My wife had to do some work from home last night after the kids went to bed. Since it was a nice night I decided to go out in the garage and get organized. I’ve been gradually cleaning out various areas of my house this spring and throwing away things I don’t need anymore while doing a bit of organizing in the process, with the garage being my latest area of focus.

I typically work pretty late into the night when I do manage to work on the car since I can’t really get started until the kids are asleep, the house is picked up, and other priorities are sorted. By the time I am finished working on the car I don’t really feel like putting my tools away. So last night I put everything away and organized the “shop” a bit to be ready for the work sessions that are sure to go down over the next week as the final parts I have been waiting on to test drive the car arrive.

I’ve virtually lost hope for my hood arriving, so I decided to bolt the stock one down. My theory is that by taking the time to install my stock hood, the Hot Road hood will inevitably arrive. I guess the container is finally supposed to be at GTR Garage today or tomorrow for unloading, but it has been delayed so many times that I am not really getting excited about anything until it is physically in my garage.

My rear wheels have left VR wheels and should be here on Monday. I’ll take them along with my tires to be mounted Tuesday and pick them up Wednesday after work. I had to pick up a pair of spacers for the front wheels as they are just barely touching the coilover springs right now. I’m not sure why as they are 17x9J +15, but regardless those will be here Tuesday. I’m making a hardware store run tonight to get a few odd nuts and bolts that I need to finish off the final details.

I’m hoping to finish the aero and a bleed the brakes this weekend to be as close to ready as possible to put the car on the ground next Thursday or Friday. With any luck I’ll be able to pull it out of the garage, give it a wash, and take some photos of my car for the first time in a few years. Can’t wait!


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The decisions I have been making around my build this time around have been heavily influenced by cars of the past, primarily the 180SXs of Koguchi and Itai. I’ve been changing my mind constantly through the process about if I want to try to replicate one of these cars more closely than the other, or if I want to try to do my own thing while giving a nod to both of these iconic cars.

As soon as I got a hold of the Hot Road aero kit for my car, my plan was to try to replicate Itai as closely as possible. I chose the Hot Road hood because it doesn’t have the “swoosh” at the top of the cowl area like the newer Koguchi Power hoods do. My plan was to fill the two vents near the top of the hood to achieve the look I wanted, but now I think I might leave them. I keep changing my mind about it. I guess I’ll see what the body shop would charge and if they are able to do it. I even went through a phase of wanting to paint my car blue, but I think that phase has run its course for me. The car has always been black and I believe it will stay that way over the years to come. I chose to run OEM mirrors this time around like Koguchi instead of Ganadors. I don’t think many people do this, but I really like the look. I think Hot Road looks better with mirrors that stick out more like OEM and the motorbike mirrors Itai ran.

In ┬ámy initial quest to replicate Itai’s blue machine, I wanted to source a set of 17/18 Bronze TE37s. I became discouraged due to the price and how sought after they are right now and ultimately settled for the Work XT7s that I sold about a week later when I found the 17″ pair of Blitz Techno Speed Z2 like Koguchi’s for sale. I decided on a happy compromise between the two cars- Blitz Z2 like Koguchi in 17/18 specs similar to Itai ran on his machine (Koguchi, of course, ran 18s all around. One other subtle difference is the fact that my Z2s are the darker finish like those found on Nomuken’s R34, where Koguchi’s were the brighter silver finish. I was pleasantly surprised by the darker finish and really like these wheels. My tire sizes ended up being closer to Itai’s than Koguchi’s.

I found a Kakimoto 180SX catback exhaust to attempt to match Itai’s car. I had a Trust DD on my car prior to this after looking at endless photos of Koguchi’s car, but kind of wanted to try a canister-style exhaust again. I like the sound of it, but at times I want another dual tip like the Trust DD. I’ll probably leave it alone for the time being and see what happens down the road.

