Super Street - - Etc. - WORDS Ro­drez PHO­TOS Al Nor­ris

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.

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