of builds on this page, sometimes simple is best. To get the rid height and handling right, the car has BC Gold series coil overs, Hardrace Camber, caster and toe arms front and back, Hardrace solid rear subframe bushes and Whiteline sway bars installed.

The engine bay however is a different story which although isn’t in your face, doesn’t quite feel as subtle as the exterior of the car. The teal finish to the engine cover is not your usual RB26 variation of red as is so often seen but it certainly looks at home especially sitting amidst the polished piping, catch cans, fluid reservoirs and Pewter Grey engine bay. The splash of subtle colour caries throughout other areas of the relatively stock looking exterior with the wheel nuts, brakes and tyre valves also in a similar colour to the engine covers. The Silvia logo on the spark plug cover is a great finishing touch to pair with the cleverly chosen “GODSILR” number plates to remind you this is still a S-Chassis.

Sitting in the cabin you’re immediately drawn to the AIM digital cluster which features squarely on the steering column. Besides the factory A pillar gauge, you’ll find no other unnecessary measurement devices in the car which to me is somewhat of an evolution of the current JDM interior where previously cars would have 3 or more gauges to monitor car health. Black Bride Low Max seats along with matching fabric inserts in the door panels are always an effective way to transform the interior and to match the red stitching of the seats and Nardi steering wheel, a custom dash mat was made to tie the interior together.

Despite owning the car for nearly 6 years, Jordan says he’s probably driven it for a total of 1 year both with an SR and now the RB so for the immediate future, he just hopes to make up for lost time with his immaculately put together car.

JORDAN’S RB26 POWERED S15 // JULY FEATURE

There’s nothing quite like the first time you get behind the wheel of a turbo’d car and give it a bootful. And no, I’m not talking about your mum’s Golf TSI or your uncle’s turbo diesel truck but a car from the era where the boost coming on was an obvious change in the car’s behaviour and feel. The excitement of hearing the turbo spool, seeing the boost gauge climb and then suddenly, bliss, as you’re redlining down the back streets on your one week old full driver’s license.

It’s definitely an addictive feeling that leaves you wanting more and for Jordan, this experience came to him nearly six years ago when he got to test drive his S15. Judging from the build of his car, it’s pretty clear Jordan got his fix and more.

When Jordan first got the car, it was somewhat of the workhorse car / fun daily for the previous owner who happened to be in the real estate. Test driving it from his friend, Jordan remembers opening the boot and seeing it filled with “For Sale” signs for houses – who said coupe’s couldn’t be practical. With his friend wanting to get something more fitting for a real estate agent, Jordan gladly took it off his hands in pretty much stock condition. No body kit, no accident history and just some minor engine mods to get more power out of the stock SR20.

Originally intending to put in an RB25 engine swap, plans fell through as the package he was intending to buy ended up getting badly damaged just before the purchase. So in an attempt to search for alternative transplants for his awaiting S15 engine bay, an RB26 from an R33 GTR came up and Jordan pounced on the opportunity. The engine had received a stock bottom end rebuild and for the 500hp goals Jordan had, he knew he had to do more than slap on a big turbo.

That being said, the new turbo, a Gtx3582r, was actually the first item crossed off his engine build check list because who doesn’t like to see a massive single turbo in their bedroom. Even if it can’t do anything, it’s almost a constant reminder to yourself of the amount of fun you’re going to have once it’s bolted onto your car.

An accompanying 6 Boost high mount manifold was also purchased along with a 50mm Turbosmart Progate to finish off the turbo setup. After a quick engine health check and green light from Driftking Performance the head was stripped and sent off for a refresh which included Step 2 HKS 272 cams, HKS springs, titanium retainers, ARP head studs, Tomei gears, new head and intake gaskets and some porting throughout the cylinder head for better flow.

The bottom end got some additional love for a second time which included an N1 oil pump with Spool billet gears, new water pump and a Gates Racing timing and tensioner kit to see through additional power safely. With the engine assembled by the workshop, Jordan sought the help of some mates to help install the new beating heart into his car. Spending every spare hour he had after work and during weekend, Jordan along with his mates made the necessary adjustments to the S15 engine bay to receive the RB motor. This include the feat of routing the entire fuel system and fitting up the radiator, fans and associated hoses. For a weekend garage job, you’d be hard pressed to find too many faults in the end result.

With the engine in, custom cooler pipes and a full exhaust were installed by the kind folk at Elite Exhausts. Thereafter an R33 gearbox, DCS twin plate clutch and custom one piece tailshaft were mated together to finish off the drivetrain. Some custom catch cans and fluid tanks were also crafted by JMFabrication to allow the fluids to sit snugly inside the smaller engine bay before the engine management component was put in.

Along with a custom engine loom, battery relocation and other electrical tidy ups, Whitey’s Wiring helped connect the final piece of the puzzle which was the Link G4+ ECU to get the car ready to hit the dyno. Opting for a flex tune, the car spent a good amount of time at Tekno performance where it now registers over 500hp on 19psi though Jordan already has plans for more boost in the near future.

Aesthetically Jordan has kept it clean with the addition of the RPF1 wheels (17×9+22 F 17×9.5+18 R), and a few minor additions such as the Dmax rear boot lip, carbon splitter and splitters up front. There’s not much to improve on this now iconic silhouette in all fairness and as we’ve said in plenty of builds on this page, sometimes simple is best. To get the rid height and handling right, the car has BC Gold series coil overs, Hardrace Camber, caster and toe arms front and back, Hardrace solid rear subframe bushes and Whiteline sway bars installed.

The engine bay however is a different story which although isn’t in your face, doesn’t quite feel as subtle as the exterior of the car. The teal finish to the engine cover is not your usual RB26 variation of red as is so often seen but it certainly looks at home especially sitting amidst the polished piping, catch cans, fluid reservoirs and Pewter Grey engine bay.

The splash of subtle colour caries throughout other areas of the relatively stock looking exterior with the wheel nuts, brakes and tyre valves also in a similar colour to the engine covers. The Silvia logo on the spark plug cover is a great finishing touch to pair with the cleverly chosen “GODSILR” number plates to remind you this is still a S-Chassis.

Sitting in the cabin you’re immediately drawn to the AIM digital cluster which features squarely on the steering column. Besides the factory A pillar gauge, you’ll find no other unnecessary measurement devices in the car which to me is somewhat of an evolution of the current JDM interior where previously cars would have 3 or more gauges to monitor car health. Black Bride Low Max seats along with matching fabric inserts in the door panels are always an effective way to transform the interior and to match the red stitching of the seats and Nardi steering wheel, a custom dash mat was made to tie the interior together.

Despite owning the car for nearly 6 years, Jordan says he’s probably driven it for a total of 1 year both with an SR and now the RB so for the immediate future, he just hopes to make up for lost time with his immaculately put together car.


TONY'S WILD 1300HP R35 GTR // JUNE FEATURE

TONY'S WILD 1300HP R35 GTR
// JUNE FEATURE

Photos by: Ricky Rigutto | Words by: Ian Lee

The GTR has long been one of those iconic 90’s JDM car badges that along with the Supra have earned their stripes over the years as being thoroughbred and genuine “supercar killers”. A quick YouTube search for “GTR vs. Lambo” will return plenty of videos of supercar owners being surprised and often humbled by the performance of a car often more than half the price of theirs. So naturally, when the reintroduction of the GTR debuted in 2008, expectations were rather high for what the crazy engineers in Nissan had cooked up for the world. Boasting a blistering 3.2 second 0-100 speed and a 12 second quarter mile, the new GTR definitely commanded respect from the automotive community and for Tony this debut started his 7 year wait to finally be in the position to buy his own one brand new in 2015.

It took just three months for Tony to succumb to the urge of modifying his new GTR. Now what could possible drive someone with a car possessing these kind of figures and performance to want such a quick change? Easy, you take it racing. Tony says he had no idea how much of a competitive person he was until he took the car to a Downshift happy laps event in Queensland. Despite besting most of the races that day, a single and only loss was enough to drive Tony to the edge and vow to come back and never lose another race again.

By this time, the GTR had been in the market for about 6 years and the aftermarket scene was pretty established for this VR38 platform. So with some quick online purchases for basic bolt ons and a retune on e85, the car was back on the road with 450kw at the wheels. After a few more casual race events, Tony got introduced to the now annual Bullrush Rally and knew he didn’t want to rock up in a stock looking GTR. Some 3 piece forged wheels from Strauss, lowering springs and aftermarket exhaust with gold tips were ordered and the car pretty much stayed like this for two years. However, a semi-final elimination at Queensland Raceway during a roll racing event paired with Tony’s competitive nature would mark the beginning of a very long, painful and expensive journey to the car you see today.

With roll racing fast becoming a pretty popular past time for owners wanting to push their car’s limits, big power is a must and Tony knew his simple bolt ons were not going to be sufficient. With near 1000hp figures in mind as a target, Tony commissioned his workshop to assemble this package to the eye watering tune of nearly $35,000. A fully built HKS motor with new internals, crank, high HP rated intercooler and GT9000 turbos topped the bill. Other costs were allocated to transmission and supporting mods which included an Albins gear set, Dodson clutch kit, 2000cc injectors and parts from AMS performance whom have built quite the rep in the States for all things GTR over the years.

A 102mm FI valvetronic exhaust, Endless 6 piston calliper brake kit and upgraded carbon steel rotors capped off all the to do list as far as the mechanical side went. Not wanting to have to take the car off the road later to modify the exterior, Tony decided to freshen up the now dated MY15 looks by getting a full MY17 v3 body kit from Top Secret. The six month wait and price tag are probably the reason Tony’s car is still the only one in Australia to rock this particularly aero kit. Lastly, a set of hydraulic lift enabled KW coilovers were added to get the most from the body kit and wheel combo that the car has. The finished look really does improve the overall aggressiveness of the car particularly with the exposed carbon body panels, gold accented pieces and subtle paint work.

