Dec 31, 2007 | NZPC

Nissan Navara - Bump 'n' Grind

It’s funny how different people hate different things; some hate eating their broccoli and some hate heights or flying or even wearing underpants. Marcus Rose doesn’t hate wearing underpants or eating his greens, but he does hate bumps in the road and when you look at his 1986 Nissan Navara it’s not hard to work out why. As you will see Marcus’ Navara is a little out of the ordinary.

After reading Mini Truckin’ magazine for a few years, then meeting up with Tony Hines of Slammed Kustoms, Marcus had a few plans to transform the would-be farm hack. First item on the agenda for the Navara was to add some drop spindles to the front suspension and a small C-notch into the chassis to get the whole package closer to mother earth. These small plans soon ballooned to giant proportions and became the masterpiece you see before you.

For the intended C-notch, the tray had to be removed from the chassis and the fuel tank relocated to just behind the cab. It was at this stage the boys got talking about changing the leaf spring rear suspension for a full airbag setup. To give the ride the height they had seen in American magazines, a custom ladder bar setup was fabricated, as were custom mounts. The chassis rails were raised six inches above factory, allowing the ute to drop so low the chassis rails hit the ground.

Enabling the truck to actually drive are 1/2-inch line airbags fed by twin 40-litre tanks mounted behind the diff. The tanks themselves were painted-up to replicate large Red Bull drink cans. (You’ve got to get your wings somehow I guess.) Each giant tank is fed by its own compressor, meaning this truck can do a whole lot of up-and-down and side-to-side action before needing a rest.

One-and-a-half-inch steel was used to create the top air bag mounts and strengthen the whole rear end and the bags themselves are mounted to a unique flame-shaped plate on each side for added effect. To match, the whole chassis section was airbrushed with blue flames over the gloss black base coat.

The rear section of tray was then chopped to fit over the air bag equipment and provide a window to view the mods below, while the front was given a custom cover over the battery and fuel tank.

Making sure the bounce doesn’t get totally out of control is a short set of chromed shocks — once destined to live out their lives on the front end of a hot rod.

Up front the drop spindles that started this carry-on have been installed, but with the decision to change to air bags, custom strut mounts also had to be manufactured. Attached to these are matching air bags, which again run the big 1/2-inch lines. These lines allow the truck to raise and lower at the blink of an eye with large solenoids emitting a loud crack at each hit of the down button. The whole suspension setup is run off a 14-function PlayStation-style remote control that allows movement of each wheel separately, or side-to-side and front-to-back movements.

Obviously, to give as much movement as the boys were after, the front inner guards were removed and will soon be wearing mini tubs.
With the suspension side taken care of, the shabby silver paint just didn’t really do the truck any favours and a booking was made with AJ at Whenuapai Auto Repair.

Before this though, Tony and Marcus discussed some simple body mods. Again these became not so simple.

Starting from the front, the standard square bumper was replaced by a more curved 4WD Toyota Hilux bumper and valance combination. As the Hilux bumper has park lights built in, Tony set about covering over the holes where standard lights used to reside.
Deletion of the corner lights also allowed for a Slammed Kustoms phantom front grill to be fitted, effectively disguising what brand of truck it is.Knowing that the 14-inch wheels would make way for something a little more suited to the mini truck style, the front guards were replaced with flared numbers from the 4WD Navara. With the intention of making the doors open in reverse 'suicide’ fashion, the standard handles were removed and panelled over.

In good old New Zealand DIY style, Tony moved the standard door hinges to the rear and the catch to the front instead of purchasing big dollar hinge kits from the States. This left only one problem though, where to put the door handles without ruining the smooth lines of the truck. With some input from Tony’s dad, who is an old skool hot-rodder, the decision was made to conceal door poppers behind where wing mirrors would normally sit. The poppers they ended up using are small skull items that are normally hidden, but truly look the part.

All tie-downs and hooks were removed from  the tray and Tony crafted a custom tailgate and roll pan to be fitted before the tailgate was welded shut.

The idea at this stage was to fit clear taillights — that was until Marcus came across some genuine Cadillac lights.

Next came the problem of where to put the number plate without ruining the unique look, a problem easily solved over a few cans of Red Bull. The simple answer was to mount the plate up on the custom panel behind the cab: the chosen answer was to have it mounted on a motorized lifting mechanism so that it raises when the truck is fired into life.

With the not-so-simple body mods taken care of, the car was finally handed to AJ at Whenuapai for some quality paint.

The colour of choice? Taurus blue. Not as in Ford Taurus, but Red Bull Taurus.

With a truck that looks this good standing still, the idea of dropping a hypo engine in simply wasn’t on the cards, so the standard engine remains in place, albeit with a ramflow filter added. In saying that, during our photo shoot I did hear SR20 mentioned a few times, so maybe that’s a possibility for later on.

The Nissan’s factory brown vinyl seats are great to hide the mud that comes in on your gummies or Swandry, but again not so good for air bagged-up mini trucks. Being more of a mini tucker than a lifestyle farmer, Marcus changed the seats for a pair of Mazda RX-7 items.

Steering Marcus around bumps in the road is now taken care of via an ultra cool skull-shaped billet steering wheel and boss kit combo. The standard engine and gearbox remain, but the gear lever was replaced by a blingin’ carbon fibre item.

All remaining brown items in the cab, such as dash, carpet and pillars, were put out to pasture or re-coloured in black, with the exception of the door skins. These were replaced with custom fibreglass panels.

Keeping an eye on air pressure is a quadruplet of air pressure gauges mounted just below the headunit. Replacing the original speedo gauges are custom flame-looking numbers from Marcus’s friend Larry.

The lovely farm wheels did end up being replaced by a set of 18-inch polished Mitsi Pajero items, which for factory wheels, don’t look too bad at all.  Keeping these rollers off the tarmac is a set of 215/40R18 tyres all round.

So there you have it: how to perform an extreme makeover on a would-be farm hack. Exactly one year after it was started, this truck is now a standout and leading the way in New Zealand mini trucking.

