The Nightrunner FR-S Makeover – Part 1

It has been a little over a week since the last post on the site, so I apologize for the lack of activity. Work has been keeping me busy so I certainly won’t complain about that, but while there were opportunities to carry out quick part installs (and put together stories on those) weather and sickness and scheduling conflicts got in the way and postponed them. In any case, February should be a good month in terms of car-related activities as we should not only see those new parts go on the various vehicles but World of Wheels is coming up as well! However, before I get too far off topic today I should get to the proper introduction for what will be a little series of posts over the next little while, and ones I’m rather excited about.

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This is Reggie’s FR-S (IG: @the.tsukinousagi), a car that has become quite well-known online along with his brand, NIGHTRUNNER (IG: @nightrunnerinternational). It’s a crazy build and when I found out that it’d be undergoing a makeover for 2017 I asked Reggie if he’d be so kind as to capture and send photos as it did, as I expected it’d make for some interesting content. He obliged, and so today we begin with the first post.

As a quick background on the car itself for anyone unfamiliar; this has been a project of his for a few years and while it has actually been seen on the site a few times before, basically every time I get the chance to see it in person (and therefore share it here) it might as well be a completely different car because it’s always changing, and quite drastically at times too. To illustrate my point here are a few photos that I captured over the years when Reggie would drive over to Calgary:

This was in 2013:

Bunny August 14

This, in 2014:

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And these, 2015. See what I mean?

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One of the only constants on his car (for now at least?) have been the Rocket Bunny flares, while basically everything else continues to get changed, updated, and improved. One other constant, until just recently that is, was that even as the car got crazier and crazier it remained his daily driver! Now that it no longer has to fill that role however Reggie has the freedom to make it more extreme and he’s doing just that.

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Today’s post looks at what I suppose can be considered the first step in its makeover, and that would be the cage. For a little while the car actually had a half cage and carpeting, but Reggie decided it was time to go a step or ten further – and that meant removing more of the interior (not that much remained anyway) and getting a full cage welded in.

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I suppose the best place to start with the coverage of this makeover is with the first of the photos that Reggie sent over, showing the interior as it was before getting completely gutted and prepped. The seats and wheel are missing in this shot of course but you can see how far he’d already gone with it.

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The old half-cage was accompanied by some additional bracing as well, which you can see in behind it. I have actually never driven or even ridden in a car with an interior stripped this far; I have no idea what it’d be like but I won’t lie, I’m curious. Regardless, I can’t believe you used it as a daily like this Reggie.

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For proper access for welding and painting the glass had to come out, so the windshield was removed as were the rear and quarter windows ultimately.

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The old cage left next, as well as the dashboard. As you’ll see in the coming photos this really was a full cage, running from front to rear and including door bars, so everything had to go.

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The old cage, disassembled and set aside. This seems tame in comparison now…

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The swan neck was also absent, and the trunk was soon to be removed as well for more access…

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…and then BAM. Cage appears. It appears as if at this point all of the bars were in place but there were still various gussets to fabricate and install to further tie everything together.

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Incidentally all of this work was carried out by Nickel Automotive in Vancouver. As a side note, I miss Vancouver. I haven’t been in almost five years now and I want to go back.

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Back to the cage though; note the custom mounting points in the rear of the car – I’m sure there’s a technical term for them and I’m sure someone reading this knows it but regardless, you know what I’m talking about. Haha

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This is one of my favourite photos from the whole process for how well it shows how serious the entire setup is. This is definitely the point of no return!

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With fabrication complete it was of course time for paint next. Reggie opted to keep the original colour so once any remaining sections of wiring or other components were removed and all of the surfaces were prepped, everything got a nice fresh coat of white.

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With the fresh paint down the car was reassembled (though there were a few extra parts left over of course…) and returned to Reggie. One thing is for sure, there’s no missing the cage! Everywhere you look there are bars or gussets.

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It’s easy to see that the door panels are now gone, but a closer look also reveals that the carpet has been replaced with dimpled panels in the footwells, and there’s not even a glovebox in place here. In case you noticed and are confused, yes the steering wheel is absent once again but it’s on a quick release.

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I know that of course a cage is there for rigidity and safety, but for me there’s just something so pleasing about looking inside a car and seeing a cage like this. It’s functional, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be a bit of art. At the very least, a well-built cage shows a serious amount of skill on the part of the fabricator.

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And with that, we now conclude this first post! I would like to extend a big thank-you to Reggie for sending these photos my way, and I do hope that you all enjoyed this quick look at the first phase of the FR-S’ makeover! I know he has more planned but I don’t know all of the specifics so I’ll be finding them out along with the rest of you! If this is just the first part of the updates though, who knows how different the car will be by the end?

Also, now I wonder how long it’ll be before the new daily snowballs and ends up with a full cage, or at the very least before various interior panels start disappearing from it?

-Bill

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