Words by Duncan "curly" Ward | Photography CJ Levendal
Nithaam is no newcomer to the stance scene, nor is he a newbie to building a neckbreaker. In the past, he built a mean RunX, which in our humble opinion was a bit ahead of its time and boasted a list of mods that only began to appear at shows some years later. He ran air on his ex ‘X and focused on tight fitment all round, with some minor touches to accompany the exterior work. But in true scene-kid fashion, his latest metal incarnation, a Toyota 86 that gives approximately zero f*cks, flipped the script on the norm we have become complacent with in South Africa.
To explain what is meant by the norm we have become complacent with in SA, one must first understand a bit about the conceptions surrounding the various options of lowering one’s car.
Air suspension occupies an odd pedestal in the SA car scene, as it has become more of an achievement than a simple modification. According to many enthusiasts, “bagging” your car is seen to be the be-all and end-all in car modification, but there are a handful of us who realise that going the air route is just one of the steps taken on the long and arduous journey of building your individual passion pit.
But, as you should know by now, we don’t let “air and wheels” kinds of cars grace our virtual pages. This is by no means taking shots at those who prefer to leave their mods at a visual level, and some cars benefit greatly from such a deft touch. An 86 however, is not one of those cars.
Anyone reading this with access to the Internet and a good taste in Facebook pages will have seen the meme that “Air and wheels don’t make a build.” This sentiment is widely shared among car enthusiasts, but we think Nithaam may have taken it a bit too personally and decided he would embark on a Liam Neeson-esque one-man mission to prove that his new build embodies his search for mental fitment with strong Japanese undertones, leaving no aspects of the car untouched. If the pictures leave you wondering where all of these “deeper level” mods are, maybe it’s time to realise that he is nowhere near finished with his latest Japanese stance showcase.
On the topic of his showcase, let’s get into the nitty gritty of the car for all the spec-hunters out there…
Nithaam opted exclusively for parts of utmost quality when it came time to gather his air suspension components. You will be hard pressed to find any trace of Brazilian influence here, as only Airlift, Black Tech and Accuair is fitted throughout the car. His front struts are from the Airlift factory, and are fully adjustable, allowing him to dial in the fitment with -10° front/-11° rear camber. His rear struts are from Black Tech, accompanied by twin 444cc dual stealth compressors. The setup is controlled by the more than capable Accuair VU4 iLevel/eLevel system, which allows for 3 saved preset ride heights plus an “all down” option (presets such as ride height, raised and low ride).
For the air-tech junkies among us, the VU4 is actually an incredibly complex and impressive piece of kit, much more than just a box to dump your car on the floor with. It includes options to allow the management to adjust the air in each bag under excessive braking and/or cornering and uses advanced height sensor setups to automatically calibrate itself correctly even if the car is under a dynamic shifting load.
Nithaam himself professed that the favourite part of building this car was adjusting the front struts and seeing the car with negative camber for the first time and not knowing what to expect. The car blew minds and broke many necks upon its reveal, and this wasn’t only because of the height (or lack thereof) of it, but many subtle (and not so subtle) touches he made to the exterior. The stock Toyota taillights and headlights didn’t manage to keep up with the aggressive look of the car, and so they were both replaced, with Spec D lights up front and Valenti tails which set this car even further apart from its nearest competitor, not there are any close.
Many of our readers in PE will remember SlamCity Fest where Nithaam debuted a particularly memorable mod to the 86, namely the kneebreaker Shakotan style exhaust pipes protruding dead straight out of the rear bumper. Some people loved it, some hated it, but the fact remains it was one of the most talked about cars of the day.
His love for the unusual extends to his choice of wheels as well, as he decided upon a set of 10.5j Atmos Pro Drive wheels, spaced out an extra 25mm all the way around. Since the shoot, he has changed to a set of Oz wheels with 40mm spacers all around, so there looks to be no end in sight on his quest for the perfect wheel setup.
Nithaam let us in on a little secret of his, that his current camber setup of -10° and -11° is actually well within the maximum parameters of both his struts and his wheel clearances which means that in future one can expect this 86 to take things even further groundwards. Also in the pipeline is a possible colour change if he grows tired of the ice white, and a more elaborate boot setup as the current one is more on the practical side of installations.
Nithaam has yet again raised the bar in terms of his build execution, and we look forward to seeing what else he has in store for us, as we have a feeling there may be an update coming in the not too distant future…