The STL Y32 Cedric: Diggory 2016 Edition

The last time I posted my Y32 Nissan Cedric daily driver on here, it was to list it for sale back in November. The reason for wanting to sell it at the time was that I’d just got my hands on my new C33 Laurel and didn’t see the need for two big four door Nissans. However, despite quite a lot of interest, nobody took the plunge to buy my beloved Diggory, so it sat around for a few months until one day I ended up test fitting this set of WORK Meister M1s to it. This gave me an idea, so I took down the For Sale advert and got busy…

Although the car wouldn’t move at all in these photos, I couldn’t believe that the 18×10 ET-25 Meisters had a chance of fitting under the metal arches, so I knew that with quite a bit of metal abuse, well thought out tyre choices and a few suspension tweaks, I could get it to work.

While I wanted to emulate the bippu style commonly used on Japanese VIP cars, I don’t want my beloved Diggory to be rendered completely undriveable on British roads. I wanted to use the tips and tricks I’d learnt from driving drift cars with aggressive wheel fitment on the road and track and apply them to a car that was going to spend most of its time cruising slowly.

There are so many “stance cars” out there that are either on air ride and unusable at their display ride height, or those that are static but with a wheel setup that physically can’t be used in the real world (I once saw a car have its wheels changed at a show just so it could actually be driven under its own steam…!?). I wanted to make sure that my Y32 remained completely functional on the road, albeit with the usual inconveniences and handling traits that can be expected from a slammed car with a relatively large amount of camber.

The first stop was the loom relocation and, typically, this is where the problems started. I’ve chopped and relocated looms on all of my previous and current Nissans and have never had any issues, so I assumed I’d approach the Cedric with the same mindset. Rather than a complete relocation that involves dismantling the fuse box and drilling a hole in the side of the body of the car, I decided to “cut and shut” the driver’s side of the loom so I could move it into the engine bay. This would then only leave a small amount of the loom in the arch, tucked away right at the back and protected by a textbook can of Monster that would be wrapped around it.

That was the plan, at least. My girlfriend Amy soldiered on with painstakingly moving the loom into the engine bay while I cracked on with suspension work but, when it came to starting Diggory up for the first time post-Operation Loom Relocation, there were issues. Despite the car running absolutely fine and all of the wires having been connected correctly, there was an electrical short somewhere and, after smelling the telltale smell of burning wire, I switched the car off and knew that we had much bigger problems at hand.

This is how Diggory sat for many months while I struggled to find motivation to address the electrical issues. In the meantime though, I was busy enjoying my Laurel and also returned to Japan where I ended up collecting a number of Y32 parts from Jesse Streeter in Osaka. This super rare Prontry front lip was one of them and, upon returning to the workshop, I couldn’t wait to test fit it. I was really happy with the potential of this look and a spark of motivation returned.

While the front fitment was fairly easy to nail, the rear arches were going to prove much harder to work with. This was mainly due to the relative strength of the upper arch area, due to the metal that supports the rear seating arrangement mounting to this point.

Nevertheless, I got busy with a big hammer and started to make progress, although I was still unsure as to how this setup would work in the real world (it looked absolutely awesome though!).

While I knew that this fitment was a tad on the unreasonable side for British roads without running the stiffest springs imaginable, the benchmark had been set!

I briefly turned my attention back to the front of the car, where much hammering on the inner arches occurred while also relocating the much smaller passenger side loom out of harm’s way.

I then figured it was time to address one part of the build I was really trying to avoid dealing with: removing the HICAS rear steering setup.

While removing HICAS is generally considered an essential modification on drift or track Nissans, it’s not that important on a regular low and slow car. However, I knew that my eventual fitment situation was going to leave no margin for unnecessary suspension movement, so the last thing I wanted was for the tyres to start catching when the HICAS decided to start making adjustments to the toe angle mid-corner.

After much swearing and dirt in my eyes, off came the factory HICAS rack and toe rods.

I decided to fit a Driftworks HICAS Eliminator Kit, which includes brackets for the subframe and replacement Toe Rods. However, the factory bushes in the hubs were absolutely ruined due to being manhandled after twenty four years of sitting snugly in their respective homes, so they of course needed replacing too.

Removing bushes is never a fun job but, after liberal use of a blowtorch and a hammer, the stock items were knocked out and replaced with Powerflex items.

Around this time I had more parts arrive from Jesse Streeter: super rare and made-to-order K-Break headlight eyelids. The two month wait was more than worth it as, despite many considering eyelids a Max Power-era modification that should be consigned to the history books, the Y32 Cedric/Gloria is one of the few cars where they really improve on the factory lines.

Obligatory test fit photo!

Unfortunately, it was at this stage that I found myself still unable to resolve the wiring issues, along with having rear wheels that still didn’t fit the arches.

I really needed to find some motivation and, thankfully, Dan Joyce of yellow S15-fame was only too happy to pay me a visit and tell me to scrap my dear Cedric!

Luckily, he soon changed his tune and set about resolving the electrical nightmare that lay before him while I continued to tackle the rear arch issues.

A bit of hammering later (with a much bigger hammer this time) there seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel, especially now that I had a Cedric that was running once again thanks to Dan (albeit with a few electrical bugs with the headlights and windscreen wipers that still need remedying).

  

I needed to dial in a tad more rear camber though to try and tuck those 225/40-18 tyres under the metal and, without resorted to chopping and extending the rear lower arms, I decided to get creative with some Driftworks camber arms.

The answer was to drill a new hole further in on the outer bracket, before chopping a few millimetres off the end of the bracket to stop it fouling the brake disc backing plate in its newfound position (don’t worry, the photo below does not show the finished product! And yes, a nut is missing from the rod end).

Hello there, camber!

Functional? Not entirely, but still usable and exactly what I was looking for.

With it almost being time to give Diggory his first drive in months, Amy put down her spanners/screwdrivers/other assorted tools and completely blitzed the interior that I’d neglected and filled with rubbish while the car was immobile (I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing in this photo – probably something incredibly pointless such as setting the clock!).

I couldn’t believe the end result – I often forget that, despite its age (it’s a 1992 car), this Cedric has only covered around 35,000 miles…and it shows in the interior!

  

While I was in Japan I also picked up another Broadway mirror to fit once the Y32 was up and running again. Today, I finally got to fit it – call it a celebration if you will!

After all of this, it was time to reverse Diggory out of the workshop, take a few photos and give him a celebratory drive around the estate.

 

Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of work to be done, but I’m glad that I no longer feel on the back foot with this car.

One thing needed addressing immediately though was the front tyre size, so I dropped them down from 235/40s (pictured above) to 225/40s (below). Clearance is that little bit better now and of course, the overall goal is for absolutely no rubbing from the front or rear tyres.

So, what’s left? Well, there are still a few electrical gremlins to sort, while the suspension setup is also extremely far from perfect at the moment and definitely needs some fine tuning. I also feel that I need to fashion some sort of under-canard/side step setup to beef up the side profile, while I also think that some form of rear bumper extension could be in order, just to ensure the rest of the car looks as aggressive as the front does.

Once I’m happy though, Diggory will be off to my friend Adam at Retroshine for a complete makeover to bring his bodywork back to life (along with sorting those wonky panel gaps). Despite the tidy interior, the exterior is a long, long way from being perfect but, hopefully with Adam’s help, my Y32 will be returned to its former glory – stay tuned for future build updates!

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