NZ Performance Car - - Contents - WORDS: JADEN MARTIN PHO­TOS: ROD DUNN

The lads at Cany Cus­toms don’t do things by halves, and af­ter set­ting the world alight with their match­ing big-winged, chrome-wheeled, har­lequin-coated Sil­via builds, they’re back once again with th­ese neck-snap­ping ego-hurters, which run enough camber to make small chil­dren cry. Blake ‘Cany’ Harpur’s 326Power S15 and Jared Croft’s BN Sports Al­tezza make for the ul­ti­mate Ja­panese- ver­sus US-style bat­tle.

For as long as we can re­mem­ber, the show car cir­cuit has treated us to next-level devel­op­ment by those who dare to push their builds to the lim­its, and there is a pair of Christchurch-based lads work­ing hard to en­sure such a spec­ta­cle is never for­got­ten. The dy­namic duo are no strangers to our pages ei­ther, ap­pear­ing on the cover of NZPC is­sue no. 232, and have be­come cer­ti­fied ex­perts in push­ing the bound­aries of taste, style, and trends in New Zealand. When we last caught up with Jared and Blake, they had just de­stroyed the no­tion any­one might have been har­bour­ing that colour-change paint, big wings, and chrome wheels were dated, with a pair of near-identical Nis­sans that stole the crowd’s hearts at the 2016 V 4&Rotary Na­tion­als. 12 months later, they’re back for a re­peat ap­pear­ance, although they are pack­ing a com­pletely dif­fer­ent kind of heat this time, and lots of it.

To re­cap how the pair ef­fec­tively be­came joined at the hip, it all be­gan back in 2012, af­ter meet­ing on a night out at the lo­cal hang­out spot. Jared was stir­ring Blake on to do a skid, and when he de­clined, Jared jumped into Blake’s 180SX Type X and pro­ceeded to run it curb-to-curb down the street be­fore turn­ing a cor­ner and un­in­ten­tion­ally meet­ing the curb at speed. Most peo­ple would be spew­ing, but with a cheeky smile and a bit of cash ex­changed to make up for the dam­age, the pair be­came in­sep­a­ra­ble. This re­la­tion­ship cul­mi­nated in what were ar­guably the two most in-your-face Sil­vias built on our shores, prov­ing that high-end builds by ev­ery­day en­thu­si­asts are more than pos­si­ble. Straight af­ter the 2016 Nats, the pair were de­cid­ing how they would turn the car world on its head once again. If you as­sumed that they went out and built an­other pair of identical Nis­sans, you would be wrong. In fact, what they came up with is the com­plete op­po­site — a true bat­tle royal of the styles on an in­ter­na­tional scale. Although the prin­ci­ples of their builds are the same, in­cor­po­rat­ing su­per-slammed ride height to the point of ab­so­lute havoc on the roads, kits big­ger than Don­ald Trump’s ego, and enough camber to make a small child cry, they dif­fer in terms of the mar­kets they rep­re­sent. While Blake has re­tained his S15 as a base for his new build, Jared has bro­ken their match­ing bravado and gone with a Toy­ota

Al­tezza, as his 180SX was sac­ri­ficed to buy his new house. It’s a funny twist of fate af­ter Jared de­scribed him­self as be­ing “pretty dark” on Blake sell­ing the engine and wheels from his S15 to buy a new house be­fore the last fea­ture, with Blake men­tion­ing “I swear we don’t plan this kind of stuff, it just seems to hap­pen!”

Rather than drop­ping an enor­mous amount of cash to build some­thing from scratch, Jared fi­nally de­cided to do some­thing with the Al­tezza that he al­ready had on hand, not to men­tion the col­lec­tion of parts that he had ac­cu­mu­lated over the years. That’d be eas­ier said than done, though, as ex­am­ples from Ja­pan that tick­led his fancy were non-ex­is­tent. He turned his at­ten­tion to the land of the US of A, lik­ing the ’Tez-fest that was rag­ing over there.

