From the outside, this 2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe is as clean and simple as it gets, and to the average onlooker, probably doesn't look like much more than a well-maintained, lowered car with nice wheels. To those who know a thing or two about cars, a little closer inspection reveals plenty of unique details and clever installs that give this build a split personality of sorts, which is exactly what owner Ray Prado was after. "The goal for my car was to make the G35 clean and simple with a twist," he notes. "I wanted to leave the exterior as close to stock as possible but focus on mods in areas that were hardly looked upon - the engine bay, trunk and interior."
His & Hers Vanished
Well before his obsession with the fine details and his Infiniti build, Prado was the proud owner of an Integra GS-R during his high school days, as was his girlfriend who went on to become his wife. He adds, "I was a Honda-Tech.com member in the early 2000s and after being inspired by the ATS Garage, Plus One and N1 Concepts builds, I had a list of plans that I wanted to do with the car after I had graduated college." Those plans were cut short late in 2006 when his car, like so many other Hondas, was picked off by thieves at a strip mall. Add to that the fact that his girlfriend's GS-R was stolen earlier that same year and it was obvious an Integra build for this couple just wasn't in the cards.
Picking Up the Pieces
Eventually Prado received his recovered car back as a shell and he actually located its stolen engine for sale on Craigslist. Determined to get the car back on the road, he began the long road to rebuilding while pulling double duty, adding some minor upgrades to the Infiniti G35 that his wife had purchased brand new to replace her stolen Integra. "After doing research and buying the first few mods for her car (molded trunk lip spoiler, lowering springs, front lip, wheels), I started to notice that she had a better-looking car than mine! It was also a fun car to drive as well."
Letting the Past Be the Past
Admittedly, Prado's rebuilt Integra never really felt the same after its tumultuous run-in with the criminal element and he decided it was time to move on to something else. Already familiar with the G35 chassis thanks to working on his wife's car and having a handful of friends that owned and modified them as well, it only made sense to track down his own coupe. "It took several months till I found one that met my standards. That was when I stumbled across this mint '03 red coupe in the beginning of 2010. The car was serviced by the dealer, had low miles and was well taken care of.
Just a month after bringing the coupe home, it was off to Grand Collision of Hayward to have a trunk lip spoiler molded in place and painted along with a mild roof spoiler. In order to take advantage of the time at the body shop, Prado reached out to Chris of Outcast Garage. He adds, "Chris was able to source a Kuruma front bumper and had it immediately shipped to Grand Collision for the install and paint match."
With a minor facelift and mild custom touches, a set of coilovers, wheels and exhaust made their way to the G, and after being invited by friends to display at Wekfest San Francisco, the urge to dive deeper into the build was apparent. "One of the major mods that I wanted to do was the engine bay. Inspired by Fred Chapman of the ATS Garage's engine bays, I wanted to do something similar, except with a G35 platform." After an introduction to G35 community engine bay specialist Randy Riggs, a plan was set in motion to completely rework the engine compartment with a combination of deleting anything deemed unnecessary or considered an eye sore, while polishing select parts to contrast with the deep red paint.
Out with the Waste, In with the Haste
Riggs was given the green light to work his magic under the hood but Prado's back and forth discussions with both Riggs and Super Street alumnus Marcus Cooke led to adding a Vortech V3 supercharger kit to the equation. To supplement the power adder, a new fuel system was to be plumbed in and RK titanium charge piped added. The mix of both painted and polished parts and accessories along with custom hardware, well-tucked wiring and pristine paint, make for a stunning look - and one that the simple exterior would never clue you in to.
Not that the whine of the Vortech would ever grow old, but a healthy amount of audio was always part of Prado's plan. He reached out to Sound Innovations and had Ernie and Junior Ngim add sound deadening material to the doors before they created a one-off trunk setup that includes an amp rack display, subwoofers and a false floor with a replaceable cover so that the leftover trunk space is, in fact, still useable.
The interior feels considerably sportier and far less "business casual" thanks to a considerable amount of carbon fiber overlay work by Marty Huynh of EMM Tuning who created custom molds for multiple cabin components, like the door switches and handle covers, front and rear center console, a reshaped steering wheel, and more.
