A 180SX With A Twist

As you may have figured out by now, Bihoku is my new home for drifting. It’s a short 1.5 to 2 hour drive depending on the route you take. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, (usually most times to be honest, because this is Japan) I find something worth writing an article about. This time it was a 180SX “with a twist”.

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It’s a drift car setup by Total Care Produce (Neo Project). You might have seen their yellow V8 180SX from our recent Osaka Auto Messe article. Usually, their cars are very low, so low that I’d be amazed if they could do anything other than park. This 180SX is different from the rest; it is very much a functional drift car.

The base of the car is painted in a hot pink colour, with logos and other parts taking either black or white. The colour combination definitely works well. If we look at the front wheels, we can see a black set of Work Kiwamis, wrapped with the ever-so-popular Federal 595 RS-R tyre; the same tyres I use on my drift car.

A lot of drift cars I see at Bihoku are low. No-wheel-gap kind of low. This is too low. A drift car, a well set-up drift car, shouldn’t really be that low. First of all, coming off the track is a big problem when your car is only millimetres from the ground; things will get destroyed. Second, everything is just harder. It’s harder to get in the car, harder to jack up the car, makes your suspension geometry go crazy, no room for suspension travel, and so on. Neo Project has the car’s suspension at a nice level to make everything work.

Around the lower part of the car is a rad set of carbon-fibre lips. This is becoming a common modification lately; it’s a great way to make your car’s body line look lower without compromising the suspension. It also separates the car from the tarmac. Remember when you were a child, and you maybe looked at cartoons. Didn’t they look so much better with a black outline?

The overall look of the car is done well. Everything suits, nothing is too over the top. But do you see it? The one thing that makes this a “car with a twist”. It’s there, or should I say, it isn’t there?

The boot lid has been replaced with an inverted one, a modification I’ve only seen a few times on the internet — this being the first one in person. I like it, I really do. I think it changes the whole rear end of the 180SX. It also gets rid of the heavy glass and metal boot lid that used to be there.

The rear of the car actually has some stock parts on it. The tail lights are original and it looks like the bumper might also be. Although the bumper is original, it’s been cut slightly and had some hefty end caps fitted to it as well as a mighty fine diffuser.

The engine was a nice place to look at indeed. It appears strong with most, if not every, bolt replaced with fresh parts. A Garret turbo sits up high next to the SR20DET engine. The cam cover and the engine bay have been painted pink to match the exterior of the vehicle.

An upgraded radiator keeps the engine cool. It seems that they have also relocated the washer fluid bottle. From the factory, this sits in the same position as the side mounted intercooler, only on the other side. Placed like that, it’s in the way, so relocating it must have been necessary.

I do like the look of the removed fan shroud. It makes for a cleaner engine bay. Removing the water pump also creates more room; room for crumple space or just room for air. Going off the EWP plate, I’d also assume it’s using an EWP electric water pump kit.

Most of the unnecessary holes have been filled, and the seams being spot-welded for extra support. In addition to that extra support, there are extra brackets welded in to each side of the strut towers, with “those holes”. Something about “those holes” ticks my box.

The interior was usual for a drift car. Bucket seats with harnesses, aftermarket steering wheel, gauges here and there, roll cage. Most of the interior is still intact in true Japanese style. I must say I agree with this style, as it’s not that nice to look at a car without interior plastic. The one out of the ordinary thing (for a Japanese drift car) is the hydraulic handbrake hiding beside the driver’s seat. Even some pro cars in D1 don’t use hydraulic handbrakes.

Although this is a 180SX, it doesn’t have the 180SX dash. This dash is from an S15; doesn’t it look great? It gives the somewhat old interior of the 180SX a fresh and updated look. Another thing about Japan and its drift cars is the fire extinguishers. You can’t buy big ones easily, and if you do, it will cost a bomb. The most common extinguisher to have is a tiny one like this, to ‘hold off’ the fire until bigger ones arrive.

Neo Project has done a marvelous job creating a fine looking drift car. I didn’t meet the driver, but I did see him out on the track. He knew how to pedal the thing. Fast entries made for an entertaining time watching him slide around the track.

Looks like he is making the most of his hydraulic handbrake. I’m a bit on the edge with these, or just the use of handbrakes for entries altogether. I do it, because I’m not very good. However, if you want high speed initiations, pulling the handbrake is only going to slow you down.

It’s an all-round functional drift car with all the modifications you need to enter pro-level competitions. Would I drive it? Hell yeah, with that much work gone into it, I’m sure it would be a pleasure to push around Bihoku. Maybe next time I’ll have to ask for a ride-along.

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Photos: Shaun Constable | Words: Shaun Constable | Proofer: Olivia Obrecht

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