A soldier's life definitely isn't an easy one. They wake up everyday not knowing what the day will bring as they dedicate their lives to defending our country. Many times we take our freedom for granted and worry about such trivial things as what to eat or what to wear to work that particular day. We have the freedom to do as we please because there are people out there who fight for us. Richard Andrew is one of these people. In fact, the Chandler, Arizona native was even wounded during the war in Iraq. He received a Purple Heart from the President himself after he and his team were ambushed while on patrol in Iraq.
Though his everyday life is very different from common folks, he does share a similar hobby: cars. Before its most recent incarnation, the 350Z you see before you was once completely draped in carbon-fiber. That means the doors, hatch, fenders, quarter panels, everything. Not one section of the exterior had an OEM piece on it. How it got to its current, more extreme state happened after a minor fender bender. With the carbon-fiber front end smashed up, Richard saw it as an opportunity to rebuild.
Maybe it's due to the monotony of waking up every day to the same routine or wearing the same uniform daily, but Richard really saw this as an opportunity to step outside the box. He was no longer interested in the uniformity of the 350Z scene and really wanted to stand out and be recognized. To accomplish this feat, he called on the services of Francis Fabiculanan, the owner of Donlyson Auto Concepts.
You may be familiar with the Donlyson name if you've been involved in the West Coast import show car scene within the last couple of years. Though his body of work isn't for everybody, it's definitely different and there's no denying that the cars that he's built stand-out in a crowd. "Donlyson is actually one of the few companies out there that does custom widebody work from all sheetmetal fabrication." Richard states. "Francis doesn't go the typical route and just use everyday aftermarket parts to build his cars. He's a lot like me in that we both want to be different."
Fabiculanan was inspired after he heard of Richard's ordeal in Iraq. "I was touched when he told me he was saving all his money for his 350Z." Francis says. "After the ambush and recovery, he couldn't wait to go back on duty because he wanted to make more money for his project. Richard wanted something truly one-off and we did exactly that." "One-off" is definitely what he got. There was so much sheetmetal fabrication involved that the man who created it couldn't even reproduce it exactly the same again if he tried.
"The widened panels were all created from sheetmetal and welded to the original body of the 350Z." Francis explains. "The front was widened 73 inches and the rear by 74 inches. I created a louver vent in the rear on both sides and also relocated the fuel-filler door to the top of the rear panel. For the front and rear bumpers, the carbon-fiber units he had remains. I just added sheetmetal and shaped it so that it blended in with the custom widebody."
Having a car with so much added sheetmetal means that Richard had to figure out a way to get enough power to move it around. Sure, the stock VQ35 is no slouch and the weight reduction from the Seibon carbon-fiber hood, rear hatch and door help, but some forced induction will definitely do the job. Behind the GReddy Type 23R intercooler lurks two 18g GReddy turbos. Spent exhaust gases exit the 350Z by way of a GReddy Evo-TT catback exhaust and all cooling system duties are handled by Mishimoto products.
Another issue Richard ran into was getting the proper suspension and wheel set-up. Long gone are the days when people used to do a custom widebody and proceed to put 15x6 wheels on. Either that or they would try to fill in the wheel gap with cotton or stuffed animals when they went to floss at a car show. It's not 1999 anymore and people take the time to figure this stuff out. So for a 350Z that's a little over 6-feet wide front and back, Richard opted for a staggered set of 19-inch Volk RE-30 wheels. The wheels are sized 10-inches wide up front and 11-inches in the rear. To help stop this mammoth beast, Andrews installed front and rear Rotora big brake upgrades. Ride height is made adjustable with JIC FLT-A2 coilovers with custom 12 k/g spring rates.
The carbon-fiber theme from the exterior is carried over into the inside. The dash and window switch panels all feature carbon-fiber trim kits and the stock seats have been removed and in their place are carbon Kevlar Bride Gias racing seats. Schroth harnesses keep Richard firmly in place while he cruises to tunes put out by his custom audio set-up that features all-Alpine sound components.
At first glance, you may think to yourself that the custom body work is a little over the top. Okay, it is VERY over the top. And it may not be to your taste or liking. Whether it is or isn't, it doesn't matter to Richard Andrews. "I work hard and I never complain." He says proudly. "I just wanted to build something that was truly unique and my own. To be recognized is truly an honor. I just want to thank all my sponsors and everyone that was involved in this project. You made a wounded soldier's dream become a reality."
2004 Nissan 350Z
Owner Richard Andrews
Hometown chandler, AZ
Occupation protecting our country
Engine 3.5L VQ35DE; GReddy 18G twin turbochargers, Type 23R intercooler kit, Type RS blow-off valve, Evo-TT cat-back exhaust; AAM Stage II Fuel Return System, 3-inch downpipe with open tubes; Unorthodox Racing 3-piece under-drive pulley kit; Mishimoto aluminum radiator, radiator cap, cooling plate; Aeromotive fuel pressure regulator; EVO-R carbon-fiber brake fluid, engine and battery cover; Chromed upper plenum; NISMO oil cap
Driveline Clutchnet custom twin-plate clutch
Power 460HP@490LB-FT (9lbs. of boost)
Engine Management UTEC engine management system; Blitz turbo timer; HKS EVC-6 electronic boost controller; Defi boost and fuel pressure gauge; Innovate wideband air/fuel ratio gauge
Footwork & Chassis JIC FLT-A2 coilovers with custom 12kg spring rates; JIC carbon-fiber front shock tower bar; Tanabe Sustec front/rear swaybars; EVO-R rear shock tower bar; SPC rear camber adjustment kit; Whiteline adjustable front/rear endlinks
Brakes Rotora 8-piston front big brake kit, 4-piston rear big brake kit
Wheels & Tires 19x10 +22 Volk RE-30, 235/35-19 Toyo R888 (front); 19x11 +24 Volk RE-30, 295/35-19 Toyo R888 (rear)
Exterior Custom sheetmetal widebody by Donlyson Auto Concepts; Custom-mixed House of Kolors blue by Donlyson Auto Concepts; Seibon carbon-fiber TS-II hood, carbon-fiber doors, carbon-fiber rear hatch; Mastergrade Motorsports carbon-fiber roof cap and carbon-fiber A-pillars; EVO-R carbon-fiber headlight covers; APR GTC-500 rear spoiler
Interior Bride Gias Low-Max carbon Kevlar racing seats; EVO-R carbon-fiber dash kit, window switch cover, door barrels, and titanium shift knob; Works Bell short hub and steering wheel disconnect; Momo steering wheel; Kirk Racing 4-point roll bar; Schroth Racing 3-in racing harnesses
Audio Alpine IVA-205 DVD player, SPKR-17s 6 1/2 front and rear components, MRP-F450 amplifier, (2) MRP-M1000 amplifier, (2) Type-R 10-inch subwoofers; Custom fiberglass subwoofer enclosures
Thanks You Donlyson Auto Concepts; Team High Intenzity; Showstoppers USA; Twin M Autosoundz; J2G Autosports; Toyo Tires; Rotora; Mishimoto; APR Performance
Www donlysonautoconcepts.com, greddy.com, hksusa.com, mackinindustries.com (Volk Racing), mishimoto.com, more-japan.com (Bride), optauto.com (Blitz), rotora.com, showstoppersusa.com, tanabe-usa.com, toyotires.com