SP Rides: Unleashing The Beast


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Name: Raphael Castillo
Age: 30
Occupation: Student/USMC Vet
Hobbies: Cars, Bikes, and Guns
Year, Make, Model: 2003 Nissan 350z
Color: Black base, blue and purple pearl
Engine: Upgraded Oil pump, Greddy Twin turbo kit, CJM fuel return system, Uprev reflash and custom tuning done by Seth Stubenberg of JOTECH, Custom air brushed carbon fiber engine cover by Wish Quering DJ Wish, Motordyne shockwave exhaust
Exterior: Black base with blue and purple pearl paint done by G1 auto body, Crown carbon crafting over fenders, West coast fasteners anodized blue hardware, Carbon fiber duckbill, Seibon Carbon fiber hood Esprit Japan front bumper and Vertex side skirts and rear bumper
Interior: VQ Vortex Carbon fiber steering wheel with blue accents, Greddy/ In4mation collaboration shift knob, BRAUM elite leather seats with blue accents, BRAUM racing 5-point harness, Graffiti motorsports harness bar, Full custom Sony entertainment system done by Uncle Randy, Randy Jr. and Robert Molina of RnD sounds/ Kalihi Audio
Suspension & Drivtrain: BCBR Coilovers with 32 way adjustable damping, Kinetix camber kit, Whiteline differential and rear sub frame bushings, SPEC stage 2 clutch and SPEC flywheel, KAAZ 1.5 way differential
Wheels, Brakes, Tires: IFORGED evolution 19 inch with custom powder coated face (stardust) by Sunset powder coating and rebarreled to 19x11Fronts – 19×13 Rears, Akebono Brake kit with Stoptech Rotors and pads, Hankook Evo2 tires 285/35/19 Front and 305/30/19 Rears, mounted and balanced by Rad motorsports

Originally born in the Philippines, Raphael “Raff” Castillo is a performance enthusiast. Since he was a young child, he’s been involved in some sort of automotive passion whether he was bonding with his Uncle’s drag race ’72 Corolla SR or his infatuation with Hachirokus.  Regardless, his stint in the USMC paved the way for his continued passions.

Throughout it all, the need for speed has always been heavy on his mind…that has actually been a bit of an issue lately.  Why invest in forged pistons and rods when there’s no where on the island to test it at its limits, safely and competitively?

The crux of this build is about lying in wait…for the opportunity and reason to build something with track-shredding performance.  Until then, it plays with Raff’s emotions, it’s a tease. 

Let’s start with the exterior…a black base paint job with blue and purple pearl coats the mixed kit of an Esprit Japan front bumper, Vertex side skirts, and rear bumper. Crown Carbon Crafting over-fenders help to widen the track and are held in-place with beautiful West Coast fasteners and anodized blue mounting hardware.  A sick carbon fiber duckbill and Seibon carbon fiber hood help to break up the blue.

In addition to the body and hardware, the wheels were thought up by Raff’s girlfriend, Jade, who chose 19” iForged Wheels, powder-coated with a Stardust coating. The wheels have been rebarreled to 19×11 for the front and 19×13 rear with Hankook EVO2 tires.  All of this comes to a stop thanks to a stunning Akebono Brake kit with ginormous Stoptech Rotors and pads.  For better handling, the car is lowered on BCBR Coilovers and a Kinetix camber kit. Additional modifications really up the performance capabilities of this lowered blue bomber.

The interior has been given some loving affection thanks to the VQ Vortex carbon fiber steering wheel, the Greddy/In4Mation shift knob and some sexy Braum Racing leather seats.  A 5-point harness and Graffiti Motorsports harness bar also help to hold Raff in place during the twisties.

Behind all of this is a sweet custom Sony sound system with some major subs and amps pumping out the tunes. The sounds are an interesting addition and harken back to the original dilemma for Castillo.  If there’s no track…why put the effort into blistering performance?  The tunes are an extra addition that would be readily ripped out in pursuit of power. 

Even so, the engine hasn’t been neglected.  A Greddy Twin Turbo kit has offers massive potential for serious horsepower. The requisite reliability mods have been included such as an upgraded oil pump and CJM fuel return system.  Add in all the bolt-ons along with a sick custom engine cover job by DJ Wish, and you’ve got a car that’s ready to roll when the time comes.

Currently, this ride is conflicted between wanting to go all out and not having a place to do so. It’s an extension of Raphael’s personality. And right now, he’s waiting to unleash the beast. Perhaps sooner than later?