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2005 Nissan Fairlady Z (Z33) - Pikachu Z

A young man's coincidental ode to Pokemon

David Ishikawa
May 4, 2018

We don't expect all of you followed Pokemon growing up, or that you even got caught up on the Pokemon Go craze that swept the world a couple years ago. But unless you've been living under a rock, you at least know who Pikachu is, the franchise's main character. That chubby, li'l, yellow, lightning-throwing Pokemon may or may not have influenced Yuki Yoda's latest build. Yuki, now 24, grew up playing the franchise's video games as well as following its anime series. It might be a weird coincidence that his '05 Fairlady Z (known as the 350Z in the U.S.) uses the same color combination as Pikachu, but the unmistakable yellow-and-red theme has made it one of the most recognizable and respected Z33s in Japan.

2005 nissan fairlady z garage mak rear bumper Photo 2/26   |   2005 Nissan Fairlady Z Garage Mak Rear Bumper

The Z wasn't Yuki's first car—a Nissan Cube was handed down to him from his older brother. The Cube had some minor customization done to it, which inevitably got Yuki curious about modifying cars. Of course, there's only so much fun you can do to a Cube, so Yuki graduated from Nissan's mini MPV and got into something a bit sportier with a lot more tuning potential. Enamored by the Z33's smooth lines and shape, it was love at first sight and, admittedly, he was really nervous the first time he took it for a drive. That would soon change once the mod bug bit him.

Yuki started off as most do, changing out the suspension with custom-tuned HKS coils to get the car to sit lower and handle better in the corners. The next modification was quite drastic, changing the paint from its factory silver to Nissan's Ultimate Yellow, which is an option on the Z34 (370Z). It was at this point the car began to resemble the lightning-emitting Pokemon, and kids in his neighborhood started calling it Pikachu.

2005 nissan fairlady z veilside seats Photo 6/26   |   2005 Nissan Fairlady Z Veilside Seats

Upgrading the wheels was the next item on the list, and Yuki chose a set of red TE37RTs to complement the yellow. It seems brighter is better with Yuki, but his choices aren't all about looks as he struck a balance between style and performance later on.

Yuki tells us he enjoys weekend track days. After a few sessions, he discovered he needed more stopping performance. He installed bigger Endless brakes front and rear using six-piston and four-piston calipers.

The most recent modification is the addition of Garage Mak aero. Yuki calls Nagano home, which is where Garage Mak is based. He explains Garage Mak wasn't his first choice, though—it was actually Veilside. As his friends and colleagues were changing to more GT-inspired modifications, Yuki followed suit, and Garage Mak's reputation in Time Attack is hard to beat with several race-proven Silvia builds under their belt.

2005 nissan fairlady z novum GT fenders Photo 10/26   |   2005 Nissan Fairlady Z Novum GT Fenders

Currently, the only missing link in Yuki's 350Z is power, but he has a plan for that. The priority is to add a tunable ECU so he can squeeze as much power from his current setup. Afterward, he will add additional bolt-ons as budget permits, but he knows having a good ECU and being able to master his car on the track with stock power matter most.

It's taken Yuki several years to get to this point, but he's successfully evolved his Fairlady Z. And while he didn't intend to follow a Pokemon theme, it's sorta worked out for the best. Not only do enthusiasts around Japan recognize his Pikachu Z, but the kids in his neighborhood look up to his car as well.

2005 nissan fairlady z mercury rear wing Photo 14/26   |   2005 Nissan Fairlady Z Mercury Rear Wing
2005 nissan fairlady z garage mak front bumper Photo 18/26   |   2005 Nissan Fairlady Z Garage Mak Front Bumper
2005 nissan fairlady z volk TE37RT Photo 22/26   |   2005 Nissan Fairlady Z Volk TE37RT
2005 nissan fairlady z gauge cluster Photo 26/26   |   2005 Nissan Fairlady Z Gauge Cluster
By David Ishikawa
31 Articles
2005 Nissan Fairlady Z (Z33) - Pikachu Z
Tuning Menu
Owner: Yuki Yoda
Hometown: Nagano, Japan
Occupation: Manufacturing
Instagram: @pikapikachu_z
Engine: Amuse R1 Titan exhaust, front pipe; HPI radiator; NISMO thermostat, radiator cap; Garage Mak silicone hoses; HKS air filter
Drivetrain: NISMO GT two-way limited-slip differential; Garage Mak rigid bushings; carbon-fiber driveshaft
Footwork & Chassis: HKS Hipermax IV GT coilovers with 20K front and 22K rear springs; Cusco control arms
Brakes: six-piston front, four-piston rear Endless brakes
Wheels & Tires: 18x10" +15 front, 18x11" +17 rear Volk Racing TE37RT wheels; 265/35R18 Dunlop Direzza II tires
Exterior: Garage Mak full carbon-fiber aero kit with front and rear bumpers, side skirts, under panel; carbon-fiber canards, vortex generator; Veilside carbon-fiber hood; Novum GT fenders; Mine's carbon-fiber GT mirrors; Mercury rear wing; NISMO carbon-fiber pillars; OE Nissan Premium Ultimate Yellow paint (Z34 option)
Interior: Veilside seats; MOMO steering wheels; Works Bell quick release; Garage Mak shift knob; Defi BF gauges; RSW carbon gauge hoods

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