Guest Blog: Nigel Petrie>> Engineeredtoslide Drift Hilux Build – Pt2

During our Builds month, Speedhunters exposed Australian Nigel Petrie's Toyota Hilux drift build. A lot has happened to the Hilux since then, so here's an update from Nigel on what he's been working on in his Melbourne garage. 

Hey guys! I'm Nigel and here we are again, peeking into the one-car garage that I spend most of my after hours time creating all types of metalwork art. Since you last saw it on Speedhunters a lot have things have changed.

Motivation and progress slowed down a little as a lot of my time was taken up by preparing for a five day set of demonstration drifting at the Melbourne Show Grounds for the Top Gear festival. What a great way to bring drifting into the spotlight.

After the Top Gear festival was over I vowed to return to the ute build. My new TIG helmet arrived and after a quick respray and ETS sticker job it was time to get back into it.

In all honesty, the more I looked at what I had done the more demotivated I became. I was so happy with my tube work (let's face it after $1300 worth I couldn't afford not to be) but I wasn't happy with the floor, engine mount and gearbox surround. So the decision was made to cut the tracks off the floor and remove it to start again.

A workmate whose father recently passed away kindly gave me this lathe, it's a great little machine that makes those small jobs a whole lot easier. It lives at my parents place until I save for a house and shed of my own.

While at my parents I always unwrap my PS13 coupe, I absolutely love this car and it's a shame I haven't driven it in over a year. I'm looking forward to being able to get classic club registration in a few years time.

It only took a couple of hours to remake the floor. I got my local steel shop to precut most of my steel, for a small fee it's definitely worth the time saved doing it yourself. The S15 motor has now returned back to the S15 it came from and a blown S13 SR20 is now in place to dummy everything up.

The floor sections that form an X in between the 25mmx75mm outer sections are made from 20mmx20mm box tubing and will form a mount for the alloy sheets to sit flush with the underside of the floor. This will create a totally flat and sealed floor.

I also made the floor extend past the end of the cabin 400mm to help mount the fuel tank, battery and rear diffuser. In the foreground you can see the RB25 gearbox mounted to the SR20 motor ready for dummy fitting.

I'm a whole lot happier with the new floor layout and front end structure, theres another 7m of tube to be added to the engine and strut tower compartment before the chassis is finalized but I'm really starting to get excited to see it finished.

I've added more steel than needed in the floor but with the proposed height being so low and our Australian racetracks having such large ripple strips it's cheap insurance.

TIG welding is a new passion of mine, I have always been a race car fabrication geek and no single tool is used more than a TIG welder. I had never used a TIG before this project and that's the reason I started it; I wanted to learn how to weld, notch and a build chassis like the top race teams and there's no better way than throwing yourself in the deep-end. MIG will always have its place but TIG has my heart; it's quiet, clean and precise.

Heres a small detail you may be interested in, it's one mount that does three jobs. When building a race car I found you have to think far ahead about what you will need and where can it be mounted to save weight and clutter. I decided I'd integrate my gearbox mount with a brake bias lever and handbrake all in one. The handle for the handbrake raises up next to the gearshifter for comfort.

As you can see it's mounted very low for maximum leverage and screwed into four tapped crush tubes pre-welded in the floor.

After finding a Hilux tub for a decent price I picked it up and started measuring. It's an Extra cab which means it's the short-bed version, so this will need to be lengthened 150mm forward of the rear wheels to ensure the wheelbase is correct. The width needs altering with the new rear tracking being 1700mm with the 18×10.5 +15 wheels planned to run on it.

I had Josh and Murray Coote from MCA Suspension build a new set of coilovers for my ute. Some of you may know Josh, a fellow drifter who competes in Australia and New Zealand. I sent Josh a few measurements around a month ago and they built these struts for me. Having some incredible adjustability they will allow the setup process to be much easier. Also having the option to talk to the people who actually hand build the struts is invaluable. 

The rear struts will bolt onto another removable crossmember giving me more adjustability when it comes time for testing.

I fabricated some strut tops for the rear and front struts. Tube will be welded and gusseted directly to these, setting up the front caster and camber is a little tricky so it takes a lot of clamping and tacking until the final position is found.

The engine mounts will run off a tube crossmember that goes under the motor and supports the lower control arms and steering rack. There's around 4 meters of tube that still has to go in the engine bay to finalise it. I'll be using the low port S15 version motor to keep the inlet manifold low, while the exhaust side will run a low mount turbo design.

Ride height will be setup to leave the floor 65mm for the tarmac, at that point everything is optimized for functionality. One of the biggest reasons for this build was to  raise the suspension and lower the body. Looks and performance come together!

Lots of tube, a pair of Brides and 10.5-inch wide wheels with 235 stretched on them. This is not your regular Hilux!

Undertaking a build like this is a massive test. It's a test on your vision, your persistence, your patience and your skills. It occupies most of your mind, from when you wake up to when you go to sleep, it's not glamorous, you miss out on a lot of life's simple pleasures and it re-scalps the person you are. To me it's more than an automobile, it's an extension of my personality. With hard work comes rewards and I guarantee there will be tears of happiness when this hits the track for the first time.

