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 |   |  1994 Nissan 240SX Hatchback - Monetary Machine
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1994 Nissan 240SX Hatchback - Monetary Machine

Kingston Tse's Btfo 180SX Replica Is Mad Money

Sean Klingelhoefer
Nov 1, 2008
Photographer: Scott Dukes

Although it may look scantily clad at first glance it's hard to miss this Nissan. Draped in the color scheme of LeBron James' alma mater, this is one 180, err 240SX, that is bound to break necks. The House of Kolor 5-stage (that's right 5- stage) Kandy paint job is so nice even non-enthusiasts can't resist a second look. But don't feel bad if you didn't notice the paint yet because you were too busy eyeing the custom gold 17X8/18X9.5 J Line SDMSL2s, they were the beginning of Tse's vision too

Ironic as it may seem, building a car around your dream set of wheels is a procedure only too familiar for some of us. These shiny gold rollers are nearly impossible to miss as Kingston agrees, "It's why I went with bright gold chrome wheels." To accommodate such extreme kicks Kingston had to bang out the hips a little. For most people custom body work can sound a bit unsettling at first, the thought of hacking up your baby for what may potentially be better in the end, is a risk many are unwilling to take. Fortunately, for Tse, sculpting cars is just a part of normal everyday life. Working as the manager of M1 Autosport, Kingston is no stranger to automotive reconstructive surgery and wants to "encourage people not to be afraid to add their own personal touch when it comes to customization." Using his deft hands like a professional masseur,he personally guided the subtle body enhancements you see here. "I decided to make [the] 80mm widebody look as OEM as possible," Kingston claims. Just enough room to fit the wheels without hindering the original bodylines, we dig it.

It wasn't quite as easy of a build as it might seem, even for a professional, this car needed a two-year metamorphosis before it would eventually hatch into what you see today. "The reason I [built] this car was to promote the company I work for." Kingston explains, "I wanted to be the first one to do something people have not seen done on a 240SX before, and [at] the same time, showcase some custom work we can do and do in a clean way." And in a clean way he did, but quality and quickly don't go hand-in-hand. Take for example the paint smothered on this 240, it's not everyday that you see an import owner who will shell out the time and money to get a House of Kolor Kandy paint job. Even finding a shop that is qualified to spray it can be too much of a hassle for the majority of JDM fanatics.

But for Kingston it would be the only paint worthy of covering his metalwork. In another attempt to veer off to the path less taken, Tse hand-picked all aspects of the paint from the base coat to the Kandy green. Once the supplies were ready he handed them over to a co-worker at M1Autosport to delicately lay down the finish. "The Kandy green paint [looks] dark during the night and bright when the sun hits it. I like it like that because it won't be too bright all the time." Bling for the day time flossin', low key so as not to attract the nightly thieves... why didn't we think of that?

While the list of things the Super Street staff has never thought of might seem never ending we do share one train of thought with Tse; when you can't do something yourself there's no shame in getting a few experts to help along the way. Six Autoworks of City of Industry, CA, was enlisted by Tse to complete the SR swap. Yes the SR20, a common transplant for the 240 but for good reasons: exceptional bang-for-the-buck, massive aftermarket support and perfect fitment that can be obtained using OEM parts. No stranger to these advantages, Kingston carefully selected the mods necessary "to build a trackable show car that people will remember after they see it." Once the motor was in and ready to rock, Tse handed the car over to another group of experts over at Race Toy to load the plethora of engine mods in the spec box. Adding some of the best parts in the industry, Kingston went with pieces from ARC, GReddy, HKS, Nismo, Tomei and even some one-off Race Toy customs. One look at this bay will have any Nissan-lover drooling.

Keeping to his "trackable showcar" theme Tse kept the interior to the raw essentials. No crazy car audio gear or entertainment to keep the driver distracted from the task at hand. A custom 12-point cage was installed to really stiffen up the car and make those California freeways almost unbearable. Once fitted, the entire interior was also matched in a 4-stage House of Kolor Kandy green. Carbon Kevlar door panels hide the unsightly internal window mechanisms and keep the interior flowing. To keep Kingston secure, a Recaro Apex seat was installed along with a Crow 5-point harness, a combination even Houdini couldn't escape. To keep his hands happy-go-lucky, a Nardi Challenge wheel was put on along with a Personal shift knob and a Drift Spin knob for when it's time to get busy.

