Tag Archives: Z1 Performance

When JDM Meets NASCAR: Full Split

3 Oct

A close friend of ours down south has a 350Z. For the last several years it served as faithful daily driver, and weekend track slut. Now that the stars have aligned, and a truck now handles daily driving duties (and doubles as the track-rig on the weekend), the Z has been relegated to primarily track use only. He runs the car all over the Southeast, and despite the fact that it (for now) is still a stock engine with some bolt on’s, it’s wildly competitive. The reason? Intelligently selected modifications. Everything on the car has a purpose. Nothing was selected by accident, and in several cases, it took some trial and error of different components in order to come up with the faster combination.

The car was recently in NASCAR country, North Carolina, for a recent round of upgrades, including a differential and ring and pinion change. While there, a former NASCAR tech got hold of it, and using some fabrication skills and NASCAR carbon splitters (the rear deal), this was the creation. Next set of shakedowns is a few weeks ago at Barber, stay tuned!

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Reducing the Vibration, Upping the Performance

3 Oct

NISMO Rear Performance Damper 350Z

NISMO Front Performance Damper 350Z

There is an old expression in the sports car world “handles like it’s on rails”. In other words, a car that changes direction with such eagerness, authority, and minimal loss of energy, that its akin to a train following a track. To this end, people often go about fitting the stiffest springs they can, with the biggest possible swaybars, and rubber-band thick tires, hoping to reduce lean and roll. This works great on cars with huge sticky tires and lots of downforce (and thus high speeds), and ideally, driven on perfectly smooth tracks. While many try to mimic this on a street car, it’s usually not the case. Normal roads, and even many racetracks around the country are anything but glass-smooth. We’re genernally not running slicks or even R compound tires when we drive to the local diner or for a weekend blast down some backroads, and while we may have installed them on our cars, we’re not generally using dive planes, functional splitters and spoilers to their potential due to street-legal speeds. The same car that handles on rails is also crashing over every imperfection out there. Expansion joints might as well be speedbumps, uneven pavement akin to driving over road spikes. Geometry aside, these super stiff setups often compromise road car handling, more than they improve it. Chassis stiffening is not the same as suspension stiffening, and this is an often-overlooked feature. The chassis of the car is like the skeleton of a high rise building. It’s made of steel girders, because it’s the backbone of the structure. Similarly a cars chassis is the skeleton of the car: it supports everything else.

When NISMO developed the 350Z NISMO edition, mane shunned it as merely a cosmetic upgrade. The engine afterall was the same – but it wore a wildy out there (for a factory car) body kit – a long front bumper with low splitter, a long rear bumper overhang, and a decidedly “Fast and Furious” style spoiler. Delve deeper and you find what makes it so special. The chassis is fully seam welded. Meaning every joint, where 2 pieces of aluminum are bonded together, are full sealed. There are no gaps, there are no open joints. This increases chassis rigidity by a decidely large amount. This is one of the things people often do when bulding a race car from the ground up. To that chassis, Nissan fitted significantly stiffer springs (one of the stiffest out there on a road car) with heavy duty dampers. While the bushings and swaybars remained the same compared to other NISMO cars, the car was noticeably stiffer. But this is, afterall, a road car. While it is very much at home on weekend track days and club events, it’s designed to be a fun, sporting day to day means of transportation. Had it been left alone, it would have been panned for being too obnoxious on the road, too upset by the concrete jungle. To solve those issues NISMO worked with Yamaha to develop a Z-specific pair of body dampers. These attach fore and aft of the shock pointing points, between the 2 biggest “holes” in the chassis – at the front bumper, and in the rear spare tire well. Why there? When a suspension compresses and rebounds, energy is created, stored, and released in very quick succession. The stiffer the spring, the more aggressive the shock valving, the quicker this process happens. Which is why from inside the cabin, that uneven pavement can be downright punishing….whereas in a Toyota Camry, it’s just soaked up effortlessly. The dampers Yamaha and NISMO developed are designed to specifically combat these vibrations, without toning down the benefits that the spring/shock combo gives the handling aspect of the car. When you look at them out of the box, they are basically a strut brace, with a little shock built in. They compress and rebound, like a strut does. However they mount veritcally, whereas shocks mount horizontally. So they combat the natural vibrations the chassis will face when hitting potholes, uneven pavement, and normal bumps in the road. This minimizes energy losses, and lets the spring and shock more efficiently do their job, while keeping the driver comfortable, and thus confident, behind the wheel.

Think it’s still just marketing hype? F1 cars began using similar devices in the 2006 season. Or, just try it for yourself: we have. A 350Z with coilovers (pick your poison, it even helps with wife-friendly coilovers such as Bilstein and KW). With the typical set of low profile 18 or 19 inch tires, and at the typical lowered stance these cars look so good at, it turns the car from a bit erratic over bumps, to downright stable. The suspension is now more able to work in unison, left and right, front to back, whereas without the dampers, it’s a bit of a free-for-all, with the driver being asked to control it all on the fly. It is truly eye-opening how these simple bolt on devices stabilize the vehicle.

