It’s tough being a wheel manufacturer in the automotive industry these days. New companies emerge almost every month, and the performance wheel industry has become incredibly oversaturated. While there is plenty of room for everyone to get a piece of that proverbial pie, the quality is quickly disappearing. Some wheel companies just aren’t true wheel manufacturers anymore; they’re merely placing their name on wheels made overseas and pushing them into the market without overseeing the manufacturing process. This creates a lack of quality control, and customers suffer by overpaying without ever considering quality. Many of these upstart companies often have their wheels manufactured at the same offshore site, so these wheels of questionable quality and construction spread rapidly throughout our community.
As long as the tuning community has been around, there have been a couple of Japanese wheel manufacturers dominating the market. Companies such as Rays Engineering, Work Wheels and SSR, to name a few, have stood the test of time and are a staple in our tuning world. Though their wheels have been replicated an immeasurable number of times, they remain because a strong faction of enthusiasts believes in quality. They understand that these companies have a rigid standard of quality control. As such, they hold their place in America because of their belief in creating nothing but the best. In the U.S., one wheel company that’s held strong for more than 20 years now is a brand you should all be familiar with: HRE Performance Wheels. Its original founder, Gene Howald (HRE=Howald Racing Enterprises), was a motorsports lover who launched the company more than two decades ago. He catered to high-performance customers by manufacturing custom racing wheels in the U.S. and holds seven patents for wheel design and production. In 1999, Howald sold HRE to its present owners and decided to venture off into other endeavors before returning to the industry in 2007. He noticed that the landscape of the performance wheel industry had changed dramatically; manufacturers had become nearly obsolete, with most production having moved to China. He envisioned a company that was completely customer-oriented and that produced custom-made wheels of the highest quality in America, and thus was born Nutek Forged Wheels.
Thanks to its owner’s rich history and knowledge, Nutek has grown quickly in its six years of business. Though its customer base consists mostly of those in the high-end luxury performance market, Nutek believes in catering to all enthusiasts. During the SEMA Show last year, the company presented show-goers with a vehicle that was a little unexpected. And we, along with many others, quickly took notice. From the outside, it was just a very clean S14 Nissan 240SX. Adorning the body and glass were a variety of company logos from various sponsors—nothing unusual. On this particular S14, the gold graphics brought about a nice transition to the Jet Black paint, but what really captured our attention were the five-spoke Nutek Forged Series 625 wheels. Admittedly, Nutek was an unfamiliar name to us at the time, but we enjoyed the sizing and finish on the wheels. Each side of the S14 featured a different finish of the same wheel, with the driver side done in a textured/gloss black finish and the passenger side with a high polish. The car, as many fan boys would say, was “proper.”
We eventually caught up with the owner of the Nissan and got a thorough look at his build. It turns out that Eddie Kumchumroon’s S14 was wearing Nutek shoes for a reason, as he is the marketing director for Nutek Forged Wheels. He educated us on all things Nutek, and oh yeah, he also showed us the 2JZ-GTE swap we had heard was in the engine bay. Not only is the Supra motor plenty potent from the factory, but Eddie’s was fully built inside and out to the tune of 773hp! It was easy to understand why Nutek chose to use its marketing guy’s car to make an instant impact in the import community.
As a company representative, one would imagine that Nutek would have final say as to how this 240SX came together, but that was far from the truth. In fact, this build is a creation of Eddie and performance tuning shop FX Autodesign. He worked closely with the crew from FX to execute a vision he’d had since he first attended a D1GP years before. “I’ve been fixing up every car I’ve ever owned for about 10 years now,” Eddie explains. “I just can’t seem to drive a car that is stock. I purchased this 240SX a few years back after drifting became big in America. The car really captivated me. I had totaled my ’95 Acura Integra at the time and decided to see what I could do with an S14 chassis. I was really inspired by all the mind-boggling engine conversions others were doing to their 240s and wanted to go all-out with no limitations.”
FX Autodesign was responsible for all the legwork on this Supra swap, from creating the custom motor mounts to all the plumbing necessary to get it fired up. Inside the guts of the 2JZ are CP pistons, a rebalanced crankshaft, and Brian Crower valvetrain upgrades, just to name a few. The stock turbine has been upgraded with a larger Turbonetics GTK650 unit mounted to a custom turbo manifold fabricated by FX Autodesign. A GReddy intake manifold and 90mm throttle-body combo breathe high volumes of air into the Toyota engine, while exhaust fumes pass through an A'PEXi GT-spec muffler. A reliable R154 transmission from a JZA70 Supra also makes the transition over to ensure all that power makes it to the tarmac.
Drawing the forged Nutek wheels ever so close to the custom-massaged wheelwells of the S14 coupe are Function & Form Type 2.5 dampers. The entire suspension and chassis have been refreshed, methodically utilizing new components from Circuit Sport. A master bushing kit from Energy Suspension keeps the car riding nice and stiff with the help of front and rear sway bars from Tanabe USA. To make certain this 700hp beast has plenty of stopping force, Eddie went with a four-piston front brake upgrade from Wilwood and factory rear brakes from a Nissan Skyline.
