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M O D I F I E D TECH ROUNDUP Seat Choices Project 350Z Gauge Review Project S2000 P r o j e c t G T- R





COVER STORY Vicious Veilside

After a crash tot aled his first RX-7, Ken Wagan added extra freshness and style the second time around.

E d it o r ia ls 02 Bucket List By Peter Tarach


Project S2000 Stephen Knoop’s Honda S2000 all the right notes in our book.

09 Tiny Turbos By David Pratte

10 Rotor Education By David Pratte


Project 350-Z Aaron Badis’ Spoon-certified 350Z keeps the home fires burning as we wait for Nissan to bring us a new sports car.

15 Nasty Nittos By Nate Hassler

16 Gauge Proving Ground By Eric Schwab


Project GT-R The sight of a classic Mark IV Supra never gets old. Espically that is as unique as the one we t ake a look at.


Editor Kameron Sears


ar modifying is a way of life. Being such a car enthusiasts myself I was always looking for a magazine that featured cars modified and customized by every day average people. Not wealthy people or shops that received money to make a show car. So I decided to take matters into my own hands and that is how Modified was born. Modified is made to showcase and highlight the best of the best from the modified car world, provide insight and helpful reviews on parts for vehicles, and keep readers up to speed on anything new and exciting that is happening in the modified car industry. Each issue features four modified cars that are truly well done pieces of work and really catch your eye not only visually but also on the track. While also being informative, the featured articles in Modified are very image based in order to really give the reader a great insight and view of every part of the car, exterior, interior, and engine. The magazine is also a great buyers guide for anyone who is new to the car modifying industry and isn’t quite sure what parts they need or should be looking for. Each issue addresses this with informational editorials and reviews on everything from interior accessories, engine part, wheels/tires, suspension, and much more. With the car modifying world growing more and more each day, It is my goal and mission to bring to you the reader the best cars, and most informational articles on parts and accessories for your ride.


BUCKET LIST By Peter Tarach


Choosing the right racing bucket seat for you and your car is no small task. You need to consider safety, fitment, construction and mounting options, as well as budget.

f you’re a weekend warrior who enjoys some cone-dodging, time-attacking, grassroots drifting or just some good old-fashion hooning on a twisty piece of backcountry asphalt, then you’ve probably ended up with sore or even bruised legs from bracing yourself against the door and center tunnel. Simply put, the OE seat and 3-point seat belt in most street cars don’t offer anywhere near enough lateral support when cornering hard, which means you end up having to expend a lot of energy bracing yourself to minimize how much sliding around in the seat you’re doing. For those of you who’ve done some driving in a proper racing bucket with a 5- or 6-point harness holding you down snuggly, you’ll know how much easier it is to drive at the limit. No more bracing yourself against the door and center tunnel, and gone is that death grip on the steering wheel. Instead, you can focus on the road and all the subtle feedback your car is giving you through the seat of your pants and from a more lightly gripped steering wheel. On the other hand, if you’ve ever spent some time in a racing bucket that fits you poorly, then you’ll know just how uncomfortable this can make the driving experience, especially during any sort of extended street use. So although budget and seat design/ construction are very important considerations the

Well, OK, maybe seat fitment comes second to safety, so make sure the seats on your shopping list are SFI/FIA-certified (look for the SFI/FIA sticker on the shell of the seat), since anything that’s not certified hasn’t been crash tested during its R&D phase. There’s a reason just about every motorsports sanctioning body out there requires racers to equip their cars with SFI-certified seats and harnesses (as well as other safety items), and that reason is driver safety and the structural integrity of the seat during a serious crash. SFI-certified seats cost a little extra since the certification process adds cost for the manufacturers, but you can’t put a price on crashworthiness and the safety of the driver (that’s you, dummy). Now it’s time to find a seat that fits you properly. Racing buckets come in all shapes and sizes, and the way they’ve been padded and covered also varies a lot, too. Although you can begin your fitment research by looking at seat dimension charts online, just like buying a pair of jeans or shoes, there’s no substitute for trying them on before spending your money. Unless you happen to be attending a big trade show like SEMA or PRI where you can sit in just about every racing bucket on the planet in one day, your only option is to visit a variety of race shops to sit in different brand seats.

The weight savings comes from the fact that carbon fiber is significantly stronger than a typical FRP composite, meaning you can use quite a bit less of it when manufacturing a racing bucket while still achieving SFI/FIA approval. Kevlar or aramid is another popular material used in the construction of composite racing seats, Cobra particularly uses this high tensile-strength-to-weight-ratio material in FIA seats (which also tend to be about 30 percent lighter than FRP equivalents). There are also SFI/ FIA-approved seats with a frame made from tubular steel, a couple popular examples being the Sparco Sprint and the Corbeau Forza. These seats are considerably less expensive than a FRP bucket from the same manufacturer, but with a weight and comfort penalty as a trade-off. The Corbeau Forza retails for $229 and weighs in at 26.5 lbs, while Corbeau’s FRP constructed yet still extremely affordable FX1 sells for $320 and tips the scales at 20 lbs. What the prices and weights don’t tell you is how a tubular steel-framed seat fits compared to a composite seat. The tubular steel-framed seats tend to lack mid-back support. and generally don’t distribute your weight evenly across the surface of the seat back and bottom, MARCH 12 MODIFIED.COM 3





After a crash totaled his first RX-7, Ken Wagan added extra attitude and style his second time around Story By David Pratte

Second chances are a wonderful thing.

