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Island Fever - 1998 Nissan 240SX

Braden Lee Heats up Hawaii with his Loco Moco S14

Carter Jung
Sep 11, 2006
Photographer: Henry Z. DeKuyper
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As evening slowly approaches, the waning sun casts her amber glow over Waikiki beach. Like an image out of a postcard, Hawaii's natural beauty is peppered with the long shadows of surfers riding the gentle waves and barely clad sunbathers hoping to absorb the last warm rays before the Pacific Ocean extinguishes the daily flame. You walk by the lei-wrapped arm of Duke Kahanamoku's statue and sip on the watery remains of your Matsumoto shaved ice. A serene end to a perfect tropical day.

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Screech! The far-off squealing of tires breaking traction destroys the moment. Souvenir-hunting tourists meandering the sidewalks stop in their tracks with a look of confusion. SCREEEECH! It's getting louder. Even the sunbathers laying out on the beach now turn their attention from the sun to look for the cause of the commotion. The noise loudly crescendos as a blood-red 240SX rounds the corner sideways, tires smoking and engine screaming, bouncing off the rev-limiter. For a moment, it looks like it's about to run into one of the dozens of ABC stores that litter the beachfront street. The driver, however, quickly counter-steers and the car immediately corrects itself. The Silvia accelerates up to the next corner, brakes, drifts sideways, and leaves just as quickly as it came.

When you think of Oahu, images of palm trees, warm beaches, fresh pineapples, Spam, or half-nekkid girls running around in skimpy bikinis usually run through your mind. One of the last things you'd expect to see is a heavily tuned car. It's a freakin' island, right? Everything has to be shipped thousands of miles, and what's the point of driving when the farthest from point A to point B is 44 miles? What they consider an expedition to the far reaches, we mainlanders call a commute. Hawaii, however, is home to a ragtag bunch of Macadamian-eating nuts who are deep into the import scene. Despite their pidgin accents and love for all things Spam, they surprisingly manage to track down some of the hottest JDM parts and build some of the cleanest cars in the US. Take this S14 owned by Braden (yes, that's right, Branden minus the "n") Lee for example.

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Residing in Aiea, HI, Braden had a penchant for two things: to go fast and drift. With those criteria in mind, he drove his Volvo-safe is for weenies-into Diamond Head and used his head and bought a kouki '98 240SX. Wanting to build a car to impress the throngs of Japanese tourists butt-flossing nothing but thongs, Braden looked to the Land of the Rising Sun for styling cues. Admiring the lines of his S14's sister, the S15 Silvia, he quickly decided to scrap the stock front for a JDM-spec conversion and wrap the rest of her in Charge Speed dressing. Once the parts made it across the Ring of Fire, he drove his car to the North Shore to grab some shaved ice and shrimp, then dropped off his S14 with Terrance and Forrest, brahs who installed everything, including fabbing custom over-fenders and painting the entire car the hot-like-fever red.

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With the car looking wicked, Braden knew that he had to make the power to back the looks. Considering his options, he once again went the JDM route and purchased an S13 black-top SR20DET motor. But before making the SR leap, Braden had Aaron Teague at Full Race refresh the bottom end with Ross pistons and Eagle rods and had the crank re-balanced. A Head Games ported head stuffed with Tomei cams, Ferrea valve springs and retainers was bolted onto the built short block. Fuel delivery issues for the new motor were addressed via a high output Walbro fuel pump feeding an HKS rail, RC injectors, and Sard regulator.

Once the SR was built and swapped in, Braden wanted to push the new motor, so the next component he upgraded was the turbo system. After a quick call to Full Race over on the mainland, Braden had manifold master haole-Geoff (see July's "Final Call" Civic) concoct a boost solution. Packing a boost care package full of goodies including Full Race's equal length turbo manifold, intercooler piping, downpipe, exhaust, and a ball-bearing turbo from Garrett, Geoff shipped everything but the TiAL blow-off valve, wastegate, and TurboXS boost controller, which Braden managed to source from a local shop which we can only assume was an L&L Hawaiian Barbeque. Teriyaki combos aside, the entire setup with an A'PEXi Power FC tuned by Jeff at Evans Tuning put down a coconut-hair raising 494.4 hp and 420 lb-ft torque.

To handle all the new loco in his moco, Braden realized that he would have to address traction issues for spirited runs through the vast Hawaiian rain-touges. He decided that his Maui Wowie desperately needed a Blitz clutch, Kaaz LSD, 17-inch Rays Gram Lights and sticky Dunlop tires. After all, the Hawaii-based film 50 First Dates illustrated the potential aftermath of spinning out and hitting a tree during a misbegotten pineapple-picking excursion-that and guys with commitment issues should try picking up on waffle-house-making girls with short-term memory loss.

Suspension, another important upgrade when it comes to avoiding drifting into any ABC stores or stray trees, is handled by Tein HE coilovers, Tanabe antiroll bars and a Cusco front strut brace. In case Braden should encounter a rogue pineapple field, a custom roll cage and Sparco seat protects against a painful death by pineapple thorn impalement. Rounding out the stripped interior, mods include a custom dash, Omori and A'PEXi gauges, Nardi steering wheel, and a MOMO shift knob. Once everything was in place, Braden had Kent at Imagery Graphics add the final vinyl touches.

As Braden's S14 reaches the twilight of its build, the only thing left is for him to dial in the car's suspension, hone his drift skills, and continue to terrorize visiting tourists. So consider yourself warned: The next time you're out in Hawaii, watching the glimmering sunset of Waikiki, don't be startled when you hear and then see this island fever 240SX whip up tire smoke and stray sand that blows into the street. And if you're lucky, have a steady hand and your camera ready, you just might capture a different kind of Hawaiian beauty.


FAST FACTS


Ride '98 nissan 240sx

Owner Braden Lee (Bruce Lee's long-lost consonant-missing son?)

Power 494 hp; 420 lb-ft of torque

Under The Hood Black-top SR20DET motor; Full Race exhaust, turbo manifold, charge pipes, downpipe; Tomei cams; Eagle rods; Ross pistons; ported Head Games head; Ferrea valve springs, retainers; RC Engineering 750cc injectors; Sard fuel regulator; Walbro fuel pump; HKS fuel rail; Garrett GT3037R turbo; TiAL blow-off valve, wastegate; TurboXS boost controller

Drivetrain Kaaz LSD; Blitz clutch

Brains A'pexi Power FC

Stiff Stuff Tein HE coilovers; Tanabe antiroll bars; Cusco strut brace; custom roll cage

Rollers 17x9.5 Rays Gram Lights wheels; Dunlop tires

Stoppers 300ZX brakes

Outside S15 Silvia front-end conversion; Charge Speed body kit; Imagery Graphics vinyl

Inside Sparco seats; custom dash; Omori and A'PEXi gauges; Nardi steering wheel; MOMO shift knob

Sources

Dunlop
Buffalo, NY 14207
716-879-8200
http://www.dunloptires.com
Mackin Industries
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
562-946-6820
http://www.mackinindustries.com
NOS Energy Drink
Atlanta, GA
http://www.drinknos.com
Tein
562-861-9161
www.tein.com
Sparco
800-224-7113
www.sparcousa.com
Tanabe
Torrance, CA 90501
310-783-0200
http://www.tanabe-usa.com
Versus Motorsports
www.versusmotorsport.com
Evans Tuning
www.evans-tuning.com
By Carter Jung
165 Articles

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