Chris Forsberg may be well known for his skills and success in Formula Drift with a nitrous-powered Nissan 370Z under his right foot, but when he’s not playing with 800 horses, you’ll find him in the seat of a Datsun 280Z restomod. Named Gold Leader, this one of a kind build is expertly crafted and topped with a golden paint job that makes it pop anywhere it’s driven.
Forsberg is very obviously a fan of the Z generation, with him earning three Formula Drift championships and the most podium finishes driving these cars in the Pro Championship series. His 280Z however, is built to be a road car while still hinting at what makes his championship car so potent.
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Inside there’s no roll cage, and the dash is coated in leather and Alcantara. In fact, it’s rather well-equipped with full door cards, a pair of CarbonSignal seats, and custom made dials that match the originals but read the speed from GPS. There’s also a Clarion head unit. The only hints at its owner’s drifting experience is the hydro handbrake and 4-point harness from Takata Racing.
Under the bonnet it’s a different story, though. Here, the stock 2.8-litre straight 6 has been swapped for an RB25DET Skyline motor and gearbox. Chris admits that he bought the car after the swap was carried out, but he was keen to squeeze enough power out of it to make this light chassis squirm at full send. With a TiAL Xona Rotor 3071 turbo and an OCD Works ‘T51R Turbo’ mod, it doesn’t just sound the business, but it produces 360whp with headroom left for more in the future.
Accompanying the new turbo is a host of other modifications such as a tubular top-mount manifold, full custom intake and exhaust, a custom billet carbon fibre intake manifold, and a Mishimoto cooling system just to name a few. And it doesn’t stop there. The suspension has been completely swapped out for T3 suspension components with help from Drift Car Dynamics. Everything’s adjustable and specced for the roughest of drifting. Brakes are by Wilwood, four pistons and new calipers at each corner, as well as a new master cylinder and two-piece slotted rotors. These are hidden by SSR MS1 wheels.
It’s fair to say this car isn’t built for sitting at a garage or at a show, despite it winning two awards: Best Import for the Sony Gran Turismo Awards plus the Best of Show for the second annual Super Street SEMA Awards. It’s built to drive and not only bring joy to Forsberg who9 obviously loves to drive it, but to everyone who sees it on the road, with its appearance often triggers a barrage of thumbs-ups, high fives, and friendly comments.