The boys have talked about a few more simple mods and we all know what happens when these guys get like that. By the time we see this truck next, who knows what it will look like. One thing’s for sure though, with guys like Marcus, Tony and AJ on the case, it’ll be one to look out for.


1986 Nissan Navara

Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder NA

Drivetrain: Standard 5-speed, standard diff

Brakes: Standard front disc, soon to be disc rear end

Suspension: Custom short shocks, custom ladder bars, C-notched chassis, drop spindle, Pan hard bar, Twin 40l tank air air bag setup, 3/8-inch lines, 4 valves, PlayStation controller, custom mounts

Wheels/Tyres: 18-inch polished Pajero rims with 215/40R18 tyres

Exterior: 4WD front guards, shaved park lights, shaved antenna holes, shaved door handles and locks, face lift bonnet, Hilux front bumper and valance, Phantom billet grille, suicide doors, hidden door poppers, custom roll pan and rear tail skin, relocated fuel tank, Cadillac tail lights

Interior: Series 6 RX-7 seats, Skill billet steering wheel, carbon fibre gear leaver, custom gauges, fibreglass door skins

Performance: N/A

Driver Profile

Name: Marcus Rose

Age: 27

Lives: Auckland

Occupation: Territory Manager

Dream Car: “It sits in front of you at this point in time. But have always loved Ford F250, slammed-out air bags of course, tricked-out with all the goodies. I have another project that I also want to build in the next year or two.”

Why The Navara: “I had been buying a magazine called 'Mini Truckin’ from the States and loved how low they got their mini trucks and how different every truck could be, their craftsmanship being the only limiting factor. Saw Tony’s SLAMMD at the 2003 Nats and thought it was the bomb; finally someone had the same ideas as me and we started to make plans from there. Took H8BMPZ into Tony’s for a minor C-section and new tail skin, but — the usual story — we got talking and looked what happened.”

Build Time: 1 year nearly to the day
Length of Ownership: 3 years

Thanks: Mum and Dad, who live in Aussie for their help in finding parts and corresponding for me over there. Tony Hines @ Slammed Kustoms 021 443 029, Andrew Morris (AJ) @ Whenuapai Auto Refinish 09 416 7291, Tony’s Dad for his hot rod help and knowledge, Mark @ Mag and Turbo 09 274 2941, PPG Industries, everyone at Red Bull NZ, Exide batteries, Aaron, Keith, Sam @ VDO car audio. DJ @ Sub Signs 025 293 0955

Dec 29, 2007 | NZPC

DRJEKYL EVO - Split Personality

Mitsubishi began production of the Evolution III in 1995 — its third incarnation of the all-conquering Mitsubishi Lancer rally car. Little did Mitsubishi know, the Evo III would become the dream car of enthusiastic rally fans for years to come. One of those easily affected enthusiasts was Warren Sare and not too long after the Evo III launch he splashed out on a 1991 Lancer GSR. While the 1.8-litre GSR may be the baby brother to the Evo III, it just wasn’t quite close enough to the real thing.

As the years passed, Warren was busy modifying the GSR, but all the while he was dreaming of the Three. Normally when a guy is dreaming of three, it’s a little more deviant, but maybe Warren was the exception to the rule — or he knew his better half would kick his arse. After all, they don’t call Sarah the Little Ninja for nothing.

When a friend of Warren and Sarah’s offered to buy the GSR for a price they couldn’t resist [Sam you fool] the search began for a new toy. What they found was a stock-standard Evo III — stock that is except for the ugliest wheels ever created and a set of rally spec mud flaps.

First thing on the agenda was to replace those hideous wheels and the natural choice was a set of 17-inch Momo GT2s in dark gunmetal (which later became the infamous 'harlequin Momos’ after a high speed excursion off the end of Manfeild’s front straight).

These wheels worked surprisingly well with the stark white paintwork, but also made the car look like it was sitting too high off the ground. The car was lowered to achieve the desired style and from there an evolution of giant proportions began.

Fast forward two years, one engine, countless tyres and other accessories, and the Evo had suffered a common Mitsi fate — rusty roof syndrome. Rusty roof is a result of moisture reacting with glue used in the factory for gluing the roof panel to its supports. The only real cure for this is to completely replace the roof of the car.

Warren and Sarah undertook the mammoth task knowing that around half of it would then require re-painting. It was here that things got a bit carried away when one night, after a few too many bourbons, the boys managed to convince Warren to re-paint the Evo in a more 'unique’ colour.

That was the easy bit; convincing Sarah was always going to be the hard task. But after plenty of nights on the couch, Warren won an agreement and project 'butter chicken’ began, albeit with the proviso to 'do things once and do it right’.

Exclusive Panel & Paint in Grey Lynn were chosen to undertake the job of straightening the body back to its original condition.

Smashing the front bumper is one of Warren’s favourite pastimes during stints on the track (as seen in High Octane 3), so that required some minor repairs to get it to the required condition.

While the car was being prepped, Simon at Exclusive removed the side repeaters from the front guards and the aerial was smoothed from the flank. Being a genuine Evo III, there was no need for aftermarket body kits, wings or spoilers. Warren, with the help of friends, removed the engine and tidied up the empty hole by removing as much wiring as possible. While the engine was out, all under-body parts, such as the suspension and sub-frames, were painted in a combination of Glasurit arctic Silver or deep gloss black.

Both the body and engine bay received hours of preparation work before the numerous coats of custom Glasurit Apricot metallic paint with Gold tint pearl mica were applied. Once the paint had set a further seven coats of Glasurit clear were applied to achieve the ultra deep look the car now has.

While painting, the decision was made to repaint the door surrounds in the same gloss black as the suspension parts, rather than the usual 'coat everything possible’ in the one colour. The resulting black detail makes the colour — 'butter chicken diarrhoea’ as Warren dubbed it — really stand out.

With the engine due to be dropped back into the freshly painted hole there was a frantic scramble to clean the block and ancillaries. Apparently this involved Warren sitting in puddles of water with a toothbrush. No mention of Sarah getting her hands dirty was ever made. Most engine parts that could be removed have either been painted in gloss black, butter chicken or in Arctic silver.

