Guest Blog: Nigel Petrie>> Engineeredtoslide Drift Hilux Build

My good friend Nigel Petrie from Geelong, Victoria is keeping himself busy working on cars, which is no surprise. Putting aside his addiction for building S-Chassis Nigel knew it was time for a change. This is his latest creation, a Toyota Hilux built to slide.

Hello fellow Speedhunters, it's with great anticipation that I show you my latest project. I'll explain to you what has happened from day dot.

In 2004 I built this daily run-about Toyota Hilux which was used to tow my drift car. It was a ten month build and required me to ride my BMW the 30km round trip to work every single day. It was a huge task and I did every single little thing at home by myself. I have always had a passion for this shape Hilux and as soon as I sold it I knew I would have another one.

The years that followed I would call S13 years.

I built my two tone S13 from scratch and then my 180SX soon followed. Everything would be done at home and everything would be solely by me. I would drive these cars regularly in drift competitions all around Australia and have the time of my life; I have met some of the best friends and had the best times in this sport.

Building my 180SX and competing in it taught me so many things, I knew what needed to be done to the car to make it more competitive but never wanted to go so far that it lost it's style. This was the reason I bought the 180SX, the Silvia was exactly where I wanted it but it needed a lot of rework to be competitive. Doing all the work yourself gives you so much respect for the car you have created, to then go and undo all of that work and redo it is a harder pill to swallow than to just restart with another car. Sometimes the costs can be fairly equal and you will end up with a lot more. I started getting the feeling that I was reinventing the wheel; I had two S15's that I picked up for a decent price and thought I would turn my attention to those.

But what could I improve that I had not already done on the previous S13's? I thought long and hard about building the S15 but couldn't work out what I wanted to do. Later in life I want to do club sprints and I would decide to leave the S15 for that purpose. I had owned two S13 Silvias, two 180SX's, one S14 and two S15's, can you see the pattern here? I needed to break the S-Chassis addiction but I had an itch that needed to be scratched. I pulled the driveline out of the damaged S15 and my 5 year dream began to take shape.

I spent a night drawing plans and getting a rough idea on wheelbase lengths and motor/sub frame heights. This was exciting, I could finally put the S15 driveline at the height I needed it. I would then drive around my city measuring Hilux's that were sitting in car parks, yep weird I know. I then made up a jig to sit everything onto and then the hunt for a body shell was on.

The last thing I wanted to do was to pay full price for a body that I hardly needed any of, it was then I found a drag racer with a stripped 2004 Hilux cab selling his project 800km away. I filled up my ute with gas and started the journey.

After nearly 20 hours of driving I was home, I waited till my neighbors left and then got stuck into the floor removal job. All I needed of the cab was the outer shell, something to stick windows to, hang doors off and make my space frame car look like a Hilux. 

In half an hour I was off to the recycling centre with the majority of the sheet metal I had just traveled 20 hours to get.

I tried to remove as much factory sheet metal as I could; the plan was to have the cab removable off the chassis. This will allow me to work on the chassis with a lot less hassle.

It does however present a heap of issues with sealing the cabin area from smoke; this will be the hardest part of the build and something I am not looking forward to.

So now the pieces of the puzzle come together, at this stage the angle grinder and tape measure were the biggest part of the build, things were going well and the union of the S15 and Hilux were working incredibly well together.

The high snout of the Hilux allowed the motor to sit higher in the engine bay which meant the S15 tie rods and LCA could be at a reasonable height while the gearbox was high enough to run the exhaust underneath. I had worked out the height and position of the motor and made up some RHS rails to work off. Why didn't I make a custom cross member? Why didn't I make a custom sump? Why didn't I make the engine sit lower? Well I wanted this entire front cross member/driveline to be able to slot straight back into the S15 it came from or another of the chassis I own.

With the driveline and body in position I could then move the entire jig around and wheel it all into my tiny garage. You may wonder how my neighbors put up with me; well we work opposite times of the day so it gives me a good 3 hour window from when I get home from my day job to work on this build. I made up a series of RHS tunnel loops that would be the backbone of the floor and I did what I could until the 40M of Racetech 350 Spec CDS / DOM (CDW) Mild Carbon Steel Round Tube arrived.

By now I had the floor and trans tunnel and I needed a few items to get ready for the arrival of my tube. As a fitter and turner by trade I knew what tools I needed to progress to the next stage of my DIY ability.

I would need a tube notcher, tube bender and a TIG welder. To buy all these items was going to cost me around $6,000 AUD so I started researching what makes a good notcher and bender because I was sure I couldn't build a TIG welder.

Here is the finished product of my own tube notcher, it's made out of alloy, has a stainless steel shaft, bronze brush adjustable angle and adjustable tube grabber. It cost me around $100 in materials and works unbelievably well. Now onto the tube bender.

The tube bender was modeled of an Australian company called Speedwerx, I bought two dies of them for the two types of tube I would be using. 13/4 and 1 1/2 and made the rest. I was pretty exciting to see it all come together.

