SET ADRIFT ON MEM­ORY BLISS

WITH SO MANY OP­TIONS FOR THE S-CHAS­SIS, HOW CAN ONE GO WRONG?

Super Street - - Superstreetgarage.com - WORDS Jonathan Wong PHO­TOS Rory Seer­den

There was a point dur­ing the mid-’00s when Nis­san’s S13 chas­sis be­came the “it” plat­form for en­thu­si­asts to mod­ify. Drift­ing was the cat­a­lyst, and you could take on many dif­fer­ent styles thanks to its pop­u­lar­ity in Ja­pan. For the money, the car was a great value with end­less po­ten­tial (and still is). You had the abil­ity to choose your pre­ferred en­gine con­ver­sion, plus in­ter­change parts from newer S-chas­sis, like the S14 and S15, in­clud­ing front ends. Sud­denly, you’re able to eas­ily repli­cate a Sil­via, 180SX, or cre­ate your own Sileighty or Onevia.

John Tuck­willer’s 240SX is a great throw­back to that era with one great ex­cep­tion: It rocks way more new-school tech­nol­ogy than we could’ve ever dreamed of. The ex­te­rior work is highly rem­i­nis­cent of some­thing Sig­nal Auto would’ve done—the S15 Sil­via front end adds sex­ier curves than the orig­i­nal popup (240SX/180SX) or square head­lights (S13) peo­ple are used to see­ing. The

rear end is more of your typ­i­cal look, which I pre­fer with the Kouki 180SX cir­cu­lar tail­lights, and has been off­set with a mod­i­fied S15 spoiler that’s had its cen­ter­sec­tion re­moved. John added a hand­ful of Ja­panese aero clas­sics, such as a C-west front bumper, Spirit Rei car­bon­fiber lip kit, and Bomex side skirts. “I’ve had this car for nearly 12 years, go­ing through dif­fer­ent trans­for­ma­tions,” John says. “But no mat­ter what, build­ing around the S15 front end and S13 hatch was al­ways the goal.”

Though it could’ve popped a lit­tle more had it been re­sprayed a dif­fer­ent color, the smooth and ul­tra-glossy black lends it­self well to the bits of gold found through­out the in­te­rior and en­gine bay— and really, it’s still clean and su­per dope this way. “I’ve al­ways had this car black, without swirls, and clean like a mir­ror,” John adds. “Gold is a gor­geous color ac­cent, but so are ti­ta­nium and car­bon. Now you get a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of my vi­sion.”

In­side is where things start to get in­ter­est­ing. The cus­tom ’cage work is some­thing dif­fer­ent. As the rear sec­tion works its way around the back half of the car, there’s also more cus­tom body work where the rear shock tow­ers and wheel­wells have been smoothed out, con­nect­ing to the other points of the rollcage. “Black is a good color to hide some­thing, but it can also show you all the flaws,” John says. “Man­ag­ing it is key. If I stripped the black away, you’d see ev­ery­thing, es­pe­cially on the ex­te­rior. Keep­ing ev­ery­thing black tones it down, but if you take the time to look, more modifications be­come ap­par­ent.” The spare tire well has been retro­fit­ted for the fuel com­po­nents and what we can only guess are hid­den com­pres­sor tanks for the air sus­pen­sion. From the driver seat, one can ap­pre­ci­ate the work done to the dash­board (most likely cracked, as it’s very com­mon) and AEM gauges mounted to the steer­ing col­umn.

The en­gine bay sees equal amounts of cus­tom work as the rest of John’s car. By se­lect­ing an older, more af­ford­able Red Top SR20DET, it left him with more bud­get to get the nec­es­sary parts to build big­ger power, in­clud­ing re­build­ing the bot­tom end and up­grad­ing the val­ve­train and tur­bocharger, as well as all its re­lated in­ter­cooler and ex­haust pip­ing. Gold ac­cent­ing is strong here, found on the turbo hous­ing, pul­leys, in­take man­i­fold, and fire­wall.

From the many en­gine set­ups he’s had over the years, this cur­rent setup isn’t the most pow­er­ful; it’s re­flec­tive of his decade-long ob­ses­sion with 240s. “No mat­ter what I did to it, I pushed it hard, whether it was au­tocross, drag rac­ing, or hav­ing fun on the street. The best part was, no mat­ter how badly I beat on it, I al­ways got home.” The fuel sys­tem is a work of art, though. You want to talk sym­me­try? This de­sign does lots of talk­ing.

It’s hard to fig­ure out how to clas­sify this Nis­san. Street? Drift? Show? John is quick to say show. “It’s a show car that can com­pete yet could be an art piece. I have three pur­pose-built 240s for dif­fer­ent func­tions. The air sus­pen­sion is so re­li­able that I can post up at shows, then drive off without hav­ing to worry about be­ing com­mit­ted to the static life.” It’s hard choos­ing one, be­cause John’s 240SX checks off ev­ery box. We have an­other sug­ges­tion: File it un­der “per­fectly ex­e­cuted.”

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