- Image courtesy of @digital.adrenaline

The story of a man, his 350Z, and an unstoppable dream to drift

Nothing can stand between him and burning rubber

7w ago
22.7K

I hate rubber. No, no, not the contraceptive. I’m talking about tire rubber. Why bother having tires on your expensive TE37s when you could have a billowing cloud of smoke that erupts from the rear of your car and covers the entire block in LA-like smog instead? Lucky for me, Rye O’Connor (@breadman_350z) thinks the same, and together with his drift-focused 350Z, he too participates in the hobby of destroying those useless, pesky tires.

The passion started around 2007 or 2008 when Rye tuned in to Formula Drift at Road Atlanta. One look was all he needed and from that moment on, he was both hooked and dedicated. His first rig of choice was a Nissan Z31 that, after much use at Sonoma Drift events, began to slowly but surely fall apart.

Image courtesy of @harry_chriest34

Image courtesy of @harry_chriest34

“I come from a racing family. My father was a flat-track motorcycle racer. My mother owned sprint cars back in the day and that's how they met. Right now I’m finishing my dad's off-road truck to get him back out racing in the desert.”

When he originally started that build, he didn’t know about tube fronts to hold the car together so it was essentially just two cars united at the strut tower. That eventually resulted in the whole chassis flexing, even with a roll cage, until he deemed it too unsafe to drive. It was time to seek another project.

Image courtesy of @fastlanephotos

Image courtesy of @fastlanephotos

That project came in the form of another Nissan, a 350Z that at the time was nothing more than a rolling shell. Lucky for him though, he had a perfectly good drivetrain he could use and it quickly became a full-on drift car. Other than the stock differential and axles, it’s an aftermarket beast from front to rear. It has Wisefab front and rear ends. Feal 442 coilovers, a GSR “dogbox” transmission, and, get this, a 404ci supercharged LS2 on ethanol making 550whp. Tires beware.

Even though Rye and the Z have yet to win a competition together, they have won some drift battles and even made the podium at the just Drift Shootout in 2020 which in turn earned him the much-coveted PROSPEC license. Perfectionists are never quite satisfied though and even with that title under his belt, Rye wants to keep improving both his skills and the car. Current plans involve a fresh body kit, free of the current one’s battle scars, along with any mechanical modifications needed as his technique improves.

Image courtesy of @fastlanephotos

Image courtesy of @fastlanephotos

“I'm a huge fan of Z’s. Since my first car was a Z31, it felt appropriate to get another Z chassis. I want to keep this one as long as possible,” he told me.

Now I tried my best to get Rye’s excitement in this article but it just doesn’t compare to actually talking to the guy about drifting. Saying that he’s passionate is an understatement. In the off-season, he’s either working at his day job or working on the car. There is no in-between and I love it. This kind of passion is what makes dreams come true and I’m rooting for Rye. When this guy makes it to national or even international competitions, you can be damn sure I’ll be here writing about it. Thanks for taking the time to do the interview and best of luck to you! You got this!

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Comments (13)

  • Hope this man wins a future formula drift season

      1 month ago
  • That's a really cool livery, and cool wheels too! Hope this guy gets to Formula Drift!

      1 month ago
  • Great interview, great guy, great Z-Car and great paint job!

      1 month ago
  • Wow!

    What's funny though, is I'm reading this post a few minutes after I won the Formula Drift 370Z in Horizon 5 😂

      1 month ago
  • Behold the strength of the man!!

      1 month ago
13