The neat thing about these, is they are available for several carswe get here in the US, including the Subaru WRX (02-07), 350Z/G35. Need one for your car? Just drop us a line!

High Society

2 Oct

endlesszealz33

Best of the best on this 350z – Endless Racing 6 big brake kit, Zeal Coilovers with Eibach race springs, Roberuta Cup Kit (to adjust height on the fly), Esprit forged adjustable a-arms, and a bevy of Whiteline and SPL bushings. The end result is going to be out of this world, stay tuned!

Here’s the Scoop

26 Sep


Chargespeed carbon hood duct for the GC chassis Impreza as shown on a customer car. A great, stylish option for guys running a front mount (or non turbo guys just looking to change up the look)

Tech Talk: FRP (Fiberglass) vs Blended Materials for Aftermarket Body Kits

24 Sep

We get this question ALL the time – what is the ‘right’ material to select when buying aftermarket body parts? There are a range of materials that manufacturers use. Several higher end manufacturers, mainly in the Japanese realm, offer several of their products in both FRP as well as a blended, or hybrid material. FRP stands for Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic. This term is tossed around alot in the aftermarket aero world. It’s a bit of a catch all term, that generally describes a range of composites (parts made by mixing various materials together). Without getting boring, there are differences among “FRP” blends. Not only do the materials mixed together vary, so do the epoxy types used to hold them together. Since a fiberglass part is only as good as the quality of the mold used to produce it, that is why you see such a huge variation in pricing among parts that on their surface look similar. This is an area where you get what you pay for. For ease of terminology, I will stick to using the generic term “FRP”, but I am specifically referring to the better-branded/manufactured stuff out there, since that is what I am most familiar with. FRP has many fantastic properties. It is extremely strong relative (especially) relative to it’s weight (it’s light), it can be molded into many complex shapes, it is easily repaired should it get damaged, and it’s able to be produced at relatively low costs. FRP really has no downsides in and of itself, it is a terrific material for these type of parts. Some will say that urethane is ALWAYS better, and it’s simply not the case. Urethane molds are extremely expensive to produce, which is why you rarely see aftermarket aero parts offered in the material to begin with. When you do, they tend to be extremely heavy relative to their FRP counterparts. Urethane is extremely durable, mainly because it has so much tensile strength, but should it be damaged via impact, it’s very difficult (and often impossible), to repair. Most times when it suffers such an impact, it has to be replaced. Fiberglass on the otherhand can literally be decimated – shattered into multiple chunks after an impact, but joined back together relatively easily. Serviceability is a big benefit of FRP parts. Another issue with aftermarket urethane, that is often overlooked, is longevity. Depending on where in the world you live, the urethane can break down over the course of time, due to environmental conditions. This process can cause the urethane to lose its shape and literally deform. As this happens, its aesthetic value and its durability both suffer.

In the last 10 years (give or take), we’ve seen variations of fiberglass hit the market. These are components use a combination of different man made materials (urethane, various plastics, etc) added into the “FRP” mixture, and sealed with a different type of epoxy. The purpose of this type of material was to bridge the gap between the aftermarket urethane parts and the OEM plastic/urethane level parts. These blended, or hybrid materials are more flexible vs their straight FRP counterparts, but not as flexible as a full urethane part. In the case of manufacturers like INGS and CWest, their blended materials have the added bonus of requiring much less prep time before they are ready for paint. This type of manufacturing is more expensive to do, so only a handful of worthwhile companies offer it. Several try (mostly knockoff firms), and succeed to varying degrees. In many cases I have seen, while the material itself is generally quite good, in the interest the mold quality suffers. Molds are used for longer than they should be, or simply are inaccurate in the first place. This results in unwanted gaps when installed, or parts that are too long, too short, and require significant prep work in order to actually install on the car. Prep work is expensive, generally charged per hour, and can quickly make the ‘savings’ vs the genuine article disappear. While the hybrid/blended parts are slightly heavier than their FRP counterparts, they are nowhere near the level of a urethane part. Somewhere on the order of 5% or so heavier.

Like a Meeting at the U.N.

22 Sep

culturalblend

Many cultures represented

Dark Horse

11 Sep

Super clean R33 GTR featuring an Endless big brake kit (Mono 6 brake kit front and rear, tucked neatly behind NISMO 18 inch wheels). A stunning result (both in looks, and certainly performance). Need an Endless kit for your car? Drop us a line at z1sales@z1auto.com and see what the premier brake supplier has to offer. If you’re truly looking for the absolute best kits out there, no one offers the range of performance oriented options that Endless does. Simply the best.

