Welcome to this week’s FC Throwback, where we take a look back at some of our favourite previous feature cars. This week it’s Mizote-san’s Kawasaki-green Z4 from 2013…
So there I was, sitting in the busiest and most uptown district of Osaka – Shinsaibashi – shooting a German car, done up in the Japanese interpretation of a US style. The best way to describe Mizote-san’s Kawasaki-green Z4 is probably to call it the automotive equivalent of a cocktail – it’s sweet, colourful and served up in a very decorative manner.
But then again, that’s what Japan is really all about – it’s a concoction of styles interpreted in a very unique fashion that creates very specific end results. It’s safe to say that any car the Japanese seem to touch, ends up looking pretty menacing. It’s like they are all born with an inner Zen, knowing exactly what needs to be done to achieve ‘the look.’ And the goal here was to create a show car that would embrace obvious USDM touches, with an impossibly Japanese flavour.
After jumping on the Shinkansen bullet train in Tokyo and enjoying the 150mph cruise down to Osaka, I meet the builder of the car – Nakata-san – from Peerless in front of the D&G shop at precisely 12pm. With true Japanese precision the low, slammed Beemer appears in the distance along the Shinsaibashi high street, bouncing over bumps that, to the naked eye, don’t even seem to exist.
If the theatre of its arrival isn’t enough, Nakata lifts both of the doors vertically into the air once he parks up, and in the process attracts the attention of pretty much every single person walking past. It’s understandable – even among the continuous stream of Ferraris and done up Bentleys that parade up and down this particular area of the city, the Z4 sticks out like a sore middle finger, sitting there with its chassis literally touching the ground. From the onset of the project, the idea was always to concentrate on giving the car the sort of stance that would make it stand out for its extremeness, yet spice it up with well-executed, quality touches.
It all starts up front with an M Roadster bumper boasting a more aggressive design that’s been mated to murdered-out kidney grilles. To accommodate the extreme offset of the wheels, both the front and rear arches were widened, 3cm up front and 4cm at the back. Everything was fabricated in metal with small extensions welded in place and shaped to follow the contours of the unmistakable BM-Bangle design.
Neither Mizote, nor Nakata had any intentions of disclosing the offset of the Meister S1 3-piece rims. They ordered them from Work Wheels with custom offsets – something that has always made this particular Japanese wheel maker popular with those in the stance and show car scenes. The wheels, which were then custom painted in metallic gold flake, were wrapped in tightly stretched Pirelli rubber.
But as anyone that’s ever attempted to stance out their ride, with that true shakotan look will know, selecting the right wheel and offset combo is half the battle. A lot of thought went into the suspension side of things, starting off with a set of Peerless adjustable coilovers at each corner, mated to a host of other upgrades.
To get the appropriate level of negative camber (i.e shitloads! – Jules) Peerless fitted their front lower arms and tie rods, set to push the wheels out to minus 9-degrees. Pretty extreme. However, the rear runs what in Japan is referred to as onikyan or ‘devil camber.’ Roughly anything over minus 10-degrees qualifies, so at -13 the rear wheels are certainly within the range. The Peerless rear control arms, together with a set of SPC adjustable rear camber arms make this madness possible.
The wheels stick out so far from the actual bodywork that you can see half of the tyres when observing the car from the rear. And it’s probably from the rear that the Peerless Z4 looks its most menacing – sporting a Hamann rear bumper, painted in a contrasting dark Candy Green and dotted with decals. However, the cherry on the cake has to be the Alpina rear spoiler that’s been smoothly and seamlessly integrated into the boot lid, as well as extended, almost giving the impression of a ducktail wing!
As we move into the quieter backstreets, around the corner from Dotonbori, we take some more time to appreciate the Z4’s interior. Here you can appreciate the colour coordination, with splashes of fluorescent green on the shifter and handbrake leather as well as custom printed graphics for the door handles and dashboard trims.
Mizote tells us that the car rides so hard, with virtually no suspension movement, that the other week, the driver’s side airbag exploded when he hit a bit of a bump! The resulting thump was picked up by the sensors and triggered off the safety restraint. He’s decided to leave the blown-up door card as it is for the time being, as it’s a bit of a conversation starter – I mean how many people can say their car sits so low that it triggers off the airbags over bumps? Instant kudos in the Hellaflush scene.
When it comes to the engine, this Z3 is all about the noise from the straight-six! The Peerless straight-through titanium exhaust system has been created with the sole purpose of making a right racket. No other mechanical modifications have been carried out, just some aesthetic touches where the guys from Peerless were let loose with an airbrush under the bonnet. They came up with a Nisshoki (old Japanese sun-mark flag) for the straight-six’s head covers, as well as a Gambare Nippon sign on the back of the bonnet – a sign of support to the nation following what the people of North Japan had to go through during the earthquake and tsunami of 2011.
If that isn’t the perfect final touch to what is an indisputably Japanese take on a BMW, then we don’t know what is.
TECH SPEC BMW Z4 2.5
M Roadster front bumper, LED DLRs, widened front fenders (+3cm), LSD vertical door conversion, widened rear fenders (+4 cm), Hamann rear bumper, S15 Silvia rear diffuser, extended and integrated Alpina rear lip spoiler, Kawasaki Lime Green paint, custom graphics
Work Meister S1 3-piece wheels 8.5Jx19in front, 9.5Jx19in rear, custom offset (secret), Pirelli 215/35R19 front, 225/35R19 rear, Peerless custom height-adjustable coilovers, Peerless extended front lower arms and tie rods, Peerless rear control arms, SPC turnbuckle rear camber arms. Willwood 6-pot front brake kit
Custom lime green leather trim, custom graphics
Pioneer Carrozzeria headunit
Peerless custom airbrushed engine covers, Peerless custom straight-through titanium exhaust system
Words & photography Dino Dale Carbonare