For the most part, when you get together a big group of tuners – we mean real tuners, not some dude that throws 500 lbs of plastic and chrome on his ride and calls it a “tuner” car – there are several clear divides. One of the biggest divides is between the Nissan group and the Toyota group. As the No. 2 and 3 import tuner cars, respectively, there is no love lost between them. In real life they respect each other – for the most part – but under the hood, they despise one another.
This is why you never see a Nissan-meets-Toyota kind of monster build. You’ll see domestic engines in Hondas and vice versa, but you never ever see someone take a Nissan car and drop a Toyota powerplant in it. Well, until now!
Steven Mills, in collaboration with ISS Forged and Tech 2 Motorsports, decided, like many others in the world, that the VQ35 engine found in his 350Z was not up to snuff, even with a wide array of mods. So he yanked it out and dropped in a Nissan powerplant. Oh, you would like to know what engine he swapped it out for. You will be surprised, we are sure of it.
Click past the jump to find out about the engine and read our full review.
Let’s ease you into this beast by starting on the outside and working our way in. The first thing you’re going to notice when you roll up to this 350Z is that it’s hardly a sleeper. Actually, it may be mistaken for a “Ricer” that just had body part and rims slapped on it.
This 350Z is draped with pearlescent white paint and wrapped in a full Type E body kit on its lower third. The front bumper cover boasts a set of outer wings that are telltale signs that show this may not be just another “Ricer.” As you work your way up from the very basic wide-mouth front fascia, you come across a carbon-fiber hood. We’re talking real carbon-fiber, not overlaid fiberglass or metal.
Up and over the slippery roofline of the 350Z you go and you come to a massive pedestal-style carbon-fiber wing. Go ahead and think to yourself “Pfft, I’ve seen bigger wings on a 105-horsepower Civic.” But this wing actually serves a purpose with all of the ponies that this yet-to-be disclosed engine pumps to the rear wheels. The full-size, weight-distributing mount on the base of the wing gives away that it’s not there just to bend up his hatch lid.
When you reach the back end, you find a slick-looking rear bumper with twin heat extractors for the brakes and a pair of nasty exhaust pipes hanging out of the back end. Oh and these aren’t your typical horsepower-decreasing fart-noise-increasing Folgers coffee cans you find on the ass end of a late-model Civic, but we’ll get into that part later.
As you step back from this Z-car, you can’t help but ponder whether it actually lives up to all of the noise that its body makes, or is it just that... A bunch of useless noise. We can assure you that is it certainly not the latter.
Take a look inside this monster and you’ll see a lot more of the picture. You find yourself staring at a partial-race interior. A close look shows a blue roll cage spanning the length and width of the interior to both protect the driver and add a little rigidity to the body. You’ll also find a pair of Bride racing seats to keep you in place while Steven whips this beast around a track.
The driver gets to hang on to a full-racing steering wheel. Sitting in the center stack there is another telltale sign that this car means business, a Greddy Profec B-Spec II boost controller, so he can fine-tune the turbocharger on the fly.
In the center console, you also see a shiny red button, but as Tommy Lee Jones once notably said “Oh, the red button there, kid. Don’t ever, ever touch the red button.” We’ll get into that little piece of awesomeness in just a little bit.
From what we can tell, the rest of the 350Z’s interior remains untouched, giving it a racing look, but also a relatively stock look at the same time.
Engine and Transmission
Okay, we’ll stop with all of the teasing, given you didn’t skip every other section and come straight to the engine section. If you did, we can’t blame you.
Let’s first give you a little background on this engine swap. This 350Z began with the same VQ35 engine that all 2004 350Zs began their life with. Mills decided this wasn’t enough, so he dropped $10,000 to have a twin-turbo setup installed. Like many 350Z owners, he found that the VQ just doesn’t take too well to a lot of boost and the high engine speeds needed to crank out that peak horsepower. So he took to the customization route.
