Never before has a Fraser 7 been covered in NZ Performance Car magazine. It looks as though we have been missing out!
What makes something like this Fraser 7 so fast? It’s not one particular thing that makes it quick, as it might be with most cars. It’s not an abundance of power, nor is it the lightweight body or trick driveline — it’s a well-thought-out combination of all three, resulting in a reliable, fun, speed demon. But how did devoted Evo nut, Kane Thomas, end up with a two-seater Fraser 7? Well, his previous car — a Mitsubishi Evo V with 238kW at the wheels — kept breaking, and Kane spent more time under it than inside it. As time is precious when he’s on New Zealand shores, as he is out at sea for months at a time on a factory trawler, a change needed to be made. “After owning the Evo V for a few years, I changed seven clutches, two gearboxes, two engines and two transfer cases, as I liked to race it hard, but every time I did it seemed like I was rewarded with a week underneath it.” Kane continued, “When I was at work, watching TopGear, they featured a Caterham R500 Superlight that absolutely smashed their power leaderboard, and notched one up above the million-pound Bugatti — I took notice. When I got home I jumped online and found a car for sale up in Auckland for a good price, so after a quick phone call me and good friend, Drew Tuisamoa, jumped on a plane up to Auckland and drove it back home.”
At this stage the Fraser 7 just had a metallic-blue paint job, a 4AGZE engine and a T50 gearbox, none of which were responsible for keeping occupants cosy. The lack of heater and creature comforts aside, what the Fraser 7 Kane had just purchased did do, was go extremely fast. At around 127kW (170hp) at the wheels, the supercharged 4AGZE was performing just as well as his gearbox-smashing 238kW Evo V. As he’s not one to leave things alone, Kane had already planned his future build on that trip home — before he’d even bought the car — along with jokes of a rat rod–inspired turbocharger set-up hanging out the side of the engine compartment. “The idea grew on me, so I started talking to the best in the business down here, RaceFAB and NZEFI, about what I could achieve with this motor. After these discussions, I found out how awesome these little 1600cc motors are,” Kane explained.
With the decision to go turbo now certain, research needed to be done
“When I was at work, watching TopGear, they featured a Caterham R500 Superlight that absolutely smashed their power leaderboard, and notched one up above the million-pound Bugatti — I took notice.”
into what turbo would be best suited to the 1600cc set-up. Kane didn’t want much turbo lag, yet something that could keep up in the top end when mated to Toyota’s high-flowing 4AGZE head. The team at Turbocare in Christchurch had just the recipe, a Garrett T28 turbo off a larger-capacity Silvia S14 SR20DET, but with an HKS compressor wheel and larger compressor housing, built to handle and flow 20psi-plus of boost.
Before heading off to sea for another three-month stint, Kane dropped the Fraser off to RaceFAB, to complete all its custom fabrication and install the newly built turbocharger. The turbo sits up high, fed by the freshest of air channelled directly onto the turbo-mounted pod filter, something which was a must in the design brief. The exhaust gasses exit out of the five-bolt exhaust housing and into the three-inch stainless steel system, which exits out of the stainless dumpy exhaust, right next to the passenger entrance. Boost control is taken care of with the Link ECU and NZEFI boost solenoid, but also the TiAL 38mm water-cooled external wastegate, which directs emissions out of a 40mm stainless-steel pipe which mimics the exhaust-system route. On the intake side, RaceFAB fabricated a one-off intake plenum, with silicone joiners linking the plenum to the intake runners on the head, which allows for easy removal without having to change the intake gasket. The compressed air is cooled via the custom RaceFAB intercooler, and then makes its way into the plenum through the large 70mm throttle body. The result of all of this well thought out, well-executed conversion was a solid 225kW (302hp) at the wheels on 21psi of boost with 95-octane fuel. For race- track duties, an E30 ethanol brew was mixed up and netted a staggering 261kW (351hp) at the wheels on 24psi of boost.
