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<span style="color:darkblue">Cover Story
Barely Legal
Nissan 350Z
Text by Michael Semira
Photos by Velocite

Well, it is SEMA time again, and as another year is winding down, not many will argue that the Nissan 350Z remains the hottest platform on the market. The Z seems to be even hotter than last year, as countless tuners and manufacturers invested the past 12 months ripping apart the Z33 in search of ways to improve the vehicle’s already-potent performance. Even Nissan got caught up in its own Z fever, not only by making track-proven Nismo parts available directly from the dealership, but also by offering a convertible version which was released earlier in the year. Needless to say, Nissan’s choice of meshing the drop-top option with the Z’s 287 growling horses made for a vehicle all-too-perfect for automotive enthusiasts, especially Toronto’s Kevin Yee – the owner of the tricked-out version featured here.

Ask any Honda S2000, Mazda Miata or Toyota MR-S owner and you will get the same answer: no feeling quite compares to cruising the open road with the top down. Whether its added benefits like the sunlight, fresh air, or the fact that everyone can see your lovely face, top-down driving is where it’s at. With the addition of the Z roadster to the lineup, tuners were given the option of mixing the joy of owning a convertible with having the raw power of a 3.5L V6 on tap. And when a vehicle with so much potential is left in the very capable hands of someone like Yee, the entire scene is put on Red Alert for the final result.

Yee is regarded as one of the pioneers of the Canadian sport compact scene. He sits at the head of Innovative Entertainment, the company responsible for producing Canada’s Darknights Nationals (DKN). Recently completing its sixth annual event (last issue, 6.06), DKN is recognized as the nation’s largest and longest-running sport compact event, roughly bringing in over 1,000 vehicles and 40,000 spectators every year. In these days where many claim to be industry pioneers, Yee can lay claim as one of the originators – helping put the Canadian scene on the map. As he looks to take DKN to the next level, he grabbed this Z33 convertible and let his imagination take over.

One of the most recognizable aspects of Yee’s Z is its two-tone exterior. The two-tone appearance is achieved courtesy of the vehicle’s new body kit, which was left unpainted for a true race-like feel. The Nismo-style kit from Liquidbodykits.com that adorns the exterior stays true to the vehicle’s Nissan roots, and consists of a front bumper, side and rear skirts. However, unlike the optional kit that is available at dealers, Yee’s aero kit is constructed entirely out of carbon fibre to reduce weight without compromising strength or durability. A carbon fibre rear spoiler sits atop the trunk lid and completes this Z’s Nismo-inspired facelift. A custom vinyl graphics package shows off the project’s sponsors and perfectly accents the Daytona Blue / carbon fibre body.

The dimensions of the Z just cry out for a set of aftermarket wheels and tires to fill its fat fenders. Yee obliged with a set of Racing Hart’s brand new J5 wheels wrapped in the stickiest of street-legal Toyo rubber. These gold wheels measure 19 inches in diameter, with 9-inch wide wheels up front and 10.5-inch in the rear. The Toyo T1S 235 / 35 and 275 / 30 tires were Yee’s first and only choice, as the T1S is known to provide serious traction in either wet or dry conditions.

Turning his attention to improving the Z’s suspension, Yee didn’t have to look much further than TEIN and its FLEX coil-over system. The FLEX suspension not only offers damping control and ride height adjustability, but does so with the ease of in-cabin control. With the integration of the EDFC unit, Yee’s Z can adapt to the pothole-laden streets of downtown Toronto to the smooth asphalt of Shannonville Motorsport Park at the touch of a button.

Much attention was paid to overhauling the engine due to the addition of the Vortech supercharger kit. The kit was installed by the team at Kensai Racing and treats Yee to 412 screaming ponies at the crank. Yee opted to go with centrifugal supercharger-based kit as it provides one of the best horsepower-per-dollar ratio on the market and immediate throttle response. The bolt-on kit comes with everything that needed to integrate it with the VQ35DE, including an intake, aftercooler and fuel system upgrade. A set of forged JE Pistons slugs and rings fill the block, outfitting the VQ for life above 400hp.

Yee opted to go with Vortech’s polished supercharger unit, as he knew that this car’s engine bay was going to be on display at countless industry events in the upcoming months. Adding to the engine bay bling is the immaculate IPT Motorsports carbon fibre engine cover. Dubbed Velocity.ONE (v.1) and made with TrueMold’s Precision Composite Processing, the cover features an OE-like fit and replaces the plastic Nissan piece. The final piece of automotive jewellery is the ARC radiator shroud, which backs up its looks with some function as well, as it directs more air towards the radiator to aid cooling.

