Matt's Suzuki (Not So) Swift [Build Thread]

Now i’m going to pre-face this by saying that this build thread will be nowhere near as exciting as the others on here, mainly because it’s a little Japanese sh*tbox that you can’t really do much to!
So I picked up the car in early 2020 as a 100% stock grocery getter to replace my previous car which wasn’t going to pass it’s MOT due to an insane amount of rust. (Cheers Ford for not undersealing your vehicles from the factory!)

As you can see, it’s pretty uninspiring. Over the next few month I gradually added little bits to it, such as wind deflectors, plastidip on the badges, smoked LED indicator repeaters, etc etc. The usual Halfords specials. One of the first major things I did which changed the look of the car a lot was tint my own windows. I was quite proud of myself at the time as I’d never done anything like this before, and it turned out quite well, especially considering the same tint is still on till this day!

The next few months again were just set about doing small aesthetic touches when I could afford to (I was still working for KFC at this point, so my wages were pretty much non existent).
I’d added a sunstrip, had the front and rear lights tinted, fitted an aftermarket head unit, added a few decals on the rear window as well as doing a kill all wipers wiper delete.

After owning the Swift for about 14 months I decided it was time to start doing some actual modifications to the vehicle. The first thing on the list was to get it lowered, as the stock ride height was ridiculous. For this I got a set of Vmaxx 40mm lowering springs from CTC Performance and got them fitted.

While the ride height was still fairly high compared to some cars, it was a hell of a lot better than the standard height. And with this came the added benefit of better handling, win win right?
Unfortunately shortly after the springs were fitted, the Swift was hit by a lorry when going round an island. Luckily it was only one of the tyres that hit my front offside wing, and only scraped the paint off.

The bad side of this is that you all know how expensive the paint shop can be! So this caused quite a setback in the modifications due to a simple lack of funds.

It did however all get sorted as you can see.
The next small thing I did was add a tow strap to the front of the vehicle, for all that track time I wasn’t going to be doing :joy: :ok_hand:
I just thought it looked cool and stuck it on the front of the car.

After driving with it like that for a few days, I decided that if I was going to have it on, I might as well do it properly. So I took the front bumper off for the first time, drilled a hole into the front bumper reinforcer than attached the tow strap so it is now fully functional and can pull the car if need be.

My next modification was to add an ali-express special rear wing. This wing was an absolute bargain at only £90 including shipping, and doesn’t look half bad in my own opinion. It took over two months to arrive from China, but once it came, installation was simple. Just drill two holes in your roof, screw it in place with 3M tape to help keep it down and you’re done!

It was shortly after this that I met the Drive-R lads at the Meraki launch event at the Gaydon Motor Museum. If I’m being completely honest, I kinda messed up a bit and parked on their stand by accident without realising it, but it all worked out in the end as I’m here now :joy:

This was the first car meet I’d ever been to so I was very shy and didn’t really know the etiquette so I just kept to myself. After the meet I’d gone home to check out all the groups that were there and had noticed that Drive-R had actually photographed my car with theirs and gave the little nugget some attention. This really shocked me as I was certain at that point my Swift wasn’t going to be welcome due to being, well, a nugget. But the Drive-R team made me feel really welcome.

This gave me the motivation to actually continue working on my car and making it as good as it can be with the little budget I had. From there I carried on doing little things such as getting the B-pillars rewrapped as the original owner peeled the trim off, while I saved up for bigger things.

In early 2022 I finally got round to doing the first “performance” modification, a custom rear backbox delete made by Rebel Classics.

This drastically changed the sound of the little Swift and allowed it to breathe just a little better in the high rev range, giving me a bit more moving power when mashing the pedal. Not much more mind you, and I’m fairly sure it might just be a placebo, however the butt dyno feels it! It certainly makes the car a lot more fun to drive, and that’s the main thing right?
I then decided to have a go at making a custom grille for the front, and it went terribly!

