Sneige Factory – JZA80 Supra Build Pt6 – Do You Know Lex?

It’s worth noting that when writing these updates, you’re reading about 3-4 weeks behind what we’re actually doing with the project. As to not ‘spoil the surprise’ (okay, I admit it – it’s not a surprise, but a bit of showmanship doesn’t hurt to keep you interested) I’ll keep the updates in as close to chronological order as possible.

I will, however, let you know that while trying to fix a fairly catastrophic issue with a piece of heavy workshop machinery yesterday (I was rushing) I managed to catch the inside of my wrist with the flappy wheel on my angle grinder. It fucking hurts. It’s also bashing against my keyboard every time I try to type, so I hope you bloody appreciate it. Grumble Grumble.

Right, so you’ve seen that we have a running car, with working suspension, a working clutch and doesn’t drop fluid like Lisa Sparxx (holds the Guinness World record for the largest gangbang… some light safe for work viewing there for you chaps) The next thing on the list was to actually figure out whether the damn thing did what it was supposed to do.

One of my oldest and very best friends is a fellah called Alexis Drew or ‘Lex’ to most people. He’s the person who originally got me into drifting all the way back in 2003 when we both worked together at a well known national newspaper group. I joined that business thinking that motorcycles were amazing and cars were a bit lame. I left that business with a Nissan 200sx S13. The blame for the almost 14 years of car-related recklessness that followed sit almost exclusively with him.

Lex and his good lady Lisa have been berating me for a fair few years to get my arse in gear and go drifting. I have been the brunt of many a ribbing at a KFC luncheon I tell thee. As you can probably imagine, when I made the decision to buy another drift car, Lex was the first person I reached out to for his opinion. We looked at the Supra on eBay and his counsel was as always invaluable. That being said, I still think that he thought it was just another ‘Bizzle Project’ that would never see the road, let alone the track.

So when he got the message telling me that I was coming to the BMW Show at  Santapod to demo, I don’t think he really believed me.

The list of prep for the car was fairly short and was mostly centred around bolt checking the whole car to ensure there weren’t any other significant ‘Webby’s’ that was likely to kill me. Then pack up some wheels, tyres and tools and we’d be ready for the morning.

We were pretty much done by about 4:30pm. Due to all our work with the hydraulic handbrake,  the brake system needed extensive re-bleeding at the rear. This went really well and the very last job on the list was to bleed off the two front callipers to complete the job.

fucking caliper 2

Not that you can see in the picture above, but Murphy’s law is still in effect. If it can go bloody wrong, it usually fucking does. On the very last calliper on the very last job left to do before we pulled it off the ramp the bleed nipple decided to break clean off and simultaneously crack the calliper.


I’m not going to lie, Mathew, the workshop engineering monkey will testify that I had a bit of a paddy at this point. I was very restrained not to throw anything at anybody, but I can honestly say I wasn’t a very happy bloody bunny.

It was now 6pm on a Saturday evening, the car that I’d worked for weeks prepping wasn’t going anywhere without a JDM Spec Mk4 Supra NA brake calliper and my first drift day in four years under is under 14 hours away. What do you do?

Call Smith.

Or more precisely, Julian Smith at Garage D in Watford.

Now don’t get me wrong, not everybody can just call up Mr Smith. In fact, he’s famously inhospitable to guests that turn up on his doorstep without booking their presence in advance. However, considering that I’ve known the mad half kiwi, half potato eating reprobate since he was welding scaffold tube into E3o’s and called himself ‘mountain road penis’, I have the occasional favour that I can call in. (This is an inside joke, deal with it…)

I picked up the phone to dial…

He didn’t pick up. Fuck.

Okay, maybe I’m not so special after all.

So instead I called the Garage D main number and Daragh picked up. Now, credit where credit is due – I have only once in the whole time I’ve known Julian, phoned Garage D and they haven’t had what I’m looking for sitting on a shelf. If you have a Supra, Skyline, AE86 etc They. Have. Everything. Literally everything you could ever need. In multiple.

Daragh had a quick look, called me back and agreed to leave me a calliper out for me to collect as he was due to leave for home shortly. I said I’d be there ASAP.

Now, one of the things I did manage to do while ‘out’ of the Japanese performance scene for so long was buy a really decent daily driver. Having a ‘decent daily driver’ does have it benefits at times like this.

Queue some bahnstorming:

CLS55 AMG more CLS

Needless to say, I was down to Garage D and back before you knew it – the calliper was fitted to the car and first thing Sunday morning Matthew the workshop monkey and I were bleeding the breaks, fitting the side skirts and loading the car full of tires.

Considering I hadn’t driven the Supra any real distance since I originally drove it home, it was fairly ambitious to think that it would drive all the way to Santapod, be abused all day and then drive home. Yet, the convoy was utterly uneventful and we turned up at the familiar ticket office to collect my tickets.

“Hello,” I said enthusiastically “I’m Mr Bizzle and I do know Lex”

Blank stare from the attendant

“He’s left me some tickets,” I said, giving them my real name…

After a minute or so of shuffling behind the counter, the nice ticket attendant finally declared

“Nope, nothing here for you. You obviously don’t know lex”

See, I told you he didn’t believe I’d actually turn up. However, a quick phone call speedily sorted the situation and I was propelled up to the top of the site and into the drift area. And…

Actually did some bloody drifting.

Much cocking about ensued and the above video was taken at the end of the day when it was much quieter. Needless to say, in typical Lex fashion when I arrived much banter was directed in my direction by him trying to get me to go out and drift on the demo track, in front of an assembled crowd – even though he knew full well I was rusty as hell. Oh, the humanity.

Once I’d taken my summary ribbing I was directed over to one of the open practice pens that had been set up. At this point, I hadn’t as much as slid the car and the only time I’d ever spent drifting a Supra was a students car about 5 years ago for about five minutes. In all honesty, I was shitting it ever so slightly.

It’s true what they say if you spend enough time doing something it becomes second nature even after you’ve been away from it for an extended period. I dipped the clutch, gave it some gas, popped the clutch and let it slide. It all came flooding back.

Click for the next chapter: Part Seven: The Aftermath

One thought on “Sneige Factory – JZA80 Supra Build Pt6 – Do You Know Lex?

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