Dream Build Drive – Its almost here

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Yesterday I went to Melbourne and picked up the Hilux, 2014 has been a very very different year for me, with the car being in New Zealand since the end of last year I have spent very little time with it, the stresses have been unique to me, never really in control of where it is, if its being looked after and if its going to make it back in a similar condition to how it left.

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The last week has been a blur, packing over 100 prize packs to the Pozible donators (thanks guys) finalising all the plans for the release and what seems like a million other things has left me tired but excited.

DREAM.BUILD.DRIVE Teaser from Matthew J Cox on Vimeo.

To have the Hilux home and this Dream Build Drive documentary set to hit your screens makes me extremely happy. Id like to extend a huge thank you to all that have been involved in this project, it truly does mean a lot and I hope that what we have achieved with this will last a lifetime.

ETS Drift Ute – Back in the country

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I think everyone has seen those images of containers falling off ships, well I’m happy to say that I got a call from customs saying the container is in the docks safe and sound. I have to thank Extreme Global for being a great shipping company to deal with. If you ever need your car shipped overseas then they would be the ones to deal with! I can’t wait to get it all cleaned up and ready for its next track day.

ETS Drift Ute – Overseas Vacation

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Things are really different lately, its been a week since my Hilux sat on the startline of Hampton Downs Racetrack ready to attack the track, every night after work I head home thinking about it and it feels weird not to see it in the garage.

I basically came into pit lane, took my suit off, packed up my gear and drove to the airport thinking about all those things I would love to check on it. I would love to just spend one full day on it.

Last year when I broke the gearbox I knew I was on the road to failure with the rear end, the diff lasted but the same cant be said for the driveshaft, I sheared the right hand axle just as the spline started to enter the hub, it was a quick fix but one that I didnt want to perform again. The new sequential gearbox puts a lot of strain on the rear end, the harshness of the straight cut dog engagement gearset coupled with the grip levels of my setup spells certain death for the differential and axles.

My fix will be a GTR differential, GTR axles and GTR hubs. Im lucky because the GTR diff will bolt into the chassis, my custom input flange will slip in the GTR diff, the hubs will bolt into my S15 uprights. I want to switch to 4.3 gears instead of the 4.1 gears I currently have so a GTS4 skyline diff will be needed. Im also lucky because Aaron from SHRED motorsports in NZ has a Cusco 2 way, GTS4 diff, GTR axles, GTR hubs and has agreed to get everything ready for me.

Although I would be stupid to call my setup “bulletproof” I think I am running out of weak links. All along I didn’t care about making bulk power, all I wanted to do was get to the track and iron out all these issues, find out how to drive it and then work on progressing from that point onwards. When the ute arrives at STM Andre will confirm the power I am currently making and let me know where we can find some more.

Thanks to Link ECU aswell for helping me out by upgrading my G4 Storm to a Link G4 Extreme, this allows Andre to set up the gear position on my dash as an input into the ECU, it also allows some more headroom for further accessories down the track.

So in March I will be flying into Wellington, fitting a new diff, driveshafts, hubs, Andre will be retuning it on E85 to make some more power and then attacking the track at the 4 & Rotary Jamboree. Its difficult to orginize all of this this living in a different country but I am lucky that there are very supportive people who have my back in NZ.

Thanks to

4 and Rotary

Shred Motorsports

STM

HP Academy

Link ECU

Tour of NZ – Hampton Downs

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So this was it, the day that I had dreamed of since the very beginning. Azhar had orginised the racetrack and with Gary’s guidance I had the whole place to myself, it doesn’t get much better than that.

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I wouldn’t be alone on this day though, it was a special day for Matt as the director of Dream Build Drive, the documentary on getting the Hilux to the track and making it work has been the focal point of the NZ visit.

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Matt hand selected a team of New Zealands best film crew, we had a budget to work from the Pozible Campaign (huge thanks to those that donated) we had a two man team on the specially setup chase car, three man team on the octocopter, a data wrangler who would be downloading and organizing the data outputted from the Red Epic camera, we also had a sound technician and camera assistant all on hand to make Matts dream come alive.

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I invited Roo Wills along to help me capture this day in stills, he did a great job and these pictures are all from his reel, Ill be releasing desktops to those that supported the campaign as well as all the behind the scenes action. Thanks Roo.

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As the builder of the car my sole role was to drive the car and make sure it worked, to the film crew this probably seemed like a pretty simple job but I had a lot of pressure on me to perform in front of the camera. Some people ask me what I am, a builder or a driver, I would say I am both, I build to drive and drive to build. There’s no better feeling as a builder than to get the full potential out of your creation, feel what your hardwork is doing through each little noise, movement and input you give the controls. At the same time there’s no better feeling as a driver to know every detail of the machine your controlling.

