Late for class," he says-Eric Francisco throws us the keys to his 240 so that he can take his last final of the semester. The Windy City is working overtime this afternoon as the sun begins to set in the distance. "I probably won't see you guys again tonight," he says, "Nice meeting you." And in seconds, we have free reign with a local drift car. Right away, Carter and I start thinking of ways to pawn it off so that we can pay for our last night in town, which will most likely include a visit to a local steakhouse and a nightclub where the female employees gyrate in exchange for $20 bills. But our conscience gets the better of us; it's much too pretty to let go. The way the staggered wheels tuck and sit flush to the extended fenders are a perfect match for the S13.
His friend's AE86 is no different; it's white to match, slammed and hugging a deep set of 15-inch Work Equips. David Hruska, we're told, drifts this little coupe as often as he changes socks, which could be pretty disgusting if it was only on weekends. And he's also not afraid to make contact with any objects that get in his way, like, say, a wall. But if damage is in the cards, David sends it right back to the shop for a touch up. When we shot it, it had just come back from another session.
Eric and David's cars represent Chicago's drifting elite and are the unofficial demo cars for Touge Factory, a shop buried deep in the suburbs outside the big city. The shop's founder, David Lee, is responsible for helping to organize most of Chicago's major drift functions, representing Drift Association's Midwest chapter. Like its primary West Coast division, Drift Association headlines a majority of the grassroots drift events, giving plenty of drifting hopefuls the chance to improve their sideway skills. Touge Factory, however, is also the sole importer of Origin Lab, a Japanese body kit company that specializes in widebody extremes as shown by these two examples here. The AE86 and S13 are both rolling showcases of how to build drift cars the right way.
When he's not filling out Scantrons, Eric's busy at Touge Factory as the company's wiringspecialist, an important job if you're working with cars that are always seeing engine swaps like the SR20DET or the 20v 4AG. But having owned a 240SX since he first got his license, Eric spent the past six years perfecting this S13 coupe. Concentrating heavily on power, he swapped in a red-top SR20DET from a '93 Silvia, upgrading its valvetrain by installing 264 HKS stage 2 cams and GReddy valve springs to handle the increased lift. A larger intake plenum, also from GReddy, sucks air in from a Z32 intake, feeding the Garrett T28 turbo before it's routed out through a Helix turbo manifold and down to an Origin Lab exhaust. A thick GReddy RSPL intercooler core fills the front gap of the Origin Lab bumper, lowering intake charge and boosting power as a result. It's estimated that Eric's SR20 is topping out somewhere around 300 horses, which is plenty for a drift setup.
With complete access to Origin's master catalog, Eric decided his S13 should stand out in a sea of Silvias and Sileighties. The Silvia front end was a given conversion, but he installed the Origin Aggressive body kit to bring it into full light along with the Origin Blister 20mm (front) and 30mm (rear) fenders, which are screaming for equally wide wheels to fill the space. He took care of that by bolting on a set of 18x9 and 18x10 Work Meister S1s sporting black staggered faces. HQ Kustoms sprayed the car with a shiny coat of PPG Alpine White paint before David laid down the graphics. To finish the exterior, Eric added an extremely rare Origin Lab piece: the "Great Wave Off Kanagawa" hood, a design replicating Katsuhika Hokusai's masterpiece (see sidebar), as well as Origin mirrors, taillights and a carbon fiber sunroof plate from Racepods.
While the exterior screams loudly, the interior is almost a whisper in comparison. Most of it has been ripped out, leaving it bare with the exception of the dashboard, which had its air conditioning vents removed so Eric could squeeze a trio of GReddy gauges. The a/c controls were also pulled for the Painless ignition panel, all part of the custom wiring job he fabbed up himself. He rocks a pair of blue suede Recaro Speeds for comfort on the go, an Autopower rollcage for protection and a Nardi Classic 350mm steering wheel for cool cruising.