With a proposed three month build time for the engine, Tony was dying to get the car back to experience what a 1000hp GTR would feel like. Three months came around and unfortunately the car was not ready so disappointingly Tony waited for the build to play catch up. Another three months came and went and after that, yet another three months came by – something was clearly wrong. Alarm bells were going off in Tony’s mind and by the time he finally got the car from the workshop, things felt even more off.

After another twelve months of going back and forth with the workshop trying to diagnose the cars problems, Tony cut his losses and took to enlisting the services of Aaron from Precision Racing. Initial discussions and remote diagnosis indicated that many of the problems possibly stemmed from the Cobb Accessport ECU being used, not a big deal but frustrating none the less. Aaron and Tony agreed to upgrade to a Precision Racing GTR Motec package and with that Tony made the trip down to Sydney to get the installation done. Enter problem number two.

During the drive down the fully built, billet front diff decided to let go and just like that, $7,000 went down the drain. What was meant to start off as a simple ECU install now became an engine out job to replace the diff which by the way was returned to stock anyway. With patience nearing empty, the car after being fixed up with a new diff and ECU was finally ready to be re-tuned to rid the car of its originally problems. Once on the dyno and with boost turned up, problem three reared its ugly head and the car started pushing water and coolant out from the block and at that point, Tony had finally hit rock bottom for his dream build. The root cause as it turned out were the type of engine sleeves used on the block which as a result of removing too much material, actually cause the block to flex slightly and eventually push water when pushed to extreme power.

Not wanting to compromise and settle on a lower power tune to avoid pushing fluid, Tony went on to have many ‘spirited’ phone calls with the previous builder demanding answers and solutions to no avail. It’s often risky business when assembling a car to use multiple parties as if and when things go wrong, it’s often a finger pointing competition and unfortunately this was exactly what panned out for Tony. The original builder denied accountability for the failure and wiped their hands clean of any fault. Just like that, $35,000 was gone on an engine that had just passed run in mileage. Tony says that just recounting this experience gives him a whopper of a headache thinking about the most expensive 2000 km journey he’s taken in his life.

Left to assess his options, Tony figured the sensible routes were to: a) rebuild the head b) turn the power down c) return the car to stock and rid it. However Tony isn’t quite the sensible type and the resulting solution was as far away from options a, b and c put together. Putting his faith into Aaron and his team, the plan was to buy a completely brand new VR38 and rebuild this from scratch with a PR12 Garrett turbo kit. Advertised as a stage 5 GTR package, this kit basically turns the potent GTR performance into a mid to low 8 second car which includes all new conrods, pistons, cylinder heads, modified crank, billet sump and pretty much anything else you can think of. An increased 12 injector setup with 6 of them running ID1700 is hidden beneath the incredible looking carbon fibre AMS manifold that helps break up the gold in the engine bay.

To fix some of the clutch slip Troy was experiencing on the initial build as a result of the high horsepower, PPG drop gears and a 10+10 plate clutch kit with billet pistons and T1 rear diff brace were installed. The end result, a mind boggling 1300hp which Tony says has never failed to get a smile along with plenty of profanity from anyone who’s lucky enough to get a spin in his car. Oh and the cost of this? From Precision’s website you’re looking at $138k excluding the motor. Let’s just say after tallying the costs for the car, the gold theme becomes very appropriate.

When things go wrong with cars during the modification process, its very easy to cuss out, lose motivation and call it quits. This is even more amplified when the car you’re modifying already cost over $100k and you’ve just lost an additional $40k on a blown engine and diff so to that, I think there’s no denying Tony’s perseverance to carry on. Despite the setbacks, sleepless nights during his build failure and thousands of lost dollars, Tony says when he’s ripping it down Queensland Raceway he instantly forgets these past experiences and enjoys the moment he’s in. Tony would like to call out his thanks to Aaron and team from Precision Racing, Lucas from Vouge Industries, Cameron and Joshua Hill for the body work and most importantly his wife who’s been patient and supportive throughout the entire process, no matter how stupid it may have seemed at the time.

TONY'S WILD 1300HP R35 GTR // JUNE FEATURE

The GTR has long been one of those iconic 90’s JDM car badges that along with the Supra have earned their stripes over the years as being thoroughbred and genuine “supercar killers”. A quick YouTube search for “GTR vs. Lambo” will return plenty of videos of supercar owners being surprised and often humbled by the performance of a car often more than half the price of theirs.

So naturally, when the reintroduction of the GTR debuted in 2008, expectations were rather high for what the crazy engineers in Nissan had cooked up for the world. Boasting a blistering 3.2 second 0-100 speed and a 12 second quarter mile, the new GTR definitely commanded respect from the automotive community and for Tony this debut started his 7 year wait to finally be in the position to buy his own one brand new in 2015.

It took just three months for Tony to succumb to the urge of modifying his new GTR. Now what could possible drive someone with a car possessing these kind of figures and performance to want such a quick change? Easy, you take it racing. Tony says he had no idea how much of a competitive person he was until he took the car to a Downshift happy laps event in Queensland. Despite besting most of the races that day, a single and only loss was enough to drive Tony to the edge and vow to come back and never lose another race again. By this time, the GTR had been in the market for about 6 years and the aftermarket scene was pretty established for this VR38 platform. So with some quick online purchases for basic bolt ons and a retune on e85, the car was back on the road with 450kw at the wheels. After a few more casual race events, Tony got introduced to the now annual Bullrush Rally and knew he didn’t want to rock up in a stock looking GTR. Some 3 piece forged wheels from Strauss, lowering springs and aftermarket exhaust with gold tips were ordered and the car pretty much stayed like this for two years. However, a semi-final elimination at Queensland Raceway during a roll racing event paired with Tony’s competitive nature would mark the beginning of a very long, painful and expensive journey to the car you see today.

With roll racing fast becoming a pretty popular past time for owners wanting to push their car’s limits, big power is a must and Tony knew his simple bolt ons were not going to be sufficient. With near 1000hp figures in mind as a target, Tony commissioned his workshop to assemble this package to the eye watering tune of nearly $35,000. A fully built HKS motor with new internals, crank, high HP rated intercooler and GT9000 turbos topped the bill. Other costs were allocated to transmission and supporting mods which included an Albins gear set, Dodson clutch kit, 2000cc injectors and parts from AMS performance whom have built quite the rep in the States for all things GTR over the years. A 102mm FI valvetronic exhaust, Endless 6 piston calliper brake kit and upgraded carbon steel rotors capped off all the to do list as far as the mechanical side went. Not wanting to have to take the car off the road later to modify the exterior, Tony decided to freshen up the now dated MY15 looks by getting a full MY17 v3 body kit from Top Secret. The six month wait and price tag are probably the reason Tony’s car is still the only one in Australia to rock this particularly aero kit. Lastly, a set of hydraulic lift enabled KW coilovers were added to get the most from the body kit and wheel combo that the car has. The finished look really does improve the overall aggressiveness of the car particularly with the exposed carbon body panels, gold accented pieces and subtle paint work.

With a proposed three month build time for the engine, Tony was dying to get the car back to experience what a 1000hp GTR would feel like. Three months came around and unfortunately the car was not ready so disappointingly Tony waited for the build to play catch up. Another three months came and went and after that, yet another three months came by – something was clearly wrong. Alarm bells were going off in Tony’s mind and by the time he finally got the car from the workshop, things felt even more off.

After another twelve months of going back and forth with the workshop trying to diagnose the cars problems, Tony cut his losses and took to enlisting the services of Aaron from Precision Racing. Initial discussions and remote diagnosis indicated that many of the problems possibly stemmed from the Cobb Accessport ECU being used, not a big deal but frustrating none the less. Aaron and Tony agreed to upgrade to a Precision Racing GTR Motec package and with that Tony made the trip down to Sydney to get the installation done. Enter problem number two.

During the drive down the fully built, billet front diff decided to let go and just like that, $7,000 went down the drain. What was meant to start off as a simple ECU install now became an engine out job to replace the diff which by the way was returned to stock anyway. With patience nearing empty, the car after being fixed up with a new diff and ECU was finally ready to be re-tuned to rid the car of its originally problems. Once on the dyno and with boost turned up, problem three reared its ugly head and the car started pushing water and coolant out from the block and at that point, Tony had finally hit rock bottom for his dream build. The root cause as it turned out were the type of engine sleeves used on the block which as a result of removing too much material, actually cause the block to flex slightly and eventually push water when pushed to extreme power.

Not wanting to compromise and settle on a lower power tune to avoid pushing fluid, Tony went on to have many ‘spirited’ phone calls with the previous builder demanding answers and solutions to no avail. It’s often risky business when assembling a car to use multiple parties as if and when things go wrong, it’s often a finger pointing competition and unfortunately this was exactly what panned out for Tony. The original builder denied accountability for the failure and wiped their hands clean of any fault. Just like that, $35,000 was gone on an engine that had just passed run in mileage. Tony says that just recounting this experience gives him a whopper of a headache thinking about the most expensive 2000 km journey he’s taken in his life.

Left to assess his options, Tony figured the sensible routes were to: a) rebuild the head b) turn the power down c) return the car to stock and rid it. However Tony isn’t quite the sensible type and the resulting solution was as far away from options a, b and c put together. Putting his faith into Aaron and his team, the plan was to buy a completely brand new VR38 and rebuild this from scratch with a PR12 Garrett turbo kit. Advertised as a stage 5 GTR package, this kit basically turns the potent GTR performance into a mid to low 8 second car which includes all new conrods, pistons, cylinder heads, modified crank, billet sump and pretty much anything else you can think of. An increased 12 injector setup with 6 of them running ID1700 is hidden beneath the incredible looking carbon fibre AMS manifold that helps break up the gold in the engine bay. To fix some of the clutch slip Troy was experiencing on the initial build as a result of the high horsepower, PPG drop gears and a 10+10 plate clutch kit with billet pistons and T1 rear diff brace were installed. The end result, a mind boggling 1300hp which Tony says has never failed to get a smile along with plenty of profanity from anyone who’s lucky enough to get a spin in his car. Oh and the cost of this? From Precision’s website you’re looking at $138k excluding the motor. Let’s just say after tallying the costs for the car, the gold theme becomes very appropriate.