Also helping out with engine airflow is the stainless Vibrant Performance cat-back dual exhaust, while a nitrous system from NOS adds a little kick whenever Yee sees fit.

Yee’s focus then turned to the multimedia system, which he felt was the last aspect needed to complete his all-around vehicle. For this, he enlisted the help of Clarion Canada as it is renowned for its cutting-edge products and knowledgeable staff to aid in properly piecing his system together. He took the project Z to his good friends at Selective Sounds in Mississauga, ON to design and build the elaborate installation.

Creativity was the key behind Yee’s install, as the Z roadster does not offer a lot of space to fool around with. Starting with a Clarion VRX745VD head unit up front, the signal is sent to the DVH940 processor unit and SRS1384 crossover for fine tuning. The signal is then sent to a pair of Clarion amplifiers, an APX640.2 for the subwoofers and APX640.4 for the mids and highs, which are set on a custom rack in the trunk. The beefed-up signal is then used to push Clarion’s symphony of speakers scattered throughout the tight cabin. Low-end oomph is provided by the pair of Clarion XW1000 10-inch subs home in a bed of fibreglass behind the Sparco Torino 2 seats, while the other end of the frequency is reproduced by the two pairs of SRS1685 components, tweeters and SRK5 centre channel.

When the stunning visuals of Yee’s surrounding environment aren’t enough, he looks to the slick 7-inch LCD monitor found in the VRX745VD head unit. Selective Sounds also went ahead and integrated a Clarion VMA7194 LCD monitor in the trunk for use when the Z is strutting its stuff on the show floor.

The utilitarian interior has been the recipient of a serious overhaul courtesy of the automotive plastic surgeons over at CFD in Woodbridge, ON. Much of the factory Nissan interior has been nipped-n-tucked away, and has been replaced with a sea of painted fibreglass. The dash is home to a pair of dazzling Defi BF Series gauges courtesy of TEIN USA in Downey, CA, helping Yee to keep tabs on the Z’s boost level and exhaust temperature. The VSD Basis heads-up unit takes care of the rest, displaying engine speed, water and oil temperature. An Ungo Pro Security SRS5000 two-way paging alarm takes care of security duties, doing its best to deter thieves and hooligans.

Yee’s roadster is one of the finest specimens we’ve come across this year. His dedication and efforts in building this top-notch vehicle didn’t go unnoticed by PAS, as we were so impressed that we decided to showcase it in our very own display booth at SEMA. So if you’re lucky enough to attend SEMA this year, drop by the PAS booth to see this Z roadster in person. Of course, this project would have never been completed without the support of his sponsors, including Clarion, TEIN USA, Defi, Dazz Motorsports, Vortech, Toyo Tires, IPT Motorsports, Mackin Indsutries (ARC), Liquidbodykits.com, JE Pistons and the team at Innovative Entertainment. Other appearances scheduled for this Z include a nationwide tour with Clarion Canada and obviously the Darknights Nationals. We’re sure that this vehicle will do an admirable job of leading the Canadian scene to the next level.










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<span style="color:darkblue">Feature Article
 
Red Hot
Nissan 350Z
Text by Michael Semira
Photos Supplied by Toucan Industries

We all know that since its anticipated release in 2003, the Nissan 350Z has become the hottest project vehicle of choice among large corporations and independent enthusiasts alike. We are also aware that for over the past year, its VQ35DE engine has been the focus of countless manufacturers, as they look for ways to increase the 287 ponies that Nissan packed into the 3.5L six-cylinder. To put it bluntly, much of the staff at PAS has been Z-ed out, as we’ve come across enough Z33s to last a lifetime. With that in mind, know that it takes quite the Z-car to grab our attention these days.

Enter the Toucan Industries 350Z. Built in the image of Brand Manager Andy Williamson, this vehicle was unveiled under the bright lights of the SEMA show in Las Vegas last November. Toucan, famous for its Ractive, Eurolite and Evotion lines, has always been a major player in the sport compact industry, even back when neon paint jobs were cool. To revive its image, Williamson wanted to use this opportunity to not only showcase the immeasurable number of products Toucan has under its belt, but to show that the team at Toucan know a thing or two about performance. As you can tell by the end result, there is no question that Williamson and his crew know about performance, creativity and then some.

Williamson knew that to get the pop from the SEMA crowd, he really needed to go all out. So starting beneath the hood, he decided to go with some easy bolt-on performance in the form of the gear-driven centrifugal supercharger system from ProCharger. By mixing in a couple Evotion goodies like stainless-steel headers and cat-back exhaust system, airflow was also tremendously increased. Factor in the integration of ProCharger’s signature air-to-air front-mount intercooler, plus a Nitrous Express nitrous system and you’ll soon understand why Williamson claims the Toucan 350Z can leave 15 yards of vulcanized Michelin rubber with no problem at all.

