Road legal, time attack Nissan 370Z from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Also known as Blondie.[Not a valid template]
I first met Naji Abdullah a few years back on a round of the Extreme Super Lap time attack series at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi. Back then, his Nissan 370Z was looking factory stock and competing in the street category. However, a quick chat with Naji revealed it was modified. A bit. He had installed an oil cooler…
This might not appear to be the sexiest of initial upgrades but, in a land where ‘tune it until it explodes’ is the normal philosophy, it was enough to grab my attention. Naji’s experience of owning a previous Z and a highly tuned EVO IX had taught him that putting in a fast lap wasn’t all about the horsepower and certainly not the plan for this Nissan 370Z.
Talking to Naji, it was apparent that he had a clear vision of how he was going to build Blondie – the name bestowed upon his Chicane Yellow 370Z – and engine tuning was far down the list of priorities. Suspension and brake upgrades – as well as ensuring reliability – would be the next step in the project but this was going to be a slow, well thought-out build and Naji wasn’t in any hurry.
His track experience had taught him that usable power and proper chassis setup were more important than throwing all his hard-earned Dirham at the engine. Sure, he might get left behind on the straight, but Naji was chasing lap times. His philosophy paid dividends on the night producing a podium finish in a stock Blondie – apart from oil cooler – against several ‘monster-tuned’ vehicles.
Over the following months, Naji was hitting the track day scene and evolve speed runs, honing his driver skill while the slow and steady approach to Blondie improvements continued. All that changed when Naji (or maybe it was Blondie?) grabbed the attention of Abdulla Al Zaabi from EXTREME Performance garage in Abu Dhabi who made Naji an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Naji had landed himself a sweet sponsorship deal from EXTREME Performance and the Blondie build picked up pace. The temptation must surely have been there to harness a large stable full of ponies under bonnet but Naji stuck to his plan of usable horsepower, albeit brought forward on an accelerated time frame. That’s not to say though that the engine has remained stock.
Choice upgrades include Stillen ceramic headers & G3 long tube filter and a JWT clutch & lightweight fly wheel with heavy duty ZSP concentric slave cylinder. UpRev tuning, by Khaled from EXTREME Performance, has livened-up the VQ37 considerably and aural impact is supplied by the – as pretty as it is functional – Akrapovic stainless steel Evolution exhaust system with carbon fibre tips.
This may be a natural blonde but a whole heap of cosmetic surgery has drastically changed this Z34’s appearance. Carbon fibre lip, V1 fenders and Spec N rear spoiler are matched with a vented V2 bonnet all from CarbonSignal. Evo-R carbon fibre rear diffuser and side skirts with Shine Auto spats complete the look while Blonde sits on ADV1 5.1 forged custom wheels (19×9.5 fronts/19x11rears).
The real catch of this 370Z is the suspension and brake work which have both seen complete system overhaul with premium quality items. KW Variant 3 coilovers, front and rear Stillen adjustable sway bars, Eibach Pro Alignment kit and every bushing that could possibly have been upgraded replaced with SPL Pro and SPL FKS items – including SPL solid frame bushings – with the exception of Whiteline numbers for the diff. Stop Tech BBK stoppers – six-piston/380mm discs front and four-piston/355mm discs rear – aren’t the cheapest way to stop your car but Naji spoils his Z.
It isn’t often that I get to see a car before a build and witness both car and driver develop – and succeed – in regional, grass roots motorsport. Naji continues to track his 370Z and, more often that not, gets top spot in his class. None of the sponsorship or success has changed Naji and his goal – which he has achieved – in producing a car which punches well above its horsepower, is still reliable, road legal and has a mighty fine ass.
Insert ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ quote here…