When things go wrong with cars during the modification process, its very easy to cuss out, lose motivation and call it quits. This is even more amplified when the car you’re modifying already cost over $100k and you’ve just lost an additional $40k on a blown engine and diff so to that, I think there’s no denying Tony’s perseverance to carry on. Despite the setbacks, sleepless nights during his build failure and thousands of lost dollars, Tony says when he’s ripping it down Queensland Raceway he instantly forgets these past experiences and enjoys the moment he’s in. Tony would like to call out his thanks to Aaron and team from Precision Racing, Lucas from Vouge Industries, Cameron and Joshua Hill for the body work and most importantly his wife who’s been patient and supportive throughout the entire process, no matter how stupid it may have seemed at the time.


SUPER CLEAN HKS 2.8L R32 GTR // MAY FEATURE

SUPER CLEAN HKS 2.8L R32 GT
// MAY FEATURE

Photos and words by: Jordan Leist

Jamie Paolucci’s taste in cars are very, very varied – try old and new Euros, VTEC powered JDM monsters and even some mid-90s Aussie V8 goodness all adorn the floor of his expansive workshop. Pinning him down to just the one style is impossible. I think this has a lot to do with his age. Years of loving cars as a kid, he has created a list of dream cars in his head, and he is slowly ticking them off. The love affair with this R32 started in 2015 practically by accident. It was during a late-night shopping expedition with his family that he became the proud owner of a new project.

“I was scrolling through Facebook when I stumbled across a mate’s car up for sale. I had always liked 32s, and the colour was a real standout. I couldn’t stop looking at it,” said Jamie. By the end of the Thursday night shopping trip, the girls all had new items for their wardrobes and dad was the proud owner of an R32 GTR.

“It was in reasonably good condition, I thought. The BMW Boston Green had originally been applied in Japan prior to being imported, and it was fairly neat all round. I planned to strip the driveline and reinvigorate the car with 20 years’ worth of evolution and turn it into a bit of a street/track bruiser that I could still drop the kids off to school in,” explained Jamie.

The mild tart-up soon became a comprehensive build and before he knew it, Jamie was well and truly in over his head. To begin with; the car was stripped down and carted off to Owen Ellis at Meltham Motors where the car was promptly rubbed back, and the bodywork was given some love.

With the car away on holiday, Jamie felt like he needed to achieve more, so he started to accumulate parts for the build. The first thing to appear on his credit card statement was a brand-spanking-new RB26 87mm block and head. The motor was also blessed with a HKS Step 2 2.8L stroker kit for some added displacement. A pair of HKS 272 Step 2 camshafts were added to the shopping list along with a whole heap of other HKS gear. Let’s just say, if it was in the HKS catalogue, Jamie bought it.

Induction comes from a Precision PE6870 turbo with a split rear housing, 3.5-inch dump, 60mm Turbosmart Pro Gate and a HKS Silent Pro cat-back exhaust. A healthy diet of E85 is maintained by ID1650 E85 compliant injectors fed by a Radium Engineering surge tank, and submerged fuel pumps while R34 GT-R coils provide the spark — the whole package is managed by a Link G4+ ECU. Cleverly, the surge tank, battery and ABS unit were all relocated to the boot and mounted on a billet tray. This provides easy access and declutters the engine bay to boot.

The cog-swapper is a 6-speed Getrag unit purchased brand new from Japan and is backed up by a DSC twin-plate clutch and 3.9 LSD differentials front and rear. A Trust drag intercooler keeps the intake temps manageable while the Koyo aluminium radiator and oil cooler keeps the fluid temperatures under control. Luke from Crazy Luke’s Speed Shop was assigned the task of fabrication duties. Notably, the custom-designed exhaust manifold, dump pipe, intercooler piping and catch can.

The combination of R35 GT-R callipers with AP Racing J Hook floating rotors are a welcome improvement over the old stoppers. The ultra-lightweight Nismo/Rays LMGT4 Omori 18 x 9.5-inch wheels are wrapped in Continental 265/35/18 rubber, and BC Racing ZR 3-way coilovers tied in with Ikeya Formula adjustable arms have the beast handling better than ever.

The interior, while reasonably well presented, paled in comparison to the now evolving engine bay and the smooth-as-silk green paint. Maintaining a JDM theme was paramount, but it also needed to be a clean, restrained approach – this meant no gauges/monitors mounted on the A-pillar or on top of the freshly re-covered dashboard. A battery of Defi gauges and ZD monitor were sent over east to Custom Clusters who fabricated the dash binnacle and centre console.

At this stage Jamie was convinced the car needed more: “I’ll be the first to admit, I really like the boy racer look, but it needs to be executed with balance, to be able to pull it off and not detract from the natural lines of the car.” Paul Nguyen from Solid Imports was given the task of sourcing some high-quality Japanese components to finish off the look Jamie was chasing. In addition to the already sourced Defi gauges, Paul located a pair of Bride Stradia Carbon Aramid seats with matching seat rails, and a Nardi Deep Corn suede wheel completes the period-correct interior.

Paul was also given an extensive carbon fibre wish list from Jamie, which included a Top Secret rear diffuser; Fujimura Rocket Dancer gurney flap, OEM boot wing, Nismo N1 boot lip, Abflug front lip extension, Varis bonnet and a Garage Defend cooling slam panel. “The carbon parts were just as I’d hoped but I wasn’t convinced on breaking up the paint on the car. Owen suggested including some green tint from the main body colour into the clear coat on some of the carbon parts. The gamble paid off in my eyes. At a distance to hue remains continuous, it’s only when you get up closer, especially in the sun, that you notice the carbon weave. The results speak for themselves.”

After having the car completed and driving it as much as he could, a good mate, Jarryd Thraves, somehow convinced Jamie that the 32 was better off in his garage. Reluctantly, Jamie handed over the keys and the rest, as they say, is history.

SUPER CLEAN HKS 2.8L R32 GTR // MAY FEATURE

old and new Euros, VTEC powered JDM monsters and even some mid-90s Aussie V8 goodness all adorn the floor of his expansive workshop. Pinning him down to just the one style is impossible. I think this has a lot to do with his age. Years of loving cars as a kid, he has created a list of dream cars in his head, and he is slowly ticking them off. The love affair with this R32 started in 2015 practically by accident. It was during a late-night shopping expedition with his family that he became the proud owner of a new project.

“I was scrolling through Facebook when I stumbled across a mate’s car up for sale. I had always liked 32s, and the colour was a real standout. I couldn’t stop looking at it,” said Jamie. By the end of the Thursday night shopping trip, the girls all had new items for their wardrobes and dad was the proud owner of an R32 GTR.

“It was in reasonably good condition, I thought. The BMW Boston Green had originally been applied in Japan prior to being imported, and it was fairly neat all round. I planned to strip the driveline and reinvigorate the car with 20 years’ worth of evolution and turn it into a bit of a street/track bruiser that I could still drop the kids off to school in,” explained Jamie.

The mild tart-up soon became a comprehensive build and before he knew it, Jamie was well and truly in over his head. To begin with; the car was stripped down and carted off to Owen Ellis at Meltham Motors where the car was promptly rubbed back, and the bodywork was given some love.

With the car away on holiday, Jamie felt like he needed to achieve more, so he started to accumulate parts for the build. The first thing to appear on his credit card statement was a brand-spanking-new RB26 87mm block and head. The motor was also blessed with a HKS Step 2 2.8L stroker kit for some added displacement. A pair of HKS 272 Step 2 camshafts were added to the shopping list along with a whole heap of other HKS gear. Let’s just say, if it was in the HKS catalogue, Jamie bought it.

Induction comes from a Precision PE6870 turbo with a split rear housing, 3.5-inch dump, 60mm Turbosmart Pro Gate and a HKS Silent Pro cat-back exhaust. A healthy diet of E85 is maintained by ID1650 E85 compliant injectors fed by a Radium Engineering surge tank, and submerged fuel pumps while R34 GT-R coils provide the spark — the whole package is managed by a Link G4+ ECU. Cleverly, the surge tank, battery and ABS unit were all relocated to the boot and mounted on a billet tray. This provides easy access and declutters the engine bay to boot.

The cog-swapper is a 6-speed Getrag unit purchased brand new from Japan and is backed up by a DSC twin-plate clutch and 3.9 LSD differentials front and rear. A Trust drag intercooler keeps the intake temps manageable while the Koyo aluminium radiator and oil cooler keeps the fluid temperatures under control. Luke from Crazy Luke’s Speed Shop was assigned the task of fabrication duties. Notably, the custom-designed exhaust manifold, dump pipe, intercooler piping and catch can.

The combination of R35 GT-R callipers with AP Racing J Hook floating rotors are a welcome improvement over the old stoppers. The ultra-lightweight Nismo/Rays LMGT4 Omori 18 x 9.5-inch wheels are wrapped in Continental 265/35/18 rubber, and BC Racing ZR 3-way coilovers tied in with Ikeya Formula adjustable arms have the beast handling better than ever.

The interior, while reasonably well presented, paled in comparison to the now evolving engine bay and the smooth-as-silk green paint. Maintaining a JDM theme was paramount, but it also needed to be a clean, restrained approach – this meant no gauges/monitors mounted on the A-pillar or on top of the freshly re-covered dashboard. A battery of Defi gauges and ZD monitor were sent over east to Custom Clusters who fabricated the dash binnacle and centre console.

At this stage Jamie was convinced the car needed more: “I’ll be the first to admit, I really like the boy racer look, but it needs to be executed with balance, to be able to pull it off and not detract from the natural lines of the car.” Paul Nguyen from Solid Imports was given the task of sourcing some high-quality Japanese components to finish off the look Jamie was chasing. In addition to the already sourced Defi gauges, Paul located a pair of Bride Stradia Carbon Aramid seats with matching seat rails, and a Nardi Deep Corn suede wheel completes the period-correct interior.

