Tuesday, June 28, 2016


Let me start off by saying if there's one thing that I hate more than crabs - cracking them open, knowing which parts you can and can't eat, crab pots, hearing people talk about crabs and crabbing, seeing Maryland flag crab stickers - , it's fucking football.  But that's not really what this post is even remotely about anyway!  Getting right into it, I planned a trip back to Maryland a few months ago when Fresh Roots had announced that they would be doing their joint event with US Drift at Shenandoah Speedway again.  Not only did I want to return to see my Wolfpack fam and support my dude Nick, who I pretty much consider my brother at this point, but it was also a chance for me to drive an event in the Z as well when I wasn't helping Nick prepare for competition or taking photos/video. I had a master plan to knock out a lot of work on the Z, and bring it back out to Arizona with me.  Little did I know what I got myself into, trying to think big like that. . .

Well the time arrived for my flight back to BWI.  I got picked up around midnight Tuesday night/Wednesday morning by my actual brother, and crashed at their house for a couple of hours.  Woke up around 5AM (never mind you the 3 hour time difference too, so it felt like 2AM to me), and caught a ride over to Nick's since my brother works off the same street as where the shop is located.  I arrive bright and early to this sight. . .

Nick's cruiser - the Y33, lowered on a set of VS-KF that's been through a couple hands and chassis, and were even rocked on my Z for a couple days.  I had arrived earlier than Nick expected me to, which gave me some time to just chill out front of the shop, and take in the humid Maryland air.  June mornings there are pretty awesome actually, and the combo of dew that covers everything mixed with the golden sunlight. . . I quickly yanked out my camera and started happily documenting my trip.

No Wolfpack car is complete without the almighty dual-layer sticker.  This Infiniti Q45 was simply supposed to be a daily get-around vehicle for Nick, and it quickly turned into a mini VIP project.  We took it out for a spin one of the nights while I was back, and got to take in some of the finer interior features, like the wooden steering wheel and accents, the Junction Produce vanity curtains and neck rests.

To my understanding, the suspension set-ups on these are basically just S14 parts.  How convenient that he has a couple of those laying around the shop, along with aftermarket bits and goodies?  I was actually surprised to hear that the camber on the car is natural from the coilovers Nick put on - no arms or rods needed.  Not to say that there won't be some more to come on this already sweet bippu in the future.

One more quick snap of the Q-ball, with some sweet lens flare before I rest myself down on the curb and prepare for a morning full of parts install.  Nick pulled up a few minutes later, started a fresh brew of coffee, we got to catching up, and then it wasn't long before he took me downstairs to see my presents waiting under the Christmas tree.

Over the past several months, I had been building up my arsenal of JDM goodies and having them sent directly to Wolfpack HQ.  I had a numbered list of things I had to install while I was there, within just a short 2-3 day period before the day of the event.  Well that quickly went out the window as I got to opening and gazing at all the things that were there waiting for me.

About a week or two after returning from my last visit to Maryland actually, a sweet deal popped up on this brand new Tomei Expreme Ti Mid Pipe.  I couldn't pass it up and had it sent right back to the shop.  Unpacking the box was magical.  The texture of the titanium, the quality of the welds, and the attention to detail and small little things here and there that you notice makes every bit of this piece worth it.  And how can you just not love that Tomei Bolt Smooth Paste!?

Although I put it off til afterwards, my real priority was getting those toasted, shitty Hawk brake pads out of the calipers and getting these fresh new Project Mu NS400's in there.  But really, why would I want to immediately jump in and get my hands disgusting when I could be fitting up this nice set of Nagisa Auto Super Low Seat Rails to a brand new genuine Bride seat. . .?

My guys Pablo and Rajeet with Mastermind NA really hooked me up with helping obtain this Bride Zeta III.  Although I knew I wouldn't be seeing it until June, I impatiently waited as I bugged them week-to-week about where the seat was after purchasing it sometime back around March.  Sure enough, the seat arrived to the garage well in time prior to me getting back in town, as they had promised me it would.

After my last track experience at the 2nd Annual Birthday Bash, I knew I needed a fixed bucket seat if I was going to continue my pursuit of drifting and progressing on track.  Going back and looking at my interior GoPro video, Nick was pointing out to me how much I was fighting the car for upright posture while I drove.  Well, I knew I wanted a Zeta III - it just came down to color choice. . . well was there ever really even a choice?  They make a blue one, so it was done deal when I saw that.

I love everything about this seat.  Bride is well-known for their awesome sparkle-back effect on the FRP seats.  I was not one bit let down by the insanely high quality that they're also famous for.

Not that I was skeptical at all, but I immediately was drawn-to and was scoping out the tell-tale signs of a genuine Bride seat.

That lovely NAPAC sticker, that I will pretty much never see again since it's on the side pressed up against my center console.  At some point in the future, I WILL be getting a matching seat for the passenger side - but baby steps. . .

After a bit of finagling, puzzle-fitting the seat and rails into the cockpit, removing everything, setting it all gently back down on the ground, tightening all the bolts, reinstalling everything back in the car, and then repeating about 4 times, I finally got the seat and rails into the position I was content with.  I picked up some DressUpBolts titanium blue bolts to use for all the seat hardware - not that you can really see it in these photos.  but I'll be sure to get some more in the future detailing those.  If I'm going for blue, then I'm going for BLUE.  I really dig the DressUpBolts and while they're pretty pricey, I stand behind them.  I've used them in my engine bay, on my steering wheel set-up, and now on my seat and rails and can't be happier with how they've held up.

Just another angle from through the hatch.  Cusco, Bride, Works Bell, KEY!S. . . Mmmm!!

The next day was install day for the Tomei Y-Pipe, and then we decided it was a good opportunity to pull the hatch, Kouki and my Z outside for a solid wash. . .which led to a mini photo/video shoot.
Teaser for Part II. . .
武士道 - B U S H I D O!

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