There were actually two BenSopra cars at this year’s Tokyo Auto Salon and along with their official flat white demo car, it was this candy red example that I decided to feature. Ryo-san from the famous Hiroshima-based shop has plans for his new project: he wants to take it drifting and do so at a professional level. Needless to say, it will be cool to see this car in D1 – or any other series for that matter! Let’s take a closer look at the aero package that continues to make BenSopra one of the most talked about names of recent years.
With the aim to make his kits more accessible, hence the choice of the affordable Z33 platform, Ueta-san certainly didn’t take the conservative route when it came to styling. The conversion begins up front with the front bumper which alters the face of the 350Z. It’s a good mix of rounded and edgier lines spiced up by the unmistakable Miura front lip. The front overfenders are probably best described as having half a ‘works’ look, the blistering happening only around the top portion before getting tucked in along with the creased fender extension.
The rears are more conventional, integrated along with the flat black side skirts and that rear angular diffuser section. The Gram Lights 57FXX the car was sporting at the RAYS booth were actually a very good choice as the thin and squared off spokes match well with what’s been done on the BenSopra aero.
The rear is about as aggressive as it gets – a call back to the rear end of their 2012 GT-R conversion that dominated both TAS as well as SEMA that year.
Ryo-san is keeping tight-lipped on what he’ll be doing on the engine side of things, but if the car is to compete at a pro level and compete with the cars currently participating in championships like D1, it will need something very special under the hood.
I just had to choose this hot rodded NA8C as part of this spotlight post as it’s such a good example of the kind of crazy stuff you sometimes run across at TAS.
The project was put together by the guys at the Motor Mechanic Factory of Wiz university, who really showed some outside-the-box sort of thinking. Everything from the firewall forward was cut off, a tube frame built in its place to hold the Roadster’s stock engine and front track in position. If you look at the first picture of the Wiz Concept Rod, you can see how they even developed inboard suspension, small dampers positioned within the old hot rod style grille, there to absorb the road imperfections the front wheels run across.
The NC’s 1.8L motor has been treated to some nice additions like the OER 4-throttle sports injection kit. The students put a lot of time into attention to detail, taking inspiration from an old Japanese warplane.
On the exhaust side there are four individual pipes, a sort of open header exhaust system to help give a more authentic hot rod sound and feel.
The Frankenstein roadster also sports a removable hard top with plenty of rat-rod-like rusty detailing while the interior was retrimmed with a more minimalistic feel to give the ambience of a proper vintage rod.A CLK like no other
This next car is unlike any Mercedes you’ve seen before. This is not a big brute AMG, limited edition, widebody Mercedes, but a one-off creation by Sarto Racing. Like their BMW E36 convertible that we saw back in November at the Stance Nation show in Fuji, the aero has been designed and produced by… shall I let you guess!
That’s right, Miura-san of TRA Kyoto is responsible for yet another of the most popular cars at TAS this year, and he couldn’t have executed the widebody conversion on this W209 CLK any better.
It’s all a fine balance between fender flares, offset and ride height, not to mention how much rear tire should remain visible when looking at the car from the back. The dark Enkei RS05RRs are a great choice for the CLK, the multispoke design giving an almost DTM race car feel while the custom candy red paint does the rest.
The roll cage, the snap-off steering boss, the brake bias adjuster and the hydraulic side brake are probably the last things one would expect to see in a Mercedes CLK. Look closer and you’ll spot the custom switch panel and a curious looking lever which swaps the cogs in the six-speed manual which has been fitted in place of the stock slushbox.
The engine remains the stock 170hp 2.6L V6, but it’s been made far more sonorous thanks to the very straight and very unsilenced exhaust system. Just look at that rear end!
It’s going the unconventional way that gets you noticed. Johnny at Weld has forever done things to his liking and the results have always been nothing but spectacular. I recall the first time I shot his D1 JZX100 a few years ago. I couldn’t understand why he had shaved the engine bay, painted the car with a complex custom mixed flake color and finished it off to show car standards. This was a drift car, a car that would inevitably be hit or hit something! But he didn’t care. He’s a guy that does things well, or he doesn’t do them at all. So it’s not a great surprise that his FR-S project may well be the most perfect example of attention to detail.
Every curve you see on the body, every fender flare, every additional line that has been added in has been done so by hand and out of metal. The only non-metal additions in fact are the swan neck wing and the rear diffuser. The front and rear fenders have been made to smoothly drape over the Neova-shod Work XSA 04Cs, and no matter how close you look, there isn’t a flaw in either the metalwork nor the deep metallic red paint. But rear spoiler aside, this is actually a car that we saw back in September at the Slammed Society event in Fuji, so what’s the big deal, right?
This is the big deal! Right here! Screw turbocharging and supercharging, Johnny has wanted to go the NA route on his FA20 and he has done so with proper style. After shaving and tidying up the wiring and piping mess that is the ZN6’s engine bay, he gave some attention to the engine itself.
There was no way the stock plastic intake was going to cut it in a car like this, so a custom four-throttle set-up was fabricated and finished off with billet velocity stacks and a little Work XSA 04C wheel off an RC drift car as part of the rotating assembly – a little hint as to one of Weld’s current biggest business ventures with the Overdose brand.
The car is still not done yet however – there are more things planned for it still but before that happens, the engine still needs to be wired and set-up properly with an aftermarket ECU. As if wiring an engine up was an easy task, Weld have to make sure that everything is tucked and hidden away in order not to spoil that beautiful, clean engine bay.KM4SH
As my final spotlight I just had to pick the KM4SH 86. This is a car that I have seen materialize from a simple idea over a dinner table, to the finished product on display at one of the world’s biggest and most important tuning shows. I was blown away when I first laid eyes on the car, impressed with Miura’s usual flawless work that’s helped transform a lightly tuned street car into something with an impossible amount of presence. Starting at the rear, Miura’s signature duck tail trunk spoiler is the perfect complement to the lines of the fenders.
To emphasize the effect of the KM4SH aero kit, the car has been lowered on a set of KW adjustable suspension and fitted with a prototype set of 6666 mesh two-piece wheels from Enkei. The front fender flares are quite conservative if you compare them to the wilder Rocket Bunny V1 & V2 kits – and here lies the point of this kit. It’s aimed at those who want to make their ZN6 look a little meaner and sit better when mated to wheels with just the right amount of aggressive offset. Minimal cutting is required at the front to make the wheels fit and the flares sit properly.
The rear too calls for a bit of cutting, and how much you take off is dependant on the soft of wheel, offset and look you want to go for.
Setting the tone at the front is this lip spoiler which bolts directly onto the stock bumper. The SH x Takata tow-strap is optional! The kit will be available as a complete package, or if you prefer, to pick your favorite separate components from, all exclusively through the Speedhunters Store.
More from TAS 2014 coming up soon!
Dino Dalle Carbonare