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Drivers Image Nissan 350Z Convertible

Staff Report
Jan 24, 2005 SHARE

Individuality is what makes the sport compact scene so great. No two cars are exactly alike. Every individual will always have their own style and taste to add to the mix. Individuality is what makes the sport compact scene so alive. The car is the canvas and the owner is the artist. And like every work of art there are some artists you agree with and other that you don't. For Drivers Image shop owner Gregg Feinstein, promoting one's individuality is what keeps him in business.

So when it came time to build up his personal ride, it needed to be unique in every way. He wanted people to look at his car and say, "That's a piece of work." So how was Gregg going to accomplish this? Well for starters, instead of going with the more traditional hardtop version of the 350Z, Gregg opted for the convertible. And of course the Z didn't stay stock for very long. The Nissan was a blank canvas and Gregg was about to get Michelangelo all over it.

The 350Z is known for smooth body lines. To continue what Nissan started, Gregg had the door handles, emblems, antenna and front bumper reflectors removed and smoothed over. Also on the list of exterior modifications was the addition of a Stillen front grille, sideskirts and rear wing. The Stillen pieces are partnered with a GReddy front lip, Kaminari rear lip and VeilSide rearview mirrors. The vented, fiberglass front bonnet also comes from Kaminari. Only after the body mods fit perfectly was the entire car covered in a custom Drivers Image signature yellow lacquer.

Seeing as how sound systems are Gregg's forte, the interior would undergo an extensive overhauling. Immediately noticeable, once you sit in the restitched leather driver seat, is the absence of the factory gauge cluster. The gauge cluster has been relocated to the middle of a custom fiberglass dash/console. Sitting right below the relocated gauge pod is an 11-inch LCD monitor, molded into the console.

The visual signals to the monitor are provided by an Alpine head unit with DVD capabilities. Three Xtant subwoofers, enclosed in a custom fiberglass enclosure mounted behind the cockpit to provide musical release. Powering the subs are two Xtant amps with enough juice to revive the dead. Continuing with the yellow theme, neon accent- tubes light up the entire trunk area.

Gregg must really like fiberglass since the door panels also did not escape his touch. The factory panels were reworked with fiberglass to house the MB Quart mids while the A-pillars are now home to the tweeters. Each custom fiberglass panel was repainted the same Drivers Image yellow hue as the exterior. Momo acessories is found throughout the interior with the most luscious item being the suede covered steering wheel ready for driver's input.

No show car would be complete without some dubs to roll on. Custom-painted Maya GR5 wheels mounted inside ultra sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 2 rubber provides the rolling stock. To decrease fender gap and give the Z an aggressive stance, Koni shocks and Eibach springs were chosen to get the look just right.Not wanting to leave any stone unturned, Gregg also replaced the stock brakes with AP Racing four-piston front and rear big brake kit.

With all that rubber making contact with the road it only makes sense there would be engine mods to push the performance envelope. The 3.5-liter VQ engine is no slouch in stock trim but for Gregg it was just starting point for making more power. And with all that weight from the sound system Gregg needed an extra boost to fend off any would-be competitors.

For bang-for-the-buck quotient there is no better way to increase horsepower than with a nitrous oxide system. Gregg opted for an NOS wet kit, jetted for a 75-horsepower kick. In a wet nitrous setup the nitrous oxide is combined with fuel at the nozzle for better atomization, unlike a dry setup which relies the injectors to provide the extra fuel. Aiding intake airflow is an AEM short ram intake. On the exhaust side the six cylinders dump into Stillen headers then routed through Stillen cat eliminators. A single JIC catback exhaust expels the spent gases out the rear.

Car tuning is an art form and anybody who tells you otherwise is probably old and stale. As with any work of art it takes time, perseverance, sweat and tears to pull it all together. For Gregg, all his hard work has paid off and now he can enjoy his work with daily cruises down the boulevard. But his biggest satisfaction comes when others appproach him and compliment his work. Michelangelo would be proud.

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