Sakura shakotan – Rupz MkII

What seems like light years ago (even though it was only 2012) I had the pleasure of shooting Rupz MkII.  It was before any real shakotan cars had appeared in New Zealand, especially more classic-oriented ones.  There was plenty of sacked 180s, but the old J-tin was still pretty rare.  This MkII had all the right aspects, old school, squat, hippari-stretch, and the boso handle scraping the pavement.  I didn’t know it at the time, but this was to be one of those cars that as a photographer I just couldn’t forget.

Imported from Japan in 08′ this MkII was altered to suit Rupz taste before it hit the boat.  Narrower chrome bumpers, GC10 GTR front and rear spoilers, wheels, and bonnet.  It is fair to say that this isn’t just a set of wheels and springs…

The MkII Grande went through a couple of evolutions to get to where Rupz was happy to call it done.  He wanted to pull in as many aspects of the ‘shakotan’ feel as he could, first step selecting a base that was worthy of the mod – nailed it!

Add into the mix a set of subtle flares to tuck the rubber under, a front-mount oil cooler, some screamer pipes out the rear and the original factory paint was maintained to keep things as period correct as possible.  Under the sunlight this thing sparkles like nothing else.

The stance is courtesy of BC Gold front and rear adjustable suspension with S13 front top hats and Endevour Engineering roll centre adjusters.

Under the hood the clean, and super presentable factor continues as well.  A factory brass radiator with polished top tank sits pretty in the front of the engine bay. Although the beating heart isn’t quite as original as the rest of the car…

Rupz swapped the factory engine for a 1JZGTE VVTi, JZX100 powerplant.  The intercooler is all custom with custom piping as it was needed to be set back into the engine bay a bit.

The result, 226kw at the wheels on 13psi with full boost and peak torque knocking on the door at approx 2400rpm.

Jumping inside it’s all 70’s, original interior with a bubble shifter, momo steering wheel, and a Link G4 ECU hidden away in the glovebox.  As well as a customary ‘omamori’ from the rear view…

When Rupz started the build he wanted the end result to be something old school, but with the modern luxuries we have all become accustomed to.  He has hit the nail on the head, and the styling couldn’t be more on point, the tsurikawa dragging on the ground and the angry boso pipes elegantly angled out the rear.

The shoes are certainly make or break on any build and there was only one real option as far as Rupz was concerned.  The choice was custom 15″x10″ SSR Longchamp wheels, with a negative 26 offset all round shrouded in 195/50/R15 Bridgestone MY01 rubber.

From back on it has all the swagger of a old school shakotan.  Those shakotan pipes are custom 3″ including a dump pipe. Once you get right in behind you see the camber SKOOLN has, the rear was enhanced by some 20mm Race Evolution spacers.

With a hefty amount of work to take SKOOLN from stock to shakotan this is the result of a true passion for the craft of automotive modification.  Sometimes the right car can exude all the character it needs to by just sitting staunch on the pavement.  This MkII is exactly that, a perfect mix of classic elegance, modern power, but not scared to just flip the bird and be different.  There is still something about this car though that got under my skin, and even after all the other shoots I still think back to this particular one.  SKOOLN is just that MkII that once you see it, you just simply can’t forget it.

Additional images



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