Mills started thinking about installing an GM LS engine or even staying in the Nissan brand and dropping in an engine from the Nissan RB family of engines. He decided against both options and branched out to a rival import, Toyota, to get the powerplant he needed.
The only Nissan engine he could find suitable for his build was a 2JZ-GTE engine. For those that don’t know, that is the turbocharged 3.0-liter in-line 6-cylinder engine of Supra fame. This donor engine was pulled from a 1998 Supra, which boasts 320 horsepower straight from the box. As it sits, the 2JZ-GTE can handle up to 500 ponies and a load of boost, thanks to its recessed piston tops to lower compression, oil-cooled pistons, and high-strength crankshaft.
At this point, Mills enlisted the help of Tech 2 Motorsports to take on the swap. Tech 2 provided the build the custom motor mounts, new drivetrain cross-members, and 4-inch intercooler to make the installation as straightforward as it could be. Mills then added in a set of oil coolers and a high-flow fuel pump to keep things moving on the inside of the engine.
Also strapped to this high-powered 6-banger is a set of OBX pulleys to help lessen the load on the engine and free up a few extra horses. Helping the engine breath a little is a full titanium exhaust system from HKS with custom turbo piping. Also, swapped out was the twin-turbo setup in favor of a single Precision turbocharger. To squeeze ever last ounce out of this build, Steven then had the ECU replaced with an AEM V1 ECU.
Oh, and we almost forgot the little red button. Well, much like the little red button in that Ford POS, as Will Smith put it in MIB, it’ll make this 350Z do something like this when you push it. Okay, well maybe sans the defiance of gravity, body transformation, jet packs, and Elvis playing in an 8-track player, but you get the point. That button controls the 10-pound Nitrous Express kit, or as we like to call it, the “Haul-Ass Spray.” Just please don’t call it "NOS" or our heads might explode.
All of this links up to a Toyota Aristo 5-speed automatic transmission, which is the only weak link in the entire build. Once this transmission is swapped out for a more durable unit, Mills can really unleash the engine.
Though the actually horsepower number is not released, we estimate that this build is good for at least 600 horsepower. With the mild modifications, the engine can handle upward of 700 ponies, but the transmission just can’t take that abuse.
Suspension and Handling
Okay, you need to be able to stop and steer this beast, so Mills paid a little attention to the handling too. Under the car, you have a set of Greddy Type S coilover struts, plus a strut bars tying each side together. On the corners, you have a set of ISS Forged FS6 wheels that are layered in Lamborghini Verde Ithaca (lime green color) with black inner barrels, measuring 19 x 9.5 inches on the front and 19 x 11 inches on the rear. These flashy rims are wrapped in Nitto Invo tires sized 265/30R19 on the front and 315/25R19 on the rear.
Hidden behind the front rims is a Greddy 14-inch big brake kit with 6-pot calipers and steel lines. The rear brakes were upgraded to 13-inch Greddy big brakes with the same 6-pot calipers.
What can we say, this is by far the most creatively done build we’ve seen lately. Who would think to drop a Supra 6-popper into a 2004 Z-car? When we got word from ISS Forged that this project was complete our mouths all hit the floor in amazement. What an awesome set up and what supreme creativity Steven Mills, Tech 2 Motorsports, and ISS Forges showed when they came up with this beast. Absolutely phenomenal.
- If it were legal to marry a car, this would be "the one"
- Green wheels set it off nicely
- The anti-"Ricer"
- It’s not mine
- I have never driven it
- Steven would likely never allow me to drive it
ISS Forged Presents the Controversial Nissan 350Z with 2JZ Swap and FS6 Wheels
Since the 1980s, the rivalry between Toyota and Nissan has been very intense, with many enthusiasts drawing a line in the sand when it came to the two automakers. But Steven Mills is looking to bring both sides together with the help of ISS Forged and his highly controversial Toyota 2JZ-powered Nissan 350Z.