Reduce the Bodyroll

29 Aug

stswaybarset350z

Looking for a quick and affordable way to reduce the body roll, and increase the cornering ability of your 2003-2008 350Z, or 2003-2007 G35 coupe (or RWD sedan), then the ST Swaybar set should be on your To Do list. These are a solid steel set of bars front and rear, and unlike some competitors, include the required bushings. At $355 for the front and rear set, it’s a hard deal to beat.

Contact z1sales@z1auto.com to order yours

NSEXXXXX

29 Aug

blacknsxj2

blacknsxJ1

A client in the midwest recently sent over some pics of his baby. He recently treated the car to some interior upgrades from Works Bell. The hub and limited edition matte black Yoshi Rapfix II allows him to easily and safely remove his rare NSX-R steering wheel. Stay tuned for future mods!

HKS Summer Sale: Begins Monday August 12

9 Aug

HKS

Starting Monday August 12 and continuing through Friday, August 16, all HKS items are on sale! HKS is Japan’s premier manufacturer of performance parts for performance vehicles. Their parts are second to none because they race what they make. There are tons of items on sale, many more than we can just list here. Drop us a line at z1sales@z1auto.com with your HKS needs.

AIM GT Sport Steering Wheel

30 Jul

AIMGTwheel

The last wheel you’ll ever need!

This new wheel is the ultimate for sports and GT drivers, seeking an all in one solution. It combines critical engine data via the engine ecu, combined with GPS track data, and camera data, in a series of customizable pages. Allowing you instant access to multiple channels of critical data. In addition, it features customizable shift lights at the top of the rim, as well as customizable alarms for various user-programmable warning thresholds. There are also user-customizable multi-function buttons allowing you to enable/disable various functions such as traction control, pit speed limiter, radio communication, etc). Using a sequential transmission? No problem – optional paddle shifters are also offered for a seamless integrated solution. Data derived from lap times, speeds, etc can then be played back by the driver at the end of a session right on the wheel display. It’s thoughtfully produced in either 320mm or 350mm diameters, with carbon, Alcantara, and leather for the ultimate combination of strength, weight and grip. The leather features a special cool system design, which reflects sun rays and keeps the grip surface cool to the touch.

Contact z1sales@z1auto.com for purchasing information

The Low Down

26 Jul

adv005audib7lownotslow

Audi B7 Avant on a fresh set ADV1 ADV005. While I’m not a real fan of the tucked look, I just know that with maybe a 1/2 ride height rise, this car would be an awesome daily driver. The wheel design looks awesome with the long lines that the Avant’s have. Contact z1sales@z1auto.com for all your ADV1 custom wheel needs.

Image

Proper

21 Jul

endless380rsc

Upping the Power in your WRX/STi

18 Jul


tomeinewmanifoldwrxsti

tomeititaniumexhauststi

Tomei Japan has just released 2 new items for the Subaru WRX and STi.

First up is an all new manifold design – a 4-2-2 setup for twin scroll cars. This will fit the GDB, GRB and GVB chassis. The primaries are 42.7mm, and the up-pipe collector is enlarged vs stock at 45mm. it also weighs 7.49 lbs less than stock as well! Like all the Tomei Expreme Exhaust products, it comes with all quality gaskets and hardware (no cheesy paper crap here!), heat wrap with ties. This is a true motorsport grade part, without the exotic price tag. Full details are on the attached PDF flyer

In addition, Tomei has released their new Expreme Titanium exhaust for the GR/GV STi (hatch and sedan). Thoughtfully produced in both JDM spec and USDM spec, so there is a version for everyone, regardless of your downpipe spec, and regardless of where in the world you live! This is the ultimate in lightweight, high power exhausts for these cars. Traditionally, Titanium exhausts elicit want and fear in a customers eyes. Everyone loves the look, loves the weight, loves the sound…and hates the price. Tomei has broken that mould. Their titanium exhausts are of exemplary quality, intelligently designed, expertly manufactured, and are far more affordable than many lesser exhausts. The US Spec exhaust weighs 34.8 lbs LESS than stock, the JDM exhaust weighs 35.3 lbs LESS than stock – and this is just for the catback! It’s a slip fit design, so no drama with leaking gaskets. But like many modular motorsport level exhaust components, it uses spring clamps to ensure a tight, neat seal. For those who are using this on the street, it includes a removable silencer to keep net volume at a tolerable level. Or, run it without the silence, and wake the devil.

For best pricing on both of these components, or a combo with a Tomei downpipe, turbo, or any other item, drop us a line at z1sales@z1auto.com

El Diablo

3 Jul

varissuprajza80

Gorgeous Supra courtesy of Varis Japan

Want one for your JZA80? Drop us a line