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I know all too well that anything can go wrong at any time, what I am doing is a huge gamble, I set goals for myself, work hard at achieving them and at all times hope for the best but understand what could happen.

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As the car sits on the racetrack shaded by the Hampton Downs Apartments I can appreciate the road that I have travelled to get here.

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Such perfect weather was on hand aswell.

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Its that electric mix of nerves and excitement, as I slip into my race suit and just hope for the best.

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As they set up the first shot I took the chance to get some laps in.

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Dropping down into the cabin and sliding my helmet on I take a deep breath, hit the ignition and fire the SR20 into life. A quick look on the dash to make sure we have decent oil pressure, charging volts and fuel pressure I select first gear with that mechanical “clunk” and release the clutch firing the hilux down the straight away.

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The small amount of laps that I was able to do in Sydney at WTAC wasn’t enough for me to know how the car worked, I knew it was ridiculously grippy, fast and very very direct. To drive a car like that around a circuit like Hampton Downs isn’t a huge issue, the layout is fast, flowing and the track surface is very smooth with a lot of run off.

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I had three laps to get some practice in, I approached the first corner with a cautious entry, a cautious entry in a fast car never gives great results, a fast car needs a fast flowing entry as the higher G forces hold the angle while it gives me the driver a chance to react to line, gear and acceleration changes. As soon as I picked up the pace I learnt what the Hilux was capable of, it was able to hold big angle, it drove through the corner with incredible pace and stayed very flat and flowing.

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Those three laps were the icing on the cake, from the garage floor to a full car in 2.5 years strapped into the seat and steering around a racetrack in another country, feeling the feedback from the thought and effort gone into each little part it was pure automotive heaven. It seriously could not get any better than what I was feeling at that point, its a feeling I had been chasing for years, accomplishment, the end of the road, all the questions in my mind were finally answered. The only chance I had to reflect was at 165 kmh down the main straight, as I crossed the start line I had to blink away the emerging tears that were welling up.

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There was business to be done though and we spent the morning getting the most amazing footage you have ever seen, I cannot wait till Matt spends hours at his desk cutting together what we have produced so far, its truly the ending of the build that I had dreamed of, I cant wait to show you.

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Having such a light car created a unique issue, there was a real lack of tyre smoke, in fact I did heaps of laps on just one pair of tyres, I went through over 70 liters of fuel and still had not used 1/2 a pair of tyres. The harder they spun the faster the ute would go, it seemed to me that I was down on power, this might be true and something I will check before the next outing but if it is infact making the 287rwkw it was tuned at im going to need a little more. With more power I will be able to grab another gear mid corner and really start making some smoke.

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Its not all good news as before we got into the octocopter scenes I had a breakage, the welds on the Mazworx inlet manifold cracked and was creating a high idle, I knew something was wrong and it wasn’t until I rolled into the pits that I found the problem. I removed the manifold, took it to Motorsport Services and they re welded it but not in time for us to get the scenes we needed, with some negotiation we managed to secure the racetrack for the next morning.

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Unfortunately the octocopter guys had another booking and couldn’t fit us in, we took the liberty of getting the Red Epic camera and data wrangler back on board for some tripod shots. I would be looking forward to spending another day at the track.

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Without the involvement of the people who donated to the Pozible campaign, this day would have never happened, for Matt to cover this story with the quality people and gear that we had available to us on the day is massive for us, passion, personal sacrifice and pure hard work go a long way these days, it’s amazing the power that humans can posses, to everyone that played a part in this day I thank you so much for believing in what we are doing.

I hope everyone’s looking forward to the finished product.

DREAM BUILD DRIVE

Tour of NZ – The drag strip

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I have only ever done two passes down the drag strip and that was over 6 years ago, a lot has changed since then and I was looking forward to getting out there and stretching the Hiluxs legs.

In all honesty I had the most fun, I only pushed it 75% with weak launches and never 100% throttle because my mind was constantly on the track day I had planned at Hampton Downs, breaking the Hilux on the 1/4 mile was not an option, having some fun and demonstrating its potential over the 4 passes was my goal, with my speed around the 180kmh mark it was good to know that the Hilux could handle that type of speed.

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The gearbox was simply amazing, under hard acceleration its a joy to drive, the harder you push the car the nicer it is to use, selecting gears clutchless with only a small lift off the throttle was the best feeling you could ever imagine.

But by far the best feeling was ending the day with the ute running and the prospect of getting it to Hampton Downs Racetrack ready to film and finish the documentary.

Thanks to Taryn for the photos, for more action check Speedhunters

Tour of NZ – The show hall

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Since the Hilux left my sight at the end of 2013 I have been anxiously awaiting the week that has just gone. The personal pressure was immense, a lot of things had to fall into place and I am happy to say they did.

