When I saw some images of a very interesting looking Pandem-kitted R32 Nissan Skyline sitting on display in Daigo Saito’s shop, I knew I had to find out more.
Of course, if I was making a trip out to Fat Five Racing, it would have been rude to not take a look at the latest happenings in Daigo’s workspace, and you might have already caught my subsequent shop tour post from earlier in the week. However, the Skyline in the showroom deserved a post of its own, so here we are.
One look at this car and you can instantly tell it’s a Daigo build.
The way the swapped 2JZ-GTE sits so far back that its two most rearward cylinders encroach into the cabin is a dead giveaway. Then there’s the minimalist approach taken with the front tube-frame structure, both to locate the suspension turrets and support the exterior panels.
If you are a Nissan purist you might want to look away now, but if you are open-minded when it comes to custom car building, then you’ll likely find the 2JZ in here quite amusing.
The point of it all? That’s a question I asked Daigo, who told me that it’s just for fun, not pro drifting or anything like that. Simply, he had some spare time over the past year – like many other people in motorsport – and this is the result.
Looking at the engine bay, I couldn’t help but marvel at all the free space in front the 2JZ. You could easily fit another engine in there!
Taking a few steps back, the Skyline almost looks like a 1:1 scale RC drift car – a tubular chassis with a lightweight skin dropped over it, which is pretty much what this is – minus the RC part of course. Only the middle section of the car has been retained and every body panel is paper thin.
Aside from the door skins, roof and pillars, there’s nothing much left from the donor Skyline.
A custom transmission tunnel dominates the cabin; it houses a sequential gearbox that sends drive to the quick-change rear end. And to keep the occupants safe, a rear bulkhead has been fabricated onto the main cross-bars of the roll cage.
Like all serious drift cars these days, the radiator has been mounted at the back, and for now it’s all been left open and exposed. You can also see the fuel cell in there, hence the rear bulkhead.
The massive Pandem bolt-on fender extensions allow for some aggressive wheel fitment. However, one little pinky-poke confirms that this current ride height is purely for looks.
It will be cool to see this finished and used in anger, so I definitely want to be there when Daigo takes it out for a shakedown test.
Dino Dalle Carbonare