Although a rolling work of art to some, getting busy on the track might be this car's strong suit. Sinful as the risk of breaking a piece of the full JP USA Type 2 kit may be, this car is poised to kill on the racetrack. Built engine, check. Upgraded turbo, check. Custom cage, check. And with a set of HKS Hipermax coilovers and a S14 5-lug brake conversion, this 240 is ready to rock.

Making sure his Toyos stay firmly planted while traveling over 100mph is a pretty tough job and Kingston only trusts the best. As much as we would love to rip this car around Buttonwillow, Kingston still isn't ready to take this baby hot lapping soon. "I am not 100% finished with the car yet, hopefully the car will be done with all the [new] suspension work and it'll be going to the track."

We can only imagine what type of work is still left up his sleeve, but one thing we can be sure of is that for Kingston, as for most of us, a car is a constant work-in-progress. "Although there are many 240SXs out there in the market, my goal is to show people that even the best of cars still have room for improvement."

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Fast Facts
'94 Nissan 240SX Hatchback
Hometown Walnut, CA
Daily Grind M1 Autosport/DTM Autohaus Manager

Under The Hood SR20DET Red Top 3'' custom piping A'PEXi N1 exhaust; ARC blow-off valve, radiator cap, radiator cover and Super Induction Air Box; Blitz downpipe; FAL dual-electric fans; port-matched GReddy intake manifold and oil pan; HKS fuel rail and intercooler; JDM S15 metal gasket; Megan Racing exhaust manifold and turbo elbow; Nismo motor mounts and slave cylinder; Kazama oil catch can; Koyo 53mm Radiator; Power Enterprise PE1820 turbo upgrade; Race Toy custom aluminum hot pipe and intake pipe; Samco hose kit; stage 2 port and polished cylinder head; stainless fuel lines; Tomei 1.2mm head gasket, 740cc injectors, PonCams 256 intake/exhaust, rocker arm stoppers and valve springs; Turbonetics fuel pressure regulator; Walbro fuel pump; Westco battery; Z32 fuel filter

Drivetrain ACT Clutch Kit; Nismo LSD

Brains A'pexi turbo timer; GReddy Profec E01 boost controller

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Stiff Stuff HKS Hiper Max supension; Nismo Power Brace; S14 5 Lug conversion

Rollers J Line special edition SDMSL2 chrome gold multi-piece forged wheels, 17x8 front, 18x9.5 rear wrapped in Toyo Proxes T1R 215-40-17 front, T1R 245-35-18 rear

Stoppers Project Ns brake pads

Outside House of Kolor Kandy green 5-stage paint job with House of Kolor flake; JDM 180sx tail lamps and quarter windows; JP USA Type 2 full body kit; M1 Autobody custom 50mm widebody metal fenders and 80mm widebody metal quarter panel; RaceOnUSA custom 180sx headlamps; Shine Carbon-fiber roof spoiler

Inside Bride Seat brackets; Carbon Kevlar interior panels; Crow 5pt rotary cam lock harness; custom-fabricated 12-point roll cage; Drift Spin knob; House of Kolor Kandy Green 4-stage full interior paint; JDM gauge cluster; L2 quick release; Nardi Challenge steering wheel; Nismo steering wheel hub; Personal leather shift knob; Recaro Apex seat

Ice No thanks

Props Danny at Six Autoworks, Stan at Toyo Tires, Jline wheels, Ray and Dee at Race Toys, The family at M1 David, Marwin, Maggie, Raymond, Henry, Long, Ryan, Eddie and Steve at Mackin, Masaya at JP USA, Jay Garret, James Wei, Ricer X, Jrod at Meguiars, Wakana, Ken at Shine, Kevin, Richard and Brandon at Trumvir


By Sean Klingelhoefer
211 Articles



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