Keeping the Z glued to the asphalt is a joint effort of the upgraded wheel and tire combination and high performance suspension components. Williamson contacted Dazz Motorsports, the exclusive North American importer for Racing Hart wheels, for the lead on his exclusive rollers. Measuring 19 inches in diameter, the Racing Hart CPF Tune-R wheels you see on this 350 are the only set in the US (according to Williamson). Using 285/30 tires in the rear and 245/35 up front to keep this RWD beast planted, the polished finish and timeless five-spoke design of these forged wheels seem perfect for the 350Z.

The factory spring and damper combination from Nissan is adequate for spirited driving sessions, but it pales in comparison to the heavy-duty HKS coil-over system that Williamson chose to use on the Toucan demo car. With adjustable ride height and dampening force, the coil-overs work well to keep this vehicle under control along with the custom Evotion brake system that lives under the two front wheels. Featuring extremely lightweight titanium rotors and billet four-piston calipers, the Evotion brake kit not only improves stopping power but also sheds unwanted weight.

With most of the performance modifications out of the way, Williamson and the Toucan team started on the construction of the exterior. Knowing that there would be a handful of other 350Zs at SEMA competing for attention, they knew that the selection of these dress-up pieces would be crucial. Rather than opt for the wide-body kit from VeilSide that almost every 350Z would surely be dressed in, it was the body kit from INGS +1 that caught Williamson’s eye. Finishing touches include Toucan’s rear spoiler and custom hood insert as the customary carbon fibre add-ons. The vehicle was then coated in Nippon Bitter Sweet paint by IEO Customs in Miami, FL to complete its look-at-me appearance.

When it came to upgrading the lighting system, Williamson had the full array of Eurolite products to play with and outfitted the Z with an HID system, undercar neon kit and professional strobe controller from the Toucan brand.

The living quarters are where Williamson and his team decided to get really creative. Teaming with experts at Mad Dog Audio, the cabin and multimedia system setup were areas that would set it apart. First off, using a mixture of white carbon fibre (Kevlar), fibreglass and mesh material, the entire cabin space was overhauled. Using custom white carbon fibre and mesh reclining seats (designed by Toucan Design Canada in Toronto, ON) as command points, the occupants of this Z are treated to a re-worked dash that replaces the factory gauge cluster with a quintet of Ractive seven-colour performance gauges and tachometer. The driver’s extremities are treated to a set of Ractive racing pedals down below and a vented shift knob with a carbon shift boot up top.

Eye candy is provided by a slew of Kenwood LCD monitors, starting with a 7-inch Excelon DVD player / touch-screen monitor up front and a couple 6.4-inch widescreen LCD monitors installed in the rear quarter windows for onlookers to see. Three pairs of Kenwood Excelon dual-magnet speakers (ranging from 5 to 7 inches) are responsible for handling the mid and high acoustic ranges, with a hefty KFC-XW1300DVC 13-inch subwoofer providing the bottom end. Using both Kenwood Excelon 5-channel and mono-block amplifiers to pump the juice through Tsunami wiring, the Z’s passengers and those lucky enough to be in the surrounding environment are treated to heart-pounding acoustics on a regular basis.

The finished project drew rave reviews when it was finally unveiled at SEMA. Williamson and the Toucan crew couldn’t dream of a better response. With this Z and the carbon fibre Mazda6 (featured in issue 6.05) flanking the Toucan booth, the display was lit up with flash bulbs all week long. The Williamson-led Toucan squad had a lot of assistance in building this car, as Kenwood, ProCharger, Tsunami, Mad Dog Audio, Dazz Motorsports, Michelin Tires and Nitrous Express all lent a helping hand. Of course, Williamson would like to send a special shout out to the team at C16 Magazine for all their support. Even with this project completed, it looks like there is no rest in sight for the Toucan team, since we hear they are working on yet another project (or two) to wow us with. I’m sure they’ve got another trick up their sleeve.












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I've seen that blue Z on another Z board. I think he's from Cali. Wants to go all CF, more than jinxxy.
 

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Originally posted by nourarnaout@Jan 3 2005, 05:02 AM
this car was there too..

The last two pics are Terry's car (Zeetoyz). Was best of show at the last ECZA meet. Beautiful car!!!

Thanks for posting the articles Dirn!
 

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I didn't even notice.. Terry since you live in Hamilton and I work in Hamilton I have to see this zeezee. My dad owns TRUSTY AUTO CENTER at the corner of UpperSherman and Crockett. I assume you'r driving your winter car, pass by anytime if it needs work and i'll hook you up big time.
 
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