Friday, 29 October 2010 12:00 AM
A few years ago, when I was spending way too much money modifying cars, I commissioned this bionic-blue Nissan 200SX. The pulsating picture before you was the end result of about 12 months of solid modifying, with a hand-built engine (350bhp), a stunning leather and carbonfibre interior, and crates and crates of imported performance parts and panels, installed and painted to perfection by a master sprayer.
Taken on a sunny day after a fresh coat of polish, this image brings back mixed emotions of pride, anger and fear...
Pride at having bought together all those crates of performance parts and body panels, from countless international manufacturers, and finishing up with a car that I felt was presented cohesively, fresh to the tuning scene, and, most importantly, looked mean as a rattlesnake.
The anger comes from scraping the way-too-low-for-the-street front bumper on speed-bumps again and again, or finding yet another stone chip in the deep blue, House of Kolor paintwork. Or, worst of all, clipping a high kerb not moments after I'd picked the car up, fresh from the painters, and damaging one of those gorgeous, custom-made-for-my-car, Schmidt 'TH Line' alloys wheels.
And the fear? The fear comes from intense moments of murderous rear-wheel-spin on any road with even the vaguest sniff of damp. Imagine driving a car as conspicuous and precious as this one, with an extremely torquey 350bhp turbocharged motor, that when the turbo boost kicks in (at about 3500rpm), just lights-up its rear tyres (even though they were a massive 10-inches wide) and wants to fly you, the-driver-now-passenger, backwards through the nearest piece of scenery.
It was a nerve-racking and exhilarating experience driving my custom-made 200SX and I do miss having a car like that. However, I don't miss washing and polishing it all the time, having to creep over speed-bumps with breath firmly held, or freezing every winter because the huge, high-performance turbo took up the under-bonnet space once occupied by the heater pipework.
But why was it always trying to kill me? Well, it was built to a 'drift specification' - basically designed, through the power delivery, suspension and rear differential set-up, to go around corners completely sideways with the rear tyres smoking and howling - the art of 'drifting'. When it's done right it looks way cool...
From the front 3/4 angle you can see how close the bumper is to the tarmac, and how mean the Chargespeed
Japanese body kit looks
And from the rear it's all about those extra-wide rear wheel arches and 10-inch wide Schmidt 'TH Line' alloy wheels
This is what 350bhp looks like from a 2-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged engine. Note huge HKS roller bearing turbo
This is the carbon and leather interior. Cobra seats and Clarion audio are the brands of choice. You can just see
the silver 12-inch subwoofer in the back. There's a power amplifier there, too. No passengers for me - just tunes!
The awesome art of 'drifting' - when it's done right it looks way cool. Check these fly-boys out!
By Daniel Anslow
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