25th Mar2016

Make It Yourself: Widebody Voltex WRX

by Michael Chandler

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-4

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Since that fateful SEMA, all those years ago, making your car wide has become a lot easier.  There are rivet on fender flares for all of the popular chassis: FRS/BRZ, 350Z, 240SX, E36, I even saw that there’s a Pandem kit for EG Civics!  If you have a Porsche, you can have Nakai-san fly to you and make your 964 or 993 chassis 911 insanely wide.  This is great and all, but seeing a hand made wide body kit, where the fenders were cut and shaped and re-welded and repainted is a rare sight.  Hardly anybody is doing that.  Jon Truong is no stranger to making something work on his bug-eye WRX.  For a while this thing was known for sporting some Voltex pieces, pieces that weren’t made for the 02-03 WRX’s.  How do you improve on that little project?  Well let’s talk about that.

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-8 Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-16

A pair of bright red Bride Low Max seats with 5-point Takata harnesses brighten up the interior.  An Auto Power roll cage provides some extra security in case things get a little wild, which hopefully they don’t.  Jon lays his hands on a gorgeous, limited edition Sparco Champion steering wheel, which is attached to an NRG quick release hub.  Between the steering wheel and the gauge cluster are an AEM UEGO wideband gauge, and one of his Defi gauges.  Atop the dash, dead center, are the rest of his Defi gauges.  They monitor oil temperature and pressure, exhaust gas temperature, and boost.  The shift boot has been replace with a JPM Coachworks Alcantara piece.  All those gauges and that cage would be ridiculous if the engine was stock, but thankfully that is not the case.

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-12

Definitely not stock.  Far, far from it.  Very few OEM pieces remain.  The crankcase is the on that came with the car, but that has been filled with some shiny new bits.  The block received a set of Darton sleeves, a crankshaft from a 2008 STI, KillerB pickup tube and baffle, King bearings, Rallispec connecting rods, and Cosworth pistons.  ARP headstuds hold the ported and polished two liter heads to the block, with Tomei headgaskets in between, and those heads are like a pinata: filled with goodies!  BC 1mm oversized valves, titanium valve springs and retainers, and 272 degree camshafts.  Supertech valve guides let those big valves move smoothly.  NGK spark plugs, one step colder than stock, supply the bang for the Otto cycle.  Samco radiator hoses, a Grimmspeed thermostat and a Koyorad radiator keep the engine cool, and a Tomei timing belt connects the new crank to the lumpy cams.  Hiding the alternator (hey, that’s stock!) is a gorgeous Abbey Road Company, more commonly known as ARC, alternator cover.

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-13

Sitting atop an Agency Power manifold and TurboXS rotated up-pipe is a massive Garrett GT3582R turbo, featuring a TiAL hotside.  That’s quite the hair dryer!  That beast requires a bit of fuel, which is provided by a Walbro 255lph fuel pump, Agency Power fuel rails and Injector Dynamics 1000cc fuel injectors.  An Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator makes sure the flow is consistent, which is an important thing when you’re dealing with any larger-than-stock turbo setup.  Keeping the boost in check are a wonder trio of bits: a TiAL 44mm wastegate and Q blow off valve, and a Hallman boost controller.  Jon is running an AEM 3.5 BAR MAP sensor, because reasons and there’s no place for a MAF sensor.  The brains of the operation aren’t behind Jon’s bespectacled eyes, but in the COBB Tuning Accessport.  Keeping everything lubricated is oil, and sending that oil to the places it needs to go is a Cosworth high volume and pressure oil pump.  At the end of this whole thing is an Invidia G200 catback.  Ok, while all of that is awesome, it’s not what makes this car special.  While beauty in people is on the inside, the opposite is true for this car.

Now, all of the power needs to go through some stuff so it becomes what they call “usable”.  As you know, or not, Subaru transmissions are known for having 2nd gears made of glass.  Thankfully an upgrade to a six speed trans out of a JDM 2007 model should have that situation remedied.  Holding that new transmission in place is a Perrin transmission mount, and connecting that to the rear differential is a PST carbon driveshaft.  Helping with the gear shifts are a Kartboy short shifter and a Goodrich stainless steel clutch line.  With great power comes great necessity for a clutch that can handle that.  A Carbontec carbon clutch is up to the task, and an ACT Streetlite flywheel helps with engine response.

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-7 Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-9

Actually putting the power to the ground are a set of Yokohama Advan AD08Rs, which are mounted on a massive set of CCW Classics.  They come in at a staggering 18×11!  Behind the gargantuan wheels (11″ wide!  On all four corners!  ON A STREET CAR!!!) are Brembo calipers harvested from an STI, which clamp Hawk HPS pads upon DBA T3 slotted rotors.  All hail the magical kangaroo paw.  Feeding brake fluid to the calipers are some Stoptech stainless steel brake lines.  The suspension is fairly simple, a set of Zeal Function coilovers bring the car down and make the lateral transitions sharper.

