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My Fairlady: Take 2

As prices of the 350Z plummet, its appeal skyrockets… and that opens the door for more petrolheads to get their hands on it and boost the engine to new horsepower highs.

So there’s this scene from the movie The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift that shows the antagonist and a couple of his goons sliding after the hero around the packed streets of Tokyo following a confrontation gone south.

If you’ve watched the movie; something that should be a given since you’re flipping through the pages of Hypertune, you’ll also recall that being a baddie in the movie decreed more than just coordinated protection racketeering and hairstyles.

That’s right; you needed to drive the same cars as well so it won’t inconvenience the police in locating you when you’re on the run. Logic aside though, the baddies all drove the Nissan 350Z because the grand tourer was a perfect accessory in doing their rounds to collect the aforementioned protection money.

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It looked the part, was comfortable so you wouldn’t feel tired after taking unearned money, had an award-winning engine to outrun the coppers and sharp handling to complement it as well.

However, due to our displacement-based road tax structure, the 350Z, or Fairlady as it was badged in certain markets, didn’t enjoy the popularity accorded to the other performance models from the Nissan stable. Quite frankly, shelling out over RM4,000 a year for road tax was preposterous and being a newer model, prices of the 350Z weren’t in its favour either.

That is until it passed the decade mark recently. Now that bank loans are more difficult to come by, prices for the Z car have dropped by quite a margin; making them fairly affordable for the average Joe tuner provided road tax isn’t an issue.

Some have skirted the issue by dropping in a more road-tax friendly engine with the venerable Toyota 2JZ a popular option. Some kept the factory VQ35DE, itself an award-winning engine that was a permanent fixture on the Ward’s 10 Best Engines list during its production period.

Now that the 350Z is relatively more affordable here, highly modified examples are popping up all over the place and the one featured here sports an impressive list of mods that crank up the power to fully utilise the grand tourer’s delectable road manners.

From the factory, the VQ35DE ran just under 300hp. Now that is pretty decent figures for a naturally-aspirated V6 a decade ago but the lack of oomph has been one of the primary issues that owners have been quick to address.

Supercharging was the favoured weapon of choice in spitting out some larger bullets and there wasn’t a shortage of options for the engine. In fact, turbocharging appeared to be the third favourite behind maintaining the naturally-aspirated route and going for responsiveness.

Nonetheless, the turbos is undoubtedly one of the most popular methods of extracting power here in Malaysia and with the wealth of knowledge already available from tuners in the country, the owner decided to take the turbo leap.

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The choice of turbo is a GT3071R with a steel ball-bearing centre section and anti-surge housing; good for up to 480hp with the right supporting components. Those components consist primarily of a Kinetix Velocity intake.

Designed specifically for the VQ35DE engines, the intake sports a tapered velocity plenum that increases airflow towards the rear cylinder for equal flow, has a larger plenum chamber volume and shorter runners for higher horsepower potential. Furthermore, it makes use of thicker gauge material for higher boost application and is covered by a warranty up to 2.0-bars of boost.

Completing the list of engine mods is a Turbosmart 50mm wastegate, Tial 50mm blow-off valve and custom rear mount turbo placement for shorter piping length.

To bring the engine management up to par, the tuner went with an Uprev Osiris reflash of the stock ECU over replacing it with a piggyback or standalone unit that would have required more work.

Sending the power to the rear wheels is the six-speed manual transmission from the factory that has been beefed up with an OS Giken 4.3 final drive. Going up in ratio helps improve acceleration and the additional cog should make this one blisteringly quick coupe. Finally, limiting wheelspin is tasked to a Tomei 2-way LSD.

With the surge of power on tap now, bringing the car to a halt is something that cannot be taken lightly as well. Smartly, the owner went with a set of factory Brembo brakes from its supercar-slaying sibling, the Nissan GT-R R35.

With many R35 owners upgrading their stoppers, the massive factory Brembos are readily available on the market and make perfect upgrades for smaller sports cars such as the 350Z.

Paired with the stock calipers are Gran Turismo drilled and slotted 355mm rotors to stop on a dime. Keeping the car in contact with the asphalt are sticky Toyo Proxes T1 Sports rubbers wrapping some 18-inch alloys.

Handling has been improved with a complete set of Tein Monoflex dampers that firm up the ride but not going overboard to sacrifice the comfort of the coupe.

With all that added power, some visual enhancements would surely be the icing on the cake and to throw in some function into the form mix, a MCR vented carbon fibre hood improves engine cooling and reduces weight up front while Do-Luck front and rear bumpers add some aggressiveness. Lastly, a Voltex high-mount GT wing ramps up downforce in the rear.

Inside, it’s all business with a full Cusco roll-cage setting the tone and joined by a GReddy Multi D/A gauge for a 2-in-1 readout, a custom switch panel and Recaro bucket seats.

Now, given the relatively simple list of parts thrown into the mix and the subsequent returns, it’s easy to see how the 350Z will be enjoying a second take at life with a new generation of petrolheads set to take on this new canvas and you can be assured that the list of mods will be getting more extreme.

HYPERFACTS!
Car – Nissan 350Z

Engine Mods – Kinetix Velocity SSV intake manifold, GT3071R turbocharger with anti-surge housing, Turbosmart 50mm wastegate, Tial 50mm blow-off valve, custom rear mount turbo

Electronics – Uprev Osiris reflash

Transmission – OS Giken racing clutch, Tomei 4.3 final drive, Tomei 2-way LSD

Brakes – R35 Brembo calipers, GT6 drilled and slotted 355mm rotors

Suspension & Chassis – Tein Monoflex dampers

Wheels & Tires – Toyo Proxes T1 Sport tyres

Interior Mod – Cusco full roll-cage, custom switch panel, GReddy DA gauge, Recaro bucket seat

Exterior Mod – MCR carbon hood, Vortex GT wing, Do-Luck front and rear bumper

Garage – K Tuning Motorsports