Cars don't come much more unforgettable than this RX-3 Wagon,…
Build entry 1 – The Concept
Behind every car design there is a talented, visionary designer. They would’ve spent, weeks or months perfecting their sketches and renders, until they were finally happy with them. As modified vehicle enthusiasts, we have basically decided to say, “I see what you have done there Mr/Mrs designer, and I respect that, but I am going to take your design and disagree with your end product”. In most cases the car is not low enough, the guards not wide enough, the engine not powerful enough, the exhaust not loud enough or the interior not flash and/or purposeful enough.
In some cases your modified vehicle is outwardly a portrayal of your own personality. Not sure if this really applies to myself, as I’m a 5’ 6”, solid (read chubby) build, and of Indian decent, which means I’m pretty easy going by nature and not out to offend anyone. But when it comes to my cars, and this car especially I want it to be as individual as it can be, super tough, out to be a talking point, and fast (as sprinting was never my strong point, ever).
For the last few cars that I have been involved in the build process of, the projects were largely secretive and all the details of the build were kept discreet. For this build we’ve decided we are going to let you guys in on each and every thing that we do to the vehicle. Hopefully if all goes to plan we will be able to explain what we are up to, and take you through the processes that we undertake. Things like building custom fiberglass guards, the fabrication of a custom IRS suspension set-up, powering up and de-looming the engine plus any of the other aspects of the vehicle that we tinker with and modify. I wouldn’t say it is a step by step ‘how to’ but more along the lines of a guide, so if you were to take on similar steps with your vehicle you could check out this build, see where we stuffed up and avoid those steps.
One thing that we also aim to do is build the car on a tight budget, hopefully showing you ways to save your hard earned coin. We will achieve this by using some sneaky tricks and allocating the money to areas that will create maximum impact.
So that we are all on the same page, here are some details on the base vehicle and a brief explanation of the thought process behind Project Mothership
1990 Nissan R31 Skyline GXE Wagon
Why this car?
Because it has the potential to be everything that we needed from a base vehicle. From factory it has the RB30E (3 liter, in-line 6 cylinder) motor which is a solid base for any power modifications. The R31 Skyline body has some classic late ‘80s styling (when it was hip to be square). And bonus ‘radness’ points for being a wagon. And the main reason why it is a perfect starting point, it was super cheap to buy.
What was the original intended use for the vehicle?
A practical daily driven vehicle, that would be the most comfortable whilst stuck in peak hour traffic i.e. Auto, reasonably economical, comfy seats, air conditioning, and a decent sound system. The wagon body shape aided in practicality too. Being auto was the main criteria, as driving a manual with a heavy clutch (which my other car is equipped with) in city traffic was not really an ideal option, unless I wanted maximum gains in my left thigh.
Why did that change?
The car was getting used less and less once my job had changed and I was no longer getting stuck in peak hour traffic.
The car eventually needed some rust repairs as it had sat outside for the entire time of my four-year ownership. After the rust repair job was assessed the car needed much more work than initially thought. Being an optimist, this meant that it was the perfect opportunity to change things up, and make the vehicle look the way I had always envisioned.
What is the end goal for the vehicle?
Make it super comfortable street cruiser that is still fun to drive, with just the right amount of power. Combine this with maximum road presence and individuality and we will be on the right track. The key is keeping it as easy to drive and hassle free as possible, while creating positive memories for anybody that comes along for a drive.
What styles have influenced the final design of the build?
It will be a mix of automotive genres; the interior will be heavily influenced by Japanese ‘Bippu’ style (think plush VIP leather interior). The exterior will be all about the low and wide, with the kit loosely based around those that adorn touring cars from years gone by (wide-body with lots of aero aides).
How long will the build take?
At this stage this is a bit of an unknown, ideally 12-18 months, but with the budget required, 24 months is looking much more likely.
In what order will the modifications be carried out?
Although there are multiple variables that affect the actual order, our aim is to select the wheels and tyres first. Hit the suspension second (IRS conversion in the rear) with a very simple airbag set-up.
Once we have the Mothership sitting just right, the custom wide-body guards will be built around the rolling stock. The rest of the body-kit and paint will follow from there. In regards to paint colour, it will be a very simple ‘taxi’ white with black contrasting highlights.
The engine will be the next area to get attention (still weighing up whether to go forced induction or stick with NA), but with whatever we decide, an extreme de-loom is on the cards.
Second to last will be the interior. Hopefully we will be able to find a written off high-end vehicle, that has a ‘luxo-spec’ interior that we will be able to retro fit into the vehicle. And finally a simple sound install, with emphasis on clarity rather than boom-centric to finish the build.
So sit back and relax, as you get to watch the magic of Project Mothership unfold right here at www.speedmagnet.com. Fingers crossed that everything goes to plan, stays within budget and when the project is completed, the Mothership looks like the epic render that you have just seen.
P.S. Special shout out to Andrew from www.awsgraphics.com, for bringing the ‘Project Mothership’ design brief to life with his brilliant skills.
P.P.S. This image underneath was the Initial concept. But since we have been lucky enough to have Nankang Tyres come onboard as naming rights sponsors for the vehicle. Check them out here: www.yhi.co.nz