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1997 Nissan 240SX - Under The Influence

After a trip to Japan, James Kent creates his own JDM drifter

Dec 10, 2013

You wouldn’t think this Nissan 240SX is daily-driven, let alone thrown sideways on the weekends. But despite a few door dings and battle scars, the overall appearance of this S14 is stunning with a hardcore Japanese style that’s dope as f*ck. Big deep dish wheels, mega wide over-fenders along with an SR20DET motor swap, owner James Kent wanted to create something that you’d see drifting around the mountains in Japan and he’s accomplished just that.

James calls Canada home but he’s moved around quite a bit in his lifetime. He grew up in Toronto and was was ready to dive into the car world when he turned 16. But everything was put on hold when he suddenly relocated to Hong Kong. You can imagine he was a bit disappointed having dreamt about his own project car only to move to a country where he couldn’t own or even drive a car. But his enthusiasm didn’t stop. When he moved back to Canada in his early 20s, he was ready to make up for lost time in his new hometown of Vancouver. Originally thinking about an Audi, all that changed when James found himself eating dinner next to several members of the local 240 community. He admired the close friendship involved with everyone and it was clear to him that he wanted to be a part of that.

1997 nissan 240SX weds kranze LXZ wheels Photo 2/11   |   1997 Nissan 240SX - Under The Influence

A little over-eager at first, he picked up his first car in a hurry, which was a ’95 Zenki slammed on cut springs and outfitted with “the worst camber possible” he told us. While it might have looked cool to some, he learned an important lesson when he lost traction on a rainy day and wrecked the car. He realized he had to build a car from the ground up and do it the right way, especially after making a few trips to Japan himself (see sidebar). So he picked up this ’97 240SX and the “Yokosuka Nights” S14 project began.

The 240 started life red, automatic and with 100,000 km on the odometer. James threw on some imitation wheels and kept the drivetrain and chassis lightly modified for a couple years, but it wasn’t long before he wanted to take his Kouki to the next level.

Remembering back to his first accident, while the car was declared totaled, the shell was salvaged and in good condition. So after sourcing a new aero package, he used the shell as payment for the midnight purple paint job—not a bad trade!

Under the hood, the stock KA wasn’t going to cut it anymore so James pieced together everything for the ideal SR20DET swap. He upgraded the fueling components and bolt-ons himself but when it came to transplanting the motor and tranny, local shop GarageFive helped with the labor.

1997 nissan 240SX vertex front bumper Photo 3/11   |   1997 Nissan 240SX - Under The Influence

Suspension was next. He worked with Fortune Auto to determine the best specifications for him—a balance between street and drift. So the coilovers were built to order using custom-valved shocks with stiffer springs.

The car was finished up last year with Weds wheels, fenders and a ZMAX hood. Originally, James ran the staggered wheels on the stock body pulling the shit out of the fenders just so he could drive. But with the new over-fenders riveted on, he was able to adjust the camber, tire stretch and ride height just right for his driving style.

Over the last five years, James has become an active member in the tight-knit local S-chassis community and he’s also now a member of Circuit Soul, one of the top car crews in the Northwest. He uses his car every day, having to avoid speed bumps and endure the police hassling him just like the rest of us. But even then, he’s kept true to the Japanese drifter theme of the car and isn’t afraid to drive it every day to work or get it slideways in the canyons.

Tuning Menu
1997 Nissan 240SX

Owner James Kent

Hometown Vancouver, British Columbia

Occupation Commercial Airline Industry

Engine Black Top Type-X SR20DET motor with Wiring Specialties conversion harness; PBM intake and downpipe; A’PEXi air filter and exhaust control valve; TiAL blow-off valve; GReddy catch can; gold –AN lines and fittings; Mishimoto coolant overflow reservoir; Koyo N-Flow radiator; Samco hoses; Touge Factory pulleys; Circuit Sports oil filter relocation kit, fuel pressure regulator and fuel rail; Walbro 255lph fuel pump; battery relocated; Garage Defend carbon cooling panel; Isis test pipe and 4" blast pipes; dual 4" burnt titanium exhaust tips

Drivetrain Spec stage 2+ clutch; Agency Power clutch line; Driveshaftshop one-piece aluminum driveshaft

1997 nissan 240SX rolling shot Photo 7/11   |   1997 Nissan 240SX - Under The Influence

Footwork & Chassis Fortune Auto 500 Series coilovers with 12k front, 10k rear Swift and roller bearings; Megan Racing rear upper control arms, toe arms, traction rods and front tension arms; front strut bar; PBM skid plate

Brakes Z32 front brake conversion; PDM stainless conversion lines; Hawk HP+ pads

Wheels & Tires 18x10.5" -21 front, 19x11.5" -16 rear Weds Kranze LXZ wheels; 235/35R18 front Falken ZIEX ZE-921 tires; 265/30R19 rear Achilles ATR Sport tires; Muteki SR48 limited-edition lugs

Exterior Vertex front bumper; Nismo 270R side skirts and rear bumper; DMAX vented hood; Aerocatch hood latches; BN Sports 30mm front fenders; Chargespeed 50mm rear over-fenders; JDM Silvia headlights and front grille; shaved trunk lid; Password:JDM quick-release bumper fasteners; deep midnight purple paint with metallic flake

Interior LE-spec leather interior swap; NRG hub adapter and quick-release; Personal Grinta 330mm suede steering wheel; Circuit Soul shift knob; Status Ring GT carbon-kevlar seat; Nagisa Auto Super Low seat rail; Prosport Halo Series gauges; AEM wideband UEGO; HKS Type-O turbo timer; JVC head unit; Alpine speakers

Thanks You GarageFive for the swap; Nick Shtyrin at Nickel Automotive for all the short notice fixes; Steven Thompson from OZdesigns for the paint; Alex Adsit from Circuit Soul for really bringing the personality of the car to life; “The Fakku Shoppe” crew for always pushing me; my girlfriend Mari for translating Japanese for me and just putting up with my obsession with cars!

What Is Yokosuka Nights?

Sounds legit, right? Like something straight outta Japan. But this little catch phrase is something James made up. The name comes from the city of Yokosuka located in the Greater Tokyo region. We wouldn’t say it’s in the deep country but it’s about an hour and half train ride from central Tokyo. James has visited the city three times because it’s where his girlfriend’s family is from. And like a sign from the tuning gods, on a casual snack run to 7-11 one night he found himself smack dab in the middle of the local drift scene. Yokosuka ended up being a hot bed for grassroots drifting and it was James’ first taste of real Japanese drift cars—a taste that was stamped in his memory forever. From there, he knew he wanted to stay away from the USDM/stance look and build a car like it was teleported straight from Yokosuka.

1997 nissan 240SX quick release bumpers Photo 11/11   |   1997 Nissan 240SX - Under The Influence
Sam Du
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