01 February 2010|
|Holy Grail: Wes Banasan's 2003 Nissan 350Z|
Written by Dave Pankew / Photography by Kevin Choi (KC Image)
Truth be told, we see a lot of Zees lingering around our inbox. Some of you out there are critical, accusing us of running too many Z33 chassis but what you don’t know is that for every feature that makes it in (print), there are upwards of 100 that are shown the door. But when Wes Banasan trailered his 2003 350Z north of the border and we saw it in the flesh at Performance World, we knew this feature had to happen.
Apart from the striking looks of Banasan’s creation, we were pleased to see he didn’t cheap out on anything. There is nothing on the car made in China and the craftsmanship is top shelf. The car was far from a show queen too, with everything fully intact, Banasan is known to drive it around the streets of his native Dover, Delaware on a regular basis. He built it to perform but also be practical, to be elegant but also jammed with audio and multimedia gear. It is the kind of creation that typifies the PASMAG mission statement of featuring the ‘total package’ that took him years to complete.
The most interesting part of this three year build was that most of the time was spent sourcing and shipping rare aftermarket parts. Banasan opted for parts from Do luck, Top Secret, Project Mu, Hasemi motorsports and McIntosh Audio- stuff that isn’t stocked in Delaware and certainly doesn’t come cheap. Even for some of the custom work, Banasan’s parts had to be sent across the country, such as the brushed aluminum interior panels, which were finished in California. At the same time, Banasan was quick to point out he did 60 per cent of the work himself in this substantial build-up. It shows the kind of dedication he has for the game by waiting two years to source and install the Do Luck aero kit, a year for the Top Secret rear hatch and eight months for the Hasemi hood.
The exterior is definitely a unique blend of parts. Most enthusiasts will notice that the car’s paint matches the Project Mu calipers but Banasan maintains that there is some originality in there. “I grabbed the paint code but wanted to make it my own with some secret tweaks,” laughs Banasan. The paint work was performed by East Coast Autobody and eight coats of the special blend were applied to the shell. The look was completed with Craft Square carbon fiber mirrors and a Do Luck rear diffuser.
Under the hood, Banasan wanted to get the party started with some forced induction. At the time, all supercharger kits for the VQ were American and he wanted to keep it J-spec so he went with one of the pioneering systems, a Power Enterprise twin turbo.
The criteria were simple: make power but also ensure that the car passed strict Delaware emissions standards. IntecRacing in Wilmington, Delaware made all of the parts play nicely together and made the Z pass emissions test with flying colors using the UpREV Osiris software.
The net result was 400 whp on the rollers, a conservative number to be sure, but one that was achieved at only 4psi. Banasan knows full well there is more left in the car and is currently building a Brian Crower stroker motor and has installed an OS Giken triple carbon clutch that will hold 700 lbs-ft. of torque in anticipation of those figures.
The rollers were said to be too common but at the same time, we think they work well with the theme of the Z.
The classic Volk Racing FS Challenge forged alloys were selected with 19 x 9.5-inch fronts and 19 x 10.5-inch rears boasting a -9 offset. The Dunlop Direzzas cloaking the wheels are 245/35R19s for steering inputs and 275/30R19s to put down the power. Lurking behind the trademark 5-spokes are a set of Project Mu’s finest SCR-pro 14-inch slotted rotors gripped by 6-piston calipers up front with a 13-inch/4-piston combo in the rear.
The handling has been ramped-up with TEIN FLEX coilovers and Cusco sway bars. The suspension geometry is corrected with Cusco upper arms and the chassis is cinched up with a JIC Magic strut bar and polished GT Spec braces.
Attention then turned to the interior, the place where Banasan would spend most of his time. The aforementioned brushed aluminum panels were complimented by loads of off-the-shelf and custom carbon fibre including the dash. The roof was done in a silver carbon fibre weave by Starters Upholstery Shop in Greenwood, Delaware who assembled the interior.
The seats were replaced with BRIDE Cuga buckets rocking Lo-Max rails and Takata greens. The occupants are surrounded by a bolt-in Cusco 40mm roll cage powdercoated in Top Secret gold. But the real crown jewel of the interior is the audio install.
Take one look at the console, and you’ll notice two analogue meters splashed in a teal back-light. To the untrained eye this may seem like some old school Popular Mechanics hobby kit but it is some of the finest audio around – McIntosh. “Some people spend $3000 on a system to make lots of noise,” laughs Banasan “I dropped $3000 on only one McIntosh amp to create stunning sound quality.”
The source unit is a Clarion VRX-785BT with the optional navigation module. The signals are sent to a McIntosh MCC301M mono amp along with a McIntosh MCC224 4-channel for mids and highs.
The subs are a trio of 12-inch JL Audio units encased in carbon fiber to reduce weight. The balance of the system is rounded out by Dyn Audio 7-inch components speakers with separate 1.1-inch dome tweeters. The system was tuned by Sound of Tri-State for sound quality and the entire interior was Dynamat’ed to ensure sound fidelity. The multimedia portion of the project comes in the form of a 17-inch LCD rising from a motorized tray on the strut bar behind the McIntosh amps.
Clean, functional and full of parts that you just don’t see that often makes for a project that we just couldn’t pass on. In terms of the thousands of Zees we’ve seen over the past six years, this one ranks high. It is a fitting last call to a successful run of the Z33 chassis as we make the transition to featuring many more 370Zs inside PASMAG.
Owner: Wes Banasan
Location: Dover, Delaware
Vehicle: 2003 Nissan 350Z
Power: 400 whp at 4psi
Engine: Nissan 3.5L VQ35DE V6
Power Enterprise twin turbo kit
RC 550cc injectors
HKS blow-off valves
CJ Motorsports fuel system
UpREV Osiris software
OS Giken triple carbon clutch
WHEELS, TIRES, BRAKES
Volk Racing FS Challenge; 19 x 9.5-in (f), 19 x 10.5-in (r), ET -9
Dunlop Direzza; 245/35R19 (f), 275/30R19 (r)
Project Mu; 6-piston / 355mm (f), 4-piston / 330mm (r)
TEIN FLEX suspension
Cusco sway bars
Cusco upper A-arms
GT Spec chassis braces
Do Luck aero kit
Do Luck front fenders
Do Luck rear fenders
Hasemi carbon fiber hood
Top Secret carbon fiber rear hatch
Top Secret A, B, C-pillars
8-stage Paint by East Coast Autobody
BRIDE Cuga recliners
BRIDE Lo-Max rails
Silver CF weave headliner
Cusco 6-point cage
AUDIO / MULTIMEDIA
Clarion VRX-785BT headunit
McIntosh MCC301M mono amp
McIntosh MCC224 4-channel amp
JL Audio 12-inch subs x3
Custom carbon fiber enclosure
Dyn Audio 7-inch components x 4
17-inch LCD on motorized tray