Paul was also given an extensive carbon fibre wish list from Jamie, which included a Top Secret rear diffuser; Fujimura Rocket Dancer gurney flap, OEM boot wing, Nismo N1 boot lip, Abflug front lip extension, Varis bonnet and a Garage Defend cooling slam panel.

“The carbon parts were just as I’d hoped but I wasn’t convinced on breaking up the paint on the car. Owen suggested including some green tint from the main body colour into the clear coat on some of the carbon parts. The gamble paid off in my eyes. At a distance to hue remains continuous, it’s only when you get up closer, especially in the sun, that you notice the carbon weave. The results speak for themselves.”

After having the car completed and driving it as much as he could, a good mate, Jarryd Thraves, somehow convinced Jamie that the 32 was better off in his garage. Reluctantly, Jamie handed over the keys and the rest, as they say, is history.


ABEWD’S ALL STREET SUPRA // APRIL FEATURE

ABEWD’S ALL STREET SUPRA
// APRIL FEATURE

Photos by: Ricky Rigutto | Words by: Ian Lee

A car and an engine that needs no introduction, the Toyota Supra and infamous 2JZ engine are engrained with JDM tuning and car culture. Ridiculously over engineered from factory, the kind folk from Toyota created a 90’s engine platform that even today can easily hold its own against most if not any modern day performance car. A huge boost to the Supra and 2JZ notoriety can be attributed to the Fast and Furious series which as most car people would know, was where Brian rebuilt from the ashes his famous orange aerotop. While for many this kickstarted their fascination and interest in the car, Abewd may have been that rare exception to the case.

See when Abewd picked up his first Baltic blue non-turbo supra, looks were what compelled him to buy the car. Having never watched the series at that point in time, the idea of a 2JZ was foreign to him – in fact, his original assumption was that since his car was a non-turbo it was a 1JZ! All he knew though was that the car looked amazing, sporting the aero lip spoiler and finished in a rather unique colour, this was all that mattered to him at the time.

When the search for his first Supra started, the car that caught his eye was a green, single turbo’d aerotop being sold for $27,000 (Abewd even remembers the seller’s full name) – talk about remembering your first love. The car had all the mods on it that he was after but the only problem as the cost was well over the price Abewd was willing to fork out. The car eventually sold and for years it remained off the radar while Abewd moved on to other Supra’s; still always wondering ‘what if’ and whether he’d have a chance to get the one that got away. Four years later, the car resurfaced and was again quickly sold before Abewd could get his hands on it but this time, he paid close attention to the car and its progression with the new owner. In its new home of Melbourne, the car underwent some big changes which included thousands being spent on the car to make it drag ready. A short while after these changes and with the right timing, Abewd made an offer to buy the car of his dreams or so he thought.

When the car made it to Sydney, the long-awaited feeling of anticipation and excitement quickly disappeared as on closer inspection, the car was not at all in line with the expectations he’d set for himself. This is perhaps partly because this was a long time coming in terms of ownership and also partly because he knew how much money had been spent in the previous owner’s hands, whatever the reason, Abewd felt he’d bought a lemon. A knocking, low compression motor, worn interior and paint, and to cap it off a notchy shifting on a virtually unbreakable gearbox gave the first few months of ownership a rocky start.

Not wanting to let this buying experience sour his romanticised view of the car, Abewd pulled up his socks and decided he’d make this car a platform and homage to the first Baltic Blue Supra he owned. Kass Bodyworks got started with the body whereby the car underwent a complete respray in and out to get rid of the original green paint and bring it to Baltic Blue. This wasn’t just a respray though as a number of body parts were added or replaced with near new (sometimes new) OEM parts such as the active lip spoiler, UK spec bonnet scoop, brand new body kit (front and read bumper + side skirts and mouldings), rare factory mudflaps and series 2 headlights. With the exception of the wide aftermarket CCW Classics wheels, the car presents itself as a clean, factory Supra – the exact look Abewd was going for. But for fellow Supra enthusiasts, he says that they’d know the subtle additions that have been put onto the car which make his particular Supra all that more unique.

As for the interior, you won’t find too many aftermarket parts and like the exterior, rare factory option parts were sourced such as the carbon steering wheel, TRD dash, knee rests, aluminium pedals, funky confetti floor mats and a pretty neat device called a conlight. After some Googling, it’s basically an optional light sensor that would turn the headlights on and off depending on the darkness outside – the things you learn! The doorcards, dash, roof and dashboard also got retrimmed during the interior rework for good measure.

Now I’m sure you’re not reading this post to know what was done to the exterior or interior of a Supra because let’s be honest, as far as iconic JDM cars go, there is very little to improve on from the factory finish that Toyota bestowed onto this car. You’re here to gush over the 2JZ in all its high boost glory. To cut to the chase, the car produces a whopping 750hp on its current low boost setting of 23psi however the turbo and supporting mods are rated to over 40psi. Now a days, 1000hp Supra’s are not uncommon and seem to be the bare minimum expectation as far as the internet is concerned. The reality is that even with strong foundations, there still needs to be appropriate levels of mechanical and engineering planning required to produce the power in a safe and reliable manner.

Calling on Motorsport Mechanical, 4mance Automotive and JEM, the direction of the build was to retain the factory 3 litre displacement and work on strengthening both the bottom and top end as well as the addition of a massive Precision 6870 turbo. The final build included (starting from the bottom end); ACL bearings, Spool rods, CP pistons, ARP studs, BC stage 3 cams, 6 boost manifold, an assortment of replacement OEM parts (such as tensioners, pumps and gaskets) and much more. For fuelling, the car is running three e85 compatible Walbro 460 pumps and X-purt 1550cc injectors. Haltech hardware throughout was used for engine management to orchestrate the entire package and get the most out of the engine and supporting mods. As for that pesky gearbox, Abewd opted for a brand new v161 along with an RPS twin plate clutch that should see the power get to the wheels for years to come.

The finished car is something that spurs mixed emotions for Abewd given the initial disappointment but every time he gets behind the wheel, he knows the pain was worth it in the end. As far as plans for the car goes, Abewd says he’s happy to enjoy dailying it for a while and potentially export it to the US through his export business “All Street” that specialise in Supra exportation to make way for other project cars.

ABEWD’S ALL STREET SUPRA // APRIL FEATURE

A car and an engine that needs no introduction, the Toyota Supra and infamous 2JZ engine are engrained with JDM tuning and car culture. Ridiculously over engineered from factory, the kind folk from Toyota created a 90’s engine platform that even today can easily hold its own against most if not any modern day performance car. A huge boost to the Supra and 2JZ notoriety can be attributed to the Fast and Furious series which as most car people would know, was where Brian rebuilt from the ashes his famous orange aerotop. While for many this kickstarted their fascination and interest in the car, Abewd may have been that rare exception to the case.

See when Abewd picked up his first Baltic blue non-turbo supra, looks were what compelled him to buy the car. Having never watched the series at that point in time, the idea of a 2JZ was foreign to him – in fact, his original assumption was that since his car was a non-turbo it was a 1JZ! All he knew though was that the car looked amazing, sporting the aero lip spoiler and finished in a rather unique colour, this was all that mattered to him at the time.

When the search for his first Supra started, the car that caught his eye was a green, single turbo’d aerotop being sold for $27,000 (Abewd even remembers the seller’s full name) – talk about remembering your first love. The car had all the mods on it that he was after but the only problem as the cost was well over the price Abewd was willing to fork out. The car eventually sold and for years it remained off the radar while Abewd moved on to other Supra’s; still always wondering ‘what if’ and whether he’d have a chance to get the one that got away.

Four years later, the car resurfaced and was again quickly sold before Abewd could get his hands on it but this time, he paid close attention to the car and its progression with the new owner. In its new home of Melbourne, the car underwent some big changes which included thousands being spent on the car to make it drag ready. A short while after these changes and with the right timing, Abewd made an offer to buy the car of his dreams or so he thought.

When the car made it to Sydney, the long-awaited feeling of anticipation and excitement quickly disappeared as on closer inspection, the car was not at all in line with the expectations he’d set for himself. This is perhaps partly because this was a long time coming in terms of ownership and also partly because he knew how much money had been spent in the previous owner’s hands, whatever the reason, Abewd felt he’d bought a lemon. A knocking, low compression motor, worn interior and paint, and to cap it off a notchy shifting on a virtually unbreakable gearbox gave the first few months of ownership a rocky start.

Not wanting to let this buying experience sour his romanticised view of the car, Abewd pulled up his socks and decided he’d make this car a platform and homage to the first Baltic Blue Supra he owned. Kass Bodyworks got started with the body whereby the car underwent a complete respray in and out to get rid of the original green paint and bring it to Baltic Blue. This wasn’t just a respray though as a number of body parts were added or replaced with near new (sometimes new) OEM parts such as the active lip spoiler, UK spec bonnet scoop, brand new body kit (front and read bumper + side skirts and mouldings), rare factory mudflaps and series 2 headlights. With the exception of the wide aftermarket CCW Classics wheels, the car presents itself as a clean, factory Supra – the exact look Abewd was going for.

But for fellow Supra enthusiasts, he says that they’d know the subtle additions that have been put onto the car which make his particular Supra all that more unique. As for the interior, you won’t find too many aftermarket parts and like the exterior, rare factory option parts were sourced such as the carbon steering wheel, TRD dash, knee rests, aluminium pedals, funky confetti floor mats and a pretty neat device called a conlight. After some Googling, it’s basically an optional light sensor that would turn the headlights on and off depending on the darkness outside – the things you learn! The doorcards, dash, roof and dashboard also got retrimmed during the interior rework for good measure.

Now I’m sure you’re not reading this post to know what was done to the exterior or interior of a Supra because let’s be honest, as far as iconic JDM cars go, there is very little to improve on from the factory finish that Toyota bestowed onto this car. You’re here to gush over the 2JZ in all its high boost glory. To cut to the chase, the car produces a whopping 750hp on its current low boost setting of 23psi however the turbo and supporting mods are rated to over 40psi.