If you train your eyes to see beyond the gold accents of the exterior, you’ll realize it’s quite simple. The rich black paint disguises the lines of the Extreme Dimension aero kit, and Eddie has even gone so far as to paint the carbon hood and trunk. Keeping the body clean is the objective here, to draw more attention to the graphical representations of all the companies involved in his build. Inside you’ll find a full catalog of race equipment from Italian parts manufacturer OMP Racing. Everything from the seats, steering wheel, safety harnesses, and pedals is all high-grade Italian. The rear seats have been eliminated altogether, but Eddie has been mindful to take minor styling cues into consideration. The dashboard and associated panels of his interior have been rewrapped in suede, while accent pieces have been overlaid in carbon-fiber.
When the intention is to draw attention to a beautiful set of wheels, perhaps there is no better vehicle. Eddie and the FX Autodesign team have done a stellar job of making this vehicle formidable in every aspect. From looks to performance to even custom audio, this 240SX has everything covered. It may be hard to get a good look at the Nutek forged wheels because they are spinning tirelessly in an attempt to deliver 700-plus horses to the ground, but when you catch a glimpse of it at a standstill, it’s easy to recognize the work that has gone into creating this magnificent machine. Above all else, Eddie Kumchumroon’s Nissan serves as a perfect complement to a wheel company that is all about quality.
1995 Nissan 240SX
Owner Eddie Kumchumroon
Hometown Irvine, CA
Occupation Marketing Director, Nutek Wheels
Power 773hp, 646 lb-ft
Engine ’93 3.0L Toyota 2JZ-GTE; Brian Crower Stage 2 264-degree camshafts, valvesprings, retainers and connecting rods; HKS AL Slide cam gears; ARP head studs; Cometic 87mm head gasket; GReddy 90mm throttle-body, intake manifold and oil filter relocation kit; Gates Racing timing belt; CP pistons and piston rings; rebalanced crankshaft; Ralco RZ pulleys; FX Autodesign custom motor mounts, 3-inch air intake, custom steel fuel lines w/-AN fittings, turbo manifold, turbo elbow pipe, downpipe, up pipe, intercooler piping and coolant lines; Walbro 400-lph fuel pump; Turbosmart FPR2000 fuel pressure regulator; Raceport blow-off valve and Hyper-Gate 45 wastegate; Sard fuel rail; Bosch 800cc fuel injectors; A'PEXi GT-spec exhaust; MBS Performance Exhaust high-flow catalytic converter; NGK Iridium spark plugs; Turbonetics GTK650 turbocharger; Mishimoto R-Line black intercooler, dual-pass race radiator and radiator fans; TRD oil filter and thermostat
Drivetrain Toyota R154 transmission; KAAZ 1.5-way limited-slip differential; FX Autodesign custom driveshaft; Driveshaft Shop axles; ACT 6-puck clutch and Street Lite flywheel; Royal Purple transmission fluid
Engine Management MegaSquirt III ECU
Footwork & Chassis Function & Form Type 2.5 coilovers; Tanabe Sustec front/rear sway bars, front/rear strut bars and under brace; Circuit Sport end links, front lower control arms, rear lower control arms, front camber control arms, rear camber control arms, front toe control arms and rear toe control arms; Energy Suspension polyurethane master kit
Brakes Wilwood Forged Superlite 4-piston front brake calipers, Polymatrix BP-10 front brake pads and Flexline front brake lines; OEM R32 Nissan Skyline rear calipers and rear brake pads; A1 Cardone brake master cylinder; Motul brake fluid
Wheels & Tires 18x9.5" +15 (front)/18x11" +21 (rear) Nutek Forged Series 625 wheels w/step-lip; 235/40R18, 275/35R18 Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta tires; Project KICS R26 lug nuts; NISMO wheel studs
Exterior Extreme Dimensions V-Speed complete aero kit; Seibon DV-style carbon-fiber hood and OE-style carbon-fiber trunk; PPG Jet Black paint by FX Autodesign; custom front/rear flares; Circuit Sport headlights and signal lights; ’97-spec taillights
Interior OMP Racing WRC driver seat; Design 2 passenger seat; HC/050 low-position seat rails; Road 4M safety harnesses; Corsica 330 steering wheel and OA/1060/A pedals; NRG thin steering hub; Gen 2.5 carbon-fiber quick-release and Type R shift knob; FX Autodesign custom carbon-fiber console, gauge cluster housing, center A/C vent, center bezel and steering column cover overlay; custom suede w/red stitched front/rear pillars, door panel inserts, headliner, and dashboard; AEM digital boost, digital oil pressure, digital air/fuel and water temperature gauges; Pioneer AVH-P1400DVD head unit, TS-A1604C front speakers, TS-A1674R rear speakers, TS-W309S4 subwoofer and GM-D9500F amplifier; Stinger 4-gauge stereo wiring; Optima Yellow D35 battery
Thanks You My lovely wife for supporting me with this expensive hobby of mine; Andy and Park at FX Autodesign for staying up many nights building this kickass Zenki—you’re the best!; Seibon Carbon, Function & Form, AEM, Optima Batteries, Pioneer, Nutek Forged Wheels, Vredestein Tires, Mishimoto, NRG Innovation, Wilwood, OMP Racing, Tanabe USA, A'PEXi and Ultrasuede; Koko at Supertuningperformance for the custom exhaust piping; Eric at SR Motorcar