Frank and Adam Wigg are the quintessential Kiwi pair. This father and son team embodies the idea of Kiwi ingenuity and the number eight wire mentality — that innate ability to think outside the square, to create anything with one’s own hands and to be good bastards about it too. Those are qualities that most of us want, yet not all own. Having been involved in the racing scene for many years, Frank has brought Adam up on a healthy diet of race cars, drag weapons and tough street vehicles.
After constructing countless machines for other people over the years, Frank decided it was time to build something for himself, and he had just the partner in mind — a very talented performance automotive technician named Adam. The Wiggs had been quietly watching the Pro Import boys get faster and faster over the years, and around 18 months ago it was decided that Adam’s current car of choice, a very cool twin-supercharged Ford Capri streeter, just wasn’t going to be the right vehicle to develop further. So the decision was made to start from thin air — literally — and build a whole new car themselves: chassis, body, suspension and all. Over the next 18 months, a complete tube-frame drag machine with a composite Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R body shell began to take shape in the Wiggs’ garage. Like any build there were problems here and there, but they were kept to a minimum thanks to the experience and ability of Frank and Adam. Running on a very tight budget the Wiggs often resorted to fabricating their own gear to save money, a move that has most definitely paid off, as the end result certainly garners much praise and admiration. Currently ringing in at around the 800hp mark thanks to an alcohol-snorting, supercharged RB30 and an awesome old-school mechanical fuelling tune by Frank, the Skyline is an absolute monster on the track.
The question many people may be asking is this: why go down the supercharged option instead of the more conventional turbo setup? It was a question we put to Adam. “Why not?” he replied, not unreasonably. “A lot of people said it wouldn’t work, but all the fastest cars in the world are supercharged. Just because we are running a six-cylinder block instead of a V8 like the Top Fuellers doesn’t mean it won’t work — a motor is still a motor, irrespective of how many cylinders it has. We spent a lot of time watching the Pro Import boys sitting on the line waiting for their cars to spool up. We didn’t want that; we wanted instant response.” “Instant response” is no exaggeration; the blower actually makes a few pounds of positive boost just on idle. Check it out next time you spot the car down at the strip as it comes through the pits, and you might just see the beautifully crafted blow-off valve clearing the gravel below as it rumbles past.
After seeing and hearing (a blown alcohol motor at full noise — heaven) the brutally fast Skyline hit the track for the first time at a Fram Autolite Dragway Test & Tune event late last year, we knew we had one hell of a cover car on our hands. You see, the Wiggs didn’t even bother with a test half-track pass first time out, they just went out there and railed down the four hundred metres in classic Kiwi hope-for-the-best fashion. According to Adam, the car was a completely different animal to what he was used to. “It wasn’t actually the launch that put the shits up me so much, but the sheer acceleration down the last half of the track,” he says.
Although this Skyline has hit the strip a few times now, it is still nowhere near reaching its full potential, so expect some very big things — or should that be very small numbers? — from this father and son team in the near future. People said a drag car like this supercharged, fire-breathing import wouldn’t work. Frank and Adam have proved them wrong.
Frank and Adam decided to use a big block RB30 3.0-litre, six-cylinder Nissan motor as the base for their powerhouse. The engine has been stripped apart and completely rebuilt using the best gear available with help from the boys at GER (Glendene Engine Reconditioners). The newly grout-filled block now sports CP pistons, H-beam rods, a steel crank and an ARP bolt kit.
Above a steel head gasket sits a ported and polished RB25 head, running big valves, Kelford valve springs, custom solid lifters and massive Kelford cams designed by Frank himself. These cams were so aggressive the head had to be modified for them to spin freely.
Frank sent his requirements off to US-based forced induction heavyweight Procharger, which set about building the perfect centrifugal supercharger for this particular application. An absolute monster, the massive, whining blower takes a little over 150hp — around the same grunt as your average VTEC Honda Civic — just to get it turning.
The supercharger crams air through custom intake piping directly into a custom intake manifold and plenum, then through a custom dual throttle body setup and into the head. Note the lack of intercooler due to the use of very cool-burning methanol fuel.
Frank needed to fabricate a custom crank support because the sheer torque of the blower drive would otherwise have a tendency to rip the crank right out.
