Trying to build a ‘never done’ combo has only become harder, but when you stick a blown 1UZ-FE producing 1000Nm into an S-chassis, you’ve sure as hell got the right frame of mind when it comes to adding flair to the national drifting series
Stemming from its origins in the motherland, drifting has always been about one thing: expression. Expression of your driving style and talents, and the capabilities of your machine — and doing it all with every ounce of flair possible. The cars are bright, bold, and loud; the angle is huge; and the smoke is pumped out by the arena-load. Our own national series, Demon Energy D1NZ, is no exception, and Jase Brown had already made a name for himself campaigning his trusty SR-powered S13 in the series. However, with the firm goal in mind of stepping up from Pro-Sport to battling the big boys in the Pro series, things needed to change. As Jase explained, “We needed double the power and double the torque — a purpose-built car.” That necessity has spawned one of the most singular builds in the series and, possibly, ever.
Stepping back in time to the planning stages, Jase said he had a lot of nostalgic attachment to his old car — the ‘07 OG’ S13, as it’s referred to — as it was originally campaigned by Takeshi ‘Tux’ Teruya back in the day. “I didn’t want to wreck something that had been such a big part of D1. It’s got an aura about it, that ’80s and ’90s drifting vibe,” said Jase. “I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to cut the car up to build what I was imagining. Tux got me into drifting and gave me the car at a really good price, so I wanted to pass that on to someone else — especially because we didn’t know how the new build would end up, and I didn’t want to wreck a car only to get a bad result.”
The S13 shell on which ‘Frankenstein’ has been built had a long history of half-finished builds and arrived as a caged rolling body set up for a 2JZ with tube-framed front end. Although the team initially thought it could use the tube framing, the call was made to redo the lot to ensure it could withstand Jase’s aggressive driving style, where a few ‘nudges’ could be expected.
While that fab work was taking place, it was decided it would be rude not to continue it throughout the car. The team cut the arches out, relieving the front to allow for big dish wheels — simply for that flair. The bodywork was extensive, to say the least. The chassis was seam welded and the sills reinforced, along with the addition of bash bars down back and a solid-mounted strut brace across the firewall — if that ain’t as stiff as your average showgirl’s punter, then we don’t know what is.
Although there was talk of ripping out the existing cage and replacing it, too, the team deemed it to be suitable for its purpose and focused on other components instead.
“It was homologated, and, with shells in D1 being sacrificial parts, as long as it was safe for me, it could be used to develop the car and focus on perfecting the drivetrain etc. That way, if we have an off, it’s not so much of loss — rather than destroying a $10K shell,” Jase told us.
It was around this time that Jase decided on the engine package, choosing to emulate the set-up found in his ‘JAPROD’ C34 street car — a Lexus 1UZ-FE V8 with Roots blower.
“Big blowers give that instantaneous torque; as you touch the gas, it feels like a Freightliner truck has come up behind and pushed you — that big hit of force. We could have done it through anti-lag and twin scrolls, but that’s been done, and we wanted that point of difference.”
The Blower Shop billet 67-1 blower set-up is something more common in drag racing and burnout cars, as the method of boosting works best in short bursts. To generate good power, you need a cold charge, which is why Jase runs the system top-fuel style, with the eight Bosch 1650cc injectors feeding billet throttle bodies on top of the blower, which puts the entire charge through the compressor, helping to cool the charge. On top of that, the fuel is iced, and a CO2 total-loss system constantly freezes a centre plate between the manifold and the blower to combat the heat soak into the blower, which is caused by those lengthy pre-battle waiting times on the grid. “When you run battle after battle, it’s pretty full on, and the drivetrain starts baking,” said Jase.
What currently resides in the car is what Jase described as “just a test engine” and is set to be replaced by a built equivalent that he has been developing on the side. That engine reuses all the previously mentioned parts, and steps it up a notch with Ross Racing pistons and Wiseco rods to allow the boost to be cranked up further, as he admits the stock internals are maxed out with the already super-impressive 1003Nm it produces on 17psi.
Naturally, with so much force being smashed through the drivetrain, a standard box wasn’t going to cut it — so the team opted to run the Tex Racing four-speed dogbox.
“You feel like you’re being abusive with it, as you have to be very definite with shifting, but it just takes it — I should have done it years ago,” Jase said. “With how rapidly this thing comes on power, you can be quite lazy with shifting and don’t need to clutch-kick to get it going. Slow shift it and be a savage on the accelerator, and that’ll do it.”
The Tex boxes also have the benefit of reversible dog gears, which means if you’re an animal on the shifting, you can pull the box apart and flip the gears around to use the other side, getting double wear out of them. To ensure that things don’t get to that stage, however, the team has fitted an Andrews hardened gear set.
