Some cars have a special quality, a certain "je ne sais quoi" that makes them irresistible to automotive enthusiasts (even ones who make pompous use of old-fashion French sayings like "je ne sais quoi"). Sometimes it's the sexy curves of its body, like the aggressively gorgeous FD RX-7. Sometimes it's the hair-raising roar of the engine, like an AP1 S2000 at 9,000 RPM. In Hollywood they call this the "it" factor, but in the world of Nissan it's probably more appropriately called "Z allure" (say it with a French accent – it's fun!). Ever since the first 240Z rolled off the assembly line in 1969, the appropriately named (in Japan) Fairlady Z has been casting her seductive spell on the car buying public and inspiring enthusiasts of all ages to break the bank while building their version of the ultimate Z car.
Junior Arriola is just such an enthusiast. Having owned and modified a '96 Nissan Sentra SE-R, Junior got out of the spocom scene when he went away to college in Houston, Texas and thought he had the "tuner bug" out of his system. Then Nissan launched the 350Z and suddenly Junior was drawn right back in by the Z33's cutting edge styling and powerful RWD drivetrain. What started out as a daily driver soon turned into this masterpiece of a Z, a machine that fulfills Junior's goals of maintaining its street-worthiness while featuring show-stopping looks and track-worthy performance.
Initially Junior just wanted his Z to be a solid daily driver with some aftermarket wheels and a lowered stance for a bit more style, and that's exactly how the car rolled for the first few years he owned it. But his Fairlady Z eventually seduced him into thinking more power was needed, and so the call went out to APS for one of their single turbo kits. This kit features a Garrett GT35R turbo and APS's DR series bar and plate front mount intercooler, 500cc injectors, high-flow blow off valve, high capacity oil pan and all the other necessary lines and accessories. APS builds a truly complete turbo kit, but Junior added a few extra touches of his own to make it even more bulletproof, including a HKS F-CON IS engine management system, Mishimoto radiator, GReddy oil catch can and breather tank, and SGP modified thermostat and breather tank cooling mod. And with the ability to throw 400+whp at the rear wheels, the SPEC Stage 3 clutch and lightweight aluminum flywheel combo is exactly what the drivetrain needs when it comes time to transfer all that boosted juice to the big BFG g-Force T/A KWD rear rubber.
Then Junior started to show his Z33 at a few local events in the Houston area and forged a friendship with Andy Kim from MyNismo.com and Performance Nissan of Duarte. Pretty soon Andy was hooking this Registered Nurse (yes, he's heard all the Gaylord Focker jokes already) up with all kinds of sick go-fast goodies and introducing him to some of his other sponsors. "With Andy's help and pictures taken by my friend Chris Reno, I built my sponsorship deck and started sending them out. I've approached sponsorship as not just an opportunity for discounted or free parts but as a relationship building process with people in the industry." Smart move for someone like Junior whose finally admitted to himself that he'll never outgrow his love for building cars and who appreciates the insight he can gain from industry insiders like Andy Kim and Brian Fox who hooked him up with sponsors BASF, Mishimoto and Amsoil.
Another key sponsor that helped mold Junior's Z into the show-winner it is today is Dat Nguyen from Vertex USA. With the addition of the super clean Vertex Lang body kit, canards and rear trunk emblem along with a Blitz rear spoiler, S2000 antenna, and Fairlady Z emblem, the beautiful lines of this R33 have been enhanced and amplified, rather than completely altered the way other less tasteful body kits tend to do. Perfectly complimenting this high quality JDM exterior package are the 19-inch 'Formula Silver' Volk Racing RE30 wheels and Project M 4-piston front calipers and 355mm SCR-Pro rotors, with the stance being set by Hotchkis lowering springs. In the immortal words of rockband 'ZZ Top' (the biggest Z car fans in the world if their name is any indication), this Fairlady Z's "got legs and knows how to use 'em!"