With the combination of a grout-filled block and the use of methanol fuel, the R34 only needs a minimal cooling system to keep it at a good temperature.
Still running a wet sump, the motor is lubricated by a very high-flowing external Peterson oil pump, and fuelled by a mechanical fuel pump that runs off the same belt drive. This is fed by a beautifully fabricated fuel tank sitting behind the radiator, and feeds a unique mechanical fuel injection setup, again designed and tuned by — you guessed it — Frank.
A custom distributor has been mounted to the front of the motor and uses MSD race leads and NGK race plugs to get sufficient spark where it is needed. Because the fuel system is completely mechanical, the Link Plus engine management system inside the car has just one job: running this ignition system.
Two-inch primary headers feed into a 3-into-1 collector and then into a pair of 3-inch dump pipes exiting out the side of the car. Simple, purposeful and a joy to look at.
The body is a one-piece work of art, created, as with the rest of the car, in the garage at home using a mix of carbon fibre and fibreglass. The Wiggs chose the Nissan R34 GT-R body shape as the look simply because a friend had a 2003 shell sitting in the shed down the road, meaning that it was the easiest choice from which to begin creating a mould. The fact that it looks damn cool and provides fairly good aerodynamic properties doesn’t hurt either. Many hours were spent in the garage slowly copying the shell piece by piece, which, according to Adam, was by far the worst task of the build — apparently being knee deep in sharp and incredibly itchy fibreglass and carbon fibre every night for a few months solid wasn’t all that much fun. Once the new body was smoothed and panelled, a few layers of super-bright yellow paint were applied, then a few more layers of clear. Finally, just before its first test and tune down at Fram Autolite Dragway, decals by Gareth Sampson at Inspired Signage Creations and fake airbrushed headlights by James Astrop at Dynamic Image Airbrush Studio were added.
Designed completely by Frank on his CAD system over the space of a few months, the chromoly chassis is an absolute work of art. Of course, as it was completely mapped out and designed before fabrication, every little problem had already been discovered and solved on the computer, meaning the physical build itself was a fairly smooth one. Take a closer look at the background of this spread. These are Frank’s actual CAD designs for the Skyline.
Massive 15x14-inch rear Weld Drag rims, wrapped in Mickey Thompson ET 33/15/5R15 full slicks, sit under the rear carbon fibre tubs. Once warmed with an ear shattering burnout, they are the best in the business when it comes to hooking up at the start line.
Along with the parachute firmly attached to the Skyline’s rear end, Adam pulls up after crossing the finish line using Wilwood front rotors and billet alloy four-pot Wilwood callipers up front, and Strange Engineering rear four-pot alloy callipers with Strange Engineering lightweight rotors down the rear.
One of the single greatest features of this car is its suspension system, which, like everything else, was designed and built in the family garage by the Wiggs. Although Frank and Adam would like to keep some of the finer details of the four-link rear system a secret, we can tell you that the rear end uses three shocks all up: two Strange engineering adjustable alloy items on either side and a custom pushrod shock in the centre. The front end features FIIK springs wrapped around custom chrome uprights and alloy hubs.
Currently running a TCI-improved 2-speed Powerglide auto transmission, the Skyline hauls off the line thanks to a trick Dominator high stall torque converter. For those new to the world of high-performance autos, this raises the point of drive from, say, 1200rpm in a factory trans up to anywhere between 4000 and 6500rpm, thanks to a custom adjustable stall controller. The result is a seriously brutal launch. Power heads back to the rear diff through a custom steel driveshaft using Strange Engineering yokes.
If there was ever an example of how a good roll cage should look, this one is it. Fabricated using chromoly tubing, the cage conforms to the latest regulations and should save Adam’s arse in the event of a rollover, even at the pointy end of the strip.
Momo has provided the seat, six-point safety harness and steering wheel, while a VDO Extreme Racing tachometer and warning lights keep Adam in the know.
Variable stall control box
This custom-made controller makes the engaging stall converter point highly adjustable, right at Adam’s fingertips.
Carbon fibre/alloy work
Carbon fibre has been used to fabricate the wheel tubs, door skins and dashboard, while alloy was used for the alloy firewall, floor pan and driveshaft tunnel.
