<span style="color:darkblue">Cover Story
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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