Whether its with that smoking hot girlfriend the you let get away before you realized she was way out of your league, or retaking your drivers license test to prove you can parallel park better than a Mojito-soaked Paris Hilton, we’ve probably all had second chances in life that were thankful for.In ken Wagan’s case – an emergency room nurse during that week and a wrench-spinning, tire-roasting rotary fanatic on the weekends – his rsecond chance came after an unfortunate incident at the racetrack. But before that, he got his first taste of motorized bad assery while growing up in the Philippines near a US Naval base, where he watched all sorts of angry looking military machines roll past his front door. A few years later marked his official indoctrinitation into the gearhead fraternity when his uncle taught him how to do an oil change on his parents Nissan Stanza. From there, Ken turned into one of those kids doodling NSXs, R34 GT-Rs and FD RX7s in the margins of his notebooks at school, but once he graduated from university and started working, he realized that owning a FD was suddenly within his means.


I was parked on this porsches rear bumper setting him up for a pass when it puked coolant all over my windshield. As Ken explained “I had to make a decision between a K-swap for my o2 civic DX sedan or stepping up to one of my dream cars. At the time, a K-swap was going to cost me way more than a JDM RHD FD imported from Japan, so the decision was an easy one, espically after I found a red R1 model locally that was in mint condition. At this point, I had paid off my students loans, so you could say the car ended up being a gift to myself for graduating and paying off my debt. Parking his piece of 90 JDM hotness in his home garage, Ken did what any self-respecting RX-7 owner should do: take care of all the known rotary reliability issues, bolt up a sweet set of sweet Advan RGs wrapped in sticky rubber and start competing in time trial events. After a summer spent dialing in the suspension settings and building confidence behind the wheel he found himself chasing a Porsche around Toronto motorsports park. “we all love sticking it to Porsche guys at the track right” “So I was parked on this porsches rear bumper setting him up for a pass when it puked coolant all over my windshield. Next thing I know, Im in a tank slapper through the fast left handed kink leading into the last corner. Instead of going both feet in and sliding off the track in a safe direction, I tried to save it, but the car snapped back hard in the opposite direction and we ended up going off into a concrete barrier.


Surveyigng the damage afterward with his Stage Four Motorsports homeboy, Chris Defreitas, it was pretty clear that sponsor Makeitshine.c wasn’t going to be able to buff this one out. But the Kirk Racing rollbar did an excellent job of minimizing damage to both the car and its occpants, and other than one of his beloved Advan RG wheels taking a hit, the rest of the go fast bits appeared to be in surprisingly good shape. After taking a few days to reflet on the incident , Ken decided to start over with a fresh chassis, rather than having the red FD hammered out. With JDM FDs being fairly abundant and affordable in Canada Ken let his fingers do the shopping online, finding the white one you see here in bonestock condition for$*k. After shipping the wrecked FD and selling what he didn’t plan to use on the new car, Ken was out just $$k and a bit of sweat equity. Not the cheapest driving lesson in the world, but could’ve been much worse.

Specs & Details



Stance GR Pro+ coilovers; Eibach ERS springs (12K front, 9K rear) & front strut bar

1.3-liter 13B-REW 2-rotor

Wheels, Tires, & Brakes

CCW Race Classic 18x11.5” (f) & 18x13” (r) wheels; BFGoodrich KDW 295/35R18 tires; Hawk DTC-60 brake pads; custom brake ducts; Russell SS brake lines; Wilwood brake fluid

Engine Mods

Ken-Spec V-mount setup w/ modified Koyo radiator & Vibrant intercooler; GReddy compression elbow; HKS intake, downpipe & HFC; RE-Amemiya Dolphin Tail exhaust; Magnecor R-100 race ignition wires; NGK-9 spark plugs; Mk4 Supra TT fuel pump; Ken-Spec fuel swirl pot w/ high-flow Walbro external fuel pump & oil catch can; FEED engine torque damper; Odyssey PC680 dry cell lightweight battery; Redline fluids; Hose Techniques silicone vacuum line kit, aluminum baffled oil filler neck


König carbon-Kevlar racing seat; G-Force 5-point racing harness; Personal Neo Grinta steering wheel; RE-Amemiya hub adapter, custom aluminum shift knob; B&M short shifter; Trakstar shift lever extender; Kirk Racing rollbar; Auto Meter boost, water temp & oil temp/ pressure gauges

Two weeks later Ken had swapped over all the aftermarket goodies, including the entire suspension and brake package, starting with the Stance GR Pro coilover shocks, Eibach ERS springs, Hawk brake pads and Russell stainless braided brake lines. His custom Ken-Spec V-Mount setup also made the cut, built around a Koyoradiator modified by Weirtech to be a twin pass and a vibrant intercooler. The HKS downpipe, HFC and REAmemiya exhaust were also moved over to the fresh chassis, as was Ken’s very first upgrade to the wrecked car, an Apexi Power FC. upgrade to the wrecked car, an Apexi Power FC. Ken certainly had fun on the interior as well. Installing a pioneer avic d1 navigation head unit, custom fiberglass amp rack, custom fiberglass sub enclosure, 2 rockford fosgate t152s power series 100 watt rms, 5.25” component system, 2 rockford fosgate 2001bd power series amp, and 1 rockford fosgate t18004 power series amp.




