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Peasants, your Lord is back – Lord Bemrose’s 13B Rotary-Powered Ferrari 456 / S14 Silvia

15 June 2024

Will we ever get sick of the pure insanity that comes from Lord Bemrose? We seriously doubt it. Stage two of the ‘cheap’ Ferrari build pushes the boundaries of pure race car porn and Japanese car performance engineering. Is this New Zealand’s ultimate track day ‘thing’?

Words: René Vermeer Photos: Richard Opie

Way back in NZPC issue 280, we featured Reuben Bemrose’s latest creation at the time. Pure insanity by design, his ‘cheaply acquired’ Ferrari 456 GT was simply found rotting away in a paddock at an undisclosed location, being stripped for parts after it was written off with a mere 27,000kms on the clock. As you might remember, one thing led to another and instead of coming home with a few parts he was after, he came home with the thing strapped onto a trailer, with the Kelson community Facebook page meeting yet another disturbance to their wellbeing as it drove by their homes. The first stage — well, the final stage at the time — was a simple, affordably-built naturally-aspirated 13B-converted thrasher with the intention of having something he didn’t care too much for — something not built to the extreme extent of his 2JZ-powered Subaru. Something carefree and less serious if you will: “A throw together NA setup was made and that is how most saw the car for the next two years at various meets and events — with no front end and sometimes on fire.”

Usually, the standard Bemrose progression would see the Ferrari become more seriously involved in the parts industry, but that was fast-tracked at a CJC circuit event when Reuben managed to snap-oversteer the Ferrari into the wall at Manfield’s turn one. “I absolutely stoved the entire left-hand side of the car. It was at that stage I knew she was in need of a glow up,” Reuben muses. It’s an interesting situation us car enthusiasts put ourselves into; sure, the affordable thing to do would be to repair the damage. That’s what a normal person would do. But, there’s something bitter-tasting about handing over money, then not having an upgraded machine after — for a little bit more, there could be a positive result, and a more-modified version of the same thing. Reuben took this concept, ordered 10 times the dopamine hit, and began mapping out the next stage of the Ferrari build. It was time to address some of the ‘sloppy bits’ and put the Ferrari in a similar league to the Subaru WRX that sits in the same garage. 

As Reuben does, he acquired an FD3S RX-7 with a built motor with the intention of robbing the motor out of it to use, so the FD shell was sold on to make space. “One of the first things I did when I got it home was pull the engine out. Chris Wall from Prestige blew his engine, so I said he could use mine and I would just put my turbo engine in the bay. We pulled the NA engine out, but we ended up just fixing his engine anyway. So, oh well, the NA engine was out. This was when things spiralled,” Reuben explained. 

Firstly though, the body work needed serious attention and the silver wasn’t the look Reuben was after for its final form. One thing that needed serious attention was the Ferrari’s front-end. It was never really completed, but Reuben refused to pay the costly $20,000 in Ferrari genuine parts to get it looking ‘complete’. This, ladies and gentleman, is where the Nissan Silvia facelift front-end comes in. He explains, “To address the Silvia front-end, the car didn’t have a front-end and what little we did have was damaged from my crash. The cost of genuine parts was circa $20K, so we needed some Kiwi ingenuity. With my track record, genuine parts would be expensive. While hiding in my garage, swabbing myself for Covid 19, my brain was boiling. I thought to myself, ‘Nissan’, ‘cheap’, and it would look good. We had to mould it all up and make the front end work. I tried to make something so wrong look so right — I think it worked.” Ryan Sun from Luxury Sports sent Reuben a bumper, then brand new headlights, and everything else Reuben could find and purchase online during the lockdown at the time was ordered to his front door. 

In the meantime, fabrication had begun on the engine components with Hypertune sending Reuben intercooler piping from Aussie, fabricated from his drawings. Gone was the naturally-aspirated 13B and in its place the built motor from the FD he acquired. Wanting a fast-spooling, responsive setup, the decision was made to run a Precision Gen2 PTE6875 with the larger 1.32AR turbine housing. With Reuben’s Hypertune connection, it didn’t take long before it was bolted to the 13B utilising their stainless steel components and pieced together over here in New Zealand.

 

With some beautiful fabrication, the engine bay was coming together and the Ferrari was inching closer to another shakedown. There’s now a new six-speed HGT sequential and with the 13B now churning out 373kW at the rear wheels, it’s more than capable of the task at hand, replacing the older four-speed TTI that was behind the NA 13B. 