2003 NISSAN SKYLINE GT-R - Specifications
Engine: Nissan RB30 3.0-litre DOHC 24V inline six, CP forged pistons, H-beam rods, steel crankshaft, grout-filled block, o-ringed, ARP bolt kit, steel head gasket, ported/polished RB25 head, custom Kelford cams, oversized valves, Kelford valve springs, adjustable cam gears, custom solid lifter conversion, K&N air filter, custom intake manifold/plenum, custom dual throttle body setup, custom Procharger F1-R supercharger, custom fabricated blow-off valve, custom 50mm blower drive, 2-inch primary headers, 3-into-1 collector, dual 3-inch dump pipes, custom crank support, custom mechanical methanol injection setup, DSR external fuel pump, Gilmore drive system, electric priming pump, MSD 10 Plus ignition system, Link Plus ECU, custom distributor, MSD ignition leads, NGK race plugs, alloy radiator, wet sump, external Peterson oil pump
Driveline: 2-speed Powerglide, TCI transbrake valve body, TCI clutches, B&M input shaft, Strange Engineering driveshaft yoke, TCI steel clutch hub, custom alloy sump pan, custom carbon fibre/alloy shifter, Dominator high-stall torque converter with custom variable stall control, custom steel driveshaft, chromoly yokes
Suspension: Custom front chromoly uprights, FIIK drag-spec springs, alloy hubs, drag-spec inserts, Strange Engineering rear 2-way adjustable alloy drag shocks, Hyper Coil drag springs, front strut brace, custom rear sway bar, custom pushrod centre rear shock, 4-link rear suspension, billet alloy radius rods, chromoly spherical joints
Brakes: Wilwood front rotors, 4-pot Wilwood callipers, Strange Engineering rear 4-pot alloy callipers, Strange Engineering rear rotors, sintered bronze brake pads
Wheels/Tyres: Weld 15x4-inch front alloys, Mickey Thompson 24/4.5R15 front tyres, Weld 15x14-inch rear alloys, Mickey Thompson 33/15.5R15 ET drag slicks
Exterior: Full chromoly chassis, R34 GT-R carbon fibre/fibreglass body, carbon fibre/alloy rear wing, custom yellow paint, polycarbonate windows, airbrushed headlights, custom graphics, Stroud parachute
Interior: Chromoly rollcage, Momo race seat, Momo 6-point safety harness, Momo steering wheel, VDO Extreme Racing tachometer, warning lights, variable stall control box, carbon fibre wheel tubs, door skins and dashboard, alloy firewall, floor pan and driveshaft tunnel
Performance: Dyno Power – 800+hp, 0-400 – 9.26@245kph
Frank Wigg/Adam Wigg - Owner Profile
Age: Too old
Occupation: Race car engineer @ Race FX / performance automotive technician
Previously owned cars: Numerous midgets, AC Cobra, Ford GT40, Toyota Supra, Ford Escort, Ford Capri, Nissan Silvia S13, Nissan Stagea RSFour
Build time: 18 months
Length of ownership: 18 months
Thanks to: Andy Culpin, Frank & the boys @ Race FX Ltd – 09 838 3250, John Sampson, Scott Sampson, Matt, Rueben & the boys @ Glendene Engine Reconditioners – 09 818 5352, Peter Cave & everyone @ Nuplex Industries, Micheal Saunders & everyone @ SelectLok – 09 836 0964, Robin, Adele, Dave, Jeremy & the boys @ Torque Performance – 09 828 7054, Rob Penman Motorsport – 09 818 2468, James Astrop @ Dynamic Image Airbrush Studio – 021 733 137, Gareth Samson @ Inspired Signage Creations – 021 525 337, Camex – 09 475 9134, David Wigg, Jess Kelly, Brad Mathews, Jeremy Hermans, Ross Kent & Jeremy Riley – we couldn’t do it without our crew, thanks to everyone else who has supported and encouraged us with the project, you guys know who you are.
Adam would also like to give special thanks to his father Frank Wigg, who built this amazing car.
Words: Peter Kelly Photos: Adam Croy
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