PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 05

The Daily Driven Lotus Fueled By Sandwiches. Johnny Ngo of Rancho Cordova, California, is no stranger to unique and interesting vehicle builds. Many years ago he had a custom yellow Toyota Celica GTS, named “Bumble Bee Cali,” (remember when builds used to have names?) which he built himself and took many show awards with. The Celica was actually featured in PASMAG way back when, and a toy company even made a model of his ride! To up the ante from his Celica, Ngo wanted to build something not only unique and eye catching, but something that people wouldn’t normally think to modify in the way he did for a performance-oriented daily driver. To boost the cool factor even more, let’s also mention that almost all of this build was done in his own garage.

Ngo started off with a 2006 Lotus Elise. Building this car on his own time in between work took him over eight months to complete. He did virtually everything himself from the one-off widebody to the custom audio system. You may have noticed that the car has been slapped with the name “PBJ Lotus,” and there are a couple reasons for this. 

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 01

“PBJ Lotus came from the time spent building this car,” Ngo recalls, chucking. “I was limited on time and money, so all I could afford to eat to save on both was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Also, with the indigo base paint color in certain lighting and accompanied with the gold wheels being a shade closer to peanut butter, the car practically named itself.”

As mentioned, the custom widebody was done by Ngo himself in his garage. When the sanding and prepping tools were put down and it came to do the paint, the car was taken all the way up to Washington State to Phantasy Kolors. There they applied the BASF R-M Candy Teal paint over an indigo base.

Along with the body work, Ngo incorporated a custom-made 72-inch carbon fiber spoiler, GT3 carbon fiber mirrors, carbon fiber doors, front splitter, rocker panel extensions, and carbon side vents, all courtesy of APR Performance. Yes, it looks incredible, but it’s also very much functional. 

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 30

Wanting to getting the wheel gap to look just right, but also install some suspension that would perform, BC Racing 30-way adjustable BR coilovers were sourced. From there, Ngo needed to find the right wheel and tire combo to accentuate the beautiful widebody. For those custom wheels he turned to Klassen ID and put on a set of CRS-X concave five V-spoke wheels - 18x8 up front with 19x10.5 in the rear. The wheels were then wrapped in Toyo T1 Sport tires in 245/35 R18 and 285/30 R19 sizing.

Supporting the Lotus’ wheel and tire setup, a four-piston Street Challenge big brake kit from Rotora, running larger 328-mm front rotors, helps bring this high horsepower daily down. Keeping all the power down to the ground comes from the help of a Clutch Master FX350 clutch kit, while a Quaife Helical LSD makes sure both wheels are spinning together.

Wanting to produce a bit more power from the stock 1.8-liter 2ZZ-GE, Ngo opted to do quite a few things after cracking the engine open. Starting with custom rods and pistons, bringing the compression ratio to 9:1, MWR’s cams and Stage 3 valvetrain were also thrown into the mix. Giving the 2ZZ a crucial boost in performance is the addition of the Garrett GTX3076R turbo as part of the Radium Hard Parts full turbo kit. As with any turbocharged application, you should always look to upgrade the fuel system as well, so Ngo upgraded to an AEM E85 320-lph high flow fuel pump, which to pumps through to a Radium Engineering fuel rail and 1,000-cc Injector Dynamics fuel injectors. 

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 24

Controlling all the fuel, spark and boost is a DRS Motorsports EFI X2 ECU, tuned by DRS’s very own Kris Valdez. On the dyno, the PBJ Lotus makes 461 horsepower with 322 lb-ft of torque. Plenty for any daily driver.

Let’s not forget that all-important part of the car, the cockpit. Of course there’s nothing left out inside either. Corbeau takes up the seating area up front with their LE-X sport road seat for the driver and LE standard seat for the passenger. Both occupants are strapped in for some spirited driving with a pair of three-inch, five-point harnesses.

From there, you can view more carbon fiber additions that follow from the outside of the Lotus in the form of door sills, interior door pulls, and upper sills, all from ORE. There is also plenty of instrumentation to keep the driver in the know, like AEM’s digital wideband, EGT, oil pressure and temperature, and Tru-Boost gauges.  

Sometimes you need to be able to hear more than just the wind blowing through your hair or the sweet sounds of the engine. Obviously, with a car as small as a Lotus, creating big sound is quite difficult, and that was one of Ngo’s biggest complexities. First, he needed to lay the foundation with a full Dynamat interior treatment. Focal Access 6.5-inch components and a JL Audio 13TW5V2 13-inch subwoofer in a custom carbon fiber enclosure took some extensive modifying to fit into the dash and between the front two seats. With all of things going on in the tiny interior a custom chromoly roll bar not only stiffened up the chassis and helped to mount some of the audio components.