The real naughty piece of engineering though, is the use of centre-lock wheels. “I was in Australia recently visiting my sister and was browsing Marketplace and came across some massive front brakes which, funnily enough, doesn’t clear my Work wheels. Instead of just buying normal wheels like a normal person, I decided to buy Porsche Cup Car centre-locks not knowing how to make it all work. Long story short, I had to change a bunch of shit, but we made it work,” Reuben laughs. While the team were converting the Ferrari knuckle to studs, they also modified the wheel bearings to allow the use of much cheaper, more readily available versions — all in the pursuit of keeping the Ferrari cheaper to run. 

“So the paint was the last thing. After I did all the engine stuff, and did the front, I needed to do the guards and bonnet. I did that myself at Carboglass which I’m proud of. I then shook it down at Jambo where the wheel fell off. But I knew everything was working all tickety-boo — then I painted it last.” The DNA Paints Split Blood Red paint – aka Reuben Red – has a black base coat, with diamond clearcoat. The end result is obtained with around nine-litres of paint. Most would have just wrapped the Ferrari as it’s a race-going machine, but that wouldn’t even enter Reuben’s mind. 

 

“I literally changed every single thing in that car over the last two years and it’s now a GT spec quality car,” Reuben continues. “I don’t think people understand that this isn’t just any normal car, you can’t just buy parts over the counter for it and bolt them on. Everything is custom.”

With the Ferrari ‘finished’ for now, Reuben plans on using it, dialling it in for circuit use, and hopes that Ian Baker of World Time Attack notices it, so he gets the nod to take it over to Sydney next year to show the world.

“For what is my second cover car and sixth feature, I’d like to thank myself. My analytical mastermind of cooked up ideas is a smorgasbord of engineering excellence. My hunger for small details and striving for perfection in everything I do is outstanding and a credit to myself. I am a certified, qualified, automotive supertaster. Hall of famer. A celebration. Not only have I managed to achieve such high merits, I’ve been doing it with a broken back from consistently holding up the New Zealand automotive industry and print media outlets. My grandparents had Ali, my parents had Mike Tyson, and you have Lord fucking Bemrose.”

There it is folks, the Lord has spoken. What will he build next? Is he already building it? Will you ever top it? We’ll leave those questions with you. In the meantime though, bow down to performance car greatness and take note — the Lord never went anywhere, he’s a constant in our automotive community and we’re not mad about it.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

This article originally appeared in New Zealand Performance Car issue 306

SPEC LIST

Heart

 

ENGINE: 13B, 1300cc twin-rotor

BLOCK: Secondary bridgeport, balanced, doweled, E&J apex seals, FD housings, plates, and rotors, 12 front cover Gilmore drive pulleys

INTAKE: FD3S modified top plenum, 82mm Bosch throttle body with billet adapter, Hypertune clamps, Hypertune DBW wiggins adapter, four-inch intake with pod filter

EXHAUST: Four-inch stainless steel dump pipe, twin 3.5-inch system to the rear, XForce twin exhaust tips, billet exhaust clamps, Hypertune HypEx 347 stainless tube manifold, cast collector

TURBO: Precision Gen2 PTE6875 (T4 twin-scroll 1.32AR housing), Hypertune T51R compressor inlet mod

WASTEGATE: Two 40mm Turbosmart GenV Compgate1

BOV: Turbosmart Race Port GenV

FUEL: 40-litre fuel cell, quick-fill remote filler, Carter lift pump, two TI Automotive fuel pumps in five-litre surge tank, -8AN feed and return PTFE fuel lines, ethanol content sensor, Injector Dynamics fuel filter, eight 1170cc Xspurt injectors, three-rail system

IGNITION: PRP R35 coil conversion kit, Denso Race spark plugs

ECU: Maxxecu Pro, Maxxecu PDM, Motec keypad, MSEL battery isolator, Optima battery, Link pressure and temperature sensors, Mil Spec wiring harness, firewall bulkhead plugs

COOLING: 500x320x135mm billet Hypertune intercooler, Fenix radiator, Fenix oil cooler, two Spal 12-inch fans, -16AN water lines, Davies Craig electric water pump

EXTRA: Moroso catch can, Hypertune R32 GT-R expansion tank, Franklin Engineering water fitting, Franklin Engineering alternator side mount, carbon fibre inner tubs and protection

 