Meanwhile, a custom spark plug cover was made to cover the 8mm leads and competition plugs. On the inside of the 4G63 lump internals are standard apart from the addition of a heavy-duty head gasket to keep the boost on the inside.

Providing the 17psi boost is the job of a Motorsport Engineering TD05/06 25G hybrid, with a 10 degree back-cut exhaust wheel. Regulating boost is a 35mm Tial wastegate mounted to a stainless steel TRR manifold. From here the boost travels through the standard intercooler and through Glasurit-coated 2.5-inch piping to the standard intake manifold. A colour coded MSE blow-off valve has been added to provide the 'Pish’ between gears.

Providing clean air to the polished hybrid turbo is a Glasurit-coated four-inch intake pipe with an HKS power filter to prevent small children being sucked in. A three-inch Kakimoto exhaust was installed on the underside to vent spent gasses and it ends with a GTR spec muffler and five-inch tip.
With an engine package like this, the standard ECU can’t quite register what is going on, so a custom specced Gizzmo chip has been added to the ECU. This simple, yet powerful combination has netted 211kW at the treads on a conservative 17psi.

Turning that up-and-down power into forward movement is a standard gearbox, albeit with a total rebuild.

This also consisted of a Kevlar/Kevlar Swaggle clutch to make sure no power was lost on the way.

Fancy footwork is taken care of via some very tasty and exotic 18×7.5-inch Rays engineering G-Games, shod with ultra sticky 215/35R18 Falken Ziex tyres. Holding the wheels in place and adding a certain bling factor are matching Rays Forged wheel nuts.

They say good things take time and these wheels were definitely on the 'slow boat from China’ (err … or should I say Japan) taking around four months to arrive.

The Evolution III was designed and built to be an all round package, however, there was still room for improvement. Those include, the addition of Cusco Comp 2 coil-overs and matching Cusco bracing.
Braking was never a sore point with the Evo III, so only minor improvements were needed with the addition of Inter-part cross-drilled and slotted rotors. The standard callipers remain, but now house Mintex 1155 pads.

With the power figure and this superb handling package, it’s not too hard to see how this show pony can run 1:18 round Manfeild, or 47 seconds round the Taupo track. When put down the quarter mile, a best time of 11.95 has been clocked, with a respectable 12.32 best from Little Ninja piloting the car.

The factory Recaro SR-II seats that come standard in the Evo III are a much sought-after item, being ultra supportive and comfortable. However, if you are into serious track work you will want a full-on bucket seat. Warren’s seat of choice was the locally made Racetech 100W in straight black and grey, while the rear seats have also gone to the upholsterer to be covered in matching fabric. Meanwhile, all four doors have also had inserts re-trimmed in — you guessed it — black. However, the factory roof lining was beginning to look a little worse for wear, so this too was covered in black.

At first glance you don’t notice how much work has been done to the inside of the car — things like the custom black carpet and black pillar trims don’t look amiss to the untrained eye. However, the black Momo steering wheel and matching gear knob demand a second look, as do the Razo pedals, grey Momo gear boot and Willans three-inch five-point harnesses that now call the car home.

When not stripped out for track duties the car does its Dr Jekyll act to become a full-on sound car. A JVC KD-SH9105 head unit takes control of no less than three amplifiers and eight speakers. The front stage is taken care of by Cerwin Vega 6.02 components, run by a Soundstream amplifier. This 4-channel amp also powers another set of Cerwin Vega components mounted in the rear shelf.

Providing the boom to match the tweet and give those much-needed Auto Salon SPL points are a pair of Soundstream Exact dual voice-coil 12-inch subs. The subs are mounted in a custom rearward-facing box and powered by a Sounsdtream Rubicon mono block 1000W RMS sub amp. Making sure that amp receives enough power is the job of a Soundstream 12-Farad capacitor.

Looking not too dissimilar from Shrek, Warren may be entertaining to look at, but not quite as entertaining as the Xbox and 7-inch screen combination that can be found up the front of the car. The whole install has been expertly finished in black vinyl and perspex by Shayne at Auckland’s Rapid Radio to not only look impressive, but sound equally so.

With the cars first outing in this guise, Warren and Sarah managed to make a clean sweep of the 2004 Sony Xplod Auckland Auto Salon. The huge prize haul proving that doing things once and doing it right is the best way to go.

We have been assured the car will hit the track again shortly to prove that you can have 'go with the show’.

PC 93 DRJKYL - Mitisubishi EVO 13


1995 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution

Engine: 4G63 2.0L inline four -cylinder. Motorsport Engineering TD05/25G Turbo, TRR Stainless steel manifold, Tial 35mm wastegate, Competition head gasket, 8mm Leads, Ralliart 600hp fuel pump, Motorsport engineering BOV, HKS air filter, three-inch Kakimoto exhaust, Gizzmo computer chip.

Drivetrain: Rebuilt gearbox, Kevlar/Kevlar Swaggle clutch.

Suspension: Cusco Comp 2 coil overs, Cusco Bracing.

Brakes: Interpart cross-drilled and slotted rotors, Mintex pads all round.

Wheels/Tyres: 18×7.5-inch Rays Engineering G Games with 215/35R18 Falken Ziex tyres.

Cosmetic: Exterior: Standard Evo III kit, Deleted Aerial and side repeaters, Glasurit Custom Apricot metallic mix with Gold tint. High gloss black and Artic Silver detailing.

Interior: Racetech 100W Seats and re-trimmed rear, Custom trimmed door inserts and pillars, black hood lining, black carpet, Momo wheels and knob, Razo pedals, BLitz MSTT, Willans three-inch harnesses.

Ice: JVC KD-SH9105 Head unit, JVC four-inch screen, Microsoft Xbox, Cerwin Vega six-inch fronts, 2xJL Audio 12-inch subs, Orion HCCA sub amp, Rockford 4080 amp, Rockford 60×2 Amp, Phoenix gold Eq, Fusion 1 Farad capacitor.

Performance: 11.95 quarter mile @ 178kph, Manfeild short track 1min 18sec, Taupo track 47 sec.