Repainted lamborghini oem pearl yellow two tone black, veilside fortune widebody kit, veilside fortune hood, veilside fortune front bumper, veilside fortune carbon fiber headlight buckets, veilside fortune rear bumper, veilside fortune side mirrors, veilside fortune rear wing, veilside fortune carbon fiber front lip, veilside maijisty crystal emblems, vertical doors custom lambo door kit, xenon vision custom 12000k hid kit, 99 spec jdm taillights, carbon innovation carbon fiber door handles.

With the parts swap complete ken could finally start the process of making the white FD his version of the perfect track day weapon. Since the twin turbo engine would be left largely stock for the time being, Ken focused his attention on two key areas when building a serious time attacking machine: mechanic grip and aerodynamic downforce. For starters, he sourced a second-hand but still minty fresh set of CCW rece classic wheels from a local race team and then upgraded the barrels for an even wider 18x11.5 inch front and 18x13 inch rear setup. Competing in Street class meant running a high grip street tire, in this case BFGoodrich KDW 295/35R18s all around.With wheel and tire sizing this aggressive, A typical fender roll and pull just wasn’t going to cut it. Ken ordered up two sets of Panspeed front fender flares, modifying the second pair to fit the coutour of the rear fenders. With the flares giving Kens FD a super GT race car vibe, the rest of the aero package followed suit, starting with the homemade fiberglass wrapped birch front splitter designed to match the shape of the Mazdaspeed front bumper and attach to the chassis for maximum strength and efficiency. To balance front/rear downforce, he also found a smoking deal on a brand new APR –GTC 300 on a Supra forum.


Run A Run B







Completing the aero upgrades is a Shine Auto pro rear diffuser and Vortex generators, unless you consider the HID headlights and APR sideview mirrors aero upgrades, as well. Given how long the FD RX-7 has been around and how immense the aftermarket support is for this platform, it’s not easy to put a fresh spin on this JDM classic. Yet Ken Wagan and his team from Stage Four Motorsports have done just that thanks to its clean and functional combination of upgrades along with just enough home-brewed ingenuity to make it a one-of-kind creation. It doesn’t hurt that Ken’s been kickin’ ass and taking names at local time attacks, either, having won the Street RWD class at Import Export at Mosport and consistently finishing on the podium at CSCS and Sigma Time Attack events. If only second chances always worked out this well, but we’re guessing a few of you failed that second attempt at passing the parallel parking test and we know Paris




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TINY TURBOS By David Pratte

Even though these turbo chargers are pretty small they pack a huge punch, so dont be fooled by the size


hen Oscar Jackson retired in 2003, having licensed his legendary Jackson Racing tuning company that specialized in supercharging Hondas and Miatas for 15 very successful years to Moss Motors, his plan was to kick back and enjoy the good life in Colorado with his family. Then, while on a trip to Europe, including a visit to the Isle of Man for its famous TT race, he came across a new technology that lured him out of retirement. That technology is the Rotrex traction drive supercharger, and in Oscar’s own words, “This is the tool I’ve been waiting for my whole life. With the Rotrex, all of the deficiencies I’ve experienced with turbochargers and superchargers over the last 30-plus years in the business were suddenly and very elegantly addressed.” The technological starting point for Rotrex superchargers dates back to the early ’70s, when Anders Kolstrup, the company’s current technical director, began looking for improvements in engine development and performance as part of his hobby as a racer. Many years later, in 1996, the first Rotrexrelated patent was issued and in 2000 the Copenhagen, Denmark-based company was established. But what’s so special about Rotrex and its patented traction drive technology that it pulled a supercharg9 MODIFIED.COM MARCH 12

Visually, Rotrex superchargers look a lot like conventional centrifugal superchargers, both of which use a compressor side similar to that of a turbocharger (a compressor housing and impeller that connects to the main shaft). Rotrex superchargers are beltdriven, just like a standard centrifugal blower, so boost pressure increases with engine speed (since the pulley on the supercharger is spun by the main accessory belt that is powered by the crankshaft pulley). However, unlike conventional geardriven centrifugal superchargers that build comparatively little boost at low engine speeds because they have insufficient impeller speed (up to a maximum of about 70,000 rpm), Rotrex’s patented traction drive system can achieve impeller speeds up to 250,000 rpm, allowing the use of a smaller compressor wheel (sized more like a turbocharger compressor wheel) that operates within its optimum efficiency range more quickly and consistently. But how are higher shaft speeds, greater efficiency and smaller packaging possible? It is the “planetary drive” with its patented “ramp effect” that make the Rotrex so special. These three planetary rollers are fixed in place 120 degrees from each other. They are enclosed within an annulus or “drum” that is turned by the input shaft via the serpentine drivebelt.

