There's a lot to be said for those willing to build a brand-new vehicle. Parts are typically scarce or unavailable, adaptation and fabrication are more often the rule rather than the exception, and for all the hard work and ingenuity invested, there's no guarantee of success at the end of it all-like any Mitsubishi Diamante or Suzuki SX4 builder can attest. But every once in a while, something fresh and different pops up on the scene that just works. Chris Cu's Infiniti Q50 is certainly one that does just that.
Born and raised in Sacramento, Calif., Chris' introduction to cars came in the way of a '09 Nissan Maxima he bought for himself as a commuter about seven years ago. Working within the NorCal import aftermarket, Chris caught the bug early on, but since his car wasn't the typical Civic or Evo, he had to learn quickly how to be resourceful and creative.
His Maxima might've been the car Chris used to get a foothold in the scene, but the '13 Nissan 370Z he bought a few years later was what he became known for. Within a year, that car was hitting the show circuit and holding it down on the streets with air suspension, Varis/Shine Auto lip kit, Bride seats, and "about three or four" (Chris lost count) different sets of Work wheels, each in aggressive fitments. It wasn't an over-the-top build in terms of money invested or extensive modification, but one marked by high-quality treatment in key areas to set his car apart from the masses.
Chris bought his Z the year the Infiniti Q50 debuted as the G37 successor. It was actually what Chris was after from the start (he's always had a thing for sedans and wanted something newer), so when a good deal came up on a months-old, barely used Q50 later that year, Chris parted out the Z and began ordering parts for the Q before he'd even taken delivery of it.
Stillen had a lip kit in production for the Q50 seemingly as soon as it hit the market, which Chris appropriately picked up first. He was also able to draw on his past experience and guesstimate the measurements of some AG wheels that got close to the fitment he was after. But that's where the easy work ended. An air suspension was adapted to the car very early on, as was a Nissan 370Z Motordyne exhaust that had to be cut and welded in several places to fit (which Chris recently replaced with a Q50 application-specific Motordyne exhaust).
A few months later, Chris swapped to a different set of wheels and added some Outcast carbon-fiber splitters and Megan Racing control arms and suspension components. Just a few months after that, he ditched the lip kit for a new JDM Blitz alternative and swapped wheels once again to a custom set of Work Meisters. Indecisive? Nah-just persistent in finding and adding the latest and freshest to the all-new model.
Less than two years after the car's release, Chris had his Q50 slammed and sitting flush on Works, with a Blitz kit from Japan, and sounding as good as it looked. For many builders concerned with streetability and maintaining their factory warranty (as well as a positive bank account), this would be enough. But not Chris. Minor modifications continued on the car throughout the months that followed, and in the winter of '15, the car was garaged for its first major round of modifications: changing the previously pieced-together air suspension for a more application-specific Airlift 3H and Becausebags Corsa system, replacing the factory trunk lid with an Outcast Garage carbon-fiber duckbill and hiring friend Kimson and the Ulterior Motives shop to fabricate full metal bolt-on rear fender flares for the car. Chris also turned to Elite Autobody to cut and widen the fronts, adding some pretty trick vents in the process. Oh, and he decided once again to change wheels, swapping out the Works for a set of WEDS Vishnus.
Despite the Infiniti Q50's worthiness as a successor to the Infiniti G37, much has been stated of its more conservative design. The general public may laud this as understated and unassuming, given its improved performance and luxury, but enthusiasts are always going to want a more aggressive appearance to go with that; Chris' custom rear flares achieved that goal perfectly.
Chris hit the show scene during the summer of '16 with the car as was (after switching the wheels again, this time to a set of Work VS-XXs), and in the winter of '16, he had the flares welded and molded to the car's body, and the factory front fenders cut and flared to match. The car was also painted its current Ultra Sonic Blue hues (it had previously been factory white), ceramic-coated and clear-bra'd by his friends at Imperial Works, and received a set of Akebono calipers, 88Rotors CSR rotors, and some interior goodies you can read more about in the spec box. Oh, and he swapped the wheels again for good measure, this time to custom-barreled Work Meisters. Phew!
Chris and his Q50 won Second Place Infiniti honors at the '16 and '17 Wekfest Long Beach show, and most recently won First Place Infiniti at Wekfest San Jose, and in each instance was one of only a few modified Q50s present. The awards are testament to Chris' success in building an all-new car that works, but that doesn't mean it's time for the work to stop. He's got plenty more in mind, beginning with some modification to its (for now) naturally aspirated 3.7L V-6, along with some continued interior additions. Along with a new set of wheels, we imagine. Or 13.