Driver Profile

Name: Warren Sare and Sarah Young

Age: 25 and 26

Occupation: Sarah – Shopaholic, Warren – professional pie analyst
Previously Owned Cars: GTi Pulsar, GSR Lancer, FXGT, 1.3 Carby Civic, Rolling bomb Pulsar, Impreza, GTiR

Dream Car: Warren – Anything that’s built my way (or a X5 with 23″ rims); SArah – 900hp Porsche

Why did you buy/build this car: “It’s been evolving for three years, a roof rust repair got out of hand due to too much Woodstock, so decided to do it once and do it right.”

Build time: Three years, four months full-on.

Length of Owernship: 3 years

Other Interests: Warran – Pies, making an ass of himself. Sarah – Shopping, shopping, shopping, sleeping.

Thanks: Exclusive Panel and Paint 09 376 1429, Simon colin and Laurie. Glasurit Paint / ART (automotive refinish technologies) New Zealand. Rays wheels Interpart Wellington, Manukau metal polishers, Motorsport Engineering, Performance metalworks, Cookie and Allister, Ajay the cleaning machine, Carl, Moose, Kaz, Dale, Scott-HDP, Patty (negative lil’ bugger) DEVANT, Bear, HRDNTS, Erin and Ethan, Phil Doe, Dennis, Tony, Alana, Cabbage Motorsports, My understanding bosses, Hightower, Sam and Karl @ Slap!, Allison and Andrew Turner, VLOCTI and WAITUP, Dion @ TST, both our families and anyone else who ever lent a hand, shared a beer or told me I was stupid for even trying.

Dec 27, 2007 | NZPC

Ford FPV-GT - All Torque

With just shy of 400 ponies under the hood, this new Ford is more than capable at the traffic light Grands Prix. Darren Cottingham inflicts pain on the tarmac.

It’s the bonnet. Take it off and you could use it as a Crusty Demons freestyle motocross ramp. Looking out the windscreen of Ford’s new 'lion tamer’ is like looking out of a WRX. Only it’s not a scoop to suck in air and small birds for the gigantic forced induction system — the small hill in front is there purely to clear the hulking 5.4-litre V8. With 390bhp (290kW) and enough torque to pull a sumo wrestler convention, Ford Performance Vehicles’ GT takes off like a Kawasaki 250 on a dirt ramp.

The engine was developed for the Ford Expedition — a wallowing SUV so huge it probably needs 520 Newton-metres of torque just to get it moving. Put it in something a bit more lithe though, and you start moving quickly.

GT stands for Grand Tourer. A Grand Tourer should be able to cruise effortlessly and serenely at autobahn speeds, but when you want to disturb some wildlife it should bellow fire when you step on the gas. Welcome, then, to a proper GT. Or is it? Shouldn’t a GT have just two doors? Probably, but you can forgive it for its practicality and its pub-geek statistics.

I was expecting to turn more heads driving down the street, but the GT, despite looking all muscular when stood still, only attracts attention with traction control turned off and the loud pedal buried into the carpet. Maybe I need to educate the masses on the exact power figures this vehicle has, or perhaps 18-inch mags, a large chrome exhaust and angular spoiler are becoming 'the norm’ for cars these days.

The body kit blends in perfectly with its V8 Supercar-inspired lower front intake and side skirts that lead to the diffuser-style rear. The spoiler is prominent, but way more subtle than a proper V8 Supercar version.

Sizable Dunlop 245-width tyres grasp the tarmac like a rock climber on dry a cliff, though you would have to be insane to turn traction control off in the wet — it’s more of a handful than a pair of greased jubblies.

So, the Ozzies (in their infinite wisdom) challenged our masculinity by placing the traction control switch closer to you than even the volume knob for the stereo!

“Come on you blokes, don’t be Sheilas, turn me off,” it beckons. So I did, and mashed the throttle for some glorious noise.

Creating the din is the hand-assembled Boss V8 engine with an air filter the size of a bucket of KFC hanging off the side. You can’t see much of the engine because of the plenum cover, but it has race-bred quad-cam multi-valve technology combined with high-compression V8 grunt. It was developed in Australia, so it knows how to drink.

Expect to become friendly with your local petrol station. Double overhead camshafts and 32 valves work together to form a wall of torque from around 1700rpm up to the 6000rpm redline. Keeping the camshafts hollow has reduced weight and gives a faster response due to less inertia.

The block is cast iron — strong and heavy, and it’s what’s used in V8 Supercars — while the heads are cast in aluminium alloy to minimise weight and to reach the optimum operating temperature faster. A forged steel crankshaft maintains strength under the high power and torque loads, each one having undergone a special balancing process at Ford Performance Vehicles to match the piston and conrod combination.

Inside the car you get extremely comfortable and supportive seats, a chunky steering wheel with cruise control and stereo controls attached, and drilled aluminium pedals. You also get some nasty looking plastic in places, but overall, it has a good ambience. Housed in the central console is the air conditioning and 100-watt single-CD stereo. A large screen shows you what’s going on sound-wise, but it has a hideous-looking interface harking back to Microsoft Windows 3.1.

The great thing about this car is that as long as you don’t use the horrible automatic mode (Ford didn’t have a manual version for me to try), and keep it in sequential gear change mode, you can easily explore the limits. Don’t even try to explore the limits using the auto mode as it has a violent kick-down when you plant the accelerator. This is a nightmare mid-corner and can lead to an undesired tank-slap. Normally, though, it gives a slight bit of understeer, then four-wheel drift, then a reasonably progressive breakaway at the rear. The trick LSD and V8 Supercar-derived suspension give you a lot of feeling, and the enormous grooved and ventilated disks with their blue callipers put you well into the negative g-forces when you need to stop. The national speed limit comes up in about 5.8 seconds consistently (one thing auto boxes are good for), and if you need a quick blast past an old geezer towing a caravan; 80-120 (the Time Exposed to Danger measure) takes just 3.6 seconds. You’ll need just short of 35 metres to stop from 100kph.

So, should you buy this?

