‘I honestly just wanted a new car when I bought this Z,” said Brian McCann, owner of a 2005 Nissan 350Z that has become a truly spectacular one-of-a-kind build. “I had never had anything new, and the Z seemed a natural impulse buy. I didn’t even test drive one. I just bought it and drove it home. Pretty ridiculous in hindsight.”
According to McCann, the original goal of the build was to not to do a build.
“I was in my late 20s and just gave myself a hell of a car payment, but as life unfolds, I began doing simple things to the car to make it my own,” he explained. These simple modifications included a Momo steering wheel, drop springs on stock shocks, and a set of Axis wheels.
But after those preliminary modifications, McCann told CLassic Car News that he that he wanted an aero kit, “so I went simple and picked up a Webersport replica from VIS years and years ago.”
Soon after that purchase, however, McCann saw a YouTube video from a user named badbreed350z of a dark-colored wide-body Veilside Z. “I had always wanted one, and I knew I could make one look good, so again, I did it,” McCann mused.
McCann’s desire to change his car grew until his Z became what it is today: a very Japanese, very Wangan-line “midnight club” inspired build.
“I absolutely love Japanese car culture,” he said. “The freedom from judgment and ego, the individuality and celebration of all things car related no matter how strange or silly even.
“I’ve always followed the FD RX7 that was built by my friends of the Stardast group over at Carshop Glow, and although that car is now a dedicated track machine, I wanted to build something out of my Z that had a similar taste and style.”
McCann’s rendition is more for at-home prowling the freeways versus the track, and is complete with flashing lights, in-car electronics as well as normal creature comforts that a dedicated track car has to go without.
“Bottom line is that I wanted to build a fully capable and functional time-attack styled car even if I never intended to take it to a track, strip the interior out, or race it on a public road like the cars that it mimics in Japan sometimes do,” he said.
McCann said he wanted to make something no one else had seen before on a Z33, for reasons he still doesn’t understand himself, “maybe because it was impractically expensive to do so for an old car? Maybe because it required more than a ‘bolt-on parts attitude’ for what was possible? I wanted a car I would enjoy creating and sharing with everyone as I built it.”
Knowing exactly what he wanted and entering the challenge with a clear mind, McCann has accomplished his goals. “I wanted to create a one-off [car] and to possess the kind of car I saw in my mind that hadn’t been made quite yet. And now I think I have. And now it lives in my garage, just like I wanted.”
According to McCann, people seem supportive and excited about the build and that is a powerful and satisfying thing for him. McCann is happy to have made something that has captured people’s attention for a moment and has inspired a different build direction not always seen on Z33.
While a majority of the car was designed and built by McCann, the build was a team effort with help from shops, friends, and sponsors.
“I have always done a ton of my own work, mostly basic part installs, but what I liked was the collaboration that this car allowed,” he said. “I think everyone had some fun doing their section of the car. It sure as hell beats doing oil changes.”
Working on this 350Z project with rendering artists, auto-body professionals, mechanics, and with sponsors has provided McCann with a rewarding feeling with a particular emphasis on the design and to-do list always being his call. “I was able to either do myself or to dictate what I wanted done and took a pretty hands on approach in either case.” McCann provided CLassic Car News with the example of wrapping his car, “I had never wrapped a car before but I think this car turned out pretty good considering. You get the right tools, you learn, you practice, and then you jump in. At the end of the day, it’s just a car.”
For being just a car, this Z33 packs a punch with its fully built VQ35DE Powerlab single Precision 6266 CEA BB turbo with Tial bov and wastegate that pushes out 650.1 wheel horsepower and a staggering 650.8 ft lbs of torque on VP brand Q16 fuel, and 527 wheel horsepower on 91 octane pump gas. The engine has been built by Intense Motorsports, tuned by UMS, and serviced by Extreme Auto Concepts, which also keeps the car running in good health on the streets and did a full wire set up.
As every enthusiast knows, no project car is every truly complete, there is always something more. For McCann, it’s the engine. “Boosting a VQ is just asking for a life of chasing the 8 ball, especially when it’s built and running high horsepower. Everything has to be accounted for, even down to the routing of a PCV system. Nothing is off the shelf basic, and they are noisy, smelly, and it’s always something. I mean, right now I’m slipping clutch at high speeds… and I’m pretty sure it needs a new diff. Like I said, always something.”
McCann began the engine build in late 2011, but the latest face of the project took from October 2013 to July 4, 2015.
McCann’s addiction to cars began when he was young by working with 12-volt and auto sound work. Past projects include a naturally aspirated Z32 back in Alaska before he moved to Arizona. “It was quite a long time ago and definitely a very ‘fast and furious’ kind of build. I’d love to build another one with some more updated parts”
He’s currently working on a Chrysler 300 project.