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Myself, my fiancee Celia and my film director Matt all flew into Auckland early Thursday morning, we all knew what was ahead of us, we all had a very important job to do and we all worked hard to achieve the best possible outcome. We met Azhar the man behind the 4 and Rotary Nationals, I was reunited with the Hilux and we quickly set up the show hall for the unveiling on Friday night.

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After the unveil night I shifted the Hilux into the show hall, gave it a wipe down and covered it up ready for thousands of eyes to be all over it as they gates opened the next morning.

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Its been a while since I have been involved in a show and this was the first time I have ever built a car that has been the main attraction, it was great to meet everyone, hear their thoughts on the build, do interviews and check out some of the other amazing cars on display. NZ has always been a country of high class hardcore drift car builds and to see them in the flesh was something else.

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I was eager to get out of the show hall and hit the pavement, 4 & Rota Nationals has always been half show and half drag, the scene was set for the Hilux to go down the strip on the Sunday and I was eagerly awaiting to see if it would make it to the end of the 1/4 mile. Read about that in the next post.

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Marcus’s BMW RE is such a cool car, its the DIY culture in NZ that really sets it apart from the rest of the world.

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This car was my favourite from 2013, I love the way Carl has gone about this build, hardcore yet understated and clean.

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Can you tell I got inspiration from the interior layout?

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1000+ HP means the big body gets moving too, wish I could have heard it fire up.

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Mikes Madbull and Badbull where in attendance too, iconic cars that Mike uses to dominate the D1NZ series.

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Rotary heaven

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Marks 616 had personality

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See what I mean about this car show?

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Hugos D1NZ chariot looked amazing in purple, last time I laid eyes on it it was brown, good move!

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This S15 stopped me dead in my tracks, I wish I could have seen it out of the hall with some space to take in the full shape of it.

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SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!

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The Nationals always have a strong drag presence

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Even two wheels.

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I was dwarfed by the other cars that came from Australia, this sounded as good as it looked.

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Check this out, the boys from GT Refinishes do some of the best bodywork in NZ, in their lack of downtime they threw together this golf cart to bring to the show, see any resemblance to a certain drift hilux? Thanks guys I was blown away!

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I have so many photos but Ill leave it here for now, if you get a chance to visit NZ then make sure you check out the 4 and Rotary Nationals, it gets better every year.

ETS Drift Ute – Test Drive

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Leading up to my final week of work for the year I was getting more and more frustrated, the issue I was having on the Hilux was really getting to me, with each passing day it was another potential test session over. Time was running out and so were my options.

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With the problem solved I assessed all my options, my work (Ford) actually has a full test facility with a skid pan that I tried to use but in the end I was told it wasn’t available to me.

After a quick call to Vic Roads explaining what I wanted to do they saw no problem in giving me an unregistered vehicle permit as long as the car was safe, driven within all the road rules and used to conduct only the testing I needed to do.

RoadTest.mov from Engineered To Slide on Vimeo.

After a quick drive I was happy there were no issues, unfortunately I couldn’t test the Hilux to its full ability on a closed course but the guys from 4 & Rotary Promotions are helping me out in that area.

Be sure to grab your tickets for the unveil evening in NZ and also help Matt film everything that goes down.

ETS Drift Ute – Pre NZ Cleanup

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Ill tell you know that once you have air jacks installed in your car you will never look back, designing this car I didn’t really take into account any jacking points, although there are some its still a pain to jack up.

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With the jacks full of 160psi worth of Nitrogen and the safety tubes installed its an easy way to removal all the wheels and have a good look over the car before I clean it up for NZ.

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With the wheels off I can give everything a wipe over, check that all the bolts are still tight, brake lines, suspension and everything under the engine is still where it ought to be.

Ill show you a small vid of some street testing tomorrow for those that haven’t seen it on my Instagram.

Be sure to grab some tickets for the opening night in NZ too!

ETS Drift Ute – Loading Up

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Yesterday I had a 12 hour garage day, I didn’t stop and I think I achieved what I set out to, this was a couple of hours work.

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My plan was to make a simple 6 wheel and tyre rack and a BMX mount so I can easily get everything over to NZ without having to pack and unpack the container.

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I made it out of 1″ steel tube, I have a heap of this stuff left over from the frame of the trailer awning that I set up for WTAC and Geelong Revival.

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I found another pair of Driftmasters in Japan, this time 18×9.5+10, this compliments my current rear setup of 18×9.5+0 and 18×9.5+15, having 6 rear wheels means I can get through a whole day without having to change tyres and without having the ute compromise looks and fitment!

Now all I have to do is make some tie down points and get a bag that will hold all my tools.