2007 Nissan 350Z
photographer: Eric Kieu
I still remember the first time that I raced one of the four Nissan Skylines I’ve owned. It was my white R33 fitted with a Nismo exhaust and Ray’s wheels; it flew past the competitors with lightning speed around the short bends of Deep Forest Raceway. I beat all of them with minutes to spare despite the fact I drove it with an automatic transmission; there wasn’t even a scratch or dent on my car. I washed it afterwards, took a practice lap around Apricot Hill, parked it in my garage and called it a night. Granted, this all took place within the safe confines of the virtual world, but it was a fond memory, nonetheless, placed deep inside my mind because it was also the first time I played Gran Turismo nearly 10 years ago on the original PlayStation.
I’m sure we all have memories about this racing game, the emotions we felt sitting behind the steering wheels of Japanese cars, some of which we owned but most of the time wished we owned, much less had ever seen before. It was the game that revolutionized video games, and more importantly, the real-life tuner industry. It set off an unbridled yearning to modify, collect and own the cars we played. And it’s all owed to the godly hands of Gran Turismo creator, Kazunori Yamauchi.
Every year at the SEMA Show, Kazunori hands down the Gran Turismo Awards, which honor the best customized vehicles in various categories, including Hot Rod, Domestic, and of course, Japanese Import. The grand prize is Best in Show, which immortalizes a vehicle in a future Gran Turismo video game for everyone to drool over and drive. GReddy’s ’07 Nissan 350Z, which is laid across these pages, didn’t win that coveted award but it did place First in the Japanese Import category, and in our book, that’s reason enough to place it on the cover. After all, there has to be a reason why it was picked to win the award, competing with a pool of the best tuner vehicles in the country.
Perhaps it was chosen because it’s arguably one of the cleanest Z33s to pound the pavements thus far. Or maybe it’s the mob of GReddy’s quality products placed underhood that makes it oh-so-fresh. But really what sets it apart from the rest of the group is the main source of power resting comfortably in the engine bay, the first twinturbo production kit ever made for the new VQ35HR V-6 engine that can potentially push this car upwards of 700 hp. This TD05H-18G twin-turbo kit can be bolted on and is sold with all the necessary parts like manifold, downpipe adapter, piping hardware and heatshields. GReddy designs their turbos with substantial room at their efficiency ranges, giving the tuner the option to increase power levels. They base their engineering on completely stock engines, so they provide instant horsepower gains while maintaining drivability. This concept bodes well for the VQ35HR engine, which is still fairly new in terms of manufacturing aftermarket products.
The VQ35HR is an updated version of the 350’s previous powerplant with a stronger block, a higher rev limit and compression ratio, a twin ram-air intake, and variable exhaust camshaft timing. It boasts a stock 306 hp and has a broader range of usable torque, with 90 percent of its 268 lb-ft coming from the 2,000 to 7,000 rpm range. Nissan says the HR in the engine’s moniker stands for “high response” and “high revolution,” both of which are fitting for the 350Z’s sporty feel and for the dozens of aftermarket companies vying to be the first to completely modify the engine.
With only eight weeks before its grand unveiling at the SEmA Show, GReddy worked nonstop to build on this next evolution of the VQ engine. They learned all the new details that came with the engine and the ’07 Nissan 350Z, including placement and tuning differences. “This is just the beginning and sort of a setup before we move onto the ’09 Nissan GTR and the next evolution of VR38 engines,” said mike Chung, planning manager at GReddy. So if this 350Z is merely a start, a GReddy-built GT-R is certain to be a sure-shot hit.
Aside from the massive twin turbos with cast manifold and Type-T wastegates headlining the main stage, GReddy also planted a Type 29 Spec-R front mounted intercooler kit and Airinx AY-mB air intakes to provide efficient air flow circulation. They installed a 70mm turbo Ti-C exhaust system to remove the unwanted air and let their e-manage Ultimate ECU to govern the inner workings of the engine. The internals of the sturdier block include GReddy pistons, connecting rods and piston rings, while GReddy camshafts and L iridium spark plugs take control above; all of which help the bolt-on turbo kit work fluidly within the system. “All the products we develop for this vehicle should make their way to becoming bolt-on products,” explained mike. “Once all the hard work of prototyping and tuning is done, production can begin to offer proven products at affordable prices.”
GReddy products do not end in the engine bay. The widebody kit is courtesy of GReddy’s GRacer over fender SPL model, which is flared close to the factory settings but built slightly more aggressive to fit the wheels and create a meaner stance. It’s a seven-piece body kit originally planned to be a custom one-off, but Greddy decided to place it in production because of the popu-larity it garnered at the SEMA show. Painted in OEM Pikes Peak White and covered in Greddy D1 original graphics by Vinyl mayhem, the widebody kit also comes with a rear wing that sits low on the trunk and protrudes enough to collect the proverbial double takes.
Under the chassis is a set of 20-inch Rays Engineering Gram Light wheels, 9.5 inches wide in the front and 10.5 inches in the rear, wrapped in gummy Nitto Invo tires and around GReddy 380mm and 330mm rotors. Gold Volk Racing GT-Fs are used on the track.
Inside the cabin is a pair of blue Bride seats, the Gias model on the driver side and the Stradia on the passenger, matched with Bride Low max rear seats, which complement the overall scheme of blue and white.
Though this complete setup would be perfect to be a special model in Gran Turismo, GReddy is just proud to be the Japanese Import winner of the Gran Turismo Awards. To them, there’s nothing like being picked by Yamauchi, the man who fueled the tuning fire that engulfs our lives on a daily basis. It’s a feat that GReddy will show off in 2008 and use as inspiration to build the much-anticipated Nissan GT-R, which they hope will fare so well at next year’s event. Seeing that they did so well with the ’07 350Z, the chance of winning Best in Show doesn’t seem so far fetched.
Output 450 whp 700 plus expected at next tune
GReddy (pistons and rings, rods, camshafts, valves, valve springs, intake manifold, oil pan) cast turbo manifold, TD05H-18G (x2), Type-T wastegate, E-manage Ultimate, PRofec-B Spec2 boost controller, GREx 13-row oil cooler with thermostat, aluminum radiator with pipe kit, radiator hoses, aluminum diversion panels, Type-29 spec-R HG intercooler, aluminum intercooler piping, dual Airinx AY-mB intakes, Turbo Ti-C 70mm dual exhaust, Five Axis dry carbon engine cover
OS Giken LSD, clutch
GReddy Type-S suspension kit
R57-GT Gram Lights rims (20×9.5 front; 20×10.5 rear); Nitto Invo tires (225/30/20 front; 285/30/20 rear). Gold Volk racing GT-F wheels for the track.
GReddy 380mm rotor with 8-piston (front), 330mm rotor with 4-piston kit (rear); GReddy/ Earl’s stainless lines
GReddy Over-Fender SPL body kit (front bumper, rear bumper, side skirts, over fenders, rear wing); OEm Pike’s Peak White paint; Greddy D1 vinyl graphics
GReddy SuperLight shift knob; Bride Gias (driver) and Stradia (passenger) seats; Bride Lox max rear seats
GReddy 60mm SmI with data-link