“I just sat there think­ing to my­self that I could build one of th­ese,” and build one he most cer­tainly did.

On the other hand, Blake wanted to take his S15 to an­other level, hav­ing sat down and planned the en­tirety of the build’s next phase in one whack, straight af­ter Nats.

“This time I re­ally wanted to go crazy and show it can be done eas­ily,” he said. “I al­ready knew this car in­side and out from the last build, so de­cided it was the best base to work off.”

Ad­dicted to all things scream­ing Ja­panese style, Blake found his fix with the style kings of Hiroshima them­selves — 326power.

“The 326power kits hadn’t been done here, and I’ve al­ways loved their su­per-low cars with silly camber and crazy aes­thet­ics.” he tells us.

Need­less to say, a 326power 3D Star kit was promptly or­dered! Once safely in his pos­ses­sion and fit­ted, the car was coated in white primer to hide the old colour and given fresh licks of four-layer MIPA pearl via the Cany Cus­toms treat­ment that Blake has be­come known for. Once the red scal­lop­ing was added — ac­cented with cus­tom candy red de­cals — th­ese gen­er­ated a num­ber of com­ments liken­ing the car to a low-rider, and Blake be­ing a man of im­pulse said “F*ck it, I’m go­ing to pin­stripe it!”

Good friend Mark Sender was called in for the job, and the orig­i­nal plan was to run a pin­stripe over the A-pil­lar and roof, fin­ish­ing with a 326power crown on the C-pil­lar. How­ever, Mark sug­gested that a Cany Cus­toms logo sit in its place, now rep­re­sented by the dou­ble Cs im­mor­tal­ized in red, white, and gold flake linework to match the rest of the car.

Jared’s own search for parts made an in­ter­est­ing push to get both cars fin­ished in time for the V 4&Rotary South Is­land Champs 2016 — in fact, the gen­uine BN Sports kit found on Jared’s car was cus­tom-or­dered straight from Ja­pan within a week fol­low­ing Nats, and only ar­rived two months be­fore Champs.

“That was the hard­est part, find­ing the right parts to achieve the look I was go­ing for. Al­tez­zas don’t seem to have a huge offthe-shelf cat­a­logue like their Toy­ota broth­ers and sis­ters.” ex­plains Jared. Nonethe­less, it ar­rived with enough time for Blake to take at it with the gun, fin­ish­ing on a cus­tom Porsche 964 colour — said to be a bluey-green with sil­ver tinge. Jared wasn’t sold on the

colour at first, telling us it looked a touch too “pastelly” when they mixed up a small batch, but put faith in Blake af­ter be­ing as­sured it would pop over the whole car. That faith was not mis­placed as the re­sult is noth­ing short of eye-catch­ing.

The sus­pen­sion, which gives the Al­tezza its strik­ingly low ride height is — con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief — ex­actly as the ‘LOLAIR’ plate sug­gests: 100-per-cent static. Com­ing in the form of Broad­way Static coilovers, the set was sourced from the Work VS-KF–wear­ing IS300 owned by Amer­i­can @IS300_Chris, as he is known on the ’Gram, with a mere 300 miles ticked up since new.

“The 46kg springs are pretty damn heavy; they feel like it’s on bump­ies when driv­ing, but helped get the look I was go­ing for,” Jared says. “It was never go­ing to be for go­ing to the su­per­mar­ket!” Good thing, too, as squat and roll aren’t on the agenda at heights this low, and with fit­ment this pre­cise.

Chris also put Jared onto Figs En­gi­neer­ing, a state­side man­u­fac­turer spe­cial­iz­ing in sus­pen­sion com­po­nents, and which pro­duced the VIP kit ca­pa­ble of run­ning the -19 de­grees of camber cur­rently found on the rear.

