Photos by Casey Heerman and Mike Kojima
|I guess my wife can blame James Chen of Axis Wheels for this project car. It’s a well known fact that I have too many cars. I have more cars than I can store easily on my property or the MotoIQ headquarters. It’s also a well known fact that most of them don’t run at any particular time because, I only have so much bandwidth and more importantly money to work on numerous projects. The fact that our house is in a pretty decent part of the OC and looks like a Redneck's doublewide pisses off my wife to no end. My neighbors probably don’t like me very much either.|
Currently there is a super nice JDM style 300ZXTT sitting in my garage under a layer of dust because I haven’t had time to drive it for about two years. My EVO IX sits next to it as well as our 2006 Pathfinder. Out front in the driveway is the world famous Dog Car under a cover and its under construction sister, the Dog III. My Pathfinder tow vehicle-parts runner, my all-motor 200SX SE-R and my daily driver G35 are parked in front of the house. These cars run. My Turbo SE-R is sitting at JWT waiting for time to fix the motor and a Spec-V time attack car is getting built at Technosquare. There are also a few parts cars strewn around various places in case one of the road racing Sentras gets wadded up and we need a new body shell. In other words, the house looks pretty bad.
I wanted to get a 240SX to do a SR swap but the wife said NFW with that one unless I sold three of the other cars so I had to stay happy with what I had. Well one day I am at the track and James Chen, owner of Axis wheels tells me to take his road racing/drift supercharged 350Z out for a spin and give some of his friends rides while he relaxes and eats or something. Not one to turn down driving for free, I jump for this chance. Now although I started my driving career with RWD cars and am comfortable in FWD, AWD and RWD machines, I haven’t driven a well set up powerful RWD car for a while. James’s Z fits the bill, with 410 whp of supercharged VQ35DE under hood this car has fun written all over it.
I had so much fun sliding the Z around the track that I had to have a powerful RWD track car of my own, but how do I get this past the (wife)boss? Well I had been eyeing the rotting hulk of a 1995 Z32 300ZXTT sitting in the parking lot of Nissan Motorsports for many years. On a whim I asked Nissan Motorsport’s Paul StClair if I could have the car. A few weeks later and one dollar lighter with a Motorsports only bill of sale, I was the proud owner of another 300ZX. I figured that I would not get too busted if the car was just about free. We decided first off that this would be a serious road racing car, a no holds barred machine built for one thing, kicking ass and taking names on the track. Our goal is to build a 600 whp, wide body monster with killer suspension, fully functional aerodynamics and huge brakes and tires. We have a goal to deliver this in a package that weighs less than 2900 lbs. We intend to build a Z32 like no other to date!
Since a Motorsports bill of sale means that the car can only be used for racing, we wasted no time in gutting the car's interior completely. At a porky 3500 lbs, the Z’s main enemy is its sheer weight. With that in mind, we began the first stage of a radical weight loss program. The luxurious Z’s insides are really heavy; in fact the whole car is very heavy. After removing the interior we used dry ice to freeze the tar soaked felt sound deadening so it could be more easily chipped away. The remaining sound deadening and gobs of seam sealer were removed with an angle grinder and a twisted strand wire wheel. This was dirty nasty work but it also saved many lbs.
|Steven Quinn uses dry ice to harden the sound deadening to help remove it by making it brittle|
|5 year old Christa Kojima helps maintain the family heritage for building fast racecars|
|Shawn Guardado grinds out the sealer with an angle grinder|