What’s even betterer than a golden ticket from Willy Wonker himself? An invite from Monster Energy to take part in the Up In Smoke Tour, that’s what.
So, what’s the Up In Smoke tour all about then? Well, this 8-day European road trip is brought to you by the fine people at Crew Sade and the idea is simple. Take drift car culture right back to its amateur roots.
OK, so admittedly there won’t be a whole lot of sideways antics on the streets themselves. That’s mostly because there are five top circuits situated all around the continent to visit along the way. At its heart, this event is designed for road cars only, each of which will have to make its way to every venue under its own steam. That’s the whole challenge, you see. They’ll also have to be packed to the gills with everything they need for over a week of ripping up the tarmac. No trailers, no support and no massive pit crews.
Even the Pro Drifting Fraternity – superstars such as Baggsy Baglioni, Shane Lynch and Luke Woodham – have built a selection of their own street 350Zs for the trip. Their non-road-legal pro racers will be following along behind of course, but only to take part in one or two tasty demos and passenger laps at each track.
It goes without saying then, that we like the idea of this one, lots. Fast Car has always been about getting out there and doing it. We love nothing more than the opportunity to practice exactly what we preach.
Modifying the Nissan Skyline For The Up In Smoke Tour
There was only one thing for it; we asked Midge, our resident road rally veteran, to bolt together a new car for the event before picking up Archie, our social media guru, and hitting the road. Here’s what rolled out of the workshop after a few days of blood, sweat and foul language…
Yes, it’s in all likelihood the least desirable Nissan Skyline ever made. But wait, for a 3.5-litre V6 motorway stormer, the V35 is also the only Skyline you’ll find for a non-professional budget nowadays. Besides, we think this bruiser is starting to see some rising kudos. There’s no doubt that what we’ve ended up with here is somewhere between a half-decent drift car and a proper GT Euro mile muncher.
Like any true hairy-chested muscle car this one also comes equipped with an auto box (shocking we know), albeit with a cheeky tiptronic ideal for a few hours of track work here and there. Naturally though, a few additions were essential to make this car a little more suitable for its upcoming 2500 mile jaunt.
After the essential full service and a once over for the oily bits, sorting the chassis was priority 101. A set of PB Coilovers (set at a rather reasonable height, for once) along with USR rotors and BlueStuff track brake pads from EBC Brakes ensure this well-used bruiser actually offers modern car safety on the handling and stopping front. A set of Toyo Proxes Sport tires replace the unintentionally-slick items that came with the standard wheels and… well, we couldn’t go having any FC project without a posh set of aftermarket wheels, could we? That’s just not the Fast Car way. A set of 9.5×18-inch Forum wheels look the part, while remaining just about sensible enough for the long voyage ahead.
Inside, as you’d expect, it’s just the absolute essentials. A sparkling new JVC double DIN head unit serves up the Apple CarPlay. Chiefly because our Midge can’t remember how to read a road map and Archie has never seen one. A set of Kicker CS speakers in the doors ensure that the tunes come through strong. Even if, with 2-decades or so between them, they’ll never be able to agree on a playlist. Aside from Midge robbing his Mk5 Fiesta of its Corbeau drivers seat and Cobra 4-point harnesses, there’s not much more to it. But this one’s certainly locked, loaded an ready to commence battle.