Now a days, 1000hp Supra’s are not uncommon and seem to be the bare minimum expectation as far as the internet is concerned. The reality is that even with strong foundations, there still needs to be appropriate levels of mechanical and engineering planning required to produce the power in a safe and reliable manner.

Calling on Motorsport Mechanical, 4mance Automotive and JEM, the direction of the build was to retain the factory 3 litre displacement and work on strengthening both the bottom and top end as well as the addition of a massive Precision 6870 turbo. The final build included (starting from the bottom end); ACL bearings, Spool rods, CP pistons, ARP studs, BC stage 3 cams, 6 boost manifold, an assortment of replacement OEM parts (such as tensioners, pumps and gaskets) and much, much more.

For fuelling, the car is running three e85 compatible Walbro 460 pumps and X-purt 1550cc injectors. Haltech hardware throughout was used for engine management to orchestrate the entire package and get the most out of the engine and supporting mods. As for that pesky gearbox, Abewd opted for a brand new v161 along with an RPS twin plate clutch that should see the power get to the wheels for years to come.

The finished car is something that spurs mixed emotions for Abewd given the initial disappointment but every time he gets behind the wheel, he knows the pain was worth it in the end. As far as plans for the car goes, Abewd says he’s happy to enjoy dailying it for a while and potentially export it to the US through his export business “All Street” that specialise in Supra exportation to make way for other project cars.


WORLD TIME ATTACK CHALLENGE 2019 - PRE PANDEMIC

WORLD TIME ATTACK CHALLENGE 2019 // A PRE-COVID19 EVENT

Although the recent COVID-19 pandemic appears to be on the decline in Australia, it certainly managed to leave it’s mark even within the car community. Your weekend cruises with the boys? No more. Couple of mates helping a friend fix his project car at his garage? Don’t even think about it. With easing rules, some of these experiences have come back from a hibernation but for one major car event which draws car enthusiasts across Australia to attend and takes months to plan, the damage was done. World Time Attack or WTAC would have to be one of the best motoring events each year in Australia. Held in Sydney generally in October, each year brings out some of the craziest and fastest cars from across the globe to compete around the Eastern Creek circuit across an array of different race classes.

Over the years it’s become much more than just circuit racing with added events like drifting, roll racing and of course the Show n Shine event. You’ll be hard pressed to not find something that takes your fancy if you have any remote interest in cars as the diversity in manufacturers, modification style and car application is unmatchable for a single event. So, while it’s a shame that such an event had to be pulled, the event organisers have promised an even bigger return in 2021 so for anyone who’s never attended WTAC before, be sure to check it out next year as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with what you see at these shows. If you need more convincing, here’s a couple of the highlights from the 2019 event – enjoy!

WORLD TIME ATTACK CHALLENGE 2019 // A PRE-COVID19 EVENT

Although the recent COVID-19 pandemic appears to be on the decline in Australia, it certainly managed to leave it’s mark even within the car community. Your weekend cruises with the boys? No more. Couple of mates helping a friend fix his project car at his garage? Don’t even think about it. With easing rules, some of these experiences have come back from a hibernation but for one major car event which draws car enthusiasts across Australia to attend and takes months to plan, the damage was done. World Time Attack or WTAC would have to be one of the best motoring events each year in Australia. Held in Sydney generally in October, each year brings out some of the craziest and fastest cars from across the globe to compete around the Eastern Creek circuit across an array of different race classes.

Over the years it’s become much more than just circuit racing with added events like drifting, roll racing and of course the Show n Shine event. You’ll be hard pressed to not find something that takes your fancy if you have any remote interest in cars as the diversity in manufacturers, modification style and car application is unmatchable for a single event. So, while it’s a shame that such an event had to be pulled, the event organisers have promised an even bigger return in 2021 so for anyone who’s never attended WTAC before, be sure to check it out next year as I’m sure you won’t be disappointed with what you see at these shows. If you need more convincing, here’s a couple of the highlights from the 2019 event – enjoy!


NAT’S IMMACULATE FD RX7 // MARCH FEATURE

NAT’S IMMACULATE FD RX7
// MARCH FEATURE

Photos and words by: Jordan Leist

I couldn’t have picked a worse day to shoot Nat Graham-Helwig’s slick FD RX7 – the last thing I was expecting was a torrential downpour in the middle of the Western Australian summer. We both agreed the worst was past us, so we planned on meeting up at 8 PM. We hadn’t even set up the car for the first photo when the next deluge occurred. As the rain belted down, we both scampered for cover. The rain didn’t bother Nat though; he doesn’t sweat the little things, he hasn’t got time for that. The car is a street car so no need to panic about a bit of water, the rain actually did us a favour; we had a chance to catch up and chat.

It had been a few months since we had last seen each other. Nat runs two hugely-successful restaurants and is a father of two, so spare time isn’t in his vocabulary these days. For me, well, I am a professional procrastinator and time waster, so I am all over the shop. We are two very different people, but we have been mates for over 20 years now, and we share the same passion – modified cars.

As we chatted away, the conversation bounced from topic to topic with ease, and as usual, we began to reminisce. Nat and I became mates when the ‘Auto Salon’ days were kicking off, so that became a topic that created a tonne of laughter and old stories shared as the thunder clapped in the distance. I was busy rolling old school Mazdas back then, while Nat was into the late-model, plastic bumper stuff. He was well-known in the scene, and his over-the-top GC8 WRX was a polarizing car. That car went on to be Fast Fours & Rotaries cover car and cleaned up at a tonne of major shows. It was one of Perth’s finest imports.

Since then, Nat has moved through high-tech Euros, bikes, back to Japanese rides and then more Euro stuff. One thing he has a knack of doing is taking the mundane and flipping it to create a head-turner. His current RX7 is proof of just that. Over the years, the car has evolved and gone through several changes. Funnily enough, this is the most subtle version of the car I have seen to date and is the look that Nat prefers most. The one thing he would change though is getting the chance to have the factory pop up headlights retrofitted one day. The previous owner had cut the supports to install the aftermarket units. In all honesty, Nat isn’t a fan.

“I think that changing wheels gives the most significant and most dramatic change towards the look of any car. I do take it to extremes though. From stanced; race wheels, old school and street wheels I have a set for all occasions.,” laughed Nat, and he isn’t joking. For the shoot, we used two sets of wheels – the Work Zistance 19×10 and 19×11 with Nitto 255/285 Invo tyres and a set of Volk CE28RT’s with Nitto Invo 235/265 rubber.

With the rain not giving up, we decided to ditch our current location and head back to my workshop to try our best to get some images. Throughout the night, the rain hampered our progress almost as much as our constant conversations.

Getting back to the car, the FD was all about firing up an unrequited love for Nat. “I previously owned a 2000 FD RX7 in my early twenties but, it was short-lived because I couldn’t afford the up-keep nor the fuel. It wasn’t practical, it was loud, low and tiny but it had an unmistakable raw style to it; it was a drivers car, it was my favourite car to drive, along with my E46 M3. I thought back to those days, and I realised that was the car that I needed to get again for my adrenaline fix. After giving up riding my Ducatis for safety reasons, I wanted to share my passion with my boys, so the Mazda was the best option,” explained Nat.

He located a ’99 FD3S locally, which was blessed with a fresh rebuild and some goodies thrown at it. “I wanted a nice streetcar; it was to be a ‘fast’ daily driver with some neat cosmetics and of course, a bit of go. I had the intention of just leaving it as-is, but that idea lasted literally five minutes – I started tearing the car apart on the first day, and that night, I was already ordering parts online.”

The car had an oversized GT wing, which was far from Nat’s taste, so that got the boot and that one alteration opened up a can of worms. “I had the holes welded up and got the hatch resprayed, but then I decided to paint the whole car in the BMW San Marino Blue instead. It was a snap decision but a good one, I think,” remarked Nat. I tend to agree, the new colour suits the classic 90’s lines of the Mazda.

On this version of the RX7, the body mods are more laid back. It has worn several radical aftermarket parts, but for now, the latest list of aesthetic improvements are limited to Ganador mirrors, the carbon front lip and Feed side skirts, Rocket Bunny rear side flaps, Abflug wing and the Glow Shop tail lights. Previously, Nat had the rear wiper and side markers shaved for a smoother look.

The car was looking the goods now, but it was far from running the best. “After six months of driving, the sequential turbos started to play up, and the only solution I felt was to go a bigger single unit, nothing over the top, just a solid application for the street. While everybody suggested a T04Z and Microtech, I went a different direction with a BorgWarner 8374 and employed a Haltech Elite 1500 for tuning purposes. I like to be different.”

The 13b was extend ported, dowelled and given a full rebuild. Twin 044 pumps send the E85 hurtling towards 2000cc Bosch injectors, while the spent gases exit via a 3-inch straight-through exhaust. Cade Bell from Racing Dynamics got the whole package to work the way Nat desired. “It is pointless having a car that makes big power but then doesn’t have a decent cold start or can’t idle for that matter. Cade made the car fun to drive and a pain-free experience. I am more than happy with the 527rwhp it made on 26psi. I don’t need any more; I can assure you of that,”.

Locked in behind the 13B donk is a standard 5-speed ‘box with a twin-plate carbon clutch. Pulling the rocket up are Wilwood front calipers with slotted discs. Tein coil overs got the go-ahead, as did a Cusco strut brace.

Inside the ride are Bride kevlar Stradia seats, a Nardi wheel and a some neat touches from renown tuning-house RE Amemiya. The subtle changes are just enough.

“I don’t plan on doing much more to the car now, but that is easier said than done. If I can stay away from making more changes, I will maintain it for my boys. They can enjoy it together when they are older. They think it’s so cool, so I know they will appreciate it. They love helping change wheels and parts over; it must be in their DNA. Having them involved with this car is the best part of the build, by far.”

