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ITEM-B/Street Magic USA Project C33

Ayeeee, Drift Life Readers!

Steffan from Drift Life gave me the keys to the castle, and thought it would be fun to document what I’ll be up to during this Winter off-season.

My name’s Evan Brown – many of you know me as ITEM-B, the owner of that wild, polka-dotted, LS swapped RX7 FC3S that graced the pages of Drift Life issue #1, and was recently featured in Super Street Magazine.

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With the help of my best buds FACTORY83, Wise Concepts, Superwow Factory, Rising Sun Imports, and many others, I redid the FC and brought it back to it’s former glory last month. Drift Life has some exclusive media of the process that will be dropping soon in print, and it feels amazing to have the car done after 7-8 months of it sitting dismantled in my yard.

For those of you that follow me online, you know I recently started a drift team with my bros Paul Chamberlain and Rob Latham called Street Magic USA. To satisfy my love of sedans and give me an excuse to build another car, I developed and built a MX83 Cressida this year, with a 1JZGTE and JZX100 front end conversion, to paint match and drive with my team.

I’m a weirdo and wanted some diversity in my driving experience, and a big, heavy sedan with a turbo engine and a full interior is about as far away from the FC as you can get.

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I had big plans to do wide-body, a fat single turbo, some re-barreled wheels and authentic BN Sports kit on the MX83 during the Winter off-season, but what began as a small joke escalated very quickly and I’m now headed a very different direction.

While I sat online the other night, I lamented about not yet ever owning an imported JDM car, like many of us have to begrudgingly admit.

I posted a tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, and very drab single sentence status update on Facebook that read something like “Someone please trade me a Laurel or Gloria for my Cressida.”

Not 12 hours later, I received a message from Joey Thompson in Fort Collins, Colorado; about 1200 miles from where I live in Southern Oregon. He said he had a clean, low miles 1991 C33 Nissan Laurel Medalist that was legally imported and US titled, and was more than willing to trade me for my MX.

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He said he had followed my MX83 build since the beginning and had regretted trading his own MX83 project for the base model Laurel about a year prior. Despite having only 130,000 KM on the clock, it was decidedly the least exciting Laurel that Nissan offered, equipped with a 130hp RB20E power-plant and auto transmission. This particular car was basically stock, aside from some lowering springs and an aftermarket stereo.

He said he works as a tech at a local dealership and didn’t have time to travel to make it happen, and so after sleeping on it and giving it some serious thought, my girlfriend and I loaded up the truck and trailer, threw the dogs in the car, and set sail – on a 5 day, 2200 mile journey to pick this car up.

But a JZ Powered, built drift car for a RB20E lozzy that’s so common in other parts of the world people pay to scrap them? But why?

I’m a sucker for a pillar-less 4 door, haha. Despite being relatively common in other parts of the world, the C33 hasn’t yet caught on here in the states like the R32, and other 25+ year old imported cars. There are very few of them being developed and thrashed on here in the USA, and the C33 is a relatively lightweight sedan that shares it’s full suspension design with the S13. I figured it’s going to make a fun and uncommon car to build and add to the Street Magic USA garage.

After 2 14 hour days of navigating arguably the straightest and most boring highways in America, I showed up in Fort Collins/Loveland, Colorado about 9PM last Saturday and loaded the Laurel on the trailer. It was as clean as described, and after meeting Joey and seeing he was a bang-up dude of the finest sort, I shook hands and said goodbye to the MX83 I’d spent most of this year piloting at events with my team.

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Joey told me the Laurel was a recent victim of a car stereo thief; making the first things I have to do to the car generally pretty unexciting; It needs a driver side window and new stereo garnish, basically the only two flaws on an otherwise very well-kept chassis.

After getting a good night’s sleep in a hotel in Loveland, I promptly hopped back into my Yukon Denali for another 18 hour backtrack through the same mind-numbing highways I had taken to get there. I spent about 700 miles on I-80, and passed through one of the most desolate regions of our country – Highway US-140 between Nevada and Eastern Oregon; a portion of road with no fuel or services for upwards of 180 miles.

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Besides my front brakes catching fire after descending a massive 10% grade for about 5 miles, the trip was otherwise uneventful and I made it home Monday night at around 11:30 PM with the C33 in tow.

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Surprisingly, my first drive with the C33 was actually my first time behind the wheel of a RHD car, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t flip the wipers on instead of the turn signals more than a few times.

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I’m super stoked to get this thing killing tires before the 2017 season, and with the help of some great companies I’ll be right on schedule to have this thing done before the weather starts to change early next year. I’ll be documenting the entire process here on Drift Life’s blog, as well as my own social media feeds.

Thanks to some good buds down under, CJ Findlay of 679 Style and Conal Taylor, I’ve already got the garnish and window on it’s way, and it’s about to be time to do the fun stuff. Thank you so much, my dudes.

Thanks to some great companies that I’m proud to represent, I’ve already got some BC Racing coilovers, A more exciting power-plant (to be announced at a later date), and an authentic BN Sports kit courtesy of MASTERMIND North America coming.

I’ll be photo-documenting and blogging the entire process so check back and stay tuned to see this thing come together! It’s the first Nissan I’ve ever owned that I actually give a shit about (Sorry 240sx owners), and I’m super stoked to do something crazy and cool with it.

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4 comments

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