But the advantages of Rotrex’s supercharger design don’t stop there. Because these are sealed units that have their own separate oiling system, there’s no need to tap the engine’s oil pan. This also means that, unlike a turbocharger, the Rotrex blower doesn’t tax the engine’s existing cooling and oiling systems, helping keep underhood and engine operating temperature under control. The big drawback to turbochargers, after all, is that they use the energy supplied by exhaust gases to power the compressor, the by-product of which is heat—and lots of it. According to Oscar, “The problem with all this turbo-related heat buildup and the fact that the turbo spools so rapidly at mid rpm levels without being controlled by the crankshaft, is that ECU tuners are forced to throw a ton of fuel into the combustion chamber and pull timing at the point of full spool to protect against detonation. With a Rotrex supercharger you can actually do the exact opposite, leaning out the [air/fuel] ratio and adding timing because the system runs so cool. As a result, you end up with improved fuel efficiency and more consistent and reliable power production.

R O T O R E D U C AT I O N By David Pratte


Brembo has always been known to produce top of the line brake parts for every type of car buff out there

e’ve received quite a few emails lately asking us to explain what the advantages are of cross-drilled and slotted rotors, as compared to the blank rotors most cars come standard with. We’ve also had requests to explain why many slotted rotors these days have curved or J-hook shaped slots, rather than straight slots. Rather than giving you the Wikipedia answer, we went right to the source by once again contacting Mark Valskis at Brembo North America (some of you will recall his contribution to the big brake kit Tech Talk story in the May ’11 issue). As most of you already know, the basic function of a brake disc is to provide a mating surface for the brake pads so that when you stomp on the brake pedal the friction material that makes up the pad is squeezed against the rotors (by the calipers), converting forward motion into heat as the car slows. That heat is then radiated to the atmosphere as air flows over and through the rotors (and the rest of the braking system), completing the conversion of kinetic energy into thermal energy. Some of you may not be fans of cross-drilled rotors because you’ve seen cracks in the disc surface radiating out from the drilled holes, but as Mark points out, not all drilled discs are created equally. “Brembo has a long list of requirements for drilled discs. First, the holes are not just simple cylindrical holes.

According to Mark at Brembo, cross-drilled rotors came into being because of the need to evacuate gases or water from the interface between the disc face and the brake pad surface. As Mark further clarified, “Modern brake pads don’t have an issue with out-gassing like they did many years ago, but the cross-drilling is still helpful for use in wet conditions, especially when the pad surface area is large. Additionally, cross-drilling increases the surface area of the disc, and this aids in disc cooling (one factor in brake disc cooling is the ratio of surface area to disc mass). The most significant feature of the holes (when done correctly) is that they continually refresh the brake pad surface, providing improved performance and greater disc life. As the holes pass the brake pad they essentially clean the surface, helping to prevent pad glazing or hardening. This effect can be easily observed on a drilled disc near the outer edge where there are no holes. In this area, the pad surface is not refreshed and you will typically see greater disc wear in this unswept area.” It’s also worth noting that this type of pad refreshing by cross-drilled and/or slotted rotors helps maintain more consistent frictional performance. But even with the highest quality cross-drilled discs, there can be issues with thermal shock and fatigue around the holes when using very aggressive racing brake pads.

As for the shape of the slots, Mark had this to say: “The different design of the slots is due to extensive research and development, including [brake] dyno testing. Due to the fact that track testing is required, and thanks to strong collaboration with many toplevel racing teams, Brembo has developed a very broad knowledge of the many different types of slot shapes possible when machining discs.” Since this type of extensive R&D is really outside the scope of all but the biggest brake system manufacturers, a lot of what you’re seeing in the aftermarket are companies copying what leaders like Brembo are doing with respect to slot shape, slot spacing, slot depth and so on.Ultimately, the slots are all designed to do the same thing (refresh the brake pads), but different shapes no doubt impact the aggressiveness with which the pads are refreshed and also likely affect localized cooling of the disc. And speaking of cooling, the internal structure of ventilated rotors plays a very important role here. “The mass of the disc is the determining factor in how much energy the disc can absorb, while the design of the internal geometry helps improve the disc’s ability to shed the heat.”






We get an inside interview with aaron badis and talk about his fully tricked out honda s2000 interview/story by david prattee



n case you weren’t aware, Stephan Papadakis is a well-known racer in the sport compact community. He was the first to drive a Honda into nine-second quarter-mile times, then eights, sevens and sixes. As import drag racing was eclipsed by drifting, he took his team over to the Formula D series without skipping a beat. When I heard he was planning to build a car for NASA’s Honda Challenge series, it really caught my attention. Having been friends for a few years, I offered to help in any way I could. What started as advice on what setups other competitors were running devolved into me checking tire pressures at his first event. At the end of Sunday’s race, I interviewed him just outside turn four at Willow

The engine of this S2000 is absolutely flawless, and beautifully painted

AH: You’ve set all sorts of records with your drag racing Civics, the most powerful making 1600bhp. Your S2000 drift car is about to come out in the next Gran Turismo. Why are you racing a single-cam CRX in the Honda Challenge

AH: So you see Honda Challenge as a place to race just for the sake of racing?

