INSPIRATION COMBINED WITH A LITTLE NISSAN, TOYOTA, SUBARU, AND ENDLESS CUSTOMIZATION
YOU HEAR THE word “build” and, depending on your level of involvement with the world of custom car building, your mind immediately begins tacking parts onto the car being referred to. For newcomers or those who hover on the surface of our community, it might mean a set of wheels, an exhaust, and perhaps a towering rear wing. For the group that’s a bit more involved (or obsessed), those thoughts go quite a bit deeper and include visions that require far more garage time, countless hours of wrenching, and trial and error. Then there’s a guy like Luis Rodriguez who takes a different approach entirely when it comes to car building.
Take a step back, and what appears to be a fighter jet cockpit on Volk Racing wheels looks poised to attack even at rest. The aluminum body and array of rivets (around 3,000 in total) disappear abruptly at the rear, where the engine and transmission are unapologetically on display. So, what is it and how did it come about? Luis explains, “Looking for a new project idea, I was stuck. I wanted to build something that looked scary fast while standing still. I was always a fan of Bonneville Salt Flats cars and loved jet airplanes.” Combine those two loves and you have the ultimate custom build. That is, if you’re as talented and focused as Luis, anyway.
Looking for a starting point, Luis began poking around for an airplane belly gas tank and quickly came to the realization that building something around it would mean far too much unnecessary weight and a certain amount of restrictions were discovered. During his online search, however, he stumbled across a conceptual art piece titled “The Face Peeler” by designer Dwayne Vance, and that was it. Luis found his inspiration. “I contacted Vance, and with his permission I was able to create what I’d dreamed of.”
Starting with an actual car and reverse-engineering the build seemed to be the most realistic course of action, so a Nissan 300ZX became the starting point. In order to keep the weight down, the modded Z subframe was welded to a custom 4130 chromoly tubular chassis before the aluminum sheets were cut and riveted to the body. To create a floorboard, aluminum diamond plate was utilized and brackets were made to mount a custom bucket seat. Engine vitals are displayed on aviation-style gauges complete with warning lights, and, to make the jet feel that much more palpable, a custom Lexan canopy clamshells the cockpit.
Just behind the pilot’s quarters is where you’ll find Toyota’s 2JZ-GTE stuffed with Wiseco pistons and secured with ARP head studs. Up top, the head was fitted with Brian Crower cams, valvesprings, and retainers, along with Ferrea valves. In light of simplifying the turbo plumbing, the intake manifold was reversed and is fed by a Q45 throttle body. Long gone is the twin-turbo setup, replaced by a single PTE 6262 that’s regulated by a TIAL wastegate and leads to a 3-inch exhaust that has its own unique touch.
Jutting from the rear, the exhaust finisher is fitted with restaurant-grade vegetable steamer pieces that look just like a jet engine nozzle. Luis ran a drive cable that connects to the gas pedal so the exhaust tip opens and closes accordingly to adjust flow and tone. With an AEM V1 ECU, the 2JZ produces 517 hp on low boost and 627 with a bump in boost and 93-octane.
Responsible for putting that power to the ground are Driveshaft Shop 1,000hp axles and a six-speed tranny out of a ’10 Subaru STI. This is made possible by a custom 6061 aluminum transmission adapter plate, ACT six-puck, and Fidanza flywheel. Of course, there’s more to power transfer than just the drivetrain, and that’s where the custom Speedway coilovers and scratch-built suspension parts come in. Chromoly aero tube double A-arms, front and rear sway bars, rocker arms with horizontally mounted front coilovers, and chromoly pushrods all help keep the canopy side up.
At a mere 1,650 pounds with more than 600 hp available—not to mention the amount of custom fabrication that makes it all work—the 2Jetz is a standout in the custom fabrication world. The fact that Luis found inspiration in Dwayne Vance’s artwork and managed to roll that into his tangible vision of a one-off creation in just a year and a half puts him in a class of his own.