As for the interior, my immediate thinking was to go with an Itai/Ito vibe as I already had a pair of red seats on hand from the Aristo. I was even considering replacing my seats with a pair of red Brix and adding the red bride fabric, stripped interior, pivot knob, gauges, and cage. About mid way through I decided I wanted to try black seats again to keep things a bit more simple. The car now has black seats and most of the interior is black, but that’s about the extent of the Koguchi influence here. There is still a heavy Itai influence with the steering wheel, meter placement, checkered floor mats, and NeXt Miracle cross bar in the back of the car. I also have a Sabelt harness like Ita’s that my friend Jimmy gave me. However, I decided to keep my interior panels in place aside from the rear seats. I would still like to add a Safety 21 cage and might consider going with the through dash version this time like Itai as I already cut my dash up to fit my gauges, but we’ll see. I would also like to add a DVD player sometime soon.

Now that the car is beginning to come together, it’s tempting to sway more towards an Itai or Koguchi specific replica. But at the same time, I really like taking aspects from lots of cool old 180s and picking the pieces I like to create my own car. I posted this photo I found of Koguchi’s car last night and everyone told me I should run all of the same stickers he did. It’s a tempting proposition, but I don’t feel worthy of doing that in a lot of ways. My car isn’t nearly as close of a replica as it could be and I can’t drift, so I would sort of feel like a loser if I did that. It’s a really risky thing that I am just not sure would be cool or not. I also really like the body of my car without any vinyl on it, but I have never tried a livery before.

I think if I were really going to try to do a Koguchi replica, I would have to do the following:

  • 18″ Blitz Z2 up front
  • Window tint (very dark, which is illegal here in Michigan)
  • OEM Kouki side skirts
  • OEM kouki rear valence
  • TRUST DD exhaust
  • Shave rear sidemarkers & center brake light
  • OEM front position lamps
  • Fill Hot Road hood vents
  • R34 Brembo brakes ($$$)
  • Decals
  • Nardi Classic w/ Silver spokes
  • Through dash black roll cage
  • No meters in dash (too late, lol)
  • GREX Shift Knob
  • Full Koguchi livery

I am too detail oriented and I know if I really was dedicated to a Koguchi replica, I would get sucked into trying to copy every interior and exterior detail. For the moment I am really happy with doing my own thing and choosing the things I like the best for the car. I am always on the fence with tinting my windows because I like being able to see my cool seats and bars from the outside. I am always worried about being hassled by cops because front window tint is illegal in Michigan, and I really don’t like the dark interior feeling I get from tinted windows, especially at night. But I have to admit, Koguchi’s car does look SUPER cool with it.

Part of me is always tempted to run OEM sides and rear like Koguchi did, but I always wanted to have Hot Road aero when I had the car years ago. Ideally I would like to collect OEM Kouki aero over the next year or so, but keep the Hot Road kit as well. My hope is to repaint and restore this car someday when I can afford it and I would choose to have OEM aero again when I have that done. I haven’t decided what I am going to do about stickers. I will probably just run a couple on the window if anything at all, but maybe I’ll run a couple on the sides that pay homage to Itai and Koguchi at the same time. Really hard to decide. We’ll see!

Anyway, that’s my rambling for today haha. Can’t wait to get this car on the ground next week!


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Why I Like Blitz Z2

VR wheels finished my rear Blitz Z2 yesterday and sent me a photo. Final specs are 18×10 +21. Hopefully they’ll be here next weekend but I’m not sure with the holiday. Can’t wait to see these things in person!

I worked on the car last night for the first time in a while. I made a bracket for the Defi  boost gauge sensor, sorted my vacuum lines, filled the diff, and worked out a few other small details. Should be ready to go soon I hope. It always astounds me how long the small details take to complete.

I put the front wheels on for a quick peek. So excited to see the aero on, wheels on, and the car in the driveway!  



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A friend sent me this photo after mounting up my front tires for me today. 215/40/17 Kenda Kaiser on 17×9 +15 Blitz Techno Speed Z2. I tried really cheap tires this time because I’m just going to ruin them anyway.