“On the way to the pho­to­shoot, a mid­dle-aged lady pulled up next to me, yelling and fran­ti­cally wav­ing her arms around,” Jared re­counts. “I wound down the windows and she’s shout­ing, ‘Your wheels are bro­ken, your wheels are bro­ken!’ I said, ‘No, they’re not, they’re meant to be like that’, and she just looks at me and re­sponds, ‘Well that’s f*ck­ing stupid then!’ ”

Mean­while, Blake stuck with his tried-and-true 326Power sus­pen­sion arms and coilovers. 326Power is the king of low in Ja­pan, and Blake has taken it to the ex­treme, di­alling all set­tings to their ab­so­lute lim­its, which is say­ing some­thing con­sid­er­ing the high­est set­ting sits the chas­sis barely 100mm off the ground. As he also opted to de­tail the en­tire un­der­body to a show-win­ning level, the height is both a bless­ing and a curse, as most will never get to see the de­tail be­yond the ground-scrap­ing ride height.

Such fit­ment wasn’t pulled out of thin air, and both of the boys had spe­cific wheel com­bi­na­tions in mind to to achieve max­i­mum neck-break­age. Car­ry­ing the wheel theme over from their pre­vi­ous builds, hav­ing both run Work Equips, the pair nat­u­rally chose Work wheels again. The S15 runs 18x10-inch (-28) and 18x10.5-inch (-31) Meis­ter M1Rs, while the Al­tezza wears a set of 18x10-inch VS-XXs, off­set at (-5) up front and (-18) at the rear. Both sets were stripped down and had the cen­tres given a fresh coat of colour, be­fore be­ing strapped back to­gether with Work gold assem­bly bolts.

And, fi­nally, there’s the one thing we’ve been miss­ing for many moons — the re­turn of su­per-sleek in­te­ri­ors. Blake con­tin­ued his white-and-red theme by in­cor­po­rat­ing red Bride seats in the front and a re-trimmed fac­tory op­tion that sports red gra­da­tion ma­te­rial in the rear. The door cards have clean, white ac­cent­ing and the Grip Royal steer­ing wheel is a crisp, pearl white. Jared, too, gave his in­te­rior some love, with 120 hours spent on re-trim­ming. Af­ter sink­ing a few Jim­mies with friend Dan, a roll of caramel tan suede was sourced and fit­ted to the fac­tory black leather elec­tric seats in an Amer­i­can-trucker di­a­mond-cut style. It’s not sur­pris­ing, then, that the car took out the ti­tle of ‘Best In­te­rior’ at Champs. Jared and Blake smiled at each other, be­fore Jared told us, “We’re bring­ing it back. The big-game in­te­ri­ors of a show car need to come back … I don’t think my car would look any­where near as smooth with­out it.”

There aren’t many dudes out there that strive to cre­ate waves quite like the Cany Cus­toms boys do. Both Jared and Blake have blown minds and raised the bar that’s ex­pected within the scene, and we humbly com­mend them for such a feat. As for the fu­ture, Blake as­sures us that the S15 will stay in its cur­rent guise, “That will be it, I’ve done enough to it now!” he laughs. He’ll be on to a new project — which may or may not in­clude the pur­chase and re­build of Jared’s pre­vi­ous 180SX — while Jared plans to sell the Al­tezza to clear up funds to fin­ish his other love: Blake’s old 180SX he put into a curb all those years ago. Yep, th­ese boys are destined to be to­gether for­ever — when’s the wed­ding?

SHOES WHEELS: (F) 18x10-inch (-5) Work VS-XX, (R) 18x10-inch (-18) Work VSXX; Work gold assem­bly bolts, cus­tom arc­tic white with sil­ver sparkle cen­tre TYRES: 215/35R18 Achilles ATR Sport

IN­TE­RIOR SEATS: Re-trimmed in­te­rior, caramel tan suede with di­a­mond­style ac­cent­ing by Daniel Cowie at Cover It STEER­ING WHEEL: Grip Royal Clay Knight AU­DIO: Ken­wood head unit, Fo­cal speaker system and crossovers

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