Well, if you have to tow a race car, or you’ve got jet skis and a squad of chubby PlayStation kids you need to move around, then the GT is a sensible choice. Expect to pay around $75,500 for the base model GT, which is considerably cheaper than an equivalently specced HSV. And, if 520Nm of torque isn’t enough for you, Ford even has a turbo V6 coming with 30Nm more, and it’s cheaper!
PC 92 All Tourer - Ford FPV 02


Vehicle: Ford Performance Vehicles FPV-GT

Engine: 5.4-litre Boss V8, twin overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder (32-valve), Mustang air filter, 10.5:1 compression ratio, hollow camshafts, 75mm throttle body with drive-by-wire linkage

Driveline: Rear-wheel drive with four-speed automatic transmission, sequential gear change mode (5-speed manual available as well), Traction control.

Suspension: FPV, tuned by V8-ace John Bowe. Front — double wishbone with coil springs; rear — independent multi-link with coil springs. Stabiliser bars.

Brakes: ABS. FPV twin-piston caliper front, single-piston rear, grooved and ventilated disks. Brembo upgrade with four-pot calipers and cross-drilled disks available

Wheels/tyres: 5-spoke, 18-inch alloys with Dunlop 245/40ZR18 Sport 9000.

Exterior: Factory body kit, fog lights, side skirts

Interior: A starter button, leather seats with built-in curtain airbags, FPV scuff plate inserts, drilled pedals, driver and passenger airbags

ICE: 100W, single-CD

Performance: 290kW at 5500rpm, 520Nm at 4250rpm, 0-100: 5.8s; 80-120 (TED): 3.6s; 100-0: 35 metres.

Dec 25, 2007 | NZPC

Aqua WRX - Street Wise

Japanese performance tuners are a funny bunch; like Korai-san the owner of this 2001 Impreza WRX STI Type-RA. When it comes to showing off their cars, most are so modest they won’t even lift the bonnet for fear it won’t meet your expectations. Nine times out of 10 though, when they do come round, what you see doesn’t just meet expectations — it exceeds them!

As far as Korai’s car went, I knew I had to get some pictures the moment I laid eyes on it, and anything under the bonnet was going to be a bonus.

Now, I’m one of those people who thought the Impreza — dubbed 'bug-eye’ — didn’t look quite right, but this car! well, I think the pictures speak for themselves!

At the time Korai was just an enthusiastic customer of the Aqua tuning shop, but a few months on — after a little role reversal — he actually runs the place. He built the Impreza from a stock example, with the clear intention of racing it on a Sunday, then driving it to work on a Monday.

To strike the balance, Korai used lessons — learnt by Aqua on their own Impreza race machines — and applied that to his own car, all the while conscious off crossing the boundary that limits use of your daily driver to track-only duties. Anyone who’s been there will know what I mean!

The look has been well and truly sorted with a full Aqua original, FRP bodykit, which has literally transformed the nature the car. A deep bumper up front extends to meet pumped guards giving the Impreza a wide and menacing stance end-on. Some custom carbon trim ties the guards into the side skirts, and their design flows into the unique rear bumper. This particular Type-RA was never specced with the boot spoiler and Korai has kept it that way. The bonnet was a different story however, and was replaced with a lightweight Aqua-designed piece of art with big vents and a reverse duct to get the hot air out.

Under that bonnet is the Impreza’s 2000cc STI-tweaked boxer engine. It’s pretty obvious that it’s not a standard affair in the engine department. In fact, the four-cylinder you see in the car is actually a lesser replacement for a full-house JUN 2.2-litre number that once sat between the strut towers. Korai-san pushed that engine just a little too much it would seem and a terminal meltdown ended that plan of attack! A replacement STI engine was sourced and a more street-able build plan was put into effect.

Contrary to the sticker, there’s no NOS in this car. Maybe some little dude ran off with it.

With such a tough base to build from, Aqua, which has had plenty of experience with Subaru engines, went for a fairly simple unit that mostly entailed re-working the turbo set-up. That started with an HKS GT2835 turbocharger to replace the STI’s factory unit, and a custom Aqua stainless exhaust manifold to replace the cast factory number.

On the intake side, an HKS Powerflow air filter atop an Aqua intake pipe was fitted and the factory top mount air-to-air intercooler was replaced with a custom front-mount setup.

With staff pretty handy behind the mig welder, Aqua built, and then polished up some custom intercooler pipework, before fitting one of their own blow-off valves to rid the intake tract of air between shifts and off-throttle. Other under-bonnet modifications include, an aluminium radiator, custom oil catch can set-up and a full course of Samco hosing.

Exhaust duties are performed through one of Aqua’s own race systems — from the stainless steel front pipe runs a full titanium system through to the rear muffler. Not only is the system ultra-lightweight, the sound emitting from its tip at the rear of the car is quite unlike anything we’ve ever heard, but is still reminiscent of the that signature boxer burble.

PC 92 Aqua WRX - Street Wise 06
Power gets to all four paws through a factory-spec six-speed STI gearbox that’s helped along with one of Cusco’s tough twin-plate clutch kits. Cusco also supplied the MZ-RS limited-slip differential that now holds up the rear end.

Suspension-wise, Korai went with a proven set-up used on Aqua’s own race cars — namely the HKS Hypermax. The fully adjustable package allows both damper and ride height adjustment and is finished with a pair of pillow-ball upper mounts for total camber control. Added to the STI’s factory race-ready suspension set-up are pillow-ball adjustable trailing arms and lateral links from the STI catalogue. The car obviously handles very well, but at the expense of its ride — one that can only be described as harsh.

Volk Racing/Rays Engineering rims are the wheels of choice for most Japanese tuners including Aqua. Not only are the wheels super-lightweight and built to an extremely high standard, but damn! they look good! Korai-san opted for a set of bronze CE28N 17-inch numbers and shod them with track-spec Bridgestone Potenza rubber in 255/40ZR17.

When up to optimum operating temp, these are said to perform pretty well for after-hours road use.

In keeping with Korai-san’s day-in, day-out driving, interior mods were kept to a bare minimum. All the STI’s blue and grey interior remains, except for the driver’s seat, replaced with a Recaro SP-G race number complete with Takata harness belt.  A classic Nardi Torino now has steering duties, while a custom shroud on the dash houses Defi meters to gauge boost pressure, oil pressure and oil temperature.