NAT’S IMMACULATE FD RX7 // MARCH FEATURE

I couldn’t have picked a worse day to shoot Nat Graham-Helwig’s slick FD RX7 – the last thing I was expecting was a torrential downpour in the middle of the Western Australian summer. We both agreed the worst was past us, so we planned on meeting up at 8 PM. We hadn’t even set up the car for the first photo when the next deluge occurred. As the rain belted down, we both scampered for cover. The rain didn’t bother Nat though; he doesn’t sweat the little things, he hasn’t got time for that. The car is a street car so no need to panic about a bit of water, the rain actually did us a favour; we had a chance to catch up and chat.

It had been a few months since we had last seen each other. Nat runs two hugely-successful restaurants and is a father of two, so spare time isn’t in his vocabulary these days. For me, well, I am a professional procrastinator and time waster, so I am all over the shop. We are two very different people, but we have been mates for over 20 years now, and we share the same passion – modified cars.

As we chatted away, the conversation bounced from topic to topic with ease, and as usual, we began to reminisce. Nat and I became mates when the ‘Auto Salon’ days were kicking off, so that became a topic that created a tonne of laughter and old stories shared as the thunder clapped in the distance. I was busy rolling old school Mazdas back then, while Nat was into the late-model, plastic bumper stuff. He was well-known in the scene, and his over-the-top GC8 WRX was a polarizing car. That car went on to be Fast Fours & Rotaries cover car and cleaned up at a tonne of major shows. It was one of Perth’s finest imports.

Since then, Nat has moved through high-tech Euros, bikes, back to Japanese rides and then more Euro stuff. One thing he has a knack of doing is taking the mundane and flipping it to create a head-turner. His current RX7 is proof of just that. Over the years, the car has evolved and gone through several changes. Funnily enough, this is the most subtle version of the car I have seen to date and is the look that Nat prefers most. The one thing he would change though is getting the chance to have the factory pop up headlights retrofitted one day. The previous owner had cut the supports to install the aftermarket units. In all honesty, Nat isn’t a fan.

“I think that changing wheels gives the most significant and most dramatic change towards the look of any car. I do take it to extremes though. From stanced; race wheels, old school and street wheels I have a set for all occasions.,” laughed Nat, and he isn’t joking. For the shoot, we used two sets of wheels – the Work Zistance 19×10 and 19×11 with Nitto 255/285 Invo tyres and a set of Volk CE28RT’s with Nitto Invo 235/265 rubber.

With the rain not giving up, we decided to ditch our current location and head back to my workshop to try our best to get some images. Throughout the night, the rain hampered our progress almost as much as our constant conversations.

Getting back to the car, the FD was all about firing up an unrequited love for Nat. “I previously owned a 2000 FD RX7 in my early twenties but, it was short-lived because I couldn’t afford the up-keep nor the fuel. It wasn’t practical, it was loud, low and tiny but it had an unmistakable raw style to it; it was a drivers car, it was my favourite car to drive, along with my E46 M3. I thought back to those days, and I realised that was the car that I needed to get again for my adrenaline fix. After giving up riding my Ducatis for safety reasons, I wanted to share my passion with my boys, so the Mazda was the best option,” explained Nat.

He located a ’99 FD3S locally, which was blessed with a fresh rebuild and some goodies thrown at it. “I wanted a nice streetcar; it was to be a ‘fast’ daily driver with some neat cosmetics and of course, a bit of go. I had the intention of just leaving it as-is, but that idea lasted literally five minutes – I started tearing the car apart on the first day, and that night, I was already ordering parts online.”

The car had an oversized GT wing, which was far from Nat’s taste, so that got the boot and that one alteration opened up a can of worms. “I had the holes welded up and got the hatch resprayed, but then I decided to paint the whole car in the BMW San Marino Blue instead. It was a snap decision but a good one, I think,” remarked Nat. I tend to agree, the new colour suits the classic 90’s lines of the Mazda.

On this version of the RX7, the body mods are more laid back. It has worn several radical aftermarket parts, but for now, the latest list of aesthetic improvements are limited to Ganador mirrors, the carbon front lip and Feed side skirts, Rocket Bunny rear side flaps, Abflug wing and the Glow Shop tail lights. Previously, Nat had the rear wiper and side markers shaved for a smoother look.

The car was looking the goods now, but it was far from running the best. “After six months of driving, the sequential turbos started to play up, and the only solution I felt was to go a bigger single unit, nothing over the top, just a solid application for the street. While everybody suggested a T04Z and Microtech, I went a different direction with a BorgWarner 8374 and employed a Haltech Elite 1500 for tuning purposes. I like to be different.”

The 13b was extend ported, dowelled and given a full rebuild. Twin 044 pumps send the E85 hurtling towards 2000cc Bosch injectors, while the spent gases exit via a 3-inch straight-through exhaust. Cade Bell from Racing Dynamics got the whole package to work the way Nat desired. “It is pointless having a car that makes big power but then doesn’t have a decent cold start or can’t idle for that matter. Cade made the car fun to drive and a pain-free experience. I am more than happy with the 527rwhp it made on 26psi. I don’t need any more; I can assure you of that,” laughed Nat.

Locked in behind the 13B donk is a standard 5-speed ‘box with a twin-plate carbon clutch. Pulling the rocket up are Wilwood front calipers with slotted discs. Tein coil overs got the go-ahead, as did a Cusco strut brace.

Inside the ride are Bride kevlar Stradia seats, a Nardi wheel and a some neat touches from renown tuning-house RE Amemiya. The subtle changes are just enough.

“I don’t plan on doing much more to the car now, but that is easier said than done. If I can stay away from making more changes, I will maintain it for my boys. They can enjoy it together when they are older. They think it’s so cool, so I know they will appreciate it. They love helping change wheels and parts over; it must be in their DNA. Having them involved with this car is the best part of the build, by far. I am blessed.”


ALEX'S TE4SER S14 200SX // FEBRUARY FEATURE

ALEX'S TE4SER S14 200SX
// FEBRUARY FEATURE

Photos by: Ricky Rigutto | Words by: Ian Lee

It’s often said that you never fully appreciate something you have until it’s gone. A feeling that Alex felt not long after selling his S14 almost three years ago. Although the car was separated by some distance having been sold to a buyer in Queensland, distance alone wasn’t enough for the car to be forgotten. You see during the first round of ownership, Alex had big plans for the car, plans that today have come to fruition but were put back on the shelf the moment the car was gone.

With a restless mind knowing that he had unfinished work, Alex mustered up what he needed to do and made the trip up north and bought back his S14 with plans to finish off what he started.

During the original ownership, Alex had painted the S14 in a metallic grey and had it sitting nicely on a set of the SSR SP3 wheels. Despite the S14 already being clean and tidy, Alex wanted to take it to the next level and build the car he’d always wanted and to leave a unique mark on it once it was done.

Starting with the body, Alex both prepped and painted the entire car himself in a custom pearl red with PPG vibrance clear to give the car a mirror finish ontop of the deep, bold colour underneath. With the help of some friends in the industry, Alex also had the rear quarters pumped and the genuine Kouki body kit aligned perfectly during the body restoration process.

With a bit more space to play with, the original SSR’s were swapped in favour of wider Work VSXX wheels which give the car a great stance. Dmax headlights, taillights and Ganador mirrors complete the exterior look of the car.

The car is not all show though and like the plates suggest, the outside appearance is only a teaser to the powerhouse under the hood. His brother Andrew at Malibu Mechanical led the engineering front for this build and was responsible in all things motor, exhaust and wiring – not a small feat and one that Alex says he is eternally grateful to his brother for. Opting to leave the bottom end stock meant that everything else needed an overhaul to achieve the power that Alex was chasing.

Kelford 268/272 cams, 1650cc injectors, Hypertune inlet manifold, billet fuel rail system and throttle body are some of the goodies helping to support the Garrett GT3584rs produce a comfortable 350kw at the wheels. Alex says the goal is to go for the 400kw later in the year, and to help get all of that power to the ground is a built 3 speed C4 800hp rated transmission. Taking the opportunity to do the engine bay tuck and shave he’d always wanted, Alex was left with a bare canvas to plan out the best piping routes for the intercooler, exhaust and radiator.

Capping off the mods to the car is the completely reupholstered interior in black suede and red stitched accents to go with the car’s exterior. Bride Stradia’s were given the same upholstery treatment to blend in the bucket seats to the rest of the interior. While words are limited in describing the cleanliness of the interior, hopefully the pictures do it justice and if that’s not enough to convince you, Alex’s S14 also netted the Hot Import Nights 2019’s Hottest Interior award along with other accolades from the night.

With most of what he wanted to achieve in his second chance of ownership, Alex says there may be some minor changes in the future but at large he’s keen to just enjoy the car for what it is.

ALEX'S TE4SER S14 200SX // FEBRUARY FEATURE

It’s often said that you never fully appreciate something you have until it’s gone. A feeling that Alex felt not long after selling his S14 almost three years ago. Although the car was separated by some distance having been sold to a buyer in Queensland, distance alone wasn’t enough for the car to be forgotten. You see during the first round of ownership, Alex had big plans for the car, plans that today have come to fruition but were put back on the shelf the moment the car was gone. With a restless mind knowing that he had unfinished work, Alex mustered up what he needed to do and made the trip up north and bought back his S14 with plans to finish off what he started.

During the original ownership, Alex had painted the S14 in a metallic grey and had it sitting nicely on a set of the SSR SP3 wheels. Despite the S14 already being clean and tidy, Alex wanted to take it to the next level and build the car he’d always wanted and to leave a unique mark on it once it was done.

Starting with the body, Alex both prepped and painted the entire car himself in a custom pearl red with PPG vibrance clear to give the car a mirror finish ontop of the deep, bold colour underneath. With the help of some friends in the industry, Alex also had the rear quarters pumped and the genuine Kouki body kit aligned perfectly during the body restoration process.

With a bit more space to play with, the original SSR’s were swapped in favour of wider Work VSXX wheels which give the car a great stance. Dmax headlights, taillights and Ganador mirrors complete the exterior look of the car.

