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Some May Never Live But The Crazy Never Die


A decade of duct tape, cable ties and more money than the owner would spend on his own child brings a ten-year love affair with this street drift machine to its final iteration (that’s a blatant fib)

Everyone’s favoured literary rebel, Hunter S. Thompson, never shied away from his consumption of substances with questionable legality.

“I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they’ve always worked for me.”

It’s hard to hate a man like that but being a wordsmith, some reading between the lines would unravel concealed meanings that probably go against the man’s original intentions but would prove to be irreplaceable in the telling of this tale.

Breaking it down, the drugs is quite obviously the modifying bug. Once you start modifying your ride… well, we all know that a project car is never done.

The alcohol is probably drifting. It’s pretty apparent that this is a street drift car and just as alcohol helps numb the stress and pain from a particularly wearisome week or even ease social interaction, drifting achieves quite the same end results. You’ll never see a sad person drifting and you make lots of new petrolhead friends that end up becoming more than just the people you meet at drift sessions.

Violence. That denotes the driving style necessary for wall taps, dirt drops and love bites on the leading car’s door.

Lastly, we come to insanity which quite aptly describes the people that don’t get why we do this. After all, in the words of Friedrich Nietzsche, “And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”

That leads us to this Nissan Cefiro A31 that’s as close to terra firma as its wing is to low Earth orbit. Having been in the hands of its owner for just shy of 11 years now, the sedan has been through a myriad of evolutions and upgrades that initially begun with an earnest desire for a fun daily before the drifting disease consumed all logical and rational thought.

Without adult supervision, the Cefiro went from mild daily-driven weekend-drifter to the slightly more aggressive semi-stripped and lightly-lowered form today that was inspired by the slammed, street drift style of the Japanese and later perfected by the Yanks.

An adequate amount of power is quite a subjective matter that almost always ends up being a moot point. Some say a responsive 200whp is more than enough for a weekend drift hack while others will make a case for 350whp as a safe number.

Either way, a responsive setup is what you want and to achieve that, a Skyline R33 somewhere donated its RB25DET Series 2. The internals itself are largely untouched save for a pair of HKS 256-degree camshafts to move the powerband lower in the RPM range for quicker response.

The stock turbocharger was tossed in favour of a ball-bearing GT2540 turbocharger and at the same time, a Cometic metal head gasket was slotted in between the head and block for a better seal to cope with the 1.2-bar of boost. Letting out the excess exhaust gases is a Turbosmart 38mm wastegate.

Before being compressed, air enters the Blitz air filter via a cold-air intake funnel and makes its way to the turbo before being cooled via the Infinite GTR-sized intercooler with custom stainless steel piping and a GReddy blow-off valve attached to it to prevent compressor surge.

An increase in boost mandates an upgrade in fuelling as well. To address this, the stock injectors were replaced with Nismo 555cc units that are fed by a Walbro fuel pump and regulated by a Sard fuel pressure regulator.

Keeping the engine cool is a GKTech High-Performance clutch fan that draws air through the custom triple-core aluminium radiator with a DIY radiator water spray hooked up using some aquarium hardware.

Lending some aural pleasure; or pain, depending on the person, to the whole setup is a custom three-inch straight through exhaust system exiting a twin-barrel shotgun tip.

If you’re wondering what brain controls the engine, it’s a relatively entry-level standalone Haltech Platinum Sprint 500 operating with a MAP sensor. The Haltech is also capable of controlling the boost pressure.

Sending power to the rear wheels is a RB20DET transmission and ORC Ogura Super Single clutch set combination. A short shifter sits in the cabin with GKTech providing its solid shifter bushing and transmission shifter return spring kit to tighten up the shifting feel. Sitting between the rear wheels is a Nismo 2-way LSD that has been reshimmed to quicken the locking of the wheels.

Stance doesn’t always make her dance but on a drift car, it needs to look as good as it slides. However, bear in mind that even with the drastic drop in height, the suspension components have all been upgraded to retain proper geometry for drifting without any sacrifice on daily drivability. It really is the best of both worlds.

If you’re beginning to notice a recurrence of the GKTech brand in this build, it’s because the company from Down Under makes bloody good parts for S-chassis based vehicles.

Revalved JIC coilovers lift the four corners but it’s the GKTech roll centre correction kit on the S14 knuckles up front that make up the magic. Not only does it add more steering angle, it also corrects the bump steer from the drop in height and quickens the steering ratio as well. A pair of Part Shop Max extended tie rods bridges the gap to the steering rack. Tein adjustable caster arms complete the front end.

Out back, the stock knuckle has been replaced with a GKTech rear knuckle that can run dual caliper setups without spacing out the rotor, retain the factory drum brake, has 40mm of height correction and all new kinematics to increase grip. It’s necessary to use adjustable traction, camber and toe arms. The subframe has Drift House polyurethane bushings and polyurethane differential bushes. Finally, a polyurethane steering shaft bush reduces flex in the column.

