A big part of my forever-addiction to older cars – is that driving them transports you straight back into their era. That’s something that a lot of people either don’t understand, don’t appreciate, or maybe just haven’t experienced. But the sounds, the smells, the touch, the throttle, and the car’s overall presence of survival… it all comes together in perfect symphony.
The way certain cars can instantaneously take you back & capture the full energy of their era… is totally mesmerizing. And for a car enthusiast who truly feels cars… it’s nothing less than time travel.
Now this Y33 Infiniti Q45 may not appear particularly ‘vintage’ to most of us (even though as a 1998 model it’s seen 4 decades now). But for John Krueger, the car absolutely captures an era of personal significance. That era – is the early US VIP scene.
This car… this exact car… has a long-standing history in the US VIP scene.
Beginning in 2003, this Q45 was a testbed for Parts Shop Max… for coilovers & suspension development. And as such, it laid a lot of the groundwork & set the stage for US VIP styling as the movement shaped & defined itself here in the West.
For that early-2000s time period, there were some truly notable & defining mods on this car:
1. A full metal, custom widebody.
2. 1-off custom body kit.
3. A tubbed rear end that can tuck 20×13 -20 wheels on 315/25/20s.
4. Sectioned & raised front & rear subframes for max low.
Eventually, this Q45 was passed on to James Church of Vip’d Out, who continued to enjoy the car… right up until it got rear ended pretty heavily in stop-&-go traffic. The custom widebody was damaged/wrinkled on both the driver’s & passenger’s side, and repair estimates were turning into a total nightmare for James. He was inevitably losing the battle with insurance companies… and that’s where John Krueger caught wind & stepped in.
This Q45 had inspired & excited a younger John Krueger over a decade prior.
It had a long standing history & influence on the US VIP scene. And although there was no sensible reason to save it from scrap, sense has no place in an emotional decision… which this was. John was out to save & preserve a part of US VIP history. He managed to slide-in and buy the car from James before the insurance company salvaged it… and brought the mangled Q45 up to his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
There’s a shop in the Minneapolis area called Lake Marion Collision, with a bunch of old-school hotrod guys who know the tricks & know to how work metal. These guys were able to work their magic & save the Q45’s custom metal widebody… without using a bunch of filler/bondo. Once the car was straight again, Lake Marion resprayed it in Nissan R35 GTR Jet Black… and added some blue, gold, & green flake to give it that custom VIP pop.
During the Q45’s paint/body surgery…
John Krueger had Alteena interior shipped from Japan to California. He happened to be in California at the time of delivery, so he flew all the interior home with him (as checked baggage) from California back home to Minnesota. John also built-out a new/updated sound system for the car.
As mentioned – the Y33 Q45’s front & rear subframe had already been sectioned & raised for max low.
But John also went through & raised the engine & transmission slightly (through custom motor mounts) to get a little more clearance under the belly of the car. And please note: This Infiniti is NOT on bags. It’s NOT just aired-out for photos. The car rides on Parts Shop Max coilovers… and ‘this low’ is all it knows.
There’s not a ton of aftermarket support for the Infiniti’s 4.1-liter V8…
But this Y33 does sport an intake & some bolt-ons. The exhaust is custom, it’s oval, and it’s been raised into the body for road clearance. And – a friend of John’s did graffitied engine \covers for a little extra under-hood flare.
John’s also gone through the Infiniti’s suspension…
Powder coating parts & dialing the ride height & fitment to his personal preferences. The wheels in these photos are Leon Hardiritt Orden – sized 19×12 -35 in the rear with 295/30 Toyo Proxes Sports. And 19×11 -20 in the front with 255/30 Proxes.
Part of crossing over from the surface/materialistic side of car culture, into the character side… is recognizing the things that inspired & shaped & defined a younger you. And then attributing a value & effort to preserve those things… that goes beyond reason & sensibility & justification. All to get shaped & defined & inspired in new ways.
Text by Wooley Photos by Alex Bellus
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