Rocket Bunny kit, trick body wrap and some extremely dished WORK rims. Say hello to Jamie’s modified Nissan 350Z: undoubtedly one of the widest show cars the country’s ever seen…
If you were to head to your local Porsche dealership right now armed with a tape measure, planning on finding the very widest wheels possible from throughout the range, you’d come away with a fairly healthy reading of 12.5 inches from the phat rears of the tasty 911 GT3 RS. Rewind back to the 1990s and perform the same task on a car such as the Ferrari F40 or Lambo Diablo, and you might just manage to find something as bonkers wide as 13 inches out back at a push. This puts into perspective, then, just how downright crazy the specs on Jamie Barry’s rims are on his 350Z here – 12 inches up front, and a steam roller-esque 15 inches out back! But this car is about much more than just its stunning, dish-heavy wheels. As you’re about to find out…
“I started off with an Inbetweeners-spec Fiat Cinquecento, before moving onto a Lupo, Citroën C2 and then a Polo,” says our Nissan sales exec owner, highlighting how his car story started out fairly predictably, before things got out of hand. It wasn’t long before the compact hatchback life began getting a little too mundane for enthusiastic Jamie, who had his sights set a little higher with his next move on the car ownership chess board.
“In the summer of 2014, I’d recently moved back to my hometown of Wiltshire and was on the lookout for a white 350Z,” he continues. A fantastic car choice, no doubt about it. There was just one teeny problem: white 350Zs were only available as an optional extra in the UK, and sold only after 2008 for a couple of years before the 370Z came along, making them about as easy to find as a polar bear in Piccadilly Circus…
“I was having a Chinese [meal] with my dad one Friday evening and saw a white, re-sprayed Z on Auto Trader only 20 miles from my house,” Jamie remembers. “I’d bought it by Saturday lunchtime!” Apart from the frosty new paint job, the V6 sports car was bone stock and a great platform for our man here to step up his car game.
Aside from a set of coilovers to get the car sitting a little friendlier with the tarmac, Jamie enjoyed the car in its standard guise for around a year, before beginning to take things to the next level. “I wanted some dished wheels, but didn’t really have any idea what I wanted until I started speaking to my best mate, Lauren Penfold. She had recently bought some WORK Rezaxs for her DC5 Integra,” he tells us. You might remember Lauren’s Suzuki Swift gracing the pages of FC a few years ago, and it looks like her latest build has been equally as inspiring for those in the scene.
This is where Jamie’s addiction to a bit of dish really begins. Next was a 10-hour round trip to Lincoln to pick up his first set of seriously impressive rims in the form of second-generation WORK Rezax splits. “They were 10.5 inches up front and 12.5 inches at the back,” Jamie grins with glee.
But one thing can often lead to another, and slapping these beauties onto his Nissan soon highlighted the next area that needed attention on the Z. “Once I got them fitted I realised I needed to be even lower, so went to Studio Incar for air ride,” Jamie explains. Opting for the top-spec Air Lift Performance kit with a modest boot install, the car was soon able to swallow up the new wheels with some incredible fitment when aired out, while also giving a bit of practicality when long journeys were asked of it.
Blitzing the 2016 show season and racking up hundreds of thousands of Insta-likes along the way, the itch to step things up ever further struck again towards the end of the year. This time in the form of a full Rocket Bunny kit and even more obnoxious hoops to fill up the new-found lines.
So along with pal Dan, Jamie spent the large part of his winter shut away in his garage, hacking away at the 350’s standard curves. “It turned into a huge project, so me and Dan would spend most evening and weekends on it. The arches were a bit difficult to cut because they’re double skinned. But we just made sure we measured everything twice and took our time.” This Version 2 kit from the JDM firm is even wider than the original, comprising super-huge arch extensions along with front and rear bumpers to completely transform the looks of the car.
Adding almost a foot of extra girth, though, what wheels could Jamie possibly find that wouldn’t get lost under the new arches? “The WORK Meister L1 had just come out, so I ordered some up in 12-inch and 15-inch widths front and rear respectively,” Jamie casually tells us. WORK is known for its ridiculous size options, but these dimensions really take the biscuit, with Jamie opting for bronze barrels and gloss black centres for even more cool points.
Whilst waiting for the Japanese works of art to get shipped over, and with the Rocket Bunny lines now fully finished, Jamie used his time to get the second most striking part of the car – the colour – sorted out. “I thought it would match the bronze barrels quite nicely,” he laughs while we discuss the striking ‘Fierce Fuchsia’ wrap perfectly stretched onto the car’s bootylicious curves by Southampton-based Monsterwraps. Just another step that ensures you’re unlikely to lose Jamie’s 350Z in any crowd, regardless of its size.
Just after the turn of the new year, Jamie was greeted to four rather large boxes being delivered to his door, containing his brand-new wheels. After finding some suitably ridiculously sized tyres to adorn them, he headed to his local tyre fitter where he entrusted the technician to fit the rubber onto the rims.
“I picked them up the day after to find there were chunks missing out of my brand-new wheels!” Jamie remembers what nobody wants to hear. “Luckily, Isaac at Rimscarnated worked absolute wonders on them and now it’s as if they were never damaged.”
Major disaster averted, a test fitting proved that these appeared to be the perfect dimensions for the Rocket Bunny kit. They also drew up a surprisingly small amount of fitting issues, considering they’re about twice the width of the car’s standard wheels.
But enough about that, just look at them! Echoing the car’s standard six-spoke wheels but with an infinite amount more JDM epicness, they’re an inspired choice and really set off the whole car’s look incredibly well.
Now Jamie’s completed the most recent phase of his epic Rocket Bunny 350Z build, ready to inspire another heap of people, how is the car driving from that premium Recaro-clad cockpit? “It’s actually driving OK, a bit heavier on the steering but no major problems so far,” he replies. “I’ve never seen anyone with anything so big at the back, that’s for sure!”
We’re with you on that one, mate. It really takes seeing this car in the flesh to appreciate just how monstrous it looks from behind, those 315-width Michelins doing their best to cling onto the vast expanse of bronze WORK metal tucked under each arch. But are we planning to see even more extreme things from this monster anytime soon? “I’m toying with the idea of a twin-turbo conversion, but we’ll have to wait and see…”
TECH SPEC: NISSAN 350Z
Full Rocket Bunny V2 kit, FRP front and rear widearches, front bumper and lip, side skirts, rear under diffuser and ducktail rear spoiler; full wrap in 3M Gloss Fierce Fuchsia by Monsterwraps; flushed aerial and rear wiper; tinted side and rear windows.
3.5-litre VQ35DE V6 engine; AEM induction kit; polished plenum spacer; red JDM dress-up bolts; full Milltek exhaust system with custom rear pipes.
Air Lift Performance air suspension bags and struts with AutoPilot V2 management; OEM 350Z Brembo brakes; 12x19in (front) and 15×19 (rear) WORK Meister L1 three-piece split rims with bronze barrels and gloss black centres; 305/30×19 Yokohama Advan tyres (front) and 315/30×19 Michelin Pilot Sport tyres (rear); rose gold wheel bolts and tyre valve caps.
Recaro Speed reclining bucket seats; Bride seat rails; Grip Royal steering wheel in white leather with chrome spokes; Rimscarnated custom copper gear knob; rear strut brace cover in gold.
LP of Studio448 for helping me with all the ideas; KS Motors of Westbury; Monsterwraps in Southampton; and Dan Powell who helped me with the project.
Words Sam Preston Photography Jimi Lee