This is a article written up on the Z by Michael Semira.
We all know that since its anticipated release in 2003, the Nissan 350Z has become the hottest proje... Show morect vehicle of choice among large corporations and independent enthusiasts alike. We are also aware that for over the past year, its VQ35DE engine has been the focus of countless manufacturers, as they look for ways to increase the 287 ponies that Nissan packed into the 3.5L six-cylinder. To put it bluntly, much of the staff at PAS has been Z-ed out, as we�ve come across enough Z33s to last a lifetime. With that in mind, know that it takes quite the Z-car to grab our attention these days.
Enter the Toucan Industries 350Z. Built in the image of Brand Manager Andy Williamson, this vehicle was unveiled under the bright lights of the SEMA show in Las Vegas last November. Toucan, famous for its Ractive, Eurolite and Evotion lines, has always been a major player in the sport compact industry, even back when neon paint jobs were cool. To revive its image, Williamson wanted to use this opportunity to not only showcase the immeasurable number of products Toucan has under its belt, but to show that the team at Toucan know a thing or two about performance. As you can tell by the end result, there is no question that Williamson and his crew know about performance, creativity and then some.
Williamson knew that to get the pop from the SEMA crowd, he really needed to go all out. So starting beneath the hood, he decided to go with some easy bolt-on performance in the form of the gear-driven centrifugal supercharger system from ProCharger. By mixing in a couple Evotion goodies like stainless-steel headers and cat-back exhaust system, airflow was also tremendously increased. Factor in the integration of ProCharger�s signature air-to-air front-mount intercooler, plus a Nitrous Express nitrous system and you�ll soon understand why Williamson claims the Toucan 350Z can leave 15 yards of vulcanized Michelin rubber with no problem at all.
Keeping the Z glued to the asphalt is a joint effort of the upgraded wheel and tire combination and high performance suspension components. Williamson contacted Dazz Motorsports, the exclusive North American importer for Racing Hart wheels, for the lead on his exclusive rollers. Measuring 19 inches in diameter, the Racing Hart CPF Tune-R wheels you see on this 350 are the only set in the US (according to Williamson). Using 285/30 tires in the rear and 245/35 up front to keep this RWD beast planted, the polished finish and timeless five-spoke design of these forged wheels seem perfect for the 350Z.
The factory spring and damper combination from Nissan is adequate for spirited driving sessions, but it pales in comparison to the heavy-duty HKS coil-over system that Williamson chose to use on the Toucan demo car. With adjustable ride height and dampening force, the coil-overs work well to keep this vehicle under control along with the custom Evotion brake system that lives under the two front wheels. Featuring extremely lightweight titanium rotors and billet four-piston calipers, the Evotion brake kit not only improves stopping power but also sheds unwanted weight.
With most of the performance modifications out of the way, Williamson and the Toucan team started on the construction of the exterior. Knowing that there would be a handful of other 350Zs at SEMA competing for attention, they knew that the selection of these dress-up pieces would be crucial. Rather than opt for the wide-body kit from VeilSide that almost every 350Z would surely be dressed in, it was the body kit from INGS 1 that caught Williamson�s eye. Finishing touches include Toucan�s rear spoiler and custom hood insert as the customary carbon fibre add-ons. The vehicle was then coated in Nippon Bitter Sweet paint by IEO Customs in Miami, FL to complete its look-at-me appearance.
When it came to upgrading the lighting system, Williamson had the full array of Eurolite products to play with and outfitted the Z with an HID system, undercar neon kit and professional strobe controller from the Toucan brand.
The living quarters are where Williamson and his team decided to get really creative. Teaming with experts at Mad Dog Audio, the cabin and multimedia system setup were areas that would set it apart. First off, using a mixture of white carbon fibre (Kevlar), fibreglass and mesh material, the entire cabin space was overhauled. Using custom white carbon fibre and mesh reclining seats (designed by Toucan Design Canada in Toronto, ON) as command points, the occupants of this Z are treated to a re-worked dash that replaces the factory gauge cluster with a quintet of Ractive seven-colour performance gauges and tachometer. The driver�s extremities are treated to a set of Ractive racing pedals down below and a vented shift knob with a carbon shift boot up top.
Eye candy is provided by a slew of Kenwood LCD monitors, starting with a 7-inch Excelon DVD player / touch-screen monitor up front and a couple 6.4-inch widescreen LCD monitors installed in the rear quarter windows for onlookers to see. Three pairs of Kenwood Excelon dual-magnet speakers (ranging from 5 to 7 inches) are responsible for handling the mid and high acoustic ranges, with a hefty KFC-XW1300DVC 13-inch subwoofer providing the bottom end. Using both Kenwood Excelon 5-channel and mono-block amplifiers to pump the juice through Tsunami wiring, the Z�s passengers and those lucky enough to be in the surrounding environment are treated to heart-pounding acoustics on a regular basis.
The finished project drew rave reviews when it was finally unveiled at SEMA. Williamson and the Toucan crew couldn�t dream of a better response. With this Z and the carbon fibre Mazda6 (featured in issue 6.05) flanking the Toucan booth, the display was lit up with flash bulbs all week long. The Williamson-led Toucan squad had a lot of assistance in building this car, as Kenwood, ProCharger, Tsunami, Mad Dog Audio, Dazz Motorsports, Michelin Tires and Nitrous Express all lent a helping hand. Of course, Williamson would like to send a special shout out to the team at C16 Magazine for all their support. Even with this project completed, it looks like there is no rest in sight for the Toucan team, since we hear they are working on yet another project (or two) to wow us with. I�m sure they�ve got another trick up their sleeve.
***Just a quick update, The Z won "Best Sports Car" at a local car show in Naperville, against a FORD GT40, 2005 Viper, and 2006 Porsche Carrera, to name afew. =)***
***Just Added 2006 Rear Factory LED Tail lights, looks great on the Z, much better than the 03 tailights, I'll get some pics up on the site soon of them on the car***
***Car will be on display at Hot Import Nights in downtown Chicago March 31st, come take a look!***
Car club meets Chicagoz.com
July 07 Pics of Z after friends detailed the car
October 20th 2007 Chicago Z club meet Pics
* After this year the total mileage on the vehicle is 1025miles =) * Show Less