The car is not all show though and like the plates suggest, the outside appearance is only a teaser to the powerhouse under the hood. His brother Andrew at Malibu Mechanical led the engineering front for this build and was responsible in all things motor, exhaust and wiring – not a small feat and one that Alex says he is eternally grateful to his brother for. Opting to leave the bottom end stock meant that everything else needed an overhaul to achieve the power that Alex was chasing.

Kelford 268/272 cams, 1650cc injectors, Hypertune inlet manifold, billet fuel rail system and throttle body are some of the goodies helping to support the Garrett GT3584rs produce a comfortable 350kw at the wheels. Alex says the goal is to go for the 400kw later in the year, and to help get all of that power to the ground is a built 3 speed C4 800hp rated transmission. Taking the opportunity to do the engine bay tuck and shave he’d always wanted, Alex was left with a bare canvas to plan out the best piping routes for the intercooler, exhaust and radiator.

Capping off the mods to the car is the completely reupholstered interior in black suede and red stitched accents to go with the car’s exterior. Bride Stradia’s were given the same upholstery treatment to blend in the bucket seats to the rest of the interior. While words are limited in describing the cleanliness of the interior, hopefully the pictures do it justice and if that’s not enough to convince you, Alex’s S14 also netted the Hot Import Nights 2019’s Hottest Interior award along with other accolades from the night.

With most of what he wanted to achieve in his second chance of ownership, Alex says there may be some minor changes in the future but at large he’s keen to just enjoy the car for what it is.




NEIL'S WIDEBODY 180SX // JANUARY FEATURE

NEIL'S WIDEBODY 180SX
// JANUARY FEATURE

Photos by: Khang Nguyen | Words by: Ian Lee

As far as barn restorations go, this is pretty much up there with the best of them. A completely gutted, un-finished, un-rolling shell of a 180sx. A literal ghost in a shell waiting to be revived. It takes a lot of commitment to pick up a project like this, many a times people often get an initial kick of inertia and enthusiasm to start these long journeys only to burn out of funds or patience. But for brothers Neil and Dave at Primal Garage who specialise in paint, panel work and everything mechanical in-between, the 180sx barn find was a perfect car in their eyes to showcase their skills amassed over the years in running a workshop.

Nothing quite compares to the feeling of wanting to outdo someone more than that of sibling rivalry between brothers. For Neil and David back in 2001, it was who had the fastest car. After his brother got hands on a turbo Mtisubishi Cordia, Neil was on the hunt for something quicker. Travelling to Canberra of all places to find his first JDM car, Neil got close to buying a Silvia but the dealer had other plans last minute and made the sale to someone else. Determined to not leave Canberra in the same car he came in, Neil frantically booked test drives with different dealers, trying Skyline’s, 180’s and anything turbo he could get his hands on. Eventually Neil found a black 1990 CA18 180SX with some mild mods and thought, this is it. A deal was struck and for the next 10 years, this was Neil’s project car, drift car and the genesis of Primal Garage.

After a crash at the track bent the shell of the 180, the car was towed back to the workshop where after 6 months sitting there, it faded into the decor and surroundings. Realising the car was beyond salvaging, an off chance presented itself to Neil when a friend offered a straight 180sx shell. The shell itself was as bare as it gets and for the first few visits to his friend’s shed, Neil spent time putting in the right parts to at least get the car in a rolling state. Once it was able to roll, the car was hauled back to the Primal Garage workshop to undergo an overhaul to make it the car you see today.

Project 180sx 2.0 came at the perfect time as Neil had already committed to a road trip to Tasmania in 4 weeks however up until then, he had no car to drive. Incredibly, even in that 4 week time frame, Neil and his brother were able to transform the car from its sorry state and into more or less what you see in the pictures today – widebody paint and all. Immediately after getting the car, the G Corporation Flash widebody panels were ordered in from Japan which crossed off a big item on the to do list (even this arriving in 4 weeks is an achievement in itself!). Salvaging what they could from Neil’s first 180, the rest of the parts were ordered in to make the car at least driveable by the end of the 4 weeks.

Neil was in charge of all the mechanical work, engine build and paint prep for the car while his brother took care of all the metal fabrication and final paint work. The two brothers slaved to meet the deadline and through sheer will and determination, at the end of four weeks a presentable and driveable car came out of the garage and ready to take on the open roads.

Going over the car (as it sits today) you can really appreciate the fabrication work that’s been put in. Neil says that despite owning the car for almost 7 years, the car itself has not changed dramatically from that initial 4 week build which is impressive given the pace in which the car scene changes. Starting with the body, this saw some later enhancements including a genuine Hotroad body kit, Origin Labos bonnet and Dmax roof wing. Reading this list out does seem like a lot of extra panels to add onto the car but through careful selection and pairing with a great final colour, the 180 doesn’t come across as over done at all. During street duties the car rides on a set of silver SSR SP3’s (18×9.5 +3 18×10.5 – 3) which give the car some great stance whilst doing justice to the widen guards. A very purposeful selection of suspension parts from Cusco, Whiteline, Ikeya and some in-house Primal Garage parts have been installed to address the car’s regular drifting requirements.

David’s workmanship as a fabricator really gets put on display the moment you look into the engine bay. In here, you’ll find a tubbed, shaved and tucked canvas that looks more show car spec than drift car but like the rest of the car are all purposeful in nature. For example the tubbed guards grant significant improvements in space to allow tighter wheel positions while drifting. The wide array of custom cooler piping, oil coolers, catch cans and exhaust piping look great against the dark engine bay and help showcase David’s craftsmanship as a fabricator.

Initially running a GT2871r and making around 330hp, the engine has undergone a number of iterations due to unforeseen engine failures over the years – 2 to be exact, but I’m sure Neil isn’t counting. The current setup hosts a high mount Greddy TD06 high mount turbo which has been paired to a fully built SR20. ARP, Aries and Eagle bottom end components were used to help improve reliability and through a previous experience, a stronger 1.1mm Cosworth head gasket was sourced to prevent any repeat heartache. Headwork includes Tomei cams, Supertech valve stems, S13 adjustable cam gears and a fuel setup leveraging a Mazworks billet rail and Bosch 1000cc injectors. With the new setup, the car easily makes 400hp and 457nm of torque on 17psi which Neil says is plenty enough for the track and street.

Like the engine bay, the interior of the car does not immediately scream track car as you’d be hard pressed to find striking differences between this and some of the purely street driven modified cars we’ve shared on this page. The car is not stripped out as you’d expect for a drift car with most of the stock 180sx interior being retained and tweaked. Bride Vios and Euro seats have been installed with the suede material of the seats being used as a reference point for other interior parts such as the glovebox, door cards and centre console. Apexi and AEM have been fitted conveniently for the driver to keep close eyes on the engine vitals. This included creation of a custom dash to house some of the gauges and an Autometer C2 tachometer. Lastly to finish off the interior, a roll cage has also been installed in the car because you know, safety first.

To me, Neil’s car is a perfect blend of form and function. The styling and attention to detail in the aesthetics of the car are up there with some of the best street builds but it takes a brave person to then be willing to put a car like this sideways on a track at over 100km/h. Fortunately Neil didn’t compromise at all with the selection of functional parts needed to make the car safe but also enjoyable on the track. Despite the various setbacks that the car has had over the years of ownership, Neil says he’s extremely grateful and lucky to have his brother’s support and skills at every setback. Still not sure who owns the faster car but with a track day just passed, I guess we’ll have to wait for the score card.

NEIL'S WIDEBODY 180SX // JANUARY FEATURE

As far as barn restorations go, this is pretty much up there with the best of them. A completely gutted, un-finished, un-rolling shell of a 180sx. A literal ghost in a shell waiting to be revived. It takes a lot of commitment to pick up a project like this, many a times people often get an initial kick of inertia and enthusiasm to start these long journeys only to burn out of funds or patience. But for brothers Neil and Dave at Primal Garage who specialise in paint, panel work and everything mechanical in-between, the 180sx barn find was a perfect car in their eyes to showcase their skills amassed over the years in running a workshop.

Nothing quite compares to the feeling of wanting to outdo someone more than that of sibling rivalry between brothers. For Neil and David back in 2001, it was who had the fastest car. After his brother got hands on a turbo Mtisubishi Cordia, Neil was on the hunt for something quicker. Travelling to Canberra of all places to find his first JDM car, Neil got close to buying a Silvia but the dealer had other plans last minute and made the sale to someone else.

Determined to not leave Canberra in the same car he came in, Neil frantically booked test drives with different dealers, trying Skyline’s, 180’s and anything turbo he could get his hands on. Eventually Neil found a black 1990 CA18 180SX with some mild mods and thought, this is it. A deal was struck and for the next 10 years, this was Neil’s project car, drift car and the genesis of Primal Garage.

After a crash at the track bent the shell of the 180, the car was towed back to the workshop where after 6 months sitting there, it faded into the decor and surroundings. Realising the car was beyond salvaging, an off chance presented itself to Neil when a friend offered a straight 180sx shell. The shell itself was as bare as it gets and for the first few visits to his friend’s shed, Neil spent time putting in the right parts to at least get the car in a rolling state. Once it was able to roll, the car was hauled back to the Primal Garage workshop to undergo an overhaul to make it the car you see today.

Project 180sx 2.0 came at the perfect time as Neil had already committed to a road trip to Tasmania in 4 weeks however up until then, he had no car to drive. Incredibly, even in that 4 week time frame, Neil and his brother were able to transform the car from its sorry state and into more or less what you see in the pictures today – widebody paint and all. Immediately after getting the car, the G Corporation Flash widebody panels were ordered in from Japan which crossed off a big item on the to do list (even this arriving in 4 weeks is an achievement in itself!). Salvaging what they could from Neil’s first 180, the rest of the parts were ordered in to make the car at least driveable by the end of the 4 weeks.

