Name: Kelvin Taylor // Age: 73 // Location: Hamilton // Occupation: Coachbuilder/fabricator
NZ Performance Car: Hey, Kelvin. You’ve amassed a pretty big collection over the years. How would you describe your tastes / style preferences?
Kelvin: Yeah, I was born into it so never really had a choice. I like a little bit of everything, from low-riders to drift cars, or even just a nicely preserved or restored classic. I like to mix up different styles and see what I can come up with. I take a lot of cues from the water-cooled VW guys in Europe; their attention to detail is next to none … But what I really love is the Japanese scene. You go to a hot rod show there and you see everything from low-riders to customs, T-buckets and C-cabs, and even classic Japanese cars — and they mix the different cars and styles together.
It certainly shows in the collection. What was it about drifting that got you interested and decide to do it yourself?
It was the early to mid-2000s scene, the days of Drift Corp and WSR [Westside Rotor], when people would drive their drift car the length of the country to do an event and then back again. When I got involved with CJC [Circle Jerk Crew] and started going to the Jerkshop, I met a few guys that were drifting and, after a few rides, decided I needed to give this a go myself.
Was this C33 your first drift car and what made you want to build it?
No, the first drift car I built was a Toyota Corona wagon (ST141). It started off pretty simple but ended up with an SR20, Hilux LSD [limited-slip diff] rear end with equal-length rose-jointed four-link set-up, coilovers, Techno Toy Tuning knuckles, and way more custom fabrication work than any rusty old Corona deserves [laughs]. As for the C33, they were my favorite shape back in the early days, especially Jairus ‘JT’ Wharerau’s gold one on the Enkei NT03s. I wanted to recreate what first got me interested in the drift scene.
How does it compare with other drift chassis you’ve driven?
Like chalk and cheese. The Corona was great on small-course stuff, like cones on a silage pad, but, on a track, you really had to fight it to get it to do what you wanted. The Laurel’s more like the gentleman’s drift car — you just turn in and let it take you where it wants to go.
Speaking of gentleman’s drift car, how did the interior end up fully upholstered?
[Laughs] Um … I guess I just got a bit carried away. It started off just trying to match the Autosports to the stock interior colours, but it turned out to be a bit brighter than expected; so, next thing, the rest of the interior was out and off down to Midnight Upholstery.
It’s proper lush. Can you tell us why the car is a cream hue and what that means?
It started off as a bit of a laugh between Royce [Mihaere] and a couple [of] other members over a few beers in a shed, looking over his infamous R32 and listening to a certain Wu Tang Clan song. That’s pretty much how Team Cream came around. None of us really take[s] things too seriously — we’re all just out to have a good time. And what is your favourite part of the car? The reaction it gets from all types of people when they notice the little things that take so much time to get right. That’s what makes it all worth it for me.
Thanks for sharing it with us, Kelvin.
1991 Nissan Laurel (C33)
Engine: Nissan RB20DET 1998cc straight-six, RB25DET turbo, GReddy front-mount intercooler, three-inch oval stainless-steel turbo-back exhaust
Driveline: RB20DET five-speed, heavy-duty clutch, R200 LSD, R32 GT-R calipers
Interior: Custom burgundy velvet and cord reupholstering by Midnight Upholstery, Autosport bucket seats, wooden steering wheel
Exterior: OG Jimmy Lucas Workshop X bodykit, lightly massaged guards, resprayed in custom cream and pearl
Wheels/tyres: 17×9-inch Enkei RP01, 205/40R17 Evergreen
Suspension: KTS coilovers, GKTech adjustable front castor arms, lock spacers, solid steering bush and roll-centre correction kit, relocated steering rack, castor arm brackets, stitch-welded front subframe, custom front strut brace, GKTech adjustable rear camber arms, GKTech adjustable rear castor arms, GKTech adjustable rear toe arms, solid subframe bushes, reinforced and stitch-welded rear subframe, new Nolathane bushes and ball joints
Power: Maybe 200hp [150kW]?
Fuel type: 98 octane
Times: “Fun times”