Death or Glory! C33 Laurel In the garage

Laurel Update

So Since taking ownership of the Laurel, what’s been happening?

Well, I wanted to get it to a drift day ASAP, I’m not one for hanging around but at the same time there were a few things that needed adressing before I could take it out on track.

Following the coilpack issues with the Skyline I decided to treat the RB in the Laurel to some new coil packs in the form of Yellow Jackets coilpacks. The installation was extremely simple, just unbolt the old ones and bolt in these, I also replaced the spark plugs for good measure.

While I was working in the engine bay I decided to do a little bit of tidying up starting with addressing the tatty looking rocker covers, they looked like they’d had something spill on them removing most of the paint at some point in the past, so while the engine is apart why not!

I had some spray paint knocking around in the shed so after a good clean and scuff I hit them with a few coats of high temp paint, followed by some fancy sparkle flake stuff I had knocking around and finally a few coats of clear lacquer before replacing the gaskets with new and re-fitting them.

Once the rocker covers had been refitted I realised that the cam cover now looked scruffier than ever, so that was the next thing to get the tidy up treatment.

Then it was time to do a bit of simplifying, as when we initially fitted a catch can there were a bunch of pipes that needed plugging, one of these pipes no longer went anywhere and so could be removed, it was weleded to another pipe that’s still needed so I broke out the angle grinder and got choppy! Sadly I forgot to take photos of this bit!

Since we first got the car it had had an aftermarket grounding kit fitted to it, this thing looked messy but at the time we didn’t want to touch it, it was working ant thats all that mattered. Sadly as time went on we found that were coming up against other problems that could be caused by bad grounding.

After a bunch of fixes that worked temporarily I decided it was time to remove the grounding kit (which by the way had two out of five of the ground wires going back to the negative terminal on the battery!) and try to find the source of the issue.

It didn’t take long, while I was working on the hot side of the engine I found the remains of a factory ground strap going from the top of the manifold to the chassis it had snapped near the manifold, I jumped online and bought a replacement and that sorted it.

It made sense while I was working in that area to finally delete the charcoal cannister too, doing this seems to be common on most drift and performance Jap cars and its a surprisingly easy job to do.

Now that the engine was back together, it was time to turn my attention to the interior. At the last drift day the gauges for oil temp, water temp and oil pressure stopped working, I was initially hoping that that sorting the grounding issues on the car would fix this too but it didn’t! Thankfully this was another issue where it didn’t take long to find the root cause.

The power for these gauges was taken from the switched power on the cigarette lighter, and the fuse for the lighter had blown so replacing the fuse fixed the gauges too. At some point I will find a better location to get switched power for these gauges but for now at least until after I’ve been to the track I’ll leave things as they are.

I also tried to get the stereo working again but sadly this wasn’t happening, I’m not sure why it isn’t working as its getting power so must be a grounding issue but all my attempts to ground it were a failure. Thankfully having music isn’t a must for a drift day.

After a bit of tidying up it was time to fit the new seats, I’d had these sitting around since they had first been released, I was originally going to fit them to the Skyline but when I decided to let that go I just HAD to keep them for the Laurel instead. I’m talking of course about my Shirts Tucked In (https://store.shirtstuckedin.com/) bucket seats.

I don’t think I need to talk about how I fitted the seats as most have fitted a bucket seat at some point. I was surprised, however at just how much these brightened up the interior! Coupled with my Yashio Factory harness bought from Otaku Garage they look amazing!! I really need to get a second one of these harnesses at some point for the passenger side!

So now the car is ready to take to the track, it doesn’t have a body kit yet, so to some its going to look a bit like a missile car but thats only temporary! The main thing is I start getting to grips with driving this thing hard!

In the garage

Letty Blog 1 – Commitment Issues.

Back to basics

Those who know me will know I tend to do over commit and don’t do things by halves.

Lily my JZ lexus is still in a million pieces and needing lots of work so I have decided to take my time rebuilding Lily so she probably won’t be ready until next year now. 

The thought of taking a year out from drifting and not crashing into my friends or walls, or bankings, makes me break out in a cold sweat.  Living like normal people for a year that shit is scary.  I mean imagine my friends feeling safe on track knowing I can’t crash into them.  Now we can’t have that.

I’d like to introduce you to Letty. She is a 2003 Lexus IS200 and I’ll only be going half mental with her.

Why buy another car rather than spend money on finishing Lily?  There are a few reasons behind.

