I’ve been told that I’m starting to sound cynical*. So I suppose it’s time I lighten up and change my tune. Since we’re on the topic of turbos, I’m going to recount my most memorable experiences of a simple, yet complex piece of hardware that always seems to put a smile on my face.
My first, the best: Some might equate their first go with a turbocharged car in the same vein as their first backseat encounter—hot, quick to get going and done playing with in a flash. It was the summer of 1997, during the prime time of SoCal’s import drag racing glory days; everyone going really fast at the time either used crazy/scary amounts of nitrous or were turbocharged (some both). Watching those guys at LACR was a bit of a dream for kids like me and my group of friends, and while we were short on resources, we did what we could to keep up—of course, limited funds mean you’re still slow, which, most of us were. But we had a couple friends who knew the value of blowing their tuition/student loan money on parts for their cars. Along with maxing out a couple high interest rate credit cards, these guys were the first to turbocharge their cars. And it was glorious. One was a GReddy kit for the SOHC EJ Civic EX, quick for the streets, and the high roller was a ’95 GS-R with a custom kit pieced together by Pit Crew/JG Engine Dynamics. That car was meant for joyrides and the fastest it ever went on the 1320 was an 11.66 e.t., assisted with a little bit of nitrous. It would be several years until I’d be able to taste turbocharged deliciousness with one of my own projects.
The second, a headache mostly (yet still fun): Now who remembers my old friend 2Fizzle? Red 240SX with a S13 face? SR20DET? It was the biggest pain in the ass to get running right before it could even be remotely tuned. It spat out crazy, not-so-good-looking clouds of smoke. Wiring issues up the ass. Many heartfelt thanks goes out to Old Man Gary here, countless other friends, SR20Store, HKS and SP Engineering for turning that car around and making it a short lived, neck-snapping cruiser. My very first turbo-powered car, and most likely my last, for now…
But my most recent: It was in 2008, on a day I’ll never forget, spent with the R35 GT-R. Imagine having that car obey every single one of your driving commands. It’s pretty f’in magical. I might’ve slept a total of three hours that night; I spent the rest of my time driving. All over Los Angeles county and thensome. Continuously boosted. I purposely hunted Porsches down. I didn’t even know the windows rolled up automatically after you hit a certain speed until blasting well past that speed. The R35 proves immediately why it’s a factory turbocharged behemoth that should not be handled lightly. Push it hard, and push it very good. It loves to give back so much more. I have never smiled so much while driving a car…
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