Tokyo Auto Salon brought the goods as expected, but some things were not in the same packages as traditionally expected. One of the topics I’ll continue to talk about when thinking of what went well at TAS is the resurgence of old school JDM tuning and styling. Rays wheels predicted it early with their release a couple months back of a retro sized and styled TE37 wheel. However it was not until TAS started that the world saw the resurgence of vintage JDM!
As much as I love modern cars and especially the latest R35 GT-R, this Rocky Auto S31Z Fairlady Z does everything that the modern cars can’t.
Yet it does it with modern technology in an old school package. Let me explain…
The car blends the best of all eras, starting with the legendary and timeless S31 Fairlady as a basis. Then it takes one of the most legendary engines out of Japan, the RB26DETT from a R34 GT-R and tunes it to 589 wheel horsepower. The true power of the car is actually unknown because when I talked to Mukaida-san of Rocky Auto he told me that the car kept trying to jump off of the dyno. I have a feeling that the T04Z turbocharged engine has even greater potential. The suspension has been also set up with a modern set of Aragosta coilovers which were custom modified to fit the car. The brakes were also upgraded to Brembo Ferrari OEM units.
Even the finish of the car is ultra modern, using the Nissan GT-R Spec V limited color, Ultimate Black Opal (essentially the R35’s version of Midnight Purple). You can also notice the R35 GT-R OEM bonnet ducts fitted to the carbon hood which is a nice touch of blending old and new. Another piece of modern function are the craftsquare mirrors. The interior was finished flawlessly as well with a pristine and perfectly integrated roll cage. Massive Work S1 3pc wheels fill the custom molded blister fenders.
Mukaida-san said that the car drives wonderfully, and I don’t doubt that one bit. I didn’t write down the weight he told me but I know it was in the 1200kg range. Weight distribution on this car after the swap is 60/40 front to rear.
Speaking purely for myself, a car like this is one of the ultimate examples of a greatly enjoyable driver’s car. Most modern cars can be built to be faster, but in terms of feeling, connection to the car and rawness an example like this is irreplaceable and incomparable to modern cars. Sure modern cars can be faster, easier to drive fast and more comfortable, but if you drive something like this then you’re really driving rather than modern cars with their technology that drive us more than we drive them.
My feelings continue to grow stronger towards cars like this, the Hakosuka GT-R and also even the E30 M3. I don’t know if this segment of tuning will ever get popular enough to support an industry in the US for it, but I hope so because I feel like someday everyone will want to drive modern engine swapped old school lightweight rides like these. Somehow I feel like this is the future, even though its the furthest thing from it.
For the record, Rocky Auto is one of the best in the game at builds like this. For how much exposure the blog world has given RWB’s Porsches last year, I hope Rocky Auto gets he same love for their old school Fairlady and GT-R builds which all seem to be flawless!