HAPPY WIFE

THE KEY TO A HAPPY LIFE? BUILD HER THE CAR OF HER DREAMS.

Super Street - - Buyer's Guide - WORDS Jonathan Wong PHO­TOS Larry Chen

As a car en­thu­si­ast, find­ing the right sig­nif­i­cant other can be a chal­lenge. Of­ten­times, a part­ner won’t get it. Af­ter all, why should your hobby de­mand hours that could be spent as "qual­ity time" with your sig­nif­i­cant other? Pa­tience is a must, un­der­stand­ing is nec­es­sary (and ap­pre­ci­ated), some­thing both peo­ple must re­cip­ro­cate to one an­other. How­ever, find­ing a com­pat­i­ble part­ner can be like search­ing for the right pro­ject car: When they come along, you know—and you do ev­ery­thing in your power to keep them in your life.

Chris Forsberg is no or­di­nary en­thu­si­ast. You, me—you know, us reg­u­lar folk—we can barely make it in or out of driveways with­out scrap­ing our front bumpers. Chris, a For­mula DRIFT pro driver, makes his liv­ing by scrap­ing bumpers of­ten with the com­peti­tor next to him. But he found a very spe­cial part­ner, Michelle, in that they’re not only mar­riage com­pat­i­ble, but they share a love for build­ing cars. Her 510 Wagon doesn’t go side­ways is all. Still, it stays in the Nis­san fam­ily, though. “Michelle pro­vided in­put for the over­all look of the car, keep­ing the fac­tory Sa­fari Gold color, which I love,” Chris says. “She also de­signed the lay­out of the in­te­rior along with the Re­caro seats. Other than that and a few other fea­tures, you could say I got car­ried away with it.”

How­ever, one of many up­sides to be­ing mar­ried to a guy like Chris is you know the car is go­ing to be built with lots of love. He took ev­ery­thing apart, cleared as much rust from the chas­sis as pos­si­ble, and re­assem­bled it in Michelle’s vi­sion: to make it a safe and en­joy­able street cruiser. But he didn’t stop with a fresh look—he swapped the en­gine for a more pow­er­ful and mod­ern SR20DET (fully built with 400 hp, that is) and tons of fab work. From a new floor­pan to a fully up­graded sus­pen­sion and a com­plete Wil­wood front and rear disc brake con­ver­sion, there’s so much metal fab­ri­ca­tion you can’t see that Chris and his friends spent hours that must be seen in or­der to ap­pre­ci­ate (search #Wagon­fors on Youtube and you’ll see what we mean).

While the pro­ject started off in­no­cently enough in Chris’ garage, once it be­gan to go off the deep end, he had to en­list the help of RAD In­dus­tries, not only for the room to work but the ex­tra hands to fin­ish the car in time for its de­but at last year’s SEMA Show. The SR20 swap is a tight squeeze for the small bay of a 510, and some pip­ing/plumb­ing (like the ra­di­a­tor and fuel sys­tem) had to be con­fig­ured prop­erly to ac­com­mo­date air con­di­tion­ing and ba­si­cally gen­eral op­er­a­tion. The ex­haust work is also im­pres­sive, a one-off sys­tem that leads from the turbo down­pipe all the way to a Mag­naflow rear muf­fler. It’s an au­to­matic, but that’s all part of the orig­i­nal plan, which keeps it streetable for Michelle. “This car isn’t meant for the track,” Chris ex­plains. “We de­cided that mak­ing it au­to­matic would be an­other step to­ward mak­ing this a full retro­mod street cruiser.”

Props must also be highly awarded for all its cus­tom ex­te­rior work as well—we’re talk­ing wide­body fend­ers that had to be retro­fit­ted prop­erly in or­der to flow with the wagon’s body lines and still line up evenly with the con­tours of the orig­i­nal chas­sis. Al­though there are lay­ers of complex modifications to the body­work, it looks ef­fort­less and el­e­gant. You’d hardly know there was a 400hp beast ly­ing un­der­neath its hood, that it’s fully equipped with a stereo sys­tem and, yes, that it rocks air con­di­tion­ing. And in case you were sec­ond-guess­ing your­self, that is a Hako­suka front grille.

By go­ing to town on Michelle’s wagon, Chris was hon­ored sev­eral times at SEMA, which proves once again that he can do so much more than win drift cham­pi­onships. He can fab­ri­cate, put engines to­gether, build awe­some street cars... what’s not to love? Michelle’s a lucky gal.

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