When your show-worthy Mazda RX-3 is too mint to enter burnout competitions, what do you do? We spoke to Andrew Pulford to find out more about his wild Chevline

Andrew Pulford is no rookie when it comes to piecing together something unique — as we’ve seen with his previous creations, which have graced the pages of NZ Performance Car — but what he debuted at the V 4&Rotary North Island Jamboree over the weekend of March 21–22 stopped us dead in our tracks.

What was it about the R32 Skyline project that had us struck? Was it the modified, matt Volvo paint, the small block 283 sitting in between the strut towers, or was it the ridiculously low ride height? To be honest, it was a combination of everything.

According to Andrew, the project started because his Mazda RX-3 was simply too mint to skid. He began hunting around for something that he could build up and thrash without caring too much about it, and that was when the R32 was offered up for a tiny $200.

Andrew explains, “I had a friend who had purchased an R32 rolling shell, which he was building for his partner to learn how to drift in. The project slowed down, and they wanted it gone and offered it to me for a steal. An R32 Skyline wasn’t at the top of my list for a skid-hack, but at that price I couldn’t refuse.”

The Skyline was going to have only the essentials needed to go sideways and pop tyres on the skidpan, but plans took a drastic turn.

“Originally I had planned to run a worked RB20DET engine in the Skyline, which I had sitting in the shed. But seeing as I don’t like following the rest, I started thinking about what else I could power the R32 with,” Andrew says.

“One weekend, I was helping a mate out, taking the engine out of his Impala as he was upgrading to something larger with a newer transmission. Watching the 283 Chev get pulled from the Impala got me thinking — five minutes later I made him an offer on it.”

Andrew seemed to be on a roll purchasing parts for a steal with the 283 Chev coupled to a two-speed powerglide costing him only $600 — a bargain considering it had a recent rebuild in the States.

“I checked over the engine before it was installed and everything looked mint on the inside,” Andrew told us. Apparently the two-speed powerglide fits like a glove too.

As the newly named ‘Chevline’ was to be used for popping tyres, some serious cooling was in order. Andrew found a universal unit suited to the 283 Chev, but it was much larger than first anticipated.

“When I got the radiator back home, I realized that it was far too wide to sit in the factory position as it wouldn’t work with the factory chassis rails. So, I made the decision to cut the front end off and tube frame it — something I’ve never done before, but always have wanted to do.”

Another requirement for Andrew’s skid-hack was that it was slammed, but after toying with the idea of coilovers for a while, a set of airbags came up for sale.

“I had a mate phone me telling me there was a set of airbags on Hustle Live on Facebook, so I went and checked them out and purchased them. As the bags were originally out of an Evo I–III, they took some modification to get in there, but nothing too hard.”

As you can see, the factory-R32 strut placement has been shifted, this is due to the conversion to McPherson gear out of an S13 / A31. Down the rear end, the subframe has been raised with GK Tech solid subframe bushes, the chassis rails have been notched to clear the suspension arms, and the floor of the boot has been chopped out and raised to allow the exhaust system to come higher up the chassis to prevent it being damaged when it lays frame.

“I wanted to lay frame the day I bought the coilovers, so there was some serious fabrication work to get it there,” Andrew told us.

The wheel combination Andrew is running isn’t that typical on a Skyline of this nature — but then what is typical of a Skyline of this nature? The fronts are 15x10-inch steel barrels, that have had the centre welded in at the perfect offset by Andrew’s brother-in-law, who builds Superstocks in Wellington. Down the back, Andrew pinched a set of wheels off his Mazda RX-3, as he isn’t worried about what will be bolted down the back come skid time.

The interior of the Skyline has been completely stripped, so don’t expect much in the way of luxuries. A switch panel, rev-counter, and the required levers are all that keep Andrew occupied. Andrew ran out of time to get the engine running before the V 4&Rotary Jamboree, but it won’t be far off — he even has plans to twin-turbo it in the near future with manifolds on their way from America. So, what have you built lately?  

René Vermeer

Dutch, French, or just a Kiwi, René isn’t quite sure, but he does know he has a passion for Japanese vehicles like no other. A well-seasoned Gran Turismo player dating back to his single-digit days, René has a comprehensive knowledge of a wide range of performance vehicles and has owned more than 30 performance cars here in New Zealand, ranging from Nissans to Hondas. A lover of photography, you’ll find him either peeping under someone’s bonnet to snap a detailed shot, or on the side of the racetrack, perfecting his panning.