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DSport Magazine - Featured Article - "Function Plus" Balance from a Turbo 350Z

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Dsport Magazine Feature Article: 350Z Chicago

Perfection. Every tuner strides for it, only the diligent succeed. Aiming for the perfect balance in a street ride requires time, money and patience. But the reward for achieving perfection is breathtaking and satisfying. For industrial-design graduate Larry Kenney, this attention to function and detail became an obsession.



The Birth of a Project

After graduation, Larry rewarded himself with a new ride, a 2003 track-edition 350Z. The platform provided sleek factory lines, rear-wheel drive and tons of performance potential. For the buildup of the Z, Kenney adopted a "Function Plus" mantra. Function Plus meant that all of the upgrades would not only provide function, but also something more. This philosophy and the build of this Z spawned the birth of Kenney's own company, Project X Customs.

Boost is Better

Putting power at the top of the to-do list, Larry looked for a bolt-on power-adder solution. As the Z is a daily driver, excessive downtime or compromising reliability was not an option. Hence, the GReddy bolt-on twin-turbocharger kit would deliver the necessary function. As for the plus, the GReddy turbo kit also provides a stealth appearance as most of the system is hidden from plain sight.

Receiving and distributing the pressurized air charge equally required an improved intake manifold. A Cosworth twin-plenum inlet manifold with carbon-fiber caps replaced the factory plenum. Before the charge air enters the combustion chambers, RC Engineering 440cc/min fuel injectors spray fuel into the airstream. A CJ Motorsports Stage-1 fuel return system ensures even distribution of fuel to each of the six injectors. GReddy's e-Manage engine management piggybacks off of the factory ECU to provide proper fuel enrichment while UPREV's Osiris reflash software optimized the ignition timing. With boost set at a pump-gas-friendly 5.5 psi, the VQ put down 401 horsepower and 338 lb-ft. torque on a Dyno Dynamics dynamometer. Compared to the baseline output of 232 horsepower, Kenney's Z realized a respectable 73-percent increase in power.

Suspenders and Stoppers

Making respectable power in a street car can only be defined by how that power performs. Transforming power at the flywheel into power at the pavement required a driveline upgrade. A Fidanza lightweight flywheel matched with an ACT heavy-duty six-puck clutch transfers power through the factory six-speed box to the massive 19x10.5-inch Work S1 Meister wheels mounted with 255/35R19 Toyo Proxes T1R tires at the rear. To cut speed, a set of WP Pro eight-piston calipers squeeze 360mm rotors up front, while a set of six-piston calipers grab the rotors in the rear. To round out the improvements under the chassis and inside the wheel wells, a set of Stance GR+ coilovers lower the Z33 chassis while Hotchkis adjustable sway bars, SPC suspension links and a GTSPEC rear tie bar work together to further enhance the Z's handling.

Clean and Mean

Looking the part is often the game plan for a vehicle that has achieved its desired performance level. Seeking clean and tasteful aerodynamics narrowed the search down to a C-WEST carbon-fiber lip spoiler, canards and side skirts. An Ings+1 vented hood helps to release heat from the engine bay while a Project X custom diffuser works with the APR Performance wing to keep the rear end planted. Inside the cabin, a Project X harness bar provides a secure location for the Corbeau street harnesses to mount while working with Corbeau seats to keep occupants secure. A set of Auto Meter gauges take the place of the stock pieces on the dash to relay A/F, boost pressure and nitrous pressure.

For more on this article, grab a copy of DSPORT Magazine on newsstands nationwide!

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