Feature: Everything’s Fun – Masao Otani’s 180SX

The beauty of being involved in a global hobby is that you get the opportunity to connect with a multitude of awesome people.  I’m fortunate that the majority of them come from simply supporting the website; I need not travel further than my inbox to find a handful. I try to answer everyone in a timely manner, but sometimes I get really backed up.  It just so happens though, that this week I’ve been held captive in my own home due to knee surgery.  While the inability to move has it’s downsides, it has allowed me to catch up with correspondence.  This weekend I was able to chat with Masao Otani, a resident of Chiba who happens to be associated with a mutual friend of mine.  I’ve been following his build for awhile now, but until we talked, I had no idea just how parallel his mindset was with that of NDF.

In our conversation, Masao-san wrapped up his mindset on his automotive passion in a single statement (at least this is how I translated it):

“I enjoy full-fledged Time Attack builds, and high-spec vehicles – if you are able to do this, I think you should.  If you cannot, you should enjoy the the car to the extent that you can.  I’ve built what I think is the perfect car for the NDF phrase 「ゼンブ楽しい」!”

And built it he did – every modification on this car was completed by Masao-san himself.  His particular set of skills and keen eye for aesthetics don’t stop with his personal car, however.  By day Masao-san is the sheet-metal fabricator and paint tech at TM Car Body Shop in Osato, Chiba.

1462710883231The unique arrangement of aero parts that clad the exterior of the 180SX are definitely difficult to overlook.  What once was an easily obtained body kit was transformed at TM into a one-off look exclusive to Masao’s car.  The canards, both front and rear, side strakes and diffuser were all custom made by the owner, giving it a more than aggressive stature on the street.


1462709805754Tantan-san, friend of Masao, took these photos on behalf of NDF.  Looking forward to meeting next time I’m in Japan.


Carbon Craft Square side mirrors accent the rest of the carbon outerwear.


An array of Defi gauges are employed to monitor car vitals while enjoying the circuit.  An 8 point roll cage, suede steering wheel and two full Bride bucket seats round up the remaining modifications to the car’s interior.  Simplicity was the name of the game here, with all amenities like power steering and air conditioning remaining intact.


While there isn’t a fully built SR20 under the carbon bonnet, it wasn’t exactly ignored.  The motor has what you would imagine to be a checklist of reliable power adders and ancillary modifications.  Intake and exhaust manifolds have been upgraded to stainless steel units, and the exhaust is exited through a titanium muffler.  An aluminum radiator and oil cooler help keep engine temps in check.

1462690643557Power is put to the ground via the OE transmission, fitted with an ORC clutch and 4.6 final drive.

1462690659703Close up of the modified front bumper; custom cutouts and a Garage Mak vent allow airflow through to the radiator and intercooler.

146269063724217×10 -20 TE37’s with a 255 ZII fit snug around the widened body panels for the day’s Masao is feeling like going for a spirited drive.  His 18×9.5 daily wheels with a 225 tire take on the grocery getting work.

1462690653259One-off wing stands and end plates compliment the carbon GT element.  The rear aero rounds up the compliment of parts that keep the car firmly planted on track.

1462690655984Taking a step back and looking at the car as a whole, you get really get a feel for how particularly individual the build is.  A creation only Masao himself could create.


DSC_1984Masao sent me a couple cell phone shots of the underbody panels that he fabricates at the shop.  A huge amount of work goes into making these as precise as they are.

1462690660958Recently, Masao and Seki created a group; ‘Fun Ride Sharing’.  A select few individuals that built their cars with the same concept that Masao outlined in our conversation.  They recently planned an outing to an open event at Tsukuba with a couple of the Garage Mak guys from Nagano.  Cool to see this many amazing builds enjoying the circuit together; not a bad lineup eh?

1462711574094If my past is a compass to the possibilities of my future, then I can say that this will become another instance of a friendship breed from the internet.  It’s nothing new this day and age, but I can say that it doesn’t surprise me anymore how easily it can happen.  Good ideas spread quick in this world now, and there are bound to be people out there that share the same sentiment.  Huge thanks for Masao-san for sharing his build with us, and to Tantan+ for his great photos.


Masao’s words:



生活あっての趣味ですから、ローコストが大前提!! メンテナンスも出来ることは全て自分で・・・










「Fun ride sharing」‘楽しい走りの共有‘F・R・Sを合言葉に去年の春から・・・







‘ゼンブ楽しい!!& F・R・S‘