Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and full name will be omitted – leaving your first name, initials or nickname, your preference.
In this week’s Ask Nathan:
- Will there be a 4-Door Nissan Z?
- Modifying my GMC Terrain
- How should I restore my old Dodge Dakota pickup?
The first question comes from fan who saw an interesting teaser about a possible 4-Door Nissan Z… in China.
Q: Howdy Nathan, I came across this YouTube video (pasted below) from Nissan.
Could Nissan be making the next generation Z a four door coupe? Check out the video at the 1:59 mark. Would a 4 door Z coupe ruin it’s heritage?
Let me know what you think.
A: Howdy Bryson!
Your email (and video) caught me off guard! I did some research and found very little out there about a 4-Door Nissan Z. Sure, there’s plenty of stuff out there about a Nissan Z crossover and/or an Electric Z – but this is something else.
There are a few things to keep in mind:
- This was a concept from China, the likelihood of it being built is already doubtful.
- Sedans are not exactly hot right now – especially ones with front-engine/rear-drive setups.
- Hopefully, if this something that Nissan considers, they keep it fast and fun. That means NO CVT and there should be a manual transmission option.
- Yes, if it was built – it would soil the brand name in many fan’s point of view. The name “Z” is sacred.
Nissan has the potential to do amazing things, but they have messed up in the past as well. Letting the Nissan Z languish as long as it has was a huge mistake. It’s a halo car, so it’s aspirational and it should show the company’s best. It doesn’t matter if only a few are sold – it should be the “every-man’s” sports car – like it once was.
I will keep an eye on this one for sure!
The next question comes from a fan who is thinking about modifying their GMC Terrain to make a bit of a sleeper.
Q: Hey guys, I have, from time to time, always liked the idea of building up my own classic sleeper.
Then I got to thinking well how cool would it be to have a new car that’s a sleeper. I bought a new 2018 GMC Terrain Denali in late ’17(newest body style, I didn’t buy it with the intent of modifying) which, if I’m not mistaken, shares a very similar engine to the base model Camaro the 2.0 liter.
And as such I played with the idea that just maybe these mods for the Camaro engine could be used on such GM products like the GMC Terrain, The Equinox, and the Buick Envision. Nothing to crazy but better exhaust, supercharger, sway bars etc.. I know it’s ultimately limited by the trans. Full disclaimer here I’m about 10k from my power train warranty expiring which is the only way I would ever consider doing anything to the engine.
I know vehicle modding isn’t as big of a thing nowadays especially with newer cars coming standard with turbos and such but I spend a lot of time in my car driving I think it would be fun to have all the creature comforts of heated and cooled seats and a panoramic sunroof and a little more sporty of a drive all wrapped up in an unassuming package. What would your thoughts be on such a matter?
A: Hi Blake!
Interesting idea. All I could find were air filters and universal air intakes that might help a tad. While there aren’t a ton of upgrades available for the GMC Terrain, there are plenty for the Camaro with the 2.0-liter. One of the many that might interest you is a serious engine tune.
The guys at Trifecta Tuning have a beefy flash available for the Camaro, so they might have something you can use too.
There is something else to consider, and it’s something I did years ago to my spouse’s (“She-who-must-be-obeyed”) Saturn LW200 Wagon: be creative.
She wanted more performance out of a vehicle that had very little. I immediately went on the hunt for four things.
- Weight Savings – Removing unneeded interior weight (she had 50 or 60 lbs of useless crap in the car at all times), along with lighter wheels and deleting the spare tire saved me around 150 lbs.
- Better Rubber – The stickier the rubber, the larger the contact patch, the better the launch and better the handling.
- More aggressive suspension – I swapped her springs for some used SAAB performance springs. It lowered the car only a half-an-inch, but it made for a sportier ride. Less time “bending” makes for more time using the power.
- Better breathing – A simple upgraded air-intake and a replaced, better breathing exhaust (from that same SAAB) made for a more responsive vehicle. It felt a lot faster too.
In the end, the car was almost two seconds faster 0 to 60 mph and it outhandled my friends 1990s Mustang GT. No kidding. I spent about $700 – but that was back in the early 2000s.
Your GMC Terrain weighs about 3,000 lbs and it has a 252-hp engine. That’s a good start.
Let me know how it goes!
The last question comes from a question about possibly restoring an old Dodge Dakota pickup truck.
Q: Hi Nathan and TFL, I own a 2005 Dodge Dakota.
With 210,000 miles, the engine is starting a little rough and it’s down on power but no check engine light check.
I’m pretty sure a new engine or a new to me (used) truck is my near future. With price of used Dodge Ram 1500 with under a 100k miles hovering around 17-22k and what I estimate would be a 10-15k restore job to bring my Dakota into modern times.
To include a new engine thinking a Pentastar V6 with engine management software, rebuild the front end and add air suspension to all the corners reupholster the seats and aftermarket radio with android auto and bluetooth capabilities and a Paint or Wrap.
This being a Texas truck there is no rust on the body or frame. I love my Dakota its perfect size truck. What should I do by a Used truck or a restore my old reliable Dodge.
A: Howdy Robbert!
Gotta ask, are you the one who is upgrading the truck, or are you hiring a mechanic? While your idea is pretty awesome, it sounds like a lot of extra dough will be spent on someone installing the engine, electronics and whatnot.
Don’t get me wrong, the Dodge Dakota is one of my favorite trucks ever – especially the second generation models. The size and power were impressive back in the day.
I like the idea of adding a Pentastar to the truck, but it sounds like a lot of work. Why not look at the 5.9-liter V8 from that time period? I’ve heard about a few folks who have upgraded and love the extra power.
I suppose it all depends on your priorities. As a unique project idea, I think it’s pretty cool. As a way to build a new truck for the price of an older used truck, I’m not sure if it will be that inexpensive.
Speaking of beefy, badass trucks…
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: email@example.com.