Avid enthusiasts know the hunt for something different is almost never ending. Off-the-shelf parts offer the convenience and immediacy to satisfy the masses, but at the cost of repeated builds that seem to get tougher to differentiate. The bolt-on fender flare craze is testament to this, as lookalikes become all but mandatory, right down to wheel choice and even sticker placement.
So, how do you break the mold and stand out in a sea of similarity? By going with something one-off, of course. Easier said than done, obviously, because the vision of a perfect build that haunts you isn't always a possibility and leaves most reaching for what's obtainable. In the case of Tim Tobar @tntmasterpiece and his 2004 G35, standard wheel and body mods could only hold his attention for so long.
Purchased in 2014, the car's current status is essentially its second life. Its first iteration featured standard body lines, a different set of wheels, and the custom carbon trunk you see pictured, produced by Outcast Garage, who also created the 1-of-1 front bumper currently on the car. The combination set the car slightly apart from the numerous others, but it simply wasn't enough, and Tim wanted to further separate himself from the crowd.
With thoughts of what his G35 could look like, a friend at Outcast Garage urged him to contact DTM Autobody @dtmautobody. Based in El Monte, Calif., DTM has been working with the aftermarket since 2005. Originally known as European parts retailer DTM Autohaus, the group expanded into a full service auto body shop that caters to your standard insurance claim repair and paint, to full blown custom creations, like this G35 that included a color change from black to Audi's Nardo Grey.
Between those two extremes, you'll also find a number of other services available through DTM, like fender cut/rolling, head and taillight tinting, body kit fitment/installation, as well as actual parts sales. DTM certainly has the experience and know-how to make custom creations happen, but in order to fully translate Tim's vision a third party was needed ...
@jaked_up_car_art is a Los Angeles-based car artist-for-hire that has a knack for masterfully sketching out what it is you've got floating around in your head. His artwork covers all vehicle types and styles, and in this case his rendering would serve as a basis for DTM to work from. The group offered a rough idea and some details on the build, then set Jake loose to create something original.
Starting from scratch would usually mean a stock-bodied G35, then adding all of the personal touches. In Tim's case, however, the caveat in his design wishes included working around a set of massive 20x12.5-in. front, 20x15-in. rear Infinitewerks Concave MT wheels. The size and style of the wheel has a major impact on the design, which relies heavily on sweeping, non-traditional lines from front to back.
Taking the artistic angles on paper and applying them to a real subject is about as hard as it sounds, according to Long of DTM, who states, "We've done R&D for various body kit brands for years so we know what works and what doesn't. We definitely used that experience on this build in all aspects, even the ones that don't seem that important to some. The wheel wells, for example—we've worked with many customers that want to tuck their wheels but keeping the wells proportional, not oblong or mismatched, is a huge step in getting it right."
The process to transform Jake's rendering to reality took a full year, off and on, and as you might expect with something this involved, setbacks were part of the process. Long adds, "The front fenders dip in with the side skirt, and getting that angle right was very tough. You have to remember that the drawing doesn't take into account the structure of the vehicle itself. So, certain parts you can cut or even remove, but others you simply can't, and you have to figure out ways to work around them." Though the front fenders are metal, the majority of the rest of the kit is fiberglass—a material that, Long says, is best for working around extreme body lines and exaggerated curves.
The front end of Tim's G35 still sports the Outcast Garage one-off bumper, but additional material was added to both sides by DTM in order to meet the newfound width of the front fenders.
Those fenders feature the sharp cut that Long mentioned previously, but it's not the blunt, cut-and-paste feel you're accustomed to. Instead, the mid-portion of the fender, which looms over the top of the cutout, is sculpted, and the flow of the fender that combines OEM and aftermarket sheet metal remains seamless.
The lower portion of the leading edge of the side skirt is rounded to help finish off the fender cutout, then flattens out as it traces the G35's flanks and leads to a complex rear quarter panel.
The flat, straight side skirt makes a sharp turn outward, where it's met by the lower portion of the rear quarter that might be the most controversial section of the entire kit, as it's not shy in announcing its presence. A multi-tier portion that sits atop the angled skirt continues the push outward to help house those large, 20x15 rear wheels.
With a few inches separating the original body from the wider, fabricated portion, step around to the side and you'll notice yet another sculpted portion at the top of the panel, just under the rear quarter window, which helps to continue the sweeping line that angles upward before flattening out as it passes the trunk.
Like the front, another cutout was made to not only match but also to display a portion of the rear wheel and tire. Completely aired-out with Air Lift Performance and lacking the extreme camber treatment thanks to dialing in the suspension with Voodoo camber arms, the exposed rubber adds an even more aggressive touch.
In the rear, a carbon-fiber diffuser houses an ARC differential cooler and a set of Motordyne TDX2 finishers on the lower half, while up top the Outcast Garage carbon-fiber trunk remains but was partially painted with the majority of the integrated deck spoiler left in raw carbon.
Giving up on convenience in order to obtain something truly outside of the box is always a risk, but it's something that Tim Tobar was dead set on turning into a reality. Friendly networking brought him to DTM Autobody and an artist's touch helped tie all of the pieces together for a truly one-of-a-kind build.
THE START OF SOMETHING BIG
Although there were some changes to the final design from this sketch, this side view allowed Jake to get a good feel for a proposed direction to go with the car.
These smaller sketches were texted to Tim in late August of 2017. They were the two that he fell in love with that really got this project moving.
This tip-up side-view sketch by Jake was the exact rendering that DTM used as a guideline for the body mods on the G35.
A second full rendering was created for the car to tease Instagram on what was coming.