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

CHOOK’S ROCKET BUNNY 350Z // DECEMBER FEATURE

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 AE82, EG Civic, 180SX and a 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. 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 Big Country Labs rear spoiler which gave the car a wide and aggressive profile. A set of 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 HIN 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