As you can see, it looks rather messy up close, but from a distance it actually looks quite cool. I’m 100% in the future going to attempt to make a V2 of this but make it look professional (or at least attempt to!)
The next mod done to the lil Swift was a big one, one I’d wanted to do since I first bought the car, something that really sets a modified car apart from a stock model. Aftermarket alloys!
I decided on a set of Japan Racing JR3’s, 17x7J (Compared to the standard 16x5.5J), paired with a set of Toyo Proxes TR1 tyres 205/17/40 (stock was 185/16/55).

Can honestly say these completely transformed the look and feel of the car. I wish I’d done it a lot sooner, and can honestly say it should be the first thing any car enthusiast should do to their vehicle. Get yourself a nice pair of good quality tyres before you do any other modifications. No they aren’t as cool as a big turbo or a chassis mounted wing, but they will do more than any other modification for your handling and performance.

How much better does it look with those alloys? The fitment is almost perfect (just need to go lower!) and they look so much more aggressive than the stock alloys.

Since then not much has been changed (Due to being broke from buying alloys!) but there’s a lot more in the pipeline. Hopefully soon I’m going to throw a wod of cash at Balveen to make me an air intake, throw more wods of cash at Scott to do me some “Drive-R” stripes, get a splitter installed, hopefully get some sport side skirt’s, potentially get a rear diffuser made, potentially go to bigger exhaust tips that aren’t chrome, custom front grilles, wheel bolt to nut conversion so I can get some sick lug nuts, the list goes on and on!

While the build may only be in it’s infancy, and only be a lil sh*tbox, the most important thing is that you’re having fun. Take this lil nugget as proof that you don’t need a 500bhp sports car on bags with a rocket bunny kit and 3 piece custom alloys to be accepted into the car community. The guy’s at Drive-R have taken me in with open arms and shown me that every build is valid. You don’t need a huge budget to make something cool, just be passionate with what you do and it’ll show in the end product. Don’t be afraid to get started!



Great post @Not_So_Swift! Loving the build so far, and what a difference the alloys made!

Glad you’re enjoying being part of the community and it’s a pleasure to have you with us! Looking forward to reading more updates in the future! :smiley:


Been a little while so let’s have an update shall we?

Where did we leave off before, lets see. Ahhh yes, the alloys finally got fitted!
Not much really happened for a little while after they were installed because I think you all know how expensive alloys are!

On the way back from one of the Drive-R breakfast meets at the Steamhouse Bakery, my passenger side door speaker decided to stop working, which was very disorientating while driving along the M42 and suddenly all sounds from your left just stopped! So I decided this would be a great opportunity to swap out the stock door speakers for an upgraded set from Pioneer. These were dead easy to install, and made a huge improvement to the sound quality. The only problem with this upgrade was that these new speakers were obviously designed to be ran with a subwoofer as I lost all low end from the sound. So the obvious solution? Install a subwoofer! So that’s what I did! I bought a Kenwood under seat subwoofer as my head unit is also Kenwood so the setup was dead simple, pretty much plug and play! The sound in the Swift is now amazing for such a small car, tonnes of bass (with an individual remote for the subwoofer) that has clarity throughout the entire frequency range without distorting till it’s way too uncomfortable to listen to anyway!

A little while after sorting the speaker situation out, Bal sorted me out by changing the exhaust tips to carbon fibre 4 inch tips, because obviously 4 inches is too big so it looks hilarious.

Look at that size comparison between the new and the old! Ridiculous right?
The old tips were cut off and the new ones put in place to make the Swift look even more ridiculous.

Shortly after, a few big things happened to the car that completely changed the look of the car in a fairly short period of time.
Let’s take one final look at her before the big change came shall we?

The black Swift Sport belongs to my friend Becca (Instagram) , go check out her build!

I got hold of a set of LED rear lights to replace the stock tinted lights. These look super sick compared to the stock lights and are a tonne brighter which is obviously better for safety!

(Ignore the the fact the license plate bulb was out, that was replaced immediately afterwards!)

I then imported a front splitter from Lithuania that looks super sick and managed to get my hands on a pair of sideskirts from the ZC32s Swift Sport. These two combined completely changed the look of the vehicle from a slightly modified small car to one that looked actually kinda cool!