SP: The reason for the CRX was it’s something simple. The H4 class has good competition. The car is really tuneable and there are lots of parts available. I can do road racing, have good competition, train myself, and have people help me. I want to learn strategy, learn the lines, and, above all, get a lot of seat time for a little amount of money-relatively speaking. Then translate that into whatever else I do racing-wise.

SP: Honda Challenge is successful because it’s grassroots. If everybody spends a bunch of money on their cars, making them look pretty and rebuilding them before every event, then people will get really upset if there’s any bumper-rubbing and that kind of stuff. Then it becomes more expensive to run the cars and it loses its grassroots club racing fun.


Corner-carving and stopping abilities weren’t overlooked, either. TEIN Flex coilovers flattened out the already impressively responsive S2K chassis, and Spoon big brakes completely eliminated any risk of brake fade when beating on his roadster at nearby Virginia International Raceway. The 17-inch Volk Racing RE30 wheels aren’t just for show, either — these are some of the strongest and stiffest wheels in the business, not to mention some of the

“I’m pretty much done with the build at this point and I’m very happy with the way it’s turned out,” Aaron says. “I just put an Imperial Storm Trooper sticker on the gas door because I like the white and black theme so much, and I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I’m definitely going to keep it long term, but I may actually tone things down a bit so it’s more comfortable on the street. I’m planning to put reclining bucket seats in and replacing the 6-point cage with a 4-point rollbar.” We can’t argue with Aaron’s plan to keep his AP2 for the long haul or to tweak his setup so it’s a bit more street-friendly, especially in light of the fact that we may have a long wait before Honda sees fit to bring us another sports car as focused in design as the S2000.


Specs & Details

‘00 HONDA S2000 ENGINE 2.2-liter F22C inline-4 ENGINE MODS ScienceofSpeed supercharger kit w/ aftercooler (Paxton 1220 centrifugal blower); Spoon Sports venturi throttle body, Kevlar intake snorkel & oil cap; RC Engineering 650cc injectors; Okada Projects coil packs; ASM header; Invidia 70mm test pipe; T1r 70r-em 70mm single exhaust

SUSPENSION TEIN Flex coilovers; Spoon Sports front zero bumpsteer kit, front lower x-brace & rear lower arm bar ENGINE MANAGEMENT Hondata reflash Wheels, Tires & Brakes Volk Racing RE30 Diamond Black 17x9” +35 (f) & 17x9.5” +28 (r) wheels; 255/40R17 Nitto NT05 tires; Rays blue extended lug nuts; Spoon Sports BBK

INTERIOR Spoon Sports driver-side Kevlar bucket seat, steering wheel, steering boss & titanium shift knob; Mugen driver-side seat rail; F1 Spec type 1 Kevlar bucket passenger seat; Buddy Club passengerside seat rail; Takata 4-point harnesses; Cusco 6-point rollcage; Innovate wideband gauge

AH: Do you think any of your previous experience translated into road racing? SP: I think some of the drag racing helped, especially the car building helped with the drifting. And some of the drifting stuff is definitely helping with the Honda Challenge, because I’m not scared of the fast turns. If the car gets a little sideways, I know what to do and I’m not over-correcting and stuff like that. Now I think road racing is going to help with drifting, because I’m learning lines, learning to keep my eyes up and look ahead, and getting a feel for the car-the braking threshold, the traction threshold. Sometimes it’s quicker to get around the track by going a bit slower into the cornersfout. I’m learning all these techniques.

SP: I did some racing-about a dozen track days. I did three or four races at the Willow kart track. I raced in a spec kart class in Vegas called Kart Cup. It was kind of an eye-opening experience to realize that this guy has the exact same thing and he’s three seconds faster. I’m getting lapped by him halfway or three-quarters of the way through the race. So it’s one of those deals where you realize, at this level, it’s probably not the best place to learn. I have to step it back and start AH: Fair enough. The motor, what’s the story with that?

AH: What was your shifter kart experience like? Were you just out there putting around or actually racing?

SP: The engine had about 130K on it. The thing about Honda engines is that they last a long time. One hundred-something thousand miles is not that much on a Honda engine. We pulled it apart, Safety makes these cast replacement pistons that are legal.

Stephan Papadakis stands proubly next to his S2000

This car looks amazing from every angle, even the rear

AH: What do have going on with the outside of the motor?

The first time I saw a fully kitted Spoon S2000 in a catalog, I knew I had to do the same

SP: The aluminum exhaust seemed like a good idea at the time, but they don’t hold up to road racing very well, especially AH: So you end up with a chassis that’s nothing. There’s a lot of work to go through after that. SP: Not really. Once you’ve pulled a couple of cars apart and put them back together, there aren’t that many parts. The CRX had to be torn down to nothing anyway, because every single bushing needed to be replaced. The steering rack needed to be replaced, the interior had to come out for the roll cage, the dash had to come out to get to the heater and eve-


