Toyota and Subaru probably knew from the very beginning of the ZN6 and ZC6’s development that the final car would serve as a canvas for enthusiasts to go wild on. But I don’t think anyone could have really foreseen the impact that an affordable Japanese coupe has had on the global sports car scene. The chassis was a breath of fresh air in a time that could on be described as stagnant in Japan’s domestic market, and it quickly became a vehicle to reinvigorate the aftermarket world.
Think about it. How many flavours have we seen these cars presented to us in? Turbocharged; supercharged; engine swaps of every type; built for drifting; time attack; drag racing and of course fast road use. And to think that it’s only been around for just a few years. It’s all pretty incredible, and even more so to have witnessed this wave of inspiration hit tuners and parts makers. But it’s not quite over yet…
After shooting Brill Steel’s turbocharged V8-swapped Nissan Silvia S14, Enrico showed me another interesting car that his Italy-based company is putting the final touches to. This Rocket Bunny-kitted BRZ will soon be homologated as a Brill Steel complete car, meaning it will eventually be available for purchase throughout the whole of Europe and the world.
What Enrico wanted to do is take full advantage of the chassis’ adaptability and give it his very own twist, which started with chopping off a chunk of metal from the fenders, screwing on Rocket Bunny’s Version 1 aero conversion, and spraying the exterior bodywork in a shade of matte grey.
But the whole purpose of the car becomes obvious once you lift the bonnet. Enrico wanted to inject some serious fun into the compact chassis, and that called for removal of the original 2.0-litre flat-4. Its replacement, a tuned GM 6.2-liter LS3. The idea here was to keep everything as stock as possible, therefore maintaining factory-like street car reliability. This means that all creature comforts are retained, from the A/C to ABS, to a stock and fully-equipped cabin. The only thing is, the car now boasts a V8 soundtrack.
The motor was fitted onto a custom subframe using ZR1 engine mounts and sits in a way that it doesn’t obstruct any of the stock components mounted to the firewall. The LS3 was treated to upgraded heads, a hotter cam and some stainless steel headers which allow it to rev out to 7,500rpm and develop 580 reliable horsepower. There’s massive torque on tap across most of the rev range too, topping out at 912Nm!
Drive is sent via a twin-plate clutch to a T56 Tremec transmission and onto an R32 GT-R rear end via a custom prop shaft. Seeing as the car now develops close to triple the stock power, Brill Steel will also throw on Brembo/STI brakes front and rear to help cope with the newfound performance. Oh, and in case you are wondering about weight, the LS3 and transmission combo only weighs 20kg more than the stock ensemble, and actually shifts that weight further back in the chassis for a nice, balanced feel.
Prices have yet to be announced, but Enrico thinks the complete car will probably sell for around the €50,000 (US$56,000) mark.
The BRZ runs Bilstein adjustable dampers at each corner and a choice of wheels depending on what the client wants. Valenti taillights and Miura’s signature ducktail spoiler finish off what is one hell of a package.
Next time I pass by Italy the car will be completed and ready to go, so I might just have to take it out for a little hoon…
Dino Dalle Carbonare
Any idea where to get those hood vents they used? Highly interested in them and nothing is posted on the Brill Steel website
UAnother ls brz, yawn.....he bought the rocket bunny kit and cheaped out on paint. Wrapped the car instead and you see the waves from the fiberglass fenders. And they want to sell those? Lmao
@Breaded Chicken try this thing Under your bottom and you sure forget unperfections about painting :-)
@rally2727 and make it undrivable?