The factory seats looked ancient compared to the new touches, and with a set of Recaro Sport Lines in hand that had definitely seen better days, Prado had them rewrapped in Ferrari leather and alcantara suede, offset by red stitching courtesy of Chuy's Custom Interiors of Carson. The door panels and even the shift boot carry the same texture and details, and the interior, just like the exterior, requires a closer look to really appreciate the effort and painstaking detail.
When noting the extremely low height that this G35 often sits at and taking a peek inside the trunk, things just don't add up as the tank and plumbing required for an air suspension kit that you're positive is at play is simply nowhere in sight. The hidden Accuair setup is the handiwork of Impact Performance, where Carlin Chiu built out the system and made sure it would remain invisible from the top side. The shop also helped source a set of Work Meister S1R in Burning Black with a polished lip. The open style wheel does its part to fill each corner while also accenting the front and rear Project Mu brake kits.
A look at the recent enthusiast landscape suggests that wild and wide is the way to go, but builds like Ray Prados, which feature a sleeker, more OEM-Plus feel on the outside with heavily detailed custom work on the inside, are making waves as well. This long-term build was supposed to be an Integra, but some unsavory characters ruined that option, so Prado tested the waters of a completely different chassis and having found success, hasn't looked back.
2003 Infiniti G35 Coupe
Owner Ray Prado
Engine Vortech V3 supercharger w/GTM Mod; Spearco intercooler; RK titanium charge pipe; Cerakote Tanabe exhaust; Fast Intentions resonated test pipes; CJM fuel rails; Bosch EV14 1,000cc injectors; Aeromotive 340lph fuel pump; APS Tall Boy plenum with shaved tabs; lower plenum w/shaved tabs; Earl's oil cooler; JWT clutch and flywheel; polished engine components; shaved and colomatched core support and battery covers; Emm Tuning carbon fiber wiper cowl
Suspension Airlift struts and air bags; Accuair e-level management; Stillen front/rear sway bars; SPL front/rear camber kits; GT Spec rear tie bar, lateral brace; ARC shock tower bar polished and heat-treated; Energy Suspension bushings
Braking Project MU 4/4 355 front, 335 rear big brake kits, slotted rotors
Wheels & Tires 19x9.5 +0 front, 19x10.5 +0 rear Work S1R with Burning Black face/polished lip; 235/35 front, 275/35 rear Toyo Proxes
Exterior Kuruma front bumper; 2006 Sport sides; JDM taillights; OCG carbon fiber front splitter; IONIC Dynamics carbon fiber rear splitter; custom molded trunk lip spoiler; Inven roof spoiler
Interior Recaro Sportline seats rewrapped with alcantara and red stitching, matching rewrapped rear seats; Takata harnesses; Emm Tuning custom steering wheel with carbon fiber, alcantara and red stitching, carbon fiber steering wheel backing plate, carbon fiber window switch/door handle trim covers, alcantara/carbon fiber center front and rear consoles and arm rest, carbon fiber radio bezel; custom black suede headliner, A/B/C pillars, door inserts with red stitching; ARC Ti shift knob; Tanabe boost, oil pressure and oil temp gauges
Audio Custom Audio Install by Junior Ngim at Sound Innovations, 2 10" Hertz Hi-energy subwoofers, Hi-Energy 165 XL Components, Hi Energy Coax; Pioneer NEX 4201 Double Din; ARC XXK Amps (Sub & 4 Ch); Audison Bit one processor; Singer Power Supply; Odyssey Battery
Thank you My wife Angela, parents, Jon and family for their support with this build; Randy & Hoai Riggs, Dave Rikimaru, Chris Berry, Ryan Tabata, Marcus Cooke; Danh Vo @Tanabe; Nat Huynh, Eric Lam and Carlin @ Impact Performance, The Staff at Motorsport Techniques; Ron, Ruel and Kim @ Grand Collision; Junior and Ernie @ Sound Innovations; Marty @ Emm Tuning; qu1ckworks, Matt Rodrez for the opportunity, Jimmy Tu, My Endless Projects Family, OG Stillmotion crew, Fred at Chapman Concepts, Mario @38Carmodz; Joe @ d10 and many more who have supported my build. Sorry there are too many of you to list.