TUN­ING JA­PANESE

NZ Performance Car - - Contens -

AARON CHECKS OUT A PAIR OF UNIQUE AND OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD SLIDE RIDES

The choice of plat­forms for any­one build­ing a drift car is like a Ja­panese smor­gas­bord — plen­ti­ful, and with way too many choices. If a JDM plat­form is your pref­er­ence then you are hard-pressed to look past Nis­san’s S-chas­sis, es­pe­cially as used by the S13 and 180SX. A long-time favourite of many tra­di­tional Ja­panese drifters, the idol­ized leg­end’s rep­u­ta­tion has rubbed off on the next gen­er­a­tion of drifters as well — such as Takashi Mine and Ryu­taro Orita.

Th­ese guys are big in the Kobe drift­ing scene, and are of­ten seen out and about shred­ding tyres on the street or at a lo­cal cir­cuit. And they’re easy to spot. The rapid growth of drift­ing has meant that many of the cars in any pit look and sound the same, they just don’t stand out. But Takashi and Ryu­taro de­cided to take a dif­fer­ent path to the rest, and the end re­sult is two of the most char­ac­ter-in­fused drift cars I have ever seen in real life.

Look­ing over them, one ques­tion kept bounc­ing around in my head, how did they cre­ate some­thing so good look­ing, so dif­fer­ent, and most im­por­tantly so in­di­vid­ual? The key to their cre­ativ­ity lies in the many plas­tic mil­i­tary-air­craft mod­els they both built and crafted when they were younger. “If you can do it in small scale, it’s ac­tu­ally eas­ier to do in real scale,” they told me. The mil­i­tary ob­ses­sion they once had has been at the fore­front of both builds right from the start.

If you put th­ese two cars to­gether to­day, you’ll find look­ing away is a lot harder than you think, the view is just that good. The most im­pres­sive de­tail on both ma­chines is the paint­work, cour­tesy of Paint­ing Squad Taiki. Colour blend­ing, and most im­por­tantly the weath­er­ing ef­fect ap­plied, makes both ma­chines look used and battle hard­ened. Riv­ets, patina, and many other small de­tails added via paint meant no de­tail was over­looked.

Lift­ing both bon­nets de­liv­ered al­most as much of a sur­prise, not so much due to the at­ten­tion to de­tail they dis­play, but the lack of it. ‘Just rat­tle-can black ev­ery­thing’ is the motto for Takashi’s S13. ‘“Why worry about how pretty your en­gine is all the time, just spray it all black and worry about go­ing drift­ing!” he said.

De­spite the dark­ness of the con­ve­nience-store car park at which we met, we could tell the hard­ware un­der­neath the S13’s pan­els was ex­cel­lent. A SR20DET with Blitz 550cc in­jec­tors cou­pled up to an S15 turbo pump­ing out just un­der 300kW make for a per­fectly ca­pa­ble slider, yet when it needs to be street driven you can do ex­actly that. The cool­ing comes cour­tesy of a Trust in­ter­cooler, and the ra­di­a­tor was pil­laged from an R32 GTR. It might seem a lit­tle mis­matched, although just as much thought has gone into the build as to the de­sign of the car. RYO Type-2 knuck­les give the S13 some crazy lock, stance is cour­tesy of 326Power ‘chakuriki’ sus­pen­sion, and the driv­e­train in­cludes a Nismo GT two-way LSD with a fi­nal drive of 4.3. All this was fin­ished up with RAYS TE37V wheels and cus­tom-sten­cilled tyres.

Ryu­taro Orita’s 180SX has less of a matte-black theme go­ing on un­der the hood, but it does have the same beat­ing heart — an SR20DET. This is mated to a Zage T518Z turbo with Sard 550cc in­jec­tors to keep the fuel flow­ing. Crammed in un­der the hood there’s a host of ad­di­tional parts con­sist­ing of Nismo Power, HKS, A’PEXi, and Blitz.

The one thing that blows you away with the 180 is the heav­enly ex­haust note, which was achieved cour­tesy of a Hayashi Auto Ser­vice cus­tom ex­haust with a Trust front pipe. A set of Hayashi Auto Ser­vice knuck­les, Ikeya For­mula tie rods, and GP Sports sus­pen­sion keeps Orita-san firmly planted on the road. The body­work on this 180 is largely cus­tom­ized by Orita-san him­self, how­ever, a Rocket Bunny dif­fuser and rear spoiler per­fectly com­ple­ment his hard work.

The car’s stance and fit­ment have to be seen in per­son to be be­lieved. And I can only imag­ine how much bet­ter the car looks un­der load, fully squat­ted onto the road with smoke pour­ing off the tyres.

In a coun­try where usu­ally no­body likes to stand out, the drift­ing and mo­tor­sport scene is a breath of fresh air, as many of the cars are in­fused with in­di­vid­ual taste and ideas, although you will be hard-pressed to come across more flam­boy­ant drift ma­chines than th­ese two any­where. “It is our life and we wanted our cars to re­flect not only the mo­tor­sport side of things,” they both told me.

For many drifters it’s their abil­ity on track which makes them stand out, and the fact th­ese two drifters have buck­et­loads of tal­ent makes for a home run when your ma­chin­ery looks good enough to match your skill be­hind the wheel.

Meet­ing Takashi and Ryu­taro and see­ing their cars re­in­forced ex­actly why the rest of the world looks up to Ja­pan for in­spi­ra­tion, as they are for­ever push­ing the bound­aries, and it seems they will con­tinue to do just that. “In the fu­ture, when we build an­other car, we want to make it a level up on what we have done now,” they told me. If this is the case then we should all pre­pare to be once again truly blown away.

I guess for some, style is at­tained through hard work, how­ever, some in­di­vid­u­als are just born with style cours­ing through their veins, and Takashi and Ryu­taro are cer­tainly two of them.

MEET­ING TAKASHI AND RYU­TARO

AND SEE­ING THEIR CARS RE­IN­FORCED EX­ACTLY WHY THE REST OF THE WORLD LOOKS UP TO JA­PAN FOR IN­SPI­RA­TION, AS THEY ARE FOR­EVER PUSH­ING THE BOUND­ARIES, AND IT SEEMS THEY WILL CON­TINUE TO DO

JUST THAT

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