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2004 Infiniti G35 - Inside The Underdog

RC Faderoga
Mar 1, 2009
Photographer: Luke Munnell

It's not what you think. This is not just some Infiniti G35, dressed up to the nines for your viewing pleasure. It's not just a flashy show car, either, taking home trophy after trophy every weekend-though it's fully capable of doing just that. It's certainly a racecar, the type that drifts sideways around the track. But this is not just any drift car. It's the most fascinating drift car ever made. It's freakish and unique. It's brash and powerful. It can make you forget about all the other drift cars you've ever seen in your life. But despite all of this, the adjectives of praise and this mysterious introduction, the most alluring thing about this car is the fact that it's still an underdog, trying to prove itself against all odds.

Its first disadvantage is location. We all know that the best drifters and the most well-known performance companies are in Los Angeles. Drift Emporium, the performance parts outfit that built this car, is based out of Buford, GA. Yes, Buford, with a population of 11,000. To give you a comparison of how small this is: the capacity inside the Staples Center, where the Lakers play, is almost 19,000. The second drawback is their choice of car, the Infiniti G35, which is better known for transporting Y-Generation Harvard Law grads from court to court than traveling 90 mph around a bend, sideways, inches from the wall. Why not go with the standard Nissan 240SX or AE86 Toyota Corolla? Why show everyone up with a luxury car? The last handicap, which can also be easily argued as being an advantage, is the massive 5.6L V-8 engine under the hood, courtesy of an '05 Nissan Titan. Why should anyone care about a drift car with a truck engine? Why should we watch this freak of a car?

Because amid the sea of Silvias, S2000s and Hachis, in a sport plateauing during an economy that doesn't give a damn about the car industry, this Titan-powered Infiniti from Buford, GA, just might be the Joe Louis of our generation; the Seabiscuit of our sport. We should watch it because it's different. We should follow it because Drift Emporium is one of the few that actually care; because their sole inspiration behind building the car was a man named Sae Kang, the former owner of Finishline Motorsports who passed away before he could complete the car himself. With all this combined, it would be wrong for us not to give a damn. History is in the making, and you don't want to miss the show.

Search YouTube for "Drift Emporium" and "G35" for a glimpse into the power of this car. It's unfortunate the video mutes the sound of this engine. If you've ever heard an uncorked Titan blast to life, it would sound like what it would if you woke up a den of lions-roaring sounds that register at all angles of the eardrum. Now imagine what that would sound like modified, especially when that modification is a Stillen supercharger, bringing loads of power to the table and making this G35 the embodiment of the phrase "nothing is impossible." It also shows that a large supercharger sticking out of the hood of a car still looks as good as it did when gear-heads first started doing it in the '60s.

Handling the fuel management is a Haltech E11V2, controlling the RC Engineering injection of all eight cylinders in harmonious sequence. Tuned by R2B2 Motorsports of Atlanta, the V-8 sports an Aeromotive fuel regulator and pump, and handling the delivery of fuel is a custom fuel rail by Drift Emporium. A Koyo radiator provides cooling power throughout the engine bay, and the Flex-a-Lite fans provide fresh air straight to the engine's face. The Stillen supercharger works to its full potential with a set of Jim Wolf valve springs, camshafts, and custom-made Stillen headers. Drift Emporium also custom made a stainless steel exhaust system, providing the tiger's roar to the engine's lionesque thunder.

Delivering the 455 whp and 470 lbs-ft of torque to the ground is an Exedy clutch and flywheel, along with a Tomei Technical Trax two-way LSD, providing the optimum in rotational velocity. Transferring the G35 across the track as smoothly as possible is a set of Tanabe coilovers and 18-inch SSR wheels wrapped in BFGoodrich rubbers, 9.5 inches wide in the front and 10.5 inches in the rear. Making sure the V-8 supercharger doesn't ram into its competition, Drift Emporium opted for some AP Racing brakes, 6-piston in the front and 4-piston in the back.

Inside, the cabin is as simple as one needs of a professional racecar. With Buddy Club seats and a quick-release Sparco steering wheel, Drift Emporium added their touch with highlights like a custom-made dash and console-housing the Racepak and grip of Auto Meter gauges-lightweight door panels, a purpose-built cage (that would make Goldmember shed a 24k tear), and a T-handle shifter harneking back to the gool 'ol days of V-8 power.

The final hurdle for our underdog to clear is that of the driver himself. Jodin LeJeune will be debuting the G35 for the 2009 Formula D season-a name many of you will be unfamiliar with at the time of this writing, and for good reason: Jodin is a bit of a noob. With only a few years' amateur-league experience going sideways, and no First Place finishes under his belt, will he, along with this machine and the Drift Emporium staff who built it, be enough to give the automotive world the Rudy story it so desperately need? They say every dog has its day. Lets hope this G35's lasts a bit longer.

'04 Infiniti G35

BehindTheBuild Head to the message boards at www.importtuner.com
to chat about this feature Vehicle

Name.
Drift Emporium

Age.
4 Years

Hometown.
Buford, Georgia

Occupation.
Selling Performance Products For The Track/Drift Crowd

Hobbies.
Extreme Sports

Build Time.
Ten Months

Feedback.
driftemporium@yahoo.com

Quote.
"Anything Is Possible."

Output 455 hp, 470 lb-ft of torque

Engine '05 Nissan Titan V-8; Jim Wolf custom camshafts, valve springs; Drift Emporium custom oil pan, exhaust, fuel rail; Stillen headers, supercharger, oil coolers; Flex-a-Lite fans; Haltech E11V2 ECU tuned by R2B2 Motorsports; NGK spark plugs; Aeromotive fuel regulator, fuel pump

Drivetrain Drift Emporium transmission adapter plate; Tomei Technical Trax two-way limited slip differential; Exedy clutch, flywheel

Suspension Tanabe coilovers; Drift Emporium custom roll cage

Wheels/Tires 18x9.5 (front), 18x10.5 (rear) SSR Type-C wheels; BFGoodrich 265/35-18 tires

Brakes AP Racing big brake kit (6-piston front calipers, 4-piston rear calipers); Goodridge stainless steel braided brake lines

Exterior AIT body kit, front bumper, side skirts, rear bumper, carbon fiber doors; Buddy Club rear wing; Signal Blue paint by Ultimate Auto Boutique; graphics by FAS Digital

Interior Buddy Club seats; Drift Emporium door panels, custom dash, custom console

Sources

Stillen
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
800-891-1058
http://www.stillen.com
Tanabe USA
Torrance, CA 90501
310-783-0200
http://www.tanabe-usa.com
AIT Racing
City of Industry, CA 91748
626-820-1370
http://www.aitracing.com
BFGoodrich
877-788-8899
www.bfgoodrichtires.com
Buddy Club
909-923-9188
www.buddyclub.us
Tomei USA
www.tomeiusa.com
Eneos
www.eneos.us
UAB Custom Cars
www.uabcustomcars.com
By RC Faderoga
14 Articles

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