Never be­fore has a Fraser 7 been cov­ered in NZ Per­for­mance Car mag­a­zine. It looks as though we have been miss­ing out!

NZ Performance Car - - 2002 Fraser Club­man - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: RENE VER­MEER

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

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