@rally2727 @James_Carson lol may I ask, are you 12 y/o? The car is already low. Any lower than that will make the car rub by smashing into the wheel-well when doing any kind of spirited driving, which will then result to blowing the tyre out. But if you are a stance-nation fan and never really take your car out driving spiritedly, then thats fine
@Speedhunters if this car goes on sale....bargain of the century
dont get me wrong i love the car, but whenever i see an ls thrown into any euro, or japanese car i instantly am bored of it. nothing new here people just another ls swapped car... its unfortunate to see such a lack of creativity. Personally ive always wanted to see a fully build 1.8t in a miata, from vw/audi. My friends makes 700whp and even with internals on low boost it puts them around 500whp. Just boring to see all these ls cars every day. always hoping to see something unique... which seems to be getting rarer.
This isn't supposed to be a one off, creative masterpiece. It's a production vehicle for these guys. The LS is cheap, and it comes from the factory making awesome power. That's what a crate motor is....you take it out of the crate, drop it in the car, and voila, 600hp. It's also very reliable, making it more reasonable to sell to customers. Trying to do a production run of 700hp 1.8T VW engines running who knows how much boost doesn't seem like the best way to turn a profit and still provide a reliable product that delivers on the performance end. Not to mention, I don't think you can buy built VW motors out of a VW catalog, but that's exactly what you do with USDM crate motors.
@jordanmerickson1 Yep. I got into Japanese cars because they were something different from the same old GM, Ford, whatever stuff.
Nothing more boring than an American car or engine imo.
Great post Dino. Its interesting to see Italy's take on tuning Japanese cars. You're absolutely right, Toyobarus are the perfect canvas project cars. They are like the 21st century S-chassis Nissans.
I wonder if its possible to keep the stock fenders for speccing up this complete package by brill steel...
I'm just imagining what would happen if you install the sonorous sounding S65B40 V8 from the BMW M3 - I'm sure its a ridiculously expensive route compared to the go-to options such as the 2JZs+LS V8s but its fairly light for a V8 and it keeps the rev-the-nuts-out-of-it attitude as its got 295ft/lbs of torque and 8400rpm limit.
Brz / frs is the perfect candidate for this 8k rpm build
The BRZ/86 came at the exact right time. I see it almost in the same vein as the S-Chassis. (which the world is surely running lower and lower in supply of). Grateful that in a couple of years, we'll have this car to turn to when we've run out of S-Chassis, like how they're used in this age.
Nissan could of had all that success had they released an S16. Oh well :)
Is it just me or is the swap not yet finished? From the single engine shot the throttle body does not appear connected to anything, missing coolant hoses, no timing/accessory belts, etc.
Regardless, while this is not my particular brand of vodka, the build looks very clean and well executed. Best of luck to them!
@Lex J Luthor Yes it's almost done, hence I didn't run a full feature but just a short spotlight :) I'll be driving it next time I'm in Italy.
@speedhunters_dino Fantastic! I will forward to that. I would be interested to know the thought process Italian company ended up choosing an American motor for a Japanese car. Now that's globalization right there! LOL
@Speedhunters yeah BRZ and balls shouldn't be in the same sentence but in this case you are correct
I like this car, all I'd change is the bodykit; I hate those screw-on overfenders...much prefer the smoother lines of the STI concept lookalike kits.
Is it possible, Dino, to get a full spec breakdown on that LS3? I'd really like to know what mods will spin an LS3 to 7500 making 580hp and almost 1000Nm in the process.
@Trentworth have you seen the new stancenation X aimgain kit? if not look it up. beautiful rivetless lines
where is 5point7LiterSleeper
You guys should make iPhone wallpaper formats with these pictures. So many of these I wanna see everyday on my phone!
Kinda reminded me of the LS3-swapped carbon S14 that Brill Steel built that was featured back in 2013.
If they can get a EU certification, it will be mad to see european road legal rocket bunny toybaru :).
@Twitch_6 don't forget the GTR has a much better warranty
Oh man...... THIS. ALL OF THIS. If I had $56k burning a hole in my pocket.... I think I'm going to have a cargasm!
So happy to see that the gt86/brz/frs has come so far. Although at the same time its disappointing because a few manufacturers *cough* Mitsubishi *cough* won't even attempt to rejoin the sports car craze :(