While this Z breathes through essentially stock heads, CIN tackled intake restriction by swapping the stock plenum with a Crawford piece. Nissan's engineers sloped the Z's plenum to clear the stock strut tower brace-something Crawford claims restricts airflow to the front cylinders. Their aftermarket plenum sits considerably higher in the front, taking care of the problem. That extra height meant the removal of the 350's stock strut tower brace, but without serious track flogging its presence isn't missed.
With Derek's Z ready to rock, the CIN crew turned their attention to feeding the beast. A CJ Motorsports Stage 2 fuel system feeds RC 650cc injectors via a Walbro 255lph pump. The CJ kit reroutes the Z's fuel lines far away from any superheated exhaust pieces, helping to make sure the car breathes fire instead of catching it.
A Haltech Platinum EMS and GReddy turbo timer setup were used to coordinate the mechanical mayhem underhood. Dialed in at 12 psi for daily trips across Charlotte and 15.5 psi for when he's hit with a case of the Mondays, the Z cranks out 477 horses and 541 at the wheels, respectively (tested on DynoJet after motor broken in). Not bad for a pump-gas commuter.
Sucking down and spitting out 12 psi of boost on a daily basis does two things very well. First, you get acquainted with the local law enforcement in a hurry. Second, you generate heat. While CIN couldn't do much for the first issue, they handled the second with the massive GReddy intercooler that came with the kit and an ARC radiator cooling plate. The titanium piece directs air through the stock radiator to keep the car's blood pressure in check while it's ripping across town.
With the miracle mill in place, CIN focused on the rest of the car, installing an RPS six-puck clutch and Cyn-R-G flywheel to handle the extra ponies. With close to 550 of them on tap, stopping became a priority. Young and Druin solved that problem with a set of AP Racing two-piece drilled and slotted rotors in the front and one-piece drilled and slotted in the rear. All four are clamped by Mintex Xtreme HP pads pushed by G-Stop stainless lines.
With Charlotte's roadways paved in a combination of concrete blocks and crudely hewn boulders, a ber-stiff suspension wasn't on the top of Derek's wish list. Being a Track Edition, the Z was already a performance thoroughbred, so a set of Eibach Pro Kit springs, Hotchkis adjustable sway bars and Intense Motorsports rear camber arms fleshed out this ride's modest suspension upgrades.
While he won't outright deny any aspirations for show car glory, for now Derek's interior and exterior modifications remain mostly performance driven. Inside the cockpit, a Sparco Ring tiller and a set of Defi gauges round out the changes to the Z's otherwise stock appearance.
Outside, the car still sports its Pike's Peak Pearl paint set off with 19x9.5 front and 19x10.5 rear Workmeister gloss-black rollers. Wrapped in BFGoodrich KDW's, the Work Workmeister wheels are joined by a select few other tasteful changes, including an APR carbon-fiber splitter and blacked-out '07 headlights.
The finished product is one of the baddest 350Z's in North Carolina. It may not be the most powerful, the most outrageous or the fastest thing on street tires, but it is a daily driven 541whp hell-raiser.
"It's very streetable," Derek says. "I have no problem going out and beating on it at night and knowing it'll start right up in the morning when I have to get to work."
Dad would be proud.