Nissan Navara D21
This feature looks at a car that is about as unique as it gets. The most modified car we’ve featured so far and it just so happens to be the first ute we’ve featured as well. The 1993 Nissan D21 Navara Ute. However this Ute is unassumingly special in almost every way.
Rebuilt from the ground up it features a myriad of JDM goodies, usually reserved for a top shelf silvia build, that give this car a truly one of a kind spec sheet.
Built by owner Michael over the last 3-4 years, the story of the owner/car build and dedication to the cause is almost as unique as the Ute.
Michael started off with an entirely separate 1987 Navara Ute handed down to him by his dad. Unfortunately this ute, within a few days of the owner getting his Ps, was involved in a T-bone with a taxi. The car was thrown into a stobie pole and was invariably written off.
After the heartbreak and a brief mourning period Michael carried on with his aspirations for owning and modifying a Navara. He picked up the car as featured today in a stock as a rock form from Paul and Steve at Highbury Auto.
Almost from day one the modifications started. He added the flares, his old wheels from the smashed ute and conducted a Pathfinder front end conversion including grill, headlights and corner lights. Being young, adding blast pipes and lowering the car were among the first performance mods.
An NA Sr20 was bought to replace the stock KA24E motor in the first ute, he wanted a turbo but those pesky P plate restrictions stopped him from adding a turbo (more on that later). With intentions to modify GTI-R individual throttle bodies to maximise the naturally aspirated Sr20. However in the time between smashing the first ute and purchasing the second michael decided he wanted to go all out with the second ute. He sold the NA Sr20 and bought an Sr20DET. The motor came with nothing on it and was a big project from the start.
Owner Michael started a mechanical apprenticeship in early 2018 which roughly coincides with the car coming off the road to start the build in may 2018. Stripped bare it sat untouched for several months until November when the build started.
A quote on the owners dedication: “The whole build was done solely on weekends when my dad and I had free time. I would use my annual leave from work to build the car instead of actually having holidays. That’s how much I loved building the car and getting it that one step further every day. Especially doing it with my dad was probably the best part. Both of us never having done an engine conversion ourselves and going to this level of build on a car that’s not worth a great deal. Most people saw it as a waste of time and money. But as an apprentice mechanic, I learnt so much from new and existing friends along the way and problem solving things that no one else could think of was even better! I felt like an engineer...”
“... Was totally worth the waste of time and money in my opinion. I really couldn’t have done the car without so many people. The list would be so long but the main man that is the other half of this build if not more is my dad. I can’t praise his work enough and having a father son build experience like this is literally indescribable, it was just awesome even though there were always tense times but we got through it. We’re both so extremely proud of what we have achieved and people’s reactions and comments on the Ute make us feel so good about ourselves and what we’ve created!”
An inspiring story that we love but let's get into the nitty gritty details. Although nitty gritty might not be the right way to put it as it has one of the cleanest engine bays we’ve ever seen.
The cars beating heart is its blacktop Sr20DET motor. Wired and tuned by Adam Carver of Jaustech Automotive in Wingfield, the car puts out 198KW at the wheels and 405nm of torque on 98.
A kinugawa turbo GTX2860R provides boost in an audibly dramatic fashion (we’re all for that). Intake charge is kept cool using a Plazman racing water to air intercooler. Featuring a raceworks catch can modified to be a reservoir for the water to air intercooler and a custom radiator for the intercooler. A Z32 air flow meter helps the ecu optimise the tune.
Intake and charge piping in a truly unique fashion was custom fabricated using a stainless steel Toyota Hilux bull bar. Talk about walking over the competition. The fab work is so seamless, you’d genuinely think it was a kit. Charge is relieved using a GFB blowoff valve and the intake system is completed with a HKS mushroom filter.
In terms of cooling again a custom solution was needed to make the SR work in the ute. A mishimoto S13 radiator with Fitmint auto radiator brackets (with fun Nismo branding) and custom bottom brackets handle the water cooling. An Aeroflow Performance oil filter relocation kit and a catch can both with Raceworks hoses complete the oil system.
Fuel is pumped through an e85 compatible Raceworks 360LPH fuel pump to Xspurt 750cc fuel injectors. E85 appears to be on the horizon to take this beast to the next level.
A Narvey Profanity Fab custom 3” dump pipe to 2.5” stainless steel exhaust is finished with Magna flow mufflers giving the car an aggressive exhaust note under acceleration.
Inside the car the interior has been given attention just like the rest of the build. Suede hood lining, A pillars and door trim inserts with thanks to Spencer Motor. With most interior vinyl also replaced to bring the car to a near new condition. Awesome BRIDE seats and rails sit on Rohde fab brackets sourced from the US.
A GKtech steering wheel and gear lever help add to the tuner feel of the car. Engine parameters are monitored on a set of SAAS gauges for boost, oil pressure and oil temp.
The first thing you notice about the car is the spectacular metallic blue paint. As the photos giveaway it's a striking light blue from glasurit that would be comfortable on a modern supercar. The paint work was completed by Achillo Pacillo at Silvers Motor Body Repairs. If you see the ute out and about at a cars and coffee event, stop and have a close look. This is a top tier paint job.
As mentioned earlier the Pathfinder front end conversion and fibreglass fenders help give the car a more unique style. Sourced from the USDM, Pathfinder electric door mirrors and blackout handles and window trim add to the looks around the doors.
A beautiful set of Work VSXX wheels finish off the looks. Built and refurbished by Fitmint Auto with wet charcoal centres and polished lips. 17x8.5 up front wrapped in Kumho Ecsta 235/45. Rears are a monster 17x10.5 with 275/35 tyre to help put the power down. The ute is so light and has so much power through only the rear wheels that sandbags are in the tray to help with traction. Fitment is kept how it should be with GKtech 25mm spacers on the front hubs.
Speaking of the hubs, these are some of the most modified parts of the car. R32 GTST callipers grip Hiace rotors with Rn85 toyota hilux hubs with the conversion being completed by Michael. The rear axle was redrilled to a toyota 5 stud conversion by RodTech.
All of this comes together to create an absolutely one of a kind car. While not quite yet finished, this build is incredible. Future plans for the car include suspension upgrades including coilovers and an e85 conversion to bring it up to 230+ RWKW. The idea of undertaking such a big build is daunting to most; Michael and his dad have absolutely knocked it out of the park.
We love unique cars here at The Big Boost Club and this is second to none in that regard. The engine bay alone is a work of art. The colour is even more amazing in person. We thank Michael for sharing his story with us and bringing the car out for a shoot with us. Drop owner Michael a follow @mr_93_d21 to keep up with the story further.
Enjoy some more shots from the shoot below.
Got a car you think is worth a feature? Want to do a shoot with us? Message us at @thebigboostclub on Instagram.
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All opinions are our own.
Owned and built by @mr_93_d21
Photos by @intent media and @jeremy.khuu
Article by @thebigboostclub
All photos are property of The Big Boost Club 2021 ©