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-10Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-2

They say beauty is on the inside, and while the insides of this car are very pretty, the outside is much prettier.  You can clearly see that the license plate say VOLTEX.  This is for good reason.  Jon was bold enough to graft Voltex parts not meant for his chassis on to it.  For the longest time this was just the Voltex Bugeye, and that was good.  The rear diffuser, sidesteps and GT wing, and Greddy lip proved to be starting points, because things just went from there.  In the rear we have 04-05 tail lights, and a rear bumper and fender arches from yet another STI.  Oh, and there’s also the widebody setup back there too.  But why throw a widebody on the rear, and not the front?

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-3

Before we get to that, let’s talk about some of the other stuff on this car.  There’s a wide assortment of JDM goodies on this: STI V7 hood scoop, grill and headlights; Spec-C roof vent; side markers, and ion fog lights.  There’s a roof vane behind the roof vent, and the corner markers have been plugged with carbon fiber.

Voltex WRX feature CAMautoMag Michael Chandler-1

As you can see, there are no rivets on the exterior of this car.  And the wide fenders on the front didn’t arrive at Solid Autoworks in a box.  Those are handmade in metal.  Seeing someone with legitimate wide metal front fenders is a rarity, in an age where you can order FRP over fenders and slap them on.  A lot of craftsmanship went into this bugeye, proving that sometimes the only way to have the best is to make it yourself.

GALLERY:

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
04th Feb2015

Converted For Duty: RWD Subaru Forester

by Michael Chandler

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-11

Every kid in Utah at one point wanted an all wheel drive vehicle.  Back when I was in high school the choices were simple: Eclipse/Talon GSX, Lancer Evolution, WRX, or STi.  Those were the options if you wanted to boogie and didn’t want to blow the bank.  Now it’s different.  Now rear wheel drive is the go to form of propulsion, but with the more popular rwd chassis fetching stupid prices (thanks drift tax!) sometimes you have to get creative if you want to slide.  And that creativity is what brings us Jackson Brundage’s Forester.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag

This Forester used to be slightly different.  By that I mean it was stanced out, was automatic and had a basket affixed to the roof rack.  But hard parking can only satiate someone for so long.  Soon Jackson was reading up on RWD conversions, and having everyone on Drift Utah tell him to talk to Derrick Lopez or Nate Omana, two other rwd Subaru pilots.  Soon he had a plan.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-7

And that plan was fairly simple: use the fact that he works at Despain Automotive, and follow the blueprints laid out by many others before him.  The car rolled in powering all four wheels, and rolled out powering the right ones.  Voila!  RWD Subaru!  While things were being removed, the front swaybar was tossed on the pile, and the coilovers he had on the car were swapped out for a set of Stance Pro Comps.  The auto was thrown very, very far away in favor of a 5 speed manual box out of a 2002 WRX.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-4

There’s a welded R160 differential in the back, and Whiteline bushings are holding it securely.  The old control arm bushings have been replaced with fresh ones from Super Pro.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-12

A Miro 563 wheel sits on each corner, and they are all 18×9.5 +34.  The only difference is in the rubber front to rear: Dunlop Direzza Z1 Star Specs.  Out back is whatever fits and is available.  The clutch has also been upgraded to an Exedy unit, which will take the repeated clutch kick abuse in stride.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-8

The interior is… an eclectic mix of things.  The center console looks like a lumber jack that has been stabbed with a #2 Snap On screwdriver, which thankfully it isn’t but a Snap On #2 screwdriver serves as Jackson’s shift knob.  Hanging about that are some Hello Kitty fuzzy dice, because kawaii.  That glossy steering wheel is an NRG piece, with an NRG quick release sitting on a Sparco hub.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-10

Stage 6 Motoring makes the seats he and his passenger strap themselves into.  They’re the Chaser 1 Neo seat, which means sweet ass leopard print on the front and sparkly silver on the back!  Both seats are on Planted Technology bases, and while the passenger is stuck with the factory three point, Jackson has himself a Takata four point harness.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-5

Seeing this car from the back would reveal absolutely nothing about the conversion it has received.  It looks like any Forester that’s been lowered and fitted with after market wheels; however, approaching from the front tells a different tale.  Seeing the bash bar, which was fabricated by his friend Walter, instantly says “business”.

Kawaii RWD Forester Michael Chandler CAMautoMag-6

In the end, Jackson will have hopefully drift missile’d this thing out: hit everything with it at every possible angle, straightened various things with tow straps, and used it and his misadventures in drifting as a foundation to build a prettier, more competition oriented car.

Either that, or he slides this thing around and keeps adding kanji stickers and Hello Kitty stuff to it and has the most kawaii car at all the local events.  Either or, so long as he watches those videos I told him to watch.

