It’s a bright sunny day, your on the track doing your best to keep up with the car in front of you, when out of the blue you see a green blur behind you. In a flash it’s gone from your rear view mirror and you catch a small glimpse of it as it passes the car you’ve been working to triumph the whole race. That green blur would be the Z32 300zx time attack of SPL Parts, owned by Kuah, owner of SPL. You will probably see this car coming to a track near you, if you haven’t already.
SPL Parts started out as a small side business for Kuah when he first started modifying his Z. After purchasing it, he quickly realized that there were many great parts available from Japan. He started buying a few more parts than he was going to use and sell them for a small profit. This was also a time when very few companies were actually importing parts from Japan. The parts were so well received that it eventually grew into a full-blown business, bringing the birth of SPL. Here it became a niche-market place for parts for the 240sx, 300zx, and the 350Z.
Specializing in suspension components for these cars, SPL has developed a special following of avid fans coveting their commitment to making quality products. Years ago, when they started out, there wasn’t many companies specifically focusing on suspension science and adjust-ability, which is far different from today. There are many suspension-specific manufacturers around these days, so how can a small business compete? Kuah would rather improve on quality and functionality than cheap out and make a bigger buck. For example, SPL is on their 3 revision of their outer tie rod ends and their 2nd revision of their beefy tension rods, rear toe arms and traction rods.
The madness of this crazy car started back in 1999, when Kuah purchased a stock, cobalt green, 300zx twin turbo. He slowly began to modify it since that time, using it as a test platform for many of the products he sells. In 2002, he started attending HPDE, high performance driver education events, and focusing on reliability and suspension. By 2005, he started getting more serious about tuning and power, and was able to run 10 sec. 1/4 mile times with low 1.5/ high 1.4 sec 60 ft. times. Not only was this on a road race suspension setup with 2 degrees of negative camber in the rear, but this was still doubling as his daily driver! After more daily driving, HPDEs, and drag strip runs, the motor finally had all it could take and blew up in early 2006 at Texas Motor Speedway where the engine locked up at almost 7,000 RPM running down the straight at speeds nearing 150mph! It was finally figured out that oil starvation was the cause for the motor’s demise.
Since the engine had to be rebuilt, the decision was made to go a little crazier with the 300zx and so Kuah picked up a daily driver. The Z was stripped down, gutted, the new engine was completely built and far more powerful than it’s predecessor at the same boost level…the car was getting really fast at this point. He bought a rear wing for the car to keep the rear planted at high speeds on the track, and that got him into aerodynamic tuning. At the track, the car gets compliments from racers and officials on how it sounds and being fun to watch, but also hears people expressing their surprise for how well the car runs with it’s history of being referred to as a heavy “pig,” which Kuah takes as a compliment and believes is a good testament to SPL’s suspension tuning.
By late 2006, Kuah knew he had a fast car relative to all the other cars at local HPDEs and decided to take a chance and participate in time attacks, even though all the events were very far away from their home turf of Texas. Unsure if he actually had a competitive car at all, the risk paid off. Since February 2007, which was his first time attack event, the Z had gotten a lot faster. At Texas Motor Speedway in December 2006 the car would lap a 1 minute 51 second lap time, now he estimates the car will probably lap mid to low 1:40s.
The car has now competed in the Redline Time Attack at California Speedway Feb 2007, Redline Time Attack at Buttonwillow April 2007 and the Grassroots Motorsports Ultimate Track Car Challenge July 2007. He placed 2nd place in the RWD modified category at both Redline events at California Speedway and Buttonwillow, and placed 4th place ‘shop varsity’ at the Grassroots Motorsports track car event. Upcoming mods to the car will include a dogbox transmission with closer gearing and possibly alleviate the current cavitation issues from the stock oil system under hard cornering by adding a dry sump setup, finally allowing the car to rev up to it’s full potential from 7000 to 7500. Keep your eyes out for Kuah and his Z, as that “pig” of a Z may be on the top podium at the end of the race!