Drive

GEARBOX: Six-speed HGT sequential, HGT bellhousing, HGT shifter, HGT strain gauge

CLUTCH: Tilton triple-plate

FLYWHEEL: Green Brothers billet

DIFF: R200 4.3:1 ratio, GKTech billet rear cover, titanium hardware, Gearheads full-spool tub, Nismo oil, machined/modified cups to house Porsche 109 CV pattern, GT-R front snout, Maserati axles

OTHER: HGT release bearing/dry brake, 3.5-inch chromoly 1350 two-piece driveshaft

 

Support

STRUTS: Three-way KW adjustable coilovers (remote reservoir), 880lb front KW springs, 780lb rear KW springs

BRAKES: Endless RF650 brake fluid, Tilton floor-mount pedal box, Tilton brake bias controller (F) Six-piston AP Racing calipers, 378mm DBA two-piece floating discs, Pagid pads (R) four-piston Alcon Racing calipers, 342mm Alcon two-piece floating discs, Hawk pads

ARMS/KNUCKLES: Ferrari knuckle converted to studs, modified wheel bearing (for cheap replacements), custom centre-lock conversion, Porsche drive pegs, Indy Car wheel nuts, Formula 5000 safety pins, clearanced and modified lower hub to house eye-loop shock-end, GKTech 350Z front top arms, GKTech S13 tie rod ends and roll-centre correction kit
OTHER: Triple 8 Engineering Supercar cross adjusters in the rear, billet top hats, Superpro bushes throughout, eight-point roll cage, tube front chassis, tube rear diff mount subframe

 

Shoes

WHEELS: (F) 18×9.5-inch (+44) and 18×13-inch (+52) three-piece BBS E88 centre-lock Porsche 997.2 Cup

TYRES: 250/650R18 and 300/650R18 Michelin Pilot Sport medium compound full-slick

 

Exterior

PAINT: DNA Paints Split Blood Red (aka Reuben Red), DNA Paints black base coat, DNA Paints diamond clearcoat (nine litres of paint)

ENHANCEMENTS: Juno rear diffuser, Supercar front splitter and undertray with carbon NACA duct feeding oil cooler, custom Nissan Silvia front-end, one-piece front clip widebody, DMax bonnet, 300ZX carbon side trims, carbon fibre mirrors, Origin Lab front canards, splitter rods with titanium rubbing blocks, Frenched Cartek LED rain light, shaved door locks, shaved petrol flap, APR carbon rear wing with custom chassis frame mounts, lexan side windows (with driver’s window slide)

 

Interior

SEATS: Racetech brackets, (driver’s) Racetech 4119 HR (passengers) Racetech 4100 HR

STEERING WHEEL: 320mm Sparco, Yaris electric steering column

INSTRUMENTATION: Motec C125 dash

OTHER: Cusco six-point harnesses, Ractech back support mount, S15 Silvia dashboard, Lifeline fire suppression system, hydraulic handbrake, Nitrous Express 10oz bottle and dry setup, CNC billet passenger kick plate, Sparco window nets, air jack system

 

Performance

POWER:  373kW at the wheels

TORQUE: 525Nm

BOOST: 15psi

FUEL TYPE: E50

TUNER: Chris Wall at Prestige Tuning and Motorsport

 

Driver Profile

DRIVER/OWNER: Reuben Bemrose

AGE: 34

LOCATION: Wellington

OCCUPATION: Brain surgeon 

BUILD TIME: Four years

LENGTH OF OWNERSHIP: Four years

THANKS: Hypertune, Carl the lathe wizard at Cemeck Engineering.Five13 Fab – Bruce and Mike Graham, Richard Fleming HGT Gearboxes, NSTParts family, Turbosmart, Platinum Racing Products, Ben and the Dojo boys at Customs Body Shop, Matt Lauder, Carboglass, Prestige Tuning and Performance, NZ Wiring, Stealth Ride, Jamie Ross, Phil MP Vehicle Recovery, David Thomson, Efi & Turbo, Andrew ‘the Ukrainian’, ‘Hasbulla’ Cole Robinson 

 

Black Magic’ Cody Newport, Bank Of Bemrose (mum and dad), Fraser Simpson, Bam so he’s not left out, Macbilt Engineering, free Ape Hammer, My little family Jess, Baxter & Lily, Mag and Turbo Porirua, Prosport Auto, Bert King Powder Services, Jeff from Manawatu car club for track use, Richard Opie for photography, Kelson community hate Reuben Facebook page