Do you remember when you first noticed cars? Or the first time you drove a performance car? Or even that car that changed the way you would feel about all cars from that point on, a metaphorical yard stick against which you would measure all cars for the rest of your life. Well for me that was a black 1991 180sx that I scrolled across in the trading post while on smoko back when I was an apprentice mechanic.
I had seen it in there for weeks and looked at 30+ cars over a few months but really wanted a clean base to build on. This was 2006, pre smart phone and before the rise of popularity of sites like carsales.com.au where forums reigned supreme. So getting images of a car prior to making the trip to see it was difficult. Buying a used car there is always a trade off, and a performance used car is even worse. Unless you’re buying a finished build you’re buying someones unfinished project. And that’s what I saw in spades, before I drove the 2 and a half hours north to what had been promised as a super clean and basically stock 180sx.
It was perfect. Super clean mirror black paint and interior and a basically stock engine and exterior. It didn’t even have a front mount intercooler, it was a perfect base for me to begin building my project. After a short drive around the sunshine coast I was sold. A week later I owned it. The image below was taken the Monday morning after I picked it up. Excuse the quality of the good old Nokia photo!!
The last time I drove it was a cold, wet, week night in June of 2007. I remember getting a call saying a heap of cars were going out for a spirited drive around the local industrial areas given the fact the heavens had opened up and provided us with what was the perfect conditions for a night of fun. After hitting industrial area after industrial area, a group of us went to get fuel and reminisce on the nights activities. While she hadn’t missed a beat all night, on walking back to the car I noticed a puddle of coolant from under the bottom of the radiator. I limped home the 8 or 9 kms fixated on the temp gauge the whole way.
Sitting in the car for the first time in years I noticed the demister settings and everything were how I was almost 10 years ago. Being an apprentice mechanic at the time I knew how easy the fix was and wasn’t ultra worried. 3-4 days max while I waited for my alloy radiator to come from Just Jap in Sydney. I never knew that night would be the last night it would have been driven in almost ten years.
As I had a fully fledged daily driver I thought now that it was off the road it was the perfect chance to spend some time and add the long list of parts I had always wanted. I would go down to Tokage almost every Saturday; the workshop and import parts company of the late Gary Snow, Gary was known for giving some of the great names in Australian Drifting a start including Levi Clarke and Josh Boettcher in his mental widebody Toyota Soarer he built and ran from his Gold Coast based workshop. I would spend hours talking with Gary and trying to draw on his experience and passion. My dream was never to build a huge HP track weapon, it was always to build a super responsive street car that wasn’t out of its depth with the occasional track day.
And that’s what I started to build. Over the following weeks and months I started putting together every cent I had to start what was going to be a drift build.
That list of parts included
- Kaaz 2 way diff
- Kts coilovers
- Kts camber arms
- Kts brake bar
- Kts toe arms
- Kts solid cradle bushes
- Kts gearbox mount
- Excedy Hyper single plate clutch
- Power Fc Computer
- t2871r turbo
- Used D1 Street legal exhaust
- Greedy style intake
- GTR injectors
- GTR front brakes
- Used DC5 integera Recaro seats
- Half cage
- Type x tail lights
- Type x side skirts
- Type x front bar
- Splitfire coils
- Koyo radiator
- Greedy oil filter relocation and oil cooler
- Hks cams (264)
- z32 Airflow meter
- bee r rev limiter
- Under drive pulley set
- Oil catch can
So what’s on the agenda moving forward?
- MCA coilovers
- Whiteline swaybars
- New ecu (Haltech)
- Racepack dash
- New pads and rotors (EBC Red stuff / Forza FP3)
- Fix all weather seals
- Remove a/c and piping
- Tidy up interior
- Upgraded fuel system
- Full alignment and suspension setup for time attack (Protrac suspension)
- Full tune
- Eboost 2
Which leaves me where I am now. After spending the best part of 10 years completely and utterly neglected it’s time to clean the car thoroughly inside and out.
During the cleaning process I even found remnants of the old registration sticker.
So where do I go from here, and what do I want to achieve in this build? My new goal is to do a sub 60 second lap of Queensland’s Lakeside park raceway by this time next year and still be able to retain some streetability for touge and of cause date night. In the long term I would like to compete at World Time Attack at the club sprint level in the next three years. While these goals are not exactly over ambitious I wanted to remain realistic and build a car that will be capable of the goals and just get my confidence back behind the wheel.
The next step is to.
- Take shell to Keeley Motorsport
- Keeley Motorsport to check over of all existing parts
- Compile a list of everything on the car and what’s needed to complete build.
- Order and fit all parts needed
Keep an eye on Speed Nation as Project Kuroi Muchi starts to take shape.