“When I got home, I was stoked with the new power of the car and all of the tidy custom work that had been done by RaceFAB and NZEFI,” Kane said. “After a few months of driving, the tired old T50 gearbox that was in the car failed under the new-found power, so I decided to go all-in with a good-quality gearbox. I researched many gearbox options, but only one stood out that would actually fit in the tunnel of my car. I decided to go with the Quaife sequential, which to me has been the make or break with this car.” The T50 gearbox was well suited to the Fraser when the engine was only putting out 126kW, as the close ratios meant that it always felt punchy, but with the turbo hanging off the side and a power figure that has nearly doubled, traction was now a serious issue. “First gear was utterly hopeless, with serious wheelspin, and second gear wasn’t much better. In third gear you would finally get some drive,” Kane said. Scott Tristram, owner of Fraser cars, convinced Kane to go with a taller first gear, as there was no point in having numerous gears that just wheelspun. Top speed in first gear is now 92kph, and the remaining gears are spread 25kph apart, with a top speed of 232kph in sixth gear. “I actually took the car drag racing with the T50 gearbox, and my best time was 13 seconds flat, with Toyo R888 tyres and a damp track.
I haven’t actually made any more power since then, just changed to a better clutch, the new gearbox and some Hoosier drag radials, and ran the 10.9-second pass,” Kane explained. With the Quaife sequential installed times dropped dramatically, all the way down to 10.9 seconds, but as we found out at the V 4&Rotary Nationals South Island Champs, this was the limit of the custom-built race driveshaft. During the launch of the 10.9-second pass, Kane’s Fraser was still suffering from plenty of wheelspin, so on the next run he decided to drop the tyre pressures further. Kane was sitting on the line, launch control in full effect with boost sitting at 20psi, ready for the light to go green. The clutch was dropped and a 1.4-second 60-foot time was achieved, but then all hell broke loose. Shortly after launching, the cabin turned into a war zone, with the driveshaft fighting its way through the transmission tunnel and finally ripping through, tearing Kane’s harness off and battering his leg. The two driveshaft hoops contained the brawling driveshaft, and the reason it looked so nasty is the universal joints didn’t fail, so the torque of the engine kept twisting it, turning it into what Kane likes to call the ‘twisted noodle, or the Bluebird Twistie’.
This was a very unfortunate event, which ended his day’s racing, but fortunately it did happen a week before he was off to sea for another three-month stint. With plenty of time aboard the trawler to ponder, Kane says he will plan the design of his new driveshaft set-up, transmission tunnel, fully forged motor, bigger wheels and bigger slicks — yeah, you get the idea, this wild Fraser isn’t finished yet.
and the reason it looked so nasty is the universal joints didn’t fail, so the torque of the engine kept twisting it, turning it into what Kane likes to call the ‘twisted noodle, or the Bluebird Twistie’
While the engine was being built, Kane decided to change up the look, and ordered a set of 15x-8inch (-3 offset) Work Meister CR01 three-piece alloys though Work Wheels NZ. For street duties, 205/50R15 Toyo R888 semi-slick tyres are used, and for drag racing, the rears are swapped over to the much-stickier 225/50R15 Hoosier drag slicks
Only the essentials made their way into the cabin, like the Quaife gear-selection display, a GT Grant steering wheel, and an array of vital guages such as the Pricol-style boost, fuel, engine temp, oil pressure, speedo and tacho
The car comes apart very easily. Within 30 seconds Kane had the entire bonnet compartment off, which consisted of two parts, the engine cover and the nose cone. The roof also came off simply, along with the doors, making this one very easy car for anyone to just jump in and use
This is one very unique turbo set-up. With rat rods as inspiration, Kane decided to mount the Garrett T28 turbo out the side of the engine compartment. The Garrett turbo has been recored with HKS compressor wheels, and a larger compressor housing to supply a reliable 24psi of boost on the high-boost E30 tune.
As a result, 268kW at the wheels was achieved, while great throttle response was maintained