Photos & Words by Nigel Petrie




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This is going to be insane when it's completed.


Awesome build so far. It's always cool to see the entire process of a build, especially one that's so different!


Nigel, great work, and don't get discouraged !

I am in your same position as I am in the process of building a Tacoma for the track (rollcage and all).

Keep it up, and thanks for the update !


This is my favorite speedhunters post.


mmmmmaaaddddddddddd luvin it


keep going with this one, keep us posted on how things go. i'm pretty sure when you fianlly finish your hard work won't be in vain - plus i rate you a 10 for having a PS13 coupe and not driving it that much.. wicked blog


Outrageous, Awesome, Dirty, No Reason Sweetness. I have been waiting for a second scoop on this build and I have to say it looks sweet.

Good luck mang.


Great fabrication work. I am really impressed. I'm glad to see someone is putting their skills to good use to build some awesome machinery. I wish you the best of luck in completeing it.


looks insane for sure!! what i don't quite understand though from the pics is at that ride height how will you get sufficient steering lock needed for drifting with those wheels tucked into the fender wells like that? i am very curious to see how it turns out


Awesome build mate !!!!

I love your supermoto too....


awesome!!! please keep us updated on the next portion of the build!


Oh yeah, DIY at its finest. Great build, mate!


I remember a Ford P100 winning a British drifting event a few years ago, so doing a pick up for drifting can't be wrong. Just one advice: Put a brace from the back of the roof to the rear chassis, like a normal cage. Anyway... helluva build. Me likes. Even though I'm not a nissan, toyota or a pickup guy.


Amazing work!


Just awesome! Hope to see the next post soon.


This is one of the raddest posts in a long time. PLEASE make sure to update this!! PROPS to the builder!!


I don't really understand how you can get enough steering lock, but good job on the build


Mate this is awesome. As a budding engineer, (2nd year B. Mech. Eng. UOW) this is exactly the kind of thing I want to get into. Keep it up mate, I'm really looking forward to how this'll turn out :D


you have got my utmost respect!! way to take things in ur own hands..


no fucking words brother that shit is bad!


I admire your ability to think big.


Awesome work! I'm a big Hilux fan so i'm eagerly looking forward to the outcome of this build


You're my hero. I loved the first part and I'm happy to see it's still being fabricated.

It's nothing like our '98 Hilux, haha. I only wish you could have used the 2RZ engine and added ITBs just to be more unique, but well, how can I complain when you have such a crazy project!


Absolutely amazing!!!! I wish I had the skills/tools necessary to start a project of this caliber! Keep it up, im looking forward to seeing the final result


man this looks awesome. Your PS13 has been the biggest inspiration for my S13 build. this build looks like it will be an inspiration for many others too. keep it up man.


Two scenes beautifully melding together......nice work.......

Damn our Aussie chapters need to grab you up.your work is top notch.would love to see ya reppn



Hi Luxes are built to tow load. Putting an SR20 DET isn't smart at all!! What he needs is a big engine or turbodiesel wih tons of low end torque not a high revving SR20. Definitely a screw up here.


Excellent work, keep it up. However, please wear safety glasses when machining, no sense risking debris in the eye.


this is freaking awesome!!!


WHAT THE?? Making a car from scratch whoa my mind


i am blown away... thats all i can say


Dude. Love following the build.

Love the S13 even more. Best I've ever seen.



either way.. awesome. and i hope they actually let you race that.


Dude, Keep it up.

Your work is SO COOL


Awesome build, but my god that is a sexy PS13. Is that an OEM colour scheme?


Awesome update Nigel,

Getting discouraged is part of almost every single build, but hang in there, when this is done it will be all worth it!

Cheers from Norway




How does the front wheels.. you know.. turn..?


this thing is off the charts.


MAN this is realy realy NICEE !!!! love IT wanna see that finished soon !!


... i like it ! thats so amazing ... very cool dude ... :-D


Nigel! Simply amazed man you are inspirational! Keep up the awesome work I love watching your progress at Engineered to Slide.


nice bilid but how couldnt drive that sick S13 for a year just saying


I guess the alternative to "wasting your life" is to just sit back, watch TV, watch everyone else build cool rides. I disagree with you on that one thing Nigel. ;) This "makes" your life if you ask me. Oh, and that's one CLEAN S13. Thanks for sharing it all, great job!


Absolutely stunning work! Can't wait for the next update!!


Nothing short of impressive. Cant wait to see more!!!!


This is sik, really impressed with the engineering thats going into this, always wondered what the slammed "trucks" in the states would be like sideways ;)

Keep it up bro


thing is going to sick


awesome! keep up the amazing work.


keep more posts like this coming! this post is so inspiring!


I want more...


its a scrap of shit,it,d more worthwhile putting that sr20 in a proper vehicle


amazing build, and it is always entertaining to see Alex on fanboy status. he hates everything.


amazing article... cant wait to see future updates


Not my kind of thing but an absolutely staggering build. Nice work, mate!


is this a 94 pick up? its almost looking like my brothers! cant wait for the complete truck!!!


dam ya blinged up that motor lol


I LOVE the "dropped" floor, how much cab room did you gain by doing this? from stock a stock floor height position? Have you gained torsional rigidity from this set up?