People build cars for different reasons. For some it's all about looks-the desire to have the hottest ride on the block conquers all other goals. For others, the need for speed takes precedence over looking pretty in a parking space or at a car show. And then there are the guys and gals who want it all. These folks want to look good, move with purpose and do it with nothing but the best parts they can find. Dan Wierck falls into this category; his '05 350Z is proof positive.
After starting his automotive life as a FF Honda guy, Dan took a break from modifying cars when an all too common horror story became his reality. The theft of his EM1 ('99-00 Civic Si), followed by the painful recovery of a stripped shell and the pain in the stomach and lump in the throat knowing someone else took what belongs to you. It's a feeling that's hard to overcome for anyone, but driving a dull stock car for even a short while will make the itch resurface in even the most savagely burned.
Time passed and things gradually settled down once again, but when 2004 rolled around Dan knew the time had come to get back into the tuner car scene. He knew that it would be foolish to dive head first into something without thoroughly researching beforehand, so he took his time when considering platforms. After test-driving several other cars and poking around on tons of forums and tapping other online resources, the 350Z was the clear choice for what he wanted.
Transforming a car from stock to sweet takes time. A long time, usually. Eager to get started, Dan ordered a few basic bolt-ons and suspension components before he even took delivery of his Z. The journey had begun and Dan had big plans for the car, but a proverbial curve ball threw him for a major loop. Graduating college and beginning a new career put car modifications on the back burner for a while, and he was at a crossroads in life trying to figure out what to do after spending years in school studying. For months upon months, he waited for building permits to construct a nightclub he wished to start, saving money took priority over Z33 parts. But after nearly a year of waiting, wishing and drooling over JDM dream cars, things began to look up for Dan again.
Once his business took off, Dan hit the ground running and decided it was time to treat himself to a few new additions to his beloved Z. When he saw the Top Secret Z sporting the company's coveted long-nose kit, the choice was clear. Seeing and ordering the kit was the easy part; waiting four months for delivery was a different story. Thankfully, Dan didn't twiddle his thumbs for the season, though. The grace period gave him plenty of time to think about other plans for the car, and what he came up with is truly awesome. A full carbon-fiber top consisting of an Asuka hood, A- and B-pillars, roof skin and hatch, as well as CF door handles and rearview mirrors give the car a distinct race-inspired look to stand out from the crowd. All the carbon-fiber parts, paired with the aggressive but clean long-nose bodykit needed the perfect set of wheels to complement everything. After going through several sets, the winner finally surfaced. Flat black Volk TE-37s in 20x9.5-inch +30 were the choice up front while massive 20x11-inch +25s were mounted in the back. Nitto INVO rubber was added not only for its clean appearance but excellent road-handling characteristics.
Sticking to his original vision, Dan knew the car needed plenty of guts to match the exterior, so he turned to HKS for some go-fast goodies. The HKS GT-RS twin-turbo kit provides plenty of punch, and when paired with the HKS intercooler, FCON V-PRO engine management and Super SQV blow-off valve, the car runs like a true champ. A Carbonetics flywheel and triple disc clutch make sure the carefully tuned power makes it to the road.
Dan knows that keeping power under control is very important, so he went with HKS Hipermax III coilovers and a Cusco strut tower bar to keep the big Z limber around the twisties. One crucial component was still missing, though, and Dan's incredibly cool (and car-savvy) girlfriend knew that. So when a Project Mu four-piston big brake kit showed up unannounced at his home one day, he was pleasantly surprised (as anyone would be)!
On the inside, this 350Z is pleasing to the eye-and the derrière. Two Bride Gias Low Max gradation seats were another lovely gift from Dan's girlfriend, and they're sure to make a lot of guys jealous. (Ladies take note!) The rest of the interior simply wouldn't stand to remain stock with such a nice set of seats, so a Works Bell quick release and hub along with a Personal Grinta steering wheel were selected for functionality and appearance.
Dan and his 350Z have made quite the journey from the showroom to what you see here today. Lots of hard work, patient waiting and help from sponsors and friends have all paid off. Dan couldn't be more pleased with the final results, and we feel the same way. Like many great cars, this Z has gone through many changes throughout its life, and surely there will be more in the future. After five years, riddled with success and failure, hiatus and haste, recognition for Dan and his amazing car has been a long time coming.
»The motor from the 350Z is available in two trims: the VQ35DE offered from '03-05 is good for 287 hp and 274 ft-lbs of torque, and Nissan pumped it up to 300 hp and 260 ft-lbs of torque in 2006 with the retuned and renamed VQ35HR. In 2009, a higher-displacement engine, the VQ37HR with 332 hp and 270 ft-lbs of torque, was released in the 370Z.
»The 350Z is the fifth generation of Nissan sports cars to wear the coveted Z badge. The Fairlady Z first appeared in Japan in 1969, with its USDM counterpart, the Datsun 240Z, available for purchase on American soil in 1970.
HKS GT-RS twin-turbo kit, Super SQV racing blow-off valve, intercooler, CAMP2, Twin Power DLI 2, M-Series Super Fire racing plugs, titanium true dual exhaust; Kinetix intake manifold, race cats
HKS FCON V-PRO
Carbonetics triple disc clutch, Carbonetics flywheel
HKS Hipermax III coilovers; Cusco strut tower bar
Wheels, Tires & Brakes
20x9.5" Volk Racing TE-37s +30 (f), 20x11" Volk Racing TE-37s +25 (r); Nitto INVO 245/35 (f), Nitto INVO 285/20 (r); Project Mu 4-piston big brake kit
407 whp and 393 wtq at 8.5 psi
RAYS, Nitto, Carbonetic, PMU, Gallery
Carlee, my amazing girlfriend, for her support and all the long trips back and forth to L.A., Ali for keeping me motivated and helping with every aspect of the build, Andy Kim for everything he has done, Terrence at Nitto, Kenari at Carbonetics, Brian at Mackin and Darren at Intense Motorsports