Neil was in charge of all the mechanical work, engine build and paint prep for the car while his brother took care of all the metal fabrication and final paint work. The two brothers slaved to meet the deadline and through sheer will and determination, at the end of four weeks a presentable and driveable car came out of the garage and ready to take on the open roads.

Going over the car (as it sits today) you can really appreciate the fabrication work that’s been put in. Neil says that despite owning the car for almost 7 years, the car itself has not changed dramatically from that initial 4 week build which is impressive given the pace in which the car scene changes.

Starting with the body, this saw some later enhancements including a genuine Hotroad body kit, Origin Labos bonnet and Dmax roof wing. Reading this list out does seem like a lot of extra panels to add onto the car but through careful selection and pairing with a great final colour, the 180 doesn’t come across as over done at all. During street duties the car rides on a set of silver SSR SP3’s (18×9.5 +3 18×10.5 – 3) which give the car some great stance whilst doing justice to the widen guards.

A very purposeful selection of suspension parts from Cusco, Whiteline, Ikeya and some in-house Primal Garage parts have been installed to address the car’s regular drifting requirements.

David’s workmanship as a fabricator really gets put on display the moment you look into the engine bay. In here, you’ll find a tubbed, shaved and tucked canvas that looks more show car spec than drift car but like the rest of the car are all purposeful in nature.

For example the tubbed guards grant significant improvements in space to allow tighter wheel positions while drifting. The wide array of custom cooler piping, oil coolers, catch cans and exhaust piping look great against the dark engine bay and help showcase David’s craftsmanship as a fabricator.

Initially running a GT2871r and making around 330hp, the engine has undergone a number of iterations due to unforeseen engine failures over the years – 2 to be exact, but I’m sure Neil isn’t counting. The current setup hosts a high mount Greddy TD06 high mount turbo which has been paired to a fully built SR20. ARP, Aries and Eagle bottom end components were used to help improve reliability and through a previous experience, a stronger 1.1mm Cosworth head gasket was sourced to prevent any repeat heartache.

Headwork includes Tomei cams, Supertech valve stems, S13 adjustable cam gears and a fuel setup leveraging a Mazworks billet rail and Bosch 1000cc injectors. With the new setup, the car easily makes 400hp and 457nm of torque on 17psi which Neil says is plenty enough for the track and street.

Like the engine bay, the interior of the car does not immediately scream track car as you’d be hard pressed to find striking differences between this and some of the purely street driven modified cars we’ve shared on this page. The car is not stripped out as you’d expect for a drift car with most of the stock 180sx interior being retained and tweaked. Bride Vios and Euro seats have been installed with the suede material of the seats being used as a reference point for other interior parts such as the glovebox, door cards and centre console.

Apexi and AEM have been fitted conveniently for the driver to keep close eyes on the engine vitals. This included creation of a custom dash to house some of the gauges and an Autometer C2 tachometer. Lastly to finish off the interior, a roll cage has also been installed in the car because you know, safety first.

To me, Neil’s car is a perfect blend of form and function. The styling and attention to detail in the aesthetics of the car are up there with some of the best street builds but it takes a brave person to then be willing to put a car like this sideways on a track at over 100km/h. Fortunately Neil didn’t compromise at all with the selection of functional parts needed to make the car safe but also enjoyable on the track.

Despite the various setbacks that the car has had over the years of ownership, Neil says he’s extremely grateful and lucky to have his brother’s support and skills at every setback. Still not sure who owns the faster car but with a track day just passed, I guess we’ll have to wait for the score card.


CHOOK’S ROCKET BUNNY 350Z // DECEMBER FEATURE

CHOOK’S ROCKET BUNNY 350Z
// DECEMBER FEATURE

Photos by: Ricky Rigutto | Words by: Ian Lee

Hot Import Nights is arguably one of the most premier auto tuner car events around the world with the first event debuting in the States back in 1998. More recently, the show has made its way over the Pacific and landed on the shores of Australia where for the past 3 years it has been serving up some of the best builds for the public to admire. Of course with such a high profile event, spectators expect nothing short of the very best and to see something you’d not normally see at a regular car show. Sure uniqueness is one component, but final polish, finish and execution of the mods must be top notch. Precision fitment of panels, near mirror sheen paint jobs, mind blowing wheel fitment and engine bays cleaner than most cars interiors all require dedication that is second to none. These characteristics are certainly a lot to find in a single car but for Chookie, this was a challenge and opportunity he relished and lead to his famous Rocket Bunny 350Z being the flagship car for Hot Import Nights.

Although owning a number of other iconic JDM cars like a Corolla AE82, EG Civic, 180SX and a Lexus GS300, Chookie said he’s always had a soft spot for the Fairlady series. When the Z33 first got released, he remembers seeing and thinking it had a striking resemblance to the sleek silhouette of the Porsche 911’s which who can deny looks absolutely incredible. Wanting to stick to JDM, Chookie went ahead and a picked up a bone stock 2005 model 350Z. Despite being a sports car, Nissan only offered the car in some pretty uninspiring base colours upon initial release. In 2005 however, Nissan released a special 35th anniversary edition which commemorated the debut of the 240z – the OG Fairlady Z. In addition to the engine tune, the special edition also came factory in a Ultra Yellow paint code which ended up being the colour Chookie decided on when it came to getting his car.

After a hot second of daily driving duties, the car entered project mode thanks to a company car being provided to Chookie. The first round of modifications was a complete respray in a more neutral, non-metallic, Porsche inspired yellow. While the paint was in decent condition to begin with, Chookie wanted to install some new aftermarket parts and decided to go all in with not only spraying the body kit but the whole car. These included rear pods, side skirts, front bar, and a massive Big Country Labs rear spoiler which gave the car a wide and aggressive profile. A fat set of Work Emotion CR Kai’s and coilovers made sure that the ample stock guard room was filled out as much as possible and with that, ZE-8055 v1 was complete.

Although the BCL wing attracted more attention from the local police than fellow car enthusiasts, the car was reasonably tame by modification standards. The later installation of an Airlift Suspension kit helped in giving the car immediate, modern flexibility in laying out the car for the crowds and being able to comfortably drive home at the flick of a switch. So for some time, Chookie kept the car more or less the same with some minor aesthetic changes here and there like front canards and a NFS Underground-esque green livery down the side of the car.

Knowing deep down that he wanted to build the car into something even more unique, Chookie searched for inspiration on what kind of body kits, wheel setups and colours ticked the boxes he had for his iteration 2 build. If you want to be a (big) kid in a candy shop for car inspiration where do you go? You go to the Tokyo Auto Salon of course. So at the start of 2017, Chookie made his automotive pilgrimage to the car tuning Mecca of the world. Returning back from the land of the rising sun full of ideas and inspiration a plan was set in motion to turn the yellow Z into a one of a kind Rocket Bunny, twin turbo, tuner centric car.

While with previous cars he’d owned, Chookie says when he was younger and had more time he was pretty hands on in terms of personally modifying his cars. However with less time in the day and a need for nothing short of perfection for the finished Z, he wanted to leave the assembly to the experts in the industry. Starting with the sourcing of the genuine Rocket Bunny kit, Chookie enlisted the help of Concept Garage to mould the various body panels onto the car. In total, there’s around 8 parts including the front bumper, front and rear fenders, front splitter, rear splitter and boot lip. Like most body kits, a bit of massaging was required to get everything to line up properly but Chookie says he can’t be more happy with the results and work put in by Concept Garage.

The colour of the car is a “Brandy Wine” mix that was put together by Auto Elements after a number of different samples to find the right colour to pair with the new body kit. Similarly to colours like Nissan’s Midnight Purple, this custom colour mix gives a colour change effect depending on the light source – take it from me it is not an easy colour spectrum to capture in a single photo! In brighter / more direct sunlight, the car certainly gives off more of that burgundy wine colour however at night the car transforms into a night runner with the cooler, deeper purple coming through. Finishing off the paint work are some subtle gold accents that have been applied to the edges of the front and rear splitter and side skirts.

AutoCraze were able to help track down and put in a custom order for the huge 19inch golden Rotiform USF wheels from the states which took over stance duties from the Work CR Kai’s. Nothing quite exaggerates a wide body better than having ridiculously dished wheels! Finally, taking a page directly out of a tuner magazine from the 90’s is the adornment of stickers of product brands used on the car. Although generally stereotyped as a ‘ricer’ mod and internet trolling, I personally think that when done on a purpose built tuner car like Chookie’s, it only helps to further accentuate and stay more true to the look and culture.

Although with what I’ve told you and what you can probably see by now, Chookie’s car has already received praise and accolades for how it’s turned out. Debuting at the first Australian Hot Import Night event a few years ago, and returning ever since. With the looks, stance, paint and body work more than enough to keep you occupied, it’s understandable if you’ve already forgotten about Chookie’s other goal when he started building the car; the twin turbo setup. It is in fact packing some serious heat via a pair of rear mounted Garrett GTX3071r’s. Other supporting bits to this build include twin GFB EX44 external waste gates, GFB SV50 blow off valves, supporting fuelling and ignition mods and finally an Emtron ECU. The car isn’t tuned yet however Chookie says that with a lower spec’d and more conventional bolt on kit than his on the same VQ35DE motor, 300kw is not uncommon with a safe tune. So naturally, the expected power for his setup should easily make that and then some but only time will tell once the tune happens!

MODS LIST

– Stock VQ35DE
– Twin turbos rear mounted
– Two Garrett GTX3071Rs
– GFB twin EX44 waste gates
– GFB twin SV50 blow off valves
– FX-R fuel regulator

– 6 speed
– Exedy heavy duty clutch
– Solid mass fly wheel conversion

– Emtron

– Factory Brembos

– Rotifrom USF matte gold centres with candy gold clear lips
– 19×12 front and 19×14 rear
– Nitto INVO 305/30 R19 front
– Nitto INVO 45/30 R19 rear

– Complete genuine Rocket Bunny kit
– House of Kolor brandywine
– Rear wiper
– Antenna delete

– Like Wise gearknob

– Air Lift Performance 3H air suspension