Completing the handling package is a custom 10-point bolt-in roll-cage that ties into all the key chassis points to increase rigidity and improve safety.

The braking department now uses R33 four-piston calipers and slotted rotors up front with R33 two-piston calipers and rotors in the rear. Project µ pads and GKTech steel-braided brake lines complete the enhancements. The hydraulic handbrake setup utilises its own lines for the extra pair of R33 two-piston calipers at the rear.

No slammed car is complete without the right fitment to fill out the wheel arches. Here, a square set of Advanti wheels measuring 18×9.5 with an offset of +10. The rubbers are sticky Nankang NS2R 225/40R18 stretched on the front pair and Achilles ATR Sport 2 235/40R18 picking up the rear. For some JDM credentials, 326 Power lug nuts hold the discoloured white wheels in place.

Seeing that the car now resides under a plastic cover about 11 months a year, the interior has been semi stripped to make it strictly a two-seater now. The driver sits in a Bride Zeta bucket and grabs onto either an Elevo Marino deep-dish steering, hydraulic handbrake lever or Nismo gear knob. Any lucky taxi ride passenger will be in a Recaro SPG Pole Position bucket and both will be held by Takata four-point harnesses. An Apexi mechanical boost meter and digital water temperature display keep the engine’s vitals in the driver’s line of sight.

Lending the car the illusion that it sits close to the ground is a complete Dmax body kit comprising the front and rear bumpers as well as the side skirts. Dmax also provided the vented fibre hood. A TBO grille allows more air into the front. A pair of vented and widened fibre front fenders had to be further stretched out to contain the massively cambered front wheels and were designed to not contact the tyres even while drifting.

In the rear, the stock arches were widened as well to accommodate the wider wheels and the taillights from a R32 sedan replaced the OEM Cefiro pieces.

If you’re wondering, yes, that GT wing is as massive as it appears in pictures. The Origin 3D carbon fibre GT wing measures a football-field wide 1750mm and is attached to custom stainless steel wing stands. The inspiration for this came from the Big Country Labs wings that are gaining traction in America. It does little in the way of aerodynamic downforce at anything below third gear drifts but just the presence that the car exudes courtesy of the wing is breathtaking and adds a level of aggression that would make Luis Suarez proud.

Given the amount of money, time and effort spent on this thing in the last decade, it’s pretty obvious that the owner is a few sandwiches short of a picnic when it comes to financial decisions. However, if there’s one thing that’s certain… he’s definitely living his life, crazy as it may seem.

Car – Nissan Cefiro A31

Engine – RB25DET S2, GT2540 turbocharger, HKS 256-degree camshafts, Cometic metal head gasket, Infinite GTR-sized intercooler + stainless steel piping, Nismo 555cc fuel injectors, Walbro fuel pump, Sard fuel pressure regulator, Blitz air intake, GKTech High-Performance clutch fan + RB clutch fan adapter, custom triple-core aluminium radiator, Blitz radiator cap, Turbosmart 38mm wastegate, GReddy blow-off valve, custom oil catch tank, custom three-inch exhaust piping + twin-barrel shotgun exit, cold-air intake funnel, Drift House battery box + battery relocated to rear, radiator water spray

Transmission – RB20DET transmission, ORC Ogura Super Single clutch set, short shifter, GKTech solid shifter bushing, GKTech transmission shifter return spring kit, reshimmed Nismo 2-way LSD

Electronics – Haltech Platinum Sprint 500, MAP sensor, Haltech boost control solenoid

Brakes – R33 four-piston calipers + slotted rotors (front), R33 two-piston calipers + rotors (rear), Project µ pads, GKTech steel-braided brake lines, dual caliper hydraulic handbrake setup + R33 two-piston calipers

Suspension & Chassis – JIC coilovers, custom 10-point bolt-in roll-cage, GKTech roll centre correction kit, S14 knuckles, Part Shop Max extended tie rods, Tein adjustable caster arms (front), GKTech rear knuckles, adjustable traction + camber + toe arms (rear), Drift House polyurethane rear subframe bushes + polyurethane differential bushes, polyurethane steering shaft bush

Wheels & Tyres – Advanti wheels 18×9.5 offset +10, Nankang NS2R 225/40R18 (front) + Achilles ATR Sport 2 235/40R18 (rear), 326 Power lug nuts

Interior – Bride Zeta (driver), Recaro SPG Pole Position (passenger), Elevo Marino deep-dish steering wheel, Apexi mechanical boost meter, digital water temperature display, Takata four-point harness, hydraulic handbrake handle + brake fluid reservoir, Nismo gear knob, Razo pedals, Drift House handbrake button, stripped rear, Sony Xplod head unit

Exterior – Dmax body kit, DMax vented fibre hood, TBO grille, fibre vented fenders (+20mm) + custom metal extensions, custom rear fenders (+15mm), R32 sedan tail lights, Origin 3D carbon fibre GT wing (1750mm) + custom stainless steel wing stands

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