Let me start by putting things into perspective: Takashi Koike never intended to execute a Porsche 935 replica with his Z33 Nissan Fairlady Z. He simply wanted to pay homage to a car that he has huge respect for, and in the process build a Z like no one had ever seen before.
One look at Takashi’s Nissan, and I think you’ll agree that he has pretty much nailed the brief.
View the Z from the rear and you’d not even know that the front end has received such a drastic conversion.
In fact, the nose tuck is so smoothly integrated that you may not even spot the difference from a profile view.
I call it a ‘nose tuck’ because this goes so far beyond bolting on aftermarket aero parts – it’s a true transformation that Takashi executed himself. Of course, it helps that he works in a bodyshop and is a seasoned pro when it comes to these sorts of custom modifications.
Deleting headlights is no simple feat, especially when they extend into the bumper and fenders like the OEM items on a Z33 do. To remove them altogether, substantial work needed to be done around the hood line and where the bumper meets the front fenders. The integration of the large round HID projector lights and LED DRLs was actually the easy part, as they sit beautifully recessed in the custom mounts that Takashi created.
As these build images that Takashi shared with me show, everything was shaped hand. Much care was taken refining the radius for the bumper snout, the new hood line and both the front and rear wheel arches. You can see just how far back the conversion stretches too. In fact, it’s just the doors, roof and rear deck lid that remain stock.
The fenders were cut and molded into the overall new shape of the car, taking that added width and bringing it around and over the arches, right down into the side skirts.
At the time of our shoot, Takashi was running on aftermarket coilovers and a set of 19-inch Work Gnosis GS-1s. Behind the squared-off spokes of the front wheels hide Central 20 6-pot brake calipers biting down on 2-piece slotted Project µ rotors.
The modified side steps brings a nice angular feel across the profile of the car, something that helps counteract the fact that the Z33’s rear is rather bulbous. They meet the massively widened 3/4 fenders which taper inward to almost meet the original width of the rear bumper.
Takashi finished it all off with an integrated lower bumper skirt, large diffuser section and a Battle Aero wing with tall stays that sprout from behind the bumper.
On the back glass, Takashi proudly displays the Raiden logo, a club he belongs to with all his friends.
There is something just so imposing about a slantnose car. The Kremer Racing 935s of the early 1980s took a base 911 and lobbed off the car’s signature bug-eye headlights for that flat-nose look. The main projectors were moved to the corners of the bumper and with that a legendary transformation was born, one that Porsche ended up offering in 1986 with the pricey Flachbau (flatnose/slantnose) option for the 930.
I think Takashi’s headlight conversion has a Garage TBK feel about it, you know, like the 930 from Wangan Midnight.
The hood modifications also include a pair of dummy louvers and a functional center air outlet.
A lot of thought went into the color – a custom-mixed blue/gray – and the contrasting black detailing, and I think it works well.
Takashi has stuck to very minimal upgrades under the hood with an HKS induction kit to give the VQ35 V6 some character on the induction side. The exhaust has also been enhanced with a full Fujitsubo system and the ECU was re-flashed with a custom map.
Takashi may look at some substantial engine mods in the future, but for now he’s enjoying having completed the exterior styling.
With the car oozing 935 vibes, it only seemed right to somehow try and tie the interior in too. Takashi found these Sparco Martini Racing sports seats that hint back at the legendary livery the Kremer-built 935s are most associated with.
It’s always a true pleasure to meet talented young builders. Without guys like Takashi and his Raiden team, the Japan car scene wouldn’t be what it is.
It was so cool that they all made the trek from Nagoya to Tokyo to meet me for this shoot, and I can’t wait to share with you what the rest of the Raiden crew brought along.
Dino Dalle Carbonare