I have owned my 2006 Nissan 350z since September 2017. It has been one of my favourite cars since childhood. Growing up playing Need for Speed and the Fast and Furious movies meant I was drawn to Japanese car culture. The accessibility of the car today meant it was an easy decision and to this day I have never regretted my purchase.
This build post has been created to document my journey with my car and help guide new owners in the right direction. I will update the build with any changes and you will find my personal advice for beginners listed in the post below. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will answer as best I can.
The Build so far
The 350z was in 100% stock form when I picked it up. It had been in storage for over a year and as a result was overheating terribly. However, in between all the oversized estates and towering SUV’s on the garage driveway, she was beautiful. It was love at first sight and within an hour of seeing her I placed a deposit.
I immediately removed the long radio antenna and replaced it with a Tarmac Sportz stubby aerial. This was followed with a trip to RT Performance to get a Mines Lip replica and Tarmac Sportz side skirts installed. On reflection, I was completely overcharged and the finished product was underwhelming. Fitment of the lip was poor and the handiwork was shocking. On the other hand, the side skirts were a brilliant product and I would highly recommend them. Next time I would attempt fitting both products myself as it is a very straightforward job.
The next change came a few months later. I had been driving the car in stock form for several months and I had complained to friends that it felt twitchy on the road. I realised that I was running three different tyre brands and both the front and the rear of the car were mismatched. I replaced all four tyres with Michelin Pilot Sports 4. I used 225/45/18 on the front and 245/45/18 on the rear.
The resulting change was phenomenal. The car went from “nice” to bloody brilliant within a day. I remember driving out of the garage after fitment thinking something was wrong with my car. It felt as if I was dragging something along the ground and I was horrified at the thought that I had ruined my car. I quickly realised what I was experiencing was the dramatic increase in traction. This was single-handedly the best modification I have made to the car and I would recommend the Michelin tyres to everyone.
I spent the next few months getting to know the car. It was always my intention to learn the limitations of the stock car first before spending money on modifications. In 2018 I drove Silverstone, Brands Hatch and Snetterton. I quickly realised that the car was brilliant as standard and the biggest limiting factor was my driving ability. During the Summer I spent as much time practicing as possible and took some tuition to improve my track driving.
In September 2018, during a short road trip, my brakes developed an enormous screech. My garage determined that all my brake discs and pads were all in poor health and suggested I replaced the rears as a minimum. I appreciated that this was a result of the amount of time I had spent on the track. I purchased EBC grooved discs, EBC Yellow Stuff brake pads and Motul 600 brake fluid for both the front and rear of the car.
I see lots of negative reviews about yellow stuff pads but my experience has been pretty good. On the road they are pretty poor but when they heat up on track they have a very effective bite. I find them predictable and they suit my aggressive braking style. I have experienced some brake fade but this is on faster tracks after 15 minutes or so. Overall, I would rate the brakes as respectable but I intend to upgrade to the bluestuff compound in the future.
October 2018 saw me treating myself to an eBay rear spoiler from Poland. I learnt from my previous mistake with RT Performance and got my local bodywork shop to fit the part at a much more reasonable price. I love the subtle, almost OEM look and was shocked to find it actually helped generate downforce at higher speeds. You can feel the car is more planted at 80mph+ and now it finally looks like a proper Japanese sports car.
The remainder of 2018 saw me back at Snetterton and then I was introduced to drifting at a taster session with Prodrift Academy at Brands Hatch. I love the controlled chaos of drifting and ever since I have been hooked.
Unfortunately, I welcomed in 2019 by ripping off my Mines lip on a sausage kerb. To be honest, I was not happy with the look of the vehicle and was not that upset with the damage. However, I was surprised at how much it impacted the handling of the car. At high speeds, without the lip, the car felt as if it was being lifted from beneath. This is something I want to address in the future by installing a proper splitter. In the meantime, I have used Plastidip on the front bumper to cover the damage caused.
I spent the summertime continuing to learn to drift. I purchased a set of OEM alloys which I now use as my drift wheels. I learned that using 225 on both the front and rear made it much easier to kick the rear end out. I returned to ProDrift Academy to complete the Rookie course and I now feel confident enough to attend drift days on my own.
The next changes made were smaller. I had Takata tow straps installed on the front and rear of the car. I also removed the numberplate holder on the front of the car and replaced the plates with removable versions from StaticPlates. They have survived many track days so far and I would highly recommend them.
September 2019 was the big one. After two years of research on suspension setups I finally had to address the issues following an MOT failure due to one of the banana arms. I replaced both front lower control arms and banana arms. At the same time, I decided to install BC Racing Coilovers 10/8 spring rate and driftworks rear camber arms with new locking toe bolts so that camber could be adjusted. The car was lowered around 10mm which is what is recommended by Abbey Motorsport. Going much lower puts additional unnecessary strain on the suspension components as they were not designed to operate at that height.
My standard Y pipe had also developed a leak and this meant I could not pass the MOT emission test. I seized the opportunity to purchase a Cobra Y Pipe and sourced a good condition Cobra Resonated Mid Pipe and Cobra Backbox from a forum member. The result was a sound which was quiet enough to keep my neighbours happy and pass the strict track noise rules. However, when under load the sound is beautiful.
Following an MOT pass, I visited Garage D for an alignment. The team there were very helpful and gave me pointers on where I could improve the vehicle next.
It was after the alignment that the 350z transformed. I have driven higher-end cars including a Porsche Carrera, Audi S3 and BMW M135i . This is now, without doubt, the best handling car I have ever driven. The combination of refreshed suspension parts, track alignment and the Michelin tyres have made it feel like a different machine. I trust it unconditionally and I feel completely connected with the vehicle. There is nothing more satisfying than being overtaken by a 400+ bhp car on a straight only to pass them on the next bend with ease. For years I have worried about being invested in the wrong chassis but the suspension refresh has removed any fears. It is so perfectly balanced I worry about altering anything else should I ruin it.
In October I removed the rear wiper from the car. It was always ineffective and it resulted in a much cleaner look for the car. I would highly recommend looking into this if you want a cheap way to improve the aesthetics of your car.
Plans for the future:
Splitter (Lowering vehicle decreased lift at high speeds but still requires attention)
Further track time and practice
Go-Pro (document seat time and learn from my mistakes)
Tracks visited to date:
Adrian Flux Arena