When F31club started, it was an era where body kits were plentiful, front cuts of various cars could be had, swaps were starting to take off and so many other ideas were happening within the car scene.
While all that was true, it was mainly for popular cars such as Hondas and 240sx’s. But that didn’t stop many of us from “dreaming” and others say, “I’m going to put on the Diana kit”. We all had bold statements (myself included). LOL.
Before I start delving into the goals. Some of them have been combined into one car. Example was the Zenki front swap, RB25 swap and MT swap…. those are components for Project Leopard (me adding the zenki front to it), but also the goal of rebuilding a car from the ground up and using companies and parts I respect and love.
Zenki Leopard front
Some of my goals were to do a front end swap to a zenki leopard front. I thought that would be super cool and since I was from the Honda era that had front end swaps like crazy, it was wishful thinking. In that era, JDM front end swaps were possible when people were buying front cuts to do swaps. I was hoping to do that with a leopard… but they never popped up and it seems importers weren’t coming across the F31 for pieces.
What I didn’t know was that in Japan, many people were collecting any zenki parts for back up. Nissan stopped making these parts and so if you were to keep your car, getting spares is the way to preserve it. Others are looking to restore a leopard, so they are also looking for the needed parts to use.
In 2018, Itabashi-san said he would help me. I would by the everything that I could, but some of the components such as the fenders and hood, I couldn’t get. So this is where I got these fenders.
Hood was a big issue.. it was out of dimension, so nobody wanted to transport it. In 2020, I tried to find a way to get it transported, but nothing worked. Fortunately, Itabashi-san and Ogawara-san had an idea and took me to N Style Custom, where there is a Zenki and a spare hood. Nagahama-san cut the front part.
When I got the hood cut from Japan, I had to put it on to mock up and boy… I loved how it looked.
As of 5/3/2021. The hood conversion is something of a 2000s era craft.
Engine Swap/MT swap
Like most people of the early/mid 2000s, the drift scene was starting to take off stateside. Swaps were starting to happen regularly to the 240sx and a couple of M30s did get swapped. Again, coming from the Honda era when swapping was the norm (even though was cars were not swapped), I wanted to do this with the M30. I just couldn’t afford the RB20det and again, I am a man with no resources. Chris did offer me an RB20det, but when I moved to SF, I didn’t have space or time. I was going to do the MT swap, but again, never got time to get the parts I needed. In recent years, I was content with my M30 being stock.
Then Project Leopard came into my possession. This was that opportunity to do a lot of “goals” in one.
- Rebuild a car from the ground up
- Do a zenki front end
- It’s pre swapped with RB25det and MT
I’ll make another post about Project Leopard’s complexity again. I can’t get it out enough.
The Diana kit. The epitome of the F31 Leopard for many OG M30/F31club members and of course the bandwagoners of this current car scene wanting some kind of “IG clout”. We LUSTED for the Diana kit since 2005. Not just “discovered it in 2019”. It seems so close to getting, yet so far away and impossible. Jason (J on the forums) was actually one of the people that truly tried to buy the kit. He contacted some import shops and even paid money. Those shops couldn’t get the Diana kit. Most people would say, “after the swap, I’m going to get the Diana kit”. Of course NOBODY ever did (because we all had hopes of getting it, but didn’t know how to actually get it). I felt if I ever got a Diana kit, I would have to go VIP with it.
One of my underlying goals while traveling to Japan was to just see a Diana kit. Noguchi-san told me of his friend having a black leopard with Diana kit and I was going to try and track it down. Then another one popped up from Ikuta-san who has been working with Noguchi-san to get Ultima parts.
It took a year, but I finally had it in my possession and I honestly thought it was impossible.
Rebuilding an M30 from the ground up
Another one of my personal goals was to build an M30 from the ground up. My idea was to buy a rough M30 (which many are) and rebuild to be new. Take everything apart and fix what needs to be fixed. I always loved those restorations that shops do. But I wanted to do it with an M30 because this was the car I loved.
Of course, this is happening with Project Leopard. A true tear down and fix all the body issues. All the hacks and drift damage/tweaks that the car had. Refresh all the window seals and anything else.
Go to Leopard meetings
In the early days, we were amazed at all the leopards. They were so clean and well taken cared of. They had tons of different options and great looking aero kits. I was suppose to go to Japan in 2007 and meet with Simasima-san, unfortunately at the time, I had just moved to the Bay area and had no money. So that goal wasn’t completed until 2016.
In 1999, I got a Road Champs magazine from my friend in Japan. I was so fascinated by the Kaido Racers. When I went to Japan in 2001, I was hoping to meet Kaido Racers and see their cars. I never did during those years. When I saw a couple of Kaido Racer builds using the F31 leopard as a platform, I was super hyped!!! I didn’t fully understand the builds back then, but I absolutely loved this Blue Zenki leopard with a huge Leopard insignia on the hood.
In the last few years, things have just started to fall into place. Things I never thought would happen… started to happen. Not only that, but they started to happen back to back.
I never ask or expect to get parts from friends. After I helped a few friends out with parts, they asked what I wanted. I told them I wanted to “See a Diana kit” or “I would love to make a zenki face”. Itabashi-san said he would help me. So I made sure I had the stuff I could get on my own. When it came to the stuff that doesn’t show up on YAJ, he found a Leopard and got me parts from that.
There are other goals to execute in the future.
- build a kaido racer
- get a zenki f31 leopard (Abuni Deka tribute and also finish the DVD series I have)
- Complete my convertible
- Make a convertible hard top
Those are the main ones… but there are other little things I want do as well.