With around 330PS on tap, the car’s a little down on power from the 380-odd it had with it’s JUN stroker kit, but it’s a whole lot more reliable for daily use. With a race track (Central Circuit) on your back door step, it’s little wonder guys like Korai are driving cars like this. Given the same circumstances, I know for sure I’d be doing the same!

PC 92 Aqua WRX - Street Wise 03


Vehicle: 2001 Subaru Impreza STI Type-RA

Engine: STI 2000cc Boxer, HKS GT2835 turbo kit, Cusco front-mount intercooler, Aqua intercooler piping, HKS Powerflow air filter, Aqua intake pipe, Aqua blow-off valve, Aqua stainless exhaust manifold, Aqua stainless front pipe, Aqua full titanium exhaust system, HKS F-Con S computer, HKS VVC, HKS Electronic Valve Controller (EVC) Pro, aluminium radiator, Samco hose kit, custom oil catch system

Driveline: STI six-speed gearbox, Cusco twin-plate clutch kit, Cusco MZ-RS limited-slip differential

Suspension/Brakes: HKS Hypermax fully adjustable shocks/springs with pillow-ball top plates, STI pillow-ball  lateral link, STI pillow-ball trailing arms, factory STI brakes with Aqua/RAMs callipers and Winmax race pads

Wheels/Tyres: 17-inch Volk Racing/Rays Engineering CE28N alloy wheels, 255/40ZR17 Bridgestone Potenza tyres

Exterior: Aqua Original bodykit: front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, aero bonnet, outlet duct, wide front fenders, STI Type-RA roof vent

Interior: Recaro SPG drivers seat, Takata harness seat belt, Nardi Torino steering wheel, Defi meters — boost pressure, oil temperature, oil pressure

Performance: 330PS (380PS with JUN 2.2-litre kit)

Thanks: Korai-san and the team @ Aqua —, Rob @ GRD —

Dec 23, 2007 | NZPC

Honda Accord - According To Her

Christchurch’s city fathers might not be too impressed by the transformation this four-door suit-mover has undergone, but Nikki 'M5BHVN’ Pilcher is more than satisfied by her impulse buy.

When women go shopping they often stop and look at everything, especially things they don’t need or necessarily want. Chances are if she went shopping for shoes, she’ll come back with a few tops and a pair of pants.

The deep, twisted sideskirts accentuate the low and sinister stance of what was once no more than a suit-mover

But it’s not just the small-ticket items: Nikki Pilcher went to the Bling Bling Motor Company in Christchurch to buy a Lancer Evolution III she’d set her heart on. What you see here is what she brought back, and no it’s not an Evo in a Honda bodykit. This 1994 Honda Accord is the pair of pants and couple of tops Nikki didn’t really need.

But really, it’s not hard to see why Nikki had to have this car. What caught Nikki’s eye and made her forget the Evo, was the Garson Project body kit that adorns the Accord. The front bumper is one of the best suited body kit-to-car items we’ve seen for a long time. The deep, twisted sideskirts accentuate the low and sinister stance of what was once no more than a suit-mover. All four-wheel arches now wear chrome extensions, which match superbly with the deep paintwork.

The colour itself is a Mercedes deep gloss black with an added blue metallic fleck — sparkly blue during the day and deep black during the night.

At the rear of this VIP-style cruiser, the number plate recess has been removed from between the taillights, providing a very smooth and heavy look to the car.

A very desirable Mugen ducktail-type boot-top wing has also replaced the original version.

Painted before it landed in New Zealand, the quality of the job left a more than little to be desired. Whitworth Panel & Paint tidied-up the mess and did a top-notch job despite having to colour match the paint.

Knowing that 15-inch rims and 4WD-style ride height wasn’t going to cut the mustard on the harsh Christchurch streets, she visited Matt and Scott at Mag & Turbo Warehouse. With their experience on other show-stopping Christchurch cars, the M&T boys knew exactly what was required and immediately set the ball rolling.

The trio chose a set of newly released TSW Nine-full-Nine chrome 18-inch rims wearing 215/35 Nankangs. These were absorbed up into the arches using a Bilstein spring and shock combo.

The Bilstein combination gives the Accord an imposing stance on the road without being uncomfortably harsh on the passengers. Obviously with a kit like this, avoiding speed humps and driveways is an essential part of the package.
Continuing with the city cruiser theme, Nikki slapped on a set of 35 percent tints all round, adding to the pimped-out VIP feel of the car. At the rear end, the standard taillights were binned in favour of a set of Altezza-style clear items. Clear front indicators and repeaters were also added to take care of the remaining visuals.

Nikki lists one of her favourite pastimes as cruising with the girls, so the ride-quality was always going to be an important part of the car. The standard front and rear seats were removed and dropped off to Canterbury Car upholstery to get the VIP treatment. The fabric of choice was black and silver Mariner leather, which matches the exterior look perfectly. The original patterned door inserts also copped the silver leather treatment.

Big steering wheels belong in busses, not in slammed-out street cruisers, so Nikki installed an Autotechnia Silvermax number with boss kit to hold on to while cruising the city.

Eye candy (apart from the passengers) is taken care of by a Garson Project white-faced dial set imported from Japan. Another touch that ties interior and exterior together is the polished Azztech alloy floor mats with flames laser cut into them.

Working in one of Christchurch’s leading car audio stores has its advantages for Nikki and hooking up some nice gear and telling people to install it has to be one of them.

The full-on stereo system starts with a Sony black panel CD tuner in the factory location. From there, four-volt pre-outs power a pair of Sony amps, a single channel for the sub and a separate four-channel speaker amp. The sub amp is no less than a Sony 1600W Monoblock, providing more than enough boom.

The subwoofer on the receiving end of this is a single Sony 12-inch. The dual voicecoil sub sits in a custom rearward-facing box and so far has achieved a best SPL of 135dB, which is not bad for a large sedan. The box itself is covered in the same silver and black leather as the seats.