NASTY NITTOS By Nate Hassler


The right tire can make or brake your ride when it comes to performing at the track. All of Nittos tire performed super well for us

e love the Nitto NT01. When it comes to all-around grip, reasonable wear, predictability and great heat characteristics, the NT01 is a great pick for track-bound beginners and pros.Making a street tire that can also handle track duty can be a double-edged sword. Compounds hard enough for the street typically get greasy after a few laps on the track, while soft track compounds typically wear out too fast and are completely incompetent in cold, wet conditions. Track tires are also typically stiffer in construction, making them uncomfortable for daily use on rutted streets. Striking the balance is the challenge. Nitto found that balance by starting from a clean sheet with the NT05’s dry, sticky compound with added stiffeners and silica to increase tire strength, wear and wet-traction abilities. The tread pattern was fleshed out with huge near-continuous shoulder tread blocks for sustained cornering grip and two large center tread channels to evacuate water. As great as the NT01 is, Nitto Tires did see the need for a tire that bridged the wide gap between its aging NT555 line and the motorsports-oriented NT01. With more and more enthusiasts headed for weekend track sessions, but few serious enough to have a dedicated set of track wheels and tires, Nitto 2 MODIFIED.COM MARCH 12

After seeing the success of the motorsports NT01 tire among tuners and time attackers, Nitto realized the change in emphasis of performance over tuner looks. So the company invested extensive effort into tire simulations and real track testing of the NT05 during its design stage. Our test tires went onto a turbocharged Nissan 240SX that’s best known for its excessive torque and its tail-happy antics. We scrambled to get the tires on for the rare Southern Californian rain on the horizon so we could have a chance to assess this dry tire’s wet abilities. Obviously, we’re not expecting miracles from a dry tire in the wet, and just one look at the NT05’s tread pattern will tell you that it’s not a wet tire. But even in the greasy, wet asphalt of a first rain, our brand-new NT05s did stick. In acceleration, the tires would spin in second gear as 300 ft-lbs of torque were unleashed to just two drive wheels. But what tire wouldn’t? These are all minor hurdles that can be overcome with a little caution and anticipation. But rain isn’t what the NT05 is about, and the rain only lasted the afternoon. In the dry, the NT05 shines. It feels like an NT01 for the streets. It’s nearly as sticky at street temperatures but doesn’t wear as fast. and will transmit the input through the suspension a little more.

The lack of tire squeal will take some getting use to. For the average driver, when a tire starts talking, it’s a sign that it’s near its peak traction limit. The squeal comes from tread blocks squirming under the huge load. But with race tires or tires with large tread blocks like the NT05, tread squirm is minimal. This increases cornering confidence and stability, but also means the tire won’t make much noise as it approaches its traction limits. Racers intuitively know this limit and don’t need to listen for it, but inexperienced drivers will have to take some time to work up to it. Once past the traction limits, the tire breaks away smoothly much like the NT01 does on track. We like this tire enough that we’ve decided to put the same NT05 tire on our new Nissan twin-turbo 350Z Street class time attack car. The NT05’s combination of street longevity, track durability, feedback and grip—and its 200 UTQG wear rating—make it an ideal fit for Super Lap Battle Street class competition. The initial release of sizes are intended for larger cars, but do come in the wider sizes needed for the track. A second release of additional sizing is slated for later this year and will include GT-R sizes.



auges are a great way to keep track of your engine’s vital signs. While the factory cluster may provide you with engine temperature and even oil pressure, it’s far from being very precise. We all know the more we modify an engine, the greater the need to ensure it runs within proper operating parameters. There are a lot of gauges on the market, so figuring out which brand suits your needs can be a bit daunting. We’ve used and tested lots of brands in the past — Defi, Auto Meter, Glowshift, STRI, just to name a few — and what we’ve found is that you definitely get what you pay for. The cheaper brands seem to use stepper motors that have less precision in the needle’s movement, while the higher-end gauges offer quieter operation, analog-like movement and more bells and whistles like peak hold, record and warning. This is where Prosport enters the game and promises high-end performance and features at a fraction of the price. Costing just over $100 each, the Halo Series of 52mm electronic gauges features a 270-degree stepper motor with a bright-red needle that’s backed by an LED display with three color options (amber, white and blue) and a halo ring around the perimeter of the gauge. Peak and recall functions are also standard on the Halo

Custom guages a great and simple way to make your ride stand out from the others while still giving you the info you need about your rides performance

We installed the 52mm Halo Series on a ’90 Nissan 240SX, and out of the box the gauges come with everything needed to fit them in your car. The instructions are simple and straightforward, and if you’re even remotely electrically inclined you shouldn’t have any problems wiring them in. Prosport prides itself for not having a controller that links all the gauges together, and while this is a necessity for keeping the cost down, it adds more wires to the back of the gauges. The power/ground wires daisy chain from gauge to gauge to eliminate some extra cords, but every gauge still has to plug its sensor into the back, which in the case of our installation didn’t help in terms of a clean look. If you’re installing the gauges into the dash or on an A-pillar, this wont be of concern to you.The movement of the needles is precise and sharp — there’s no sign of choppy or inconsistent fluctuations. That in itself makes the Prosport Halo Series one heck of a bargain. It’s hard to confirm the accuracy of these gauges without getting into some scientific testing, but after hooking up an OBDII scanner we were able to monitor the ECU’s engine temperature readings and compare them to the Prosport temperature gauge. There was roughly a 5-degree difference between the scanner’s readout and the gauge.