Words and photos by Michael Chandler
*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.
17th Nov2014

Welcome To The Internet: Datsun 280ZX

by Michael Chandler

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-1

 

Words and photos by Michael Chandler

Ahh the internet, home of all things wonderful, weird, horrifying and amazing.  It’s also where Ian Perri’s 280ZX has found recognition, and dare I say fame.  We first met Ian and his shakotan S130 last year at the In N Out Subie Invasion meet.  The car was a lot like it sits before you, but it’s also undergone some changes.  Changes we’ve been able to see through Facebook and Instagram posts.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-3

It’s also on Facebook and Instagram that we stumbled across other things that Ian likes.  He’s a big Nicolas Cage fan, and also enjoys King Of The Hill.  He runs around with the Slamburglars and Outsid3rs guys, and he got his hands on a Toyota Cressida.  He leads a well rounded life, or so says the internet.  Enough about him, let’s talk about the S130.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-8

First thing you notice about the car is how you almost trip over it.  (Well, that and what’s left of the Kaminari body kit)  This thing is insanely low.  On the drive over to the shoot we saw it shooting sparks while driving over a flat road!  The stance is achieved with custom coilovers with sectioned struts up front and S13 240sx coilovers in the rear with shortened struts.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-2

Ian drifts this car.  Not “occasionally spin donuts in a parking lot” drifting, he goes out to Vegas ProAM events, pays his entry fee and gets loose.  He even drove this car, as it sits, to California to drift.  To help with that, drifting not driving to California, he’s modified the steering knuckles and inner tie rods.  Tein tension rods for an S13 have been adapted for use as front lower control arms, and they’ve also been clearanced to clear the steering knuckles.  While he was in there, he added some negative camber roll center adjusters.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-9

There are no sway bars at either end, this S130 is a sway bar free zone.  There is 5-6 degrees of camber correction in the rear using heim ends in the rear lower control arms, and a slotted rear crossmember.  Between the rear wheels is a differential out of an S12 200SX.  The R180 diff has a 4.11 gear and the carrier has been swapped to accept stock axles.  It’s also been welded.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-5 Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-6

While we’re at the back, let’s check out the JDM 280ZX-R hatch and spoiler.  That’s some sweet, sweet JDM goodness.  There’s also the twin tail pipes sticking out from the bumper.  Those are the end of a custom exhaust featuring MSA twice pipe muffler.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-12 Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-14

That exhaust starts here, under the hood.  It come off of a MSA header that’s been modified for better ground clearance.  The header hangs off of the L28, which is topped off with a shaved and polished valve cover.  Bringing the spark to the party is an MSD Ignition, and keeping everything cool is a Koyo radiator with the OEM shroud modified to fit the new radiator.  The big things here are the triple 45mm OER carburetors.  And the custom fuel rail with AN fittings, but mostly the carbs.  Carburetors are black magic and voodoo to get working right, getting three to work right AND together means Ian is some kind of wizard.  Backing the magical OHC mill is a transmission out of a kouki 280ZX.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-15 Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-16 Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-17

The interior is a show quality, concourse perfect… No, no it isn’t  It’s a well worn interior, one you’d expect in a car built and used like this.  A Sparco Sprint bucket seat is showing it’s age, but still holds Ian securely in place.  The red button on the Nardi Gara wheel doesn’t do anything except honk the horn.  And the shifter is something I know very well.  It’s out of an old Celica Supra, which is the same place the shifter in my Supra came from.

Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-10 Datsun 280ZX Feature CAMautoMag.com Michael Chandler-4

When we were first introduced to this car it was on a set of Centerlines.  He still has those, and a set of Enkei 92s, but the red slippers this thing wears will make any fanboi jealous.  Starting life as 14×6 all around, the Advan A3As have been widened by Wheelflip.  The custom made lips have been polished and bring the specs to 14×9.5 -35 in the front and 14×10 -41 in the rear.  The barrels and faces were refinished by Ian himself, and he took it upon himself to reassemble the wheels.

The internet loves this car.  Maybe because it stands in contrast to the uber-clean, yet hardly driven Stance and “race” cars we see.  Perhaps deep down inside we all want a shakotan car.  Or maybe because it’s a really honest example of something built by a guy who wants to build something for himself to go do stupid things with his friends in.  Whatever the reason, it’s getting some of that sweet internet fame.  Sweet, delicious internet fame it deserves

*Article and Photos are copyright of CAMautoMag.Com and their respective owners.

 

27th Sep2011

The Blueprint: Nissan 240SX

by Michael Chandler

If you’ve seen the drifting coverage we’ve previously had, then you know of the car featured here. What you might not know are all of the gritty details of how this S13 coupe came to be the silver, purple and green beast it is today. Let us begin with the obvious question: why a 1JZ? (more…)