WHY I LOVE MY VEHICLE: 2016 Nissan 370Z Sport Touring – WHEELS.ca
Napoleon Torres strongly believes in a healthy work-life balance. The entrepreneur is the co-founder of Wired Carbon, a virtual business since its inception in 2014.
“I once read that the most recent measure of success is no longer the number of dollars in your bank account, but the amount of free time you have,” Torres said. Being able to work remotely means company employees can apply those recovered commute hours to time spent with family and enjoying life. For Torres, that meant having time to pursue his hobby of modifying vehicles.
It also allowed Torres and his wife to uproot themselves from downtown Toronto and move to a log home with nine acres of land in Madoc. The large space allowed the hobby mechanic to build a garage equipped with tool boxes, air compressors and a few vehicle winches so he and his friends could tinker and work on multiple cars simultaneously.
Torres counts a 2019 Dodge Ram 2500 — his wife’s dream car when they first met — as his daily driver. He also loves motorcycles, listing the 2012 Ducati 848 EVO Corse and a heavily modified 2012 Harley Davidson Softail Cross Bones in his collection.
However, Torres has always had an affinity with the Nissan Z lineage – from the Datsun to the twin-turbocharged Z32 and its 350Z successor made famous thanks to “The Fast And Furious: Tokyo Drift”. As a Nissan Maxima owner in the mid-2000s, Torres was involved with the Nismo Club, where he was exposed to car culture and developed a soft spot for the Z life.
When he came across a fully equipped 2016 Nissan 370Z Sport Touring with 11,000 miles for $25,000, Torres immediately jumped on the purchase.
He tells us why he loves his car.
“[I grew up seeing] cars that represent lifestyle and freedom,” said Torres. “As a kid you think: if I can get the car, I can go here or there. I can go on a weekend, clubbing, road trip or camping. Thus, vehicles have always been a perception of a unique way of life that allows for various experiences. Since my wife and I don’t have kids, it’s convenient for us to have these kinds of random, spontaneous adventures, whether it’s on a motorcycle, in the van, or jumping in the Z to run in town to visit family and friends.
“When I was starting out in the late 1990s, buying a vehicle was more about function than fashion. It had to be drivable, repairable and affordable. affordability, functionality, and handling. Historically, buying a Z that ticked all of those boxes was well out of my price range, but with the 2016 [I found]I was finally able to afford the Z of my dreams.
“The Z line, from the 350Z to the 370Z, has the VQ engine. This engine has all the features I look for in an engine: it’s balanced, naturally aspirated and runs great. Based on the information I have compiled from automotive forums and the automotive community, I have focused [my search] on 2016 and newer models due to improved reliability.
“Love the car: I think they’ve done an amazing job with the design – the lines are great, the sound and the performance. The 370Z also came fully equipped with an Akebono big brake kit, a set of 19-inch forged wheels and a six-speed manual transmission.
“But I see the vehicle as my canvas. It’s an extension of my personality and a creative outlet that I enjoy building and piloting. I’ll always be imagining changes or additions, so it’s a work in progress. I probably spent close to $20,000 on parts. This does not include any work since I do everything myself. If I don’t know how to do the job, I learn to do it.
While his father instilled in him the interest and ability to build and repair cars before he was old enough to drive, Torres also credits M’s Motoring mechanic Marco Bifolchi with being his go-to resource for all of its automotive manufacturing needs. To date he has replaced the clutch, flywheel and brake master cylinder, among a long list of other installations.
“For sound and entertainment,” Torres said, “I have an Arc Audio 10-inch subwoofer and added an Android overlay feature that turns the manufacturer’s navigation head unit into an Android tablet With the click of a button I can download any app I want to use in the car, like listening to SiriusXM or DI.FM as long as I have internet service.
Then there’s the car’s eye-catching exterior. Along with an aggressive looking carbon fiber engine cover and fender, front bumper and rear window louvers, there is a koi fish sakura livery from Spinnywhoosh Graphic. While Torres applied the vinyl decals to himself, he was helped by his nephews – Matty, 5, and Max, 3 – who chose where the petals would go on the car.
True to the “Fast and Furious” title, the car is also equipped with flashy underlighting. Those who have met Torres in person have likely seen and heard the hiss of his electronically controlled adjustable Air Lift suspension system in action.
“It’s really noticeable,” Torres said of his highly modified 370Z. “Some people consider it a show car, but I made sure it was functional – that I could drive it all year round. Yes, it’s tricked out, but it’s still within reason and it’s street legal. I make sure it meets all emission standards and I don’t remove any security modules. My Z is 100% certifiable to safety standards, which means I can enjoy my car without any hesitation or worry.
“I am not that car. If I ever have to track a vehicle, I’ll build it on purpose and have it towed down the track and back home. I aspire to do so one day if funds permit. I used to do hardcore mods and take my car to import festivals and stuff, but I literally put in a tank of gas for the year. What’s the fun in that? Cars are meant to be driven and enjoyed, and I built this one that way.
This article has been edited for more space and clarity. Want to be featured in Why I Love My Vehicle? email us at [email protected]
Renee S.Suen is a Toronto-based lifestyle writer/photographer and freelance contributor to The Star. Follow her on Twitter: @rssuen
TO LOOK CLOSER: 2016 Nissan 370Z Sport Touring
SIX-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
“My favorite thing about this car is the focus on the driving experience,” Torres said. “It’s a manual transmission, which means it’s more analogue and there are no major electronic sensors that get in the way of the experience itself. It forces you to be in the moment. Every Every time I get into my Z, I’m reminded how much you need to practice mindfulness about what’s happening to you, around you, and because of you Nothing is as engaging as shifting gears, listening to the engine and the exhaust for performance, watching the roads for obstacles that come your way… I really think the Z adds a lot to that experience. It’s a real driver’s car.
“It’s also one of the only two-door sports cars you can still get with a manual transmission. I firmly believe that a manual transmission improves [driving] experience: it’s not necessarily faster [than an automatic]but I will take advantage of the trip to get there.
Air lift 3H air suspension system
“I love my air ride,” Torres said of his electronically controlled air suspension system. “It dynamically adjusts to make sure the car is always level. As soon as I use it, the air escapes with a hissing sound and then the whole car drops to the ground.
“I like the ability to ride low, then when I come to a mall with a speed bump, I can lift it up to clear the speed bump and then roll back down. There are no scratches and no more dips on speed bumps or driveways When I attend fundraising car shows I usually end up winning a trophy, and everyone jokes that it’s because my ride in airplane is the ultimate car show cheat code. [Laughs]”
Opt7 LED Underlight Kit
“I love my nerdy 90s underlight. [Laughs] It can be any color. It’s purple right now to complement the blue paint color,” Torres said of his aftermarket ground effect light attached to the underside of the chassis. “You see it best at night – with the sticker, the exhaust, the low airflow car, and then there’s this bright purple underglow everywhere.”