Jan 18, 2008 | NZPC

I am thinking about getting some new rims for my WRX, but I was told by a mate that you can’t go over two inches larger than what it came out with in the factory. I had heard something like this ages ago as well, but I’m not sure if it’s law. Maybe you can go up to two inches bigger without a cert, but you need a cert for anything bigger? I want to squeeze 19s on, so any info you could give me about how I could do this legally would be sweet. I don’t really want any hassles with the 5.0 if ya know what I mean.

Cheers, Mike Bryson

Better tell your mate that he’ll do better at basket weaving than interpreting modified vehicle legislation. There’s no actual figure specified anywhere in relation to actual wheel diameters — if the LVV certifier is satisfied that everything is fine from a safety point of view, you could replace the 14s on your Nissan Micra with 24s. Where your mate’s probably got confused is here: there’s a threshold set at two inches for the total rolling circumference to determine whether or not LVV certification is required. Let’s say you’ve got an AE86 Levin that originally had 14-inch rims and 60 series tyres (a very high-profile tyre), but you’ve now fitted 17s and 35 series tyres (a very low-profile tyre). It could be that the combination of the wheel and tyre package (because of the low profile tyre) could be no greater, or only very little greater, in total circumference than the OE set up. If you went for a WOF in this car, the WOF bloke would measure the total height of your wheel and tyre combination to see whether it is less or more than two inches greater than the original set up. (He might measure the spare for a datum point). If your new rolling stock is more than two inches taller than the standard deal, he’ll then send you off for LVV certification. If it’s less than a two-inch increase, he can give you a WOF without an LVV cert. Don’t forget though — if it is greater than a two-inch increase and you go to the LVV certifier, the certifier can still LVV certify it providing he’s happy everything is safe and sound. We shouldn’t give your mate a hard time — lots of people get confused over this one.


Jan 18, 2008 | NZPC

I have a Mazda 808 sedan that I’m just about finished rebuilding with 13B Bridgeport engine, etc. I’ve done the paint, suspension, interior, brakes — everything. So I’m now just really putting the finishing touches on before I go for a cert. One thing I was always planning on doing, was putting the Auto Meter gauges I got on the top of the exterior panel between the front windscreen and the bonnet. This is pretty common in Oz, and a few cars have it in New Zealand (including one of my mates). Unfortunately for him though he recently got his car pink-stickered for a few things, and one of them was the gauges. The cop says that you’re not allowed them there because it hinders your view through the windscreen (not sure why they’re only 60mm gauges) and if you hit someone, they could hurt themselves on them. If you could clear this up, that would be great.

Thanks Ritchie —†Christchurch

Hi Ritchie. There’s two issues here: external projections and forward vision. This whole 'external projection’ thing is about the additional injuries that can be caused if a pedestrian gets hit by you. You could argue that if someone is sliding along your bonnet, then they’ve got more to worry about than your plastic gauges — which is a fair comment, but the principle is that if someone is in that unfortunate situation, we don’t want their injuries to be increased by what they contact along the way. Your situation can be satisfied by having the gauges housed in the mounting cups (which you’d be doing anyway) and by being attached in such a way that they break off under an impact. Providing the gauges use all the standard plastic components and are mounted in the normal way, they would collapse if struck by a wayward human body anyhow.

Re: the vision issue. Cowl, panel-mounted gauges aren’t a problem in this respect provided that the following issues are addressed: (1) The gauges shouldn’t be positioned any higher than they need to be, so mount the pedestals direct onto the panel. (2) The gauges shouldn’t restrict your forward vision. If they’re mounted as low as possible, and back close to the windscreen, they’ll effectively be the same as having them mounted on the dash and only restrict your view of the engine hood, and not the road ahead.