  1. I don’t have an unlimited budget or unlimited spare time so rebuilding lily the way I want her will take me both a fair about of time and money and I don’t want to rush it.
  2. The best investment any drifter can make is SEAT TIME.  
  3. I became a drifter because I love drifting. Building my own cars because I love building cars and now with 2 cars I can do both.  Passion is what fuels life if you’re not passionate and enjoying what you’re doing then don’t bother. 
  4. Letty was a very good price and built mostly from spare parts I had lying about my workshop so letty cost me  in total £800
  5. I now have a spare drift car to test out new developments, techniques, products on.
  6. More cars equals more FUN………

Letty’s Specs at the moment

Steering = Lengthened lower arms made by Millermods Garage, Minty Fresh Rega Rox knuckles, 5 mm steering rack spacers, shortened corolla tie rods. Cheap ebay coilovers there were on the car when she arrived but I have replaced the springs to 20kg HSD Springs. Front Geometry settings are 6 degrees negative camber, 8 degrees positive caster, 1mm toed out.

Braking = Standard calipers all round with a cheap hydro handle and a 0.625 cylinder fitted in the standard brake system. ABS unit unplugged (you don’t need to remove any fuses or relays just unplug the Abs unit in the engine bay and that will disable ABS and the traction control system)

Wheels = Front 17×9 ET25 XXRs with 215/40/17 Federal 595 RSRs. Running 20/25psi

 Rear = 17×9.5 et 25 Rotas with 225/45/17 El Cheapo tyres running 35/40psi in the dry. 25/30 psi in the wet.

Engine = 1G-FE with Induction Kit, Decat stainless steel exhaust system.

Transmission = Standard manual gearbox and a welded Automatic Diff.

Manual diff is 3.9/1 ratio  Automatic diffs are 4.3/1 ratio so easier to spin and skid with but due to the different ratio your speedo will not read correctly.  

Bodykit = Vertex front, sides and rear lip.  Which I have ran over and destroyed already.

It was a bit of a Baptism of fire for letty’s first shake down. It was a private day set up and organise by a local drifter Briony for the sole purpose of practising the track layout for the Scottish Drift Championship that was being held that weekend which happened to be the same layout as the British Drift Championship run this time. 

Man, I forgot how much work is involved skidding a standard lexus especially on big long sweeping corners but none the less we had some awesome fun and many many clutch kicks.

The weekend after that I have done a public practice day where we ran the reverse shift lock set up at Driftland.  This set up is full of tight corners and flick entries and so much fun.

Events & on track

Sink or Swim RD1 BDC

So by the time this blog goes live you will have seen the many posts saying how good British Drift Championship is under new management. Now, the question is was it really that good? Was it really that much better?

I have been a big fan of drifting for a long time and remember a time before Dave Egan, I watched the sport grow under his ownership and draw in huge crowds. It’s fair to say Matt Stevenson had some big shoes to fill.DSC_0288.jpg

So round one very quickly came around after the new ownership was announced and before I knew it I was throwing my car back together to drive down for PRO AM on the Saturday.

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Time for change!

First things first the biggest change of all, the track is in reverse. I had reservations that this would slow the action but how wrong I was! A wild entry really pushed the drivers to their limits seeing many drives having fast paced offs. I have driven Teesside and enjoy the standard layout but this new layout pushed drivers and made the track longer something that was well overdue after damage to the barrier. A very noticeable thing with this layout was that the lower powered cars were having trouble keeping up on the south bank which in turn saw the demise of the underpowered heroes but none the less I enjoyed the battles.

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Along with a new layout the Bdc had several other promising additions favourite of all was the massive improvement in technology. Anyone that has attended an event before will remember the shocking PA system, well that has gone and a super clear sound system has you covered from all areas of the track (I could even hear it clearly in the car park).

Another great improvement was the live stream footage on the big screen on both days not just the pro day, this would not have come cheap but gave the people at the track a better view of the action.

Although drones have been used many times in drifting the live stream drones really do bring a whole new level to the viewers at home but truthfully hold very little improvement to spectators at the even as you don’t want to take your eyes of the action to look at the screen if you dont have too.

Trading up.

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Another new feature to the day was the addition of a “trade village”. The idea is fantastic probably the best new feature yet but……… it lacked content with only 4 stalls(Walton motorsport, Bdc merch, xite, ratrap RC and a burger van) it felt empty. I really hope Matt hangs on to this idea and builds on it as I really think with the right brands at the event it will push people off the couch and to the event.

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The Bdc merch stall also introduced a program which really helped identify drivers and cars (great idea) and its only £2.50 nice keep safe to remember an event.

