Pimp my ride: An expensive journey

Last updated 11:30 24/12/2012

Engine just installed, not fully piped in.

Supplied Zoom
Fitting the body kit.

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I haven't been a car owner all that long. As a student I never had the need for a car, but I had always been a fan of what people had done to their cars, and knew what I liked and didn't.

My car modification journey started almost two years ago, when I bought my Nissan Skyline coupe 1996 (R33). It started out as a non-turbo automatic, and I got it for a decent price. It already had a few modifications from previous owners (and one that had gone a bit crazy with a welder and had tried to stiffen the car by welding random panels together) but nothing crazy, so it wasn't too quick but enough to get in trouble if I were to do something silly.

I always hated that it was automatic, so one of the first things I wanted to do was change it to a manual. Some people said, why didn't you buy a manual car in the first place? Well, the price I picked the car up for was less than half of a manual equivalent.

The opportunity arose when I had the car parked up to perform minor engine maintenance, and I had drained the oil from the engine. I needed the car moved to a garage down the road so I asked a friend of a friend to move the car carefully, but to first top up the oil in the engine. Unfortunately this friend thought he would just drive it down like a boy racer, without putting oil in the engine and the car arrived spluttering and dying. The damage was irreparable.

After a quick ring around I sorted out what I needed to do - I sourced a new engine and manual transmission to be installed in to the car. Although the cost was significant, I had already been bitten by the modification bug.

Several months down the road I have almost got the car ready to be certified for legal road use, and as it stands now I have spent close to $11,000 on it. There are too many modifications to list, from an electronic boost controller to custom-stitched interior pieces, and the list is sure to rise in the coming years.

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