When the Halo Series powers up, a quick opening ceremony greets you and the tinted lens comes alive with a vivid LED display that’s easy to read at night and during bright days. The dimming options and three color choices are impressive features for a gauge at just over $100, plus the control functions actually work very well. We were a bit skeptical about the light-touch operation, but it works just as advertised. There is, however, one issue that we have with the gauges and it’s that they look just like the Defi Advance CR gauges. Prosport has a great product on its hands, but we’re hoping to see an original design for the next generation. Otherwise, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better bargain for what you get in the Prosport Halo Series gauges. On paper, the Prosport gauges seem like an unbeatable package. For the amount of features at its price point, there’s nothing out there that can compete, but how do the Halo Series stand up in real life? We installed the 52mm Halo Series on a ’90 Nissan 240SX, and out of the box the gauges come with everything needed to fit them in your car.



CT 350


Stephen Knoop’s Nissan 350Z hits all the right notes in our book story by faiz raham 17 MODIFIED.COM MARCH 12


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ne of the most iconic tuner cars of all time


Max Horsepower

is the Nissan 350Z. If you don’t agree, just think about where we would be if the Supra had never existed. With its robust inline-6 and practically limitless tuning potential, it didn’t take long for a strong community of enthusiasts to embrace the Supra for everything it had to offer. These days, however, it seems like the most common thing to do with a Supra is to slap on some wheels and a lip, convert to single turbo, and call it a day — not that there’s anything wrong with that. After all, it doesn’t take much to make this timeless body look good, and everyone knows how fast these cars can go in a straight line down the dragstrip with the right mods. But what happened to the more well-rounded cars? What happened to the people who take it a step further, but still shy away from the outlandish “Fast and Furious” styling cues that plagued

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“I’ve always had my eye on the MKIV 6-speed Supra Turbo,” he remembers. “When I finally found a mint-condition, low-mileage and bone-stock Supra, I flew 1,000 miles to snatch it up. I knew before I even bought the car that it was going to be heavily modified; enthusiasts don’t buy these cars to leave alone. Before I took delivery of the car, I already had wheels, full exhaust, and intake and coilovers ready to put on. Next, I focused on the vehicle’s cosmetics by modifying the exterior and interior. Finally, I tackled the additional performance phase by installing a single turbo, AEM ECU, Sound Performance fuel system, RPS Carbon clutch and other supporting modifications. Within a month of owning the car, I was making over 450 whp with simple bolt-ons! A few months later, I picked up a Subaru STI and the Supra sat for a year without any additional modifications. Once I sold the STI, I had more time to dedicate to the Supra — I spent the next year and a half to take the car to the next level.”

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Michael is no stranger to the world of modified cars; he first got his feet wet years ago in college. “I’ve always been into cars as a kid, but was exposed on a national level when I interned with Auto Meter Products in college,” Michael tells us. “I toured with the NHRA Drag Racing circuit, Import Drag Racing sanctioning bodies, Formula DRIFT and Hot Import Nights as a product support specialist. Being able to work firsthand with some of the top motorsport professionals and world-class race teams in the world gave me a whole different perspective (and passion) for the automotive industry.” With a unique inside perspective like this, Michael owned several interesting tuner cars over the years. “I’ve had a ’93 Ford Taurus SHO 5-speed, a ’05 Subaru STI, a ’01 Lexus IS300 and a ’09 C63 AMG,” Michael says.


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The way Michael’s Supra sits now is a very clean and tasteful finished product. The vehicle’s exterior has been re-sprayed in a fresh coating of OEM Jewel Green paint, a less common metallic jade green color that suits the Mark IV beautifully. You won’t find any over-the-top body kits or vinyl graphics on Michael’s car, he has stuck to the subtle modifications that accent the already excellent body shape of the Supra. A Modellista Designs front bumper and vented hood give just enough of an aggressive edge to the front of the car, and both items flow seamlessly to the Do-Luck side skirts (a piece that looks so clean they could easily be mistaken for factory equipment by the untrained eye). A pair of Ganador mirrors look perfect — again, these are a subtle but much appreciated change from the awkward doormounted factory mirrors. On the back end, a Rod Millen Motorsports carbon-fiber wing provides the finishing touch on the clean exterior package.

As we turn our eyes to the interior of Michael’s Supra, we’re met with a tasteful and performance-oriented cockpit. A set of Sparco Monza seats look just right — Toyota should have just cut out the middle man and equipped these as standard. A Sparco steering wheel replaces the bulky factory unit, and a Sparco harness bar allows Michael to mount his belts in the proper way to help keep him and his passengers safe and secure. A few small gauges finish off the inside of the Supra; after all, Michael is all about the “no frills” approach. The suspension and braking departments have been addressed in the proper fashion, with an oversized StopTech big brake kit handling clamping duties up front and StopTech slotted rotors residing in the rear. Updated pads and stainless steel lines finish off the stopping department, and TEIN Flex coilovers keep the car in line through the corners and back roads. Some 18-inch CCW Classic wheels look right at home with the gunmetal spoke finish and polished lip, and because of what lay in wait underneath the hood, we’re not surprised to see the 11.5-inch wide rears wrapped in a set of DOT-legal drag radials. $$ Spent