Just like needing a photo in a casual encounter on Craigslist to prove one's looks, a good drift car needs suspension to prove its performance on the track. Eric rid his S13 of poor handling by lowering his car four inches with a set of adjustable Stance coilovers with 504lb springs for the front shocks and 392lb springs on the rear. Girthy Whiteline sway bars were also used along with a GReddy rear strut bar, Touge Factory's trunk and pillar bar, and Nismo bushings for additional stiffness. To really turn this mutha out for drifting, Eric needed more to improve his angle so he bolted in SPL Parts endlinks, Touge Factory tension rods, traction rods, rear upper control arms, toe rods, Tein inner tie rods and Kazama tie rod ends. The brake upgrades are mild, using factory Z32 calipers with Project ? brake pads and Taka Motorsports brakelines.
SILENT BUT VIOLENT
The way David stands off to the side staring at his Corolla really makes us wonder what the hell's going through his mind. He doesn't say much, but when he does you get the idea that he really loves his car and drifting is a tool to connect the two on another level. To get a better understanding of just how much he loves the AE86, he told us about when he bought it-he flew out to a used car dealership in Oregon, dropping $950 for a pristine GT-S; its only flaw was that it had been repainted maroon over the factory silver. With a good entry level drift car in his hands, David was going to keep it fairly stock, using it for weekend practice-maybe a Levin front end. But weekend cars never stay stock, do they?
Yet unlike every other story we've told where said owner develops the irresistible urge to cash in his life savings or his student loan checks to build the ultimate dream car, David didn't need a sign from a higher source to make him do its bidding-his engine experienced spat read, "oil pressure loss" as they say. For a year it sat in his garage until he finally found a silver-top AE101 engine to swap in. While the engine was being prepped from operating in FWD to RWD, he stripped the interior and stitch-welded the rear half before spraying it and the exterior down with Toyota Super White paint. A rear trunk panel from a Kouki AE86 was also used to replace the 20-year-old piece that had seen better days. With a fully functioning engine, it was finally time to go drifting, but the suspension needed work. At first David combined a set of 450lb springs from kg/mm with Tokico HTS shocks, and used zero offset Enkei wheels to fill up wheel gap. With this mild setup, practice became a constant, but as he says, "I wasn't any good at it, to say the least."
As his drifting skills progressed, David naturally sought out more power for the high-revving 20v engine. The original T50 transmission was also built for drifting, using Cusco's transmission mount to absorb vibration along with a two-way RS limited slip differential, a TRD shifter and three-puck clutch, and a 4.7 final drive gear from Techno Pro Spirit. He then pulled the stock intake for 75mm individual throttle bodies from a T3 and bolted on a Buddy Club Spec II exhaust and a no-name test pipe he found at the Tokyo Auto Salon back in '05. This is when "the car started taking on a personality of its own," says David.
From there, the full Levin transformation began: He used the Zenki front lights, corner lights, front grille, bumper and a brand new hood to complete the look, however, he was missing fenders. He went so far as to email people in Japan for help, but all they could say was he was nuts for trying. David had just been contracted by Origin USA to design its ads and Web site, so, during that original trip to Tokyo, Origin Japan gave him a set of Levin wide fenders and rear over fenders as a way of saying "thanks" for helping out.
Now that the fenders were taken care of, he needed new wheels to match, so he traded the Enkei wheels for 15x9 Work Equip 03s with -15 offset on the front with -25 offset on the rear, -40 if you count the Project Kics 15mm spacers. The wider wheels now posed a new problem, which needed coilovers as the remedy. He pulled the kg/mm springs for Ground Control/T3 coilovers with stiffer spring rates and installed TRD Race II shocks on the rear, keeping the Tokico HTS on the front. David finalized the look of his AE86 by removing his original side mirrors for aero mirrors from a Mazda RX-7 FC3S (yes, they fit) and the same Origin Kanagawa-style hood that Eric has.
David now spends the majority of his weekends at Origin USA messing around with his car, whether it's adding more parts or practicing drifting. Drifting became so much a part of his life that he requested a transfer at work, from Michigan down to Chicago so he could be closer to his friends (he had been driving back and forth every weekend he could). With each Midwest Drift Day, he's there; in fact, he hasn't missed a single event. Recently, he won his first Drift Day award at the fifth Drift Day competition. David remarks, "It was a memorable moment for me with my car. I didn't place, but it basically means the judges liked me." We're sure he'll start placing in no time.