The PBJ Lotus is that perfect blend of form and function – a beauty that puts those looks to work. Ngo’s Lotus was also hand built almost exclusively by him in his garage to be used as a super impressive daily driver (with weather permitting). This car is the full package, and it was well worth all the peanut butter and jelly. #pasmag

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 03

ESSENTIALS
Vehicle: 2006 Lotus Elise
Owner: Johnny Ngo
Location: Rancho Cordova, CA
Engine: Toyota 2ZZ-GE 1.8L I-4
Horsepower: 461 hp
Torque: 322 lb-ft
Club Affiliation: Team Hokori

SOCIAL
Facebook: Johnny Ngo
Instagram: @pbj_lotus

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 26PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 25
PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 27PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 28PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 29

ENGINE
AEM (E85 high flow fuel pump
ARP (head studs, main studs)
BOE oil pan
DRS Motorsports (EFI X2 ECU, custom flex fuel tune)
GReddy oil sandwich plate adapter
Injector Dynamics 1,000-cc fuel injectors
Lotus gunmetal aluminum oil cap
Mahle 9:1 pistons
MWR (billet connecting rods, coated main bearing set, Stage 3 camshafts, retainers, under drive pulleys, valve set, valve spring set)
NGK BKR7E spark plugs
Racemount solid motor mounts
Radium Engineering (oil catch can kit, coolant expansion tank, cool air flow kit, Hard Parts GTX3076R turbo kit, fuel rail, FST-R fuel surge tank, modular rear calm removal kit, windshield washer relocation kit)
Sector111 (proRad aluminum 3-pass radiator, radiator hoses)

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 33

EXHAUST
Custom 3-inch straight pipe exhaust system

DRIVETRAIN
Clutch Masters (FX350 clutch, aluminum flywheel)
ARP flywheel studs
Jubu 3 & 4 gear transmission gearing
Quaife Helical LSD

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 06

CHASSIS / SUSPENSION
BC Racing BR Type coilovers
Custom harness bar

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 07

WHEELS / TIRES / BRAKES
Klassen ID CRS-X concave extended 5 V-spoke wheels – 18x8 (f), 19x10.5 (r)
Toyo T1 Sport tires – 245/35 R18 (f), 285/30 R19 (r)
Rotora Street Challenge big brake kit - 4-piston caliper & 328-mm rotors (f)
Sector111 Ultradisc floating rear brakes
Carbotech track brake pads

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 04PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 08PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 09
PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 11PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 12PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 31
PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 32PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 34PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 35

EXTERIOR
APR Performance carbon fiber (custom 72-inch spoiler, GT3 race mirrors, front splitter, side rocker panel extensions, side vents)
GB Composites aerospace grade carbon fiber gas door
Custom hand-built one-off 3-inch widebody
ORE Bi-Xenon retrofit 4300k HIDs
BASF R-M Candy Teal over Indigo base paintjob

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 15PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 17
PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 16PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 14
PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 13PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 20PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 21

INTERIOR
AEM gauges (digital wideband AFR, EGT, oil pressure, oil temperature, Tru-Boost)
Carbon fiber (center console, dash w/ air vent delete, switch panels)
Corbeau (LE-X sport road seats, 3-inch 5-point harnesses)
ORE carbon fiber (door sills, door pull handles, upper sills)
Sector111 (aluminum shift knob, Micromirror)

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 22
PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 10PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 19PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 23

MOBILE ELECTRONICS
Audiobahn A4004J intake amplifier
Dynamat sound deadening
Focal Access 6.5-inch component speakers
JL Audio (13TW5V2 13-inch subwoofer, 500.1 subwoofer amplifier)
Custom carbon fiber subwoofer enclosure
Pioneer (AVIC Z140bh touchscreen multimedia receiver, reverse camera)  

SPONSORS
Acute Performance, AEM Electronics, APR Performance, BC Racing, Common Fibers, Corbeau Seats, Clutch Masters, ORE – On Rails Engineering, Klassen ID Wheels, Meguiar’s, Phantasy Kolors, R-M by BASF Refinish, Radium Engineering, Rotora, Toyo Tires, Team Hokori

Contributor: Jay Canter

PAS 2016 Performance4 Lotus 02

More Vehicle Features

RevitaliZed: Bill Brinkworth's 1973 Datsun 240Z

Forty-three years later and looking better than ever. Brinkworth’s personal 1973 240Z has been restored where needed, left where appropriate and updated in great taste. Best of all, she’s a rescue. Brinkworth’s high school friend, Jason Nakano, used to drive…
Read More

Change-Up: Joon Maeng's S-Chassis Departure Aims for the Podium

Standing out on the Formula Drift grid with a V8-powered Nissan is tough. Although Joon Maeng's S13 was one of the most developed on the grid, he knew he needed something different to peak sponsor interest. After the 2014 season,…
Read More

Switch Hitter: Tein USA's 2005 Ford Mustang GT

Written by Dave Pankew / Photography by RCH Designs The name TEIN, stands for TEchnical INnovation and not many people know that. Their mascot is also a gangster-looking damper with an external reservoir and eyeballs – not many people know…
Read More

Fearless: Carl Nadeau's 2006 Pontiac Solstice

Written by Dave Pankew | Photos By Mike Gazda The only thing constant in life is change. In the face-paced world of performance and competition anything can and will happen. We have seen feature cars stolen, vandalized, blow up and…
Read More

LOADED WEAPON

The last time I saw a Honda with a wall of four 15s was in 1998. Now who in their right mind would be insane enough to do something like that you say; it was yours truly. The look on…
Read More