Providing the Alpine DD Drive 5.25-inch component speakers in the front, as well as a pair of Alpine DD drive 6x9s with their goodness, is the task of a Sony 600W amp. Both Sony amps are mounted under the front seats to leave plenty of room in the boot for the girls’ shopping.

When feeling the need for boom all that’s required is a quick twist of the Caliber remote bass controller knob mounted neatly in the cabin. Mark at Autosound & Security completed the installation under Nikki’s guidance.

The car is much more of a street cruiser than a drag strip warrior, but just for a laugh Nikki decided to give the car a run at Christchurch’s Ruapuna Dragway. The result was a not too bad 15.6-second quarter mile with full trim and chrome wheels. Stopping the Accord from falling off the end of the dragstrip, or the road for that matter, is a set of Endless brake pads at each corner.

So, Nikki’s indecisiveness ended up working very much in her favour. With the number of modified Evos now cruising the roads, those in the know are beginning to ignore them. The Accord, however, is a car yet to be seen at its full potential on New Zealand roads. So far, Nikki is on the right track with one of the country’s best examples.

Cruising the streets of Christchurch, the car certainly commands a presence wherever it goes. Or maybe it’s the combination of a hot car full of hot ladies and a booming stereo that’s turning heads!

As for the numberplate, I’d say Nikki isn’t really misbehaving, she’s just proving that blondes really do have more fun!


Vehicle: 1994 Honda Accord VTi

Engine: 2.2-litre SOHC VTEC, K&N air filter, chrome intake pipe, NGK plugs, 2.5-inch exhaust with twin muffler tip.

Driveline: Standard

Suspension: Bilstein shocks and springs

Wheels and tyres: Chrome TSW 18-inch Nine, 215/35R18 Nankang tyres

Brakes: Endless pads front and rear

Exterior: Garson front bumper and sideskirts, Mugen rear wing, SiR grill, customised bootlid, sprayed in deep gloss black with blue flake. 35% tints, clear taillights, clear indicators

Interior: Re-trimmed in black and silver leather, Autotechnia steering wheel, Garson whiteface gauges, Stainless steel floor mats

Ice: Sony black panel headunit, Monoblock 1600W amp, 600W 4-channel speaker amp, Sony 12-inch sub, Alpine DD drive 5.25-inch components, Alpine DD drive 6×9-inch speakers

Performance: 15.6 second quarter mile


Driver: Nikki Pilcher

Age: 20

Specs: Just kidding, Nikki

Occupation: Auto Sound & Security Salesperson

Previously owned cars: '81 Datsun, '92 VTEC Civic DECVNG '89 GTS-t Skyline (x2), '96 Nissan Primera

Dream Car: R34 GT-R

Length of ownership: One year.

Why the Accord? “I went to buy an Evo, but the Accord just caught my eye.”

Dec 6, 2007 | NZPC

1994 Mazda RX-7 Type-R FD3S - The Catalyst

Words: Peter ‘Pedey’ Kelly Photos: Quinn Hamill

Every once in a while a force within local import car culture emerges to change the entire scene. Whether it be Brett Lee-Sang’s Evo running its first 10-second pass at Champion Dragway, or perhaps Mad Mike’s Bat drifter popping its first opposite lock, these moments and the cars involved are what keeps this scene alive and kicking.

A new take on the notion of Rear-Windows?

Here at NZPC we think we have found the next big thing. Yes, we are finally able to show our faithful readers the near-finished product of a build that we have been following for some time: Brendon Gilbert’s radical 1994 Mazda RX-7 Type-R. This awesome piece of machinery will surely be a catalyst, a vehicle that incites a full shake-up within the Kiwi show scene. Sure, it’s a big call to make but I’m sticking by it — this car is simply mind blowing!

Around three months ago I was in a fairly rare motivated state of mind and decided to give Brendon a call to tell him I had booked a studio to shoot his then half-finished RX-7. The heat was now on. Brendon had just eight weeks to take his rolling primered shell (as seen wowing crowds at this year’s Auckland Auto Salon) and turn it into one of the coolest cars we have ever seen.

I could almost hear Brendon’s heart sink as it dawned upon the poor man that for the next two months his social life would cease to exist, and that he could well develop an addiction to epoxy resin. But determined bloke he is, dates were agreed upon and threats of violent consequences for failure exchanged. The race was on. But before going any further the question must be asked: what on earth possesses a man to modify a car to this dizzying extent? “About a year-and-a-half ago Soundstream took me over to a massive event in Las Vegas called CES (Consumer Electronics Show),” Brendon told us. “It was an interesting experience checking out all the modified vehicles, but at the end of it all I thought to myself, I could do better than this. You see, most of the cars there had bodywork, motor work or sounds; very few had all three.

Batman eat your heart out!

But of those that were completely modified, 95 per cent of them were built by companies who had simply poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into these rides. So although I run an audio store, I didn’t want the RX-7 to be another demo car like those, I wanted it to be mine and be modified by myself and my friends — who I wouldn’t have got anywhere without — using a very slim-line budget. In saying that, obviously the Mad Soundz and Soundstream hook-ups helped immensely, and I wouldn’t have been able to get the car anywhere near where it is without them.”

Pulling up to the studio on the day of the photoshoot, we began the long and arduous task of sliding the Mazda off the trailer, an action that was beginning to cause a stir in the mid-afternoon inner-city heat — firstly because the trailer was hitched to a former NZPC feature car (Brendon’s air-bagged and ICEd-out Chrysler 300C wagon), and secondly because of the unique sight that began to emerge from deep within the enclosed compartment. One passer-by with a slightly confused look on his face sheepishly edged closer.

“That’s an RX-7, isn’t it?” I confirmed his suspicions and asked what he thought of the car. “It looks amazing! Although it kind of makes me wonder if it’s too modified though; does anyone ever drive it?” Well, not yet. But even though Brendon’s Mazda is about as modified as a car can get, he plans to have it on the road whenever he can. Whether that means a jaunt on the track, a big-balls burnout at a comp or a quick sneaky trip down to the beach during summer, the car will most definitely be driven.

