If you were a fan of D1 GP in the early 2000s, you’ll immediately recognize which car Michael Enrico was jocking when he put his build together. And if you don’t know, yet are still drawn to his car, we have nothing but respect for you. His affair with Japanese sport compact cars began in the Ontario, Calif. street racing scene. At that time he was more interested in mini trucks, but it only took one night of brightly painted cars and neon lights for him to convert to the JDM camp. Michael recalls JDM Insider videos as his gateway into the authentic Japanese car culture. He was captivated by Kanjo style cars and, of course, Ken Nomura’s Blitz/Uras Skyline sedan.
His first project car, like many of us, came in the form of the utilitarian Honda Civic. He had built a number of Hondas, but he distinctively remembers his RHD converted and J-swapped EJ8. However, it only took one drift ride-along at Adam Motorsports Park to shift his focus from Hondas to anything that can go sideways. By trade, Michael restores vintage trailers and also imports vehicles from Japan. It was only after his business started to pick up in ’15 when he was in the market to buy a new project car.
Buying a used car, let alone from a different country, is a huge gamble because you never truly know how the previous owner treated the car. But Michael couldn’t resist the ER34 Skyline. It was only after a few months of owning it that he found out the motor was screwed. “My initial plan was to throw a V10 motor in it,” Michael says. However after much contemplation, he felt it was financially rational to go with an RB25 NEO. He was able to source a fresh engine and RB25 transmission and enlisted the help of RB specialist Andrew Molina at Animal Auto, the same people who built Formula D driver Ryan Litteral’s car. With Andrew’s help, and a nice GT35R turbo, Michael was able to squeeze a reliable 450hp from his RB. All the while the body was being retrofitted with a Nismo Z-Tune front bumper and URAS side skirts and deck lid. Whichever side you’re on with the fender flare trend, we’ll always appreciate custom efforts such as the ones found on this Skyline. Despite the battle scars from daily driving and drift sessions, Michael opted to keep his rare Top Secret hood on. Channeling his inner Honda love, he went with Championship White (found on various models of the Type R) paint to finish off his exterior.
Of course, Michael didn’t do all of that work just to hard park in his garage. Just like Ken Nomura, he’s sliding his ER34 as well as hitting the streets of Southern California. It’s always great seeing enthusiasts blossom from the not-so-cool trends in the U.S. to the good stuff from Japan. Michael concludes, “I know the car will receive some love as well as hate to it, but at the same token, I admire that Japanese car culture, because there are no levels, just personal style. This is what I envisioned and created and it’s here for everyone to enjoy.”