We are sure most of you have seen the NZPC 300kW Club stickers proudly worn on many imports the country over - well these days having 300kW is fairly commonplace.
Over 75 per cent of the cars we feature are packing that kind of power or more, so it was inevitable that the benchmark would start to creep up, as motor builders pushed the envelope and aftermarket suppliers met those demands, with the parts becoming available to make 400kW reliably. Now guys like Zeead Sheikh are rocking near on 500kWs on the street, in full trim. It’s cars like this that have forced us to order stickers and create a new club — the NZPC 400kW club.
Zee’s love for late-model Evos started with a few rides in his cousin’s Evo VII, as he explains: “My cousin owns Reece McGregor’s old Evo VII. After boosting around in that for a while I just had to have one, [and] after looking around for a VII, this VIII actually came up for sale at a good price, so I grabbed it.”
Happy with his purchase, Zee did like most around that time  and jammed a big kit on the car and a set of 19-inch chrome wheels, before having it tuned to 240kW. In this guise the car saw plenty of action, both on the strip and on the street. But that came at a toll: a gearbox, a diff and a motor.
It was because of that engine blow that things started to ramp up in the power stakes, and this was also when Gary and the boys from GCP Performance came into the picture. A new factory block was fitted to the car and Zee soon dropped off the old blown motor to GCP and told Gary he wanted 400kW at all four wheels. Zee says: “We sat down and made a plan: ‘OK, we want 400kW, so what will we need to make it happen?’ ”
The parts bin soon filled up with some serious hardware, like a 2.2-litre GSC stroker kit from the States, which included custom short-skirt CP pistons and a forged crank and rods. While the engine was getting built, the car was sent to Dan at Slater Fabrication, where he went about turning sheets of alloy and lengths of stainless tube into pieces of art. His work is second to none and has become the standout feature of the engine bay, and was used on everything from the headers to the oil breather and overflow tank. Once all the metalwork was finished, it was back to GCP where the new 2.2-litre block was fitted and the Evo was strapped onto GCP’s rolling road. When the figure of 404kW flashed up on screen Zee was a happy boy, having achieved his goal, and after a six-month rebuild he could once again enjoy the Evo VIII.
First port of call was the Meremere drag strip, where, with a set of semi-slicks, Zee skidded his way to an 11.2. “My 60 foot was as bad as a Honda front-wheel drive, I just had no traction whatsoever through first, second and into third.” But that newfound power didn’t last long when only a few weeks later the car developed a slight miss in the higher rev range and went back to GCP for diagnosis. After stripping the engine down it was bad news: one of the small screws on the butterfly of the aftermarket throttle body Zee had purchased from a shop in Auckland had come loose, and had then entered the engine, damaging number one piston and bore, so again the car was off the road while a new bottom end was built.
This meant honing the block and ordering a new set of custom CP pistons from the States. It’s crazy how possibly the smallest part in the engine ruined one of the most expensive, and all of that could have been prevented with one dab of Loctite at the factory. Needless to say the new throttle body received plenty of the good stuff before fitting.
Although Zee was more than happy with the old power figure, Gary knew the 2.2 had that much more in it. So a switch to E85 was made, and once again it was strapped to the dyno. This time the screen flashed up with a massive 478kW from the 4G63 — now that’s some serious power.
Zee is confident that once he heads back to the drag strip it will see a 10-second pass, as he says: “After driving it around with 404kW and running that 11.2, and driving it with its current 478kW, I’m confident it will run a 10-second pass in complete street trim. I’m not going to strip it all out just to run a number; it’s my street car and I intend to keep it that way. If I wanted to strip a car out and run low-tens I’d buy an early-model EVO and throw 360kW at it.”
A ten-second late-model EVO in full street trim is something we haven’t seen in New Zealand yet, but time will tell what numbers it runs, as Zee wants to enjoy it as he always has, cruising with his mates before risking breaking it once again, and possibly having it off the road. Although with that much power it’s only a matter of time before his urge to hit the track gets the better of him.
For full specs and more photos, visit the NZ Performance website.
Words: Marcus Gibson. Photos: Adam Croy