That is a very nice looking Nissan 350Z you’ve got there, Jackie. How long have you had it?
I have owned the Z for just a little over three years now. It all started when I was 14 years old and saw a black 350Z pass by me in Jumeirah. It was love at first sight and seven years later, I was staring at one in my garage.
I bought the then stock 350Z from a lady who drove the car just to work and back, with complete recorded maintenance history from 1,000km. It was a deal I simply could not afford to pass up.
Coincidentally, the guy who passed by me in his then black 350Z is the president and founder of GTZ Motor Club where I am an admin now. It’s a small world, eh?
It has been heavily customised — fancy telling us what you have had done to it?
Sure, let’s start with the performance where my modifications include Injen intakes, Motordyne ART pipes and an Invidia Gemini true-dual exhaust with titanium-tips. To make it a better corner-carver, the stock suspension has been switched out with Tein coilovers, a set adjustable swaybars and end-links, adjustable camber arms, GT-spec chassis brace, GT-spec tie bar and a combination of Whiteline and Energy Suspension bushings all around. Literally every single bushing in the car has been swapped out for an upgraded performance one.
The braking has been improved by the Stoptech Stage 2 kit which includes Stoptech SS brake lines, Stoptech slotted rotors with high-performance pads and Motul RBF660 brake fluid. ARP extended wheel studs were added to safely mount the aggressive Work CR Kai Kiwami wheels, measuring 18x9.5 +20 front and 18x10.5 +22 rear.
For the exterior, I kept things pretty simple yet significant. Modifications have been limited to a Veilside front lip and Top Secret carbon fibre diffuser. I have also deleted the rear-wiper (it looked hideous!). But the real head-turner is the paint-job. You do not see a 350Z painted in Violet and since I have removed the badges it just leaves people wondering what car it is.
That really is a rare shade of violet isn’t it…
It sure is — in fact, it is the only 350Z on the planet in this hue of violet. I have arrived to that conclusion after seven months of researching every 350Z forum on the Internet! The car was factory stock when I bought it, and over the course of my ownership this is where I have managed to bring it. The progress has not been fast-paced, but slow and steady — it always wins the race.
You have quite a lot more work planned for it, don’t you?
Yes, I will soon be installing bucket seats, a new set of wheels, electronic dampening adjustability, corner-balancing and if all else goes well a supercharger next winter.
I’d like to enjoy the car as it is at the moment, before bumping up the power figures significantly
Do that — but, it still must get a fair bit of attention...
It constantly does and I am not surprised. The paint job is ‘in-your-face’, so it does compel people to take a second look.
I’ve had fellow petrolheads stop me at a fuel station to strike up a quick conversation, people wanting to take pictures with it and of course the dime-a-dozen ‘thumbs-up’ from individuals on the road. Not that I require anybody’s validation, a car guy builds a car for himself and not anyone else at the end of the day. But it does make me happy.
What do you like best about it and why?
I’m lost for words here. I love everything about it, from the loud exhaust and the stiff ride to the rattles and little quirks. After all, this was one of my poster-cars. And this car has made a significant impact in my life.
I’ve met like-minded car enthusiasts who have now become the closest of confidants, and the time spent with them have turned to good memories. But this is just the beginning, there are many more memories to make.
Does it drive as good as it looks?
The feeling cannot be compared to any emotion I have felt so far. Sure, a manual 350Z would have been way more fun, but back when I was purchasing it, a third pedal was not feasible. I drive close to 60kms a day in peak traffic hours and the 350Z was my only car at the time. Now that the scenario has changed, I am contemplating a transmission swap or a MX-5 purchase for some cheap thrills.
I love taking it for early-morning weekend mountain runs at Jais, Kalba, Hafeet and I intend to get some Time-Attack experience under my belt once the season is underway, having already taken the Z to half a dozen Auto-X events and track-days.
I would be lying to you if I told you that I love to cruise around on highways or JBR in it. You don’t buy a sportscar to drive it like a utility van.
How much power is it putting out?
The VQ35HR is a very potent power-plant. The 2008-2009 GCC model years came with the third revision of 3.5-litre VQ engine, with a twin-throttle system and 80 per cent new internals. From the factory the car came with 313bhp and 363Nm of torque. Not a slouch in any sense. Peak torque kicks-in at about 5,000rpm and the car red-lines at 7,600rpm. As for the power my car is making, I would like to keep that number under wraps…
It handles extremely well for an automobile of its type in my opinion. Many people mistake the kind of car the Nissan 350Z is. In essence, it leans more towards being a GT than a lightweight FR machine that one can throw around.
That being said, the Z is a very capable car even in bone-stock form. The turn-in and steering response is sharp, the weight distribution is near 50:50, the suspension is tuned well and the power-curve is very linear — you won’t find yourself in a bush upside down if you decide to mash the pedal. Unless you do not know how to drive, of course.
Take us back to your first car — what do you remember about it?
My first car was a Honda FD2 Civic. I bought it just to get to university and back, however within a year of ownership the car was sporting a Mugen lip kit, Enkei wheels, Tein coilovers, Simota intake and a 5Gizen exhaust. Fond memories, I remember not spending outside of university to ensure I had enough money for modifications. I would alter one aspect of the car and then save over the next four to five months to do something else. After all, there is only so much you can do on an allowance of Dh300 a month! But I’m glad my father put me through this ‘ordeal’, the value of money is not an easy thing to learn.
What other interesting cars do you own or have you owned in the past?
Keeping the Z company is a MK7 Golf GTI that serves as my daily-driver.
Driving the Z daily was soon turning out to be a hassle with all of the modifications on it and I was in the market for a new car. I simply could not go-back to a boring commuter, hence the GTI was the perfect option. It ticked all the boxes for me — it’s affordable, functional, and above all a blast to drive. The best car I have ever driven is the Honda S2000 and I’ll never forget my ride in the Cayman GT4.
Finally, what is your dream car?
That’s a tough question! An enthusiast can never have just one dream car but if I was pressed to pick, it would have to be the Porsche 911 GT3RS.