It took a week of planning and building but the feeling of achievement at the end was incredible. These tools I will have for life and will make everyday race car building a lot easier. You see the more you can do yourself the less people you have to rely on, I go by the old saying "If you want something done right, do it yourself".

I had a call from my good friend at GWorks Custom Motorcycles and he informed me that my tube had arrived, this was super exciting! My everyday car is a Ford Falcon ute. I made up an airbag setup for the rear end and 1 off coilovers for the front. I tow my race cars all around the country in this thing, it's a great work horse!

This is the time my relationship with my girlfriend started going down hill, I was addicted to tube work and would spend every spare second in the shed measuring, notching, bending, planning and adding strength everywhere I could. I was in love with my new tools. I bought a 200amp AC/DC TIG which will be used for the final weld of the entire chassis.

The rear cradle was positioned and tacked up first.

I had all of this bar work planned in my head long before I would actually do it. I would go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. The quest for the perfect fit up was always a tricky one.

I just love this shot. What is the final ride height going to be you ask? Well, it's planned to be around 65mm from the ground to the sill/floor that makes this wheel drop about 65mm and that's it. How am I going to turn at that height? Well I am thinking custom hinged doors in the guards but I'll worry about that problem when I get to it.

Braking consists of a reverse swing Willwood pedal arrangement with short master cylinders; it's a neat setup with the reservoirs mounted below the S15 dash airbag lid. S15 dash you ask?

I am retaining the S15 dash, console and ratchet handbrake to make the interior scream out this is more Silvia than Hilux. It works incredibly well together.

The front tube work is taking shape and I am currently waiting on MCA Struts through my good friend at fellow competitor Josh Coote up in Queensland. Josh and his father are building me S15 front struts and S13 rear struts for the ute. We will be corner weighing it to choose the final spring weights. I am looking forward at a total weight of around 850kg when it's complete.

As you can see the tube work is really coming together, I have used just on 50M so far and have ordered another 14m to finish it. I wanted to make the chassis look and be as strong as it possibly can by making sure I use triangulation everywhere.

The wheelbase is about 2700mm, I wanted to try and keep it around the same length as an S15 but the wheelbase of an S15 is 2525mm, this meant the style tub would have to be too short and make it look too stumpy. Using regular long bed tub would make the wheelbase about 2830mm which I believed would make it too long and sloppy on transition. So I went with the final length of 2700mm, just shorter than a JZX100 and I believe the perfect wheelbase for drifting. This means I will be using a short bed style tub and adding 150mm into it's length.

This brings us up to the progress so far, it's been two months in the build and there's still a lot more to go. I have plenty of cool additions planned, the underside of the rear will have a complete flat floor with a comprehensive diffuser setup that will nearly extend past the roll pan of the rear of the tub. The exhaust will exit the centre of this with two neat 3" pipes. The rear guards will be hand moulded to clear the 18×10.5 rear wheels, the front guards will be pumped but the factory body line will remain. A dry carbon front bumper and apron will replace the factory metal, the fuel system will consist of two 3 gallon alloy tanks mounted behind the seats in-between the bar work with a collector tank and internal pump setup. The motor will be replaced with a 450HP SR20DET and dogmission. The deadline is set for August and there's plenty to be done.

I'd like to thank Speedhunters for the opportunity to get this out to the public and Casey Dhnaram for submitting it. Please visit EngineeredToSlide for weekly updates.

- Nigel Petrie, Casey Dhnaram.

Engineered To Slide



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

This is the kind of build I dig. For no reason, other then you wanted something different, are you spending countless hours thinking of and building cars that no one else will have. A lot of people ask why, you sir, are showing us. I have dreamed of cars like this, its a shame I won't get to that side of the world to see it any time soon.


like a boss!


I love ALL of this!


Dont throw away your girlfriend for tubes lol. Nice project though, apart from te steering part, it will suck, eventually.


That is sex on wheels.


WOW!!!!! This is gonna be unreal when its finished guys. Love your work!!!!!!! Keep it up, can't wait to see the final result. Keep the updates coming.


i'm not one for swaps from one manufacturer into another's car (i admit, i'm a bit of a purist - especially when it comes to toyota), but mad props for this!! i hope one day i'll be on this level where i can pretty much just build the car of my dreams!


A completely unique build. Not many people would dare to go through with something like this.


Hell yes.....the best of both worlds..HUGE PROPS!!!...if u have time U shud go to our website and check my boy brians ranger...full custom built frame,juice,tuckn lugs and rocks a 600whp 2jz......were pulln the jz in favor of a 20b.......


I checkout ETS daily to see updates on this build. Huge fan of all your cars and your top notch work. Can't wait to see this finished.


oh. yes. good luck on this build! it will surely be one heck of a hilux-silvia mashup!


Mother of god.

How does one get to be so motivated?


All I can say is WOW, thats just insane and epic at the same time. Have to keep an eye on this build, I love this kind of work


you are amazing dude.... I cant wait to see the finished product!!!!


He said "everyday Racecar building"...


