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2003 Nissan 350Z - Getting It Right

Fast, Pretty, And Everything Else You Want Your Car To Be

Charles Trieu
Mar 1, 2009
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper
130_0903_01_z+2003_nissan_350z+front_view Photo 1/11   |   2003 Nissan 350Z - Getting It Right

When buying a new car, most shoppers look for a car that's great out of the box, and with not much needed to improve on. Martin Luk however bought his Z in 2003 with plans to go all-out and to upgrade everything. "I've always built race and track cars before. This time I wanted to build an all-around car." And indeed, his Z is upgraded.

The finished product you see now wasn't as easy to come to as you might think. There have been several setups and different builds with this car. Martin started out building the motor naturally-aspirated. With cams and a fully-built head, he was making a good amount of power for a streetcar, but it wasn't nearly enough for him.

After getting used to the power, Martin decided to scrap the entire plan and build the motor for forced induction. The engine was completely reworked and a supercharger was added. Along with a few other tricks, the car layed down 416 hp to the wheels.

Beating down Ferraris and just about anything he encountered, he was feeling on top of the world. Until of course, he had an incident with a Hennessy-built Dodge Viper. Yes, just like in my favorite Japanese anime Wangan Midnight, this Z was pushed to the limits on the highway. And just like in Wangan Midnight, this Z lost. "We were even until the end of fourth gear, and then that's when the Viper started pulling away. At fifth and sixth gear, all I could see was Hennessey on the rear of the car." Competition brings out the best in people, and Martin is no exception to the rule. Determined not to let the same thing happen again, he decided to ditch the supercharger and take the VQ35 to the next level.

Wanting nothing but the best for his Z, he decided to go with APS' Extreme twin turbo system. With two massive Garrett turbos and two 3.5" downpipes, this is APS' wildest kit. Arguably the best kit made for the Z. It's just the beginning of the madness. Custom cams had to be ordered from Tomei, as well as reinforcing the block with Carrillo rods and CP pistons. After having a few unnamed sleeves drop on him, Martin had to buy a whole new short block. The old block was unsalvageable after having the two sets of sleeves drop on him. This time around he went with Darton sleeves. To top that off, custom crank work was done; The new bore and stroke net him a 4.0L VQ35.

With everything in line, the car was brought back to Mark at SGP Racing in Houston. The new setup and heart transplant of the beast yielded 602 hp to the wheels. With pump gas (93 octane) and only 12 pounds of boost he tells us "it's not even really pushing the car yet." Martin will be going back to tune the car more aggressively later on. "I don't think making over 900whp will be a problem." And I do believe it's Viper hunting season for Martin and his Z.

To show that he's not just a gearhead and all about power, Martin has dressed his 350Z in one of the very few widebody Do-Luck kits in the states. Unlike most widebody kits, this one is subtle, flows with bodylines, and is not hideous like the rest. With a sleek elegant front bumper and side skirts, the only parts that indicate a widebody, are those exaggerated steps around the rear lights and gas cap, that make them look sunken into the body. Rare on the streets, high shoulder fenders like this are usually only seen on Super GT cars. Loving the original paint color, Martin decided to paint the kit the same LeMans Sunset Orange that Nissan chose for this Z.

To transfer the power down, the 19x9.5 and 19x10.5 Volk GTS were covered in 255/35 and 285/30 wide Toyo T1-R rubber. And to bring the car back down to earth, chromed 12-piston Rotora calipers were fitted to front, while the rears were fitted with 4-piston units.

Now that the car is completely built, it is no longer his daily driver. Instead he'll be bringing it out to car shows and drift events for fun. Fortunately for him, he just picked up a Nissan R34 Skyline for his daily pleasure. Yeah, that's pretty tame.

130_0903_02_z+2003_nissan_350z+rear_view Photo 8/11   |   2003 Nissan 350Z - Getting It Right

That New Car Smell
2003 Nissan 350Z
Owner Martin Luk
Hometown H-Town, TX

Daily Grind director of convention services power 602WHP @ 6300 RPM, 543ft lb @ 4480 RPM

Under The Hood 4.0L VQ35DE; Tomei custom turbo camshafts; Carrillo H-beam rods; CP Extreme Heavy Duty pistons; 5-angle valve job; port-and-polished head; Ferrera 1mm oversided valves, dual valve springs and retainers; APS 3.5" downpipes, 3" exhaust, 5" thick intercooler, APS Tall-Boy inlet pluenum, APS Extreme Twin GT Series Garrett dual ball bearing turbos, blow-off valve and oil pan; custom SGP/CJM dual fuel pump system; Precision 1600cc injectors; HKS Twin Power DLI ignition, EVC VI boost controller, A/F Knock Amp, V Pro Navigator, turbo timer and oil cap; NGK Platinum spark plugs; TiAL 35mm wastegate; NX Express N-Tercooler system; PWR radiator; Stillen carbon covers; UTR prototype Titanium cooling plate; ARP L19 head studs; Darton sleeves; Cosworth headgaskets; SGP Racing High output alternator, solid billet motor mounts, radiator breather tank; Fluidamper harmonic crank dampener; Nissan RevUp oil pump, Nismo thermostat;

Drivetrain Carbonetic triple carbon clutch disc system

Brains HKS F-Con V Pro; Technosquare ECU

Stiff Stuff RSR Sports Intelligence coilovers; APS Tough-Boy strut bar

Rollers Volk GTS 19x9.5 (front), 19x10.5 (rear); Toyo T1-R 255/35R19 (front), 285/30/19 (rear); Kyokugen lug nuts

Stoppers Rotora 12-piston caliper with 380mm rotors (front), 4-piston caliper with 355mm rotors (rear), and stainless steel lines

Outside Do-Luck Aero Wivern widebody kit; custom APR front splitter; Veilside version 2 spoiler; Seibon carbon hood; Aerocatch hood latches; Craft Square carbon side mirrors; Varis carbon a-pillar covers

Inside Sparco Fighter seats, Lap 3 steering wheel, and harness bar; Defi BF series boost, fuel pressure, EGT gauges and control unit; UTR Titanium shift knob; Crow 5-point harness; Evo-R carbon dash kit and door sills

Ice Alpine CDA-9885 head unit; JL Audio amps and stealthbox; Focal K2 components; Pioneer components; custom enclosure

Props HKS, Rotora, RSR, ARP Performance, Toyo Tires, Mark at SGP Racing, Johnny at J Tran Studios, Eddie at Dyanmic Autosports, Jason at Prestige Motorsports, Jackie at Carboy, James at Bay City Radio, Andy at Formula Drift, Willie Yee, all my friends, Team Koncept Racing, my girlfriend, and family for the support!

www airpowersystems.com; aprperformance.com; carrilloind.com; cppistons.com; dartonsleeves.com; defi-shop.com; do-luck.com; evo-r.net; ferrea.com; focal-america.com; hksusa.com; jlaudio.com; pioneerelectronics.com; prestigemotorsports.org; rotora.com; rs-r.com; seiboncarbon.com; sgpracing.com; sparcousa.com; tialsport.com; tomeiusa.com; toyo.com; unlimitedtuning.com; veilside.com

By Charles Trieu
161 Articles

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