What Steven Mills does for a living might sound like a bore to you. The 30 year-old is a quality control manager and inspects metal sent to chemical plants in southern Texas. Yawn… But his passion for modifying cars is far from boring. After building mini trucks and five show cars, he’s embarked on a six-year journey with this ’04 Nissan 350Z. On the outside, it looks like a pretty decent coupe with an ings+1 body kit, custom pearl paint and aggressive green wheels. But what caught our attention most is under the hood—a 2JZ swap!
Now, the big question…why? To our surprise, Steven had already pushed Nissan’s VQ35 to the limit dropping more than $10k on a twin-turbo build. “I was kind of disappointed with the power though,” he told us. “And one day screwing around with nitrous, I lifted the head on the motor. It was back to the drawing board and I wondered if I should put in an LS or RB. But, I decided: let’s be blasphemous and put a 2JZ in!”
So with a crazy idea and some extra money to throw around (okay, a lot of money!), Steven hit up some of the most experienced swap gurus in the business, Tech 2 Motorsports from Redding, CA. No stranger to SS, we featured Tech 2’s 2JZ-swapped Nissan S13 in the May ’07 issue. They also completed a few 2J-swapped 350Zs in the past, one notably displayed at the 2008 SEMA show.
I decided: let’s be blasphemous and put a 2JZ in!
So with the right people on board for the project and a group of friends to help with the labor, all the necessary swap parts were shipped to Steven, which included the motor mounts, cross member, transmission member, driveshaft and shifter extension. Tech 2 also supplied the appropriate intercooler, radiator and certain plumbing components for the project.
Back home in Texas, Steven was able to source a healthy motor from a ’98 Supra, which was then converted to a big boostin’ single turbo setup for more power. Then with the help of a buddy, he pulled out the old VQ and shoehorned the 2J into place without any major headaches. Another close friend helped modify the wiring harness while a third-party shop fabricated a custom downpipe and some other turbo piping to ensure the Toyota motor fit perfectly. Finished off with an HKS exhaust, new oil cooler, fuel pump and a handful of other accessories, Steven was ready to shock the nation.
The car is drivable thanks to basic software maps from AEM but Steven admits the car isn’t 100% yet and he’s not confident the current tranny will handle the abuse. But once those concerns are fixed, the motor shouldn’t have a problem hitting 700hp.
The rest of the Z has all the right gear to look and handle right. It’s equipped with some GReddy goodies such as the Type S coilovers and front and rear brake kits. The interior is also looking proper with the Bride seats, Key!s steering wheel and Cusco cage.
When a stronger tranny is installed and the engine fully-tuned, Steven plans to show it at SEMA and also take it to Texas Mile race in the hopes of breaking a 200mph standing mile. We admit that most Nissan and Toyota purists hate this Z. But at the end of the day, Steven wanted to be different and have as much reliable power to his disposal as possible. What else better than the tried and true 2JZ?