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Staff picks: top five under-construction cars

21 July 2016

We had a spare second in the NZ Performance Car office to kick back and look at this year’s issues thus far, and we decided to put together a few of our favourites from the Under Construction section for your viewing pleasure. Ain’t no better way to find out what’s being built, and has since been completed, around the country — dim the lights, grab the tissues, and enjoy the sensual sights you’re about to witness. Warning: may or may not be appropriate for teenagers, NZ Performance Car takes no responsibility for your child purchasing a sick drift car, or any attempts to use your Lancer for hill climbs. Enjoy.

May 2016 issue (233): Bryce Mcvicar-Laulau’s S14/180SX SR20DET

From high-speed police chases in Wellington, in the hands of a thief, to being slammed against the concrete walls of Meremere, Bryce Mcvicar-Laulau’s Nissan Silvia S14 has lived one hell of a life already, and it’s only getting better.

After being taken off the track for basic repairs, the transformation into its newest incarnation has been rapid, involving a full tube-framed 180SX front-end conversion, turning the humble SR20DET into a forged-internal monster.

Bryce fell right down the rabbit hole after ordering 9.0:1 CP pistons (86.5mm), 700hp Manley rods, ACL race bearings, and a Tomei 1.5mm head gasket from the States after a friend offered them up for a deal that couldn’t be turned down.

The set-up should spin the dyno at a cool 350kW, but Bryce says that anything above 230kW will put a smile on his dial. Once the engine is locked in, the whole car will be pulled together with an Origin Labo kit all round, sitting on 18×9.5-inch Weds Kranze Cerberus wheels up front and huge 18×12-inch Rota GTR-Ds on the rear. Looking at what’s to come, we’re predicting a shitload of burnt rubber and a lot of wall-riding goodness from this cross-bred gem.

August 2016 issue (236): Hill-climbing Evolution

Destined to disturb the peace through the hills of North Otago, Mark Mattisson’s Evo started out as a simple release-bearing replacement that progressed to a mild build, before falling well into the rabbit hole and going all out. He’s nearing the end of the three-year journey, and all that’s left is wiring up the forged and stroked 2.3-litre 4G63T with BorgWarner EFR7670 turbo.

To make sure it ticks all the right boxes in the response department, there’s a pair of Turbosmart 38mm wastegates, a RaceFab twin-scroll manifold, and a custom three-inch straight-pipe exhaust system. A lick of paint is set to make the whole package look a bit tidier, while the six-point homologated roll cage, fuel cell, surge tank, and Bosch 044 fuel pump keep the interior track-ready. 

Mark hopes to be out on the circuit and navigating the tight turns of his regular hill climbs by the end of July — fingers crossed no other simple replacements are needed before then! 

May 2016 issue (233): Circuit-spec R100

The Longley boys are no strangers to building rotaries, but the build of their dad’s Mazda R100 will be the Warkworth-based family’s first circuit-focused car. The Mazda R100 was found in Japan by Mortimer Motorsport, and imported back to New Zealand, before being purchased by the Longleys.

Thought to possibly have been a spare shell for a Japanese race team, it arrived stripped and packaged in boxes. Plans for the R100 are to build it as a weekend-warrior track machine, but these plans have already spiralled a little out of control.

The engine is a 13B PP with 51mm IDA, and this will be backed by a TTi six-speed sequential and Series 3 RX-7 LSD. A set of 15×8-/15×8.5-inch Work Equips fills the Katayama flares with no trouble. Once the new tunnel is built to suit the TTi, the car will be shipped to Quest Fabrication for the roll cage before heading to Racelign for the suspension set-up. The goal is to have it on track at some point this year, which is something we can’t wait to see.

February 2016 issue (230): Stacy Smyth’s Navara update

We featured Stacy Smyth’s project way back in the April 2015 issue of NZ Performance Car (220), when it was simply a Navara chassis with plans to bolt a VH41DE into it. Things have progressed a heap since then, though, as he has finally bolted the VH41DE onto the finished chassis, built the fuel cell and surge tank, completed the extractors and exhaust system, fitted an array of Hardrace suspension arms, built the tube-framed front end, completed the steering set-up, and started work on the roll cage.

The VH41DE, which was torn down and rebuilt, now has the turbo mounted up high, and the wastegate has been installed. Some more serious work has been done, including relocating the firewall and dropping the body by 51mm.

Although progress has been tracking along nicely, there’s still a bunch more work to finish. The roll cage needs completing, the dry sump still needs finishing, along with an oil system for the turbo set-up, the deck needs to be mounted, and then it’ll get a full rewire before installation of the Link G4 ECU, before a tune to finish off. 

We’ll no doubt take a much closer look at Stacy’s project once it’s completed. 

April 2016 issue (232): RB-powered Legacy

What happens when your old man throws you the keys to his Subaru Legacy B4? Well, you thrash the tits off it, of course! Unfortunately for Nelson Grove, while thrashing the tits off said Legacy he completely destroyed the bottom end of the EJ20 engine.

He decided he’d best purchase the car, but it wouldn’t receive another EJ20. Instead, after Nelson’s friend had parted out a Cefiro, they thought that an RB20DET engine would slot right in. After a few measurements, it was confirmed — it would.

Nelson handed over his hard-earned, and soon the engine and transmission mounts were fabricated. The RB20DET engine will run rear-wheel drive with an RB20 gearbox. Instead of splicing an RB20 ECU onto the Subaru loom, Nelson has completely stripped the Legacy and plans to make his very own loom to suit.

Next on the list is having a custom driveshaft made, so the RB20 gearbox mates up to the Legacy rear differential. This will certainly be a unique build, and we’re excited to see where it’s headed. 

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