FAST FACTS - 1992 Nissan 240sx
OWNER Eric Francisco
POWER estimated 300hp with 280lb-ft
UNDER THE HOOD '93 red-top 2.0L SR20DET;HKS stage 2 264 camshafts and SSQV blow-off valve; GReddy valve springs, intake manifold, Z32 intake, RSPL intercooler and oil pan; Garrett T28 turbo; Koyo radiator; Microtech LT-125 ignition; NGK spark plugs; MSD 500cc injectors; Nismo fuel regulator; Walbro fuel pump; JGY Customs top feed fuel rail; Origin Lab exhaust; Helix turbo manifold and modified O2 housing
DRIVETRAIN Tomei two-way Technical TraxAdvance LSD; B&M shifter; Exedy stage 2 clutch
BRAINS Blitz DSBC boost controller
STIFF STUFF Stance Type GR coilovers; Whiteline sway bars; GReddy rear strut bar; Whiteline/Nismo bushings; SPL Parts endlinks; Touge Factory tension rods, traction rods, rear upper control arms, toe rods, subframe spacers, trunk bar, pillar bar and steering spacer; Tein inner tie rods; Kazama tie rod ends; Tanabe Power brace; Autopower four-point rollcage
STOPPERS Z32 front calipers; Project ? brake pads; Taka Motorsports brake lines
ROLLERS (show) 18x9 and 18x10 Work Meister S1 with Falken ST-115 225/40R18 and 235/40R18 tires; (race) 17x9 and 17x10 5Zigen FN01RC with Falken ST-115 225/45R17 and 235/45R17 tires
OUTSIDE Origin Lab Aggressive body kit, "Great Wave Off Kanagawa" limited edition hood, Crystal taillights, 20mm front Blister fenders, 30mm rear Blister fenders and side mirrors; S13 front end conversion; carbon fiber sunroof plate by Racepods; graphics by Yummy Graphics; PPG Alpine White paint by HQ Kustoms
INSIDE Recaro Speed seats; fiberglass gauge pod by Racepods; GReddy boost, water temp, oil pressure and fuel pressure gauges; Nardi 350mm Classic steering wheel; Nismo shift knob; Willans seat harnessesICE Kenwood Excelon KDC-X811 head unit; Infinity Kappa Perfect speakers; Painless Wiring 4 circuit ignition panel and 12 circuit fusebox
FAST FACTS - 1985 Toyota Corolla GT-S
OWNER David Hruska
POWER 170hp at 7200rpm; 120lb-ft at 5600
UNDER THE HOOD '92 1.6L Toyota Levin AE101 silver-top 20v engine; T3 75mm individual throttle bodies; Buddy Club Spec II exhaust; UP Garage test pipe; TRD header, spark plug wires and oil cap; NGK spark plugs; Cusco engine mounts; FAL radiator fan; Jubiride velocity stack screens
DRIVETRAIN T50 transmission; Cusco RS two-way LSD, transmission mount and spin-turn knob; TRD shifter and clutch; Techno Pro Spirit 4.7 final gear; Earl's clutch line
BRAINS AE111 black top ECU; A'PEXi Super AFC II
STIFF STUFF Ground Control/T3 coilovers; Tokico HTS (front) and TRD Race II (rear) shocks; Tanabe Sustec sway bars; Cusco Type OS front/rear strut bars, rear triangle bar; four-link, lateral rod and upper camber plates; TRD bushings; T3 negative roll center adjusters; Ueo Style lower control arms; JIC Magic inner tie rods; Autopower rollcage
STOPPERS Brembo front brakes; Project ? B-Force brake pads; Earl's brake lines
ROLLERS 15x9 Work Equip 03 wheels with Falken ZE 512 195/50R15 tires; Project Kics 15mm spacers (rear)
OUTSIDE Origin Stylish body kit, rear wing, 20mm front fenders, 35mm rear fenders and "Great Wave Off Kanagawa" limited edition hood; Levin Zenki front end conversion; rear Kouki taillight conversion with Levin Whiteline taillamps; Toyota Super White paint by HQ Kustoms; self-made Yummy Graphics; Mazda RX-7 FC3S aero mirrors; TRD gas cap cover; JDM bumper brackets and headlamp brackets
INSIDE Bride Ergo II seats; Nardi Classic steering wheel; Razo shift knob; Pivot temp/fan controller; Takata harnesses and harness pads; TRD horn button; FET quick release hub
ICE Pioneer head unit and speakers