Japan is an amazing country. Their public transport is always on time, their city streets are lined with vending machines and there really is a fully modded car hiding around every street corner. The Japanese are famously passionate about the weirdest of things. Such as old men who collect dolls, or women’s underwear. That’s used women’s underwear.
So we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that while so many of us are looking to Japan for inspiration for our car builds, the Japanese are looking to the UK and USA for inspiration. Admit it, if you didn’t know any better you might think this slammed Nissan 350Z was built in the US. It’s got that distinctive stanced vibe going on. That SoCal look. It’s slammed through the floor, wearing bling wheels and the fitment is judged to perfection.
“I love to ride low,” says Yuki Hamamoto proudly. You’re not kidding! A breath of fresh air wouldn’t fit between the lip of the rear wheel and the wheel-arch. The crazy thing is, this is a daily-driver and it doesn’t rub. Days and weeks of trial-and-error have gone into perfecting the suspension settings. Ride height, camber, toe… they’ve all been tweaked to give the maximum visual impact.
This is a static setup too. There’s no cheating going on here with air-ride. That would have allowed Yuki to slam the car when he’s at a show or on a cruise, but then raise it up at the touch of a button to avoid the headache of daily-ing a stupidly-low car. Nope, Yuki is committed. Or maybe he should be? Point is his Zed is rolling on coilovers, T-Demand coilovers to be exact. Look ’em up online. It’s truly high-end stuff this. And this is the ride height he drives on. Everywhere.
When Yuki reveals he’s part of the Low’N Slow crew, you can imagine how he drives the car. Their tagline is “fitment kings” and this is unashamedly a form-over-function car, where everything has been done to make it look good. That’s a controversial statement in a country where most car enthusiasts are more interested with lap times at Tsukuba.
Through a translator, Yuki explains that it took him three years to be accepted into the Low’N Slow crew, which is a club based in America. Initially he put 20s on his “Fairlady Z33 Roadster”. But after travelling across the US he finally understood what the stance scene was all about. When he returned to Japan, he began the rebuild.
Off came the 20s, replaced with this set of 19in deep-dish VIP Modular 19s, although they were wearing their original and narrower outer dishes. He widened the front and rear wings before respraying the car Turquoise Blue. At some point 130 Footworks got involved too, helping him to dial in the suspension settings that have left this car positioned neatly somewhere in between the stance scene in the US and the even more hardcore Demon Camber in Japan.
This grabbed Yuki and his 350Z a lot of attention. Blogs wanted to feature it, YouTubers wanted to film him. Before long Yuki had won several trophies at car shows. Then like all good cars, the inevitable happened. It started getting copied. Yuki needed a way to stay one step ahead of the chasing pack.
So Yuki removed his bumpers and sideskirts and started again. This time he focused on custom parts, so that his rivals wouldn’t be able to simply buy a replica of his car. The new front bumper is a modified version of an Amuse bumper that was originally designed for the later Z34 shape with the pointed headlights. The front bumper is made from Duraflex too, so when it inevitable scrapes on the ground it bends and pops back into shape, rather than cracking or breaking up completely.
Similarly the sideskirts had a small vent cut into them, and both the custom arches and wheels grew even wider. Yuki then decided to rethink the colour-scheme. Instead of replacing the original tan interior, which is so dark it’s virtually brown, Yuki decided to use it to his advantage. He went for white on the body to give a clean look, before covering his wheels in Kandy Copper. Not only are they bling in a very unique way, but they complement the interior too.
It’s incredible to think that Yuki drives this every day at this ride height. Then again, Japanese roads are much better than our pot-hole ridden, speed-bump infested disasters. In a country obsessed with speed, Yuki has discovered that Low’N Slow is more his pace. He doesn’t want to set lap records, he wants to be seen. Or maybe scene? Either way, he’s built a distinctive Nissan 350Z Roadster that’s won trophies and got people talking all over the world.
OWNER: YUKI HAMAMOTO
TECH SPEC: NISSAN 350Z
Custom Duraflex front bumper based on Powerhouse Amuse design; US-spec headlights; wide front wings (1in wider); custom sideskirts; US-spec door mirrors; custom sideskirts; custom rear arches (2in wider); widened custom rear bumper; US-spec rear lights, resprayed BMW Alpine White.
VQ35DE 3.5-litre 24v V6 engine; Saclam twin-exit exhaust system.
10.5x19in (front), 12.5x19in (rear) VIP Modular VXS110 forged alloy wheels covered in Kandy Copper; Toyo Proxes T1-R tyres (235/35×19 front, 275/30×19 rear); NRD extended wheel nuts; T-Demand coilovers; T-Demand Pro top-mounts; T-Demand lower bracket; T-Demand front upper arm; T-Demand rear upper arm; 130 Footworks lower arm.
Nardi Steering Wheel, Nardi gearknob; shift light; Original tan leather interior.
Alpine PXA-H700 headunit; Boston Acoustics speakers; Rockford Fosgate T400 amplifier.
Words Dan Goodyear Photos Hiroto Kusumoto