Photos by Casey Heerman and Mike Kojima

I guess my wife can blame James Chen of Axis Wheels for this project car. It’s a well known fact that I have too many cars. I have more cars than I can store easily on my property or the MotoIQ headquarters. It’s also a well known fact that most of them don’t run at any particular time because, I only have so much bandwidth and more importantly money to work on numerous projects. The fact that our house is in a pretty decent part of the OC and looks like a Redneck's doublewide pisses off my wife to no end. My neighbors probably don’t like me very much either.

Currently there is a super nice JDM style 300ZXTT sitting in my garage under a layer of dust because I haven’t had time to drive it for about two years. My EVO IX sits next to it as well as our 2006 Pathfinder. Out front in the driveway is the world famous Dog Car under a cover and its under construction sister, the Dog III. My Pathfinder tow vehicle-parts runner, my all-motor 200SX SE-R and my daily driver G35 are parked in front of the house. These cars run. My Turbo SE-R is sitting at JWT waiting for time to fix the motor and a Spec-V time attack car is getting built at Technosquare. There are also a few parts cars strewn around various places in case one of the road racing Sentras gets wadded up and we need a new body shell. In other words, the house looks pretty bad.

I wanted to get a 240SX to do a SR swap but the wife said NFW with that one unless I sold three of the other cars so I had to stay happy with what I had. Well one day I am at the track and James Chen, owner of Axis wheels tells me to take his road racing/drift supercharged 350Z out for a spin and give some of his friends rides while he relaxes and eats or something. Not one to turn down driving for free, I jump for this chance. Now although I started my driving career with RWD cars and am comfortable in FWD, AWD and RWD machines, I haven’t driven a well set up powerful RWD car for a while. James’s Z fits the bill, with 410 whp of supercharged VQ35DE under hood this car has fun written all over it.

I had so much fun sliding the Z around the track that I had to have a powerful RWD track car of my own, but how do I get this past the (wife)boss? Well I had been eyeing the rotting hulk of a 1995 Z32 300ZXTT sitting in the parking lot of Nissan Motorsports for many years. On a whim I asked Nissan Motorsport’s Paul StClair if I could have the car. A few weeks later and one dollar lighter with a Motorsports only bill of sale, I was the proud owner of another 300ZX. I figured that I would not get too busted if the car was just about free. We decided first off that this would be a serious road racing car, a no holds barred machine built for one thing, kicking ass and taking names on the track. Our goal is to build a 600 whp, wide body monster with killer suspension, fully functional aerodynamics and huge brakes and tires. We have a goal to deliver this in a package that weighs less than 2900 lbs. We intend to build a Z32 like no other to date!

Since a Motorsports bill of sale means that the car can only be used for racing, we wasted no time in gutting the car's interior completely. At a porky 3500 lbs, the Z’s main enemy is its sheer weight. With that in mind, we began the first stage of a radical weight loss program. The luxurious Z’s insides are really heavy; in fact the whole car is very heavy. After removing the interior we used dry ice to freeze the tar soaked felt sound deadening so it could be more easily chipped away. The remaining sound deadening and gobs of seam sealer were removed with an angle grinder and a twisted strand wire wheel. This was dirty nasty work but it also saved many lbs. 

Steven Quinn uses dry ice to harden the sound deadening to help remove it by making it brittle


5 year old Christa Kojima helps maintain the family heritage for building fast racecars


Shawn Guardado grinds out the sealer with an angle grinder


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Friday, June 26, 2009 10:59 AM
Awesome project, cant' wait to see the outcome. I'm hoping to pick up some ideas for my own Z.
Thursday, July 09, 2009 5:20 AM
Great project ...Mike!
All us Z32 guys can't wait to see when all done up!..hoping to get some idea for my Zproject too!

LAZ32 Club member!!
Twin Turbo.net
Thursday, July 09, 2009 6:17 PM
That is one hell of a cage, Mike!
Miles (San Antonio)
Miles (San Antonio)link
Friday, July 17, 2009 4:29 AM
I've never seen Mike Kojima not go balls out with a project. Why should this be any different.

Amazing construction. This makes me so jealous that we don't have that kind of talent here in Texas. Keep up the great work.
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 11:58 AM
Actually you do! Andris Laivins recently set up his own shop just out of Austin in Pflugervlle... He used to be out here in Socal building the factory Mazda World Challenge 6s for Tripoint. Check out his site for contact info: http://laivins.com/

One of the most competent and reliable fabricators we know!
Miles (San Antonio)
Miles (San Antonio)link
Monday, September 14, 2009 8:51 AM
Thanks for the info. I'll look him up.
Friday, January 15, 2010 7:47 AM
any updates on this project?
Miles (San Antonio)
Miles (San Antonio)link
Thursday, February 04, 2010 3:17 PM
Hey Jeff, thanks again for the info. Got in touch with Andris and he is going to be doing my cage tonight in my 300ZX. Mike's Project 300zx has given me a lot of good ideas on what I am looking for. Can't wait for the next update.

This cage is just amazing to me with all the point and attention to detail considering angles, time and not to mention it's all done with TIG which takes so much time. I love to see cages like this in the raw, just to admire the craftsmanship involved. Amazing. Just amazing.
Jeff Naeyaert
Jeff Naeyaertlink
Thursday, February 04, 2010 9:58 PM
Oh cool, glad to be able to help you both out! You won't be disappointed with his work :)

post pics when it's done!
Wednesday, March 03, 2010 2:48 PM
Wow, this is amazing. The amount of thought, design, and engineering that goes into making a proper cage is insane. Mr. Kojima, you know how to make an awesome car! And it's not even remotely completed yet!!
Monday, December 20, 2010 8:14 PM
That doesn't look much like a mandrel bender, it looks more like a jd2 model 4. This is still a good machine, but nowhere near a mandrel machine.
Attridge 300ZX
Attridge 300ZXlink
Thursday, July 31, 2014 7:11 AM
Is this car still around, if so are there going to be any new articles?
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