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Back to business.

Overall the two days saw many top-level drivers fall from grace. The second clip seemed to really have the drivers pushed to breaking point, it was very rare to see it done perfect with many drivers dropping wheels or cutting the track. When it went well it really did go well though, if both drivers hit it just right it created an artwork of exciting driving styles.

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One of the biggest victims of the new layout was none other than championship favourite Martin Wonnacott. After several good laps it all went down the drain the freshly built chaser took a heavy blow damaging most of the suspension. In true drifting style Martin came back out and pushed hard but the car seemed off its earlier pre-crash form which would later see him knocked out.

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As the day went on it really did start to hit home truly how many big name drifter had not returned after the winter break. A huge miss from the grid was the Irish in general, seeing no more than 3 in the battles it felt like something was missing, was it their skill, wild driving style or their energy who knows but they were a big miss. Not only were the Irish a miss but the big names of the past seemed to have vanished crowd favourites like Simon Perry and his son Brett, Driftworks, Richard Dalby Smith, Matt Carter and many more really left the grid feeling a little incomplete. Another real loss for the sport in a way was Matt Stevenson himself one of the very few that would truly destroy his car to please the crowd.

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Regardless of the fact I missed the presence these drivers brought to these events, the fresh looking grid did step up and put on a good display of driving. Will this fresh grid grow and win over the fans? Only time will tell but to me it’s looking very promising.

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Both days saw strict judging and close call battles even several “one more times” but Aurimas Vaskelis showed dominance throughout and took home first place in his 1000hp e46 bmw.

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Would I recommend attending?

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OFCOURSE I WOULD! Don’t get me wrong it did seem to feel like something wasn’t quite there yet but this is all new Matt has started totally from the ground up and I am sure that as the year goes on this will start to become one of the best in the world but support is key, show your support and it will grow.

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Outstanding moment!

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Tomas Falvey threw his beautiful s15 off track and onto the grass as flames curled around the bonnet, marshals ran to his aid but so did Matt Stevenson he could have easily stood back and hoped his team had it covered but instead sprinted to the car. This does show the Bdc is truly in good hands and I look forward to seeing the promising future of BDC and of this sport in the uk.

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Thanks for taking the time to read this blog keep an eye out for more in the future but until the go give our facebook and instagram a follow

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@deathorgloryco

Photo credit:

Death or glory photographer :Craig Johnston (project thirteen)

intagram @project_sthirteen

Aperture arts photography: Andrew Smith

https://www.facebook.com/ApertureArtsPhotographyBusiness/

instagram @andz_smith

BDC images from facebook not property of death or glory

Words by

Craig Johnston

In the garage

Preparing the Laurel

Over the weekend Lucy and I spent some time prepping her C33 Nissan Laurel for its first EVER drift day.

This wasn’t as difficult as you might think. There are far too many people who think that in order to start drifting you need a million horsepowers, Wisefab all of the things, a full competition spec roll cage and a super expensive LSD among other things. But the truth is you don’t. The only things you really need are:

  1. A bucket seat and harness to hold you in place, there’s nothing worse than trying to maintain control of your car while being thrown around in the seat.
  2. Some coilovers, you probably could use lowering springs but if you’re going to do it you may as well do it right the first time.
  3. A rear wheel drive car, you probably can “drift” your front wheel drive Corsa with the aid of some freshly liberated serving trays from your local Maccies (MacDonalds) but lets be honest, it’s not the same!
  4. A Welded diff.

The Laurel already had most of these things, even though the car came with coilovers already on it we decided to put some fresh HSD coilovers on. We’d already fitted a bucket seat and harness for the driver, the only thing that was missing was the welded diff. After quite a bit of searching we found one for sale on Facebook Marketplace and headed to deepest darkest Shildon to pick it up. We could have welded up the diff that was in the car but since its harder (if not impossible) to get an MOT on a welded diff we decided it would be best to keep the open diff as a spare.

Then the weekend came and it was time to fit it.

This was pretty done pretty much as you would do anything on the underside of a car on your driveway, first chock the front wheels to make sure the car can’t move and crush you, next jack the back of the car up as high as you can get it (in our case we had to take the front bumper off as the car has many lows!) finally secure your car in the air with some axle stands, I placed these under the front bolting points of the rear subframe, the main reason being to keep the car secure but still give me as much room for manoeuvre as possible.

Next we decided to remove the drivers side rear wheel this was just to give us more space to get under the car and move around.

