Project B16. A tribute to Tim. Part 1


Starting this blog has been a rather difficult one to write but here we go nonetheless. On July 13, 2014 the sun rose and fell as it always does with nothing overly eventful happening in the life of our business. To be perfectly honest we have no memories of the actual day, yet for one of our clients it was a day they will never forget. The Nicholas family was thrown into turmoil that day with the passing of their eldest son Tim.
The young man’s family are valued and frequent clients of ours as was Tim himself and this event rattled me greatly. This blog however is not about intruding upon the Nicholas family the their grieving process, rather hopefully it will aid with this.
Tim owned a Honda EK4 B16A2 Civic. A widely sought after sporty little car. We battled with the idea of purchasing the vehicle to build it as a tribute car but came to the conclusion that the emotion behind this was hindering sensible business decisions and we opted not to. A few months later we let that emotion get the better of us and we now have the Civic. We will build this car to the same high standard we always do but this one is special. This one is built in Loving memory of Tim Nicholas.
Every day I walk a little way up the street from our workshop and buy myself an amazing coffee from the Asian family running the cafe near us. Today I return to the shop and walk in. In the car park out the front sits Project 180. A Nissan 180sx packing an RB26 with our name on it. Next to it sits OHSNAP Alex Hall’s Supra pushing 450+Hp again with our name on it.
I open the roller door and Tom’s Yellow Banana S13 is inside, it packs about 15Hp and should not be on the road but its cool nonetheless. In front of it sits Ryan’s GT Forester running a complete STI drive line conversion, also with our name on it. Raised on the hoists above these two cars are Matt’s 180SX and Dane’s Supra both of which have had extensive work carried out in our shop, which we have recently blogged about.
B16a1In the dead bays sits Drew’s Sprinter, currently getting a supercharged MR2 engine conversion and THE WOO halfway through a turbo set up getting bolted on.
Every morning the opening up process is the same, the cars change but its the same routine everyday. I’m struck by the unique culture that defines this place. It never gets old and it never feels the same each day. What is that culture? Our default answer is modified cars, fast cars and import cars. But if were truly honest, cars have very little to do with it. Sure they are the the physical component to what we do but the culture created by the team is based on the relationships we build.
timThese relationships are why we’re successful. Its how we treat people, its how we interact with them and engage with them and its the high level of empathy we have with our clients. A client goes through a drug rehabilitation to get off the addictive drug Ice and we celebrate with him and his family. Clients bring little ones into the world and rejoice with them at the birth of their children and in this case a young man leaves this earth far too early and we cry for the family. This I believe is not something you can fake, you either care or you don’t. Something I once considered to be a hinderance to my career is in fact the catalyst for its success. Without the relationships, our business is nothing.
The relationship we have established with the Nicholas family has developed over the years of looking after their cars and in fact Tim was one of the first ten clients we had when we started the business over four years ago. Months after Tim’s passing his father contacted me to ask for help selling the car. After some efforts and a few potential buyers knocking it back due to low power, we investigated. We quickly found a blown head gasket and were devastated. How could I make that phone call and break the horrible news to an already heart broken father.
It took everything I had to pick up the phone and dial the number. The family were very understanding of the situation but very obviously overwhelmed by it all. How could we help this family, were just mechanics our skill set at grief counseling is somewhat lacking?
Tims_platesA team meeting that night saw us making emotional decisions over business decisions. What could we do to help this family? The only thing we could do is what we know best, build bloody awesome cars. Our newest team member Haimish opted to purchase the car and from that point on, the imagination ran wild. This is ironic as our advice to the family was sell the vehicle, we believed the sentimental value added to a car was not a good thing and if the family kept it they could never sell it. Now we’re in that position.
Hours and hours of research followed. Drawings, wheel and tyre combinations, coil overs, paint codes and Type R upgrades are all on the cards. Even talk of the number plates has come up. With all the talk and goggling we found basically the exact car we will be building.
civicWe wasted no time getting started and the head was removed last week. The lists were written and parts ordering has begun. Give it a few weeks and we will be well on our way. All our builds have love and emotion poured into them but this one is truly special.

Would You Like To Speak With The GDL Team?

Simply choose the option below that suits you best.


Request A Callback

Enter your name and mobile below and one of our team will call you within 15 minutes!*

*During business hours

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.