Certainly gives is a meaner appearance right?
And I had to christen the sideskirts with a bit of Drive-R love right :wink:?

I then kinda look a little bit of a step back with the mods and spent a little time doing maintenance as I had my MOT coming up. So I replaced all the cabin filter, upgraded the air filter to a K&N panel filter (which did actually make a bit of a difference which surprised me), changed the oil and filter then did some other odd jobs.

I went to a local tuning company in my town (Dynodaze) to see if they could help me get the exhaust to sit a little better, and boy they made it look like it belongs now! They cut out two sections in my bumper, cut the exhaust and welded it up a little higher, and now it looks super sick, like it is actually part of the car!

…ignore the grass and leaves on my wheels, i’d just done a handbrake turn :joy:

AAAAAAANNNNNNNNNND then the stupidness happened :eyes:

What is the most ridiculous thing you could think of doing to a car in the 2020’s? Something that hasn’t been popular for a couple of decades now?

Neons baby :sunglasses:

It’s so stupid and was 100% totally not worth it but… just funny ain’t it? :joy:
So the original kit (Glowkit) just hooks straight up to the battery and you’re all good as it’s controlled by an app on your phone. However, I wanted to have a hardware switch in the cabin so I know 100% that it’s turned off so I don’t accidentally drive along with rainbow neon’s (Which I still have done somehow anyway LOL!) This made the installation about 100% harder than just installing the neon’s as it meant feeding wires through the cabin through the only grommet in the firewall (which is behind the heater core), drilling a hole in the dashboard to fit a switch then wiring it all up. This was made a lot easier however by the fact my work allowed me to use one of their lifts to aid with the installation (Big up Vauxhall!)

Honestly installing neon’s has possible made my car so much more fun to show off, and it’s such a simple thing to install if you have a way of getting the car off the floor! #BringNeonsBack

After installing both the neon’s and the subwoofer, the wiring in my engine bay was starting to look… like a fire hazard to say the least! So I decided it would be best to tidy it up a little and make it safer. To do this I got a distribution block and some fireproof cable sleeves which also look super sick. Check out the before and after!

So much tidier and safer!

The only advisory on my MOT that I cared about (The others were for stickers and tint LOL) was the front drop links were worn, so I decided now would be a good time to upgrade to adjustable drop links for when I lower the car even more in the future with coilovers (One day… I promise). So I got a set of Vmaxx adjustable uprated drop links and got them fitted at work, which was easier said than done…

The lower bolts on both sides were seized so out came the angle grinder!
Safety first obviously… using a clipboard to protect my brake lines and eyes LOL!

Can’t see them too well once the wheels are back on but they’re a nice colour and a lot thicker than the stock ones so should be a fair bit stronger!

At the time of writing this, Japshow Finale is tomorrow and Me, Tim (Silver EP3) and Brandon (Silver Mondeo… I mean Toyota Prius Hybrid :eyes:) have just spent the day cleaning our cars in preparation for the show. Now the paint on the Swift has always been pretty terrible, with tonnes of iron and tar in the paint, but today I finally got round to giving her the treatment she deserves. A full fallout treatment, followed by using a claybar, then a full wash and wax. She looks AMAZING now compared to before, actually looks white! While not perfect, it is a drastic improvement and I cannot wait to do it again soon to really get the paint popping!

Only problem is that insects now love my car and cannot stay off it! :angry: :joy:

Exhausted now after cleaning all day but hopefully it’ll be worth it for tomorrow!

Still got a LOT I want to do with the Swift, and hopefully gonna be doing more stuff soon so keep an eye out! The Not_So_Swift might actually finally become Swift :eyes:


Update time? Update time!

It’s been a good 6 months since the last update so I think it’s time we show what’s new right?
Last time we had an update I’d just clay barred the car and replaced the drop links.

The next few weeks were spent playing around with the exhaust…
I went to Nota Fabrication (Bigup our guy Bal <3) to get a resonator delete, making the Swift completely straight piped from the cat back. This was a mistake. While it did sound awesome at first, on the motorway and for daily use it was unbearable. So I went back to out big guy Bal and got a smaller resonator installed which made it sound a tad more aggressive but still sensible enough for daily use.