The sight of a classic Nissan gt-r never gets old story by nate hassler



his car has a V-8 in it let’s just get that out of the way up front. Love it or hate it, the LS-swap craze is here to stay, so if that’s a problem, you better stop reading this story now. After all, this is the tale of a 240 transformed, a car that has been through many different phases leading up to how it sits now. This car has been there, done that, and now the final result is a culmination of all the good things from along the way, and Stephen Knoop couldn’t be happier with his finished product. As most of us are aware, it takes a long time to build a car from scratch. When Stephen first picked up his ’95 240SX about five years ago, it was a far cry from this clean, driftinspired street car. And as you may have guessed, this isn’t Stephen’s first rodeo he’s a self-proclaimed drifting fanatic and a true Japanese car lover. Stephen told me all about his history with his other cars and how he went about putting together this super-clean example of a truly wellrounded, purpose-built street/drift hybrid monster.

Stephen wasted no time fully upgrading the engine with cool air intake

The Interior was where Stephen really had fun customizing everything he could.

Bride Bucket seats with neon green Takata straps to add even more color to this GT-R


“Growing up, my best friend and his dad were really into cars,” Stephen says. “I was around cars being built and the typical Honda ‘tuner scene’ for a good eight to nine years before I took any interest in it. The summer after my senior year of high school, I spent a lot of time hanging out with one of my friends who was really into cars; he spent a good chunk of his summer each year going to Japan. He introduced me to late ’90s to early ’00s Japanese style and drifting and also introduced me to the S-chassis; I hadn’t known anything about it before then since all of my other friends were into Hondas and other FWD cars. At some point between him showing me drifting videos and pictures of cars he had seen in Japan, I became hooked.” Stephen’s first excursion into the world of drifting came in the form of another 240, a car that Stephen used to get his feet wet turning wrenches. Over the course of about two years, Stephen did a fairly major overhaul on his first Nissan, including a KA turbo setup, DIY paintjob and of course plenty of amateur drift days. “I ended up trading that car for my current 240,” Stephen recalls. “But when I first got it, my current car was a completely stock ’97 240SX SE, automatic.

Not one to rush in headfirst without a plan, Stephen took his time with the build after college. “About six to eight months went by before I got a job and I could afford to get parts for the 240,” Stephen says. “My graduation present was a trip to Japan, and since it was 2007 the yen rate was still really nice! After returning home, I starting pulling together parts for a 5-speed swap. I eventually ended up with a SR20DET swap, which was a good starting point for the 250 whp I wanted to achieve. Fast-forward another season and a half of drifting as much as possible, and I had the itch for more power again. I got laid off in 2008 when the economy tanked, so I spent a year unemployed looking for work. During that time, I began to roll fenders for friends of mine with more prevalence; I started gaining a reputation in my area for being the go-to guy for fender rolling, a side job that helped me fund the money pit of a habit that we’re all too familiar with. I ended up going back to Japan for a vacation after I finally found a job, and it was that trip that re-motivated me to bite the bullet and start building the car into my ultimate drift/streetable car.” The build slowly began to materialize over the following months.


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With the suspension department finally in the place he desired, Stephen’s next area of concentration was the power. He knew that a GM V-8 was the route he wanted to go with, and with the help of a few friends the swap was completed without too much hassle. The LS1 block has been fully rebuilt with upgraded new rod and main bolts, bearings and hardened push rods. The heads have been treated top to bottom as well, with a custom cam, upgraded valvesprings and retainers, and of course several custom parts required to make the V-8 work in his S-chassis. Sikky Manufacturing is one of Stephen’s sponsors and the company provided him with a complete mount kit (which includes CNC machined mounts, driveshaft, power steering lines, master cylinder relocation kit and an oil filter relocation kit) and a robust 7-quart oil pan. All in all, the swap is incredibly clean looking and functional — Stephen has little to worry about whether he’s drifting on track or driving down to the store for groceries. On the outside, this S14 has received some of the most serious fender massaging we’ve ever seen.

Specs & Details

‘95 Nissan GT-R


TEIN MonoFlex coilovers; Nismo

chassis braces (f/r); HKS Kansai strut brace


2.6-liter RB26DETT turbocharged inline-6

Engine Mods Tomei RB28 Genesis engine; ARMS B7660

turbochargers, turbo outlets, exhaust manifold, fuel rail & 276lph fuel pump; HKS Twin Power CDI, Air Flow Meter adapter, Type-R intercooler & Type-R BOVs; SplitFire coil pack; Trust oil cooler & oil filter relocation kit; Tabata radiator & breather tank; Garage Defend carbon-fiber cooling panel; ARC induction box 100mm Super Titanium muffler & oil catch tank

Wheels, Tires, & Brakes

Volk Racing 19x10.5” +12 matte-black TE37 wheels & lightweight aluminum lugnuts; Yokohama Advan Neova AD09 275/30R19 tires; AP Racing 6-pot 355mm front brakes; 4-pot 330mm


Nismo 320 km/h gauge cluster & titanium shift knob; Bride Stradia II carbon-Kevlar seats; TEIN EDFC, Defi Controller 2, BF boost meter, fuel pressure meter & oil pressure meter; SkyLab torque split controller; Pivot sequential shift lights


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