Once a common sight around island, few Nissan 350Zs have survived the decade cull with some owners taking the plunge to renew their cars at the great expense of a looming incremental annual tax rate owing to a tax structure that severely penalises cars with an engine capacity of 2-litres or more and for cars beyond 10 years of age.
Not quite a direct replacement to the Silvia with the top of the range two litre turbocharged SR20DET and definitely not their halo car, the 350Z Fairlady was launched right after it was the end of line for Silvia and Skyline GT-R.
Ever since Jeff passed his Honda Civic EG6 on to his colleague and friend who probably is the only person who would take better care of the car than himself, Jeff got him a 2007 350Z with the uprated VQ35HR engine that is easily distinguishable by the bonnet bulge that pays homage to the original Datsun 240Z.
Despite coming with many high-end components that came with the 350Z that the previous owner had purchased that includes a SGD$16,000 brake system, Jeff was of the opinion that it was done up without a big picture in mind. Like his previous EG6 that he has since sold to another car enthusiast, the ethos of engineering perfection lived on with this new project when he made plans to rebuild the car from the ground up – all this while leaving the car to serve as a daily driven workhorse.
After experiencing the joys of a nimble and lightweight front engine, front wheel drive car, Jeff decided to embark on a journey exploring a larger displacement front engine, rear wheel drive car instead – and the 350Z was the answer. Of course, with power comes great consumption – the 350Z has the same range as the EG6 despite having almost double the fuel tank size.
Being the most affordable option and being well supported from an aftermarket perspective (especially in the USA), the other options out there were really Porsches, BMWs and Mercedes which can be a pain to work on.
We asked Jeff on what was most memorable project performed on the car on taking ownership and it was the cooling system since it was the most pressing problem that needed to be resolved. Despite having 50mm Koyorad radiator, the coolant temperature was still reporting 110 degree Celsius in the tropical afternoon heat combined with heavy traffic – and having a car that was notorious for overheating did not help any further. Most would have resorted to auxiliary cooling methods such as methanol or water spray, however Jeff went for a more fundamental approach involving airflow and radiator efficiency. Instead of purchasing a thicker and denser heat exchanger that would pose new problems of a drop in pressure due to reduced airflow, he designed a custom radiator with a more efficient core design that was dimpled, 5mm thinner with a triple pass design, and sent the blueprints to Concept Racing UK to be fabricated for better heat transfer efficiency and flow rate.
Another memorable task was improving the packaging of the front end to optimize airflow coming in and exiting the radiator to increase the space between the radiator fans engine as much as possible by reorganising the entire front end to push the condenser and radiator by 2 inches. Along with custom shrouds and ducting to improve airflow entry, Jeff noted a 15 degrees Celsius drop in coolant temperature, all factors constant.
Another #trustmeiamanengineer moment was Jeff’s tinkering with the auxiliary drive system for the air conditioning, power steering and alternator. The 350Z’s auxiliary drive system was changed from a 7PK (belt width by the number of grooves) serpentine belt to a 8PK belt with 11 newly sourced or custom pulleys (A/C pulley, power steering pulley, alternator pulley, main crank pulley and all the other idler pulleys) on the engine.
On a more surface level of things, all these work were done while the car was stripped almost down to bare metal of a six month period as it made more sense to get everything sorted in one instance than to respray, and then rebuild later – or vice versa.
Other than refreshing worn out interior trims and swapping the stock seats out for a pair of Recaro Sportster CS that was also found in his previous Honda Civic EG6, and a Nardi Personal Deep Corn steering wheel.
A perfectionist with a total disdain for spacers, the previous set of wheels were of the wrong size and spacers, a fresh set of Volk Racing TE37SLs in a staggered configuration were sourced and wrapped in sticky Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 tires – these are tires developed in partnership with AMG, Porsche and Ferrari! AST Suspension 5300 dampers and three-way adjustable providing low and high speed compression adjustments in addition to the rebound.
If you think he is done with the car, wrong you are. As long as Jeff can think of what is next to do with the 350Z, he plans to keep it for as long as he can, which was one of the reasons why he had moved on from the EG6 after a long 11 years of ownership.
Invidia Gemini Catback exhaust system brought in by Driven Performance provides improved mid to high end gains, but what really matter is the sweet, sweet sound of music that commensurate with the amount of pressure Jeff places on the accelerator. If you do not know yet, 9tro has a list of LTA approved exhausts that you can make reference to.
When he is done – A Mercedes Benz C63 AMG Black Series perhaps?
• Original Nismo 380RS front bumper and lip
• Esprit carbon fibre rear wing
• Custom Speedhut Water Temperature, Oil Temperature and Oil Pressure Gauges
• Recaro Sportster CS seats
• Innovate Air/Fuel Ratio Display Auto Timer
• Nardi Personal Deep Corn Steering Wheel
• Lathewerks Co Piston Shift Knob
Engine and Performance
• Tomei Poncams Camshafts
• Custom remote oil filter system
• Custom Kleenoil Oil Bypass Filtration system
• Setrab oil cooler with improve performance oilstat
• Custom designed radiator by concept racing UK
• Custom designed ducting by Lye designs
• Custom designed A/C condenser
• Custom designed Filtered and closed PCV system
• Custom designed auxiliary drive system
• Greddy Oil Pan
• Invidia Gemini Catback exhaust (LTA Approved)
• NRG Stainless Steel Air Diversion Panel
• Rays Engineering Volk Racing TE37SL 18x9.5 +22 and 19x10.5 +22
• Michelin Pilot Super Sport Cup 2 265/35 18 fronts and 305/30 19
• Endless Monobloc front and rear brake system
• Titanium Arms and rose joints (not all, only some, its still a daily)
• AST Suspension three-way 5300 dampers
• Eibach springs
• Eibach Anti Roll Bar (front and rear)
• Okuyama Carbing front strut bar