While the Nissan 350Z has become one of the most ubiquitous tuner cars on the road, not all of them are pushing 600-plus whp. However, the number of big-power Zs is on the rise. Recently, Turbo magazine's resident Midwest freelance correspondent, Isaac Mion, took just such a beast for a spin.
The Nissan's speedo read 135 mph as the two-ton white F-350 started to wander into our lane upon approach. The ensuing Billy-Bob avoidance technique brought us mere inches from the guardrail. Even with its EDFC set on the softest setting, the Tein Type Flex coil-overs dealt with the high-speed evasive maneuver with style and grace. The heavily modified Z went on to an easily obtained 160 mph before it was brought down to a more civilized speed. Logic and the thought of the owner's face if we had to tell him his 350Z had blown a tire during our test drive greatly influenced the decision to slow down.
Jason Purdum is a 34-year-old boost freak who is also the general manager of Boulder Nissan and the owner of this fine example of Nissan power. One of his first cars was a 300Z, which is one of the reasons he chose Nissan's rebirth of the legendary Z as his new modifying platform. Another reason for building the Z was the fact it could be parked in front of the dealership and draw in customers like bees to honey.
As you can see, the spec list for the engine is longer than a Monday morning in court. As a result the power can be quite punishing to the Nismo 1.5 LSD and other parts of the drivetrain. The majority of the vital parts in the engine have been upgraded or enlarged to deal with the newfound power from forced induction.
A stout set of legs is required to support the violent acceleration efforts provided by the heavily modified VQ35DE. The Tein coil-over kit along with the accompanying Nismo sway bars and the Stillen rear toe arms and camber adjusters help immensely with launches as do the beefier Level 5 rear axles from The Driveshaft Shop. The entire setup is tailored to provide equal prowess in the numerous canyons around Boulder and stoplight-to-stoplight sprints within the city limits.
When it came to the exterior, the catch phrase was 'not-so-subtle subtlety,' and the result is definitely in your face. A VeilSide Version III widebody kit ended up being basically the final addition to this project. Look closely and you'll see that the side skirts have been smoothed, eliminating the raised VeilSide logo. This is about the only smooth aspect of the kit's installation. When Purdum and his right-hand man throughout the project, 25-year-old Nissan parts manager Eric Stockton, screwed in the wheel arches, they ended up cracking them. On top of that, the rear bumper was cracked when it arrived. As it takes VeilSide kits longer to arrive than takes women to get ready on Friday nights, the decision was made to remold the entire kit where needed.
After the body fitment came to fruition they attacked the doors. The team had to fool around with different settings on the GT Factory kit in order to achieve the "straight up" look. As well as being different from other scissor-door kits, the GT Factory kit is stronger because the impact beam is welded to the hinge and the weight of the door rests there as opposed the front half of the door.
Speaking of strength, popping the fiberglass hood is like opening a gateway to power. To start with, the cylinders have been bored over .020 and now house CP low compression pistons (8.5:1) while the connecting rods are from Pauter, which came through with the hard to find items when the Z was in its infancy and few tuner parts were available. Stockton, the co-builder of the car and basically co-owner of this whip, drove it to the photo shoot and gets to drive it in anger with the drag slicks on during test-and-tune missions. He mentioned the installation of the GReddy twin-turbo kit had to be the most difficult modification on the Z. "The directions could have been a little bit better," Stockton said.