Finally getting the RX settled in among the stark whiteout of the studio surroundings, we got our first good look at the finished product. A slick, odd-looking machine, the Batty almost appears as though Godzilla, or perhaps even Mothra, has perched itself upon a standard RX-7 as it left the Hiroshima-based Mazda factory, flattening it out like you would pizza dough. This, as you might have guessed, is thanks to the hundreds of hours worth of bodywork carried out by the visionaries at Tauranga’s Team Crash Repairs.

For the passenger…the question is headphones or ear-muffs? Oh and you might as well black-out the windows while you’re at it…

They are a dedicated bunch, and many a late night was spent widening the car’s waist and shortening its stature to create the one-off look. The car now sits so low (thanks to the four-inch roof-chop and D2 coil-over suspension), the roof line now peaks at a mere 40 inches high, equal to one of the lowest road-going cars of all time, the Ford GT-40. Seeing as Brendon has yet to buy a number plate for this super-low supercar, perhaps RX-40 might be a good choice.

I guess we will all just have to wait until its official public unveiling at the ’08 4&Rotary Nationals to see this hip-high work of art in a completely finished state, personalised plate and all.

Tuning Menu

1994 Mazda RX-7 Type-R (FD3S)

Engine: Mazda 20B triple rotor, factory twin turbo, 4-inch intake, 2x K&N air filters, custom bored-out throttle body, custom front-mount intercooler, 3-inch intercooler piping, Turbosmart blow-off valve, 4-inch custom exhaust system, 2x Bosch Motorsport fuel pumps, ZEX nitrous system, ZEX purge kit, MicroTech LTX-12 ECU, alloy 3-core radiator, alloy oil cooler, 3x Supercharge 1000 CCA batteries

Driveline: Factory FD3S 5-speed gearbox, H/D single-plate clutch, FD3S Type-R factory limited slip differential

Suspension: Fully adjustable D2 coil-over shocks/springs, Type-R spec 4-wheel disc brakes

Wheels/Tyres: 20-inch Dub Esinem alloys, Falken 235/30R20 tyres

Exterior: BN Sports Blister full widebody kit, 4-inch roof chop, BMW 3 Series roof, custom shaped rear end, custom split rear window, custom rear diffuser, custom taillights, custom air-ram actuated doors

Interior: Perspex seats, Perspex floor, Perspex steering wheel, custom fibreglass dash, custom fibreglass doors, smoothed floor, Auto Meter boost gauge, Auto Meter oil pressure gauge, Pioneer Vehicle Dynamic System

ICE: Pioneer 5750 DVD head unit, 5.1 processor, 2x Soundstream 15-inch subwoofers, 2x Soundstream PCA 12-inch subwoofers, 2x Soundstream PCA 10-inch subwoofers, Soundstream Reference 10-inch subwoofer, 9x Soundstream SST 6-inch midrange speakers, 2x Soundstream XXX amps, 2x Soundstream LWS-830 5-channel amps, 2x Soundstream LW4-480 4-channel amps, Soundstream LW2-420 2-channel amp, Soundstream Michelangelo D-Class amp, 10x Soundstream VHR screens

Performance: Untested

Driver Profile

Brendon Gilbert

Age: 42

Occupation: Manager, Mad Soundz Tauranga

Previously owned cars: Too many to list

Build time: 12 months

Length of ownership: 18 months

Thanks to: Steve & team @ Team Crash Repairs, Zano & wife @ Flaming Body Shop, Mike @ Soundstream, Carl & Pauline @ Mad Soundz Hamilton, AVS Car Alarms, Sikkens Paint, Supercharge Batteries, Stu @ True Colourz, Hinton, Thor @ Papamoa Hire, Sam & team @ Plastec, Adam @ FBI, Jonno Hawkins, Rohan, Willie Styles, Jarrod Holmes, Drew @ Mad Soundz, my Sam, Neil @ ABC Rental Cars, Peter Housham

Dec 1, 2007 | NZPC

Name: Kalle Howlett
Age: 25
DOB: 06/02/82

Occupation: Fitness Instructor and admin/accounts

Region: (eg Northshore) Canterbury

Eye Colour: Blue

Hair Colour: Blonde

Best Physical Feature: My blonde hair and Blue eyes

Why? When someone looks at me the first thing they see is my face and most people seem to be attracted to the blonde hair, blue eyed girls. I think the reason I like my eyes is because its not something that can change over time unlike some physical features which change as you get older  But I will have my blue eyes forever no matter how old I get haha They also stand out against my blonde hair.

What do you find sexy in a man? Good hair! And a nice voice and a guy that likes to look after his girl.

Tell us something Interesting about yourself? I was born in England and came to NZ when I was 9 years old.I have been to France, Spain and traveled round Aussie.  I moved to Australia when I was 18 but came back to settle in NZ because I missed it so much. I’m a fitness instructor at the best gym in ChCh and teach pump, step and cardio. I also work in the office for my gym and process the accounts and work in administration. I plan to travel the world in the next few years.

Favourite Car: S15 Silvia!!

What do you think it takes to be NZ’s Ultimate Bikini Model? I think its more than just a good bod. The ultimate bikini model needs to have a friendly face and have brains! If you are going to have your profile in the magazine you want to wow people with what you do outside of modeling and show people that bikini models these days are sophisticated and not just a pretty face. On a physical side the Ultimate bikini model does need to have a fit healthy body and a great smile to go with it.

Dec 1, 2007 | NZPC

Age: 21

DOB: 17/02/86

Occupation: Student

Nickname: Clairebear

Eye Colour: green

Hair Colour: Dark brown

Best Physical Feature: Bum

Why? It makes my body fit together and makes skirts look real good!!

What do you find sexy in a man? sense of humour but if we’re going physical definitely back and shoulders

Tell us something Interesting about yourself? I own a turtle! He is 12 years old and his name is Zeek. I am also obsessed with the simpsons. Its been a point of harrassment from my mates my entire life!!

Favourite Car: GTR Skyline Go the Goddies!!!

What do you think it takes to be NZ’s Ultimate Bikini Model?
personality, someone who can get any crowd to love her inside and out, plus the hottest body of all time!!