I first encountered Matt Madrigali’s S13 when it was up at Luke Lonberger’s Mountain Shop above Los Gatos in 2008. It didn’t look too different from how it looks now, but Luke was working on the engine and fuel system as fast as Matt could pay for it.
Matt bought the car in 2007 already painted and with the widebody already installed. But instead of having drifting in mind, the previous owner had used it as a freeway car. It had a huge topmount turbo, Z32 transmission, carbon hood, doors, and hatch, cage, and the beginnings of a fuel cell installation. The interior was coated in Rhino Lining and it had brand new bumpers and 180SX quarter windows too.
Matt swapped in another SR, a set of KTS coilovers, and some suspension bits that he had in another shell, and that’s when he brought the car to Luke. Luke set the car up with a Summit fuel cell, Holley pump, custom surge tank, and an assortment of bent hardlines and fancy stainless braided lines. He also added a custom oil return port to the valve cover so the turbo could help lubricate the valve train. Pretty tricky. When Matt picked the car up he got it dynoed at 212hp with stock boost and 440cc injectors. The car was in this state when Matt decided he’d run TDProAm.
Not satisfied with the power, Matt went to town on the engine in 2010. He threw on an S15 GT28R, 600cc injectors, a Tomei metal head gasket, ARP head studs, a PBM high mount intercooler, Hallman manual boost controller. Matt got the car retuned and put down 282hp at 1.2 bar. Not bad!
Last year I met up with Matt at the Marin Headlands for a photoshoot. At one point Matt picked up my open backpack and all my lenses fell out onto the road. Luckily the expensive stuff wasn’t hurt but the glass on my 1.4x extender got cracked. Matt is such a good honest guy that he PayPalled me on the spot! Now that’s integrity! To make matters worse I did something wrong and formatted my card before I unloaded the photos. So Matt was out a few hundred bucks and we didn’t even have any photos to show for it! We decided not to redo the shoot right away since he was planning on getting a kit soon.
Matt decided to run TDProAm again this year. He qualified third in Round 1 and finished in the Top 8, but a slipping clutch kept him away from Round 2 and that pretty much ended his hopes for the championship. Luckily there were still lots of just-for-fun events to go to so he could still get his fix. He installed PBM coilovers and just focused on making the car a solid, predictable, and competietive platform for 2012.
He had gotten a kit but it didn’t fit right so he got rid of it. Eventually he picked up a set of OEM kouk pieces. The Bob’s Donuts Annual Day After Thanksgiving Trackday at Buttonwillow this year was his first event with the new kit on, so he grabbed me to go do a quick shoot before he got the car dirty or broke something.
I’m glad we did the still shots early since he had a hard off in the first session and destroyed his front bumper. This might be the last photo ever taken of that bumper in one piece! Matt’s pretty happy that the car has been performing well most of this year and is excited about this coming season. Watch for Matt in TDProAm in 2012!