Now that the car was in the air the first thing to do is loosen the bolts holding the driveshaft in place, to do this it helps if you have someone with you otherwise you’ll be getting out from under the car a lot! Get them to put the handbrake on, this helps to keep the shafts from spinning. Unfasten the driveshaft bolts that you can see on either side of the diff, and keep working around, getting your helper to take off and set the handbrake again as you move the shafts around to the next bolt.

Once you’ve got all of the bolts free you should be able to pop the driveshafts out with a bit of force and move them out of the way.

Next is the turn of the prop shaft, there were four bolts here this time we also put the car in gear to stop any movement while getting these unfastened, finally you just have the bolts holding your diff in place and its ready to come out.

Since I already had one I decided to use a transmission jack to take the weight of the diff while I manoeuvred it out of the car, this made it much easier but if you don’t have one you can use a trolley jack, just remember that it isn’t going to be as stable so keep a close eye on it.

Finally, came the fitting of the welded diff, and fitting is quite literally the reverse of the removal, Where possible we used some thread lock on the bolts to ensure they didn’t start working themselves free.

So now the Laurel, and Lucy are ready for their first drift outing!

Events & on track

E85 winter meet

One of the most common thing you hear in the car scene, “the car scene is dead” well if anyone was going to prove it wrong it was E85.

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As everyone knows the winter months really do push cars into hiding, with excessive salt use and dreadful weather it is probably for the best too. That all being said a meet was announced for JANUARY!!!!!!!!!! With much doubt I attended anyway as these meets seem to draw out some rare JDM goodies.

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Being one of the first to arrive I had the pleasure of watching the hoards of cars descend on the usually quiet car park. Before I knew it there was a line of cars waiting to get into a car park that was bursting at the seems. Like a scene from the fast and the furious cars revved their engines and played loud music, the event could be heard for miles.

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It was only when I stared walking around the true monster showed their face. Feeling like I had just stepped onto the streets of japan I was surrounded with some of the coolest Japanese cars to have ever graced our roads.

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From Evo’s to skylines there was a bit of everything but one of the first to really pull me in was a white Nissan s14a.

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This car seemed like a lightly modified s14, low with minor body changes that was until you look under the bonnet.

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Sporting an rb26 skyline engine this was clearly not your average car. Hats off to the owner this car put most cars to shame tonight and drew some of the biggest crowds.

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Although I am a sucker for big RWD cars the Japanese hot hatches brought their A game too. A Suzuki ignis sport parked away from the action really caught my eye, I think its fair to say that these are very underrated sporting a 1.5 engine, bucked seats and a body kit as standard they are a great started car and have a real JDM look.

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Several Mazda mx-5s came and went but this one kinda caught my eye with a lightly modified look and an excellent choice of wheels it really did look like a street drift car.

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As always there where a few rare cars but the two that got my attention where a volvo(yes I know its not Japanese but its rwd and can drift like a hero) and a rather odd import corolla.

The fun didn’t stop there as far as unusual cars go, have you ever seen a bright yellow Micra with 3 spokes and neon’s ? well you have now!

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Whilst we are on the subject of Micra’s I came across this rather clean Micra sporting the death or glory stickers.

Overall E85 drew out some awesome cars for a winter meet and I look forward to the next one.

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words and images by Craig Johnston

Lees R32 skyline at Racewars In the garage

My Skyline, the story so far… (part six, The…

My second drift day occurred at a charity event run by a car club known as JPOC. The event was a barrel sprint arranged to help raise money for the Midlands air ambulance. Despite it being a barrel sprint they also allowed drifters to take part to either do the sprint or do some mad skids up and down the empty air field. Overall there were around 50-60 cars in attendance, most were only interested in straight line speed runs, but there were a good few that were there to drift.

The fact that the only obstacles were two barrels at the other end of the field was both a blessing and a little daunting. It meant that while I could go mad and practice initiations without fear of hitting something, it also meant that I would spend most of the day spinning around while trying to mimic the other drifters on the field.

It was tonnes of fun although to start with I was also a little nervy. The main reason being that cars were only going out one or two at a time when drifting which meant every time I set off, the entire field was watching me…. or at least thats what it felt like!

My first run was pretty much as you would expect I set off to one side of the airfield at speed, smashed the clutch, turned the wheel in and immediately went full 360! The only thing masking my immense grin was the amount of smoking emanating from my tyres! Even though I had essentially failed in what I intended to do I was still enjoying myself!