The next mod was a big purchase that was so worth it.
So one of the biggest problems I had with the Swift was that the headlights were trash, which is 100% my own fault as I had them tinted but, death to all chrome right? I’d always liked the projector headlights that some of the modified Swifts in the UK have but I’d only even seen them in the LHD variant. This would be a big problem as the cut off line of the projector light would be blinding people on the opposite side of the road and not illuminating road signs, and most importantly would fail an MOT. After a LOT of research, I stumbled across a Japanese company that actually bought these headlights in, converted them to RHD then resold them. I HAD to have them. The only downside is that they didn’t export them, you could only get them in Japan. This is where RHDJapan came to the rescue! I contacted them and they agreed to import a set into the UK, so a few weeks later (And a lot of money later :sob:) I had a set of JDM import aftermarket headlights!

Not only are they black on the inside so all the light can pass through the lens, they have some really cool LED accents for the sidelights and projector dipped beams. They look so much better than the OEM ones in my opinion. Very shortly after this I swapped out the halogens in the projectors for LED’s and I can now see for miles in the dark.

Look at that output!

Having LED’s on front and rear has really made the Swift look a lot more modern than from the factory.

Shortly after this I set about doing a small but pretty big mod to the Swift. I converted the hubs from using bolts to secure the wheels to having studs so I could get some fancy lug nuts. This was quite easy to do but was pretty nerve wracking to do. I made sure to use red threadlocker to make sure that these will not come unthreaded from the hub which would be catastrophic. The reason I decided to do this conversion was to be able to use the Ghettowxrkz lug nuts, which look super awesome.
I decided to run these without the spike caps as I think they’d be very overkill for the car but they still look awesome in my opinion.

Not long after this I managed to get the lil nugget on the dyno at Dynodaze at a little car meet. I didn’t feel confident in the performance figures as the car is over a decade old now and hasn’t really had any performance upgrades as such. I was expecting to have lost a few horsepower, maybe about 10 (I didn’t have many to begin with!). So when the dyno results came back showing that I’d gained horsepower and torque I was delighted. It’s not much, only 97.6 horsepower and 92.6ft-lb of torque but that’s still more than factory.

The only problem with this is it’s made me want to hit triple figures for horsepower. Should be easy enough right?
But before that there is another problem that needs sorting. Ride height. I was already on lowering springs but the arch gap was still :nauseated_face::nauseated_face::nauseated_face:.

This is where BC Racing comes in. I bit the bullet and ordered a set of BC Racing coilovers as they were the “cheapest” coilovers you can get for the Swift with ride height and spring pre-load as separate adjustment. I went back to Bal at Nota Fabs again to install these coilovers, where he insisted on slamming it on it’s arse, and I’m glad he made me do it. I was originally planning to just lower it slightly but having it slammed on it’s arse actually makes the perfect ride height!

That comparison before old and new though! It was a good job I decided to replace the shocks at this point anyway as one of the fronts was starting to leak oil.
Before I show you any photo’s of how sick it looked slammed, there’s something else I need to let you know about.
The day before I’d spent the day at Scott’s house sorting out a half livery to advertise our show we’re putting on in June.
Psssssst! Buy tickets now!
We decided on a clean stripe with the Drive-R and Unified in big bold letters along the stripes. As of writing, I’m still to finish the livery with all the sponsors but even at the moment it looks pretty sleek!
So here’s the big moment, the unveiling of the new slammed and liveried up boi!

We do be kinda low now…
But this lowness just emphasised the fitment issues at the rear. So how do we fix that? Spacers of course!

10mm spacers on the rear and 5mm on the front made for some pretty sick fitment. The only problem was the rears were eating the sidewalls now, so once again I went back to Nota Fab and he took an angle grinder to my inner rear arches and rolled my front arches to get that perfect fitment without shredding my tyres. Sick!

And that pretty much takes us up to today! Ever since having the livery started and slamming it, it’s been getting so much more attention which is a weird feeling, but I rate it!

For the moment that is all, but expect more stuff in the very near future :eyes:

Matt - @not_so_swift