While all this was going on, the 07 OG car was sold to fund the Tex box and Peterson four-stage dry sump, and the hunt began for a suitable look. Jase knew exactly what he wanted: a staunch front to match the gnarly shit happening underneath the skin — what else, then, but the S14 Rocket Bunny V2 Boss kit? Even though the S14 is roughly 20mm wider on each side and 60mm taller in the guards, the dimensions actually suited the car perfectly. The team was already struggling to pack in the very tall engine package, so the tube framing was built to suit. It also meant they wouldn’t have to muck around trying to replicate a custom kit if an off occurred, with short rebuild times between rounds. A swapsy job was done with Bruce Tannock to acquire his modified 180SX Rocket Bunny 666 rear kit and, to pull this mishmash of aesthetics together, Jase’s wife Nicki, the in-house wrapper, designed and applied the custom livery.
This car is much more than just a nuts drivetrain package and a few trick panels stuck on, though — the simple but effective suspension set-up, which consists of Keto modified front knuckles and 555 extended lower-control arms, delivers damn near 80 degrees of lock. Thanks to the engine placement — sitting back 100mm from where the SR once was and a mere 15mm off the firewall to balance the 35kg of extra weight from the blower system — the car has a more or less 50/50 split.
“We raised the front 50mm, too, and flipped the S14 side skits so left was on the right and vice versa, so when you chuck it in, it has the ruthless dragging look,” explained Jase.
Two rounds into the season, and with the car now complete for the most part — it was awaiting its heart transplant at the time of writing — Jase is aiming to develop his skills and the car further in Pro-Sport to ensure that he remains consistent once making the leap up.
“You have to earn it. People may feel they’re held back in Pro-Sport and want to battle people with better ability and quicker speeds, but, if you’re building a new car, you need to get it right, super consistent, and have it dialled in, so that, when you do step up, you can deliver,” he said. “We’ve built the tool; now I need to back it up with the skill.”
Occupation: Auto electrician
Build time: Six months
Length of ownership: Two years
Thanks: My amazing wife, Nicki Brown; Luke Wiseman, for his custom machining and design; Phil at Jet Design Co.; Brad at Able Engineering; Deano at Boss Powdercoating; Murray at Supreme Panel and Paint; Rob at Link Engine Management (New Zealand); Andrew McAllister; Degan Wallace; Reuben Currie; Brad Page; Ryan Webb; Adrian Williamson; Jamie Allen; Morgan Roberts; Dave from Creative Plastic; Vitour Performance Tyres; STA Parts; CL Auto; Te Rapa Auto Electrical; Te Rapa Automotive; Diffuse Screenprinting; Dash Car Company; Spy Optic (New Zealand); Jalex Auto Electrical; Coby Performance Exhausts; Classic Electrical and Lighting; Luxury Sports; Rob Silcock; and Kris Brown
ENGINE: Toyota 1UZ-FE, 3969cc, eight-cylinder
BLOCK: Ross Racing pistons; Wiseco rods; Peterson four-stage dry sump, pre-priming oil pump, and filter relocation kit
HEAD: Hartley Engines and Motorsport camshafts, oversized valves, solid buckets, adjustable cam pulleys, exhaust-port scissor gears
INTAKE: Bullet Cars custom manifold
EXHAUST: Twin three-inch stainless-steel system, AdrenalinR resonators
SUPERCHARGER: The Blower Shop billet 67-1 blower 7.73 underdrive
FUEL: Eight 1650cc Bosch fuel injectors, returnless system with custom Joe Blo The Speed Shop top hat, twin Bosch 044 pumps
IGNITION: Toyota Altezza direct-fire pencil coils
ECU: Link G4+ Thunder
COOLING: Fenix radiator, custom rear-mount oil cooler, side-mount ducts
EXTRA: Assembly by CSL Race Engines
GEARBOX: Tex Racing four-speed GSR TR3 dogbox, Andrews hardened gear set
CLUTCH: Tilton twin-plate
FLYWHEEL: Custom chromoly
DIFF: Nissan BNR32 (4.1:1 ratio)
STRUTS: Tein Super Drift coilovers; (F) 8kg springs, (R) 6kg springs
BRAKES: (F) K-Sport eight-pot calipers, 380mm rotors, (R) Wilwood two-pot primary calipers, Wilwood two-pot secondary calipers, Znoelli speedway pads; Wilwood pedal box
EXTRA: Keto modified front knuckles, 555 front lower-control arms, Parts Shop Max rear arms, Able Engineering custom tube framing finished by Boss Powdercoating, electric jacks
WHEELS: 18x10.5-inch (-5p) SSR Vienna
TYRES: 235/40R18 Vitour
PAINT: Applied by Supreme Panel and Paint, Hamilton
ENHANCEMENTS: Rocket Bunny V2 Boss Aero front, modified Rocket Bunny 180SX 666 rear, livery by Nicki Brown
STEERING WHEEL: Momo
INSTRUMENTATION: Race Technology Dash2 Pro