Again, no worries! TJ

Jan 18, 2008 | NZPC

Hey guys, great mag — it’s always a good read! I’ve got a question for you about my '85 BMW 323i (E30 shape). At the moment it’s got the 2.3-litre, straight six engine, which is reliable and goes alright. However, an opportunity has arisen for me to purchase a 325i (2.5-litre) engine from an '87 E30 BMW. How much power would I gain from this conversion or is it worth going with something else? If I go for the BMW engine, will the 2.5 fit easily into my engine bay and can I keep my manual gearbox, clutch and diff? Any information will be appreciated.

Cheers, Matt Oliver

Yes it will fit and it is worth doing as you’ll definitely pickup a bit more power and torque. You can keep your setup as is, but I would replace the clutch with a H/D so it’s ready for more mods. I’m building a similar setup at the moment for my 5 Series and building the motor to take a large hair dryer. You could go to something else like a 2JZ, but you’re up for a lot more time and money. Extracting 400hp out of the M20 2.5 engine isn’t hard to do, but like me, I’m sure when the bug bites, you’ll want to go for a little more than that!


This article is from Performance Car Issue #113. Check it our here.

Jan 18, 2008 | NZPC

After reading the mag for years, it’s my turn to write in for some help with what could be a real freak on the road. I am planning on dropping a 400 cubic inch Chevy big block V8 into a Nissan Skyline, definitely rear wheel drive, either R32 or R33 model. Is this a realistic goal or am I dreaming? I understand engine mounts and things like that will have to be done by an engineer, but what do you think this project could set me back if I get people in the industry to do the work? Do you think it would be hard to get this type of thing certified? I’m sure nothing like this has ever been done before and I can hardly wait to see people scratching their heads when it’s complete with a huge bug catcher sticking out of the bonnet. Would I be allowed to enter it in import drag racing? I guess not. Oh and your magazine is addictive!

Adam Yasha — Wellington

Well, it would be different and most certainly can be done. Cost-wise though, the amount you’ll end up spending would probably be in the same region as building up a tough RB25DET, or RB26DETT — both of which will let you compete in import drag racing classes. With the Chevy V8 you won’t be able to.

At a guess, you’ll need the better part of 20K to do the job and that’s probably on the cheap side. Don’t just go thinking it’s an engine swap, as you’ll also need a transmission and rear end change.


This article is from Performance Car Issue #113. Check it out here.

Jan 18, 2008 | NZPC

Hi there TJ, I have a Batty RX-7 I’m building it into a bit of all-round street machine — looks, go, good brakes and suspension. I’ve been doing everything by the book (this section in the mag helps me out heaps!), but I’m not sure how legal my idea for some new headlights will be. You see I’ve always liked the headlight conversion guys in Japan do on these cars where they ditch the pop-up lights for a pair of fixed ones on each side that sit behind some Perspex panels in the factory position. Anyway, I found out a price for a kit from Japan and just about fell over! So I’m thinking that I can build something here just the same, but a whole lot cheaper. Before I start though, is there anything I have to think about? Obviously these will be the only headlights on the car, so I guess there are some rules and regs for them? Hope you can help.

Thanks, Daniel B — Auckland

No problem Daniel — us old guys do this all the time. Custom headlamps are as common in the hot rod and custom car world as window tints are on your cars!  There’s no reason at all why you can’t custom-install a pair (or two pairs) of headlamps on your Bat, providing you do two things:

(1) Use headlamps that meet an approved standard. The easiest way to do this is to use lamps that have an 'e’-mark or other standards-approved marking on the glass. Pretty well every car out of Japan, Oz, Europe, UK, and USA manufactured after 1992 will have standards-compliant lamps. Another way of doing it is to visit a big Hella and Narva headlamp stockist and see what they have — pretty well all of their headlamps meet an approved standard.

(2) Second is to make sure that your headlamp system (by system I mean number of lamps, which dip and which don’t, positioning, attachment, angle of dip, etc) meet the basic warrant of fitness requirements. That’s all pretty basic (but important) stuff.

The only potential problem is the Perspex bit. You’ll need to make sure that whatever you use is totally transparent (and stays that way), and doesn’t have any effects on the optical properties of your lamps. Try and find a friendly WoF guy to check everything for you with your new system mocked up but not permanently mounted, just to make sure you’re good to go before you finish your fabrication and paintwork.