This just made my wait, my week!

Can't wait to see it in the flesh. When you say the deadline is August, are we talking WTAC 11?


Your a madman Nigel


Oh. My. God.... That is a truly awe inspiring idea and the craftsmanship looks amazing.


your the gun Nigel !!!!!! good luck, see you at superlap


Nigel, always bringing the heat


This is the 2nd Badass build for Build Month. and for the 2nd time is from Oceania

Madd Props to someone who builds their on tools for their builds, it their garage.


My favourite post on Speedhunters for a long long time. Absolutely awesome fab work. Great post.


This is so freakkin awesome, loved your 2 s13s and this will be just as awesome.


Amazing work. Wish I had the skills to do a project like that myself.


Sooooo jelous of your abilities


Nothing but respect for your skills mate.


Lovin' it!!! If you're still thinking about using Air Suspension make sure to check out our systems and let me know and I'll get you setup! Keep up the killer work man!


Craziest Hilux I have ever seen! Can't wait for the finished product!


Completely unbelievable.. Love it. and your tools! genius!


cant wait to see the final look! Good job!!


Huge work and on your street too! Excellent, well done man


Best home build I have seen in a long time! Makes me want to go work on mine some more! Keep up the Fantastic work.


Dude, one word. EPIC.

Skill, DIY, loved your s13s... awesome


awesome build nigel. your s13's been on my bedroom wall for about a year from your HPI feature. cant say your cars get on well with the boys in blue here in victoria haha but much respect for building the cars you want and doing it yourself


sexiest thing ive seen on speedhunters. just because of the fab work!


awesome! this takes Mini-Truckin to a whole new level!! A++++


Exceptional work.


what a bulid!!! 65mm ride height for a slider is incredible! my fingers are fatter than that!! (figuratively speaking...)





Every week you see these extreme builds coming out of the US and Japan. Its good to see the Aussies throwing up an amazing build like this.

Cant wait to see this thing sideways around Wakefeild park or Eastern Creek.

It is now my favorite build in the entire world.


i would love to do this with an FJ cruiser. but cut the back off and a 2JZ. one of these days..


im not into trucks but this is awesome.


love this build. some serious engineering going on here, rather than just bolting on parts. keep it up. cant wait to see more.


Fucking sick !

Keep it up !

And thanks for sharing.


Fucking sick !

Keep it up !

And thanks for sharing.


That build is unreal. And to think its being down in a townhouse garage. Man should open a shop.


nigel, your a psycho.

great work mate, cant wait to see this in the flesh :)


more please !!!


nice build..:)


A superhero is born


Shit, man... I'm speechless. I wish I could do stuff like this! You have some really strong dedication. I admire that.


sick build! im doing a hilux/tacoma pre-runner build to tow my 86, and daily drive. this build motivates me!


Amazing build in the UK there are a few people using original mini vans and putting various non turbo and a few turbo lumps in.....but they dont look anywhere neer as good as that good job mate!


hella sick man i want a mine truck with a sr20 as well lol......awesome shit


Love it! My dream monster build like this would be an old late 80's S-10 with a Subaru WRX drive-train underneath it


Simply amazing. I cant think of anything else to say right now!


You my friend are the king of backyard mechanics fly down to sydney and help me with my 180 yeah? Haha


Your clearly someone who does rather than talks, not to mention you've got ability coming out of your ears!


My friend, you have done things men dream about. I love this post; yes, this is the best post by a man in his garage. How motivating! I love it.


Build quality, style, taste, uniqueness, awesomeness second to none!


with a car like that who needs a GF?

They will be throwing themselves at you sliding this baby down the street... :P


Insane, love it!


Really awsome, I agree that if you want something done right do it yourself. Its just alot easier when you have the right tools for the job (even if they are home made)


Put some lead in the tray and you could probably enter it in sports sedan races


I miss my old Toyota Pick-up. I'm excited to see what come out of this build, should have some great results! GLW the build and Keep us updated!


i expect to see this beast at Melbourne Autosalon this year


Too cool Nige! Can't believe how much you've done in two months mate, I look forward to seeing the updates and hope you make your deadline. Well done!


haha love it!


excellent build. great post.


You sir, have my respect 100%. I'm looking forward to the finished project.


Sick build!

I want some info on that Zenki in the back! :)


Amazing build!!!


Awesome. An another great build. Probably not the last. Learning more each time. Congratulations on putting your knowledge and skill to work. Another quality product.


Amazing fab work... awesome.


Great Post!! Loving this vehicle! Can't wait to see it once it is finished! {} ^]


Brother you're a master, you have built a beast with a few feet of tube. Amazing Hilux


IF anyone wants to check his S13 coupe build check it out -

This man is a god amongst men, 100% custom fab work done by himself.


Function and form all in one car.


This is amazing! I have some friends who're into building cars as well. I'm trying to learn, where do you go to get your parts? This place is a great resource for>race car parts.


Just insane!


Your fabrication skills are sick, props to you for doing everything yourself.


you guys are retarded for not keeping up with this build