The King Is Zed
Fast Car|September 2017
What does multiple trophy-winning drift royalty drive when they’re not hooning big-power Japanese coupés about the place? Easy. They drive big-power Japanese coupés…
Dan Bevis

A day in the life of Chris Forsberg runs roughly like this: wake up, emit rays of wonder, piss excellence, eat success for breakfast, climb into car, drive sideways, renew tyres, repeat. He’s a self-taught drifter from Pennsylvania, who honed his craft power-sliding tractors as a teenager. Fast-forward to the present day and we find ourselves gazing in awe at one of Formula Drift’s winningest drivers. And yes, his skills are sufficiently mighty that we’ll even lower ourselves to using the word ‘winningest’.

If you know of this dude’s work, you’ll know he’s most closely associated with Nissan’s Z cars. Back in 2003 he started drifting a 350Z with a supercharged VQ motor, which has since been swapped out for a purist-baiting SR20DET. You might also have spotted him in another 350Z between 2006-10, this time packing a 5.6-litre V8, and that was followed by a 370Z with a 1,000bhp evolution of the Nissan Titan motor. The man likes sliding his Zeds about.

So if he’s this familiar with shimmying modern Z cars on track, why wouldn’t he choose to build something similar as his road car? Well, one reason is that it’s important to separate work life and home life – you don’t get home from work and immediately plonk yourself on the sofa to crack through a few spreadsheets in front of Family Guy, do you? (And if you do, ask yourself a few questions. You only live once.) And another is that Chris’s home state of Maryland allows more modifications to road-going cars that were built before 1980 than might otherwise be possible. Whereas a lot of states have strict emissions guidelines and punishing views on engine and chassis mods, the rules are a little more relaxed for classics. That’s not to say you can’t build a badass modern street car in the US of course, far from it, but given that this Datsun 280Z was built in 1975, Chris had pretty much free rein over what he could do. And it’s for that reason that it’s become the most awesome 280Z you’re likely to come across.

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