More than just a pretty face and a 400+ HP boosted VQ, Junior's Z is the complete package thanks to his tireless attention to detail. Nowhere is this more apparent than in his Z's interior, which has been extensively yet tastefully improved throughout. The high quality JDM theme from the exterior has been carried inside, where a Bride Zeta III driver's seat and XAX II passenger seat immediately catch you eye, but it's the Vertex 10th Anniversary 350mm steering wheel and Project M shift knob and pedal set that impress the most with their perfect feel and positioning. The Defi Link Meter Control Unit II and full collection of BF amber gauges communicate the serious performance intentions of Junior's Z, as does the Sparco harness bar and Crow 5-point harnesses. There's also a stealth-mounted Valentine One radar detector onboard, which also tells you that Junior is just as serious about speed as he is style. Not wanting to neglect the sound portion of the complete build, Junior has also installed a complete set of JL Audio component and coaxial speakers and amp to go along with the Kenwood DDX8017 headunit with 6.5'' LCD display and DVD GPS nav system.
When you find a machine like the Nissan 350Z that really ignites your passion for cars, it’s easy to let that passion get the better of you and end up turning a nearly perfect ride like the Z33 into something a little too flashy or a little too over-the-top. But not Junior. With the guidance of friends and sponsors like Andy Kim from MyNismo.com, Brian Fox from Fox Marketing and Dat Nguyen from Vertex USA, this Texas transplant (originally from Toronto) has preserved all the natural allure of his Z and enhanced it by building on its strengths. No garish body kits or big shiny wheels, just tasteful JDM modifications that perfectly compliment the Z’s interior and exterior design plus a big single turbo under the hood to give it enough go-factor to match its wow-factor. As they say in France, "c’est magnifique!"
SPECIFICATIONS AND DETAILS
2005 Nissan 350Z
VQ35DE 'RevUp' 3.5-liter V6
APS single turbo kit, DR series bar and plate FMIC, 500cc injectors, high-flow twin vent BOV, high output 2.5" exhaust; Garrett GT35R turbocharger, Walbro 255 lph fuel pump, GReddy oil catch can and breather tank; Motordyne plenum spacer, Max Earth grounding kit, SGP DA breather tank cooling mod and modified thermostat; Nismo oil cap; Mishimoto radiator and rad cap; AutoTecknic carbon fiber rad panel.
HKS F-CON IS and VPRO wiring harness; GReddy ProfecType S boost controller.
SPEC Stage 3 clutch and aluminum lightweight flywheel; SGP clutch line.
Wheels, Tires & Brakes:
Volk Racing RE30 'Formula Silver' 19x10’’ +30 (f) and 19x1" +25 (r) wheels, BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDW 225/35-19 (f) and 285/35-19 (r) tires, Project M 4-piston forged front calipers, 355mm SCR-Pro rotors, B-Force front pads, and Teflon steel braided brake lines;
Hotchkis lowering springs and Sport swaybars (f/r); JIC Magic carbon fiber Strut tower bar (f).
Vertex Lang body kit, canards and emblem; Blitz rear spoiler, S2000 antenna, Fairlady Z emblem.
Bride Zeta III driver's seat, XAX II passenger seat, and custom floor and trunk mats; Vertex 10th Anniversary 350mm steering wheel and shift boot; Project M shift knob and pedal set; Works Bell quick release and hub, Sparco harness bar, Crow Enterprize 5-Point harness, Defi Link Meter Control Unit II, BF Amber boost, oil pressure, and water temp gauges; Valentine One stealth mounted with concealed display, Kenwood DDX8017 head unit and 6.5" LCD and KNA-DV4100 GPS navi system; JL Audio XR650CSi 6.5 component and VR650CXi 6.5 coaxial speakers and 300/4 amp.
Vertex USA, MyNismo.com, Volk Racing, Project M, BASF, Meguiar’s, SPEC Clutches and Flywheels, SGP Racing, JTran Studio, Underground Graphics, Mishimoto, Amsoil.