"One of the best experiences was ... we got the car ready for ZDayZ, held on the Tail of the Dragon, in Fontana Village, N.C.," he says. "I drove the car hard in the Dragon's famous tight hairpin turns. I could definitely tell the rear was locking in the tight turns, but afterward, people a few cars behind me said they could see the rear wheel locking, and at times could see the outside wheel lifting in the middle of the turn. I don't think the car has ever handled so well, it gave me a lot more confidence in the car and its ability to handle whatever I throw at it."
Looking to the future, Brent feels he's had his fill of the show circuit. "While it has been fun, I would like to drive the car more. I am planning on making the car lighter, so a large amount of the stereo gear will have to go. The trunk will probably get gutted and, depending on the work involved, I will look into having the doors returned back to stock hinges and swapped for carbon-fiber doors. I have the cage for side protection," Brent says. "Ultimately, I would like to get the car on the track and get a better feel for how the overall package handles at a closer to stock weight."
With the Z's expansive 4.2 liters of displacement, the roadster could be called a 420Z and despite any long resume of mods, cars are meant to be driven-the harder the better.
Trials And Tribulations Of The Aka Rally"I have taken this car on two cross-country rallies (AKA Rallies), and have truly experienced what it is to enjoy all the hard work I have put into the car. But with that enjoyment comes a lot of heartache-all the rushing to meet deadlines, constant concerns over all the parts fitting/working together, and, of course, the setbacks along the way.
"During the first rally my stock engine gave up the ghost on the way out to the starting point in Las Vegas. It was a fiasco.
"For the second AKA Rally we drove to Salt Lake City to start the rally the day after running the car on the Salt Flats. After driving all day with the group, and trying to avoid any unnecessary contact with the various local law enforcement personal, we were running late and about six miles from the final checkpoint for the night when it happened. Out of nowhere I saw a lump in the road and bam-a whole lot of drama and I lost all throttle response. I hit a raccoon at a high speed. I was able to discern that the raccoon had blown a foot hole in my front bumper, bounced around under the car, busting my passenger rear CV joint, stripping the ribs off the axle, and then tearing my rear bumper almost completely off.
"We had the car towed to the next town and, to my amazement, the following morning I discovered there was not a shop within 50 miles that could do an axle swap for me. Apparently every auto shop was booked for weeks out. After going through the entire phone book I found a small foreign shop that was willing to do the work, but the owner had to have the replacement parts within 24 hours because he was going on vacation in two days. I managed to get Forged Performance to overnight me a replacement Drive Shaft Shop Level 5 axle. This owner/technician had never worked on a Nissan and had never even seen a 350Z. It was pretty amazing but once we got the part, I was back on the road in 90 minutes.
"With my front and rear bumpers looking like something out of a Sanford and Son wrecking yard with all the blue tape holding them on, I drove for 22 straight hours to catch the group. I arrived one hour before they were scheduled to start that day's drive. I managed to get 30 minutes of sleep and a quick shower before hopping back in the car and driving for another seven hours. Needless to say, I had enough Red Bull and various energy drinks in me to wire a horse.
"The activity for that day was karting and I wound up passing out during the driver briefing. I completely lost like fours hours of my life on the floor in a briefing room. Ah, the memories."