Throughout the day I continued to try and try to do what the other more competent drivers were doing in manjiing up and down the field. Which gave me lots of opportunity to practice initiations until I was confidently initiating in second gear, in some cases managing to hold some decent slides and even a couple of decent transitions between!

As the day progressed I had various people asking to jump in with me as well as lots of people giving me some helpful advice …it turns out my nerves were completely unfounded, although I’m pretty sure many of the straight liners were getting a bit annoyed at the idiot who couldn’t drift taking up time on the field.

In the garage

Ewan’s 1jz Lexus IS200

Lily the 1JZ LEXUS

Where to start…

I F**king Love this CAR…. AAAAHHHHHHH

So you join me 4 years into this obsession, I bought Lily for £800 and it was love at first drive.

I have been playing with cars all my life and no car has ever spoke to me so much made me feel so alive, so connected.  No object has ever opened so many doors, taught me so much, made me so many friends, become my life as much as this car has.  If I was to sit here to write down every reason I drift my Lexus I would end up writing one of those self-motivation books.

So I’ll spare you the boredom and keep this build thread focused.

6 months after buying her the diff started making a horrible grinding noise and being a “sport” model I feared the LSD was damaged.  So removed it to find out what was wrong.  It was an Open diff that had multiple teeth sitting at the bottom of it hahaha.   So the welder was kicked into life and I got a crash course in welding from youtube and I welded my first ever diff to get her back on the road for work the next day. “ I’ll buy a LSD at the end of the month when I get paid” I thought to myself.

That weekend a local venue was hosting a Jap car meet at their track which I attended.

I thought I have a welded diff I might as well do one skid just to try it before I buy the LSD Diff.

Yeah, that was 4 years and over £16,000 ago… and you guessed it, the LSD never got bought.  Haha!

I drifted her with the standard engine and minimal mods for the first year before I sold my MK4 NA Supra to fund my new habit.

2 years ago the JZ got fitted and much much more.

So Lily Spec list as of 2018 (she is currently off the road getting more done but will update you on that as and when progress is made.)

Thank you for reading and if anything doesn’t make sense drop me a message. I am dyslexic so reading and writing is not one of my strong points so bare with me.

Engine

1JZ-GTE vvti single turbo from a JZS 171 (Toyota Crown)

BOV Delete Panel + Bung

Uprated FMIC

Custom Stainless Steel FMIC piping wrapped in heat reflective gold tape

SFS Green Silicone Hosing

Walbro 255 LPH Fuel Pump

Custom Fuel Lines and Relocated Filter

NGK Spark Plugs

New Engine Plugs from Brands Hatch Performance

Ram Air Filter with custom piping to house MAF

Full Custom 3” stainless Steel Exhaust System

Custom Steering Pump Relocation Pipes and custom cooling panel

JapSpeed Alloy Radiator

3 Electronic Fans (2 on Rad 1 on FMIC)

Drive Train

Mk4 Supra W58 Gearbox

Competition Clutch 6 Puk Sprung Paddle Clutch

Competition Clutch Lightened and Balanced Flywheel

Lexus IS200 Automatic Welded Diff

Suspension + Handling

HSD Mono Coilover struts with Custom Springs

Full Minty Fresh Rega Rox Lock Kit

Eibach 25mm Hubcentric Spacers on the front

Driftworks Adjustable Caster Arms

Full KFD Rear Adjustable Arm kit

Strong Flex Racing Poly Bushes

Interior

Fixed Carbon Kevlar Bucket Seats

TRS 4 Point Racing Harnesses

OBP Hydro Handbrake and OBP Cylinder

Custom Centre Console

Custom Switch panel, Fuse box and Relay holder.

Cusco 6 point Bolt in Roll Cage

Stripped out interior

Hand Held Fire extinguisher

Exterior

C West Front Bumper

Custom “D-Max” Style vented bumper

Aero Catch bonnet Pins

Garage Ascura 45mm wider Full front Fenders

Lexus Sport side skirts.

Sunroof delete panel

Japspeed BGW with Custom extra low Bootlid Mounts

Minty Fresh Carbon Radiator Cooling Panel

Minty Fresh High Level Rear Spoiler

TRS Towing Straps Front and Rear

Custom Intercooler Support Bar

500 Bhp worth of Stickers

Wheels

XXR 527 (front Wheels) = 17×9 et30

Azev Type Bs (Chromes) = 17×10 et 25

Rota GTR (Skid Wheels) = 17×9.5 et35

Thanks to / Sponsors  

City Quay Car Services

Minty Fresh

Death or Glory Appeal

JM Imports