The pairing of two foes was the idea of Mills, a 30-year old Quality Control Manager from South Texas. After spending over $10,000 on a twin-turbocharger setup for his 2004 Nissan 350Z’s VQ35 engine and finding himself unsatisfied with the results, Mills decided to start all over again and contemplated swapping in a GM LS or Nissan RB, but instead opted to go with an unheard-of Toyota 2JZ-GTE swap.
It was a beginning of a controversial pairing of two rival automakers that resulted in a high-performance coupe with a new ISS Forged FS6 fitment to bring it all together. Mills enlisted the help of the engine swap specialists at Tech 2 Motorsports in Redding, CA, a few friends, and third party shop to help transplant the new 2JZ engine with single-turbo setup from a 1998 Supra.
Luckily, the removal of the VQ35 engine and installation of the 2JZ was straightforward and uncomplicated thanks to custom motor mounts, new drivetrain cross-members, and a four-inch front-mount intercooler from Tech 2 Motorsports paired up with custom turbo exhaust work. With the engine in place and ready to spin the newly fitted set of ISS Forged FS6 wheels, other modifications such as AEM V1 ECU mapping and the installation of new oil coolers, fuel pump, and HKS exhaust were completed. Once the 2JZ-GTE engine is mated to a new transmission in the future, the car should easily be capable of producing a monstrous 700 horsepower.
Although the carbon fiber hood hides the diabolical engine swap, Mills’ Nissan 350Z is hardly a sleeper, especially with its crown jewels, the ISS Forged FS6 wheels, putting all of the power to the ground. Mills enlisted the help of ISS Forged to provide a set of forged wheels that could handle the additional power created by the 2JZ without negatively affecting weight or performance. New six-spoke, three-piece ISS Forged FS6 wheels were installed in a 9.5 x 19-inch front and 11.0 x 19-inch rear setup, and were given a vibrant Lamborghini Verde Ithaca finish with contrasting black inner barrels, Project Kics R40 Neo Chrome lugs, and ARP titanium hardware. To ensure that maximum grip is achieved, the ISS FS6 forged wheels were equipped with 265/30 R19 front and 315/25 R19 rear Nitto Invo tires.
Hidden behind the stunning ISS Forged FS6 wheels are new suspension and brakes that make the 350Z an exemplary performer on the track. New GReddy Type S coilovers lower the car’s center of gravity help give it precise handling dynamics, while a GReddy big brake kit ensures that the 350Z can stop on a dime.
Finishing off the exterior upgrades on Steven Mills’ Toyota – Nissan 350Z hybrid is an ings +1 Type E body kit with carbon fiber hood and large carbon fiber rear spoiler for added downforce. Special carbon fiber components are featured throughout the exterior and contrast the custom Pearl White paint.
Steven Mills’ Nissan 350Z with Toyota 2JZ engine swap brings together two rivals to produce a one-of-a-kind sports car capable of putting 700 horsepower down to its custom ISS Forged FS6 wheels.
2004 Nissan 350Z Fitment Specifications
Wheel Brand: ISS Forged
Front Diameter: 19x9.5
Rear Diameter: 19x11
Finish: Lamborghini Verde Ithaca with black inner barrels
Hardware: ARP Titanium
Lugs: Project Kics R40 Neo Chrome
Tire Brand: Nitto
Front: 265/30 R19
Rear: 315/25 R19
Suspension and Brakes:
Suspension: GReddy Type S coilovers and strut bar
Brakes: GReddy big brake kit with 13- and 14-inch discs and four- and six-piston calipers with stainless steel lines
- Type: 3.0 liter 1998 Toyota 2JZ-GTE with single-turbo setup
- Tech 2 Motorsports engine mounts, 4-inch intercooler, solid driveshaft, custom transmission and cross-members
- Precision turbocharger
- HKS titanium exhaust system with custom turbo piping
- AEM V1 ECU
- GReddy Profec B Spec II boost controller
- OBX pulleys
- 10lb Nitrous Express kit
- Toyota Aristo five-speed automatic transmission swap