Good luck with it, TJ

This article is from Performance Car issue #112. Check it out here.

Jan 18, 2008 | NZPC

I’m just wondering what the laws are for where exhaust pipes exit the car? I have Honda Civic turbo and after watching a Japanese car DVD with the Signal EK9, I really want to have my exhaust and wastegate pipes exiting out the side of the front bumper. I have heard this has been done before in New Zealand on some Starlets, but I was always under the impression that the exhaust had to be behind the driver. Any help you could give me would be great.

Cheers, Tom — Napier

Tom, your impression is pretty much right. The relevant part of the LVV Standard (Engine & Drive-train Conversions) basically says that an exhaust system must terminate in a position where the outer end of the exhaust pipe is not directly underneath the passenger compartment. An exhaust ending forward of the passenger compartment would not be allowed either, as the gas flow would effectively be under the passenger compartment. Anything else that dumps exhaust gases into the atmosphere, such as screamer pipes, are effectively an exhaust leak, so the same rule applies. If you need to find out any more, talk to your local LVV certifier. His name is Shayne Huxtable, and you can get him on 06 844 9012. Although his cars are always way too high (he’s into off-road racing), he’s a good dude.

Cheers, TJ

This article is from Performance Car Issue #112. Check it out here.

Jan 18, 2008 | NZPC

I have an old school Mitsi Lancer EX I’ve just bought as a bit of a project car. I looked around for a GSR model, but seriously, these things just don’t seem to be around anymore! Anyway, the plan is to keep the car looking original, but fit some old Japanese mags (14x8s SSRs if I can find them) and dump it on its arse. For the interior, I want to go for the race look, and will do a half cage and maybe a couple of Bride seats with a Nardi steering wheel up front. Under the bonnet I want to run with a 4G63 engine tuned to 300hp. The bit I’m not sure of is the transmission and driveline. What gearbox will bolt up to the 4G motor and will it be strong enough? How about the drive shaft and rear end — any ideas for me there? I really am serious about this project and don’t mind spending a bit of money doing it once, and doing it right. Help me Steve!
Cheers, Dion

Help is here! Mitsi Sigma and Starion RWD boxes will bolt up, but both may be hard to come by now. The back-up plan is a Supra box and adaptor bell housing, to which you may need a custom flywheel or at least a clutch upgrade. You may find the Sigma driveline will go in, but again a change may be in need. It’s pretty hard to beat a Hilux diff for strength, and add a custom drive shaft to suit. How about doing a mini tub with some big feet. Who needs back seats when hotels are cheap!
Cheers, SM

This article is from Performance Car Issue #112. Check it out here.

Jan 18, 2008 | NZPC

My sons, who are avid readers of the magazine, and only seem to live for Japanese performance cars (mainly Evos), recently talked me into buying something of the import variety. I’ve owned many cars over the years (mostly Holden and HSV V8s), but I’m now the proud owner of a 2001 Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R. It’s a fantastic drive car, but I’d like to get a little bit of work done on her to show my boys and their mates that I’m not over-the-hill just yet. I’m not really interested in having the RB26DETT engine opened up, as the car has only low kilometres, but I’d like to see how far I am able to go with some bolt-on modifications. Any ideas you have for my best plan of attack would be greatly appreciated.
Regards, Don F — Christchurch

Welcome to my world, and there’s no push rods in this one! If you’ve got a fresh import, you may already have a few goodies in it, and if not, you’re in for a fun time. First off, the exhaust has to go, instead chuck in a three-inch system. Then replace the filter and put in a fresh set of plugs as these wouldn’t hurt. From there, adding a boost controller and upping boost to 1 bar will leave you wondering what the hell hit you. These are all basic mods and have good results to which you don’t need to open up the engine for. Enjoy, and show your sons how it’s done.
Cheers, SM

This article is from Performance Car Issue #112. Check it out here.