In car culture these days…. there’s been kind of a 15 year dead spot. So let’s run through the decades leading up to it. The hotrodder thing emerged in the ’50/’60s when greasers started pulling old cars out of barns & cutting ‘em up in awesome & expressive ways. And that really set the tone for American car culture. Muscle cars & pony cars picked up in the ’60/’70s, and we all got thunder struck. The gas crunch of ’73 affected the mid/late ’70s, & started pulling the smaller sports cars from Europe & Japan into the spotlight. By the mid ’80s, the rad-era was full bore. And the following wave of incoming ’90s sport-compacts really hit a sweet spot & bred a whole new tuner generation of hotrodder.

That momentum pushed well into the 20-teens. BUT – while the car culture side was still going strong in the streets, things had tapered off on the ‘new car’ side of things. And when the recession of 2008 hit & gas prices soared, it caused an efficiency evolution in the automotive industry. Engaging cars were dying off, and giving way to the era of the crossover & convenience. Infotainment & driver-assist features replaced fun-in-the-sun thrills & engagement. Vehicles lost shape, attraction, and spirit. They became over regulated. And everything began to virtue signal the environment. Earth Dreams, Sky Active, Ecoboost, etc. The masses really began losing reasons to love cars. And that pretty much brings us up to speed. 

doors off 350Z

Now Chris Simpson has been around for a minute…

He’s in his early 50s now. But in this case, age has its benefits… because that means that Chris turned 16 & got his license somewhere right-smack-dab in the mid-80s: The rad-era. And you know what was popping-off at that time? Mini trucks! Across the board, the youth was cruising as a pastime. Expression was a key ingredient, and the styles were going off-the-charts wild. Nowhere was this more obvious than mini trucks. Ultimately, the tuner scene drew Chris in when it started hitting hard. Chris always had a soft spot for Zs, dating back to the ’80s. But the foundation he got from rad-era minis would/will always be a part of him. And as you give this Nismo 350Z a deeper look… that starts to become apparent. 

doors off Z

This particular Nismo 350Z has a very sun’s out guns out vibe…

And Nissan may have taken away our beloved t-tops on the Z… but that doesn’t stop Chris Simpson from catching his vibes regardless lol. In the cooler months with the doors on like a normie, the car is a very clean, respectable example of a Z. But when the warm weather hits & doors come off, it loses its manners! 

lowered 350Z

For people made like me, this 350Z becomes magnetic….

Driving should be exhilarating. Motion is one of the greatest senses of life itself… especially when you speed it up. Yet we’ve put up so many walls & distractions into modern transportation… that we don’t even feel it anymore. So yeah – there is something about this Z’s presence that steals the room. It gets massive attention. And it pulls you in like a sports car should. Chris built his 350Z to put you right in the nucleus of the whole damn thing. You’re 1 with the car… and the car is 1 with the elements. You see the yellow dotted lines in the road strobe by. It feels like you’re practically IN the engine itself. And there is no better way to cruise. A car that makes everything about your day… better… and more vivid. 

full Carbon fiber Nissan 350 Z

And sure – removing the doors is the wild card

But even with the doors on, this car is a killer build that can hold it’s own. Chris’s attention to detail is definitely mini truck strong. He’s one of those guys where… the project car doesn’t leave the garage until everything’s 100. I envy that level of patience & discipline lol. 

nismo 350Z

As mentioned, Chris has always had a soft spot for Zs…

So when he stumbled on this Nismo Edition about 14 years ago, he jumped in. Coincidentally, Chris also has a soft spot for carbon fiber. For Chris, the import scene just goes hand-in-hand with a lil carbon fiber. So what started out as ‘just a carbon fiber hood’… ended up snowballing. Errr… avalanching. And now, this Nismo 350Z sports a carbon fiber hood, plus carbon…



front bumper

rear bumper

side skirts

rear widebody



roof spoiler

rear spoiler

roof & a-pillars

interior pieces

and engine bay pieces

carbon mirrors 350Z

The wheels are a 10.5” wide set of Volk TE37Vs (+15 front & -40 rear)

Which Chris drove clear across the country to buy. He said he would’ve driven to the moon for them if he had to lol. And Chris used to be a ‘bag’ guy… but not so much anymore… so this Nismo 350Z now sits on a set of D2 coilovers. The exo-frame tube doors were a custom job. They were just one of those random visions that pop into your head right before you fall asleep sometimes. But they give the Z a much more complete look without doors… almost like Nissan premeditated it to be that way. 

Volk TE37 Nissan 350Z

Inside this Nismo 350Z… 

You’ll find a full rollcage with Corbeau seats & an IRP short shifter. There’s a custom stereo with an Android headunit & a 10” sub. Also… a Zex nitrous system. Which feeds an engine with your basic/essential bolt-on needs, like a…

Ported Z1 upper & lower intake

75mm throttle bodies

ISR shorty headers

Invidia exhaust w/ cutouts

Exedy Stage 3 clutch & flywheel

nitrous bottle paint

Going doors-off on a Nissan Z has been the biggest single polarizing thing Chis has ever done to a car… 

It’s like… totally reversible lol. Yet it’s about gotten him banned from certain Facebook pages lol. Some people genuinely come unhinged (no pun intended). But for others like me, it sets Chris’s car apart from the obligatory line of Zs at any given car show that literally all look the same.

See – Chris was born from that rad era of car culture where anything goes. Where the beds of mini trucks jumped up and danced at red lights. It was all about being unique back then… NOT fitting in. It’s a totally different approach to cars than we see today. The younger enthusiasts today probably aren’t even conscious of how much they actually build a car to fit in. And how much social media trends have got them gripped by the balls. Do… whatever feels right. Whatever’s gonna make you love driving the car more. 

Photos by Kese Johnson

carbon bumper 350Z

•check out our free app•  (apple)

•check out our free app•  (android)