I heard from VR wheels that the lips arrived last week, have been machined, and should be back from polishing tomorrow. Pretty stoked! So anxious to have them back, mount the tires, and get this car on the road!

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I like calling gauges meters, lol. Tonight I finally bit the bullet and installed my Defi Link Meter gauges into my dashboard. I always wanted to try this when I had the car before, but I never wanted to ruin my mint dashboard. Tonight I exclaimed “YOLO” and started going wild with the hole saw bit.


I have five meters right now so I’m not sure if I will just keep the four in the dash or leave one extra one on the dash in a gauge cup like I currently have mocked up. We’ll see!



Thanks to Itai, BH, and Olly for inspiring me to make this happen. Pretty excited about the look!


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Some Snaps

I decided to mess around with my camera while the family was outside this evening. It’s really nice that it has been staying light out longer and I have been able to work outside without a closed garage door and a space heater for a change (even though it’s supposed to be 34 tonight, lol.)

Last night I finally got my Hot Road rear valence installed. It took a lot of trial and error and it still isn’t perfect, but I think it’s finally close enough. Next I’ll move on to the side skirts and then finally I will fit the front bumper.

Really love the look of this aero the more I mess with it. Hopefully I can do it justice when it’s on the ground. My Hot Road hood is finally due to hit the states Friday, so fingers crossed that happens!


My oil pressure gauge arrived yesterday completing the combo I’ve been collecting. I picked up a 60mm hole saw bit to install them in the dash, so I’m going to work on measuring it out tonight and will hopefully get to it tomorrow night. I’m nervous to ruin an uncracked dash but it’s necessary to get the look I want.

I’ve been debating a 330mm Nardi instead of my 350mm from the Atisto, but I’ll probably just keep it. I need a new OEM shift boot as this one is from the donor coupe and it’s pretty ratty.

A Safety 21 cage sure would look nice here wouldn’t it? Can’t wait.

Really happy with these seats. Huge thanks to Jesse Streeter and my homie Brett for helping me get these stateside!

The lips for my rear wheels are supposed to be at VR wheels tomorrow. They told me the wheels will be completed and ready to ship in about a week, so hopefully that pans out. My tires will be here tomorrow. Maybe I’ll get the fronts mounted and do the rears when they arrive.

That’s all for now I guess. Ugh I’m SO ANXIOUS to get this car out of the garage! It finally feels attainable. Can’t wait to see how all the hard work pays off.

I’ll keep ya posted! Thank you for looking.


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It’s finally getting really nice out here in Michigan. Today it was 82 or so and in the evenings it’s perfect since the bugs aren’t out yet.

Alicia is at the store and the girls are asleep so I’ve been tinkering with my car. I adjusted the angle of the seat like my friend Jimmy said to and it’s pretty comfy now. I really like my interior now aside from the obvious lack of a safety 21 roll cage. Still waiting on my oil pressure gauge and then I can install those too.

I tried to put my rear Hot Road valence on last night again and thought I had it, but the tape is already failing. I’m going to try a new method next week and I think it will be all set. I was frustrated with the FRP aero and wanted to sell it and get OEM kouki aero, but I think I will stick with it and get it to work.

I got my blow off valve back from being welded today and put that on. Now I can start the car up again which is always fun. I’ve been peeling the tape off of the car from the JDM window visors I used to have and am done with one side.

My hood should be to GTR Garage in Portland with any luck late next week and then it will ship here. It’s been four and a half months so I’m really excited. No idea where my rear wheels are though and that bums me out. I really hope they are done soon so I can put this thing on the ground. Tires should arrive next week.

It feels like I don’t have much time or the items I need to finish lately so I haven’t been doing a whole lot. I hope it finally comes together soon so I can enjoy the nice weather!

Have a great weekend. Don’t forget to buy your mom a gift! More quick hot updates like this soon I hope.


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